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As I mentioned in my last post, I am going to start slowly "weaning" myself from blogging. Since I have gotten in the habit of daily blogging I am going to start out with reducing my blogging to every other day and then reduce it further to every third day and then every week, and so on and so forth until I am blogging less and less. Blogging itself is not an issue, it's therapeutic and helps me sort my thoughts, but blogging publicly is no longer beneficial.

Results 

I made good progress over the weekend making it to about halfway through the course I am doing. I had some interesting experiences I wanted to share.

There are two drills focused on confront. The first involves just sitting with eyes closed across from another person. You do this until you can be there comfortably. I normally have no issue with doing this because I have done so much meditating. Apparently many people fall asleep. I wish I could do that! Anyway, I was not comfortable doing this drill and it took me about 40 minutes to finally get to where I was. It could have been because of all the activity in the room I was in or it could be that I was processing all the anxiety and openness I have been feeling. I did notice my body was tense, my muscles were randomly twitching and my eyes were fluttering quite a bit. I also had strange energy sensations coming and going, mostly around my neck and chest area. There was a strange feeling in my stomach area also. My thoughts were random and I seemed to be on the alert when there was no reason to be. I realized via this drill that I have not been comfortable in my own skin for a long while and have been uncomfortable in spaces occupied by more than a few people for my entire life. I had to keep telling myself I was "safe" and that no one there expected anything of me. It was eye opening.

The next drill on confront is to sit across from a partner and look them directly in the eyes without flinching or reacting in anyway. That means no nervous laughter or conversation, no diverting your eyes and no squirming or fidgeting. The point is to be comfortable just being there while looking another person directly in the eyes. So you are confronting them. In the past this drill was hard for me but this time I passed with flying colors. I had absolutely no discomfort. I suspect the reason for this is because I spent so much time on the first drill.

The other drills involve actual communication. I flew through these but am not surprised. I have spent most of my life giving commands and acknowledgments and handling strange communication situations. Kids love to say odd, random things and as a teacher/counselor I have learned to expect that from them. Adults not so much but then it can happen with them, too, especially if they are not good communicators, meaning they do not know how two-way communication is suppose to work. I have met many one-sided communicators who unload and jabber endlessly without giving the other person a chance to speak. I have also met many who suck at acknowledging what I have said.

By the end of the day on Saturday I was so extroverted that the colors in the room were brilliant compared to when I started. I was smiling, jabbering with my SIL and being friendly and open with everyone even if I didn't know them. This is my "real" personality and I know this but it only comes out when I feel confident and happy. I surprised myself on the way out of the building when I ran into a guy who I had not seen in three years at least. He greeted me warmly and when I saw him I was genuinely pleased to see him and said, "Hi! Wow, you look good!" lol We talked briefly and I felt he wanted to hug me and it was like a telepathic conversation occurred between us and before I knew it we were hugging. Why is this so surprising? Because I don't hug random people! I don't consider this man a friend, just an acquaintance and honestly I have had upsets with him in the past so if anything I normally would have been cautious and avoided contact. This time however I felt open and allowing and had no uncomfortable feeling whatsoever. In fact, I could have stayed and jabbered with him but had to get to the car where my husband was waiting.

Turns out we ended up coming back inside and having dinner with the group because there was an event being held that night. So I ended up talking to that guy and to others for the next hour or so. I felt completely at ease despite the number of people around me. I also felt a part of the group, accepted and connected. It was a nice feeling to have.

Panic Decreasing

Another thing I've notice is I've not had a panic attack in about a week despite being in situations that would normally incite one. I set a goal to exercise five days a week regardless of my concern about panic. No, not at the gym, but at home or outside. My Garmin Forerunner (piece of crap) went kaput on me and my husband let me use his TomTom Spark 3 and I monitored my heart rate and saw it was fluctuating normally. This was a huge relief in and of itself because even when my heart rate was in the upper 160s I did not have a panic attack. 165bpm is not abnormal for me even though it would normally be the max heart rate for someone my age.

Yesterday as a means to push myself out of my comfort zone I drove to my mom's house with my three kids. This is 40 minute trip mostly on the interstate so the likelihood that I would have a panic attack was high. I didn't have one, though.

When we arrived at my mom's I went on a run outside in the heat (90 degrees) to test whether I would end up with exercise induced anxiety. Would I freak out? How high would my heart rate go? Would the watch work? I followed a path I've run 100+ times. I use to run it when I was training for a half-marathon way back in 2014. I only planned on going 2 miles and opted to take it easy since it had been so long and it was hot as hell outside. I also hadn't eaten near enough to fuel a run longer than a couple of miles and didn't want to end up with low blood sugar again.

The run was successful though I did feel a bit anxious along the way here and there. When I did I just slowed to a walk and calmed down and then would run again. My heart rate never went above 158. When running on a flat surface it is usually in the 140s but I was going up and down hills so the 150s is not out of the ordinary. It helped to see that my heart rate was not rising abnormally and calmed my nerves substantially.

When I got home I spoke with my mom about the panic attacks. She confessed hers have been on the rise lately. Then I went for a swim and did laps for 20 minutes. My mom has a 38ft long pool so it is great for laps.

I felt so good by the end of the visit that I decided it would be good for me to start running again. I also decided to see if my husband would let me join him on his weekly bike rides. He goes with a couple of our neighbors so it would be a social outing as well. He said yes so Saturday I will be riding along.

When I got home I logged into Runkeeper for the first time since 2014. I saw my old stats and runs and was shocked at how much I use to run. Holy cow! The exact run I did at my Mom's was my "short run" and I used it on specific days as part of a training routine. I even ran local races. Forgot about that. 3rd place in a 5k - 8min mile. Don't think I could do that now that I'm "old". lol

Since I have three kids the running schedule I would normally do is out of the question. Plus I no longer live in the country with miles and miles of hilly roads for practice. My husband will be running the Austin marathon in February like he does every year. Not sure if I am up to training for that but I know I could do it since I did a half already. My experience with running the half was "nothing should hurt that bad at the end". lol I'm not out to torture myself. However, I think aerobic exercise may be the key to getting this anxiety under control so some kind of running/biking routine is needed.

I'm super hyped up about all of this. Can't you tell?

Goals

I've been setting goals for myself as you can see. I wake up with ideas most mornings and then go with them. Mostly I am recognizing that I can't do what I've always done and feel different. I've got to step outside of my comfort zone. So my first goal is to do that as often as I can. Being alive and feeling alive is not going to happen if I avoid those things that scare me or make me feel uncomfortable. I'm here to experience and I've been limiting my life experience because I don't take enough risks. Risk doesn't necessarily mean life-threatening, it just means doing something that is challenging whether it be to drive to my mom's despite the panic attacks or go to social events and parties I normally would avoid.

I think if I just do this one thing that my life will start changing before my eyes. In fact, it already is. I am happier and more open than I've been in a while. Life no longer feels like drudgery.

The Gift Received

Finally, I wanted to bring up something interesting. 10 years ago I was in a very different place. I was building my own home on my own land next door to my mom's house/land. I had met my current husband and we were moving in together. I brought with me some agave cacti a co-worker had given me. My mom wanted me to plant two up by her road, so I did.

Yesterday, when I arrived at my mom's one of those agave was in full bloom. They only bloom once in their lifetime and after they bloom the mother plant dies but leaves behind many baby agave all around her base. It bloomed almost exactly 10 years from the day I planted it.

When I saw the plant in full bloom I knew it was a message. Seeing it filled me with joy and anticipation. The transformation I've been going through was obvious, though not at all what I had anticipated it would be. My guides have been telling me I was given a "gift" but I could not see it as that. It felt like I had been punished, tortured even. But yesterday I saw it for what it is and it was greatly appreciated. Had I not been shown what it was to be alive, had I not felt it - experienced it - then I never would have known just how much I was missing.

And when I look back on the last ten years I think to myself, "That wasn't me." The person I was back then is no longer the person who I am today. Maybe it was some other aspect who came to help and has now gone away? Who knows. I still feel like her but then I don't. It is weird but I'm okay with that, too. I know that person is still a part of me, I feel her and carry the experiences with me. And when this version of me transforms into yet another one, I will carry those experiences with me as well. I think it is just how life is, shifting through version after version of the self, constantly transforming and changing until the day we die and then taking those experiences and molding them into another lifetime and personality to be transformed yet again.

Each day I will ask myself, "How can I make today better than yesterday? What can I do to push myself just a little bit more? How can I change up my routine to make things interesting?" It doesn't have to be something big. It can be something little like going for a morning run or calling a friend on the phone. Or it can be huge like taking a spur of the moment road trip. I can do whatever I want. There is no wall around me saying, "You have to stay". That is just my scared little Ego pretending it is safe and in control. Like the Braveheart quote says - Every man dies. Not every man truly lives.







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