E.

Enjoying the Ease, Painting a Memory at Port Jefferson, Long Island

Ah, ease.

I’ve been feeling a bit more appreciative and less anxious these past couple of days – and it feels amazing.  A lot of hard work has been (and is still) put in and the benefits have just been that much more rewarding.

Part of me staying at ease has been me trying to be around nature as much as I can (walking in parks, sitting outside in our little garden, etc.); it has a mysterious way of snapping me out of societal ‘pressures’ and bringing me back to the roots of ‘life’, making me really appreciate the air we breathe and the natural, non-obtrusive beauty this world beholds.  Living and working in NYC (or any other big city at that) makes ‘being one with nature’ a little more challenging.  Sadly, sometimes the next best thing to an escape that I can get to around here is standing next to a tree on the busy streets- and that’s if I can find one!  It becomes even more of a challenge considering we only get summer weather that all but a few weeks out here!

So in honor of inching a little closer to ‘nature’ and appreciating it with a much calmer mind, my husband and I set off for the day to Port Jefferson, Long Island.  It was actually half a day, but I was determined to use all of my senses and really live in the moment.

Now, I think the last time I was at Port Jefferson was about two or three years ago.  I can’t really even recall what I did out there because I took it for granted.

But that wasn’t going to happen this time.  I made sure to make my visit a memorable one and not let it be another blur, especially since I feel like I went out there with a ‘new pair of eyes’ and a, truly, ‘open mind’. Read more

A.

Appreciating Stillness, Becoming Less Anxious

It really is enlightening.Last week I woke up and grabbed breakfast with my husband from our local spot. Unlike any time before, I suggested that we take it to-go and told him that we should just sit in the garden in front of our apartment complex for a bit.  And it was there, as I started to eat my breakfast sandwich and sit in minutes of comfortable, unspoken words, that I turned to him and started to cry.I was happy.

As I watched the water fountains splash water into the air, I couldn’t help but be happy. I turned to my husband and told him:

“It’s weird; I deeply appreciate the life around me. I am crying because I can feel the wind on my face, I can hear the splashes of water crash back down into the fountain and I notice the leaves dancing with the direction of the wind on the trees.  I think the reason why I appreciate this so much is because I can finally appreciate stillness.  I am just so happy; this is a taste of what I have been working so hard for and it’s slowly arriving.  I love it, I feel so blessed.”

In a world where there are a lot of fast-paced decisions, dinners, and footsteps, it becomes very hard to appreciate the little things sometimes.  I told him that if this was me a year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to just sit there and enjoy my surroundings.  I would have just been thinking about the 101 things I needed to do and 101 things I should have done; I wouldn’t have been appreciating the moment, the present.

As I ate my sandwich I continued to cry because I could taste every bite of my it, I could enjoy the sun peeking through the clouds and warming my cheeks. And all of this was amazingly nice.

It’s such a different feeling and I cry because I appreciate it. I didn’t need my phone to distract me at that moment.  I actually didn’t want my phone at all.  I secretly wished we were back in the early 1900s, in the countryside, with no technology. Just nature.

Read more

R.

Rough Week, Staying Brave

*deep breath in*

This past week has been a major whirlwind, but a great teacher when it came down to learning more about myself.

Within the past couple of days, I have had many situations that really tested my bravery.  Interestingly enough, I managed to step up to the challenges.  To be blunt about one of my challenges, I had to have a serious conversation with someone about the way they were making me feel – something I wasn’t looking forward to.  When the first opportunity came to have the conversation, I actually surprised myself by not running away.  Meaning, I didn’t put it off for another hour, day, week, or month.  I didn’t give any excuses.  The situation presented itself when it did, and while I could have given an excuse to buy more time, I didn’t.  I knew that I had to ‘step up to the plate’.

I went into the conversation holding my head up high and just voiced my honest concerns.  Why must we hold things back from others and continue to carry the ‘pain’?  If you really want something to change, it’s important to be upfront about it, but always in a calm and non-accusatory fashion.  And that’s what I did.  In the end, I felt better that things were out in the open; we came to a mutual agreement and was happy we did.  But, if another conversation decides to come up, then I will welcome it with open arms, because it’s another chance to be even more confident and clear with how you want to live your life. Read more

F.

Fear of Popping a Balloon: Exposed

I know, I know.  It seems silly to be afraid of a balloon popping; but, truth be told, it was one of my greatest fears.  I know it may be trivial to some, but sometimes small things like these are earth shattering to others.

One of the reasons why I want to talk about it today is because I actually met someone this week that has the same fear I once had!  (I thought I was the only one!)

Living with Fear and Getting Over It
I could never be around balloons because they always filled me with anxiety.

I think my fear stemmed from when I was young and was forced to play that terrible game of ‘balloon pop’.  Many of the birthday parties I went to had the game where money would be stuffed inside the balloon and the only way to get it was to pop it.  While it seemed innocent, I was actually traumatized by cousins who would take the balloon, put a fork to it, and pop it in my face.  Left… POP.  Right… POP.  Under you… POP. “Hey Loren!… POP!”  Popping was going on everywhere!  And after many birthdays, I suddenly found myself with a fear. Read more

O.

One Year Since Anxiety Struck & What I Have Learned

I can’t believe it has been one year!

I must say, when I think of ‘365 days’ it seems quite overwhelming; but, the beauty is that I didn’t think like that while getting to this point, I honestly took it one day at a time.  And here I find myself, one year later, better.

The past year has definitely been a work in progress.  And while I am not 100% yet, I feel so much better than I did back when it first happened.  There were struggles, yes, but they were all tests of how far I have come and grown.  The beauty of it all was that I learned to control my anxiety so that if I felt an attack come on, I could just calm myself and nip it in the bud.

One of my hardest times dealing with anxiety during the past year, I must admit, was last week.

Being Your Own Worst Enemy
To be honest, I have been living anxiety-free for a couple of weeks, actually, and it wasn’t until last week, when I realized that my ‘one year’ was coming up, that I started to panic.  I kept thinking believing that the attack was going to anniversary itself.  It was as if the world was going to end and I, only I, knew it.  It just built this giant fear inside of me and I knew I was being overtaken by it.

While on my way home last Thursday, I almost lost it on the train again.  My mentality and way of thinking was “This is too good to be true, I have been able to fight the anxiety for almost a year and it is just going to come back and slap me in the face, I know it.”  So, naturally, thinking like this had me a bit paranoid for the whole week because I was just waiting for it to happen.  It was as if I wanted it to be a one-year anniversary.  But that was the thing: why was I waiting for it again?  Why was I putting myself in this prison that it will happen again?  Because if we think like that then, chances are, you will find yourself making it happen… again. Read more