One Page at a Time, Uncategorized

One Page at a Time: Spiritual Well-Being

Let’s look at well-being full in the face.

If physical well-being is the pendulum keeping time, emotional and mental well-beings are the hands doing the work. They encompass the face–the spiritual well-being.

Spiritual well-being is the outer foundation over the functioning innards. Sometimes its features are bold and obvious. Sometimes it is blank and almost nondescript. Sometimes it focuses on color. Sometimes it reveals a window, showing the inner workings. Either way, the face reveals whether time is being well-kept, whether the work is being done too fast or too slow.

The problem with spiritual well-being is that it doesn’t run the way our world does. We expect everything to be on demand, energized, and technologically savvy. Yet, spiritual well-being begins with consistent turning, a steady swinging, a setting of the hands.

The key is in the daily wind.

My grandparents had an old farm clock. It is the one I used as a model in my book, The Forget-Me-Nots. My grandfather wound that clock every day. This habit was as consistent as their daily prayer time together in the morning and in the evening after their meals. It was as constant as their personal devotional times when they set their own hands to His work. This was their daily function every day–as long as physically, emotionally, and mentally possible–while they lived.

And so it is with me. My daily spiritual wind-up might appear a bit different from theirs, but the purpose is the same. If I don’t remain consistent in this routine, I get run down, can’t keep up, and eventually stop in the other areas of well-being in my life.

We often think the key to well-being is our physical health. We spend thousands even millions of dollars on counseling and education. Yet, those things mean nothing if our spiritual faces fail to reflect our divine purpose.

Pick up the key. Add a daily wind. Maintain that consistent turning, that steady swing, the setting of the hands one manual-page at a time.

 

One Page at a Time, Uncategorized

One Page at a Time: Emotional and Mental Well-Being

Let’s think about the heart of the matter.

Emotional and mental well-being go together. Yet, they often go their separate ways. It is their nature. Their different approaches to the world are what often causes the most conflict.

Even as the heart beats a steady rhythm, it gets out of sync from time to time. The mind may seek a logical sequence, yet tangents onto an unhealthy path. The heart and the head need one another to stay in balance or well-being plummets into ruminating palpitations.

Consider how these two butt heads in the center of the Myers-Briggs temperament types. Feeling and Thinking often dictate the box into which a person falls. Intuitive personalities know this because their big-picture response to any situation is influenced by whether they are Feelers or Thinkers. Sensing personalities would like to believe their facts-only decisions are driven by Judging or Perceiving. But, Feeling or Thinking tips the scales of the Judging and opens or closes the eyes of the Perceiving.

Not feeling the essence of my logic?

That’s okay. Sometimes this Introverted Intuitive gets a little confused herself. Introverted Intuition shows itself in INFJs and INTJs. They have similar characteristics, but it is the Feeling or Thinking that determines the decision-making Judgement. Based on personality-type testing, a person with a close Feeling or Thinking percentage can flip between being an INFJ to being an INTJ.

That would be me.

Which is why I need to put my emotional and mental well-being goals in line with each other or that physical pendulum I described in my last post gets extremely fast or slow. I can become too focused and wear myself out. Or I can become apathetic and bore myself.

Put another way: if I am in the proper frame of mind and on an even keel, everything is right as rain. But, if my mind drifts to pondering those looming clouds on the horizon and my heart worries about what they might bring, I have to brace myself for the pending storm.

So, as I look at my emotional and mental goals for well-being, I have to balance each with the other.

Redefining Relationships

Because Feeling is my predominant Judging dictator, I know I require a logical approach to my relationships. When I don’t, I become too vulnerable and sometimes reveal my true self to the wrong people. I discovered I had done that about two-and-a-half years ago with horrific consequences to my emotional state and my physical pendulum. (Thankfully, my spiritual well-being kicked me back on track, but that is for the next post.)

With the help of counseling and my own personal study, I determined to redefine my relationships. I began to ask myself these questions in specific circumstances:

What do I hope to gain?

What do I plan to give?

What do I want to receive?

More importantly, I selected key individuals to be in my circle of trust. These people were chosen for their character as well as their current roles in my life. The difficult part was having to exclude certain people who had not proven themselves trustworthy.

A few words about that…

Designating those who will be in a circle of trust is a vulnerable endeavor in itself. It is important to decide what will be shared with each of those people as well. Some of them will know most of what is happening. But, in reality, only one or two will have the privilege of knowing everything.

In truth, within any circle of trust, there is a risk of betrayal.

Count on it. Plan for it. Therefore, maybe, prevent it.

For example, I mentioned my recent biopsy. The majority of the people I interact with on a daily basis hadn’t a clue. I only told the people in my circle of trust. I knew that if some people heard the word biopsy, they would immediately leap to the worse case scenario and be planning my funeral. As it happens, the biopsy showed an anomaly that isn’t cancerous or precancerous. But, I need to take precautions to prevent either of those diagnoses. For most people, all they want and need to hear is nothing or that I’m as fine as I was yesterday.

I took precautions to prevent any future occurrences for another anomaly as well. I allowed one person within my circle of trust to share the information with one group outside the circle. Those particular relationships have been so redefined that I doubt they will have re-entry into the circle. So, why allow them to know?

To prevent inadvertent betrayal from the person within the circle. To prevent potential occurrences of betrayal toward the redefined relationships.

In other words, I didn’t want this group to hear about my biopsy from anyone else except someone from within their circle of trust.

How does this all apply to goal-setting?

I have learned–the hard way–that to keep my physical pendulum swaying at a steady rate I need to keep asking myself those key questions in every circumstance and retain my redefined relationships within a circle of trust. Without those two logical parameters in place, my pendulum will swing too wide or too narrow.

Redirecting Rumination

Another hard lesson has been to redirect rumination. I can get so concerned about the clouds on the horizon that I forget to row the boat to shore. So, my goal is to redirect rumination with doing rather than thinking.

I’m a proponent of multi-taking, so here are some ways I plan to direct my redirection and how these mental activities flow into the other areas of well-being.

Morning Activities:

  • Devotions (spiritual, emotional)
  • Write a poem or a chapter or both (spiritual, emotional)
  • Blog (spiritual, emotional)
  • Map Out the Day (emotional)

Social Activities:

  • Book Clubs (emotional)
  • Coffee Times (emotional)
  • Music (emotional, physical, spiritual)
  • Publication Marketing (emotional)

Exercise Activities:

  • Audiobooks (physical, emotional)
  • Sermons (spiritual, physical, emotional)
  • Music (physical, emotional,spiritual)

Evening Activities:

  • Favorite TV Show (emotional)
  • Read (emotional)
  • Journal (emotional)

Notice how emotional well-being is met in each area. That is because much of what I do mentally balances me emotionally. Some are even a triple or quadruple threat if they fall under the exercise category. These are also just examples. I have more areas of interest. But, these are some I plan to develop over the course of the coming year.

Some of these may not make complete sense in the emotional category, but they do for me. When I am working on publication marketing, I am socially connecting my writing with the outside world. Any writer will admit that this activity takes emotional fortitude as well as mental know-how!

Watching a favorite TV show might not seem mentally or emotionally stimulating under statistical analysis, except that I tend to watch TV with my husband. That’s our time.

Why is “mapping the day” emotional? Because I have to set the day in a proper trajectory. I thought about moving this activity to the end of the day, but that could be a problem. I would have to review the day I just finished. That might not be the best idea. Here is where a time of writing in a journal is added instead.

It is important to remember that this list of mental activities is fluid. Activities come and go. They become more or less specific. The point is not to over-do or under-do. Simply do.

Which is what I better do. Until next time… .

 

On Thankfulness, One Page at a Time

One Page at a Time: Physical Well-Being

Let’s just get this goal out of the way.

It’s the one most people resolve to achieve in a new way at the start of every new year. Which is probably why I’ve decided to try something new. I’m going to take care of it now. Before New Year’s Day. On Thanksgiving Eve.

I’m certain I will achieve it, too. Which is the whole point of goal-setting.

I am determined–when it comes to my physical well-being–not to over-achieve or under-achieve. I’m simply going to achieve.

One step forward and only one step back.

I will keep time like a pendulum. Because as Jack Nicholson once asked in the movie by the same title, “What if this is as good as it gets?”

I think maybe it is.

After all, I am in my forty-fifth year of life. Which is the halfway point more or less. I doubt my physical stamina will get much better at this point. I have a few genetic strikes against me. But, at the moment, I have one key advantage.

After a recent biopsy, I was informed I do not have cancer or even pre-cancer. But, I do have an anomaly that could turn into pre-cancer if I didn’t add a preventative medication and maybe surgery if that doesn’t work.

In my own words, I may have an anomaly, but I am pre-pre-cancerous.

By my non-medical estimation, that is as good as it gets.

Because right at this moment, I can still remember the names and faces of the people I love. I can–and mostly want to–get out of bed without assistance every morning. I can drive myself to wherever I want to go. I may have myopic vision, but I don’t need readers yet. I can play half-court basketball with my sons and shoot with both hands. I can walk both my dogs at the same time. I can do a 30-minute Tony Horton workout, which means a 10-minute Tony Horton workout should be a piece of cake. I can still eat the best chocolate torta and my favorite French silk pie. I can have my dark-chocolate mocha.

But, I can order a small instead of a medium.

I can do that 10-minute Tony Horton workout and know that is better than doing a zero-minute Tony Horton workout.

I can eat an apple with my own teeth.

I can walk one dog at a time around my block and get a sustained thirty minutes rather than a grueling fifteen. That way I can enjoy him for who he is and her for who she is. I can appreciate their individual anomalies.

I might hear the same non-migration bird twice.

I might see a tree shake off all its leaves in anticipation of a pure white snow-covering and a deep sleep until Spring’s renewal.

I might walk home on my own two feet and write down what my five senses are still able to show me.

I might stop the pendulum for a few seconds and preserve a moment of time.

One step forward and only one step back.

Not over-achieving or under-achieving. Simply achieving.

Being grateful for the as-good-as-it-gets.

Being thankful for the eve.

One Page at a Time, Uncategorized

One Page at a Time: Creative Well-Being

On my birthday, I re-evaluated my goals for 2016. Some stayed the same. Some I revamped. Some I condensed. Some I expanded. Yet, the goal in goal-setting is to accomplish as much as possible in a 24-hour period to maintain well-being.

For a writer, writing is at the forefront of creating well-being. Whatever I am hoping to accomplish during the day, some amount of writing and reading must take place. Yet, how do I find the time while home educating two high schoolers, doing the laundry, driving the boys to activities, and making sure the cupboard isn’t bare?

Creative well-being.

The Best of Times and the Worst of Times

Morning is usually when I get most of these critical endeavors completed. In general, they are the quiet hours. My husband and boys are still sleeping. It’s too early to start chores or make contact with the outside world.

I say”in general” because I don’t wake up to an alarm. I wake up to the not-so-subtle whine of my Labrador Retriever puppy. At some point, he will grow out of this habit–we can only hope–but for now his 4:30 am wake-up call gives me at least three hours of personal time.

My worst time of day is between 3:00 and 5:00 in the afternoon. That’s when I don’t bother doing anything mental. I rest or shuttle the kids. I might scan social media. I definitely drink a cup of coffee.

I also don’t write after 9:00 pm. Nothing coherent comes to mind at that point. This is also the time I have set aside to spend with my husband. He is the night owl, and this lark does her best to stay awake during our favorite TV shows.

Booking Appointments

So what happens when the puppy does grow out of his early morning routine? Well, then it is up to me to keep this time as I would an appointment. I had to do the same thing when my boys outgrew nap time. Keeping time is a constant juggle, but it is well worth the effort.

There are certain activities I have wired into my day at a certain time of the day. Devotions is first. I need spiritual inspiration before I can expect writing inspiration. Then, I formulate at least one post for one of my blogs (I try to maintain three). I scroll through Facebook Pages looking for quotations or inspiration to share on my Author Page or on Following Doc’s Shadow. Once these are done, I work on current my writing projects.

I have loosely set appointments throughout the week depending on the day as well. Wednesday is a writing project day when I have lots of waiting time at the boys’ activities. Every other Thursday I have a hired cleaning crew, which frees up the time I would normally spend on vacuuming. Friday we have less school work and is another time when I can focus on creative well-being. On the other days, I sneak away in the afternoon to a local coffee shop for an hour or two.

I often find my reading family and friends at the coffee shops. I am in two monthly book clubs at the moment. I get to discuss great books with great people. Reading stimulates my writing. Coffee stimulates good conversation. It’s a win-win.

Speaking of coffee, I have a few personal rewards I treat myself to on a regular basis. Coffee is one of them. Now I know too much of a good thing is not a good thing. So, rewards must always be done in moderation. I do find that if I head to the coffee shop I am more motivated to write (mental), to socialize (emotional), to get moving (physical), and to reflect (spiritual).

But, that makes me think of another set of goals, which is better discussed in a future post. Until then…

 

One Page at a Time, Uncategorized

One Page at a Time: Carving the Marble

“I saw an angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

Michelangelo

 

My novel’s word count and page mass prove its manuscript weight, but now it is time to raise the hammer to strike the chisel. Writer’s block is not only for the rough draft; it is for the revision process, too. I circle, study, contemplate, muse as much or more than I did when I drafted the original. At least if I cut too much, I can paste or insert. Unlike Michelangelo. But, like him, I steady my gaze, carve the marble, and listen for the sound of wings.