Saturday, January 18, 2014

Bumps on the road...

Do you feel at peace?
Are you getting enough rest and do you make it a priority to feed your soul and body?

I neglected to listen to my inner voice for many years and it finally took it's toll.
It was years ago but this is how it went.
 I suffered from what I have now come to understand as "burn out."
It masked itself as depression and I was given a prescription for it by my physician.
I felt lost and my bearings were skewed so I took the drug for a few months
I hated it's numbing effect and weight gain was a side effect.
I could no longer feel Joy or sadness.
I felt so empty.

It was a terrible state to be day to day going through the motions but not really living.
I'd rather feel sad than be in no man's land so I quit cold turkey and began my exploration of self.

For years prior to this I was one of those women who never said "NO."
I was on numerous committees over extending myself and working with two teenagers in the house.

Unbeknownst to me I was in peri-menopause.
I'd be exhausted by the time I got to bed and plagued with a "DO LIST" a mile long.
But could I fall asleep?
No way!
My mind would race and I'd think about all the tasks that I needed to perform the next day.
It was a spiralling swirl of thoughts and worry.
I was consumed.
My life was out of balance and I was stress eating.
(this is where I started to really pack on the pounds)

I rarely gave myself a second thought.
Self care was a foreign subject.
As Helen Reddy sang I was woman hear me roar!
I could do it ALL.
Mother, wife, daughter, parent volunteer, friend, employee...
who was I kidding?

I'd binge on potato chips and chocolate...
(you might be familiar with those large Lindt bars with hazelnuts)
and I would eat one EVERY night before bed while flipping through a magazine.
(my mind was so restless that I could never concentrate long enough to read a book)

Until I discovered books on Yoga and Buddhism and one book that helped me rise from the depths of despair...

The daily readings helped me rediscover the joys in everyday life and I learned how to take better care of myself.
 The simple act of observing and practising gratitude was remarkable tool on my road to wellness.
I would recommend this book in a heartbeat if you feel the need to reconnect with your inner self.
Yoga helped me to calm my inner voice...
the focused breathing, poses and being mindful allowed me to cope with many stressful situations and calm myself after a busy or hectic day.

Now many years later, 
I hope that I have the necessary coping skills under my belt.
 I have discovered a few hobbies that I engage in when I feel I need to express myself.

I have dabbled in painting which allow feelings to flow through me to the brush and onto the canvas.

"Purses and paintings"

Having a place that is set up and ready is such a bonus.
When I first started I'd set up my paints and the easel in the kitchen.
It meant putting everything away after I was finished yet I loved how I felt after playing with the acrylics that it was worth it to me.

"Roses for Yolande"

My BFF's mother Yolande is 96 and her health is failing.
I've known this gracious woman since I was about 8 years old.
 She has been such a wonderful mother and grandmother and a great friend to many.

Yolande is one of those rare women that make things look easy.
Her positive outlook and strong faith have certainly been her allies over the years.
  The inevitable bumps and numerous pitfalls we all experience and how we cope with them show the world just what kind of stuff we are made of and I'd like to think that I'd be able to look life in the eye and make the best of the worst case scenario.

My heart goes out to my BFF and her family at this difficult time.
Thinking of you all in love.

"Whatever we are waiting for - peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance - it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart."

~ Sarah Ban Breathnach ~


  1. Yes, yes .... Simple Abundance made such a difference for me, and for every friend I recommended it to. I have given away several copies of that book and always received good feedback. So happy to hear you also found help there.

  2. I can identify completely. Since yoga, I no longer have nagging voices in my head. I have learned a lot from Buddhist books by Sylvia Boorstein and by Sharon Salzberg but my life still has bumps. I admire you so much for the commitment that you have shown in the last year to your health and financial awareness. We are woman but in a different way than the Helen Reddy song. We will continue to have bumps and we will proceed as we see fit. Self discovery comes with no map.

  3. A very honest and heartfelt post. It will be helpful to many women.

  4. My dear, I can relate to so very much of this post! Especially your book recommendation … and for the very same reasons! I need to go pull it off my library shelf … thank you for the reminder!


  5. Thanks for sharing your bump in the road with us. Your calm and joyful approach to life were clearly earned!
    Slowing down and taking joy in the simple things, being with family, keeping house, long walks, going to bed early with a good book, family dinner every evening, seems to keep balance. Saying No to too much socializing and other commitments, whether work or volunteer, is a key isn't it!
    I've not heard of your book but it sounds wonderful and I'm going to go look it up.xo

  6. Wonderful post Hostess, I always feel a sense of calm whenever I visit your blog! Lovely painting too. :)

  7. What a hard time you went through - but it is obvious that you found your way and have created a home and life that are now more nurturing and calming.
    When I feel at the end of my rope I call a friend (!!!!), take a walk, look at something beautiful. It all helps.

  8. I will have to get a copy of that book. Yoga, meditation and daily inspiration are important to keeping me grounded, focused and positive. Lovely post, and thanks for the inspiration to practice gratitude. So helpful.
    Your paintings are beautiful- keep it up. Everyone should have a creative outlet. Have a lovely Sunday.

  9. Thank you for your sharing! I am in perimenopause at 49 big time. I have lost my interest in everything! I am doing my best to listen to myself on what is next but nothing has come up yet. I used to be such a go-getter and accomplished a lot. Now I can barely make dinner. Any other suggestions on books or activities for this time in life?

  10. Yes I think the medical effects of perimenopause and menopause for that matter still isn't very publicized and a lot of women suffer needlessly and feel alone. Apparently it is good to take a hormonal reading every two years in conjunction with a general check up. Of course it depends on where you live and if insurance covers etc but I think it is key to well being. I am so glad you find your own way to remedy this and make an improvement to your health both physical and mental. I think things like this is great to share for someone who just feels at a loss.

  11. Thank you for this post. I certainly can relate to what you were feeling as I was in that "boat" a few years ago - full of anxiety, couldn't sleep (I mean really couldn't sleep), couldn't eat (I actually lost weight, which I later made up for - put back on and then some). I wish I could impart some wisdom as to what helped bring me out of it, but, for me, it just seemed that I slowly began feeling better. At the time I really thought I was completely losing it and was so grateful when "this too shall pass" came to be.

  12. Wonderful post. Many women struggle so much in their late 40s, early 50s, as pressures mount with jobs and children and aging parents. Hormonal changes can wreak havoc too. It took a long time for me to learn to say no and not feel guilty. But it was essential to my well-being. As was really thinking of my own needs and not just others. Simple Abundance helped me too when I read it.

  13. Self-care is so important, especially as we enter those peri-menopausal years. So many women, me included, identify with your experience. Finding equilibrium is crucial.

  14. Thank you for your honest and helpful post I have read your post three times, it really strikes a chord with me to try harder.

  15. All good thoughts here. Our stage of life has so much to do with how much and what kind of stress we have. Seems that you have found good ways to take care of yourself. Art is a wonderful medium for that.

  16. Such an honest and confronting post. Thank you for sharing.

    SSG xxx

  17. Thank you - it's so nice to learn a bit more about the path you travelled to get explains why your posts are so calming and centred I think!
    Sympathy and kind thoughts to your BFF too, as she cares for her mother. A difficult experience, but a privilege too, to be truly "with" and to care for someone who herself has been such an important part of your life.

  18. What a wonderful post, so sorry to hear that Yolande is ailing, your sentiments were lovely there and in all of this post, though it did spark envy with the Lindt hazelnut - a bar of posh chocolate every night! I do suffer from black moods, though as your opposite, I hardly ever say yes, my life has always been quite solitary and empty in comparison to others, if I dwell on this I end up feeling like a pointless human being and just spiralling down, I usually just have to wait till the cloud passes.

    1. Your words "solitary and empty in comparison to others" had me nodding in agreement thought I was the only person who felt like that......

    2. Tabitha and Judith, I would also describe myself as more solitary (in many ways). I have numerous friends, but value my alone time as well. While I never necessarily felt empty, I've often wondered "what's wrong with me?" as I often feel outside the crowd. Like you, Tabitha, I often don't say yes - my first response tends to be no (until I think it over) as I don't like feeling the stress of being over committed.

  19. Thank you for mentioning Simple Abundance. I loved its calming message in the 90's when my life was hectic and unfulfilling. On this snowy day, as I look out the window, I can remember reading the January passages, trying to refrain from skipping ahead. I wonder if I will find a different comfort from the book if I reread it in a different stage of life. We'll see.

    And thank you for sharing your message. It's one that will benefit many.

  20. Balance and self care are so important to keep me on track. I loved that book. I'm reading Peace And Plenty by her now. It's wonderful too. Peri menopause very nearly was my undoing.

  21. This post I can totally relate to, beautifully expressed Hostess.

  22. I hope each of us finds the right inspiration, whether in a book, spiritual community or other experience, rather than mask the work we need to do on ourselves with pills. (Maybe helpful short term, but not as long term solution.) I'm so grateful you took yourself out of that downward spiral.

    1. Lovely and honest post, dear hostess
      Re the duchess' comment above, not all of us are masking ourselves with pills. I agree that doctors are too eager to hand out anti depressants like candy, however, please understand that chronic depression is a disease of a biological and genetic nature
      And no amount of ' working on myself ' will change that. Some of us need to be medicated to achieve a quality of life.
      M xx

  23. Your title speaks to me too directly today, having just bumped myself on the road. . . ;-) But the post itself resonates in many ways with my own experience as well. Sounds as if you've worked hard to find a balance that works well for you, allowing you to care for those who matter most to you instead of scattering that energy too widely. Very wise.

  24. (((((Hostess))))).

    That's how I've learned to give hugs on the Internet:).