A Beagle?

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Today I got a message from my daughter about Beagles looking for a home, dogs that have been used for animal testing and now live in an animal shelter. My reply was: “Is there something I need to read in-between the lines?”.

It is not the first time my daughter brings up the discussion about wanting to have a pet dog added to our household consisting of four humans, 2 cats and eventually a dog. Although I personally do not dislike the idea of a dog, I want my daughter and the rest of the family to consider all aspects of what it means to take care of a dog.

For now the most evident factor against having a dog is a financial aspect. Although, that is from my perspective. If we have to sustain the costs of a dog we will have to cut on other expenses. Next to that we have practical points to take care of like who is going to walk the dog several times a day, how will it work out with the cats, who is going to take care of the dog when we go on holidays, etc.

Funny is the battle that goes on in myself. On one side I like the idea of having a dog and if, on top of that, we can give this being a better life, why not do it. I must admit that the financial part scares me most. As we still have some challenges sometimes to get at the end of the month because every month it seems we have some extra’s to cover, I am not very keen in choosing for an action that will involve some initial costs and systematic extra monthly costs with a very slim but still extra chance that we might run in extra veterinary bills if we consider worst case scenario’s.

So, how to face this situation and keep everybody happy? Since it is a father’s duty to keep family members happy, isn’t it? I’ve already agreed my daughter will look at the real costs of having a dog. The fear or pressure she feels now is that the dogs are available now and nobody knows when a similar situation with the almost ideal dog race will repeat itself.

Important here is not to allow ourselves to be distracted by opinions, emotions and fears. We have to consider all points carefully and sum up all pros and cons to make a final decision at this moment in time. This will be a process all members of our family will have to walk for themselves.

For me the main point is the financial point that, seen purely from a practical aspect, will impact our immediate cash availability for this and maybe next month, and a little extra to consider on a monthly basis. To decide here is if we want and can postpone or change immediate expenses. The easiest way to save money is to spend less on food but that will force us to buy cheaper and unhealthier food.

All the other points are also relevant but a lot easier to consider although they might have a considerable impact, like walking the dog, feeding and cleaning. I also wonder how wise it is to add a dog to the family with two cats of a certain age? Will they go along or will there be constant stress for the cats?

We can do a lot of research on what other people have experienced in similar situations but nevertheless we will only know exactly by walking it. So, if it is really something we all want to give a try we will have to discuss the matter as a family and go through all the points to come to a self-honest decision that is based on what is best for all.

As part of the DIP course I will go through my personal points related to this matter and use self forgiveness to analyse and debunk the layers behind each of these points.

I forgive myself that I accept and allow myself to fear any matter that potentially leads to unwanted and uncontrolled costs.

I forgive myself that I accept and allow myself to consider expenses that are not initiated by basic needs or already established patterns as unwanted and as a threat to stability.

I forgive myself that I accept and allow myself to swing between wanting to be able to say yes to any kind of expenses and holding tight to not spending an extra penny on anything more than absolutely necessary.

I forgive myself that I accept and allow myself to fear uncontrolled expenses just because I label it as uncontrolled where I can take action to make sure there is no thing as uncontrolled expenses and enough buffer to handle unforeseen costs.

I forgive myself that I accept and allow myself to feel being a bad parent when I can not unconditionally approve the desire of my daughter just because it seems the best option to make her happy.

I forgive myself that I accept and allow myself the feeling that I need to make my daughter happy is more important than looking at the idea/proposal/wish in all its aspects and come to a joint decision we reached all together.

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Patience and physical labour

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Handrail

Some time ago I watched a documentary about a man living in the middle of nowhere, patiently building himself a log cabin to shelter him during the harsh winters. All the wood he used he cut with a hand saw, even the innumerable planks he needed for the floor and the roof. I was struck by how much patience the man had in going through this endless sawing without apparently showing any resistance or looking for other ways to do it more quickly.

Very recently I experienced what it means to allow yourself to be patient in the physical reality. I had to round off the ends of a wooden pole to be sued as a handrail for the stair to our attic. When I bought the pole I did not immediately work out how exactly I was going to shape it, I just preoccupied me with the position and the length. When my partner saw the pole she was content about its size and said that I had to round off the ends of course to make it nice and practical. “Of course”, I thought, but how am I going to do that without a turning lathe. With a file and sandpaper! “But, that is going to take ages!”, was my conclusion.

I took a breath, figured out the best way to round off the pole edge and started. It took me more than half an hour to reach a satisfactory result on one side. The other side went a little faster as I figured out how to optimize the work I was doing.

I was very satisfied with the result and the way I managed to go through physical labor to which I initially had resistances. I still had residual resistances at the idea I had to repeat this operation for two other pieces of handrail. But now that I have completed the second pole with easy within the hour and without impatience but just breathing and focusing on the physical aspect of that what I was doing I am confident the third pole will go as smoothly as the others.


Since I had reactions to starting this job I will now work out the resistances I’ve experienced to make sure I recognize patterns of thoughts and emotions so I can effectively direct myself if a future situation triggers these patterns. To do so I will start doing self forgiveness to pinpoint and forgive myself I reacted on a specific point. Then I will define corrections to make sure I will correct myself in a similar situation.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to experience the physical labour I had to do in order to round off the ends of the pole as difficult and a unnecessary physical activity.

When and as I see myself going into a belief that a specific physical activity is difficult and unnecessary I stop and I breathe. I see, understand and realize that I am limiting myself within this belief.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to have a tendency to look at how I can avoid physical labor by fantasizing about tools that can do the job but I do not have at my disposal.

When I see myself to have the tendency to avoid physical labor while fantasizing about how I could do it with tools I do not have, I stop and I breathe. I see, understand and realize that I am in the mind and not in the physical, and not acting with what is here and using the actual reality in the best way possible.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to think that rounding off the pole ends is unnecessary while suppressing the fact there is both a practical and aesthetic reason in making the ends rounded.

When I see myself suppressing real and practical facts with excuses, I stop and I breathe. I see, understand and realize that I am making up excuses while allowing me to suppress the real facts I see but don’t want to see. By stopping suppressing to see the real things for what they are I also stop my fear of dealing with real and physical facts and do not allow myself to hide in thoughts or in suppression.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to surprised the work seemed easier that expected when taking the labor breath by breath while I know that my mind is able to trick me and let me believe things that are not real. In this specific situation I tended to believe that rounding off the edges of the pole was a terrible activity, which it could have been if I allowed myself to believe it was such an activity.

When I see myself being surprised about physical facts (work) being easier than I thought I stop and I breathe. I see, understand and realize I still believe in my thoughts and tend to stick to it, disregarding the real experience I had on the matter. By allowing myself to accept the real physical experience I am allowing myself to be more effective in dealing with matters I encounter.

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Stages of rounding off a pole

T-t-t-to the d-d-d-d-dentist!

fear-dental-phobiaTomorrow I have my first real appointment with a dentist in 8 years. I thought I was completely cool with it until I dared to have a real look at my feelings and emotions.

Yes! I am nervous. In the past weeks one of teeth that is going to be pulled started to crumble a little. Although it was a kind of relief since there is now less food that remains stuck in it, I started imagining all kind of nasty cracking sounds the tooth will make when the dentist is pulling the remains of it. Ant those cracking sounds make me shiver, brrrrr!

On the other side, the results of in total three sessions are very appealing. I will have only healthy teeth, no difficult to reach and clean (and not fully grown) wisdom teeth and all old amalgam fillings removed in a non toxic and safe way. On top of that my wobbly bite will be corrected allowing me to chew in a much more effective way, maybe for the first time in my life, leading to a better digestion and a more effective way to digest food.

While searching the web for an image to add to this post I ran into series of ugly and rotten teeth causing me to react in disgust and hope that it is not my mouth that looks that way.

Although I know exactly what is going to happen in my mouth tomorrow, I need to work on a couple of reaction I have and the thoughts I am creating inspired by the subject. In order to prevent my mind to work on the actual teeth pulling and drilling I am pointing out my reactions in the following statements:

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to suppress the feeling and emotions I have related to this dentist visit in an attempt to push away nasty thoughts and not having to deal with them.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to create imaginary scenario’s of how the extraction of the tooth will be even if I have no real memories nor experience with it.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to imagine how the extraction will sound and already getting the shivers as a reaction to the imaginary cracking sounds.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to focus on the tooth extraction and drilling and the inconvenient pains afterwards and not really consider that these interventions are going to have a whole series of positive effects on my health and well being.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to experience fear for the pain I might feel after anesthetics stop working while making this pain something much bigger than the real pain I will have to go through.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to react to pictures of rotten teeth with disgust while projecting what I see to myself even though I know that I have no such identical situation as shown in the picture.

To drink or not to drink…

Drink_1659224cSome five years ago I decided to stop drinking beverages containing alcohol. The motivation behind this decision had many aspects. As part of the process I was in at that moment I had asked myself why I was drinking a glass of wine or beer almost every day. Since the answer was “I don’t honestly know, probably because I am used to it”, I started to dig a little deeper.

I was not drinking for social reasons, nor did I do it under peer pressure. I started drinking in my early twenties but never more than just one glass, occasionally two, in combination with a meal. I never had the urge to drink more than a couple of glasses when going out with friends and I never got drunk.

Adding to this the fact I started to react to the alcohol on a physical level, I decided to stop cold turkey. Since my partner already stopped drinking completely a while earlier it was not a difficult decision in private situations. Also in social situations explaining people why I did not drink (anymore) was quite easy using the health related point.

In the past years I have observed on many occasions how people deal with alcohol. It is impressing and scary at the same time. I’ve seen people becoming uneasy and even aggressive only by the thought they would be deprived from their ‘drug’.

So, in a way, I was happy for myself I was not drinking alcohol anymore, it was easy and allowed me to skip looking at all the aspects and dimensions connected to alcohol. On several occasions where I went to parties with other people, I found myself in the role of the non drinking driver. A role I actually liked because it satisfied my need to be the good and caring type of person taking care of other people not any more able to take full responsibility for their actions.

Very recently I decided to try a glass of wine. In my process of stopping drinking alcohol, wine for me degraded into a silly drink made from rotten grapes. A kind of reaction to the fact in the past I could become really enthusiastic about wine in all aspects. I really convinced myself that wine had an awful taste. And that was the truth for some wines I tasted in all those years.

The glass of wine I had was of a good quality and I drank it with a nice meal. I was almost surprised the wine tasted really good in combination with the food and I enjoyed drinking it. I had just one glass of wine as it was enough taste to go well with the food.

I also found I was not any longer reacting to the alcohol and that meant that from now on I can eventually have a alcoholic drink in specific social occasions. I have no interest in going back to a routine, having a glass has to be a nice experience of taste in combination with food.

After this long period without drinking a drop of alcohol and having done research on who I am and how I stand in relation to alcohol I now feel I can make a real choice whether to drink a glass of wine or beer. It is the same choice as any other type of food or beverage where I take in consideration what is good for my body in that specific moment. I know that I will not make a choice based on routine nor due to social or peer pressure. I will simple choose what is best for me.

In the process I went through I have seen several points I have to address properly in order to close the loop. In the following statements I will apply self-forgiveness to point out a specific topic and make sure I ‘reprogram’ myself.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to distantiate myself from the effects alcohol can have on people. By doing so I am not taking full responsibility regarding the consequences alcohol can have for my body. 

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to become the savior of the situation in occasions I was the non-drinking person that could safely drive home others that have been drinking. 

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to indirectly encourage people to choose for drinking a (extra) glass of alcoholic beverage when offering to be their driver for the occasion.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to define wine as a drink made from rotten grapes from a perspective of taking distance from wine as being something bad with according emotions, preventing myself to take wine for what it is for me on an emotional level and for my body on a physical level.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to use the excuse of reacting to alcohol on a physical level to justify I was not drinking while avoiding to look at other dimensions related to myself and drinking alcohol.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to define wine as an evil thing by defining it with diminutive adjectives like ‘rotten’. By doing so I gave wine a negative definition that I used to justify the fact I was not going to drink it anymore. 

Living in a hurry

Alone in the wildernessRecently I watched the documentary Alone in the Wilderness driven by the idea of enjoying beautiful shots of nature and wildlife. The documentary tells a story about a man living in the wilderness of Alaska while building himself a log cabin.

Many shots were about this man building his cabin and suggested he spent hours and hours sawing logs to create beams and even planks. I was impressed with the idea someone could have the courage of sawing by hand endless amounts of wood. I would have got restless and eventually opted for a tool that would have me doing this task faster.

But why? Why do I have this hurry, this rush to do my work in as little time as possible? This man out in the wilderness had only one goal, use the summer to build himself a shelter for the winter. He did his work with dedication and patience and he even explained how to saw, even if you get the feeling there is no end to it: find the right rhythm and stick to it.

I was impressed. That is a great way to approach tasks. Find your best rhythm  to do repetitive movements so they are done in the best way for the tool in combination with your body. I recognize this point. I like to do DIY and now I see that there is a relation to this point of hurry. While working with physical things and being focused on just that specific task I am performing in the best way I can, I do not have this feeling of hurry anymore. As soon as my thoughts drift away and I loose focus the results are less precise and I will get back that sense of hurry.

Day to day life is a chain of events with a constant time pressure, at least, that is the way I experience it. I am in a constant hurry while trying to slow myself down since the stress caused by being in a hurry is not supportive for my health. I am sure this feeling of constant pressure is a root cause of my chronical health issues.

The world we live in is only focusing on getting things done faster. It is as if we are loosing all patience and are more and more in a rush, trying to get things done as quickly as possible. Why? I see a direct relation with money and therefore survival. The more and quicker we work the more money we can make. This will allow us to reach the goal of happiness earlier where happiness is defined as a situation with enough money to live comfortably and without money related sorrows.

In my recent life making enough money to survive and have a decent life has been a source of stress and hurry. Now that I am in a more stable situation I see I can manage to take a deep breath once in a while. I also see that when slowing down my thoughts clear up and my productivity increases exponentially. A tasks I might try to do in a hurry while feeling pressure and causing stress and loss of focus can take up many times more effort and time compared to doing the same task after a deep breath and having slowed down myself.

My real challenge now is to slow down in any moment I feel this urge to hurry. When I take a deep breath, assess the situation in that very moment and then decide how to go on I can deploy my full potential. In order to be effective and really apply this point I use the following self forgiveness statements:

I forgive myself I have accepted and allowed myself to live in a sense of rush, preventing myself to be focused and effective with as consequence that I am only adding up to the source of stress instead of taking it away.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to not slow down and take a deep breath when feeling tense and loosing focus on the activity I am doing.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to feel anxiety when looking at someone else doing an activity that requires focus, dedication and patience and projecting that situation to myself convincing myself that I would not be able to do the same.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to not see I can slow down in any moment by taking a deep breath so I can regain my full focus and act according to my fullest potential. 

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to feel the constant pressure of having to hurry in order to perform my tasks while I can live a better, more relaxed, more efficient life by just slowing down and not allowing to be carried away with the sense of rush and hurry that exists in the minds of people around myself.

Anger and frustration – part 2

healthcheckFor context read my previous blog post. Here I will continue with self forgiveness by looking into the points that opened up in my blog.


Suppression

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to quickly switch to action in the moment I was confronted with my daughter’s problem allowing me to suppress emotional reactions.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to deny myself the possibility to be self-honest by immediately going into suppression and denial in the moment I was confronted with my daughter’s form problem and the fact I came home with the wrong GP statement.


Anger

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself, when asked for it by my buddy,  to deny I was dealing with anger as a reaction to the wrongly filled in form and the consequences I would have to walk in order to deal with the situation.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to suppress the anger that I felt coming up when my daughter told me about the problem with the wrongly filled in form. I immediately focused myself on the actions to take, not allowing myself to breathe, stop and assess the actual situation and my reactions giving myself the opportunity to see and understand how I stand in that situation.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to consider the anger I felt in the different stages I walked through while dealing with the consequences of the form problem of my daughter as something I should ignore/suppress because I see anger as something bad that reminds me of my father’s anger outbursts.


Fear

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to not allow myself to experience fear when dealing with a situation that threatens the possibility of my daughter having a driver’s license.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to suppress the fear as one of the emotions triggered by the form problem of my daughter.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to having suppressed very quickly the moment of fear when my partner noticed the GP statement was wrong. Instead of giving myself a moment to acknowledge the reactions I had on that specific situation, I quickly concluded I had to go back to fix the situation since I felt responsible for not having been able to see this mistake myself.


Frustration

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to let frustration “eat” me while I know what I can do to track the cause of the frustration and stop the whole thing all together.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to start writing a letter to the GP office based on the anger and frustration that I allowed to build up in myself by suppressing my emotions in the first place.


Inferiority

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to see myself as stupid and unfit for the task when my partner pointed out the answer provided by the GP was wrong.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to be overwhelmed by the fact I managed to get the requested answer and eagerness to get what we needed to go to the next step and failed to check if the provided answer was OK or not.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to experience a sense of inferiority in the moment my partner pointed out the answer provided was wrong out of a conviction I am not the best person to do these kind of things since they are normally dealt with by my partner.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to doubt I am able to perform any task that is required only because I am making up excuses on why I am eventually not prepared to these tasks, instead of taking responsibility for that specific situation and assess all relevant dimensions and make sure I am properly informed/prepared.


Blame

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to have blamed myself that I did not see the GP was writing a wrong statement and even worse that I have not been able to direct the situation so that I could leave with the statement we needed to carry on.

Anger and Frustration

My Life of AngerA few weeks ago I came home from work and found my family gathered in the living room discussing the hot topic of the moment: The soap about my daughter’s driving license.

It all started months ago, when my daughter filled in a form on internet to declare she was physically fit to drive. Unfortunately she made a wrong selection on a question declaring she had a specific medical condition. Only after receiving a request for providing medical files we found out about the mistake. Calling the institution that takes care of these procedures learned we had to provide a declaration by our GP our daughter was fit to drive and that the question was erroneously set to Yes instead of No.

We asked the GP and we found a Physician willing to fill in the paperwork. Unfortunately she did her work according to her interpretation of ‘Doing it properly’ and stated my daughter has had a psychiatric treatment…

“A What?”, was my partner’s reaction after reading the statement. The physician mixed up psychiatric with psychological, not taking into account the second was an imposed ‘treatment’ after a rehabilitation and was irrelevant in the context of the question. The institution was puzzled by the answer and requested even more information. They contacted the physician who decided to give even more medical information, without notifying my daughter first and therefore breaking the privacy rules and causing an even greater confusion. To make the whole thing even worse, at the GP the head physician had told my daughter they were not willing to collaborate and not willing to provide any statements related to this case and driving licenses. Remember, it all started with a wrong click on an electronic form…

After these last developments I became angry and frustrated. In this mood I decided to write a letter to the GP office to set things straight.

That same evening I had a chat planned with my DIP buddy and discussed this point. I am glad we did! After a few minutes I could see I was into a huge reaction, not the best mood to work on a constructive solution.

Writing a letter in reaction, where the purpose was to blame the GP for not collaborating and telling them that they should take their responsibility for their actions seems right in the first place. But, if you realize it all started because of a mistake on your side… there is no point is starting to blame the other, even if their actions caused more troubles. The only commonsensical way to go from here is not to go into reaction, since it will decrease the chances of cooperation by others.

Since there is no way to go back and ‘correct’ the points that went wrong, the only way forward is to assess the actual situation and start from there.

Well, we did! We found another physician willing to check my daughter and declare her to be in good health. So, that hurdle is taken and the process can now go on.

End of story…eh, not really. Since this experience is perfect to have a look at my reactions, my buddy helped me through a series of points.

Why was I so angry when I learned the physician refused to cooperate? Winding back to the starting point:

Was I angry when I found out my daughter made a mistake while filling in the form? “No” was my first answer. My buddy pushed the point to make sure I was self-honest on this. I am glad he did. Going back to the very moment I learned about the mistake I see I was not allowing myself to react in anger or react at all. I suppressed any emotion in a split second and started thinking on a (quick) solution to the problem.

While analyzing this very point I learned I was dealing with fear, very obvious fear about the possibility my daughter wasn’t able to get a driving license and all the consequences, not only her not being able to travel on her own but also self-interest while having to drive her to her appointments.

All this in a split second! But it was there and if I am not dealing with it, the possibility is high I will go through a same kind of experience the next time something similar comes up.

So, my anger was a consequence of fear resulting in frustration. What to do about it?

The answer is self forgiveness. By forgiving myself to have accepted and allowed myself to accept all related dimensions I am able to pinpoint the source of my emotions, understand the triggers and stop the consequences. The next time I am in a similar trigger situation it will be easier to see how and why I react and eventually suppress feeling and emotions so I can direct myself in a more effective way and avoid going into a loop and repeating my experiences again and again.

In my next blog post I am going to write out the self forgiveness points related to this story.