Kegels and Kindness – a plan for 2016

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When life gives you lemons it is, then, perfectly acceptable to make lemonade. However, when life kicks you in the teeth, lemonade just isn’t the answer. You find yourself bleeding and missing teeth, the last thing you’re going to feel like doing is make some bloody lemonade.

The problem with these sayings like, ‘Life is what you make of it’ and the ever-detestable (gag, barf) ‘That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’, is that they simply aren’t true.

2015 is gone now.  For me, it actually wasn’t a horrendous year. There were some really good bits.  There was a whole lot of hell, too.  But, interspersed in there, there was some truly decent stuff. I made more music and had my music appreciated by more people. I met some cool people and I became closer with a friend who has proven to be a real lifeline in hard times – a fellow battler of mental illness himself, we share a bond over the squishiness of brain and body. I wish he lived closer, but I have long accepted the fact that the best of my friends will always seem to dwell on the other side of the planet from me.

And, here is 2016.  I don’t do resolutions.  They’re stupid. I have some plans, yeah.  But, I have learned to be resolved to nothing. Stuff/life/shit changes too much to be resolved. So, here are the plans:

There are only TWO exercises worth doing: vocal exercises and Kegels (aka pelvic floor exercise). You can waste your time and money in the gym if you want to and stay in competition with society and media’s insane ideals, or you can come to the side of good sense and do what you can instead of what is ridiculous. You can skip the vocal exercises if you aren’t a singer, but I’d still suggest doing them.  They will do you more (longterm) good than any crunch or press up ever would. Why? Just humour me and try it. You’ll see. And, everyone should do Kegels. A strong pelvic floor will guard against incontinence and, as a (BIG) side benefit, increase sexual pleasure.  Plan number one is to do some vocal exercises and Kegels everyday.

Practise mindfulness. This is a form of meditation for everyone that simply helps one appreciate the present more. I’ve practiced mindfulness, off and on, for a couple of years now.  Like most things, it’s difficult to stay consistent; thus the reason resolutions are so pointless. So, I’m setting a reachable goal of just 5-10 minutes a day. That’s plan numero two.

The world is full of hate and sorrow; be kind. Try offering kindness instead of throwing out more hate. Look, I don’t like people very much either.  Humans, as we have concluded, are stupid. But, kindness goes a long way to counteract the great idiocy out there. Why add hate to all the stupidity when there’s another choice? So, that’s number three: looking for ways to show more kindness. I have a strong suspicion that the making of music and the practice of kindness is the cure for many, many of the world’s ills.

Lemonade is fine, if all you’ve got is lemons. But, squirting your lemonade on me isn’t kindness; that shit stings when you’re the walking wounded. Let’s try being real in 2016. Let’s be kind. Let’s be mindful. Let’s do Kegels (then we won’t pee on each other…’cuz if you’re into that, you’re just wrong).

Happy New Year.

 

(And, yes, I’ve done my Kegels today – along with the other stuff, too – have you?)

 

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The Treasure of Pleasure

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Poor health can make one always look on the darkest side, and cultivating an awareness of pleasure can end up lost in a world of pain and suffering. So, in an effort to cultivate that awareness, as part of a mindfulness practice, here is a list – in no particular order – of 10 pleasurable things I have experienced today:

1. String resonance
2. The smell of mint and tea tree shower gel
3. A friend I can talk to about anything
4. Orgasm
5. The taste of coffee that felt like liquid velvet in my mouth
6. The scent of my son’s hair
7. Tender and passionate kisses
8. ‘Krave’ cereal
9. Watching ‘Interstellar’
10. Discovering the game ‘Blendoku’

It isn’t about some positive thinking nonsense of ‘accentuating the positive’ but, rather, noticing the pleasurable, taking delight in the delightful. Being mindful of anything at all that is nice, or just isn’t crappy. It’s easy to notice the shit, because it’s loud and obnoxious. The nice stuff can be there, but soft and subtle. Therefore, it takes looking for it and making over it. And, that’s what I’ve done here.

This Is What It’s Like

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I want things to be better, I want to get better, and when, instead, things get worse – with my health, with the way I’m feeling – it’s a severe blow. Terrible. It’s life slapping me in the face. Again. It’s pure torment.

“You can choose to be happy and enjoy life.”  What a load of bollocks. You can choose to accept and sit with the pain, as mindfulness teaches. You can choose to escape some of the pain through books, music, sex, other distractions. But, the pain is still there. The struggle is still there. And, it isn’t enjoyable.

On the days that are less intense, I let my hopes rise. But, inevitably, disappointment comes with a vengeance in these times when it’s not only bad, but worse than ever. I let myself think that maybe there could be some freedom outside of death, just to be proven, once again, there is no freedom but death.

Meditation Music

Meditation Music

What is meditation? It’s a method to cultivate awareness and stillness – to “be still and know”. I have found that it is a help in coping with mental illness as well as dealing with every day (what, I guess, would be termed “normal”) struggles. Being a musician and songwriter, meditation music has become an interest to me, and an avenue to share my gift.

Do you meditate? Do you know someone who does? Check out the new page of my website and one of the new directions my music is taking me.

It is a method to cultivate awareness. To “be still and know”. To connect to the now. – See more at: http://www.autumndawnleader.com/meditation_music#sthash.urw2tjpN.dpuf
It is a method to cultivate awareness. To “be still and know”. To connect to the now. – See more at: http://www.autumndawnleader.com/meditation_music#sthash.urw2tjpN.dpuf
It is a method to cultivate awareness. To “be still and know”. To connect to the now. – See more at: http://www.autumndawnleader.com/meditation_music#sthash.urw2tjpN.dpuf

The Face of Borderline Personality Disorder

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When you hear from a trained medical professional that, in all probability, you have a personality disorder, it’s a hard thing to take. Even if, like I, you’ve done your research and expected as much. To hear your conclusion supported would be difficult.

Thoughts of, “I knew it. I’m fucked up. This proves I am a mistake”, fill your mind, no matter how long you’ve been fighting to combat such thoughts with, “I have worth. My life has value. I have a purpose.”

Such a diagnosis would seem to support the theory that “I am broken and very little can be done about it.”

This disorder has negatively affected me my entire life. It has made me despair of life. And nothing, absolutely nothing, has helped in a significant way. Life, for me (sorry, Mother) sucks.

I’ve tried faking happiness. I’ve tried being a good, “on fire” Christian, confessing all the scriptures about who I am in Christ. And, I did it with determination. Not for just a short, uncommitted while, but for years. To no avail. Because, this thing was bigger.

That sounds like heresy to most Bible believers. Well, burn me at the stake. Fit me in your theology. You can’t.

I’ve tried meditation. This comes closer to what the Bible talks about when referring to renewing the mind, but most Christians flee from it as “Eastern Mysticism”. But, sitting in silence, reflecting on spiritual identity and the eternal (as opposed to being always caught up with the physical and temporal), is much more effective in becoming spiritually minded (as the Bible says we are to do) than the unhelpful teaching you get from so many Churches.

And, there again, I feel that if I wasn’t so messed up to begin with, this meditation and practice of mindfulness would really make life decent. I can certainly see that in the lives of other people.

But.

I have a personality disorder. I actually am a bloody victim (of life, genes, chemicals in the brain, etc.), as are all who suffer with this. And, we start many steps back from the rest who are able to use these methods to improve life and make it worth living.

Where do I go from here? I will be referred to community mental health. More and varied meds (and med combinations) will be tried. I will trudge on a little while longer to see if anything they do makes a significant difference for the better. If not, however… well, I’ll cross that bridge when it’s in front of me and the other options are exhausted.

Colours True (and a word about regeneration)

Firstly, please turn up your volume.

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For me, the original version of this song is the best. But, this picture and quote that I put up on my Facebook Page yesterday inspired this rendition of the song True Colours you are listening to now (or, you are if you turned your volume on/up as you were requested to).

This subject of knowing and being yourself, is at once so simple and so deep.

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I am presently going through what I call a regeneration (those of you who are Whovians will automatically get the reference) which began at the close of last year and is continuing on.  If you aren’t a Doctor Who fan…well, I feel very sorry for you…  um… leave now and go do whatever it is non-Whovians do.  Moving right along…  Regeneration.

When I posted this image on my FB page, I wrote this:

I’m regenerating.
It’s a process.
It isn’t just for Time Lords.
It can be painful…
but it is necessary in order to continue living.
I can’t promise you what you’re going to get.
But, the time has come…
and I AM regenerating.

This year I feel that, in and out, I am becoming myself. The outward display of that are the new tattoos and piercings. The inward display (the most important) is in my comittment to cultivate awareness and live in the present. In other words, meditation and mindfulness.

It’s about not diluting my colours for anything or anyone. It’s remembering. Discovering. It’s awareness. That with undiluted hues I may leave my mark on the world – not a watered down, dirty smudge, but a vibrant, beautiful work of true artistry.