Grateful Dead Poet’s Society

So I have decided to start doing the gratitude challenge’s second iteration with or without Calla, though I hope she is at least reading along, if not trying it herself. There’s also some other stuff that is on my mind, but I will mention that after I go through the gratitude challenge steps. Just in case the steps aren’t clear, I’ll repost them again here:

1.Write down three new things you are grateful for each day, in a journal or somewhere else easily accessed. Be specific.

2. Write for two minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours.

3. Exercise for 10 minutes a day.

4. Meditate for two minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out.

5. Write one, quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a friend, family member, or other person you are grateful to.

So, I will start with the three things I am grateful for. First, I am grateful for Calla. She’s on my mind a lot lately, and I miss having her around; but regardless of where she is, I am grateful for how amazing she is and how she has made me feel; however things turn out, she has made me feel joy for the first time in a very long time. Second, I am grateful for my vanilla-scented candle here in my apartment; I find the vanilla scent very nice and soothing (even if it does occasionally make me really want cake with vanilla icing). I really like having the scent around my apartment, and so having such a convenient source is nice. Finally, I am grateful for my apartment. It’s nice to have a place of my own to come home to, to spend time in, to invite friends to; it’s nice that it is my choice who to share it with, and how to decorate it. It’s a type of freedom that is still pretty new to me, and I really enjoy having it.

A little earlier tonight, I got a chance to go out on a late-night candy run with a good friend just after she got off a long night at work. It’s kind of a ritual or habit between us, since both of us like to stay up late at night. She is a big fan of various kinds of candy, and it gives both of us a chance to clear our heads, talk about what has been on our minds all day, and just get a little time together to talk and hang out even if both of us have had busy days. Also, there’s candy, because there’s a 24-hour Walgreens not far from here, and they have a pretty good candy selection. Especially now, near Halloween. We talk about a lot on these trips; it was on one of these trips that I first told her about my feelings for Calla, and we cover a lot of our other issues, as well. I really enjoy these trips. They’re one of the best parts of my day on the days we go on them. 

As for exercise, I’ve been working on a series of exercises out of a book called Convict Conditioning, a book that focuses on using just exercises that can be done with a bare minimum of equipment (pushups, situps, pullups,, etc.) to tone and condition the body. There is one that is focused on eventually being able to do one-legged squats, which I am avoiding, but the others I try to work through on a regular basis; today is one of those days. I took some time out in between sets to meditate, because I find relaxing my muscles and clearing my mind between sets helps to make my exercises more effective. Doesn’t make the workouts hurt any less, though.

It’s not an e-mail, but I did get a chance earlier this evening to talk to someone I haven’t heard from in a while and express my gratitude to her for her friendship and advice. Yeah, I have a lot of female friends. We haven’t been in touch for a while, but even though she’s younger I think her experiences have given her a remarkable degree of wisdom.

Outside of my gratitude challenge, my father is sending me e-mail about possibly collecting, altering, or re-writing my blog posts to put them together as a book, maybe to try and help other people who have struggled (or will struggle) with mental illness. That is at least part of my I was writing my blog in the first place, though telling my story for my own gratification and therapeutic purposes was also a part of it, so I will have to put some thought into that; I don’t know if I would want to rewrite things from my blog, or rewrite them entirely to fit into a larger narrative, or try to describe my experience in chapters. There’s a lot to think about, but I would love to hear anything my readers have to say about the idea, especially if they have any experience in the area.

I’ve been doing something with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) called Peer-to-Peer Mentoring; it’s a ten-session class to try to teach volunteers about how to talk to others who aren’t doing as well with their mental illnesses as we are and try to mentor them, using our own experiences to try to help others see that while they may be in a very dark place, there is still hope on the other side. I have no formal training in mental health counseling, but I do want to help others who have trouble with mental illness; I’d like to believe that my experiences and thoughts might be able to help others. That’s why I’m taking this course, even though it is entirely a volunteer position.

Any thoughts from my readers, about anything mentioned above?

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