Language Translation

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Adrenaline!!!!!! crash.............

I was talking with my sister and thinking about what to write for this week.  We discussed a lot of the topics I haven't covered yet.  Some of them I don't have the experience the incessant doctors visits.  I was at the doctor a lot, but it was always because I had caught some bug or other.  You know what, that's not true.  I just realized I had 3 months of mind-numbing doctors visits when I was first diagnosed....I was trying to put myself in childhood and had no memories there.  But I do have an adult perspective of doctors visits.  Hmmmmm.....okay.  Future post.

Anyhow.  The things we were discussing all have several things as undercurrents to what is going on.  So today I'm going to discuss adrenaline.  It's a huge factor whether I'm going to the store, my first day of school, my first day at a new church, etc.  It really relates to any place that will have new people in it, who eventually become familiar people.

When I am going somewhere and I know there will be new people, I generally have a major surge of adrenaline.  Which means I am what is referred to as ADHD.  Really all that is happening is that I have psyched myself up to be prepared for facing a lot of people with a lot of emotions.  Once in a place, I start feeling bombarded and then I "act up" because of the anxiety and adrenaline rush.  I am super happy and hyperactive.  Then, after things become familiar and the emotions of the place are known at least, if not less than I had anticipated, I begin to crash.

The crash is usually just as sudden as the hyperactivity.  I just feel very sedate and calm.  This swing is often why people who have ADD or ADHD are misdiagnosed with bipolar, or vice versa.  It is often seen as depression after such a high.  But it doesn't feel like depression.  It just feels good to be calm for a while.  I hated the swing back and forth and so I hated being around people and going places.  If I had something to do, i.e. if I were performing or singing or acting, I enjoyed it.  The adrenaline gave me a little something extra and it was nice to have.  But the crash afterward was not so much fun...mostly because everyone around me would ask me what was wrong.

Nothing.  I was just tired.

There are a couple of cautions as I tell you what I do.  First, if your child is on medication, be very, very careful about whether or not you use the acupressure.  Second, be aware that if you can bring down the adrenaline naturally before it gets too high, there will not be the crash, but there will still be a lowering effect that happens.  It is best if you learn to pick up on his signals.  If you can do this, you can apply the therapies mentioned here as the adrenaline is climbing, and bring a nice balance that is timed perfectly.  It takes practice.  Use caution when doing these things and teaching them.  While they are life savers for me, they could be detrimental if I used them unnecessarily. 

As a child I had no idea what was happening when I was going into a new place.  I just reacted.  After learning to understand it, I am trying out new things to help me overcome it.

I tried out a new thing while I was in Arizona that seemed to do the trick.  Just to be sure, I tried it out again when venturing to Costco (large, warehouse-type grocery store) with my friend Cecily, and her children.  It mostly worked, however I began to feel a little overwhelmed at the end of our shopping adventure.

So.  What I do to help myself.  I'll give you the tried and true 2 things that have worked for a while now, and then the new thing I've been trying out. 

First, I have a song that is very helpful for me.  I have tried over 100 recordings of this song, but this recording is the best one for me.  It also seems to help soothe and relax everyone I've worked with who has overly stimulated adrenal problems.  This particular recording is not technically perfect, but the artist playing it was in a very good place when it was recorded.  That makes the music carry a different feeling and even slightly changes the harmonic resonance of the music.  I was present at this recording and know for a fact that every person in the room when this was recorded was in a place that augmented the vibrational frequency of this particular recording.  Without fail, no matter what is going on around me, this recording will instantly help me get settled down and comfortable in my own skin again.  The piece is Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy, and the pianist is Emily Black.  Enjoy!

Now that you've enjoyed a little Debussy, how do you feel?  As I said before, even with the couple of errors in this piece, it is by far the best recording for the purpose.

I have this recording on my iPhone, and when it's all just a little too overwhelming, I turn it on and it brings me right back into balance.  Sometimes I will leave the music in my ear on repeat for hours on end.  It just depends on the environment I'm in.

Another thing I do is a little acupressure.  Most children have a hard time sitting still when they are in the thick of it, so I have them "help" me.  We count out loud, to a number they are able to get to...meaning, they can count that high.  It is a total of 60-ish seconds on each spot.  I count to a rhythm so that it is soothing and methodical.  The point is P-7.  It is located on the middle of the palm-side of the wrist, in the depression between the two tendons, on or just below the crease of the wrist.

You place your finger in the little depression found there (generally 2 of his finger widths below his palm - the point should be directly under the 2nd finger).  Then I move in a counter-clockwise circle, slowly and methodically counting up to 60.  If the counter-clockwise movement is not okay, then I place my finger in that place and hold the opposite side of the wrist with my thumb and press down.  Light pressure at first, increasing firmness, and then easing off before releasing.  This is important.  If you press firmly and then just let go it will cause pain in that area in about 5-6 hours.  So make sure you ease off slowly.

It is also important that you do not use this when feeling weak or generally calm.  It is to be used only when adrenaline is high.  It can cause damage to the body if it is used when function is normal.  It can cause depression and other things that are not pleasant.  But if you are nervous, have anxiety, or your body is suffering from the affects of very high adrenaline, this will help bring it down to a normal range.  It is also good if you have been experiencing an overload of emotion or excitement.

A few children I've worked with didn't want to sit still long enough to do it, and they rather enjoyed the high energy rush.  In that case I get what I can.  I will just rub counter-clockwise as often as they will let me touch their wrist, even if it is only for 2 seconds.  It helps and they eventually calm down enough for me to hold their wrist and get a full 40 or so seconds in.  It is also important to not over-stimulate this area by doing more than 60 seconds at a time.  If you have rubbed it for 60 seconds, wait at least 15 minutes to see the full affects before deciding to do another round.  VERY IMPORTANT.

Okay.  The last thing I do, which was my new experiment is this:  I focus on my heart.  I focused in on how I felt before I entered the space with all of the strangers.  Then I reminded myself of the truth about them, which is, they are all known to God, so they are not all strangers to me because God is not a stranger to me.  This is a concept which may not be easy to word to your child, but they probably understand it.  Instead of feeling my reaction of how they felt, I felt God's love for them and let it just flow out.  As long as I stayed focused on that, I was more than okay - even without using my music or my acupressure.  Near the end of our Costco trip I started focusing on one of the children and lost where I was and then I began to be overwhelmed as well.

Thankfully Cecily was wise enough to see what was happening and suggested the two of us go outside and breathe while she and her other child went through the checkout.  It was a happily received suggestion for both of us.  Once outside there were still people, as well as a fire truck and ambulance blaring into the parking lot.  But it was not overwhelming - nature has a way of balancing everything and anything.

I went to the store without my music and without the acupressure to be certain that my new coping tactic actually worked.  I am not sure yet how to be able to help those around me, to be able to focus on them without losing my concentration of sending out God's love.  I know I could focus His love on the individual, but I am not sure how to define who is feeling what when I am just sending out.  I guess that will take more time and refining to understand it.  But when I get it figured out, I'll let you all know.  :)  Yay!

Until then, I hope these help.  I'm not sure yet how to make this song available for download, or if it will be okay with the pianist to do so...I'm still waiting on word for that.  But again, once I know, you will.

These three things have helped me in many, many cases.  As long as I use them, I am able to find a balance and be okay in public places.  There are times I do not want to use them.  I have found the acupressure is generally a good replacement for ADHD medication as long as I am able to sit long enough to allow it to be done.  If he is old enough, you can teach him to do it himself.  Then he has access to it no matter where he school, at church, in the mall, at the is a little bubble of peaceful sanity to help bring down the anxiety and over-stimulation caused by all of the crazy emotions coming at me 24/7.

Sometimes I forget I have access to these things to help me.  Or I get so focused on the new things I am learning and trying to see if they will work, that I forget about the tried and true until I am too overwhelmed to even remember they are available.  Silly me.  It's nice to have things like writing this blog to remind me. 

*This is a blog about my own life and my own experience.  If you choose to follow anything written here, you do so without any claim on me for problems or complications that may arise.  I am not a doctor.  I have no degree.  I am not a professional.  This is my perspective and experience, that's all.  If you don't think you should do something on here, then don't.*

Friday, August 19, 2011

You Anchor Me, Ground Me, Keep Me.

There are many people on this earth who love someone with special needs.  My post today is more for you than for you to understand those you love.

I love music a lot.  I have recently been introduced to a song that I would like to share with all of you.  Before I go into my post, I just want to say that music is very healing.  It is healing for all of us, not just for people like me.  The song in this post has elements in it, however, that are exceptionally healing for people like me.  It is very repetitious in the accompaniment, as well as simple.  It is grounding because the bass note only changes a couple of times, so it makes the song very soothing.  The tempo is perfect to help me calm down when I am having a meltdown.  The words share love and encouragement which helps those around me feel better, and in return helps me to not be overwhelmed by their concerns for me.  It also shares my heart with them, which makes me feel less pressure to try to get them to understand how much they mean to me.  Her voice is gentle and soft, when a lot of voices feel abrasive and sometimes painful to hear.  This song is very healing for me.

The artists name is Mindy Gledhill.  This song is how I feel towards those in my life who love and support me as I am - regardless of the comments and odd looks they get.  This is for all of you who love someone that everyone else will not hear, see, or understand.

There are many of you out there who are doing so well.  I suppose the bad days seem really bad and the good days that seem so miraculous and amazing to you, others' see and think, "Wow.  Why are you so excited about that?  That's what he should be doing."

They just don't know the amount of work it takes to even be able to walk for someone like me.  They don't know that I consciously have to remind myself to breathe when I am focusing on some other physical task.

They don't see me.

They see the slow speech, the very long pauses between speaking.  They don't hear my head considering a million different things to be sure I really mean what I say.  They don't see the time it takes for me to process through all of the information and then have to consciously think about the muscles in my body to be able to speak.  They think that I am stuck up or snobby.  Or maybe they think that I am judgmental and cold.

They don't hear me.

They don't hear my heart like you do.  Sometimes they think I am cruel with the things I say.  They think I must have less to offer because I speak and move differently.  They assume that I don't feel like they do, because when something would make them cry, I laugh.  When something would make them laugh my face doesn't move a muscle.  When something would make them angry, I shrug it off like I couldn't care less.

They don't understand my heart.

Yet there are those who do.  There are those in my life who see past the quirks, the odd behaviors, the slow and deliberate answers, the red face when we're playing a physical game.  There are those in my life who take the time to hear what I have to say, and value it.  There are those who see that, though my eyes may not have tears in them, they are full of hurt and pain; though my face may be motionless, they see my eyes and by doing so, understand my heart.

This song expresses for me the way I feel towards the people in my life who do see me, hear me, and understand me.  This song is for those of you who let your hearts break day after day as you watch a person you love go on through life, sometimes oblivious of the pain, sometimes not.  It is for those of you who wonder if your loved one even notices whether or not you are there, those who wonder if you make a difference at all.

You do.

I have 7 people in my life who have taken the time to talk to me, ask me questions about me, tried to understand me.  Those 7 people have made a world of difference for me.  One of them has literally spent hours researching Asperger's Syndrome, just so that she could understand me.  Just because she wanted to be able to be close to me as a friend and had been hurt by me - unbeknownst to me.  She read about AS and then when I came back home from a trip, she sat and talked with me.  She told me she understood about me.  She opened her heart to me, even though I seemed to be closed.  When she was done telling me what she had to say, I felt so happy.  I felt loved.  I felt loved.  On the outside I was excited and fidgety.  On the inside my heart felt warm, and I felt like I wanted to cry.  But I couldn't, so I just smiled really big and giggled and smiled some more.

Sherri, you anchor me.

I have another dear friend who will not let me retreat emotionally, nor will she let me take on emotional issues from other people that do not belong to me.  She takes the time to understand me and to help me understand her.  She understands me.  I know others have tried to empathize with me, but I never felt like they did.  With her, I felt it.  It is the first time in my life I felt like I wasn't alone in facing something, that I had someone with me - emotionally holding my hand as I faced that which was painful, scary, or just hard.  She lets me ask a million questions and she answers them honestly - even if the answer may be something that could possibly hurt my heart.  She gets that I need honesty more than tact.  She doesn't let me be less than I am, she let's me know if I am giving less than I am able and asks more of me.

Cecily, you anchor me.

I am not able to tell you what the other people in my life do for me, it would take more time than I have right now.  But those you love feel the same way about you as I do about these people in my life.  They just don't know how to say it.  So I'm saying it for them (and for me).

Thank you for anchoring me.  You have no idea how much I depend on that anchor.  Your heart and your hand keep me anchored, keep me grounded, yet, with you, I feel safe in staying here - anchored and grounded.  Your heart and your hand keep me.  Your tears, when I cannot cry my own, give me the feeling that I am not alone.  Your laughter when I am happy but cannot express it, gives me a bubble of joy inside.  Your kind words to someone who has been cruel to me are a boon to my soul.  Your understanding of those who do not understand me gives me hope that we may all come to understand each other.  You are important in my life.  Without you, I would escape into my own little world forever.  You help me stay and by staying, I can show others a different way to love, a deeper love.  You invite me into your world when I don't know how to invite you into mine, and by doing so you show me that you want me in your life.  You show me that I am not just a burden, but that I am as important in your life as you are in mine.

Thank you.  With all the feeling and depth in my heart, thank you.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Don't Let Go!!!"

As I begin this post, I want to start with a song.  Each time I listened to this song, I thought of another one of you who have contacted me, expressing the heartache and pain that comes with being a loving one of a special needs person.  I want you to listen with your heart and your mind.  Hear the words speak to you.  If you feel like crying, do so.  Listen to it as many times as you need or desire to.  Then come back and read the rest of this.  At the end of my post there will be a link to listen to it again.  I want you to feel before you read the rest of what I have to say though.  It is vital that you truly listen with your heart to this song before you read the rest of this post.  Please.

Okay, another insert.  This post has been up for a week now,  and I was recently informed that the link no longer works.  So here is another artist singing the same song.  It is not as powerful, but the lyrics are the same and it is still moving.  I will let you know when the link is available again.  For now, here is the substitute.

Seeking With Hope
by Tara Washburn

Autistic individuals are often put into a spectrum. This spectrum of which you speak is an indicator showing how well your loved ones are able to adapt and function in society. I also have a spectrum, but when I use the word it has a very different meaning. There is nothing about your spectrum that remotely resembles my spectrum. Come with me for a moment and see life through my eyes.

Every person is on my spectrum. There are many that the world refers to as being on the low end of your spectrum that are actually on the highest functioning end of my spectrum. There are many that the world refers to as being very successful who use manipulative means to make circumstances suit them. These people are on the low end of my spectrum.

My spectrum measures function in the world differently. It measures only lies or truth. It measures from despotic darkness - black as a windowless room on the coldest winter night, to liberating light - light that is illuminating and as brilliant as the sun in the Sahara at noon.

I do not pretend to be the light or to even comprehend the light. But I’d like to share my understanding of it and how it relates to individuals that are placed on your spectrum.

How can a person, looking into darkness, see the light? The only way to comprehend the light is to turn and face it. I compare it to the light therapy that some children experience. Short glimpses of light give their eyes strength so that they eventually see clearly. Similarly, yet in a more symbolic way, one day we will have eyes to see. That day draws nearer and nearer each time we let the little flashes of light in, to penetrate the dark, obscure places of our minds.

We must turn and face the light, only then are we able to see it and comprehend it.  There are two major forces at work here, one pulling us to look at the dark and one pulling us to look at the light. Hatred and anger lead to darkness. Love and forgiveness lead to the light. “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1:5) 

During moments when I feel I have looked into the light, I ask myself one question over and over again. “Why am I trying to use man’s tools to teach God?” I want people to avoid the dark, the lies and error created by the philosophies of men. I cannot give truth while pointing at the darkness and saying “Avoid this.” No. The only way to teach of the light is to show the light.

The light of truth is blinding when we are not used to seeing it. For example, imagine that you are outside on a very dark night and all you see is darkness. Suddenly, a brilliant flash of lightning streaks across the sky right in front of you. Initially you will flinch and be full of both fear and wonderment at the same time. So much is determined in that flash of light. You have a choice to make. You can cling to the fear of the lightning, so brilliant and so powerful and so scary, or you can cling to the wonderment, so new and different, and yet somehow enticing.

I have heard often from many the sentiment, “Avoid fear at any cost.” Now, my “black and white” brain tells me that statement means to run away from fear. We all experience fear, it is a part of life and at times it’s not possible to run away from it, so I modified it slightly to say what I think the true message is and make it more meaningful. “Avoid the fear of fear at any cost.”

Consider the wise words of Yoda:

"Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering."

Leigh Brackett (screenplay), Lawrence Kasdan (screenplay), and George Lucas (story).

(I don’t know which of the three authors to credit, so I will credit all three.)

There is truth in these words. Fear is a tool of darkness. There are countless quotes about avoiding fear that are quoted frequently. Very few of them mention courage. Fear does not understand courage. What about quotes concerning courage? The vast majority of them mention fear in relationship to courage. It is interesting to me that when we are focused on courage, fear takes its proper place - that of providing contrast to courage. In like manner the light that shines in darkness is incomprehensible. The darkness serves only to contrast the light. When we are looking in the right direction, fear and darkness lose their power and courage and the light of truth shed a glow of peace over all we survey.

At the end of the day, we either choose the fear that leads to hatred and suffering, or we choose the courage that leads to love and healing. There is no other path really. All paths lead in either one direction or the other. All choices ultimately end in one place: we either cling to the darkness or we embrace the light.

There are several ways that the world can do harm to your loved ones. There are selfish, greedy people who take advantage of others. There are evil people who molest and make afraid. There are misguided people who unintentionally do harm. There are clumsy and careless people who maim by mistake. Yet, focusing on the situations that bring harm and the individuals responsible for those situations will not bring the light to those who are seeking for answers and truth. It may “take down” one more institution or individual, but it will not stop the abuse, the lies, the greed and the corruption that are at the heart of the matter. If you try to fight them using their weapons, you lose. Period. You cannot experience a victory for light using darkness. That is what this is all about really. This is all about that eternal struggle which is climaxing to the final battle - the battle that will decide for eternity the fate of each one of us. 

The light is what we must comprehend. The light is what we must seek, not the avoidance of the dark. Now, more than ever, we are in great need of those who see the light, even if only dimly. We need voices that will step up and say there is a better way, a different way, a higher road. Love will bring about healing and miracles. Hatred will only breed more suffering and pain. No matter your belief system, from atheist to the most devout of any sect, there is a universal truth found here. Call it energy, call it the spirit, call it karma, call it whatever you wish. The thought is found in every belief system, because it is an inescapable, eternal truth. Love, pure, unconditional, and unadulterated is the path we must seek. Any other path is stepping away from who we truly are inside.

I believe there has been plenty of suffering already. I have seen over and over again the results in homes that cling to fear - the pain and anguish that never seem to vanish out of their lives. I have seen the results in homes that embrace truth - the healing and light seem to permeate not only those who live there, but all who enter. When I enter this kind of home I leave feeling as though I have been in Heaven for a moment. I have seen other children on the “spectrum” who are likewise affected.

If you truly want to help your child, do the thing that is hardest for a parent to do: forgive those whom you feel have wronged your precious one, no matter the motive and reason for the wrong. Forgive and then add love to the mix and you will see your child light up and come out a little more. Maybe, just maybe, the reason he covers his ears and rocks is because the darkness is creeping into those around him. 

I had an experience a short time ago that demonstrated this to me. There have been three times in my life where the emotions from others around me were so strong that I literally began to be in physical pain from them. Usually, I say that the reason my body is weaker than usual is due to a lack of sleep or something else, like not following my GFCF diet (which is a huge weakening factor for my body - but that is a discussion for another time). Today, however, was different. I asked myself and searched from within until I found the answer. I was reacting to the emotions of several people, but two in particular were affecting me more than the others who were nearby. There was a heaviness in their hearts, an anger, a malice, the hurt of those who have been betrayed by someone close. It was a pain that was acute and deep. As I experienced this physical phenomenon, I wondered, “What it is that makes us so ready to embrace the dark and run from the truth?”

My mind tried to grasp and make sense of it all. Yet, my heart kept telling me that I needed to understand this and to just feel it for now. A sweetheart of a friend who had been with me at the time started telling me the same thing; that I just needed to feel it and let myself go through it and then I could understand it. I took the advice of my heart and my good friend.

I have known physical pain, much physical pain. I have known the darkest depths of emotional pain. Yet, the pain I experienced that day was worse than anything I have experienced before. It was not only an emotional and physical pain, but it was also a very deep spiritual pain. It made me shake. I literally could not move, could not find my voice - each time I tried to speak I began stuttering uncontrollably. It frightened me. Plainly and simply, it scared me to my core. Why? The eternal beings within these dear friends were in fear of their lives.

Practicing what I preach, I looked my fear square in the face. I recognized that at the root of the situation was the truth that if we do not choose love, we will not win. If love is left off for revenge, then we are condemning our spirits to be left off for death. Not an actual, physical death, but a death nonetheless. A death that is much worse than the death of this physical shell. A spirit that is separated from God and the eternal connection to His love is as though it were dead. When we separate from that we become truly miserable and the darkness is all that is left. 

On the other side of this experience I found many truths, but one is especially pertinent to the subject at hand. The pain and the suffering around each special needs person (especially those who are non-verbal, whether they are on the “spectrum” or not) is very directly caused by the darkness which those around them refuse to release.

It may seem cliche and corny, but love truly is the answer. I speak this knowing full well concerning the abuses and cruelties of this world. I have experienced first-hand all manner of abuses, neglect and evil and I still know with all that I am that the answer is forgiveness and love. Without those I would have given up long ago.

Parents, you are here as the guardian and protector for those children who have no voice or whose voice is too quiet to hear; you are as a loud speaker for those of us who see the truth. We need you to testify of that truth. It seems all of humanity is climbing on board a plane that is headed for danger. We are on the ground shouting at the passengers to get off, but no one can hear us over the roar of the engines. You mother, you father, are the voice of those who see and comprehend the light. We need your voices to testify of that light. When there is a situation with a child on the “spectrum” and there is a choice between darkness and light, please choose carefully. Remember it is your child’s voice you are to share, not your vengeance and sense of justice. Choose wisely.

You will hinder or you will help. Embrace the light. Embrace healing. Embrace truth. Embrace love. Embrace God. Only then will the true light of your precious ones be seen; only then will the voice you have longed to hear ring in your soul like the joy of Christmas laughter. You have a choice, those who have been entrusted to you by God wait with anticipation; hoping that today may be the day you choose light.

Allow me to end this article with a quick word concerning hope. Hope is only found in truth. There can be false hope found anywhere. But I am speaking of true hope, the kind of hope that you can put your belief in, the kind that you can put your trust in. That powerful kind of hope brings with it light and courage.  It brings the strength to do what must be done, no matter the obstacles and challenges. This kind of hope is the kind that purifies and leads us eventually to ultimate truths and to the end result: pure, healing, cleansing, transforming love. It is in this love, the love that is born of hope, that we find the answers and meaning and purpose of all things. 

When parents and children understand each others' hearts and emotional needs, the therapies are enhanced.  A focus is achieved, supporting the therapies necessary for helping your child, maximizing the benefits of those therapies.  Parents and the child work together, not to "fix" the child, but to help him grow at a healthy pace.  This give and take in communications of the heart allows the physical and mental breakthroughs that he is capable of, but is unsure of pursuing because he is insecure of how the family dynamics will change.  You, as the parent, stand - a pillar of positive support and encouragement one trying day at a time; you help to ground him and be focused on the task at hand.  You help him stay in the present because you are safe and secure and his heart feels safe with you.  

If you seek answers, start with the heart.  Answers are found in the quiet whisperings of the soul, and the peaceful longings of the heart, all of which pull us to God's love, God's arms, and the feeling of home.

Seek.  Hope.  Embrace truth.  Find love.

*This is a blog about my own life and my own experience.  If you choose to follow anything written here, you do so without any claim on me for problems or complications that may arise.  I am not a doctor.  I have no degree.  I am not a professional.  This is my perspective and experience, that's all.  If you don't think you should do something on here, then don't.*

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Scheduling and Adult Life

I was talking with my best friend yesterday, and he said I ought to write a post about things that I am currently struggling with.  So here goes.

I teach a religion course to 15 young men and women ages 14-16.  I teach this course 5 days/week at 5:50 in the morning.  I am working full-time as a nanny for Elena and her family.  I am trying to get my consulting business off the ground.  I am trying to maintain personal relationships (which are not easy for me in the first place) with friends and with my boyfriend - all of those but 1 are long-distance relationships.  I am trying to learn how to connect with my siblings and nieces and nephews better.

Each of these needs daily time from me.  Here's my problem.  I start one, and because it is unfinished, I cannot stop.  I do not stop doing something until it is done.  If I don't finish everything I need to do for the seminary class, I keep working on it.  Then I do nothing else.  Or I'll work on my business and work on my database for consultations - but nothing else gets a moment of attention.  I do not know how to multitask.

In struggling with this, the thought hit me multiple times that I don't know how to organize myself very well.  But then I looked at my notebook in front of me.  I saw myself organized every-which-way.  I was organized by the difficulty of the task, by the time it would take, by the date it was due, by the date I was first told about it, by the number of steps it would take to complete.....

I was overly organized.  The problem is that I complicate everything because I think and consider everything that could possibly affect it.  Then I am left with a mess of lists, 45 minutes spent on working out how to work, and still no clear headway on what to do and how to accomplish it all.  My head was aching and I felt like I was standing in front of the bread isle after being asked to "go get a loaf of bread."  I was paralyzed by the options and did not want to make the wrong choice.

Then my Justin called.  After 10 minutes from him everything was right with the world.  He pulled me out of the details and helped me be general.  He helped me organize my list according to priority of importance.  Then helped me get subcategories for each list, again in priority of importance.  Then helped me "see" what multitasking looks like.  He told me to put my headset on, grab my laundry basket and get my laundry started.

Then he reminded me to set a timer to pull me out of whatever project I'm in when it was time to change the load of laundry.  Then we sat down and started to work on the first thing on my list together.  After accomplishing the first couple of things on my list, I was feeling overwhelmed again.  There were still so many things to do on that list!

Justin could sense my frustration and asked me to tell him what else was on the list.  After a moment of me reading off 6 or 7 things, he interrupted me and asked me to do a little differently.  He asked me to read over the list to see if anything else on that list could be accomplished right now or if it had to wait for some other work to be completed first.  Nothing else could be done in that moment.  "Okay.  Now we move on to the next section of the list."

It was so hard for me to turn the page, knowing I had so many unfinished tasks.  I could not put it down easily.  But I did, and began to work on the next list.  It was a struggle for me to "shift gears" if you will.  My brain was still in seminary mode and now I had to stop and go into work mode.  That was hard.  As I began working on work stuff, Justin had to go.  Before he hung up, he reminded me to check on my clothing in the washer...I had already forgotten about it and about setting a timer.

I asked myself why I didn't set the timer.  The answer, it's too much to do.  Meaning, I had too many other gadgets on my phone.  If I opened up the box of worms, I'd dump them all out and get messy again.  So I didn't set a timer.  I instead accomplished very little because my brain was on watching the clock to make sure I got to the washer in time.  Which is silly.  Now, writing this, I think, "Good grief!  What do I think is going to happen if I don't get the laundry into the dryer right when the washer is done?  It's okay if it sits for 10 minutes while I finish up the task I am working on."  But I was nervous the whole time.  I had given myself a task and I needed to complete it.

Anyhow, I made a few discoveries in thinking about this experience, as well as still making them as I write about it.  First of all, I know the list will never be accomplished.  In the past I had the mentality of, "Well, it may never be accomplished, but I'm going to die trying."  Literally.  On average, I have literally 2-3 nights every week that I do not sleep because I am trying so hard to accomplish everything on my list.  The other 4-5 nights I only get about 4 hours of sleep, sometimes less.  All in the name of getting that list to completion.  It's silly!  But there is something in me that says I cannot relax and play because my work is not done.

Wednesday "night" when I finally laid down to go to sleep, it was nearly 7 a.m. on Thursday morning.  I was up and going by 9 a.m.  I had a lot of work to accomplish and I was going to do it all!  A little later a very dear friend texted me something exciting, and I called her to hear all about it.  She invited me over.  We had what she called a "pajama day."  And we literally hung out in her home in our pajamas all day long.  Thursday night, as I was readying for bed, I found myself thinking about the day.  I didn't accomplish everything I wished to accomplish.  But it was a wonderfully productive day in terms of my spirit and my heart.  I did get some work done, but most of the work that was done was learning to let go and just be in the moment.  It was a great lesson.

I also discovered that simple gadgets are best.  I love to have the complicated ones and figure them out - or try to.  But for practical use, I need simple.  I need to get a simple timer that has only a couple of buttons, nothing fancy or complicated.  When it comes to practical use of devices, simple is better.

I use my iPhone for everything from my alarm clock to my gps.  I also get very frustrated with the amount of things I don't get accomplished.  It's because I get caught up in what I'm doing on the iPhone and don't realize that what I'm doing isn't even the reason I pulled it out.  Simple is better if I want to accomplish tasks.  The more complicated and away from nature it gets, the more work and struggle I have.

If I really want to be able to be functional on a multitask level, then I have to simplify my gadgets and I have to be okay with accomplishing a few tasks in each column everyday.  I have to shift my paradigm from having my tasks completed today to having completed my tasks for the day.  We'll see how it goes.  Wish me luck! (I'm going to need it.)

Organized is good.  Simple is better.  Taking a balance of time for work and time for play is best.  There is plenty of time to work and if I don't make the time to connect with those around me, then I will never feel connected to them.  Simple.  Basic.  Elemental.  This is the thing to remember.  When I find myself overwhelmed by it all,  I'm probably in the details too much and need help getting out and back to the general level.   Basic, general in practice and in theory and in everyday life.