Thursday, November 08, 2007

Happy Jonimas!

Happy Jonimas! My fellow Joni Mitchell devotee and friend SS reminded me that yesterday was her birthday, and we always like to celebrate one of our favorite artists. In honor of this special day I listened to two of her albums on my MP3 player-- For The Roses and her live album, Miles of Aisles -- while cross-stitching during Mabel's gymnastics class.

This was a good thing to do, because yesterday afternoon I got horribly irritable, and I could feel the urge to binge creeping in like cold air seeping into the cracks of a house. Music does have a calming affect on me, as well as doing needlework, and it helped me to avoid eating yet allow me to focus on what was bothering me.

I will say that one song in particular really hit home: Lessons in Survival. But that's a whole therapy session in itself there...

What I did manage to sort out were the feelings that were affecting me that evening. First of all, my back was hurting me off and on all day and was really starting to ache by late afternoon. That by itself is a logical cause of my irritability. But the real problem was feeling overwhelmed: I've dug in deeply to this Room of Doom project and making real progress. My book shelves are looking great and I managed to organize my large collection of greeting cards (I suppose that sounds odd, but my late grandmother was an avid card sender and always had a stockpile for every occasion. And guess who inherited it? Yeah, me.) But now I'm getting to the hard part; sorting through my husband's and my own miscellaneous papers and other office doodads and figuring out what to do with them all: file them, store them or throw them away. I feel a lot of uncertainty about Hubby's stuff (I have a difficult time getting him to file, organize or throw away anything, and if I go ahead and do it for him, I worry I'll do something wrong), and the piles are so big that I don't even know where to begin.
I found myself facing a similar situation last night with the counted cross stitch project I've been working on since August. I am finally getting close to completing this larger-sized, somewhat intricate picture, yet last night I had that same feeling of being overwhelmed and not knowing where to start. I finally made myself minimize my focus and just pick one color of thread and deal with that and not think about the rest. By changing my perspective, concentrating on a small amount of stitches instead of letting myself get overwhelmed by all the ones that need to be done, it was much easier to deal with and lessened my trepidations.
As I was getting into the groove and enjoying myself again, I realized I need to do the same thing with the Room of Doom, as well as the rest of my life. I see that this has to do with my perfectionism: I fret so much about doing something right that I either get irritable and fret about doing it wrong or wind up not doing it at all. I've seen this kind of procrastination a lot in my family and can recognize it in myself. Instead of getting overwhelmed, frustrated and apprehensive about the big things or what's going to happen in the future, I need to redirect myself and focus on the Now -- i.e., conscious living.
While I was still a little irritable when I got home last night, at least I knew why, and I didn't turn to food to make myself feel better. I used my shiatsu massager to loosen up my back, laid down on my heating pad and went to bed early. This morning my back is still a little tender, but better, and I'm prepared to tackle that stack of papers this afternoon a little bit at a time.

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