Sleeping to the sound of music

Sound of nature, photo by Daniel Jaeger Vendruscolo, Pato Branco, Brazil, sleeping musicA relaxing activity is to play instrumental peaceful music as you fall asleep. It is vital, though, that the music be gentle and not have words that can instil a contrary message in your subconscious mind. Some songs, although beautiful, have messages of ‘poor abandoned me’ or psych you up with ‘I’m a winner’ and this is not relaxing as you sleep. Also important is that you play music that will finish and not be repeated all night because this may only keep you in a light sleep and not give you the rest you need. The same applies to sleeping with the TV on which can keep your mind busy all night. Then you wonder why you are tired and crotchety during the next day?

as we talked about the tension in their relationship
and what took place on a daily basis
it became apparent that every night they
watched TV in their bedroom
for relaxation of course!
they fell asleep while it was on
as their therapist I suggested that they
try turning the TV off when it was time to sleep
and they could play soft relaxing music instead
they did and the difference in their daytime
behaviour and interaction was noticeably calmer

Sound of nature, photo by Daniel Jaeger Vendruscolo, Pato Branco, Brazil, sleeping music

Relationship checklist

from:New York Times

Heart, photo by Michael Bretherton, Brisbane, Australia, customised relationshipsQuestions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying
Published: December 17, 2006
Relationship experts report that too many couples fail to ask each other critical questions before marrying. Here are a few key ones that couples should consider asking:

1) Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?

2) Do we have a clear idea of each otherís financial obligations and goals, and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?

3) Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?

4) Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?

5) Is my partner affectionate to the degree that I expect?

6) Can we comfortably and openly discuss our sexual needs, preferences and fears?

7) Will there be a television in the bedroom?

8) Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one anotherís ideas and complaints?

9) Have we reached a clear understanding of each otherís spiritual beliefs and needs, and have we discussed when and how our children will be exposed to religious/moral education?

10) Do we like and respect each otherís friends?

11) Do we value and respect each otherís parents, and is either of us concerned about whether the parents will interfere with the relationship?

12) What does my family do that annoys you?

13) Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?

14) If one of us were to be offered a career opportunity in a location far from the otherís family, are we prepared to move?

15) Does each of us feel fully confident in the otherís commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?

Honeymoon period

Lovers, photo by Sundar Chinnusamy, Erode India, loving relationshipsMost times when we romantically connect with people, the first phase is called the honeymoon period because it’s a state of ‘love in bloom’. We think alike, we enjoy the same food and drinks. We share the same interests, even to the extent that the men watch ‘chick flicks’ and the women watch ‘action movies’ (usually full of gruesome violence). Just being together is fun. It’s a moment in time that usually lasts for 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years, as shown by surveys. The relationship can then transform into a loving relationship based on friendship. Couples can customise their relationships to suite themselves and make life fulfilling which will provide a safe environment for their children, if they have any.

he asked her to marry him and
as both had been divorced
as well as having children between them
they discussed two or three vital issues
which they expected to face in marriage
then they agreed on some resolutions
which they could use to avoid disharmony
it was a peaceful, happy, sensual relationship
and above all a friendship based on respect

Time doesn’t have to fly

Savoring time, photo by Tim Nisly, Albuquerque, NM, United States, slowing downPeople say “time flies”. In actual fact we are responsible for how fast time passes. Remember when we were children how long one year seemed like so long? That was because we weren’t in control of our lives, others were – our parents, teachers and so on. As adults we are in charge and we can forget how to stay in ‘the now’ and enjoy just being. Instead we live from gratification to gratification – the next pay cheque, the next outing, the next shopping excursion, the debts being cleared, and many more excuses to be in the tomorrow. Then we are surprised that time flies.

I noticed how quickly Christmas comes and goes
and as I get older it unsettles me
if I am in charge of my life then
I am responsible for how quickly time flies
so I cleared my symbolic plate of
as many commitments that allowed me
to have more relaxation time and
life enjoyment activities
but definitely less busy time!
how amazingly slow the week went
giving me enjoyment and serenity
it’s as simple as that
now I just have to be vigil about
maintaining that pace

How to handle feelings

Orchadee 2, photo by Frank Muller, Wallenfels, Bayern, Germany,  positive outlookAtlanta left this positive comment on my previous post on “Addiction and anger”. I show it here so that people can see yet another example of how people can handle their feelings in a manner so that ‘they run their feelings instead of their feelings running them’. Congratulations to both of you, Atlanta, for practising smart living.

“Thanks for this post Affie. A friend and I were talking just last night about this very thing. She is a person that is responsible and likes to take care of things but underneath the anger was brewing. She didnít rage, but identified that she wasnít expressing how she she wasnít happy with a situation. I think bringing awareness to emotions is a way to start to process them and bring about some relief.”

Leisure time for good health

Exercise by the sea, photo by Adam Kurzok, trinec, Czech Republic, wellbeing We can get swept up by work commitments, which results in emotional and physical burnout. We are not aware of this happening because usually the process is enjoyable. Having purpose and direction is very potent for us human beings, whether paid or voluntary activities. However, without leisure time for good health, we can become sick. This can creep up on us, manifesting as common illnesses, depression, addiction and/or moodiness. Being vigilant about these symptoms? can be an early remedy. Better still is prevention, so we need to have a balance between our work and leisure time – no excuses.

I was chosen to run a new program and
we had great success with it which was
most beneficial for the clients involved
I was on call 24 hours a day
for their safety and that of the workers
and after 2 years at this pace
my weight increased and I got
chronic bronchitis and diabetes
my moodiness was not apparent to me
then I developed depression
which took 6 months to recover
I realised how run down I had become, so
I quit the job and found more relaxing work
to this day I am amazed at how intoxicating
that project was that I did not notice
how hard I was working and how
my leisure time had become minimal

Notice of Intended Marriage

Kiss, photo by Hobbes Yeo, Singapore, wedding ceremonyIt is important to remember that when you plan to get married, you need to make a Notice of Intended Marriage application which is witnessed by your Marriage Celebrant (or an authorised official) no later than 1 month and 1 day before the intended marriage date. The celebrant will also need to view your birth certificates and divorce documents (if applicable). If you’re born overseas, a passport and statutory declaration can be accepted if you don’t have a birth certificate. There is no chance that the celebrant can shorten the period to less than the 1 month and 1 day which is required by law. However, the celebrant can write a letter explaining your circumstances which you both could take to your local court for approval of shortening of time. This approval is not easily gained, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Both parties need to be applying before the minimum required time, so be prepared.

she phoned me 2 weeks before New Year’s Eve
and asked me to conduct their wedding at midnight
what’s more she wanted it to be a surprise for him
she assured me that he always wanted them to marry
and all their friends could confirm it, if necessary
I refused saying that it was outside the minimum time
and that both parties needed to sign the
Notice of Intended Marriage before that period
she was angry about my response but
celebrants have no choice in this matter

Resentments

That look, photo by Betty Miller, Colorado, United States, http://fireyes.deviantart.com, inner turmoilEvery day we have mixed feelings about different matters. Resentments are strong feelings which we can bury deep within, contaminating our wellbeing. What’s worse is being in denial about doing just that. Resentments are so cunning that we can ignore their existence until it’s too late and we have surprising explosive behaviours. That’s why it’s far better to be in touch with our feelings and own them as being naturally ours, and in doing so they settle down. Then we need to observe their origin and what can be done to resolve this turmoil. The expression ‘befriend our demons’ means finding those feelings which we have suppressed, that have subsequently turned into problematic behaviour, and processing them.

she had long ago ‘befriended her demons’
as a result of intense therapy and
personal and professional development
she took pride in being a guide for others
on similar journeys of enlightenment
but she didn’t notice resentments building up
deep within, in her inner world
on the outside she was busy and happy
but something was not as it should be
she’d gained weight and had an insatiable appetite
it took 3 OA meetings a week to get real
about her buried unwanted feelings of
resentment, self pity, boredom, loneliness
which she was busy avoiding with activities
and for which she had paid the price
fortunately it didn’t take long for her
to tweak her choices back into healthy living

That look, photo by Betty Miller, http://fireyes.deviantart.com

Anger can heal

Feel my pain, photo by Nara Vieira da Silva Osga, Manaus, Brazil, painful emotionsWe run away from pain, that’s a normal human reaction to overwhelming feelings. Anger is one of the emotions that we don’t want to feel and so we often suppress it to the point that we think we don’t have it. Emotions that are buried will only explode like a volcano when we least expect them and often over insignificant events. Anger can heal if it’s reframed and used as positive energy – a popular strategy used in sports training. When feelings are ignored they cause us ill health and or lead to our need to self medicate with substances or processes which can eventually end in unmanageability and addiction.

at a rehab hospital the group worked on
how they dealt with their feelings
the facilitator kept probing Joe
who always appeared calm yet he
suffered from an addiction
finally Joe raised his voice demanding
what was expected of him?
the facilitator responded “that!”
meaning that Joe needed to be more
in touch with his feelings and express himself,
a basic tool for assertiveness training and recovery

13th Step love

Together, photo by Puiu Adriana Mirabela, Bucharest, Romania,  loving fellowshipPeople who find recovery from addictions in a 12 Step program create close loving friendships together, which is the basis for this fellowship. It’s known that some members also find a soulmate or life partner in the 12 Step fellowship, when both partners have a strong recovery and are ready for an intimate relationship. In such cases a life partnership is rewarding because they share a way of life which they understand and which enhances their recovery choices. However, people need to be vigilant about 13th Step love. That’s what they call it when someone who is experienced with the 12 Step program gets involved with a member in recovery who is vulnerable and who is usually a new member (also see my other posts on the 13th Step which is the unofficial term for this involvement).

he resisted his feelings about her because
she was new in recovery and he was her guide
he had many years in the 12 Step fellowship
and was grateful for the sanity and serenity he had
but he was fooled about her level of recovery
because it was not her first time in the program
so when their relationship became intimate he had
hopeful plans for their future together
but then she relapsed and he realised
it had only been a 13th Step love
he took responsibility for the mistake as he was the more
experienced one and had needed to be more aware
she was now a ‘runaway train’ with her addiction and
they suffered in more ways than one
a painful lesson for both