Brain Reboot; Kim 2.0

Deepak Chopra. Eckhart Tolle. Turmeric. Chia seeds. Aromatherapy. Epsom salts. My massage therapist. My chiropractor. My library and Barbara Feldon (yes, Agent 99!).

What do all those people and things have in common, you ask? They are all part of my healing process, ingredients in my recovery from a very sad and scary period of my life. A couple months ago I was almost ready to give up on everything and just shut down. Divorce after 50 is not for the faint-hearted, and it knocked me down hard despite how much I’d thought I was ready for it. But somehow I found the strength to start grasping for anything and everything that might help make me stronger. I needed emotional strength, and I needed physical strength and health.

And now I’m feeling some positive changes happening in my brain, like I’m installing a new operating system and learning how to work with it. It’s called Kim 2.0.  It still has some stubborn bugs in it, but I’m figuring out how to work around them.

I’ve been learning from some of the wisest teachers I can find, like Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra. I finally got meditation to work for me after listening to Deepak discuss the basics with Oprah on Super Soul Sunday. It’s helping me think more clearly and to be calmer.  He claims to have meditated every single day for 40 years, and says he never feels stress at all anymore. I want some of that, don’t you?

Graffiti - Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will

Graffiti wisdom on a stairway railing

 

And another one of the keys to getting my head on straight was listening to Eckhart Tolle talk about how to be in the present moment, how to become an observer of your thoughts and learn to let them just flow through your brain without impacting you negatively. I’d tried to read his book, The Power of Now, but found it hard to understand. Then I discovered him on YouTube a few months ago, and his philosophy had been percolating in the back of my mind since then. I started to understand his ideas better when I listened to him instead of reading his books. His unusually calm manner of speaking was very soothing when I felt my mind racing out of control, full of fears about the future.

Graffiti - I can do all

Affirmation in the woods

 

In addition to all the work I’ve been doing on my mental health, I’ve been experimenting with some changes to my diet too. Not a complete makeover, but just adding some things that are believed to have important health benefits. I bought a NutriBullet and use it to make healthy smoothies every day. I tend to prefer the sweeter combinations of fruits and yogurt, but am trying to get my taste buds to adjust to more vegetable mixtures too. I’m struggling with the texture of vegetable smoothies, but I’ll figure it out. In the meantime, I’ve been amping up the health benefits of my fruit-based smoothies by adding some of these things: turmeric, chia seeds, almonds and other nuts, ginger, and cinnamon.

turmeric macroI won’t go into all of them here, but I do want to share something I learned about turmeric, that golden-yellow spice used in many Indian dishes. It’s said to act as a vacuum cleaner for your system: “It vacuums up free-radical debris that can cause disease. Turmeric is the aspirin or ibuprofen of the spice set. It controls internal or systemic inflammation, which is implicated in so many chronic diseases, from arthritis and Alzheimer’s to cancer.” (That’s a quote from nutritionist Rebecca Katz on the Spirituality & Health website.) And I found a fantastic recipe for a Turmeric Smoothie too — it’s got pineapple, coconut milk, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and more. I could drink that every day!

I use these essential oils in an electric diffuser.

I use these essential oils in an electric diffuser.

Okay, I’m betting you want to know how Barbara Feldon helped me. Those of you of a certain age probably remember her as Agent 99 in the 1960s sitcom, Get Smart! I was surprised to find that she’s also the author of an excellent little book called Living Alone and Loving It. I found this book on one of my late-night searches through my library’s catalog for advice about adapting to life as a single woman after divorce. There are lots of books out there, but I was intrigued when I read the positive reviews of this one on Amazon, so I checked it out of the library. I devoured it the first evening, finding so much great advice and encouragement inside it that I read it a second time and took notes. Much of her experience seemed to parallel mine (except for the famous actress part), so knowing that she found ways to rebuild her life and be happy was very empowering for me when I couldn’t see how to get there on my own.

In one part she describes how she had neglected her friendships when she was married, and then found herself without a support network when she was alone. She learned that she had to make systematic and concerted efforts to get friends back into her life over a period of time, and how great she felt when it finally started to pay off. I liked this:

I’d grown passive during my coupled years. My partner was the oak tree of my social world and everyone else was lesser foliage. Since friendships have a way of blossoming if you shine on them and withering if you don’t, I was facing a languishing garden that was badly in need of tending. Ironically, now when I had the most need for people, I had the least skills and inner strength at my command to remedy it.  (Barbara Feldon)

That really hit home with me, and I’m taking her advice to heart, trying to be more attentive to my friendships now. I don’t ever again want to feel the depths of loneliness I felt when I first moved into my apartment. There’s a big difference between enjoying some solitude and feeling isolated, believe me.

Well, this got a bit longer than I intended, but I think you can see that I’ve found a wide range of things to be important parts of getting through my rough time. Two months ago I wouldn’t have believed I’d be adjusting so well to my changed circumstances. It continues to surprise me. I do still have bad days, but overall I feel stronger and less afraid each day. I’m grateful.

Graffiti wisdom: All you need is peace, love, and music.

Graffiti wisdom: All you need is peace, love, and music.

 

 

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14 Responses to Brain Reboot; Kim 2.0

  1. Chelle Cohen says:

    Kim, I used to speak with you regularly over on Ravelry in the Vests group. So glad to follow you here and find your excellent post on Barbara Feldon and the Tumeric smoothie etc. So fascinating and I’ve been making smoothies too, including some veggies such as kale and spinach into mine to make them more healthful. Though I am still married, our daughter has recently moved into her first apartment and so we are feeling the “empty nest” thing. We find our parents mostly gone. . .. only my Mother left living . . .. and many other friends and relatives either moved away or lost touch. So we’ve been making a conscious effort to form new friendships lately, as well as to do new experiences to keep ourselves fresh. Last week, we took a meditation class after work, and tomorrow we are going to the art museum. Then we are working on a seemingly never-ending task of decluttering so that we can eventually move out of this house and downsize our lives. So good to find you again. Feel free to email me at ChelleC100 at yahoo dot com.

    • Hi Chelle, nice to hear from you! I don’t spend much time on Ravelry anymore, but still occasionally take out my knitting. So many transitions in my life in the past couple of years…trying to figure out who I am now, LOL. I may send you an email later. Take care!

  2. Kim you are doing amazing things I love all your recommendations here. Especially the one about friendships. I am feeling that I have disconnected from my girlfriends, not intentionally but want to work on that side of myself this year. Wishing you much happiness on your new journey you are reading all the right positive material and the world is yours to do whatever you like.

  3. Kim, thanks for sharing this. I hope you continue to feel inspired by all of the above. I’m thinking of checking out Eckhart Tolle on YouTube now. 😉

    Jennifer xo

  4. This was so awesome to read! And also gave me many new ideas to pursue and follow-up on. As always thank you so much for sharing your journey here with us 🙂

  5. Littlesundog says:

    Hello Kim! Isn’t it wonderful how when we open our eyes and our souls to what’s out there that works for others, how suddenly we’re flooded with so much positivity? I love reading books – most of the really good ones are a result of watching Super Soul Sunday on OWN. Eckhart Tolle is one of my favorites – and I too tend to follow his verbal discussions so much easier than the books. But the books are good too… I found I have to slow down and really ponder sentences or paragraphs. And tweaking our diets – being more conscious of everything we put in our bodies, on our bodies and even what we breathe… all of it is so important, and can be very unique to each of us.

    I look forward to what you continue to share with us about your brain reboot! Kim 1.0 was pretty darned amazing,but I can already see Kim 2.0 is rocking the house down! 🙂

    • You already know that you’ve been a huge inspiration to me, Lori, but I’ll say it again. I get such pleasure reading about your connection to nature and learning from your experiences. And I owe you a debt of gratitude for introducing me to Eckhart Tolle! xoxo

  6. kristieinbc says:

    This is such an encouraging post, Kim. I’m so glad you are feeling like you are standing on solid ground again. Funny you should mention turmeric in your post. I’m trying to incorporate more of it into my diet. I’m going to try out that smoothie recipe.

  7. Mom says:

    You said you related to things Barbara said so hope your articles can help others by relating to your experiences Kim.

    • I really hope so! That’s why I push myself to share some of these things that seem personal. I know how much it helps me to read other people’s stories, so I’m hoping somebody, somewhere, sometime, will be helped by my stories.

  8. changing creatively says:

    Lovely post, fantastic to hear what is working for you. I can relate in many levels. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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