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My first interview, on DevTalks – it was a great experience.

I had my first interview. A chance to tell parts of my story that led me into life challenges and ultimately to building my path to hope and happiness.

The entire episode is fantastic. My part starts at just after 27 minutes. Check it out, and don’t forget to support Dev’s show with a “like” or a comment.

I had so much fun before, after, and during the interview. A few times, I said,”I wish we were recording THIS!” As I giggled uncontrollably.

Thanks Dev for an amazing experience and putting my story out there. It was an honor and privilege.

https://www.spreaker.com/user/officialtdr/dev-talks-ep1

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Tears of sadness turn to pure joy – as I connect to my gratitude and spirituality, in the flash of a sunrise.

I think I was driving through Louisiana.  I was tired.  I was alone.  I was wallowing in sadness.

After a short visit with the folks, I had driven all night leaving behind my family, what was no longer my home, and my dear friend Kade.  Kade was my ‘ride or die’ whom I had shared months of spectacular adventures with, on the road.  Anyone, weary and lonely, could travel into the rabbit hole of sadness under these conditions.  I knew that I was treading on seriously dangerous territory, having bipolar disorder.  A trip down that rabbit hole, for me, means violent mood swings – a wild pendulum flinging from high to low, that has repeatedly wrecked my life and almost taken it.

I have worked through Dialectal Behavior Therapy workbook, identifying my triggers and creating an action plan to prevent a deep slide.  Action, early on, is necessary.  If I let my mood swings take hold of me, stopping it is like grabbing on the rear bumper of a car in neutral rolling down a steep hill.  I MIGHT slow it down, but I’m going to get hurt and banged up along the way.

So I pull off the highway, and search for a lake in google maps – found one.  Looks big.  “Great!” I say.  I can catch the sunrise and meditate next to the shore.  Use some tools in my tool bag to rewire my thought process and center myself.  As I meditated next to the lake, one of the most spectacular spiritual awakenings happened.  My tears of sadness that I arrived with, quickly turned to tears of joy, love, and gratitude.  I was centered, I set up my hammock and slept a bit, I continued my 1800 mile road trip that changed my life.  I’ll write more about that as we continue this journey together.

After my meditation, I was inspired to write.  I’ll include that below:

He checks in with his ‘ride or die’ as he had hundreds of times before – over the past 7 months.

A chilling shadow of sadness begins to set over him, as the new idea washes in – this is a complete solo adventure. His dear friend is on his own path, now.

He no longer has someone to keep him grounded, share mystical adventures, senseless laughter, silly jokes, breathtaking scenery, and endless adventure .

Then a smile returns. He looks up as the sky crests with yellow and orange, from the rising sun. Feels the warmth of the first rays of light. He feels the fulfilling sence that he is never alone. God, the Universe, Fate… whatever one calls it… never leaves our side. Even when we have ventured off our path, the road signs are always there to guide us back.

True as it is: there is fear in the unknown, the unknown is part of the adventure, and life is a series of adventures. But, he has faith. Faith that he is on the right path. Faith that he will be provided for. Faith that this is where he needs to be. Faith that the challenges, ahead, are for him to learn and grow and move forward.

The smile stretches across his face, the shadow of sadness is replaced with excitement. The sun continues to rise and light the way, as he sits in awe of the gifts of Mother Nature.

He is now ready to drive forward – into the unknown.

 

To see the full collection of photography, used in this feature image, please click the link below:

https://findingbeazzy.com/portfolio/shreveport-louisiana/

 

 

 

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Please excuse the lack of content and construction. My site is still finding itself.

I am about to officially launch this website.  I have loads of content – but am still organizing and constructing.  Please check back to see the progress, find some joy and silliness, and learn more about mental health awarness.

Thank you for visiting.  Thank you for walking with me on my path and being part of my journey.

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No more excuses. I MUST re-train my brain and make a CHOICE for happiness.

Everyone has mood shifts – it’s part of human nature – but living with a mental illness means that for the rest of my existence, my mood will be like a beautiful (yet potentially dangerous and deadly) wild animal. I do more work than anyone in my life can imagine, to tame the beast and manage my mood. I felt, for a lot of my life, that I had demons within.  No.  I was battling bipolar disorder and had no idea.
I have made the choice to find joy, love, healthy connections with others, and happiness.
I have friends who are stuck where I was, for years – after I was diagnosed (my handful of diagnosis). I was relieved while feeling stuck in it; this was just who I was and used them as an excuse and rationalization for my bad behavior in past, present, and future.
I would be telling a sick tale to my friend Kat, and she would give her usual “Oh Geez!” In delight I would respond, “I’m bipolar, it’s okay.” On the other side of the pendulum, I would stay in bed for weeks crippled with suffocating anxiety and deep black depression and say, “I can hide here under the covers as long as I like because I’m cursed with this mental disorder.”
If you aren’t aware of mental illness, I would recommend you do a little research. Bipolar and depression are interesting animals, and a lot more of us suffer constant attacks, than you can image. We don’t just get sad or energetic – but we have a shift in our brain chemistry and science still doesn’t fully understand it.
Someone with true depression has an almost complete shut off of the chemicals that produce happiness. It’s not just a matter of saying “cheer up.” Our brains have cut off happiness at a chemical level. It’s like telling someone who is out of gas to speed the car up as it sputters to a dead stop and all electrical functions of the car die out with a dead battery.
Someone who is manic is flooded, according to mentalhealth.net, in the core of the brain with several neuron transmitters – including dopamine, serotonin, and MDMA. The same chemicals released from a handful of illegal drugs (that coincidentally were my choice of drugs. Not a coincidence, as I continue to research).
I am high as a kite. I feel as though I have taken small hits of meth, cocaine, and ecstasy at once. For days or weeks or a month at a time. When I used to induce mania – I was relapsing in my addiction recovery – because I knew mania made me high. This typically led to a full relapse, because another one the beasts I battle is addiction and alcoholism.
At the end of the article, there are actual brain scans of someone who is “normal,” manic, and clinically depressed – to show what happens to brain activity.
Then I thought I just needed meds to set me right. I JUST had to get the meds right. But we learned in the (several dual-diagnosis treatment centers that I have been to) that meds are a small piece of the pie. That we must work to manage our illness. I did not. I took the meds and suffered horribly for a few more years. I had no joy and did not want to live. I tried in a number of ways to make that happen.
NO MORE EXCUSES
I believe that anyone that has identified traits and cycles, that are unhealthy, can change them. The brain can be rewired and our thought patterns can be changed. It takes time and work, but is happening for a once hopeless and dreamless case like me. I believe that almost everybody can make the choice to find joy and happiness, and find it from within.
Now, I work to stay spiritually connected.  I also am constantly reading books, online articles, and belong to several support groups – to see what works for others. I experiment, I read books on co-dependency, shame, recovery, and being healthy. I exercise, I’ve done a lot of Yoga, and guided meditations. I am working through my Dialectal Behavioral Therapy workbook, a second time, to be sure I keep my tools and weapons sharp.
When the beast emerges from the dark haunted woods, I am ready to fight. For me, It’s a fight for my life. I’ve almost died in my drug use – and mania leads to using. I’ve tried to take my own life, in depressions. Last attempt, years ago, landed me in the hospital in a locked facility for a bit.
So this morning I woke up with a deep deep sadness. In the past, I would watch old videos and pictures and romanticize about the times of my life that were good – no – great. I would fully submit, and chase the rabbit deep into the rabbit hole and it would take me weeks to climb out and see the light of the sun, again.
Not any more. I watch those same videos and look at those same pictures with a retrained mind. I don’t wish or want to go back to the past. I smile, and today it was through tears, because through the sadness shines gratitude and love. This lifts me so much stronger, now in my daily life, than the sick shifting emotion’s gravitational pull. I feel gratitude to have those memories. Gratitude to have experienced those relationships. Honored to have walked, even if it was a short walk up a very steep hill, with such amazing people who have changed my life; and, I think about the ways that my life has improved from  the changes I made (to become the person that I am becoming) from the pain of that hurt or separation.

Besides, as my Auntie Mikki says… “We don’t say goodbye. We say see you later.” I am often surprised and delighted as I end up reconnecting with these people and get closure – as they see me battling my beasts and emerging from a warrior into the person they knew I could be.

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DBT Workbook – Part 02 – Healthy ways to distract from emotional situations.

This is a series that I am writing on Dialectical Behavior Therapy – DBT has changed my life. The workbook states that this “strengthens a person’s ability to handle distress without losing control or acting destructively” by building “skills in four key areas – distress tolerance, mindfulness, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.” DBT is a huge part of the foundation of my centeredness as well as my ability to “live in the moment” and find gratitude – needed ingredients (I believe) in spirituality and humility.
I would like to share some of my insights as I work through the workbook for my second time. I encourage anybody and everybody to take a look at DBT – as parts of this can help anyone that is looking to find more peace, joy, love, and self-love in their life.

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Today, I was reading and working through the section on distracting yourself from negative emotions or self-destructive behaviors.

I’ve never engaged is self mutilation, but I belonged to a few dual-diagnosis outpatient treatment groups that had individuals that did. There were many ways that I have acted out in some very dangerous behaviors. Street racing, dangerously perching on roof-tops, drug addiction, alcoholism, the list goes on…

This chapter looks at some distractions that people can use when faced with “overwhelming emotions”. I use these techniques when I become very angry, depressed, can’t sleep, or I feel overwhelmed.
The first list are things that we enjoy. It sounds so simple, but I keep a written list so that when I am in the middle of an emotional situation or feeling halted by a depression rolling in, I can pull that list out and pick something that interests me in the moment. I checked off some of the activities that the book lists, but what I have found is that I just need to try things and see what I really enjoy. If it is an activity that builds esteem, is healthy, and makes me feel accomplished – it goes on the list. If I don’t find a love for something, then I don’t add it.
The second section of this chapter discusses ways to distract oneself by paying attention to someone else. Not in a co-dependant way, but by volunteering, helping others, even riding with a friend while they are knocking off a list of their errands. Sometimes, when I feel a depression rolling in, I will just think about my family and friends that support me. The love we have for each other. This always puts a smile on my face.
The next section says to “distract your thoughts”. There are a lot of ways I do this. Nature is the best way to get out of my head and find some gratitude. The book lists a few that include “keep a copy of your favorite prayer or favorite saying with you”, “imagine yourself as a hero or heroine”, or to think about good things from the past.
Next, is to use chores or tasks to keep distracted (not my favorite, but many get a lot of pleasure from dishes or doing laundry).
Also, counting is a good way to momentarily distract oneself. I use this a lot… I’ll stop for a moment and take some deep breaths and count them. It doesn’t take but a few to recenter on the fly and deal with a situation. Sometimes I need to repeat. Then repeat again. lol
Lastly, my favorite is to find things that soothe. Take a pause in life and focus on the senses. Touch, taste, sounds around you, feeling things or the wind on your face, or look at something beautiful. There are times where I will stop my mind to look at the shape of an object and trail my fingers along it to feel the texture. Perhaps a unique rock. Feel the heat coming off of it from the sun. Or after it rains, I’ll take a deep breath of the clean air and smell the wild sage brush that we have all over the desert. Maybe look at a single fluffy cloud just hanging out over the horizon – thank Mother Nature for the gifts of beauty that we have been given.
At the end of the chapter, there is an area to create your own action plan. My first time through the workbook, I was pretty obstinate about doing this. I felt like a little kid being made to “pickle papers” or a silly exercise. What I have realized, is that by writing these things down – they are reinforced in my mind. They go from ideas to tangible tools. Also, when my mood shifts, from my disorder, I sometimes loose the capability of fully rational thought. I need it in black and white and in my hands to know that it is true. Think about it, how many times have you become so angry that your mind twists things around a bit. Later you look back and say, “why did I get so angry about that?” Because sometimes, we take a build up of emotions from all over the place and channel them into something undeserving. For me, this happens if I am not dealing with things (day to day) in a healthy way. So for me, It is best when I write these things down and pull them out when I feel a little off. I then reconnect with all the good work that I have been doing and center quickly. Take the power out of the situation and see things for what they are.

Below is one page of activities that are suggest as self-distractions. What are some of your favorite ways to distract when you are upset or feeling down?

Daily Meditation: Ask for guidance and find direction and peace.

I really like today’s daily meditation:

“Stop trying to work things out before their times have come.  Accept the limitations of living one day at a time.  When something comes to your attention, ask Me whether or not it is part of today’s agenda.  If it isn’t, release it into My care and go on about today’s duties.  When you follow this practice, there will be a beautiful simplicity about your life: a time for everything and everything in it’s time.”

I’m not perfect at asking guidance, throughout the day.  But when I am practicing this, my day has a natural flow to it.  Anxiety levels drop, I am more productive and focused, and find more joy and gratitude.

This is just part of the daily meditation in Jesus Calling.  No matter what you believe, this is a fantastic way that I start the day.  I have grown very much from this book and a few other daily meditations that I use.  What are some things that you use to keep you in a place of joy, gratitude, and inflection?

 

 

Daily Meditation: Have Faith and Obedience to that Faith

One of my daily meditation books talked about a subject near and dear to my heart:

“There are two things that we must have if we are going to change our way of life.  One is faith, the confidence in things unseen, the fundamental goodness and purpose in the universe.  THe other is obedience: that is, living according to our faith, living each day as we believe that God wants us to live, with gratitude, humility, honesty, purity, uselfishness, and love.”

I have said that we need to follow our intuition, even when it is telling us to make the hard decision or more difficult path.  But, I like the way this words it – an obedience to living as God (the universe, Karma, fate, whatever you believe in) would want us to live.

Do the right things for the right reasons.

This is my truth, by the way.  When I have faith in my soul and I am doing my best to walk on the right path – doors open all over for me.  I don’t have to direct everything in my life.  There is a flow and I just show up.  For somebody that has been surrounded by kaos and anxiety, much of my life, it is a very nice place to be.

Colorful Steps

https://youtu.be/CsR5Rp3PmsQ

We are breaking ground on a passion project! My partner, Christion, had a great idea for the name… Colorful Steps.

The people that we have met in the desert are on their own colorful paths to healing and spirituality. We have been planning, for some time, how to provide a place that promotes the values that we have seen growing in ourselves and those around us. Below is a write up on the video, of our plans there, and a video walking you through the plans.

Enjoy, and we hope to see you there!!

We are breaking ground at the future home of Colorful Steps. Colorful Steps is a spiritual retreat to connect to your spirituality, find joy, peace, and centeredness.

We all fight battles or get stuck in our own ruts. I once became completely disconnected from my spirituality and lived a life of anxiety, narcissism, and unhappiness. I was chasing all the wrong ideas and my value system was misguided.

When I began taking steps to connecting, spiritually, doors began to open all over the place and I was led to the desert. It was here that I connected to Christian and I saw his vision for this land. The energy was amazing in this place and I felt a strong peace in my soul.

We want to develope this land into a retreat that fosters growth in all areas – to be whole, complete , and happy. As the community comes together, we see a vision of the different colors and ideas gowing this place into it’s own path. We have learned from the people here, that are bright in their own colorful way, that when a community of spriitual minded indiviuals finds trust to open up to eachother – growth on all platforms is unavoidable. We saw this in action at Three Moons, nearby, over a campfire playing homemade instruments and sharing stories. We have had some of our best inflection while meditating amungst the view of the mountains that surrounds the valley. We have found connections and love in our hearts that continues to grow.

As we build the first few guest houses, we would like to open this place to those who would like to learn the art and construction of building earth houses, tiny homes, nursery, and other skills that can be taken home along with a piece of the spirit of the desert.

DBT Workbook – Part 01 – Distress Tolerance

Dialectical Behavior Therapy – DBT has changes my life.  The workbook states that this “stengthens a person’s ability to handle destress without losing control or acting destructively” by building “skills in four key areas – distress tolerance, mindfulness, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.”  DBT is a huge part of the foundation of my centereness as well as my ability to “live in the moment” and find gratitude – needed ingredients (I believe) in spirituality and humility.

I would like to share some of my insights as I work through the workbook for my second time.  I encourage anybody and everybody to take a look at DBT – as parts of this can help anyone that is looking to find more peace, joy, love, and self-love in their life.

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When reading about DBT, I have often seen it written that people with “overwhelming emotions” can benefit the most.  True.  But I also believe that DBT can help anyone that has trouble quieting their mind, taking moments to find gratitude, or overreacts to situations or people.

The first chapter is about distress tolerance – finding healthy ways to deal with stessful situations.  The workbook lists several unhealthy ways that people react to bad situations or when someone has hurt them.  To name a few from the workbook, that stand out to me:

  • “You spend a great deal of time thinking about past pain, mistakes, and problems.
  • “You isolate yourself to avoid possible pain.”
  • “You use alcohol or drugs to numb yourself”
  • “You take painful feelings out on others”
  • “You engage in dagergerous behaviors…”
  • “…unsafe sexual activity…”
  • “…avoid dealing with he causes of your problems…”
  • “You surrender to your pain and live an unfufilling life.”

These are a few of the ways I once handled stess and emotions.  All of them and many more.  As I work through this chapter (now 2 years later) I can see how most of these are behaviors of the past.  But there are still a few that stick out.  I do still avoid some situations instead of dealing with them head on.  Some of it is to avoid confrontation, fear of failure, or I think they will be too difficult.  I’ll work through them, as I work through the chapter, so you can see the process in action.

Daily Quote/Meditation – “Pause before responding to people or situations…”

This morning’s reading had me thinking…  do I consistently pause before responding to people or situation?

I tend to be in my head a lot; thinking, predicting what someone will say, or finding a way to twist what they said into my own perceptions.

Here is a full passage of this morning’s meditation from Jesus Calling:

“The light of My Presence is shining upon you, in benedictions of Peace.  Let My Light shine in you; don’t dim it with worries or fears.  holiness is letting Me live through you.  Since I dwell in you, you are fully equipped to be holy.  Pause before responding to people or situations, giving My Spirit space to act through you.  Hasty words and actions leave no room for Me…

To me, the meditation was saying that when we are connected spiritually our Higher Power will give us the strength to react to any situation or person with peace and wisdom.  I often 20190312_184512 that “we cannot control other people or situations, but we can control our reactions to them.”  Something I am working on practicing.  When I am doing the right things for the right reasons, following my connected intuition, and giving 100%, then I should be unwavering through my esteemable actions and faith.  Like I am wearing a shield against confrontation or the unknown.  After this morning’s reading, I will work towards taking a pause before responding so that I can respond from my wise mind instead of (as my aunt Mikki would say) my human self.

Find your Peace from within.

I made a timelaps of the sunrise, this morning. It was beautiful.

While it was filming, one of my daily meditations really hit me in the right spot. I took an excerpt from it and made this short video. The full daily is below, from the book Jesus Calling. As I have said many times, I am not a religious person. But I am very spriritual and belive it all comes from the same Devine source. With that, I am able to connect spiritually through many people, sources, and nature. ❤❤❤

“LEARN TO LIVE from your true Center in Me. I reside in the deepest depths of your being, in eternal union with your spirit. It is at this deep level that My Peace reigns continually. You will not find lasting peace in the world around you, in circumstances, or in human relationships. The external world is always in flux – under the curse of death and decay. But there is a gold mine of Peace deep within you, waiting to be tapped. Take time to delve into the riches of My resideing Presence. I want you to live increasingly from your real Center, where My Love has an eternal grip on you…”

I still can allow people or circumstances to throw off my peace and centeredness. But I am getting much better in staying connected to that true self, within, and hold tight to my faith. There are several tool I use to do this. I believe it is possible for anyone that is struggling and wants to put in the work.

Part of this, is to remind myself that I cannot change or control others, I usually can’t control my circumstances, but I can control how I let them effect me. If I continue to do the right things for the right reasons (and hold on to my faith) then I will end up where I need to be. 😊❤