bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Category: moving forward

4 Science Based Strategies for When You’re Feeling Down.

(or something like that)

I was reading an article the other day because I was feeling like sh*t and this article caught my eye as I was scrolling through my media feed.

This article was broken into four parts, each headlined by an action, and each part discussed scientific reasons why that action would help bring one out of a temporary ‘funk.’

(I say ‘temporary funk’ as this post is not  meant to address the situation of those who suffer from clinical depression or other mental illnesses…just as I believe that the article was not meant as a replacement for seeking medical help, psychological therapy, or taking prescribed medications either.)

These are the 4 strategies as I listed them in my notebook, and the descriptions are my take on the information as it was presented in the article:

1.) Ask yourself: What am I grateful for?

  • Even if you cannot ‘find’ anything, remembering to do so distracts/busies the mind enough to help you feel better.
  • According to the article, worrying – as well as feeling guilt or shame – ‘rewards’ the brain centers, because the brain treats the process of worrying  or feeling shame or guilt about a problem as a valid attempt to find a solution.  The brain treats the worry as an activity – the brain thinks it’s doing something to solve the problem and to the brain, that’s all that matters is that it is doing something.
  • So, the article stresses the importance of keeping one’s mind busy with what is good, as it is all the same to your brain, whether you are thinking of a solution or not.

2.) Label negative feelings.

  • Give that awful feeling or idea a name; don’t suppress your feelings and emotions about it.  It’s part of your brain’s process.
  • When you suppress emotions, your brain still ‘knows’ it and your body still reacts to the emotion, whether you’ve allowed yourself to feel the emotion or not.

3.) Make a decision

  • Making a decision reduces worry and anxiety, as your brain treats the activity of making a decision as ‘finding a solution’ – even if the decision/’solution’ is to allow yourself to feel a feeling for 20 minutes – and move on.  Even ‘I will decide what to do on Monday’ will work – but you must decide and move on.
  • Your brain treats the act of making a decision as a ‘successful’ attempt at a solution – and it calms your limbic system as a result.
  • Even if it is not a ‘100% effective solution’ or even a procrastination (as in ‘I will think about what to do on Monday morning’ or even ‘I don’t know what to do but I will decide later’) your brain registers that as you have decided to do something.
  • Why? Because actively choosing causes changes in attention circuits of the brain and studies have shown this in action: participants were asked to describe how they felt about an action, and then asked to choose how they are going to react to the action.  The simple act of choosing (ie. verbalizing aloud) their reaction caused an increase of dopamine activity in the brain, and the more specific the decision, the more dopamine was released (such as the general “I am hurt, so I will cry” versus the more specific “I am hurt, so I will cry for 20 minutes.”)

4.) Touch people

  • We need to feel love and acceptance from people.  If we do not and we are rejected, it is painful. The brain registers this lack and this rejection as if we have experienced physical pain. According to science, rejection doesn’t feel like a broken heart; your brain treats the rejection like a broken leg.
  • Touching someone that you love, even a pet – for 20 seconds or more – actually reduces pain: “A hug – especially a long one – releases the neurotransmitter and hormone oxytocin, which reduces the reactivity of the amygdala (the base of the pain center) in the brain.

~~~

I would link to the article – if I could find it – so I will keep looking for it, and update with it if I can…

Found it: http://theweek.com/articles/601157/neuroscience-reveals-4-rituals-that-make-happy

 

 

 

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Month for Loki, Twenty-second: Clearly

I don’t know if I’d ever gotten around to mentioning this, but I am working on another project which has become rather intense lately.

After several incredibly productive weeks, it felt as if certain aspects of the project were just not flowing anymore, and I couldn’t figure out why.

So I pulled a few runes to see if I could tease out what was the source of the blockage:

And this is what came up.

Situation: Laguz –  a rune that represents the essence of flow, the essence of depth, complexity.

Overall Aspect: Wunjo – a rune that represents joy.  A rune of success and happiness. Situation has the potential to go well.  Paired with Laguz, this felt like an excellent sign.

So what happened?

Result: Berkano, reversed- Like a sneaky ton of bricks, I immediately grasped the message here: Your attitude is affecting the potential here; your overall attitude is affecting the growth and the flow.  I see Berkano as a rune of fertility here; and its reversal marks it as the blockage: a fertility that may be misdirected…a profound indicator about how my own attitude – perhaps I am ‘fertilizing’ or feeding my worries and stresses about the project rather than pushing past them or through them – and *that* is the problem.

Huh.

I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a clear message through my runes before….

But that’s it in a nutshell, as it relates to the project, it would seem that the runes are telling me to get the eff out of my own way.

Again, point taken, Sir. 😯

 

 

Good advice, actually:

powerreaction

Month for Loki, Seventh: Crafting, connections and correspondences.

One of the first ways that Loki came to me was through colors.

I find crafting jewelry to be relaxing, so began making ankle bracelets for myself, and dedicating both the act of making the item and then, item itself to Him.  As I may have mentioned before, creating things – whether it’s crafting, cooking or making artwork – seems to help me connect with myself and with Him.

Here are the colors and common associations that I use in my crafts for Loki:

Red: Passion, heat, blood – a color that evokes life force, vitality, sexuality

Orange: Flame, joy, fire – a color associated with Loki as a fire God, and God of the hearth. Warmth.

Yellow: specifically joy and happiness.

Green/Brown: Creativity, growth, change.  Laufey (Loki’s mother) is associated with trees, so I feel Loki has a special affinity for trees and plants as well.  A peaceful, lush shades of green and browns that signify growth and earth vitality.  I  feel Jormungandr can be associated with a paler green, signifying a connection to water/oceans, as well.

Blue: Sky (air) and ocean (water); another color (as with green) that can evoke peaceful associations as well as chaotic, energetic ones – a clear blue sky and a calm sea can also turn to storm-filled sky lit with flashes of blue-white lightning and dark-blue churning waves.

Purple: Self, knowledge.  The color of the crown chakra.  The color of sovereignty, divine connection and magic.

Gold: Treasures. Gold for Gullveig. Mead. As it is with purple, gold is associated with sovereignty, wealth, power, perhaps even decadence.  Gold can signify Loki as sovereign, or as consort, fool, or foil towards what is considered kingly, lawful, or valuable. Loki as a Gift-Bringer provides the Gods (Sif, Thor, Freyr) with items of value.

White: Bone. Purity of ash when paired with black – Loki as Sacrificial God of funeral pyre

Black: Secret or hidden knowledge, magic, death, sacrifice.  Darkness of the cave, of the mind, of the shadows within.  Loki as the psychopomp, the death of self, and self-delusion.

Pink: The flush of skin, the ‘comely hue.’  Another joyful, vital color, that may also evoke His playfulness, eroticism, flirtation or pleasure.

Silver: Silvertongue. Another color evokes ‘value’ – wealth, treasure.

Gemstones:

Carnelian: vitality, sexuality, warmth.  Stone for the red/orange chakra

Snowflake obsidian: Grounding, chthonic.  Coloring is evocative of ashes.

Iron Pyrite/Fool’s gold

Fire Agate

Red Jasper

Labradorite: Not the flame but the lightning, energy of electricity – I associate this stone not only with Loki but with His father, Farbauti, as well.

Jet: Grounding, along with other lava stones – reminiscent of a fire deity.

Green kyanite: Calming, stabilizing force.  I associate this stone with His mother, Laufey.

~~~

Colors I associate with members of His family:

Angrboda: Blood red, rust red, black, forest green.

Fenrir: Blood red, black

Hela: White, black, bone.  As well, a pale sort of pink.

Jormungandr: colors of water: aquatic blues and pale sea greens

Sigyn: Medium to pale blue, lavender, mauve, pink, yellow.  Also browns, heathered grey.

Narvi: Tans and browns, earthy tones of green, and gold.

Vali: Black, red, speckled greys.

Sleipnir: Dark to medium blues, black, silver, grey.

Farbauti: white, electric blue, medium purple

Laufey: earth tones – greens, browns, gold.

 

 

 

 

 

Karma, and struggling.

I found this article by Erin Pavlina this afternoon, and I thought that I would share.

It explains rather succinctly a connection that I’ve been struggling with understanding concerning karma and the Universe.

Mostly, this article inadvertently answers why it is probable that we as spiritual human beings keep running into the same situations in life over and over, and what that has to do with karma.

Check it out.

 

The part that hit me the most profoundly was this:

Karma is about being given the opportunity to change your vibration and attract something different. No one is going to inflict that upon you, but the universe will bring you ample opportunities to choose a different path.

So if you’re holding out hope that something bad will happen to another person, you’re better off releasing, forgiving, and moving on, otherwise you will attract new opportunities that involve you needing to forgive someone. Are you catching my drift here?

If you are constantly wishing negative things will happen to those who wrong you, the universe will constantly bring you people who wrong you so you can continue wishing negative things will happen to them. That’s your vibration. That’s your karma. That’s what the universe thinks you want since that’s what you’re always thinking about.

Karma is not punishment, it’s not revenge, it’s not justice. Karma is the universe giving you opportunities to alter your vibration. Do with that what you will.”

How this relates to my present situation is that I have wondered for quite a while now why I keep getting thrown into situations wherein I keep finding myself feeling echoes of the past – people I’ve hurt, people that have hurt me, and the corresponding situations that I would rather not think about.

Perhaps in focusing on the pain of what I’ve been through, I am constantly re-opening the wounds rather than doing anything to heal them.

Perhaps this is what brought Him to me:  my latest spiritual work – in working with the God that I Had Promised Myself that I Would Never Work With – I have been forced to confront all the reasons why I had refused to work with Him for so long.

I began to see that the only way to move forward was to confront the lesson that kept being presented to me over and over in seeing His face, and the echoes of that premise: If you expect a monster, you will get a monster.

Yes, He is still capable of being a monster.

But the only way to move forward in my spiritual practice is to engage with Him.

And I am engaging with Him.

The only way out is to go through.

 

Together.

Neil Gaiman has done it again – with some lovely words to ponder on this first day of 2017:

braveryandjoyng

I would like to take a moment to wish all of my readers a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.

May we all find the bravery we need to step forward into the darkness – together.

May we all find the joy that we are seeking in this world – together.

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fe1e73dd673597785a578cceacb40efa

Thought for today.

Yesterday was a difficult day.

I was very angry and insecure and thinking about the past, as the date – 14 November- has marked a reminder of a horrible low point in regards to my personal history in these last 5 years*

I was going to post a link for the curious…

but then I thought better of it, simply because it doesn’t serve any purpose for me to dredge shit up now, does it?

 

And then, this morning, this quote came across my media feed:

letitgoiyanlavz

 

Thanks, Universe.

~~~~

*Though, this time of year – in general – has always been a shitty time of year for me and my emotions.

Meanwhile, the Thought365 project has given me the gentle impetus to change that, so I thought I’d try it.

We are all stories

“We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.”

                                              —  Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human