Tag Archives: fear

Living Mindfully

mindfulness is a way of non-judgmentally connecting with your life

some things are in the wrong place, but none can know the future

Until pretty recently I had never heard the words mindful nor mindfully and to be honest, for a man of my generation, background, and upbringing, the concepts and processes of mindfulness are fairly alien and unknowable.

However, to each of us there comes a time when we need to look outside of our everyday wants, needs, struggles, and conflicts to find something we can trust to lift the pain and distress from our shoulders.  There may come a time when we sink as low as to destroy the relationship we hold most precious, to harm ourselves with booze, drugs, gambling, casual sex, lies and deceptions, and to have thoughts of suicide.  Just a few short days ago I had sunk that low.  I had arrived at a rock bottom, and I knew there was yet another rock bottom even lower and worse than the one I was suffering.

Now I know that mindfulness is a way for me to live fully in the moment, and by being totally in the now, cutting off worries about the past and stress about all possible futures.

Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different.  ~  James Baraz

Mindfulness is a way for me to calmly pay full attention to what is happening to me right now, how I am feeling right now, and how I am reacting to those feelings.  Deep down there is a need for me to be calm and at peace with what is happening in the now, instead of worrying and being resentful about what has happened, what could happen, what was and could be bad, what went wrong, what could go wrong, and what is missing in my life.  No matter the chaos that is troubling me in my heart and mind, outwardly I need to radiate inner peace.

Being mindful is about me letting the past stay in the past and leaving the future as something that is yet to come about, it’s about being in the now without being hurt, disturbed, and distressed by what might happen, or what has already happened, or what my twisted mind thinks has already happened.

I may never be able to silence the thousands of negative thoughts and feelings that uninvited pass through my mind each day, but I have learned how to slow down my mind, and allow my feelings to come and go without reacting badly to them.

Some say that they don’t need to feel bad about anything they have ever done.  And that they have no regrets about the past nor worries about the future.  All I know is that I can stop being afraid, I am the master of my fate.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

how the disconnect inside my mind feels

 

 

Naming My Fears

Paranoia; an extreme feeling that people are lying to me.

There is no such thing as paranoia.  Your worst fears can come true at any moment.  ~ Hunter S. Thompson.

We are all conditioned by our past.  We have all been conditioned by society.  We have all learned to be afraid.  Our parents, our carers, our siblings, and all of society taught us to be afraid.

We learned negative thought, and we learned character defects like; anxiety, cowardice, denial, distrust, evasiveness, frustration, guilt, hatred, immorality, insecurity, pessimism, possessiveness, promiscuity, self-pity, and worry.  All of these character defects are manifestations of fear.

It has been a massive shock to me to realise and accept just how afraid I have been for most of my life.

My greatest fear ~ fear of abandonment.  I was a small, premature baby, placed in an incubator immediately after birth.  Before I was five years old my maternal grandmother, my principal carer, left me.  She had passed away.

My second greatest fear ~ that people are lying to me.  My parents didn’t tell me that my nan had died, I thought she had abandoned me.  My parents’ lying by omission, and telling me half-truths, destroyed my capacity to trust anyone.

Half a truth is often a great lie.  ~  Benjamin Franklin

My third greatest fear ~ that I am not good enough, that I do everything wrong, that I am useless.  I thought my nan had left me because I had been a bad boy, that I just wasn’t good enough for her anymore.  Since then I have always felt second-best.

Because of that trauma in my formative years I have always been afraid of getting things wrong, and of being mocked for making mistakes.  I have been morbidly afraid of rejection, which has resulted in all of my relationships with women becoming utterly dysfunctional.  I am deeply afraid of developing a close relationship with an attractive and sexual woman.

Good girls go to heaven,  Bad girls go everywhere.  ~  Mae West

Because of my childhood trauma, I believe that every women I have had a close relationship with has lied to me, and I am afraid that negative belief also means that I cannot even know truth from falsehoods.  In my own life I attempt to be dedicated to the truth, but to be a truthful man in a world of liars is to live in a very scary place.  And, as we all know, everybody lies all the time.

Keeping secrets from someone is no different from lying to them.  It’s still dishonest.   And I am deeply afraid of dishonesty.

Perhaps due to the traumas I experienced before I was 5 years old, for most of my life I have suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder, which is a serious mental illness that brings with it it’s very own set of fears.  Happily, I am mostly in recovery from BPD.

Some say that we are all afraid of change because we fear the unknown.  And that our fears are there to protect us from really bad things happening to us.  All I know is that if I keep on doing what I’ve always done, then I’ll get what I always got.

I don’t believe in fate or destiny.  I believe in various degrees of fear, paranoia, and abandonment.  ~  Henry Rollins.

To recover from paranoia and fear I am working on healing the causes of my problems, rather than the symptoms.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

no matter how much you deceive yourself,

you have to know that she has always lied to you.

Solitary People ~ Lonely Beaches

With no compass you cannot tell who the enemy is.

Are you lonely tonight?

Are you sad because you’re on your own?

There was a time when I lived the life of a celibate solitary recluse.  Not just for a few days, or a few weeks, but for several years.  I cared for nobody, not even for myself.

I think the important thing is caring about someone.  It’s being by themselves that does people in, makes them old and bitter.  ~  Thomas Tryon

I completely isolated myself in my garret.  My only companion was my little teddy bear; Marmaduke.  I hardly ever went out.  I didn’t answer my telephone.  I didn’t see any of the people who reached out to me in friendship.  My only contact with the world was through this blog ~ and in its early days this blog was a pathetic spavined thing.

When I did go out it would be at very unsocial hours; the early morning, late evening, midnight.  And, I didn’t go to places where I was likely to meet people.  I walked solitary on a lonely beach.

Life wasn’t making me lonely, I was avoiding human contact, pushing people away, sabotaging any relationships I had.  I was making myself lonely.

There was an underlying reason for this.  It’s a serious mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder, and one of the symptoms of this illness is cutting off all communication with others because of a real difficulty in maintaining a stable relationship.  It isn’t good.

It’s so bad that if I developed a relationship, then a part of me would want to destroy it.  Perhaps I could keep a friendship for a while, but eventually the Mr. Hyde in me would do something bad enough to make that friend walk away ~ which is what I expected all along.  Another of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder is an abnormal fear of abandonment, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I have been lucky.  I have one friend, one long-distance relationship, and that friend has stuck by me, been my cheerleader, counsellor, and my muse.  That friendship has got me out of the garret, encouraged me to grow, allowed me to escape the worst of my self-imposed exile from the real world.

Not everyone who has cut themselves off from the world is that lucky.  But, perhaps we can all be that lucky if we are willing to take a chance, and if we are really willing to work at becoming a better, more reliable, more stable, more personable, and less threatening version of ourselves.

It’s scary.  But real life is scary.  Shit happens.  With the right mental attitude we can all enjoy life.  I learned to love myself and love others.

My life is good today.  I still walk the lonely beach, but I’m no longer alone.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

luckily, a teddy bear can’t really walk out on you

Emotions

We cannot control our emotions.

Various psychologists, behavioural scientists, and sundry people in white coats, disagree a little on just how many human emotions there are.  They also tend to disagree on exactly what these feelings do to us.

assHowever, trolling through their divergent opinions, and adding a little basic common sense, we can come up with a more or less definitive list of the main human emotions.  These are; Anger, Fear, Happiness, Sadness, and Love.  Personally I’d add another, I think Lust is a very powerful raw emotion.  Or maybe Lust only affects men?

We can call these raw emotions by other, more polite, names.  Lust is transformed into desire, and many of us call the feeling of desire Love.  How many men have said; ‘I love you’, when what they truthfully meant was; ‘I desire you, I want you’?  I know I have fallen into that despicable sexual trap in the past.

For most of us, by far the strongest emotion is .  It’s what keeps people in dysfunctional relationships, lousy jobs, and mind numbing routines.  We are afraid of change, we fear abandonment, we fear loss of status, most of all we fear death.

Those of us who have, or have had, a psychological / mental illness have an intimate relationship with fear.  The emotionally disturbed are often a maelstrom of Fear and Anger.

For aeons the heart was thought to be the seat of emotions, especially Love.  Now, most respectable scientists profess that the brain is where emotions live.  Although, some left field professors say that the gut is where emotions begin.  Me, I’m neither respectable nor a scientist, and the last time I wore a white coat was at a costume party.  I don’t know where our emotions live, and I don’t know exactly how they work.

However, I do know where your emotions come from.

Our emotions and instincts are hard-wired into our body, mind, and spirit.  They originate as far back in time as when the first thing crawled out of the primeval slime.  Emotions and instincts are what drove the survival behaviours of things that could never be described as intelligent life.  What do you think drove the raw savagery of Tyrannosaurus Rex?  What do you think makes sharks such a successful life-form?

Instincts and raw animal emotions bypass the intellect.  Emotions have nothing to do with intelligence and common sense.  Emotions are powerful in exactly the same way that thought isn’t.  From the moment life began emotions controlled the behaviour of all life forms, and emotions still control human behaviour today.

Intellectually, a man can know that some particular woman is bad for him, yet will he willingly give her up?  Probably not because his emotions completely override his common sense.  If she thinks about it, a woman may know that it’s stupid to stay with a man who mentally, emotionally, physically abuses her ~ yet how many women are trapped in abusive relationships because their emotions won’t let them leave him?

Most of us will do almost anything to assuage our emotions.  Some of us will go to any lengths to satisfy our raw emotions ~ up to and including the death of self and / or others.  Emotions are the most powerful driving forces in each of our lives.  Positive, or negative, or a mixture of both, we are each controlled by our feelings.  All that intelligence and intellect does is to overlay some civilisation on top of our innate savagery.

Me, Us, You, Them, can do something about these emotions that drive our every action.  We can’t stop the feelings, and we can’t control the feelings, but we can control what we do.

You may get so angry with your partner that you want to stab them in the eye with a sharp knife.  You may fear the outside world so much that you never want to leave your home.  You may think you love someone so much that you willingly sublimate your identity just to please them.  Yet our intelligence and intellect will eventually tell us that we need to escape into the broad sunlit uplands of rationality.

At that point you may seek counselling, psychiatry, medical help, inspirational speakers and writers, or self-help groups.  Trust me, none of that will do you any good at all.  These people will probably tell you to control your emotions, and that’s as impossible as turning back the tide.

The only thing we can do is accept these emotions and at the same time unconditionally accept ourselves.  We must recognise that life is difficult, painful, and mostly beyond our control.  We must be prepared to make some brave choices.  Leaving the one you’re with may tear your heart in two, but that’s just a raw primeval emotion, the feelings will pass, and the sooner we make those brave choices the sooner our emotions will stop torturing us.

2ed3361ebc8c8984d950d64833cf022aYour emotions are utterly beyond your control.  Your emotions also lie to you.  Your emotions may make you feel bad or good, but those are just feelings, they have nothing to do with reality.  The reality is that your emotions lie to you, that’s their job, they developed to keep a cave-man alive.  In this day and age we need the sense to accept our emotions for what they are, a very broad brush indeed.

See beyond your emotions.  See the world in it’s true colours.  Enjoy your emotions when they are good, but don’t get carried away.  Live with your emotions when they are bad, but accept bad emotions as the storm flags they really are.  And, at this time of year, let yourself feel the innocent joy and of love of Christmas.

~

WAF Landscape Christmas Cards.qxdthese thoughts are mine and mine alone

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Sex Differences In The Brain

MEN ARE NOT THE SAME AS WOMEN

Subconscious-MindPsychologists, psychiatrists, and people in white coats from many branches of science are usually prepared to admit that there is a difference between the brain of the average manly man, from that of the average womanly woman.  However, these same smart people will also often admit that they have no real idea about what causes one person to develop behaviour patterns largely associated with one sex and not the other.  Scientists can even measure the differences between the brains of men and women, and there are a lot, but knowing how big the differences are doesn’t say much about how they come about.

As one glaringly obvious example, females handle language in a different and more specialised part of their brain than do males.  In general women are far more naturally articulate than men, and use a greater number of ways to communicate.  But why?  It could be that it’s genetic and down to the obvious biological differences between men and women which makes our brains work differently.  It could be that men and women have totally different race memories.  Or, it could be that it’s mostly down to different nurturing, conditioning, education and experience.  With no apologies to Feminists or the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender, (LGBT), it turns out that it’s all three.  Some differences between the sexes are hard-wired and immutable.  Some differences between the manner in which the sexes behave are down to basic biology.

hugsThe genetic bias is intense enough to cause a substantial division of labour between women and men, even in the most egalitarian of societies.  Even if the sexes receive identical education and equal access to all professions, men are likely to have a disproportionate role in politics, business, engineering and science.  Women have a disproportionately greater role in child-minding, and in nurturing professions such as medicine.  Sociobiologists believe women are genetically programmed for maternal feelings, for superior verbal abilities, and for performing repetitive tasks not requiring deep thought.  In contrast, men are genetically suited to more logical and analytical thinking and have superior spacial awareness.

Men and women are so different that we may as well be different species.

Men need to solve problems, and women need to talk.

ladyboyThere are large behavioural overlaps between the sexes.  It is possible for a person with a woman’s biology to think they are really a guy, (gender identity), yet still behave in a feminine way.  Some women have more masculine traits than other women.  Some women can even throw a ball, or use a wrench correctly, or tell left from right.  Some men have more feminine traits than other men.  Some men can do multitasking, hold a conversation, or even choose clothes in matching colours.  Nonetheless, the standard, comical, caricatures of men and woman are mostly correct in that men are inarticulate insensitive brutes, and women are chatty emotional and nurturing creatures.

SlappingWhat this means that men and women react very differently to situations.  Women tend to feel things more deeply, and with a far greater range of emotions than do men.  Women keep score, and never forget.  Within seconds, most men will have forgotten something insensitive they said to their significant other, thinking it didn’t matter anyhow, and that they were right all along.  In contrast, women will feel that hurt to the core of their being, try and assign a wider meaning to the insensitive comment, think about their relationship with their guy, look for hidden meanings, add the hurt to the list of other ‘bad’ things their guy has done, and usually forgive him.  Eventually.

slobWomen are always forgiving men for something we have done.  Often guys do very dumb stuff, but often guys have no idea why what they did was so bad.  That’s because men and women look at the world differently, and women tend to care far more than men.  Most men could care less about other people, especially about people who mean little to them in practical terms ~ which is basically 99.9% of the entire world.  Most women are genetically programmed to care about people, and when their guy is disparaging toward someone they care about, then women tend tend to become very upset.  The problem for most guys is that most women care about most people, in one way or another.

In general, it takes a real effort for a man to think about, care about, understand, or even acknowledge the existence of anyone outside of his immediate family and small circle of friends.  In general, women want to know everything about everyone they meet.  In general woman have a much wider circle of friends than most men, care about them, remember names and faces.  Women even remember and care about birthdays, anniversaries, special dates…

schoolgirlmodelMostly, what a manly man wants to know about people are things like; is this person a threat, useful, someone he wants to / can have sex with…?

These gender differences can cause real problems in relationships between men and women.  Often men are very unthinking and unfeeling creatures, and there isn’t much a guy can do to change his underlying genetic programming / race memories / conditioning.  So men tend to upset women.

Because all men have some feminine traits, the things that guys do which so upset women will sometimes also upset men.

And, so what?  As behavioural scientists know, most men could care less about the feelings of others.  Most of the time, most men have such a shallow and narrow range of emotions, that they themselves don’t feel much more than the most basic things.  Some say that all human behaviour can be reduced to four, (possibly six) basic emotions.  these are; happiness, sadness, fear / surprise, anger / disgust.  Well, that ‘research’ had to have been undertaken by a bunch of guys because even I know that the emotions of womanly women are much more complicated and complex than that.  Men see things in straight lines and in terms of black and white.  Women see the whole of the world in all of it’s colours and complexities.

The_Thinker_Auguste_RodinBecause men are naturally insensitive, we need to apply more conscious thought to what we say and do.

The bottom line is;  Men should think twice before they say or do anything.  If a guy can’t think of anything nice to say, he shouldn’t say anything at all.  If you really want to hurt a woman, then just be an average guy for a while.

%d bloggers like this: