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Note: Cross posted from STATIC Youth’s Weblog.

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calledtoministry This past weekend I spent my time reading and listing to Catholic radio. Of course I cleaned the house, did my wash and other such tasks, but I spent a lot of time sitting and reading. It was nice, I have not had a lot of time to do that, or should I say I have not made time to do that.

Note: Cross posted from STATIC Youth’s Weblog.

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Often times it is hard to start this blog, I am not sure what to talk about and sometimes I am not sure if it really matters all that much. But as I have stated several times in the past, this blog is more a benefit to me than to others. This blog allows me the opportunity to workout what I think and feel about issues. Often times I use it to spew my Conservative political convictions or my Catholic faith. I use it as my own little sounding board, and over all I think that is a very good thing.

I have blogged about the importance of writing in a journal, well this blog is that, this is my journal, this is my space…

As of late you will notice that I have been very sporadic in my blogging, days and days go by with no words of wisdom from me, yet the world seems to still go on, and that is a very good feeling, to know that I am not that important to the workings of this world. I would hate the feeling of responsibility to this blog, to know that someone actually depends on this blog and my musings. In a way I think it would detract from the writing of this blog, I would feel the pressure to always at the top of my game, and truth be told, I never what that feeling. I like the feeling of just being average, nothing special.

I am told that I am extremely smart and have an IQ that is in the genus level, yet I strive for nothing more than average. In fact I find it difficult to deal with people who are perfectionist or who feel they must achieve the top score or be labeled the best.

If any one has watched the movie “Amadeus” one of my favorite lines from it

 

 

 

 

Salieri: I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint.

 

I love that line, along with hundreds of others in the movie… But that one line, I speak for all mediocrities in the world… What a great line and that is how I feel, that is what I think. I truly feel no need to always be the best, to always be on top, sometimes (well most of the time) average will do.

To what end is it to always be the best, to always be on top of the game? I see none, now I do think people need to work hard to strive for the goal, but I also feel that sometimes the goal is not important. Take Salieri, he wanted to always be on top, to always be the best, yet he never could, Mozart was, yet Mozart’s average was still better than Salieri’s best. So why concern yourself to death with it? Mediocrity is not a bad word…

But in this global economy and the world competing for everything we all to often push ourselves and sadly our children in to a frenzy to be perfect to always be on top of their game to always be the best. But reality is, not everyone can be the best, not everyone can win…. So why are we teaching ourselves and our youth that winning is everything? Why do we keep pushing them to be more than they are? What ever happen to “Just do your best, that’s all I ask” that phrase seems to have vanished from our vocabulary, now its I only expect the best from you, I only expect all A’s, or a perfect game or what every it is you expect.

With great expectations come great failures… Please understand I am not say we do not need to push ourselves or our youth, but we also need to be realistic and expect and accept that no all are Mozart’s that some of us are Salieri’s, and that too is OK…

I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint. ~Salieri

 

Paul

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Below is an article I read and I thought it would be very helpful to others, enjoy…

Paul

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7 Ways To Keep Going

By Therese J. Borchard
April 7, 2009

A woman who lives with chronic pain said to my mom the other day, “You can’t sit around and wait for the storm to be over. You’ve got to learn how to dance in the rain.”

That’s a perfect description of living with depression, or any chronic illness. But what do you do on the days you don’t think you can take the pain anymore? When you want so badly to be done with your life … or at least be done with the suffering? What do you do when anxiety and depression have spun a web around you so thick that you’re convinced you’ll be trapped forever in those feelings?

I’ve compiled a few tools for moving past that harrowing darkness, suggestions on how to emerge from a place of panic, and techniques on how to dance in the rain.

1. Escape from the pain.

Lately, when my thoughts turn dark, I’ve been telling myself that I don’t want another life … I want a reprieve from the pain. I’m usually at a loss on how to get there. I’m tired, frustrated, desperate, so my thoughts follow the path that has already been blazed throughout the years … and I fantasize about intoxication or some other destructive behavior that doesn’t require a lot of imagination.

How else can I escape … in a positive way? Instead of romanticizing about death or inebriation from booze, I can research new kayaking routes, bike paths, hiking trails, and camping sites. I can invest the time I lose in unproductive and dangerous thoughts into planning creative outings for myself and for the family that will give me/us the reprieve that I’m craving. I can be proactive about finding sitters for the kids so that my thoughts won’t revert back to “stinking thinking.”

2. Track your mood.

An essential piece of my recovery is keeping a mood journal. This helps me to identify certain patterns that emerge. As I said in my “Me on the Bad Days” post, depression can flare up seemingly out of the blue, like a thunderstorm. But often there are telltale signs that can clue me in as to why I’m feeling so fragile. You can catch these if you’ve been recording your mood over time.

3. Talk about it.

I can’t get a therapy appointment round the clock, so I had better invest in some friends that won’t tire of me telling them that my thoughts are turning to mush again.

Over the weekend I called two friends and my mom. “I’m going there again,” I explained. They know what THERE means … without my having to explain or justify. I don’t fully understand how gabbing heals, the scientific explanation of why venting does so much good, but I can surely attest to it, and confirm the connection between talking about something and feeling better. It’s like you’re a scared little kid in a lightning storm, and a neighbor, seeing that you’re locked out of your house, invites you inside and makes a cup of hot chocolate for you. Well, maybe it’s not that good, but it’s close, which is why our phone bill is way up this month.

4. Repeat: “I WILL Get Better”!

As I said in my video, “I WILL Get Better,” I think about my Aunt Gigi every time I wind up in the depression tunnel, and remember her repeating to me over the phone a few years back: “You will get better. Repeat that. You WILL get better.” Peter J. Steincrohn, M.D., author of “How to Stop Killing Yourself” wrote: “Faith is a powerful antidote against illness. Keep repeating – and believing: I WILL get well. If you believe, you help your doctor and yourself.” And this paragraph from William Styron’s “Darkness Visible” always reassures me:

If depression had no termination, then suicide would, indeed, be the only remedy. But one need not sound the false or inspirational note to stress the truth that depression is not the soul’s annihilation; men and women who have recovered from the disease–and they are countless–bear witness to what is probably its only saving grace: it is conquerable.

5. Take baby steps … a day at a time.

On mornings that I wake up with that nauseating knot of anxiety in my stomach, everything seems overwhelming. Getting myself to the bathroom so that I can brush my teeth feels seems like a triathlon in August. So I don’t attempt the triathlon. I only have to worry about getting my left foot down on the ground. And then my right one. And then I have to stand.

I’ll look at my to-do list and cross off two-thirds of it. “What on this list do I absolutely HAVE to do?” I say so myself. Everything else can wait. And then I start with the first thing, and do the first mini-movement that I need to do in order to accomplish that. If it’s getting Katherine dressed, that means 1. Finding Katherine. (That’s harder than it sounds.) 2. Picking out an outfit. (Ditto.) 3. Helping her out of her nightgown and into her clothes. (That’s where my nervous system almost shuts down.) And so on. Each item on the list can be broken down into a dozen mini-steps.

6. Distract yourself.

Some days I’m just not worth much. All I can do is distract myself … to keep myself from thinking about how awful I feel. Just like Fr. Joe carved figurines out of soap when he was depressed, and Priscilla made jewelry to keep her mind off of her anxiety, I will try to do anything to keep my brain occupied and away from my hurt, sort of like I did when I was in labor: baking chocolate-chip cookies, looking through old pictures, listening to Beethoven and Mozart, watching a comedy, swimming, running, biking, or hiking through the woods. (I didn’t do all of that in labor, though.)

7. Get out your self-esteem file.

For the past few days I’ve been carrying around letters from my self-esteem file in my pocket like a baby blanket. Some people have told me that my self-esteem must be shallow if I have to rely on praise from other people. Maybe it is. But I have to start somewhere, and anyone who has sat in that panic place where you want to end it all, knows that it’s virtually impossible at that time to come up with a list of your own strengths. So you have to believe what other people say.

Return to EverydayHealth.com

Therese J. Borchard writes the daily Beliefnet.com blog Beyond Blue (voted by Psych Central as one of the Top 10 Depression Blogs) and moderates Group Beyond Blue, the Beliefnet Community online support group for depression. Her memoir “Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes” will be released in January of 2010. Subscribe to Beyond Blue here or visit her at www.ThereseBorchard.com.

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I am currently, along with my partner, working on our 7th grade retreat. We plan on spending the day getting to know ourselves and God better. It’s a long day, but well worth the effort.

Retreats offer us the opportunity to explore ourselves, and whatever topic is the basis of the retreat. We can spend a day or week and in some cases months discovering and exploring the inner thoughts and workings of ourselves. When I was in India there was a huge retreat center just down the block from my hotel, and I the opportunity to meat several of the retreat goers, they were from all around the world, and they would came for a week or 2 or several month at a time. It was interesting to talk with them to hear their stories, and in a way it was inspiring to know that people are willing to invest in themselves.

The point of this blog is retreats, be they spiritual or not, we all need time to stop and rest, time to look deeper in to ourselves and time to reflect. For a retreat to be successful it does not have to be long, time does not determine the value or effectiveness of the experience. What determines the effectiveness is your willingness to open up and to do the hard work of looking deep within.

Plan a retreat for yourself, look for opportunities to go deep within you, be it a scheduled time or just found moments. Look in your local church paper or on line and sign up for a day retreat or a weekend retreat. If you can’t afford that, plan a home retreat, schedule a time and day when everyone is out of the house, rent a motivational talk like Dr. Wayne Dyer’s “Inspiration” or any other you are interested in. Turn off the phone, light a few candles and let yourself drift away in to the moment. Journal about the experience and allow the mind to drift as you do.

Retreats do not have to be lead by someone, lead your own, or invite a good friend to join you or a prayer group. Use the quiet to hear the small voice within and allow it to sing its song, hear the music and allow it to flow within you and allow it to flow out of you, letting the world hear your inner song.

Retreats refresh you and energize you, start to plan yours today.

Paul

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As a Catholic I am getting ready to start Lent, a time of reflection and fasting. Lent offers us chance to look back over our life and reflect on what we have done and what we have become. Lent also offers us the opportunity to look forward to reflect on what we want to do and become. Lent is a time of reflection, a time to make new, to be reborn. Lent leads up to Easter, the resurrection of Jesus, It is a time for Catholics to prepare for a new life. As I think about lent, I thought that in truth all of us, Catholic or not, Christian or not, we all can us a little lent in our life. So I thought I would use this blog space to talk about the power of reflection, both back and forward.

Reflection, like seeing an image in a mirror, we have the opportunity to view ourselves as we are, and how we want to be. A little like playing dress up in front of the mirror, like you did when you were a kid, we all did. Put on mom or dads close, look in the mirror and pretend to be the parent, the one in charge. Well reflection can be sort of like that, it allows us to try on new selves, and it allows us to look at past selves.

As I stated above, the Catholic Church sets aside 40 days every year for us to do just that, to reflect. What wisdom the Church had in doing so. And what wisdom we all have gained from it. Weather we do this personal secular lent now or when the Church does it matters little, what matters is that we do it. We set the time aside and we reflect, we take stock in who we where, who we are and who we want to be. We try on new selves, see how they fit, mix and match old with new and reflect on what we see.

This process is used everywhere, from the Church to major corporations to small family run operations. Families do it as well as individuals. This is not a new concept, but one that I feel needs to be restated every now and then. If you are a reader of my blogs you will know that I often return to the idea of reflection. I often call it by different names, but the idea is the same. Take time to look at yourself, take time to learn from your past to create your future. If you are a Christian, use the time of Lent to reflect not only on God, but also on yourself, your relationship with others and God. If you are a non-Christian, set aside some time to reflect, follow the Christian calendar and start on February 25 and continue until Easter Sunday, or set your own dates. But do it, allow yourself the opportunity to reflect, to look back and forward.

Journal about it, keep a record, start a blog, track you progress. It is important that we know we are moving, that our efforts are not stagnate. Lent, a time to prepare for a rebirth, yours and Christ, and a time to reflect on what was and what will be.

Paul

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How to live a positive life:

The first place to begin is with journaling. Buy a 99 cent notebook and start journaling about what was great the day before. Write one or two wonderful things from yesterday – even if it is that you walked your dog! It must be something that made you feel good and the bigger your sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, the better. Do this daily starting today

The idea behind this is to make you aware of the positive aspects of the previous day, and to start your day off on a positive note. It is important that you do this in the morning, before you start your day. positive Wake up 5 minutes earlier, sit in a quiet place, have a nice cup of coffee or tea and write down all the positive things that has happened to you the day before.

You can make list, or just free form write, it can be in a poem or story, whatever way it works best for you. The key to the whole exercise is to write down positive events from the previous day.

We all too often look to the negative in life, and in the current economic conditions, seeing positive is a hard thing to do. But if we truly look, we can find positive in almost every situation.

As an example, my sister was been out of work for the past 5 months, in the beginning she was able to see the positive in this, she is a single mother, and her daughter just had hip surgery and she needed to be home to take care of her, if she was still employed she would have to have taken unpaid leave of absence.  But being out of work, she got unemployment benefits. As time went on, the idea of no work started to wear on her, but she tried to keep an upbeat outlook, knowing something will happen, and knowing that I, her brother would help out anyway I could. But the stress finally took its toll, and her outlook really started to do down. I kept reminding her, much to her displeasure, that it will all be ok; to look at the positive side of what was happening.  She asked what positive is there, and so I would list a few that I saw:

1.       You always wanted to be a stay at home mom

2.       You can look in to going back to school to learn a skill you want to do

3.       You do not have to worried about or stress about whether you will have a job tomorrow,

4.       You’re out of an industry that is changing and down sizing.

The list can go on, but you get the idea, look for the positive, and find it somewhere. Sure my sister also gave me a list of negatives, and yes they are valid, but my response to her was always the same, what good does it do to dwell on the negative. Yes, you have to face them, but would it not be easier to face them with a positive outlook?

Our outlook on life plays a large part in how we live our life, so if we start to teach ourselves to look for the positive, then we will start to see it in all kinds of places. Mother Theresa could not have done what she did, if she was not able to see the positive in her daily work. She saw Christ in all she met, that is a very positive outlook.

A positive outlook is considered one of the most important aspects of healing. The health care industry has spent millions of dollars on research to study the effects of a positive outlook, and has found that a positive outlook is one of the most important aspects of a speedy recovery. Employers have found the same results for keeping employees and hiring new ones. Not only is the outlook of the individual important, but also the corporate outlook.

We also see this playing a role in our spiritual life, we all too often look at the negative aspect of our spiritual journey, and downplay the positive. If we truly look at our life situation, I think we will see that the positive outweighs the negative; the key is to look for it, and not to allow the negative to control out outlook.

So pick up that journal today, and tomorrow morning, first thing, write down at least 3 positive things from the day before, and allow the positive energy to guide your day.

Paul

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I have talked about journaling as part of your process to change, and I am sure not everyone does so, this blog is about that very topic, the following is taken from the STATIC Youth book “Conversations with God” and is protected by all copy write laws.

 

 

 

 How do I journal, which is probably the question you are asking yourself, and it’s a good question to ask. But the answer may surprise you a bit, Any Way You Want! Journaling is a Private activity, it does not involve any other person, and it requires no grading or proofreading. It is time spent alone, in your mind, heart and soul. How you choose to spend that time is up to you, and how much time and effort you put in to it is also up to you. But the time and effort put in to it, will determine what you get out of it. Like always, your reward is based on your effort, put nothing in to it, get nothing out of it. But your all in to it and you will get everything out of it.

 

So, if you have never had journal before, where do you start? Journaling is much like keeping a written report or conversation. It is not a diary or planner with times and dates of events, although it can contain this information. As you begin this journey, you will need a journal. You can make one or purchase one, either way, it should reflect you – the color, style or how you decorate it. Once you have a journal, it is a good idea to schedule a specific time to journal, before bed, first thing in the morning, after dinner, what ever time works best for you. Setting up a specific time will help you get in to the habit of journaling. Like anything else, the more you practice at it, the better you will be. The same holds true for journaling. So, make a commitment to find time every day to write something, even if it’s only a line or two, in your journal.

 

“What do I write” is the next question you likely have. Well, what ever comes to mind is the best answer. Journaling is not about providing correct or set answers to questions.  It is a process of taking whatever thoughts come to you and writing them down, regardless.  No judgment or concern for grammar.  It is about freedom and privacy. You may wish to have a series of specific questions to respond to each day, to help you begin the process. Or you can just start with a blank page each day. It’s up to you.


Here are some ideas of questions you may wish to ask yourself each day:

 

  1. Who made me mad today
  2. Who did I make mad today
  3. Did I meditate on God’s word
  4. Did I see God in everyone
  5. Did is treat people with respect today
  6. Did I see God working in the world today

 

The questions are designed to help you take inventory of your day; to help you cross examine yourself and to open you up to hear God in your journal writing.

 

 

The process of journaling, when used correctly, can help you grow in your personal and spiritual life. You have the opportunity, when journaling, to write down any and all feelings, thoughts and ideas, and no one has the right to read it. It is a very powerful tool at your disposal. In it you can create worlds of great wonders, and your dreams and aspirations come alive. The possibilities are endless, and the rewards are only limited by your investment in to it. So open your heart, mind and soul to the possibility of endless possibilities. Open yourself to a conversation with God. Through the pages of your journal, you can have an intimate one on one conversation with God. And if you let Him, God will write back, in the pages of your journal and on your heart.

(c) 2006-2008 STATIC Youth, LLC

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