Managing my Monkey Mind #dailyinspo365

With a head more full of chatter than a chimps’ compound, I need to find a way to silence the monkey mind.

There’s so much going on in my universe right now that my personal space feels cramped. With each passing day it’s becoming more difficult to silence the mental chatter. High time to muzzle my monkey mind.

If you’re new to the blog you won’t know the detail so to quickly summarise – I’m a stressball with a mind more active that a beehive full of bumbles.

I’ve been seeing a kinesiologist once a month for over a year now. We deal with things, tackle issues. Finally, we’ve arrived at that point where get to address the chattering classes of my cerebral cortex.

How?

By both practicing controlling the mental chat and being mindful during my waking hours – what I do in my sleep is my business!!

Being mindful at all times simply means being fully conscious throughout the day. Being cognisant of not just my thoughts, but of my actions, emotions, opinions, perceptions, vocal expression – everything. So, if I find my mind going for a wander while I’m working, I need to practice bringing it back – kicking and screaming – to the task in hand.

Or, if my ‘monkey mind’ decides to have a natter with its alter ego, I need to rein it in forthwith. No more sitting in judgement; the time has come to park all prejudices and wipe my critical slate clean. Like dust that clogs corners, all negative thoughts must be swept away.

If I do find myself sitting on the throne of judgement, favourite cushion and hot drink on standby, I must immediately acknowledge what I am doing and in atomic fashion, turn my electrons into protons. By turning negative into positive, I’ll be openly accepting the fact that what I’m thinking / feeling / doing is neither helpful, nor loving, nor constructive.

In so doing, I’ll be setting the intention to learn from my mistakes, do better next time, and move forward in a new way.

Speaking of intentions.

At the start of each day, I must practice setting my intentions, road maps for where I wish to go in life and how I’d like my life to be.

Without intentions there is no road map, so I’ll continue on the road to nowhere.

Intentions need to be things I believe in, things that matter to me: I intend to listen without prejudice; I intend to work for an NGO; I intend to promote sustainability; I intend to laugh every day; I intend to take responsibility for my actions. They also need to be positive. Two key objectives for me – and intentions which will help support my current situation – are positivity and self-belief. Going forward, one of my mantras will be,

Today is a great day. I have the consciousness required to surpass any challenges that lie ahead of me 

Tomorrow is monkey mind management and intention setting work day 1. I should start to see positive results within a matter of weeks. Here’s hoping I’ll be able to silence the internal naysayers, quieten the mental chatterers, and calm emotional storms. Wish me luck. I’ll keep you posted.

*If a little of what you fancy appeals, and you’d like to have my #dailyinspo365 posts appearing in your inbox, I’d love to have you along for the joy, the bumps, and more importantly, the company. You can follow along by clicking the ‘Follow DervSwerve’ link on the right!

What to Do? #dailyinspo365

I’ve had no sleep. Nothing at all. Not a jot.

It’s 5.30am and I’m sitting in the living room drinking Pai Mu Tea and feeling a little worse for wear. Weary before the bustling grind has even blinked an eye or scratched an itch.

In three hours, I’ll board a plane to London, forecast to be a hot and heavy 29 degrees, the type of weather that drains. Whatever gas is left in the tank will be well and truly gone by the time I step on the return flight twelve hours later.

I’m currently listening to Radio 4 which is reporting that 750,000 families in Britain have had to fund the care for relatives living with dementia. That despite repeated promises, the British government has failed to provide the additional funding required to support these families. The irony is that if those same relatives developed heart failure or cancer, they’d be looked after by the NHS, but because they’ve developed dementia or Alzheimers, they’re refused any assistance. How wrong is that?

However bad the situation is in the UK, it is ten times worse in Ireland. There is nothing here but lip service for those with elderly parents or dementia sufferers needing care, respite, and/or assistance.

But enough of that for today.

If I sound a little negative, it’s partly because I’m tired, and also a little hungry. In the main, it’s because at 2.35am this morning I received yet another phone call from the Gardai (Irish police) advising me that my elderly father had fallen in his apartment and asking if I either had keys to let them in or knew the combo to the outside gate. Same phone call, same questions, different month.

This is the sixth time in as many months that my dad has fallen in his home. Always in the middle of the night, always with the same results.

The question is, what to do about it?

Who am I to interfere with another adult’s life and yet, I feel the burden of responsibility to a man now well past the prime of life. Becoming increasingly fragile, he is almost a danger to himself. His confidence has been knocked by a recent theft, his legs are seizing up, and apart from a few neighbours in his gated community and the odd ‘auld lad’ in the pub, he’s pretty much alone.

Don’t get me wrong. Where he lives is safe and secure. Everything is provided from orthopaedic beds and chairs to extended hours of home help and public nurse visits. But it’s the nights that are proving the problem. He is tripping over himself with tiredness or sleepiness, and there is no-one there to help him up. Powerless, he resorts to sounding his personal alarm, which in turn alerts the Gardai, setting in motion a train of events that inevitably result in his being hospitalised.

So here I am. Sitting on the sofa wondering what to do. I’m practically a full time carer to my dementia-sufferer mother. I don’t have the ability to bi-locate. There are only so many hours. There is no-one to ask. No-one to help.

Again I ask, what to do?

There has to be an answer, somewhere, because this situation cannot go on indefinitely.

*If a little of what you fancy appeals, and you’d like to have my #dailyinspo365 posts appearing in your inbox, I’d love to have you along for the joy, the bumps, and more importantly, the company. You can follow along by clicking the ‘Follow DervSwerve’ link on the right!

Flat As a Pancake #dailyinspo365

It’s only Day 1 and already the battery has gone dead. Instead of feeling all light and airy, I’m as flat as a pancake. 

Half way through day one and a dead head/sluggish bod combo are nailing me to the floor. My legs feel leaden, my bones are aching. One minute my head is as light as a feather, the next it’s a ton weight on my neck. If this is how I feel and I haven’t yet reached the end of the first day, how the hell am I going to last one full month?

I’m constantly trying to foist cups of caffeine on my mother so that I can do some deep inhaling of the fragrant scent of fresh ground, or china leaves. Without the usual toxic levels of caffeine and sugar my energy has slumped to an all time low, my concentration levels have flatlined, and I’ve a headache on the brew that I know is gonna be a killer.

Restless and lacking any kind of focus, I’ve turned into the human incarnation of the fidget spinner. I’m not down when I’m back up again, moving things from there to here, and schlepping around looking for inane things to do to pass the time because work simply isn’t happening right now.

In an apparent act of self-kindness, I’ve made myself some gently perfumed Bee Kind tea from Neal’s Yard. On any other day this would be a welcome treat, but today, as my body slowly expunges all known traces of toxicity, it’s redolent of drinking slightly lukewarm perfume, albeit one that’s floral and organic.

Be that as it may, I find myself squeezing the last honeyed drops from my little white teapot. Anything to create the illusion of drinking ‘real tea’.  However much it gnaws away inside, I know this feeling is only transient. In a few days it’ll be gone, along with the bloating, the cravings for stodge, and the quiet screams for sugar. It will, won’t it?

I’m not hungry as such. It’s the lack of ‘chewing’ that’s posing something of a challenge.

Is it all in my head? I really don’t know. Truth be told it’s currently all in my mouth as I crave something to get my teeth into. Activated nuts are allowed in small doses so when my chomping on the bit got so bad that I was in danger of it becoming a permanent thing, I smugly reached for my little pouch of Himalayan Salted Almonds. Six months out of date almonds! What’s six months to a woman desperate for something to bite down on, or for a morsel to chew.

A small handful kept the toothy wolves from the cupboard door so to speak.

As for the juices themselves?

Thus far, I’ve imbibed five, consuming a total of 450 cals. This excludes the 100 odd cals I consumed by way of the almonds. Tummy rumbling much?

The morning kicked off as usual with a Synergy Pro-Argi drink. This was followed by step one of the cleanse in the form of Water + activated Charcoal. It has a little lemony kick with a floral aftertaste courtesy of the addition of lavender. This was quickly followed by a bottle of the Cacao Nut Milk, which while it looks more chocolatey than it tastes, is pleasantly satisfying nonetheless. The Easy Green and Clean Carrot drinks are juicery par for the course; the former is a not unpleasant green juice while the latter is a standard ginger zinger albeit of bitesize proportions.

Fifth in line is an odious concoction called Lean Green. It’s made predominantly from vegetables, meaning it has that sharp, almost ‘green’ taste otherwise known in my book as pondweed. Made from ginger, lemon, romaine, cucumber, kale, spinach and celery – it’s the celery that’s the bugger – it lacks the light sweetness of Easy Green, and is an altogether more difficult drink. The proof of the pudding is in the fact that there is still about one fifth of it left in the bottle. If you do ever indulge in a PRESS VC, hold your nose for this baby.

With five hours to go before I throw myself into bed, I’ve the Clean Beet, Vanilla Nut milk and Water + Blue Spirulina drinks to go. Be still my beating heart! In desperation, I’m currently chewing the knob of a carrot, tongue firmly in cheek.

I know the worst is yet to come. Cooking and serving my mother’s dinner, not to mention the post-dinner clear up, which is foodie dynamite for the Queen of Pickers. It’s going to take all my inner stubborn mare not to bow to the Devil’s call – the fresh vegetables, dauphinoise potatoes (it’s the sauce, not the spuds that’s on my radar), and leftover flakes of honey roast salmon. Oh God, I’m already salivating. Be still my hungry heart!

Derv

*If a little of what you fancy appeals, and you’d like to have my #dailyinspo365 posts appearing in your inbox, I’d love to have you along for the joy, the bumps, and more importantly, the company. You can follow along by clicking the ‘Follow DervSwerve’ link on the right!

VC Day – PRESS_Preview #dailyinspo365

As VC-Day approaches, I don my needs-must hat, pump up my long deflated bravado, and neck as much caffeine as is physically possible in one day!

Tomorrow is VC-Day! Yes folks. After months of the down three, up five, I’m taking a cavernous plunge into the world of hardcore cleanse.

To bring an end to the long running ‘plateau show’, it was necessary for me to make peace with myself. This involved acceptance that the ‘eat today, gone tomorrow’ policy of yesteryear which had served me so well for so long, had failed to transition with me into ‘middle earth’.

Yes scores of hours – and euros – spent on personal training have given me a six-pack – somewhere, I can feel it, I swear – and while I have developed well-honed, chunky munky arms, I’ve struggled to drop a full dress size. There’s only so much sweat I’m prepared to ooze without seeing any ‘real results’. Only so much money I’m prepared to invest when there’s little or no return.

Enough is enough. It’s time to bite the bullet and go full weightloss commando. The time is now for ‘diet delivered to your door’.

‘We understand that asking you to give up caffeine for a month probably isn’t realistic so we recommend cutting down and having a maximum of one or two cups a day’ … ahahahahahaha-ha

As a men-o-pauser, I’ve been fighting the Battle of the Bulge for nigh on two years. I’ve tried countless iterations of vegan, vegetarian, and freshairian, all to no avail. Following various restricted diets – carb free, low carb, high fat, eleven day, suck your thumb, you get the gist – initially with some success, ultimately proved frustrating. No sooner would I lose three or four pounds than I’d hit the wall as they say. Trust me when I tell you that nothing is more of a motivation mauler than the needle sticking in the groove.

So here I am, on VC-eve, driven by desperation, frustration, and determination in equal measure.

“Drinking water to stay thin or is it to purify?”

“What does VC stand for,” I hear you cry – you are crying aren’t you, probably with laughter?

VC stands for Virgin Cleanse. Yerp. Tomorrow I will offer myself up on the altar of PRESS London when I lose my cleanse virginity to their V-Juice plan: “the perfect introduction to cleansing, sweet and simple”.

What does it entail? For their chosen number of days, not exceeding five, the virgin cleansee downs a bevvy of nutrient-packed bevvies including juices, nut milks, and waters. The eight cold-pressed juice and drinks daily diet consists of,

  • Activated Charcoal Water (stop sniggering)
  • Cacao Leche Nut Milk
  • Easy Green Juice
  • Clean Carrot Juice
  • Lean Green Juice
  • Beet Juice
  • Vanilla Leche Nut Milk
  • Blue Spirulina Water

The liquid-only diet can, in cases of complete desperation, be supplemented with a few activated nuts or a little raw veg. Neither caffeine nor alcohol are allowed, but herbal tea is permitted and water consumption is encouraged. (Brings to mind those lyrics from the MSP track You Stole the Sun from my Heart, “drinking water to stay thin or is it to purify?”

So dear people, this will be my dietary life for the next two days. I’ll probably be gnawing my knuckles by tomorrow night, but only time will tell.

Oh, and just because I’m a complete all or nothing masochist, the VC is only a precursor to the big event. Yes folks, for the next month, you’ll get to join me while I glug and slug my way through the PRESS Fab-In-4 four week diet plan, more of which anon.

Tune in next time when I’ll be in the throes of cold turkey in the hope of not just finally ridding myself of my caffeine/sugar/gluten/solid food addiction, but of shedding some excess Derv. Fingers crossed, may the force be with me.

Derv

*If a little of what you fancy appeals, and you’d like to have my #dailyinspo365 posts appearing in your inbox, I’d love to have you along for the joy, the bumps, and more importantly, the company. You can follow along by clicking the ‘Follow DervSwerve’ link on the right!

Driving me to Distraction #dailyinspo365

A post in which I reflect upon being told that contrary to popular opinion, you are indeed too old to learn!

“You’re never too old” or so the saying goes. Well, not according to my now ex-driving instructor. It would seem that I am of an age when it is nigh on impossible for this old dog to learn new tricks.

Iho there is an age when we must accept that we are too old to learn, and I’ve reached it. This sagacious pronouncement came after a particularly traumatic second driving lesson in which I was shouted at, ridiculed, and had my hand slapped. Distressed much? Just a jot! Confidence battered to within an inch of its life? Pretty much.

To explain.

I don’t particularly want to learn how to drive, I need to. While the youthful enthusiasm I had for driving has long since dissipated, I’m not exactly apathetic. It doesn’t bother me one way or another. My approach is practical rather than exuberant, that ship has long since sailed.

To bring you up to speed, I had driving lessons many moons ago. I wasn’t bad, had smooth clutch control, could easily handle a three point turn, and didn’t break a sweat negotiating hill starts. However, when my second licence expired meaning I had to apply for the test, I jacked it in, mainly because I felt that not having a car to practice in, I was at a serious disadvantage.

Fast forward seventeen years.

My parents are now quite elderly and need to be ferried here, there and so on. The taxi thing is becoming a pain – not just in terms of the financial implications, but also because one is reliant both on their availability and punctuality.

Ipso facto, it’s time to take the bull by the wheel and steer my way into a less costly state of self-reliance. The theory behind taking some initial lessons in West Cork was that it would be calmer and quieter hopefully leading to a relaxed me and thus a positive driving experience. I’ve been the front seat passenger in two bad collisions – one head on – so my nerves being a little bit shot, it was thought best to ease me gently back into driving in an area noted for its super-slow pace and relaxed attitude.

Cue drivezilla.

Of the three local driving instructors that were recommended to me, only the third was available during my stay. I booked an initial lesson for the Tuesday, and while there were some signs that I was potentially putting myself into the hands of not the most patient person on the planet, nonetheless as it went quite well, I thought “ok, let’s go for seconds”.

In hindsight, all the early signs of drivezilla were there during that first lesson, but,while the lack of a calm, professional approach ie the shouting, the leg grabbing and the sighing, did dent my already weak as water confidence, I put it down to mea culpa and promised myself it’d be better the next time.

While I am “of a certain age” (her words, not mine), I like to think that my memory is still pretty sharp and from what I can recall of my original lessons, I do remember the order in which I was taught certain things.

Things like checking the mirror and that the gears were in neutral, going though the various hand positions for changing gears, applying clutch/brake to stop, and going up and down between first and second gears were all gone through in detail. Only then was I encouraged to take my first tentative steps towards driving on a quiet road, never exceeding 30 m.p.h. as it was a built up area.

Follow your instinct.

You know don’t you, when something doesn’t gel. When you don’t click with someone. It’s not right at ‘my ripe age’ to feel afraid of someone, or to be stressed going into any kind of a lesson. So when my heart began beating rapidly at 11.55pm today I should have made up some excuse, given the instructor half the agreed fee and beat a hasty retreat to the terrace of the hotel to indulge in some sun and serenity.

I should have followed my instincts. Instead I went forward, where even the fearless fear to tread and ladies and gentlemen, it was an unmitigated disaster. I won’t bore you with the details but riddle me this! When you’re asked to clutch/brake when in third gear, and thereafter you’re told to find the bite and continue without any mention being made of changing back into first, all hell will break loose, yes?

Well, that was the tipping point. Was it too much to expect to be guided through every stage of the drive with patience and encouragement? Instead I was expected to drive in third and fourth gears on both major and narrow, winding roads having gone up and down through the gears not more than twice during the first lesson. Is it me? Am I a bit dim?

With the tension rising up through my arms and a headache pounding on the door, I pulled the car over, and said “that’s it, no more, you take over”. There is only so much abuse – physical and verbal, ridicule and rubbishing I’m prepared to put up with from anyone. Angry screaming is not conducive to calm driving. Neither is expecting the learner to fill in the blanks.

To drive or not to drive that is the question.

Parting is such sweet sorrow, except when it comes to an abusive teacher. Her final words to me were, “If you DO decide to continue, you’ll come to realise after a time that it’d probably be best if you go for an automatic car”.

So, the decision that now lies before me is whether or not to continue.

After what I’d previously been through, it took every ounce of my strength to once again sit behind a wheel. Now what? Is this a ‘forever fear’ or was I just unlucky? Only time and another attempt will tell. But when that’ll be, well, that’ll require a bit more inner strength than I’ve got in the tank just now.

*If a little of what you fancy appeals, and you’d like to have my #dailyinspo365 posts appearing in your inbox, I’d love to have you along for the joy, the bumps, and more importantly, the company. You can follow along by clicking the ‘Follow DervSwerve’ link on the right!