Shifting paradigms 

Apology

If you know what a paradigm is; it’s a great word and I like using it. It’s appropriate today. This weekend has been pretty tough and I’m chalking it down to a co-parenting fail.

We seem to be in a push/pull groundhog day where I feel that I’m losing out. Official decisions, external influences etc. have log jammed into a head fug that gives the feeling of skiing uphill.

Settled situations appear on a horizon that can’t be reached but yet, I’m still optimistic.

I still, have so much to be grateful for:

  • The cubs – love eternal
  • A roof over my head – warm; dry; safe
  • Food in my cupboards – work in progress…
  • The ability to earn more – thanks to my health and determination.

Rubens defeat.jpg

Reality

I don’t care who you are; we are all fighting an unseen battle. There are so many cliches out there such as ‘Walk a mile…’ ‘The night is darkest before the dawn…’ ‘Every winter has it’s spring..’ (I actually quite like winter) and they all ring true.

Change your mind and change your situation. Another cliche and I recognise that this doesn’t work if you are clinically depressed; that’s a special situation that can benefit from professional intervention but for anyone else, shift your paradigm.

How

  • Get a good night’s sleep – no problem was ever solved by worrying
  • Eat well – fuel yourself for what you face; ditch the junk
  • Exercise – if you have your health you have everything
  • Break it down – your issues; biggest and most important first. If they’re stacked up it will seem like you’re in the foothills of Mt Everest. If you’re not sure which is the biggest issue, figure which one will cause the most harm if you don’t tackle it
  • Create milestones – and celebrate small victories
  • Give yourself a break – no-one can keep going all the time
  • Win/win or no deal – back to the 7 Habits; there doesn’t have to be a loser

Whatever you do and whatever you’re going through: DO NOT GIVE UP.

“Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.” – Bruce Lee

BSD

More serious questions 

This morning’s drive in turned plenty deep plenty quickly.

“Dad; would a hurricane blow the hair off someone with Cancer?”

Whoa

After skillfully not crashing; I ponder a suitable response. I’d have preferred a ‘Where do babies come from’ as I have a script for that one but this was left field.

‘Those two things are quite unrelated darling; how did you put them together?’

Silence..

“Well; I’d noticed that when people get Cancer they lose their hair. I suspect that Cancer makes it loose so if you’re in a hurricane, those strong winds will only make matters worse.”

I can see her logic and decide to tackle the big one first.

‘Ok; it’s not the Cancer that causes sufferers to lose their hair, its the treatment. It can be quite aggressive’

Having lost my mother to the big C, I know enough about the topic to feed her facts. Preempting her next enquiry, I continue.

‘Cancer happens in the body at a cellular, microscopic, level. Every part of us is made up of cells. Technically we are constantly regenerating ourselves but slightly older than the version before..”With Cancer, somehow the message to create a new cell gets messed up and misunderstood, so the new cell isn’t quite as it should be. If there are enough of these not-so-right cells, they can attack the good cells. That can be really bad’

She looks creeped out.

‘It’s a gradual process; we call it mutating

Less creeped and now showing the look of ‘I’m gonna tell folk this in the playground’.

“So is a cell small? what’s the smallest living thing?”

Now I’m wading out into deep waters…

‘I think it’s a single celled, protozoa but I’m not sure; I’ll check this evening’

It’s been a while since Biology class.

“I think it’s a woodlouse”

The hurricane went unmentioned.

collapse

BSD

 

Two magpie confirmation. 

At the moment; nothing makes sense.

This doesn’t make sense. Things are tough and I’m conscious of this turning into a diary entry.

I’m a focused individual. Work; Kung-Fu, focused. Relationships? not so. I’m not sure why either.

I’m also a man of science. A lot of what I need to operate safely relies on my understanding of the scientific method and it’s application, but recently, I’ve been counting magpies.

You’re familiar with the rhyme I take it?

  1. For sorrow;
  2. For joy
  3. Don’t worry about the rest…

As with most luck/superstitions, I’m interested in it when it fits my narrative; a kind of umbrella for my mood.

magpie bin

From my bedroom window, sitting up first thing in the morning I can see my neighbour’s roof. For a suburban area the bird count is quite high, including varieties of species.

There is also a nest of magpies in the locality as their grating call will attest. In the morning, there can be any number around doing their destructive thing.

There are rules to magpie spotting and how this totally random, non-attributable event will affect the rest of your (my) day.

It has to be first thing in the morning; all subsequent magpie spottings after the initial sighting are either null and void, or serve as confluence to earlier magpie signals.


So here’s the thing….

I believe in making my own luck. I believe in both working smarter and harder, so why the hell is this my current state of mind?

I’m distracted. Things aren’t running smoothly in the co-parenting world.

It’s a blip.

Magpie in flight

BSD

A month ago I stopped drinking

Alcohol that is. Now I’ve become an insufferable bore to anyone who’ll listen. Today that’s you. 

Some of the best conversations I ever have are with myself and one of the latest ones was about how much alcohol I had consumed lately.

Now don’t get me wrong; I hadn’t dipped to the realms of problem drinking but I had got to the stage of comfort drinking without realising.

drunk panther.jpeg

It used to be a thing of mine to have a beer while watching the football. After a tough day at work I’d enjoy a single malt with a single ice cube; Oban; Talisker; Glenfiddich…

Triggers

Things started to pick up pace post separation. Not having the cubs around 24/7 hit me a lot harder than I expected so I found myself filling the gaps with work, exercise, more work and the odd glass of wine.

Then it happened

During the weekly shop I came across an award winning bottle of Gin so I duly bought a litre.

A week later it was almost gone.

Not good.

Not good at all.

So I stopped.

Just like that.


I’d noticed folk drinking non-alcoholic beer on nights out and wondered why they’d bother. Let’s face it; lager isn’t something you drink because it tastes nice. Or so I thought. So I gave it a try.

Result

Not bad at all. I’ve tried a few brands now and am currently working my way through some more. The best part is that I can now have a night out and drive. I think that’s a British thing.

The second best part is the clear head in the morning.

The only downside is watching your buddies descend through the evolution of man to the point where everything is funny.

Oh well; that’s better than the alternative.

Drunk on a bench.jpg

I’m not saying I’ll never touch a drop again, but my eyes are wide open now.

BSD

02:31

I suffer occasional insomnia

Well, not occasional; I suffer with poor sleep more often than not. Especially when I have things on my mind.

I was always one to stay up late, even though I’m well aware of the necessity of a decent night’s sleep. In my current occupation, this can be a bonus, but after two decades, the joke is wearing a little thin.

tired out

The usual pattern is this;

  • Full day’s work
  • Home to cook dinner
  • Laptop out; more work
  • Bed for 22:00
  • Overthink
  • Asleep between 0:00 and 01:50
  • Awake at 05:30
  • Alarm at 06:00

It differs slightly if I have the cubs but not by much.

I’ve tried most things but refuse to be medicated – it’s just not my style…

Any tips?

 

BSD

Climbing up mountains and walking down hills. 

Sticking with the motivation theme

As it tends to be an overarching element of being a single parent. The challenges come thick and fast.

I find that there is a common theme; my mind.

Whatever is facing you it can be easy to fall into the paradigm of perceiving it as as problem. I call it the dentist visit syndrome.

I have nothing against dentists, but I have had bad experiences in the past that had led me to fear them. As a result, during my late teens my dental health suffered. The turning point was when pain took over, and I had to do something.

£5 short of £700 later, I was fixed.

Oh, there was also the little matter of 12 separate injections in my gums to add to the experience.

That set me thinking. I was just realising my journey as a budding psychologist so I started to research mental sets and paradigms. It occurred to me that despite my fears, the procedures actually weren’t all that bad. I had built up this fear and picture in my mind that was so powerful, it drowned out all reason. My thoughts of the event were stronger than the reality of the event.

I had to change.

black-and-white-sport-fight-boxer

BSD

Push

Ever had one of those days, weeks when you just can’t seem to get motivated?

It’s happening to me a lot at the moment and I can’t quite pinpoint why. I suspect my diet is to blame.

It’s actually probably a combination of things that I’ve slowly let creep up on me but it knocks on into everything.

Recognition 

Is key. For me, it’s the workouts that drop off first, reflecting a lack of energy. This in turn leads to an inability to ‘power’ my way through the working day or week.

This is enough warning for me to take action. Depending on how bad I’m feeling, I’ll do a debrief of recent events; the objective being to find that something that needs addressing. An issue at work, a parental worry or something more fiscal is usually at the heart of the matter.

Ordinarily I’ll tackle things head on but every now and again, the needle goes into the red and the tank is empty.

crushed

 

Turning point

I have a word; a key phrase that I’ve conditioned myself to quickly take stock and re-energise myself whenever I say it…

Push

Well push, actually..

Just that, and that alone.

Pavlov

I read a book after I finished studying psychology entitled, ‘SELF MASTERY THROUGH CONSCIOUS AUTOSUGGESTION’ by Emile COUE.

It’s a little dated, so the vernacular can seem out of place but the premise is very much valid today. To summarise, it discusses the transformation of your physical environment by controlling your cognitive process.

I’ve mentioned before, that thoughts become things and this carries on that theme. For me, associated with me closing my eyes and saying ‘Push’, my breathing automatically slows, which in turn brings down my heart rate which calms my physical being.

I also quickly cycle through memories of past adversity, which I have successfully overcome.

It’s not easy and it doesn’t always work but more often than not, I find from somewhere, the energy to get through whatever wall I was facing.

I’d like to try something new; do any of you have a keyword or a process for overcoming adversity?

Let me know in the comments and lets get a discussion going.

XperiaZ3 722

BSD