52 Entrances to Condacum – 1/52 – Altena Park

Altena park is one of my favorite walking routes with Largo. Especially during warm summer days it’s a refreshing place to be.
It originates from the medieval period, and used to be a monastery. Through history it has had some other destinations.
Nowadays it’s an elderly home, there’s a school and it’s a cultural gathering point for exhibitions, cultural events and has a lovely cafe with a gorgeous terrace. From its monastery period also dates a fantastic chappel.
Whenever I need some quiet away time from village noisiness, I go there, sit on a bench, Largo by my side, and meditate.

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The Morning Chronicles – July 20.

Worrying ’bout things that will not happen to me…

Sunday morning mostly is an easy peasy day here at our home. We don’t need to get up (luckily our pup is not a morning “person”) and we try not to plan too much activities outdoors as our weekdays are mostly hectic enough.
Depending on the past events I sleep longer or wake up early… The latter points in the direction of a rather exciting or turbulent week. Given the past week, it was an early wake up after a mere 3 hours sleep.
The wheels in my head kept on turning, tumbling, racing, jumping from one thought to another. Real worries and hypothetical ones.

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Especially the – let’s face it – trivial quarrel with that blasted neighbor was not worth lying awake for. I am quite sure many people will shake their heads and wonder why on earth I am that troubled with it, and they are right. I wish I was able to treat it – and him – the way dogs do. Turn my back on it, shake it off, and go on with my life. But I can’t. Probably it’s one of my major problems: not being able to let go.

And what’s more, in my head I make so many conversations with that man. “If he says this, I’ll say that. And i have to remember so and so, i’ll write it down or i’ll forget, he’s been a pain for much too long, for too many people, who does he think he is? etc. etc. ”
Stupid, unnecessary hypothetical conversations that lead to nowhere and nothing, but to making me more nervous, more sleepless and tired.
They have only one advantage , if ever one of them would take place, my mind will be very prepared to give the right answers. But what are the chances such happens?
I do promise myself however, time and time again to live by the wonderful Jason Mraz song: Living in the moment.
Especially this piece of its lyrics is very applicable to this phenomenon:

If this life is one act
Why do we lay all these traps
We put them right in our path
When we just wanna be free

I will not waste my days
Making up all kinds of ways
To worry ’bout all the things
That will not happen to me

So I just let go
Of what I know I don’t know
And I know I only do this by
Living in the moment

In case you never heard the song, check it out, I love it (Jason Mraz, Living in the Moment)

Now I’m going to catch up on that lost sleep, and after that I’ll plant an avocado :) and join @jofabi (IG) in the #theavocadoclub – excited to see it develop.

See you. Marl1xo

Keep calm…

… do yoga, follow a mindfulness class, meditate, relax, ….

As I have a year of blogging behind me, I want to go back to the basics, to that thing that pushed me towards blogging, my burnout.
I suffered from the symptoms long before my doctor ordered me to stay home, told me I was sick.
There were the crying parts, the shouting to anyone and no one in particular as long as they “caught” me in the wrong moment, there was the tiredness, the hyperventilation, the fears, the panic attacks, the “what am I doing” phenomenon, the mistakes, the angriness about these mistakes… you name it, I got it!

It was high time somebody called an end to that.
But it’s much easier said than done, as a matter of fact it’s huge, it’s difficult, it’s suffering, Burnout and mental problems are challenging their victim over and over again. Not in the least because the world around you doesn’t “see” there’s something “wrong” with you…  A mental health problem doesn’t show like, let’s say, a broken arm…  Especially also because people having such problems, most of the time put great effort in not showing…  It’s a vicious circle.

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I’m almost 2 years later now, and time has a healing power of its own.  The memories of the job I wasn’t up to anymore that had caused the melt down, have faded in the meantime. Burnout, meltdown… they go well together don’t you think?
I guess minds are made that way: what’s been horrible, they tend to push away or hang on to, or a mixture of both…
The hatred (I don’t use that word often or lightly) towards the people who did that to me  – for sure I wasn’t the sole responsible – faded too, a bit anyway.
But I will never be the same again.  Not only because I couldn’t anymore, but because I don’t want to go down that hectic, workaholic, manic road again.
When I look at myself back then, I’m looking at “somebody that I used to know”.

Does this mean I’m totally cured now? Not by far.
Things got better, other things came in its place.  The diagnosis Fibromyalgia for instance in November last year.
After a long and winding road, from one doctor to the next, there finally was a name for all my aches and pains.  Did it change much? No, not really because there isn’t a “one cure fits all”.  There isn’t a pill you can take that makes it magically go away.
It’s a learning process and I’m right in the middle of it.  Searching my new me, a new rhythm, peace and quiet.  Getting to terms with the fact that I can’t do anymore what I used to, that everything has to be done in small doses, and that sometimes – many times – there is a huge difference between what I planned and what I can accomplish.

I’ve never been the one who can keep her calm in every moment.  Gosh how I admire people who can.
But, I  have to learn to accept that I have my own temperament, my own dynamics.  I’m a terrible, terrible perfectionist (in case you wonder where the title of this blog comes from…), a control person, and hyper sensitive.
So, in order to cope with the fibro problem in combination with my personality, I have to learn… learn hard and work hard.
Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t.  And when fears or worries hit me once again, they hit hard.

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It’s rather funny actually, as nowadays you can’t open a magazine, put on your tv or someone – preferably a psychiatrist – is telling you that mindfulness is the solution to all problems, that you have to create “me” time, that you have to “let go”, relax, go with the flow, meditate, do some yoga in order to be happy…
Did you notice too that we have to be happy like alllllll the time, that we have forgotten how to be sad, that we aren’t even allowed anymore to be sad….  That we get unhappier because we are not able to feel happy all the time…  All that happiness is making us crazy!

Well I think I’ve tried all those things, learned a lot, bought and read tons of books and picked something up here and there that lasted.  There’s the Morning Pages (Julia Cameron) I try to do as much as possible (except when life interferes), there’s the much slower pace for everything (from cleaning to driving), there’s the not trying to panic when work didn’t get done…
And then there’s yoga, that I picked up since December last year.  It helps.  It helps me in a way no other relaxation program did before.  All other stuff started with: you feel heavy, you feel relaxed, you feel your muscles let loose, think of nothing, don’t let thoughts interfere….
My gosh, I felt more insecure, incomplete and a total failure after every exercise.  I didn’t feel any of those things, not really anyway.  My thoughts didn’t just halt, they just kept coming, no matter how many boats I fantasized to float away with them on that river of tranquility…
And when the exercise was “done” and my therapist asked me “And? did you feel the warmth? Did you feel how your arms got heavy?…” I had to say “no, not really”…  Again, I failed….

But yoga made me realize that I don’t ‘have to’ feel anything, that my thoughts won’t stop and – what’s important – that thoughts are normal, they’re o.k., I’m o.k….
What a difference!  I finally feel normal again, people’s minds don’t come with a “thoughts on/off button”, I have thoughts and am allowed to have them, as long as I acknowledge it, and can refocus… even if it takes a hundred retakes, it’s still fine.  Isn’t that great?

Well, I guess I will never become the calmest person in the world.  To myself I picture this as a football career.  Apart from Cruyff, Ronaldo, Messi and a handful other super talented guys, born with football in their veins, there are players who learned to become great.  They learned techniques, they learned to deal with all kinds of stuff and they became world famous players, but they will never become Cruyff, Ronaldo or Messi no matter how hard they try, or learn, or work.

And that’s my lesson for this year and many to come: learn the techniques, practice yoga, meditate and accept that I’m not perfect, that I’m not born with a natural calm and ease, that my  “go with the flow” will get easily interrupted by other flows…  And when those moments of weakness do come, panic might get the better of me again, hyperventilation probably will strike again…  But I will also realize that I have not totally failed.  That it was just another moment and that this too will pass.
For me that will be pretty awesome goals to reach, especially the acceptance part.

Wow, this was a long one.  For those who are still with me here, thanks for so much attention.
But I guess I just had to write this, from my heart…

Thanks guys! Have a nice weekend!

Marleen