Tag Archives: Stress

Sunday Lump

I’m not good at relaxing. I’m good at being lazy. I have a constant need to multitask because if I don’t, I procrastinate, and get nothing done. I haven’t been working on my book much of late. That’s part of the reason I started the music project, which I am enjoying very much. I think that’s okay. I think part of my problem, however, is that lately it’s felt like working on my book is just that–work. A book is a piece of art, and I’m an artist. While it’s true that working on my art is my job, it shouldn’t only feel like a job.

The music project has created stress because it takes up time that I would otherwise use to procrastinate or actually write, but that’s the point. I can’t afford to procrastinate anymore. I’m starting to enjoy working on the book again, but the funny thing is, between working on music, the book, and the blog, I’ve become a bit of a workaholic. The thing is, the music project doesn’t only involve writing and recording songs. It’s already started to involve self-promotion because I’ve released the single. That’s involved re-teaching myself how to use movie-maker, and upload videos to YouTube, how to promote my stuff on Facebook, and how to upload stuff to Bandcamp. It’s all technically simple, but if you’re not tech-savvy, it takes at least a little time.

Before I started writing this post, I glanced at a map I drew of the continental landscape of my book, and it gave me an idea. I was going to start working on it, but then stopped myself and laughed. I told myself to relax. My plan for today was to sit around and read. I haven’t been reading. I’ll do that this evening. I slept in, and hung out with my family instead. I’m going to afternoon Mass in a bit.

When I’m being lazy, I say I’m being a lump. A lot of times, I don’t mean to be a lump. I just am. Today, I’m forcing myself to enjoy myself, get a few minor things done–mainly prayerful things–and be a Sunday lump.

Bring It On

Over the past few days I’ve been thinking about when Jesus talked about building a house on a rock versus building a house on the sand. Scrolling through my Facebook feed, I see a lot of cynicism and a lot of pessimism, and I wonder what this has to do with where one chooses to build their house. I remember at the beginning of Advent, going into my church and being surprised to see the purple on the altar and the Advent wreath by the entrance, but I was also excited.

A week or two later I was asked to explain the meaning of the Advent wreath to my fourth grade class, and honestly, I had to google it. The wreath itself represents eternity. The three purple candles represent love, peace, and hope, The pink candle represents joy, and the white candle which is lit on Christmas Eve represents purity. My godmother came to visit during the first week of Advent, and she drew an advent wreath on our chalkboard. Even though it’s just a drawing, it’s been exciting each week to draw a yellow light on each of the candles.

In scripture, God is referred to as our rock, our fortress, and our refuge. He has been that for me over and over. This weekend is Christmas. All the candles will be lit. There won’t be any more darkness. Still, scrolling through Facebook, I see darkness, sadness, and bad news. I heard once from someone who went to a therapist that they were told every ship needs a sail and an anchor. Some people are sails, and some people are anchors. Some people lead to new adventures, risks to take, and experiences to delight in or learn from. Others lead home. Using that analogy, it seems to me that so many people are sailing ships with no anchors.

Last week I finished a song about the aftermath of the election. Don’t worry, this’ll be quick; I know we’re all sick of talking about it. Both Clinton supporters and Trump supporters have been unfair and unkind, and in some cases, violent. I supported neither candidate. I didn’t vote. There’s a line in my song that says “I have one king.” The chorus of the song says:

I dare you to lose
Stare down your own defeat
And defiantly believe
That it’s true you can live on hope alone

I think a lot of people have lost hope. I think Trump won because people lost faith in the government, and I think the people who didn’t support him lost hope because they still had faith in the government. Either way, everybody lost. Everybody lost if we’re only talking about the present, the immediate future, and the reality we know apart from God’s part in it. Everybody lost if we forget to hope.

Jesus is king no matter what, and he will always be king no matter what. There is no reason to lose hope at Christmas time. It’s not about whether or not one has amazing decorations, or can hold extravagant parties, or can afford the newest, greatest gifts. What matters is the reason for celebrating. Last week I spent an hour with my fourth grade class as usual. I brought my ukulele and a bag of cookies my mom made. We sang a few songs, and my assistant teacher read a couple stories to the kids. It was one of the most worshipful hours I’ve spent during Advent, and I spent it with eleven little kids.

For some, Christmas is one of the only times to get together with family. For some, it’s a good excuse to eat junk food. One of our favorite traditions is to get my parents, brother, aunt, cousin and me into the car, get some hot chocolate or coffee and drive around and look at everyone’s lights. It’s fun to make our neighborhoods look pretty, and Christmas is a good excuse. For some, however, the weeks before Christmas are not fun. While everyone else is enjoying themselves, some are simply stretching themselves too thin. Some are reminded of bad experiences connected to this time. Some go hungry. Some are cold. Some spend the holiday alone.

The first Christmas wasn’t a party. The first Christmas was dark and dangerous. Jesus’ life was in danger from the moment he was born. I don’t think he would want the world to forget that for the sake of having a good time. I think he might find it easier to identify with the people who aren’t having a good time. For those of us who are, it’s important to remember why, and to invite the Lord to have a good time with us. It can be as simple as remembering to pray before Christmas dinner, and making sure we get to church.

I’ve seen so many posts about how 2016 has been a really crappy year. Okay, in many ways I can’t disagree. Maybe it’s just been another year for me, but we’ve had political unrest in our country, and the Middle East is still in turmoil. There have been terrorist attacks in various countries all over the world, and sometimes it looks like the world is going to end. As we fight for a better life for ourselves and others, we are dished out more problems. Yes, 2016 has looked bleak in many ways. We’ve had to stare darkness in the face.

We have two options this Christmas and in the weeks to come. We can look at that darkness, often disguised in songs about snowmen and sleigh rides: candy and chaos: we can look into that darkness and see only war and death; or we can look into that darkness and defiantly say, “bring it on. I have the Light of the World inside of me. Jesus is with me, and that’s all I need.” We can live on hope alone.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

The Things My Subconscious Does

I had a very odd dream two nights ago, and I thought I should write it down before I forget. I was riding down a dirt road in my wheelchair (which is weird because I almost never actually use a wheelchair in dreams), trying to get to my family, but the road was muddy, and my wheels kept getting stuck. For some reason there were all kinds of trucks and cars stopped at odd angles, some of them clearly very stuck, all over the road, which made it even harder to get through.

Eventually I got so stuck that I just couldn’t move no matter how hard I tried, but luckily, a woman who I’ve clearly never seen before in real life came and rescued me and brought me to this weird store, where she proceeded to tell me about how teeth work. Then she started putting teeth into a plastic bag to give to me, and told me to take good care of them like I was supposed to put them in my own mouth or something. However, right before I woke up, I saw two pictures on the wall behind her.

The first was a picture of Jesus carrying a cross. The second was of Jesus carrying a very large shovel, standing over what appeared to be a grave; possibly his own. I don’t know what to make of it, and it’s kind of freaking me out a little bit. What’s with the shovel? What does it mean? Why am I seeing this? Was I supposed to have this dream, or is my brain just being a psycho? Usually I know for sure, but this dream was super weird. I don’t understand what stuck-in-mud and bag-of-teeth have to do with anything.

I do know that when you dream about teeth it’s usually because you’re stressed out about something. I guess I have been a little stressed out about school lately, but no more than usual, I don’t think, and I never have teeth dreams. The other somewhat odd thing is that I haven’t been remembering as many dreams as usual lately. Even just a year ago I had a crazy dream every night and I remembered it. Lately I’ve been having a much harder time remembering my dreams, which is annoying to me because I like my insane little adventures. I feel like I might have been supposed to remember this one in particular, but I don’t know why. I guess I could do a little research and try to figure it out.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Don’t Worry

The best advice I’ve ever got is to not worry. Sometimes it’s hard to follow this advice, but if you can do it, you will find things a lot easier to deal with. When you’re really busy or when things are just not going your way, you may feel stressed out. The best thing you can do is to stop thinking about everything and focus on one thing at a time. Put everything in order from the most important to the least important and deal with them separately, in that order. It’s really not that hard to do and I’ve found it ridiculously helpful. I got this advice directly from the Lord. Just read Mathew 6: 25-34.

Sometimes not worrying means you have to stop. If you have to stop, do it. If you have a million things on your mind or a million things to do, it can make it impossible to actually do anything. If that’s the case then just STOP and do something fun. Play guitar (or any instrument) or do some puzzles online or play with your pets or draw; anything that will help you relax and take your mind off things.

I’ve shared this advice with a few people, so I thought I’d just post it here.

P.S. Apparently this is my 77th post. UBER LUCKY NUMBER!!!!!!!!