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Dawn Downey's Blog: Stories About Mindfulness, Gratitude, and Transformation

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Dawn Downey's Blog: Stories About Mindfulness, Gratitude, and Transformation

Rated: 2.95 / 5 | 1,198 listing views Dawn Downey's Blog: Stories About Mindfulness, Gratitude, and Transformation Blogging Fusion Blog Directory

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  • Dawn Downey
  • December 01, 2014 04:49:52 PM
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My outlook on daily life will inspire you and make you laugh.

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World Tour Panic

Next stop on the World Oneness Tour is a reading in Kansas. The event used to be months down the road, and then a few weeks away, but now it's only a few hours away, and I've got that gawd-awful sensation again—too much to do.Every chore screams Right Now! Priority One! The busy-ness squeezes in from all sides, until I scribble it down on the back of an envelope, imagining a to-do list will calm me down, by organizing the pressure into bullet points.So today I stop to remember my blog...

Next stop on the World Oneness Tour is a reading in Kansas. The event used to be months down the road, and then a few weeks away, but now it's only a few hours away, and I've got that gawd-awful sensation again—too much to do.

Every chore screams Right Now! Priority One! The busy-ness squeezes in from all sides, until I scribble it down on the back of an envelope, imagining a to-do list will calm me down, by organizing the pressure into bullet points.

So today I stop to remember my blog post from October 2018: 

Too much to do is a fraud. 

When I consider my latest to-do list, what jumps out at me is a sense of threat. The list reads Mail bks., short-hand for sending a copy of my latest book to a colleague.Get this done or else. Or else the recipient will no longer like me. Or else I’m a failure in the book-marketing department. Or else I'll be declared deficient as a human being.

In the days since I composed the list, Mail bks. has annoyed me. I felt guilty for not doing it, and the guilt made me mad. You can’t boss me around, you stupid little chore. 

But one day, I grabbed a couple of books, signed them, and drove to the post office. No to-do list was involved. No threats, no planning. It happened when I wasn’t paying attention. It was easy.

And for all the days when I had not mailed the books, life had gone on without any of the dire consequences my mind had threatened. No one called to say I’d been expelled from the human race.

According to my on-going to-do list, Monday is laundry day. Laundry day worked, until a new commitment was added to my Mondays. The mental list did not change with the change in my schedule. Monday morning started with urgency: washing clothes is priority one today. Monday night ended with guilt: you should have washed clothes today. This week, on Thursday I threw a load of clothes in the washer at 6:30AM. My mind would argue, “Thursday makes no sense. Thursday is the day you write your blog. You don’t have time for anything else. Not one single thing. Monday is laundry day; it’s on the list.”

The list lies.

I didn’t think about doing the laundry. No to-do list was involved. No threats, no planning. In an arbitrary moment when the laundry was in front of me, I grabbed a load and threw it in the washer. It was easy.

The sense of urgency lies.

All the Mondays that I went nowhere near the washing machine? No one called to expel me from the human race.
 
What if I spend the day doing what’s in front of me at the moment? I’m going to keep a look-out. See if I can spot that feeling of Right Now! Priority One! before it crushes the joy out of me.


It's Personal

"How come we hv no option to share ur writing on ur FB posting?"Huh? No option to share? Typed beneath one of my blog posts on Facebook, the comment thoroughly confused me. I'd chosen to write stories on that particular site, for the sole purpose of sharing them. What was the problem?I consulted writer/book coach Jessica, who said the problem was me. I had set up my Facebook account in a way that limited who could read my posts. Limit my audience? That didn't sound like...

"How come we hv no option to share ur writing on ur FB posting?"

Huh? No option to share? Typed beneath one of my blog posts on Facebook, the comment thoroughly confused me. I'd chosen to write stories on that particular site, for the sole purpose of sharing them. What was the problem?

I consulted writer/book coach Jessica, who said the problem was me. I had set up my Facebook account in a way that limited who could read my posts. Limit my audience? That didn't sound like me. I wanted everybody to read my stories.

And then I remembered.

I have a stalker.

-----


I kicked this man out of my life forty years ago—slammed the door, hung up the phone, unlisted my number. During the first twenty years, he called my family periodically to weasel my whereabouts from them. It never worked, but I would get the report that he'd called. Every time I heard the news, I cringed. It was sickening to know he was still trying to locate me. Still lurking out there, a constant threat. During the second twenty years, the number of calls dwindled, and I occasionally forgot the threat existed.

Three years ago, I was sitting on my bed, absently opening emails. “Are you the Dawn Downey who … ?” Too late, I saw his name. My mouth dropped open. My skin went cold. My heart raced. God, he was in my bedroom. In my bed. 

My mind took off in all directions. What could I do? What could I do? Are you the Dawn? What could I do? I squeezed my head between my hands to contain the panic. Words on the email screen swirled in and out of focus. Inbox blurred into From that blurred into Re, which fuzzed into Sent, which turned into Compose and then … Delete. Delete.

I clicked. He vanished. I grinned and then deleted him from the trash folder. Yes! I leaped off the bed, punched the air with my fist, and did a victory dance around the house.

But what about Facebook? Sure enough, he was following me. There had to be a way to delete him there also. A little research showed Facebook provided two options for your posts. Public or Friends. "Following me" meant he could read only Public posts. Easy decision. I set my posts to Friends.

-----

I made that decision three years ago. Back then, I was only chatting with family and posting vacation photos. Three years ago, before my writing pulled me out of anonymity. I set up a Facebook business page also, but I decided to blog on my personal profile, because personal was the whole point. Through my writing, I intended to start conversations about subjects that were hard to talk about. I wanted the conversatons to spread. 

So when one of my readers pointed out there was "no option to share," I was thoroughly confused. What problem had thwarted my intention? After learning the problem was me, I remembered—I used to be a woman who worried about a stalker.

At last check, (four days before this writing) he was still following me. The sight of his name made my skin crawl. If I changed the setting to Public, everyone in the world could read and share my posts. “Everyone” included him. 

Time to turn and face the devil. As an author, I popped up all over the place. Web site. Newsletter. Readings. Announcements. Advertisements. Books. Blog. I had chosen connection as a mystical quest and openness as a business plan.

I used to be a woman who worried about a stalker. Not any more. I changed the setting to Public.


Beneficial Migraines

Because I’m an over-thinker, I’ve been thinking again. How am I benefitting from migraines?As a kid, I thought I suffered from an affliction called You’re-Not-Really-Sick. My parents took us to the doctor for vaccination shots. For everything else there was Vicks. A couple of years ago, a headache disabled me for so long my husband insisted on a visit to the doctor. I expected Doctor Singh to say, “There’s nothing wrong with you. Go outside and play.”...

Because I’m an over-thinker, I’ve been thinking again. How am I benefitting from migraines?

As a kid, I thought I suffered from an affliction called You’re-Not-Really-Sick. My parents took us to the doctor for vaccination shots. For everything else there was Vicks. A couple of years ago, a headache disabled me for so long my husband insisted on a visit to the doctor. I expected Doctor Singh to say, “There’s nothing wrong with you. Go outside and play.” Instead, she sent me to a neurologist. Neurologist sounded like I had something that should be taken care of. Kayla, the neurology R.N., announced I’ve been suffering from migraines. She prescribed a medicine to relieve the pain and another to prevent it. She checks up on me regularly, tracking down a cure. When there’s a glitch in refilling my prescriptions, the pharmacy says, “We’ll call your doctor. We’ll take care of it.” And then they do. Dr. Singh, Kayla, and the pharmacist don’t make me feel special. They make me feel ordinary. Migraines teach me it’s normal to be taken care of.

Kayla instructs me to record the headaches on a calendar, so she can determine which treatments work best. Over the years, I’ve treated You’re-Not-Really-Sick with heavy doses of denial. Five minutes into a migraine, my first thought is: This can’t be a migraine; I just had one yesterday. Ten minutes in: I’ll save the pain killer until I have a really bad one. Twenty minutes in: Is the pain worse? I think it’s worse. Forty minutes in: I should have taken the prescription sooner. At which point, I take the pain killer and record the migraine on my calendar. Writing the word "headache" forces me out of denial. Migraines teach me to accept what is. 

I’m depressed when a migraine hits. It seemed to me, that meant I was depressed because my head hurt. But looking at  it closer, I realize the depression comes before the pain kicks in. Which means it’s just another physical symptom, not me feeling sad. It’s physical, not emotional. Before this discovery, depression felt hopeless; it was proof I was a flawed human being. Other physical conditions don’t make me feel personally inferior. When I catch a cold, I eat chicken soup and move a little slower. Now, when I catch depression, ditto. Migraines teach me depression isn’t personal. 

Because I’m an over-thinker, I’m thinking about this whole thing from still another angle.

How am I benefitting? Why ask the question in the first place? Identifying benefits is a subtle way of looking for a justification. My mind is saying, “Life, you’d better have a good reason for giving me headaches.” Cheryl Wilfong, (in her memoir, Breast Cancer Meets Mindfulness), reminds me that illness is a heavenly messenger. The message is, “our bodies are mortal.” Bodies wear out. My mind thinks my particular body is special and should not have to play by the rules. Life handed me a writing talent. And also excruciating headaches. I’m mystified by both.

How am I benefitting?

Migraines teach me life is beyond my understanding.


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