Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Anxiety and Relativity

I have been drowning in anxiety lately. I have this horrible lurking feeling and I just want October to pass. I don't know why, but I just feel like October is going to be a month where I am robbed of all my goodness. Where I lose everything I took for granted anyway. If I can get through October, if I can survive until November, life will go on.

I have been working on an exercise my Father in Law gave me. To this day, it is probably the most productive, most helpful piece of wisdom anyone has ever given me (in particular). He is a perceptive person, who knows I lose a lot of battles to anxiety, because I grew up always expecting the worst of every situation.

So when I am in a fit of anxiety, and my chest is tight and I am pushing back irrational tears, stifling sobs, and just trying to breathe like a normal, balanced, healthy person, I do my darndest to practice that exercise.

Whatever it is that I am focusing on in the moment is anxiety-causing because I cannot get my mind off of the worst possible outcome.

And since I have already mastered picturing the Worst Possible Outcome, I also force myself to picture the Best Possible Outcome. Which is really hard sometimes, when you are stuck in a place where you can scarcely believe there is potential for positivity to find a place in your head.

But it has helped me get a lot of perspective. Sometimes it doesn't work to rid the anxiety, not right away, but sometimes it does. At least for a moment. And then 20 minutes later I have to take a minute to clear my head so I can do it all over again.

I know that this is a first world problem. I know that there are hungry children in Africa, and mothers in third world countries that live every day knowing exactly how many children they brought into the world, and knowing that fewer than that are with them today. I know that there is a large number of people with no roof over their heads, no medicine within reach, no clean water to drink. I know that to them, electricity is a luxury and not even their first concern because there are far more basic needs than that which need to be met.

I know that there are entire nations where women have no rights, where love is not a principle of marriage, but abuse is. I know that there are places, both far north and far south, where this is not enough wool to make blankets to keep people warm. And if there were, who could afford it anyway?

I know there are men and children working 20 hour stretches in mines just to make ends meet, knowing they will not live long, and dying uncomfortable deaths from their working conditions.

I know that there are places where having a dog to love is not a luxury available to them. That loving a dog is absurd, because they need to eat and we practically make fun of those people by being offended that they feed their families with the food we feed for the fun of it.

So I know, trust me, that my problems are small ones, relative to all the weary souls on the planet I share.  But despite the meagerness of my problems, I ask as humbly as possible (knowing that it isn't humble enough) that anyone reading put up a prayer for me too. My struggles aren't worthy, but right now they feel pretty grim, and I am not sure how they are going to come to an end.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Worry, stress, anxiety and a 30-day Challenge

You have worry, stress and anxiety. It's hard to let go of. It's hard to picture a best case scenario.

What purpose does worry, stress and anxiety serve? Has it made you prosperous in positive outcomes in the past? Does it serve you? Does it serve those around you? Does it bring love, encouragement, openness, and help to other people in your life? Does it help you to engage in your spiritual life? Is it assisting you in experiencing this very short life to the fullest?


I am taking a 30-day yoga challenge, as prescribed by my yoga instructor. (I am on day 2, I guess). It's going to be tough, mostly because I have a difficult time committing to a daily routine. I can not predict the outcome of this challenge, but my ideal goal would be to learn to let go of my perma-anxiety. With any luck, I will learn to be a better person.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Progress Pictures #2: Back Yard

Remember the last post I wrote where I had a picture of Isaac standing next to a dirt mountain and a bunch of holes? Well, here's some progress since that last photo...

Here is Adam, our friend/landscaper, standing next to the hole that will house the water pump. That mound of dirt is going be a water fall!

Isaac posing next to his future oasis.

Progress as of yesterday.

And now, a few pics of the dogs enjoying the yard as it is right now...

As you can see, Honey loves being queen of the hill.

Rambo, enjoying the view from above.

Sorry for the picture quality. I took a look at my phone (which acts as my camera these days) and the lens looked quite foggy. Upon closer inspection it has become very scratched! I should take this as a motivator to suck it up and buy a reasonable point-and-shoot already. Hopefully future blog posts will bear higher quality photos. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Evolution of a Yard in Pictures: One

So, our yard has been coming along a little bit at a time, but I feel like we are making good progress. I figured a picture post was in order to show the state of the back yard as it is right now, and will do one (or two) more photo posts as we make more headway.

This is the "before" picture. This is basically what our entire yard has looked like for months. It was worse before the first time we leveled it, if you can believe that. So rubbly.

This is the north side of the house. We decided to cover the ground over here with mulch. Eventually it will turn into soil, and become our watermelon/canteloupe/squash patch.

Over here we have laid gravel to make a level place to put raised beds for vegetable gardening.

Here is Isaac, standing next to several big holes (watch your step!), and a dirt mountain. We've purchased a pump and some coconut palms. This is going to be our cascading water feature, flanked by palms. And when those palms have grown strong roots, we'll hang a hammock between them.

After measuring and cutting, Isaac is staining the outsides of these boards for raised beds. The insides were heavily waxed to ensure extra safe soil for food growing.

Stained boards.

First raised bed almost finished...

Isaac admiring our work on the first finished raised bed. The dogs seem to enjoy it as well. 

Raised beds set in place on the Mauka/East side of our house.

The dogs love the raised beds and dirt a little too much. It's already been a challenge keeping them out. We may have to add fencing around this area.

Today, I will Amend the soil and hopefully transplant my basil, carrots, onions, lettuce, cucumbers and first tomato plant.

We are also hoping that the shipment of dirt came in from Kamuela today so our landscaper can bring it in and put dirt over all that rock.

Then! Grass seed!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Our property is almost a yard!

I almost cringe with guilt whenever I refer to the extra land our house sits on as "a yard," because it really is not a yard at all.

The front of our house is so overgrown with weeds, it hurts to look at it. When we moved in it was a total jungle.

The good news is that I seem to have narrowed down the number of species of weeds from about 10 to 2, with both of them being incredibly resilient. Nothing will grow as long as they cover the ground.

I avoid making eye contact with our neighbors because I'm so embarrassed by the front yard. It's my goal to have it looking yard-of-the-month good by December. I don't know if the neighbors know this, but I am too shy to tell them. Although I bet it is all in my head, I imagine that they feel hostile about the lack of progress on the front yard. Perhaps they swear at me under their breath for keeping their home values down.

(In our defense, the house was un-lived in for four years, with no yard care. Those weeds had a head start!)


The back yard has been a rocky wasteland since we moved in. It's literally all rock, rubble and scree. Nothing grows there. It is desert. It is not a nice place. And without a pickup truck, a ton of resources, tropical vegetation know-how and extra manpower, nothing was going to get done.

So we hired a landscaper; and are doing a lot of the labor ourselves to make it affordable. He brings tools, equipment, resources, knowledge and his own manpower. Finally, I think we're getting somewhere.

I wish we could afford to have him do the front yard too.

On Friday we got mulch on the North side of our house. That will be our future melon patch. (And mulch is free, thank goodness).

In the to-be-grassed area we will be growing Tangelos, limes, avocados, and two palms worth of coconuts. We are debating whether or not to plant pineapples along the fenceline, or to put in wild flowers.

The vegetable garden will have loads of basil (I have so much already, and extra seeds to spare!), carrots, cucumbers, onions, lettuce, spinach, green beans, and tomatoes.

If any of you have suggestions about other fruits or vegetables that grow well in warm climates, let me know! I will try to find the seeds.

Hopefully after several more days work I will have a progress-in-pictures post.