I’m not a bad person, and I know that. In the grand scheme of things and in the “balance of life”, I think I stand on the good side of things. Others might argue differently, but that’s usually the case. Regardless of how I feel about myself, I also know that there are loads of things wrong with me, from my weight to my lack of self-esteem. And I’m doing my best to change to change each of these things, one by one. The first phase I want to start with is my mind and my attitude because if anything productive and positive is going to happen, then my head needs to be on straight.
What we think, we become. – Buddha
If I’m honest with myself, which I’m going to start being from now on, my mind and my attitude should have been overhauled ages ago. It was only a comment from N, made in jest, a few days ago that really felt like a brick wall slamming me in the face. He basically said that I was never going to get anything out of life if I kept being negative about everything. At that point, I laughed it off… but then I started thinking, “Y’know, he’s right.”
For the last year or two, negativity and bad thoughts have been brewing up inside me like a boiling kettle. There have been times where I’ve been so volatile and poisonous inside and in my thoughts that it felt as though I no longer had blood coursing through my veins but instead a thick, black sludge full of heat and hate. And that poison and hate took every opportunity it had to escape–through my mouth in the form of nasty comments and rudeness… and yes, foul language as well. N even started calling me Hitler… in fun of course (ask him to do the impression sometime… you’ll pee yourself). I was a hateful, spiteful, awful shred of a person, and to tell you the truth it got worse by the day. I don’t know when I started thinking the way I did, but it got to the point where anytime I left the house for any reason, I was clenching my jaw so hard my teeth ached and was thinking horrible things so loudly that I began to mutter them under my breath. I was giving myself headaches and stomach aches and nervous problems from all of this. And here I was, wondering why I felt so sick and sad and miserable all the time!
All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him. – Buddha
So now I’m pushing through all of that. I don’t want to wake up the same way I went to sleep: sad, hurt, angry and hateful. I want to wake up feeling clean and rested. It’s a difficult road, to change your way of thinking and your attitude and basically every little thing about your personality. It’s not just saying, “I’m going to wake up tomorrow and feel better about life and stop being so negative,” it’s changing the way I do things as well–the way I go about my day, really. Here are some of the changes I’ve made already:
1. Brushing off the small things that I can’t do anything about and that don’t matter. So what if someone sits next to me on the bus when there are loads of other empty seats? So what if my schedule’s changed last-minute? So what if my taxes aren’t straightforward and easy? So what if it’s raining? What can I do about it? Nothing.
2. Less cleaning, more helping. I clean the flat several times a week… and I mean abnormally so. But I’m going to clean a bit less; so what if there’s a bit of dust until Saturday? Who cares? ( I won’t compromise on the toilet or the hoovering. Sorry. Those will be done daily.) Instead, I want to focus on helping N with dinner, whether that means chopping veg, getting stuff ready, or just cooking the meal myself!
3. Take up a bit of gardening. I’ve heard that gardening can be a bit “zen”. So N and I are starting to get together a balcony garden. All we have at the moment are herbs: Rosemary, Sage, Parsley and Thyme (yes, like the Simon & Garfunkel song). After we get paid in a few weeks, we’re going to go out and get a few more things… maybe. We’ll see. I’d love a pot of wildflowers.
4. One cup of coffee a day. I know it sounds silly, but I was drinking up to 4 cups a day… and not only was that making me jittery but it just wasn’t good for me. Instead, I’m drinking green tea, which has the added benefit of supposedly being a weight loss agent. If nothing else, it makes me pee a bunch.
5. Positive thinking, and realizing the blessings I have compared to others. I have a home. So what if the sink’s leaking. I have a job. So what if it’s not a fabulous career? I have a fantastic husband. So what if he leaves a mess sometimes? It could always be worse.
And the mental/emotional changes that are coming soon:
1. Less cursing. I say the “f” word way too much.
2. Buddhist meditation classes once a week. I can’t wait to start this as soon as I get paid.
3. More “for me” writing. After failing Script Frenzy in the first 24 hours, I figured out that I need to get back in the groove of writing before I can even dream of embarking on something that massive. So whether it be a blog, a poem, an entry in my Keels Simple Diary (more on that tomorrow) or even just a random thought/musing, I’m going to make sure that I write something for me every day.
4. Continue to realize what’s worth caring about and what’s not. Is it really worth me stressing over our bathroom sink having a leak? Nope. Because I know I can get sealant this weekend and fix it myself. Is it really necessary to freak out because the internet is down? Nope. I could use the time to “disconnect.”
5. And finally, one of the harder things, “downsizing.” I have so much stuff and so much clothing that either I don’t use or doesn’t fit or I won’t wear anymore. Why do I have it? What is the point of it taking up space and creating dust? So over the next couple of months, as the seasons change, I’ll be going through my clothing and possessions. What I don’t need/want I’ll be donating to the charity shop right outside the flat.
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. – Buddha
It’s been tremendously hard so far. I spent a good half hour earlier tonight crying my eyes out on N’s shoulder because it all just hurts so much–to know that I was the kind of person no one wanted to be around, to know that I was the only person making me miserable. But it’s okay to cry, and I know now that I should cry a lot more than I do. It’s one way to get the “black sludge” out for good, you see. I know there’ll be some days where I slip up and regress; but just like an alcoholic or a drug addict, I’ll get back on the wagon and look to the next day for more wisdom and knowledge, as I can only learn from my mistakes.
I’ve gone on long enough now, and a lot of this probably makes little sense to most of you–and that’s fine. I know what I’m doing, and I wanted to share it with you all. Hopefully you’ll see the changes as they happen.
Tomorrow, I’m going to talk about the changes coming for this blog–so watch out! Exciting things happening!!