I haven’t. Look carefully and you will see a rainbow on the border.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, (Using Affirmations as Mantras), mantras are usually short Sanskrit sentences that translate often into some form of “I bow to God.” People łiving in religious communities that use mantras are encouraged to say their mantra all day every day. Saying a mantra quiets people’s minds and in so doing they are better able to focus on God.
Months ago, while I was living in a senior residential community, I faced a situation where that knowledge was useful.
I was beginning to have more trouble walking. One day, as I walked, my foot became caught in a paper bag. I was increasingly frustrated. No matter what I did, I couldn’t free my foot from the bag. Since then I’ve been told that that kind of experience and the accompanying frustration is typical in Parkinson’s patients.
About this same time, I started saying “I can’t do it” a lot. Eventually, I realized that I was immersed in negative thinking.
Whenever I heard myself say “I can’t do it. I changed it to “I can do it.” or “I will do it.” At times, I even used the line from ”The Little Engine that Could. “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can”. And once I achieved the challenging task, I said “I did do it.”
I decided if i was going to free my mind from negativity it could be done with a positive mantra. Tochange what I was saying to myself,I would change my mantra. While I knew that it’s best to say the mantra all day every day, I also knew that in therapy group we only expected clients to say it 1000 times a day. For this purpose I would say it anytime I was facing a challenging problem where I was tempted to say “I can’t do it” and if I still had problems I would bump the mantra repetition up to 1000 times a day.
I soon noticed that I was more successful in meeting my goals when I said the positive mantras, i.e. “I think I can” pretending I was the little engine chugging along the tracks or using ”I can do ït” or “I will do it” or “I did do it” as a positive mantra.
(Note: ”I will do it“ is the mantra that is most likely to be successful while “I can do it” and “ I think I can” tend to be less effective. Whatever the mantra is that brought you to success should be changed to “I did do it”once you’re successful. It is important that you reward yourself in this way.)
Mantras are most often used by Eastern religious communities. They are frequently a short Sanskrit sentence that means “I bow to God.” People are encouraged to say their mantra all day every day. Saying a mantra quiets people’s minds and in so doing they are better able to focus on God.
During the years that I was a psychotherapist who did group therapy, my co-therapists and I had clients use affirmations as mantras. They were encouraged to say the mantra/affirmation at least 1000 times a day for 21 days. Some affirmations you could consider using in this wayl are “I am Love.””I am beautiful through and through.””I deserve respect. “”
Saying mantras/affirmations this way can also be used to change self-defeating beliefs and behaviors. An example of this type of affirmation will be found in the next post.
If you decide to try this process out, please leave a message in the comment section below to let us know how it worked for you.
Three days in a row, Jerry has shown up at the western cafe. Is this the beginning of a new era? Is Jerry growing up? The last monkey post was the first of those days. And this one contains the next two days of videos. As Satvamrita’s mother, I am a bit concerned about the last one. What is for sure is we have the opportunity to work out issues related to living learning and letting go.
Lumosity consists of brain training games. I have been playing them on and off for about 10 years. I have thoroughly enjoyed playing them and also have enjoyed competing with myself and others my age.
Each game focuses on an area such as speed, problem-solving, attention, divided attention, memory, flexibility, etc. I am fascinated to see that even though my scores are lower than they used to be, I have the same strengths that I had when I played them before. My highest scores are problem solving, attention, and memory. My weakest area was speed in the past and it continues to be lower than other areas.
I remember having a lot of 97- 99 percentile when I was younger but now when I’m compared to my peers my highest areas are in the mid 60 percentiles with the exception of problem solving which is 88.4%
I have been able to get home health services since I have been staying at this senior living facility. One of the home health therapists focuses in part on cognitive areas. She thought any deficits I had could be attributed to stress, but suggested I do some brain training activities. She was delighted when I suggested Lumosity.
One day in the last few weeks, I got my foot caught in a paper bag when I went over it with my walker. I became very stressed when I couldn’t fix the situation.
I was able to eventually figure it out and free myself from the bag. But I am having more problems with my left foot freezing, especially when I’m stressed.
I am also challenged by getting dressed. Sometimes I can’t figure it out and I need help. I don’t necessarily like that I need help, but I appreciate that help is available.
I need to acknowledge and accept the grief about what I’ve lost without losing myself in it. And there will be lots of opportunities to use my problem solving, attention and memory skills. Thank you Lumosity for showing me I continue to have those skills.
I have had a recent reminder that my judgments may be wrong. It can be very difficult for me to open envelopes now. I often end up tearing the envelope and hoping I don’t tear what’s inside of it.
One day I got an envelope that was secured a lot more than normal. There seemed to be no way I was going to be able to get inside without getting help.
I became very judgmental. Don’t you know that I can’t get this open? How would they know? I didn’t even know the person that sent it. I went further into my tantrum. What do you think this is, Fort Knox?
When I tore the envelope open, I felt like the contents were very worthy of Fort Knox level protection. It was a gorgeous 3-D get well card from somebody I didn’t even know.
This incident will serve as a reminder to me that my judgments are not always right. Or warranted. This may have been the most beautiful card I have ever seen.
I bought a new T-shirt three or four years ago. I thought the design on it was lightning. I was dismayed when I discovered that it was actually a depiction of an angry bird.
I did not want to wear a picture of an angry bird on my T-shirt but it is the most comfortable T-shirt I’ve got and it is also easy to get in and out of. Both of those qualities are very important to me right now.
As I continued to think about it, I remembered when the crows used to dive-bomb me in the Greenbelt behind my house. There was an old helmet that had been left in the Greenbelt sometime in the past. If it hadn’t been so dirty, I would have been tempted to put it on as I felt I was being attacked. I was told that it was nesting season and that I was coming too close to their nests. The crows were only protecting their young.
This year, the same thing happened at the place that I am staying now. Crows dive-bombed me two different times in May or June. It happened in different parts of the property, so I don’t know if it was the same crow or two different ones. Those incidents happened three or four weeks apart. Both times, I could feel the wings of the crow touch my head. And once again, it was nesting season so the crows were simply protecting their babies.
When I remembered those experiences, I no longer cared about wearing a T-shirt that had a picture of an angry bird on it. Then, I realized that my role as a corrective parenting group psychotherapist had been to teach adult men and women how to take care of their inner children.
As such, I was an advocate for the young. I was also a protective mom when it came to my own children. Even though they are now adults, I don’t want anyone messing with them and will definitely come to their defense, at least in my mind.
So now I am able to wear my angry bird T-shirt proudly. It is one of the symbols of my life. What are the other symbols? I’ll have to think about that.
When my friend Pat mentioned a warning that went through his mind the other day, it occurred to me that I had missed an important aspect in my “Stay Alert” post. The area that I had not thought to include is to stay alert for warnings. We often are warned about impending problems but instead of heeding the warning we may answer the inner voice with a flood of discounting responses.
I wrote a post (Heed the Warnings) about these warnings in 2014. I gave a lot of examples from my life. I suggest you read that post first and then read this one. This post I consider an addendum to my recent Stay Alert post.
I asked Pat to write down and send me a copy of the warning so I would be sure to report it accurately. What he wrote was an expanded form, written after he read my 2014 post. I am going to include most of his comments. He wrote:
Loved the “inner voice”! Reminds me of the times I have heard “that voice” – that quiet voice …
And as Karuna knows, I heard it just recently about ten days ago when I was walking through the fraternity’s renovation project and heard that voice say, “watch out for nails!” . . . Just before I stepped on a nail! OUCH! 😳😲😀😂 (and just between you and me 😂 I didn’t listen to nurse Karuna’s voice telling me to get a tetanus shot . . . But I survived and all is well!)
I saw a new doctor a few months ago. At one point during the appointment, he saw that I had something in my mouth and probably figured that it was gum or candy. He stuck out his hand and said “Spit it out.” I was shocked but I’ve been laughing about it ever since. I am 72 years old. I wondered if he had children and how old they were. At the time, I simply mumbled “It’s for dry mouth and it is gone now.“
I kept waiting for something else funny to happen. One day last week, my phone provided me with that experience. I dictate almost everything nowadays. What I dictate and what the phone writes is often drastically different. That day, I wrote a friend who is out of the country and said I hoped that she and her husband were having a good time. What the phone wrote was “I hope that it was everything that you want and that you were in the freezer having a good time as well.” I have laughed about that change ever since it happened. Where does the phone come up with these things? At least this time it was not cussing.
Two friends visited me a few days ago. I was telling them about something that I wrote about in the first post of this series. The husband’s response was funny. I wanted to use it and to quote him correctly so asked him to write it down for me. When I received it in the written form, I discovered he had added to it. This was his response:
The way I figure is if you are old enough to be passing by a window, and you haven’t seen a naked body — now is as good as time as any! Not that I would give them much to see, and quite likely could scare the aliens away from the human race if they were seeking a probe-able body. In reality, I would likely be a little embarrassed, but not enough to think twice about the matter. 😊
If you don’t know what this is referring to I suggest you go back and read or reread the first post. I still am uncomfortable with the thought somebody might walk by my window and see my butt but I always laugh when I think of these responses.
Those of you who have read my blog posts for some time might remember that one of Amma’s teachings is to “Be like a bird sitting on a dry twig, ready to fly at a moment’s notice.” She also encourages us to focus on the present moment, rather than dwell on the past or the future. I have had many opportunities to apply those lessons in my life. Each experience has helped in preparing me for what I am dealing with now, Parkinson’s Disease (PD).
During my years as a psychotherapy client and as a psychotherapist, as well as during my spiritual journey, I have had plenty of opportunities to learn that Resistance=Pain. Leap of Faith went so far as to say that Resistance=Death. Amma teaches us to accept whatever comes. Byron Katie wrote a book entitled Loving What Is. These teachings and plenty of experiences in learning the value of acceptance and the futility of resistance have also helped me to accept that PD is part of my life now and will probably be for the rest of my life.
My younger brother died at 39. Shortly before his death he wrote an essay, The Truth I Live By. The sections of that essay that impacted me the most were:
Is cancer unfair? Is it fair that we should expect billions of cells in our body to reproduce over and over again, over an entire lifetime, and always get it right?
I can’t walk outside without seeing the beauty of our created world, from the rainbow in a line of earthworm slime, to another visible ring on Jupiter.
Even though I have enough things to interest me another 10 lifetimes, I must take solace in knowing that, at least compared to others, I’ve had much more than my share even in half a life time.
I am now 72 years old. No matter what happens in the future, I believe I was given and have lived a full lifetime.
Right now, every day is filled with puzzles to be solved, whether it is getting dressed, figuring out meals or at times even walking. I’m grateful to Ramana for housesitting when I stayed in Woodinville and for staying on to help me when I returned home. I am grateful for the love and support I get from other friends and my neighbors. I am grateful for my doctors. I am grateful for my physical therapist and for all the zoom exercise classes he and his staff provide. I am grateful for the medicine I am taking to relieve the symptoms of PD. I am grateful for the love and support I receive from my adult children, Satvamrita and Chaitanya, and my ex-husband, Al. I am grateful for Amma’s never-ending love and guidance. I am grateful that I have so many things to be grateful for that I can’t list them all here.
I used to teach a workshop called Lessons on Lessons. When I started this blog, I decided to call it, Living, Learning and Letting Go: Lessons on Lessons. I am realizing that as I learn from Parkinson’s Disease I will have the opportunity to share those life lessons here. Consider this the first in a series! I don’t know how often I will write but I will write. As I wrote those last lines I remembered that the pastor’s wife of a church I used to attend always prefaced her weekly announcements with “If the Lord shall say the same we will……..”
With that in mind and knowing that I don’t even know “what is around the next corner” I will amend one of my last statements to say that it is my intention to write about the lessons I learn from this experience.