Category Archives: emotional well being

Mental Meanderings

Mental Meanderings

By Matt Carlson

He said, “I’m leaving.” Then he added, “I’m going to stay at my Mom’s.” Then he was gone and there we were, the dogs and I, alone. It was a horrible moment. There had been no real discussion. The phantom that had been my boyfriend for ten years left as if he had never been there. Well, he hadn’t really. I continued to pay for the house credit and other bills alone. I’d lived with someone who had always hated himself, always looking for a sexual liaison with a stranger. Someone who hid inside his computer, then within the virtuality of his telephone. They were safe places, his smart phone and computer, he didn’t have to respond honestly to any questions there. He could easily play with the anonymity of it all. I imagined him locked up in a small room asleep with only cables connected to his brain and a computer while an animated character lived his life somewhere; his real body safely locked away.

In December of 2013, he had simply said to me while sitting outside in the garden, in the sun, a cigarette in hand, “I think we should break up. There’s nothing left between us.” It was the first time that it was he who had brought up the subject; I was usually the one that said it. The way he said it was as if he were waiting for a particular response. I didn’t give it to him. On the contrary, I agreed that it was a good idea to separate. But adding, “I don’t think that there’s nothing left between us – I think we are still friends.” He didn’t answer.

There, I was wrong…It takes two to be friends.

The slippery slope that we’d now ventured upon wasn’t immediately visible. I’d somehow forgotten or put aside the fact that I was dealing with someone who suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder; an alcoholic too. Why is it that when we break up with someone, we imagine that they are going to have the same perception of things – or even be reasonable  –  and are shocked by the reaction we have in front of us?  My ex cried that night out on the terrace, sobbing while holding onto his wine bottle and glass. I went to him, to comfort him. It didn’t last long, me holding him in my arms telling him it would be al-right. He didn’t want me to, I hadn’t said what he’d wanted to hear. So, I left him there as his tears subsided in the black of the night, his anger surfacing, on our unfinished terrace. He had wanted me to plead for us, for another chance, to say ‘let’s stay together’ but I didn’t feel that. The on going pain of dealing with this hurt, broken and angry individual had just gone over the top. I had no more desire, no more strength to try and convince him that life could be beautiful – that we could be. Especially to someone who only knew beauty as a concept, as a visual design on a computer screen  –  his true profession in fact  –  a graphic artist – well, it all made more sense now.

Our unfinished ruin of a house sat there. The hours upon hours of my own labor upon it, for it, for us,  would be the weapon used against me to make me suffer. My name wasn’t on the title and all of the promises of protecting me had gone out the window. My ex would try and take everything away, an attempt to erase my very presence from it  –  from our mutual project. Even his Mother would add fuel to the fire by attempting with her son to keep our dogs away from me. A five month ‘kidnapping’ of sorts would end up with my going and getting them at the Mother-in-laws house in the country. She attacked me, but ended up falling on the ground as I avoided her with the dogs in my arms, my ex running after me like a maniac suddenly (though he was supposedly unable to walk at this time due to a back problem)…His attack of feet and fist marks left on the side of our mutual car Peugeot – just before I could drive safely away…

Later on I had to respond to incredible lies of breaking and entering, theft of money and of my own dogs and that I had physically attacked and beaten my Mother-in-law!  It all seemed surreal – but the hate was only beginning. My ex would continue to lie and paint a new picture far from the reality of what was.  I suppose that I shouldn’t have been surprised by the letter from a shady lawyer hired from my ex describing me basically as a monster, turning the truth into a mockery of justice, or the… and the… etc, etc…

 

Today, I am moving on and recreating a new life. I am still unsure as to whether I want to battle again for at least a return on my investment of my home for over nine years; the fact that I paid for half of his house credit too over that period – a few months paying for it alone as well. I’m feeling like it would take a lot of energy away from me, from moving into a positive direction. Maybe not…  Maybe I need to finish the battle in order to move on… It’s either that or accept things as the way they are and put that aside. What is the most important thing here? To move on? To look back? To move on but to at least respond to what was? To get at least a part of my investment back?

 

I’m still questioning that – if only a little bit.

Some Helpful Thoughts In Life Management by Matt Carlson

Some things that are helpful to remember in life:
1. Have a sincere intention when you do something and be clear about what that is to others.
2. Don’t play into others’ unhealthy game playing, lying or manipulation. Tell that or those people “no” and go on with your life.
3. Don’t judge, but learn to observe things. When you judge something, it cannot become something else, only what you’ve judged it to be.
4. Communicate as best you can & as often as you can. Communication is a bringing together of ideas so that everyone is on board with all of the same elements. If you do not do this, then you are not communicating, only occasionally giving out bits and pieces of a thing.
5. Give of yourself to others. Giving is generosity of oneself. Everyone has unique gifts to give to others. Give freely and often without second thoughts. Without wanting something in return.
6. Take time every day and as often as you can to just be in the moment, to be with who ever you are with or whatever you are doing. Don’t get so caught up in your daily lives, that you forget what is essential: this moment. The past and future do not exist ; the past and future only exist in your mind

Birdsong and Change by Matt Carlson

Can trees be so high? Leaves that green? Bird song so sweet? And dogs love too, so unfailing?.. And what about me? What about this body? It seems too so very consistent: in its needs of food, of sleep, of worrying and such. But I know that if I have the misfortune to see all of it in a mirror, that saggy face, those lines, the missing hair and muscles flask, that all is an illusion. This envelope belongs to another – not the frozen twenty five year old image in my head…none matters, thoughts of yesterday’s are gone, traces only remain… I am no longer the same, never was. We are never the same at any moment. One thing happens and you change and then another and another until so many pieces outside become the new you inside. One has no choice. It just happens… And there is no sadness, no joy of it. Joy has to be considered, maybe even chosen upon, like being unhappy. Perhaps we choose that, those emotions. If you’ve never experienced being happy, I’d imagine it would be hard to imagine happiness. I’m not completely sure of it anymore, myself…..
Was I truly happy once upon a time? Will I be one day? Is that a DNA thing that we simply reproduce because it’s there in our genes? Possibly…I still want to believe that we have some choice in the matter. I still would like to choose happiness, if I can.

Aahh, birdsong. Nothing better, that and the sound of the ocean…

 

 

The Wind Rattled by matt carlson

IMG01860-20110612-1340May 19th, 2014

The wind rattled so much that even the screws safely secured in wood, trembled. Against the wall outside, an old red tiled square mirror rescued from the trash went, “Bang, bang, bang…” Then,” Scrape, scrape, scrape…” blown in the opposite direction. The home made veranda was already tired of feet trodding across it non-stop; today the wind added insult to injury by sending sand and anything flyable on to it. The various screws implanted here and there holding things together sometimes had a wisp of a wire holding on to them – leftover reminders of three temporary pergolas and flowing curtains….

The grey plastic water barrel sitting under an overhang of the transparent roof made no noise. It sat there peacefully. It was comforting in its steadfastness. An occasional “Gloup, gloup,”as an escaped rain drop came down into the water below. Prisoner guards in the form of pine needles watched in steely silence from above.

With no noises to distract me, my ears attended to those sounds. The sounds of an every day existance, but ones in which most people didn’t hear. Now, the flapping of laundry on the north-west end of the house, competed with a nearby thin, squeaky bathrrom door, also built with wood. Even the washing machine called out to this wind orchestra as it reached the spin cycle. “Whirl, whirl, whirl, ” it went as it began to shake in earnest.

“Gloup, gloup…”

“Bang, bang, bang…

“Scrape, scrape…”

“Whirl, whiiiirllll, whiiiirl…”

“Flappy, flappidy, flap…”

And suddenly, a dog barked off in the distance. A true performer on a stage made of argelas, rosemary and thyme. A soloist in a provençal garden with trees, rabbits and birds as it’s listening public.  One could only hear his voice….

“Woof, woof, woof…” It cried out.

Road Trip by Matt Carlson

Road trip? Kind of. But a bit of a different one! A life changing road trip with an intention of moving on, not knowing what that destination will actually bring to your life, because it’s not just about the road trip – its the choice I’ve made to leave France.

A big f***ing road trip, huh? And yes I am flipping out – the stress shows itself at strange moments. It’s better to lay off the coffee for sure. After almost 27 years of living here in France too – half my lifetime. Add to that the recent ending to a disasterous ten year relationship with a sufferer of Boderline Personality Disorder and consequent attacks of a hateful nature! Yuck, huh?? (I’ve had to defend myself against repetitive lies & the twisting of reality or just plain nastiness…)  I won’t go into detail here (and this is not why I am leaving) but the change (though it may be short) will be helpful. I think its true that returning home after time living elsewhere can only improve your perspective of it.

I did return this summer and there was a whole lot of joy going on seeing people that I loved after a fifteen year absence. It was my intention to reconnect with family and a few friends. Connect I did and I was sooo happy to see that I wasn’t the only one happy about that ! 😉

Today I’ve left Paris after finding work! I know, crazy, huh? Well paid work too, but I was feeling an important desire to go home. To be with my brothers and their families, my cousins, nephews & nieces…. and of course friends that I haven’t seen for ages. It might not work out, it could be alot of pain for alot of effort, maybe it would be safer to stay in France….but all of those thoughts, I’ve put aside because my intention of being with loved ones is so much stronger.

This is the moment. It’s now or never. In ten years, if I don’t go I will always wonder. This way I’m going to see it for myself and I will have no doubts about an ‘eventual’ outcome. It will be what it will be. We cannot know what the future holds for us, we can only try to create a part of it’s outcome – yet we are not the only factors in determining that outcome. So, what are you going to do? Not do something because of fear ? Not do something because other people don’t agree with you? Not do it because someone is going to get mad at you? That people won’t understand? Judgement? ….The list is long. Life is short.

Follow your instincts. Live a life of following your purpose whatever it is. No one and I mean NO ONE can tell you what you are all about! That’s up to you! And me, my life, like you and yours, it’s not other people who decide (though many try to do that for us); it’s up to us.

Be happy. Look for fulfillment within, find that purpose. Then learn how to share it. I’ve found mine…still learning how to share it.

Take care dear reader!

 

 

Quiet Your Emotional Turbulence by Matt Carlson

Quiet Your Emotional Turbulence by Matt Carlson

‘How to quiet the emotional turbulence when your needs are not being met. Discover a seven step process that helps you to accept your feelings without judgement and can provide an opportunity for inner growth & self refection.

 

Step One: Take responsibility for your emotions – for what you are feeling. When you find yourself reacting emotionally to other people, it is usually because they are reflecting some kind of emotion that you have not fully acknowledged that within your own nature. When you accept responsibility for your own emotions, & cease to be a bundle of conditioned reflexes, you will no longer be vulnerable to the opinions of everyone you encounter. So take responsibility.

 

Step Two: Identify what the emotion is. “I feel…” How do you feel? You may be angry, sad, hurt, disappointed, helpless etc. As clearly as possible, try to identify the emotion or emotions that you are feeling. What is the emotion that you are feeling?

 

Step Three: Witness the feeling in your body. Emotions are thoughts associated with physical sensations. Our thoughts trigger bodily reactions releasing chemicals that have a life of their own. The physiological expression of stress cannot be instantaneously shut off; rather the energy of the emotion must be dissipated before the emotion can be processed further. Just observe the feeling. Allow your attention to embrace the sensation in your body. By simply experiencing the physical sensations, some of the emotional charge will dissipate and this will allow you to hear the message of the emotion. Witness the feeling – in your body.

 

Step Four: Express the emotion in private, to yourself. You can write about your feelings or speak them out loud. Keep a journal just for this purpose. Allow similar memories to come to the surface and write about them too. Use language that accurately conveys what you are experiencing. Allow yourself to express all that you need to about the situation. Remember, express the emotion in private to yourself.

Step Five: Release the emotion through a ritual. As you know, we create and reinforce behaviours by creating rituals. Physical activity or movement is usually best for this. So go for a walk, bat a pillow, dance freely, listen to loud music, or rapid breathing…anything that will allow you to discharge the emotion or emotions from your physiology. Allow your body to detoxify…Acknowledge the release of the emotion as you are doing the activity, whatever it is. It’s very important to release the emotion through some ritual.

Step Seven: Share the emotion with someone who can listen empathetically to you, without trying to solve your problem. Once again: share the emotion with someone who can listen empathetically to you without trying to solve your problem. Conscious listening is a skill that takes a lot of practise. You can use an inanimate object to work on this: talk to an inanimate stone or a feather or even a stick to remind yourself to speak openly and honestly. When you feel complete with your communication pass the object to another person and allow him or her to express their emotions, again without trying to solve the problem. In step seven, do something to rejuvenate yourself : get a massage, listen to music, buy yourself a present, eat a delicious meal, nourish yourself. It takes conscious awareness and a commitment to personal growth to go through the process that I’ve just described.

So reward yourself for your good work.’

Thanks to the Chopra Well Being Center in Carlsbad, CA