How do you push yourself – in a good way?

23 Nov 2018
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And does it make your rabid dog go quiet? What do you feel?

In the YMCA after my eviction, I take the steps two at a time going up. (You know... exercise helps with stress response).

What about going down? I try it. Unsteady on my feet, one cautious hand on the hand rail. More certain now - hands off - focus on being fluid. Try to make the impact on my knees less. Try to make my footfall as I climb two at a time more quiet. Speed more consistent. I will be 60 next month. I am learning to dance through the obstacles the universe presents. Perform in the present. One huge benefit, it shuts that dog the hell up.

As a child and young adult I only had the present, really. The fear and pain of the past is miniscule, a lot less than I learnt to endure as I lived the consequences of my adult choices. Some children are not so lucky but I remember the wild freedom of living in the present as a teenager and young adult. Dancing through the universe in the present, all pain and joy in the instant lived.

In middle age I remember the intense pain of a failed affair (don't judge - I am being honest here so you understand my conflicted-ness) driving my Saab 9000i on the motorway at 90mph finding each concrete bridge support flashing by was inviting me to twitch the steering wheel towards it to end the tear-blurring pain I was feeling. That pain was in the present. My rabid dog had me by the throat and was trying to rip it out. But here's the thing. It was a past event – recent I grant you – but a past event.

My daughter is cycling in front of me on our outing that she has moved heaven and earth to force me to come along on. With her implacable 8 year old logic she was trying to cheer me up. My rabid dog was in charge. She was trying to ground me in the present. In the cycle ride I ignored the wisdom of children, my glorious child. I trace the beginning of the crack that is now an un-crossable gulf between us to that moment that I gave up. I hit the cycle brakes – forcing her to turn for home so I could nurse my past rather than to exist in the present with her. Her protesting tears ignored, to my shame.

Existing in the present seems to me to be a huge step in the right direction. I am not inviting you to take steps two at a time going down. Perhaps I am inviting you to choose to push your envelope in whatever way you find shuts that effing dog up if only for a minute.

More startling than anything - as I push it and take the steps down two at a time - I feel young again.

Adrien

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

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Comments

Ach UK

Nov. 23, 2018, 5:45 a.m.

Thank you for sending this blog in Adrian. The reading of it made me feel sad and angry for those moments in your past which have left you with the howling pain that surfaces to trouble you so. It's difficult for me to find constructive comment, I might be able to find words later. For now my head is filled with an old tune - Bronski Beat's " Small Town Boy " and its repetitive chorus. Best wishes to you, may Parkour and cycling help. XX Ach.

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Adrien

Nov. 23, 2018, 10:28 a.m.

Thank you Ach. Bronski Beat... forgotten that I loved that tune. And Parkour.... perhaps a bridge too far, but I can dream. Maybe IronMan first. :-)

Adrien

Nov. 23, 2018, 10:28 a.m.

Thank you Ach. Bronski Beat... forgotten that I loved that tune. And Parkour.... perhaps a bridge too far, but I can dream. Maybe IronMan first. :-)

Adrien

Nov. 23, 2018, 10:28 a.m.

Thank you Ach. Bronski Beat... forgotten that I loved that tune. And Parkour.... perhaps a bridge too far, but I can dream. Maybe IronMan first. :-)

Adrien

Nov. 23, 2018, 10:28 a.m.

Thank you Ach. Bronski Beat... forgotten that I loved that tune. And Parkour.... perhaps a bridge too far, but I can dream. Maybe IronMan first. :-)

Adrien

Nov. 23, 2018, 1:38 p.m.

Like Moses, I was impatient and clicked it four times before the page responded. I never wanted to see the promised land anyways. ;-)

Ach UK

Nov. 23, 2018, 5:26 p.m.

If I remember Moses traipsed from desert sands and from muddy river through marsh and sea flats and up into barren mountains . . . . I think you deserve a better paradise. XX Ach.

LP

Nov. 23, 2018, 6:24 a.m.

Hi Adrien, I was kept totally present by reading your heartfelt blog. As is so often the case it couldn’t have been more timely. I was lying awake having been in a semi state fighting off that darn “dog”. It’s harder to ignore half asleep, so I’m glad I read this. The image of that dog barking loudly and incessantly could be altered. I know it matched the intensity of your pains and regrets and how hard on yourself it feels. It’s just because you care, but the volume can be turned down. It can turn into a whimper, it can be thrown a bone! It could disperse in the wind or take on a completely different form altogether and given much less power...turn to dust the second you turn to look at it. Without prolonged attention to whatever it was, tuning in to the sound of my breath, awareness of where the tension is, there’s plenty to be mindful of as I sink into a blissful state of slumber. Thank you for sharing your beautifully written blog Adrien, glad to see the spring in your step :) Peace and good wishes to you and all. LPxx

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Sally

Nov. 23, 2018, 8:02 a.m.

Morning Adrien! This is great, memorable and helpful. You are one brave man. Thank you for posting. I’ve never quite understood about mindfulness, but the way you explain it, I think I’ve at last understood it. As an artist and craftsperson, I was creating a design yesterday which incorporated the following words: Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand. What you’ve done with this blog is to involve us. Hence I understand. Thanks once again. Go well . Xx

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Orangeblossom

Nov. 23, 2018, 8:53 a.m.

Hi Sally thanks for your very helpful comment to the blog.

Oli

Nov. 23, 2018, 9:06 a.m.

@Sally, those are good words about how we learn and understand. Thank you.

Adrien

Nov. 23, 2018, 1:42 p.m.

Sally, thank you. Serendipity at its finest - "...Involve me and I understand". Was it in wood?

Ach UK

Nov. 23, 2018, 5:28 p.m.

Sally love that old saying. Thank you. XX Ach.

Sally

Nov. 24, 2018, 6:04 a.m.

No, Adrien, but there’s an idea. It was painted onto watercolour paper within a circle of flowers ( a passion of mine, flowers)but you’ve just given me an idea, or should I say a plethora of ideas. Ideas a-plenty, time to create , never enough, thank you for commenting, all. Bless.

Barbara

Nov. 23, 2018, 8:27 a.m.

As Sally says, you have brought the notion of mindfulness to vivid life. I, too, now understand it better thanks to you. I am 10 years older than you and I have been there. I am now somewhere else that is much better. Stay with that child. She is wise beyond her years and she loves you. X Barbara

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Dragonfly

Nov. 23, 2018, 4:37 p.m.

Barbara, it's heartening to know you've found a better place beyond all this. x

Jul

Nov. 23, 2018, 8:34 a.m.

An honest blog Adrien but some of it makes uncomfortable reading; the bit about your 8 year old daughter and the cycle ride upset me. But you are being honest and telling us what has gone on in your life and how you deal with it by living in the present. I would love you to tell us that you have a wonderful relationship with your daughter these days. Well done Adrien. It's a good piece of writing in my humble opinion! Jul xx

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Adrien

Nov. 23, 2018, 11:20 p.m.

Jul, my daughter like a living arrow has sped away... and her flight is impressive. Mum used to say "our job as parents is to make sure our children are better than us". My daughter is a diamond, a capable, accomplished and much loved person. That, for the moment, has to be enough for me. Love and hope for the future as you suggest, that helps me. Thank you.

Jul

Nov. 24, 2018, 9:03 a.m.

Ah lovely Adrien. Jul xx

Orangeblossom

Nov. 23, 2018, 8:51 a.m.

Thanks Adrein for your very engaging & thought proving blog. I have registered with Headspce & this is helping me to live in the now. It is through four years of practising this that I am getting to grips with the essence of living in the now.this is. Lao Tzy quote which I read today: ”If you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious you are living in the future, if you are t peace you are living in the present”. May be judgemental, but it did hit a nerve in me.

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Adrien

Nov. 23, 2018, 1:44 p.m.

Hits the same nerve for me too. Thank you for that.

Adrien

Nov. 23, 2018, 11:21 p.m.

Its annoyingly spot on Mr. Lao Tzy. Grr.

The Gardener

Nov. 23, 2018, 10:16 a.m.

Distinct help today Adrien, thanks. I have been fighting a problem-filled week - only solved one - and NONE of them are of my making! So, stop storming. Nice simply house cleaning, but makes me sneeze and sniffle. The cold outside provokes very rare asthma brought on by extreme temperatures. So,, work corner in warm kitchen, try and finish of some complicated knitting, decide if it too early to decorate shop for Christmas (again, cold will put kybosh on that). Good luck Adrien for the future.

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The Gardener

Nov. 23, 2018, 10:19 a.m.

OB, your quote, and 'living in the future provoking anxiety' but for the last four years, and still now, I have had to be aware of every possibility, and plan wherever possible, because life has been, and for anybody dealing with a spouse death, still is, highly complicated, and things must be done - I try to avoid, unsuccessfully, 'what if's?'

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Nicco

Nov. 23, 2018, 10:32 a.m.

That's a great quote OB. Thank you for your blog, Adrien. I felt sad reading it - for you & your daughter. Some good suggestions here by moodscope members on how to tame that rabid dog - I try to let mine lie when it's asleep as poking it just awakens it & makes it more angry which is scary. My coping strategies aren't thar good when he's got me by the throat, tho they are getting better... I've found again the joy of a walk as it engages all my senses & makes me live in the present, I throw myself into making things as it concentrateshould the mind, & I read for a bit of escapism,. I also find guided meditation online very helpful - there are lots to choose from... Some for relaxation, some (such as guided imagery) which engage the senses, some for help with forgiveness, anxiety, etc. I'm doing one for ptsd at the moment as it helps me get off to sleep. I do hope the relationship you have with your daughter improves - maybe concentrating on her more would help quieten the dog? From a practical point of view, I take it you have been to social services for help for you with things like housing, & maybe they can help with providing things for your daughter too, such as free school meals.

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Nicco

Nov. 23, 2018, 10:33 a.m.

Go well, Adrien, & don't give up. x

Adrien

Nov. 23, 2018, 11:35 p.m.

I am plugged into the Social Services and NHS support. For my Mental Health issues I have learned to see the oldest doctor possible. The young ones just do not have the life experience. They say and do bonkers things that just made things a tonne worse for me. The older doctor however looked me right in the eye and said "Adrien, what is your life's purpose." OMG... that knocked me back. In a good way. Young doctors seem to be Mental Health muppets. Capable in every other way, but muppets - bless them. Then - the YMCA. The remarkable thing about the YMCA is the support services. I never realised, but when you really are struggling, they are 100% there to support you. Remarkable and humbling. Checking on me daily to make sure I am not sliding into deep depression, and making sure that I am plugged into the right support services. Some people look down their nose at the YMCA, and I may even have shared that view, but I am an ardent defender of them having seen them at their best. Kudos to them.

Nicco

Nov. 24, 2018, 5:56 p.m.

So glad you're getting the support you need, Adrien. I had no idea the YMCA was so good at that - just thought they basically supplied a roof over your head. It's also strange that you should say about being asked about your life's purpose because I have recently felt that I have at last felt I have a purpose in life. Best wishes, Nicco.

Nicco

Nov. 24, 2018, 6:01 p.m.

Not sure where you are but IAPT (Increased Access to Psychological Therapies) has been excellent help to me. You can self-refer, but I think it depends which county in England UK you're in.

Dragonfly

Nov. 23, 2018, 10:39 a.m.

This is so honest and powerful Adrien and I can relate to what you write. I'm sad too about your daughter, but it occurred to me, are your actions any more selfish than the parents who interact with their smartphones rather than their children? I know I've been similarly guilty of being absorbed in my thoughts rather than my surroundings. We can all be found wanting. I think Mindfulness, being in the present is the way forward, but it can be so hard. There are some great quotes and support here for you x

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Adrien

Nov. 23, 2018, 11:39 p.m.

Thank you Dragonfly. Being gentle with myself... not what my Jesuit school teachers would encourage... but necessary. Yes. x

Michael

Nov. 23, 2018, 10:58 a.m.

Hi Adrien I can relate to your blog. I have, over the last few months, been indulging myself, living in the past, trying trying to remedy things that I cannot change. I’ve realised that I cannot keep looking back and expecting something different to happen. This week I have made myself do things in the present - a trip to a museum, a cat cafe in London (Lady Dinahs) and a visit to a friend, and just try to live in the moment. Don’t beat yourself up about your daughter; I’ve been down that road and it leads to no where. Just be honest - I used to say to my 3 if I had been unreasonable - ‘it’s me, not you, I do love you.’ Mike

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Valerie

Nov. 23, 2018, 11:05 a.m.

Hi Mike,am I right in thinking the cloud is gradually clearing a bit for you? I hope so.xx

Michael

Nov. 23, 2018, 2:18 p.m.

Hi Valerie - yes, little by little. The anxiety is still uncomfortable but I’m trying to work through it.

Nicco

Nov. 24, 2018, 6:07 p.m.

Mike - well done for those trips out. I'm trying to get out more after almost a year of depression & inertia. My anxiety has increased but my therapist reassures me that as the depression goes down, the anxiety will go up, & it's a normal part of the process of recovery - I hope that's of some reassurance for you, too.

Valerie

Nov. 23, 2018, 11:02 a.m.

Hello Adrian, I recall your last blog,and I thought about you a lot at the time.You are lacking self-pity,totally taking the blame for the way things have turned out.As one who has many causes for regret and guilt (who was the person who did those things that make me ashamed now?) can I say that maybe a little bit of pride in what you are achieving is now called for? I'll kick off,well done you! No one on here is going to judge you.Your writing is stunningly clear and vivid,real talent there.Please keep blogging.Big Hugs,xx

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Adrien

Nov. 23, 2018, 11:44 p.m.

Taking my achievements at face value - did not expect that suggestion to bring a tear to my (right) eye. Big hug back at you lioness. x

Oli

Nov. 23, 2018, 11:19 a.m.

Thanks for the blog Adrien (quality writing too btw). Many of us will relate to your pain in remembering the bike ride with your daughter. I know I do. The shame of being angry with my sons still burns now decades later. I can't change the past but I can, usually, recall it with a bit more self-compassion. Contacting the present-moment serves a couple of functions for me. One of them can be like an Asprin: it can help escape entanglement in uncomfortable thoughts and feelings -- so basically, it can provide immediate relief. But another function is that regular practice of present-moment experiences has helped me be aware of the context of my thoughts and feelings. That sounds a bit too wordy and high-faluting but I'm really just saying that by regularly not-getting-caught-up-in my mind's contents I've gained some awareness of their properties. i.e. pretty insubstantial despite how real the thoughts and feelings can seem.

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Oli

Nov. 23, 2018, 11:27 a.m.

PS, on pushing oneself. My bottom line is if I'm not doing something in order to avoid my discomfort, then I probably need to do it! That's when I push into it. E.g. I don't do, say football, because I've never had any interest in it whatsoever. But if I'm avoiding say, going out, or doing something new because I'm fearful that I'll be anxious (fear about my fear!), then I'll push myself to do it. It is an ongoing, relentless push because I'm really prone to avoidance.

Adrien

Nov. 23, 2018, 11:53 p.m.

You and me both. Avoidance, I am black belt seventh dan. Have been all my life back into childhood. It is like a symptom of my lack of confidence.

Molly

Nov. 23, 2018, 4:35 p.m.

Hi Adrien When I started reading your blog, my dog (that’s not my dog) was whining. I thought Adrien must know as I wanted to say “shut the **** up” lol - I quickly realised you were talking about the black dog. Many a time have I had to ‘get home’ because of the black dog. It wasn’t your fault what happened with your daughter. You tried and it didn’t work out. That’s what I have stopped doing, mainly due to anxiety. I don’t feel it works for me to make myself go out, I either can manage it or I can’t. Lately I have been thinking. When I was 17, I felt trapped. I was unhappy at home and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. This made me housebound for different reasons. I couldn’t see a way out. I was hospitalised twice. By some miracle, second time in hospital, I planned by next move, I started to feel the most positive I had done for two years. It wasn’t going to be easy but there was some hope of change. I moved out and back to my home town, rented a room (shared run down house) so a bucket required in case the bathroom was occupied. The landlord was willing to wait for my benefits to come through (ages) to pay him rent. I started to get better and was working within four months and have worked ever since until three years ago. I wanted to share this because if I managed to get myself out of the trap back then, surely I can do it again. Molly xx

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Dragonfly

Nov. 23, 2018, 5 p.m.

Molly, you absolutely can! I think the phrase 'some hope of change' is key here. I feel that when we lose hope then nothing seems possible any longer. What amazing resourcefulness you showed at a time when you were really poorly. You're right to remind yourself of your inner strength as it's still there. Btw I've emailed you x

Ach UK

Nov. 23, 2018, 5:18 p.m.

Molly, great comment. And grant yourself Respect ++ for climbing out of a horrible situation. XX A.

Valerie

Nov. 23, 2018, 6:31 p.m.

Yes,the girl who did those things is still there Molly.Life has given you a kick,but I sense some fighting spirit coming back.And hey,look on the bright side,at least you don't have to pee in a bucket any more! xx

Molly

Nov. 23, 2018, 11:59 p.m.

Thank you Dragon. Your email went into junk mail so I never saw it until you said. I will reply soon. Ach, thank you, I do sometimes wonder how I did it! Thank you Valerie although it wasn’t pee it was poo! About 12 times a day with no control hence the bucket and being housebound. However I got through it. thanks again all xx

Valerie

Nov. 24, 2018, 9:54 a.m.

****** **** Molly,things can only have got better!

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