Care for Self: Permaculture and Wellness.

Observing and interacting is the foundational design principle in Permaculture.  It was January’s focus, along with the character asset of honesty.

Permaculture is a design system of sustainability principles. It teaches us by studying nature and its local, rhythmic, and bioregional ways. It is guided by three ethics, People Care, Earth Care, and Fair Share.

People Care treats the self, or our inner experience, as a sustainable resource of energy.  Think about this.  Your energy level fulfills many roles and responsibilities on any given day I bet.

How do you keep your battery charged?

In January our CAC members were challenged to do just that.  To take care of themselves, to love themselves, and to commit to practicing this all year long by creating habits and behaviors that support love as a renewable mental health resource.  We will study a design principle and a character asset a month as guides to deepen and inform our practices of LOVE.

Observing and Interacting

Observing and interacting is rooted in patience.  It is a practice of returning again and again to right now and witnessing your circumstances.

~Being with~

footsteps

Patience makes us more mindful of our inner world, and how we are practicing love and self-care based on how we are feeling.

A lot of us hate to feel our feelings.  We hate the feelings in the body expressing the ranges of love and fear!

Anxiety, depression. Anger, shame.  Sometimes these are just words we use for feeling really bad.  Addicts use to control not feeling, or to create a way of feeling.

Humans in general get stuck in why do I feel this way?  when sometimes the remedy is simply to feel our feelings.  Often, I have found that softening to how I am feeling right now, being gentle in accepting me for me, is a sure way to calm tension and anxiety.

I like this relief!

Self-care is about being present with who we are by honoring how we feel and what we need.  It’s, in the words of writer Mark Nepo, allowing the heart to say ouch.

I like that, too.

Maybe a goal is trying to grow in mindfulness of how our feelings cause us to react.

Sometimes some of us have old stories written in our body of times our hearts got hurt.  Hurts that weren’t allowed to be felt.  Sometimes that’s why we focus so much on why?

Why is a way we pathologize, or make a problem out of something.  Problems can direct us on how to find a solution.  Self-care as a solution is about learning to not shame our feelings, and to stop labeling experiences that we can’t control or that don’t feel good, times when life has us in ruts, as bad.

If we grew up in a home where violence, neglect, untreated alcoholism or other substance abuse, or untreated mental illness existed, not getting needs met is our normal.

If this is the case, we repeat old self care systems of self-neglect, self-harm, self-abondonment, and self-abuse.  Meaning we treat our self in ways that are neglectful.

We could do this with drugs, alcohol, relationships, food, sex, spending money.  You name it.

Old self care habits like these usually have a story of self worth behind them.

Observing and interacting with our day to day experience with no judgment for our thoughts and feelings and no shame, becomes a way to stay more present with ourself in an honest, fact finding way.

This is how we challenge ourselves, to see if or where old self worth stories, in ways of perpetuating self neglect or harm, might be running areas of our lives.

We challenge ourselves to replace that story and the old neglectful self care behavior with stories and behaviors of love.

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February’s design principle is Catch and Store Energy.  The asset is open-mindedness.  We spend February observing and interacting with the experiences in our lives that specifically help us catch and store self care practices of LOVE.  We are open to this change.

Be well, friends.  Begin, within.  Begin, again!

 

Understanding Substance Abuse

At Tuesday’s free seminar kick-off (!!) we discussed the disease model of substance abuse, what this means physiologically for someone in withdrawal, how it impacts the addict or alcoholic in the form of the shame cycle (leading to relapse!), and especially, how to create solution and lasting treatment that works.

It wasn’t until 2011 that a press release was issued from the American Society of Addiction Medicine stating “that addiction is a chronic brain disorder and not simply a behavioral problem involving too much alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex.”

We now know that deep in the mid-brain our survival needs (FOOD! SEX! EXCRETE!  SLEEP!) are wired, AND also from here neurons called dopamines are released when we experience pleasure.

Drugs like alcohol and opioids, among others, surge those dopamine neurons!  The short version of the longterm–your survival brain becomes wired to need your drug of choice as a priority for survival.  Literally, the neurological line in your brain’s sand is when your pleasure transmitters become chemically confused and begin to believe they need that pleasure spike not just to live but to survive.

Because we didn’t even understand the chemistry behind this enough to call it a brain disorder until five years ago, there exists today a serious stigma around addiction because people believe it still to be a mere behavior or will problem.  For more information between the difference, go here and learn more from Dr. Kevin McCauley.

What that stigma especially seems to mean for an addict is knowing firsthand the darkness of the shame cycle. When we haven’t drank or used in weeks but can’t shake that awful creeping gnarling that tells us we’re no good so why bother.

Or,  when we wake up so horrified by our behavior last night that we remedy it by getting messed up all over again, because lets face it, I guess I really do suck if I can’t stay clean…The shame cycle is so emotionally real, and breaking its stories and associated beliefs takes committed practice!

How to begin?  My favorite definition of mindfulness?  RADICAL ACCEPTANCE.  Radical acceptance of the here and now, which literally means of who I am right this second: starting with how I feel.

Honesty about who we are, and learning how to be emotionally present and accountable to ourselves creates lasting change.

Change

Takes

Time.

Learning to name and tend your needs is how to stop abandoning and hurting yourself.  If you have a problem staying sober or clean there is help.

Your body can heal and grow, as can your mind, and spirit, your soul.

Click here to download the Understanding Substance Abuse notes.  dfs-understanding-substance-abuse

Join us again on Tuesday, November 29, 2016, at the Ocean Pines Community Center, from 6-8pm to learn more, and promote solution and change.