Category Archives: Health
“I quit smoking.” — Me
I’ve done it!
I’ve considered myself to be a smoker since the age of twelve. My cousin Randy and I would sneak cigarettes from our parents and smoke them as we walked to school each morning. Back then, cigarettes cost no more that seventy-five cents from the vending machine at the local bowling alley.
By the time I was fourteen years-old, my parents had grown tired of trying to stop me from smoking and allowed me to smoke openly. My mother would even buy cigarettes for me when she went to the grocery store. I smoked and smoked and smoked.
There have been occasions in my life when I have been able to quit; usually because of illness of some sort (usually upper respiratory since I am asthmatic) or because of a new commitment to overall health. It has been nearly 2 months since my last cigarette. This time my reasons do include health concerns, mortality and cost. The price one pays for cigarettes now, with all of the various taxes, has become prohibitive.
My home smells better, my senses already seem more aware to smell and taste. Soon, I know I will also be able to claim better health and longer life.
“Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation. The other eight are unimportant.” — Henry Miller
Henry Valentine Miller (December 26, 1891 –– June 7, 1980) was an American novelist and painter. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms, developing a new sort of novel made up of autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, surrealist free association and mysticism, one that is distinct always about and expressive of the real-life Henry Miller, and yet is also fictional. His works of this kind are Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn and Black Spring. Henry Miller also was known to write travel memoirs and essays of literary criticism and analysis.
It is good and healthy to laugh about sex – as long as the laughter is on the side of life. Sex, after all, is part of the life force, and if it is surrounded by caring and honesty, it leads to a joyous intensification of our relationship with others and with the world. Then sex, like laughter, integrates.
Too often, laughing about sex betrays uneasiness, shame, disgust, and the want to hurt. We talk about “dirty jokes” and consign sex to the bathroom. We split off sex from other feelings and surround it with taboos and rituals and mockery. Viewed in this way, sex isolates us.
We need to learn to talk about our sexuality in a proud and affirmative way. Talking and laughing in a group, or with a friend, or with a loved one, is one of the steps we take to bring sex into the open to take its place as part of the diversity of life. Own your sexuality. Talk about it without shame and claim it a vital part of life.
- Setting Healthy Boundaries (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Exploring Healthy Sexuality (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Let’s not talk about sex (guardian.co.uk)
I Will Continue to Fulfill My Commitments to Peace and Grace
“Can such thing be, and overcome us like a summer’s cloud, without our special wonder?” — William Shakespeare
To overcome my feeling of being lost, alone and afraid; overwhelmed by the challenges I now face, I am going through my “tool belt” of coping mechanisms that I have added along life’s way. To reclaim my ability to take part again in life, I have discovered that I must reclaim the gift of commitment. I have many personal commitments: living life fully and authentically, my growing spirituality, working on my special relationships with my closest friends and sharing my experiences of personal discovery and growth through my writing. I have come to realize that it is a moment of wonder when we have something in our lives that requires the best we have to give.
During times of doubt or struggle, I find myself questioning what I’ve gotten myself into. But an activity or a person to which we give ourselves wholly and freely is evidence of a force greater than ourselves at work in our life. I believe my commitments are something the Universe has asked me to do and I know absolutely and without a doubt that the Universe will help me take care of meeting all of them.
Money, support and the energy and enthusiasm needed will come as well and at the perfect time. Although it may seem that things may not be going my way, I can trust that the Universe is giving to me all that I need so that my lessons can be learned and tasks can be accomplished. This knowledge and belief helps to keep my spirits up. Each day I have before me a wonderful opportunity to fulfill my commitments in peace and grace. I am being looked after.
- You Are Wonderful and I Love You (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Your Authentic Self (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- A Moment of Awareness is a Moment of Grace (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Coming into Balance (psychologytoday.com)
I’ve blogged several times about how much the Silva Method of Mind Control has helped me in my life. Recently, I came across this very comprehensive website – and yes its goal is to sell something, but please check out its content. http://www.silvamindbodyhealing.com/
- The Silva Method: Mental Housekeeping(christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Introduction to Concepts of the Brain – Silva Style(christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- The Silva Method of Mind Control (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
The only time I’ve ever paid attention to whether I was born under Chinese Astrology’s Year of the Rat, Year of the Pig, or the Monkey has been while waiting recently for my dinner in a local Chinese restaurant, reading the animal’s names and corresponding New Year dates only to find myself ruminating why my dinner wasn’t served in twenty minutes!
I’m learning only the beginnings of this complex astrology, and so far know that:
There are 12 animal representations, associated with a branch (of which there apparently is no English translation). Each animal and its associated branch are aligned with a New Year date. As I scan my place mat for my birth year of 1961, I discover I was born in the year of the Ox! Further reading tells me that we are in the “Year of the Rabbit” until February 3, 2011 after which time it will be the year of the Dragon.
Lately, with my fascination for the Zodiac and my own daily horoscope, I thought I might try expanding beyond and see what my outlook may be like for 2011 according to the Chinese Astrology.
The Year of the Metal Rabbit should bring progress and expansion. The Metal element exerts a beneficial influence on Water, which is this sign’s element. Last year certainly was a bumpy ride. There may still be a few obstacles in 2011, but there’ll be ten favorable months to look forward to, and only two not-so-favorable months. Being the typical Ox, one needs to work on being more flexible and less stubborn. Compromise is the mentor of teaching how to bend with the wind. A tough and powerful creature, the Ox might butt heads with others if forceful about being right. Borrow some creativity and gentleness from the Rabbit. Raise expectations, and practice diplomacy to get what the Ox wants.
While things should stay steady on the home front, there could be a few challenging moments in the land of love. The Rabbit is strong and stubborn like the Ox, so relationships might feel strained. When dealing with other strong personalities it may be wise to show one’s soft and sensitive side to everyone, including loved ones. Harmony and order will be important this year. Work on communication skills and heal any rifts with estranged friends or family.
A typical Ox might be a bit of a foodie. 2011 is a good time to restore balance to your digestive system and make sure you’re eating healthy. If there are any long-standing health issues, it’s time to discuss them from a holistic approach. A sensible diet is one piece of the puzzle, but consideration of the other factors that encourage balance and wellness. Exercise. Relaxation. Meditation. Laughter. Make sure life holds equal parts of each or the Ox could burn out quickly.
As the element of our year, Metal also rules several months in 2011, including the Ox. There will be several Triple Metal days — where the element of the year, month, and day all match — which could make for some incredible luck where money is concerned. Jump at the opportunities in favorable months but exercise caution in the unfavorable ones. More than anything, it is one’s Oxen diligence that will reap the most rewards. Avoid any get-rich-quick schemes and instead just let your talents bring in prosperity.
None of what I’ve discovered so far is really difficult to digest. For me personally, things have gotten out of hand lately and I do need to slow down a bit and check-in on those priorities. That stress level that had a hard time waiting for dinner needs things to be simpler; making sure what’s necessary is getting done without overextending one’s self.
- “Year of the Rabbit” and related posts (thediscerningbrute.com)
- Your Fortune for The Year 2011-part One (socyberty.com)
- A New Year rolls in (boston.com)
- Photos: The world rings in 2011 (news.nationalpost.com)
Sexuality is not something we do, but its part of whom we are. We are physical, intellectual, emotional, sexual and spiritual people, and all parts are equally important. To consider sexuality as energy, a state of being, and not a state of activity, helps us bring our sexuality and our sexual expression back within ourselves.
Part of my challenge with sexuality is to explore what healthy sexuality is and to decide what my values and behaviors are going to be. I am responsible only for taking care of myself; it is not up to me to decide sexual issues for others or for society. It is more than enough to know my own needs and how I will meet them. I can give myself permission to put sexuality in its rightful place. It is an important part of who I am, but only a part, not the entire sum of my personality and being.
- The New Research Behind Sexual Orientation (socyberty.com)
- 10 Tips For Healthy Sexual Relationship (mademan.com)
- Not Enough Sex (huffingtonpost.com)
- Can Sexual Desire Remain Vital and Satisfying in Long-Term Relationships? (psychologytoday.com)
It was the “Mother of all Depressions.” For four days I was unable to get out of bed. I couldn’t eat. I didn’t care about anything. I wanted to die. Really; I found myself hating my life so much that I began to think putting an end to it was the answer. A tape with the obscene mantra, “I hate my life, I hate my life, I hate my life” began to play in my mind. The last time I felt similarly was one dreadful July 4th five years ago, when I found myself being admitted to an Adult Psychiatric Unit.
Experiences can sometimes begin to feel familiar to that time five years ago. Questions from family or friends about drug use, an uncontrollable anxiety over issues that later seem to end up as the small and minor challenges of a life in hyper drive. Family members and friends have no idea how to handle the evil, bitchy side that comes with depression. We fight, scream, cry and make threats. The choices I make when depressed are often not at all healthy and incongruent with physical or emotional well-being. Sometimes, the thoughts inside my head secretly struggle with the ways close friends have changed and seemingly moved on with their life. I may feel my life, in comparison to theirs, isn’t moving.
When I’m depressed, I want something; a pill, a hit of dope; SOMETHING that will stop my ability to feel. I will listen to recorded pipe organ music for hours and hours on end. The music of Bach, played on a pipe organ usually relaxes me. Those in my close inner circle have involved themselves with attempts to get me to do something to pull myself out of that dark evil place and back into the light. With each attempt I often hand them some bullshit line like, “Sure, I’ll get up and take the dogs for a nice long walk” or, “Yeah, and I’ll eat something.” What did I actually do? I went back to bed, but only after laying some feigned guilt trip about how much I may have missed them lately and how terrible I feel for the things I do that drives them away.
My pathetic actions give them yet another glimpse of how capable I am of beating the fucking shit out of myself for the ways I have hurt them in the past. Sometimes, family and friends threaten to close our relationships. “I have forgiven you and you should take a look at what you need to do to forgive yourself” a close friend once said. When this friend said that to me I began to know how familiar my interactions with them could feel. It seems I can be a cycling, emotional train wreck seeking solutions or fixes to my problems, from them.
Gradually, I have found myself coming around, getting back into the light of life and feeling better. A combination of things has worked. I began years ago writing or journaling about thoughts and feelings I experience, being as honest as I possibly can be with myself, in my personal journal. This process of sharing has become so comfortable to me, that I often write these same thoughts and feelings in a blog that anyone can read online. I read from many books that have sustained me through some tough times of painful personal growth. I pray.
From loved ones, I have received many gifts: words, though sometimes harsh, have raised my awareness of my behaviors. Love and “big momma type” hugs are a tactile way of feeling alive. Time spent sharing experiences or in quiet contemplation with other loved one’s travelling on a similar path of personal growth brings connectedness, and dilutes feelings of isolation. The last gift from loved ones has been their understanding and patience.
Tools learned in earlier cycles of depression are known to work and avert another “Mother of all Depressions”:
- Heightened anxiety is a precursor to thoughts that are not totally based on reality
- Understand self forgiveness
- Accept the way people change and move through life; we all must do the same
- Do not compare your life with anyone else’s
- Be grateful for the loved ones who have stayed by your side and reach out to at least one of them early on in any future cycle of depression
- We can learn to re-frame situations and experiences which may trigger negative thinking
- None of us are ever alone. We will never be alone
I read a blog that inspired me to begin sharing my journey away from depression. I have linked to it below. It was blogged by “Hope Despite Depression” at blogspot and is titled “Grateful for Depression?” http://hopedespitedepression.blogspot.com/2010/11/grateful-for-depresson.html
May we never allow depression to consume ourselves as much as it has in the past, ever again. May we begin to see our life experiences in different ways.
“I am part of all that I have met.” — Alfred Tennyson
Too often, I have lost my way by forgetting that I am part of a community, a society, a world. There were low points in my life when I closed myself off from others and drifted off all alone. Fantasy, rituals and acting out took me not out of myself, but deeper into loneliness.
As we all maneuver and make our way through life we make contact with others even if we don’t realize it. Looking, talking, smiling, touching, eating, walking, working, playing – all these activities are likely to bring us into contact with others. And the way we act and react does make a difference. Often, a simple smile can make someone else’s day. A hug breaks the ice of solitude. A kind word strikes a chord and is remembered.
Yes, we are all part of the interconnected web of Life; referred to by some as humanity; and we get love and power simply from knowing this. I want to feel part of a strong, healthy and loving community.
- Ten of the best mirrors in literature (guardian.co.uk)