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Thread: Finding balance

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Finding balance

    In early July, I wrote this to a list I am on:
    At times when my life is "empty" for some reason, emotional pain cuts deeply. These days, I try hard to get "filled up" with other things, so that painful stuff doesn't loom so very large and become my main focus. I drag myself away when I realize I am just wallowing in it, not to block out the pain but to find balance. If that makes any sense.
    Last night, after all the tension from watching the news for days showing the hurricane, flooding, looting, etc. and then dealing with the rising tension here in Cyburbia, I took some time to watch some music videos, visit some beautiful and inspiring websites, and generally take a break from feeding my mind nothing but negativity. A few days ago, I began compiling a list of movies that I find especially uplifting, in part because they are based on true stories. For me, "feel good" fictional movies just do not have the same depth or power.

    I know folks get tired of my die hard optimism and Pollyanna viewpoints. But, hey, I can't really afford pessimism. So please take a minute to indulge me and consider answering one of the following questions: What things do you do to recharge when life gets to you? What inspires you? What fills you up emotionally, keeps you grounded, or simply distracts you from misery? And, last, what movie (or book or similar) would you recommend that is based on a true story and is also inspirational?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I like the following movies:
    Remember the Titans
    Ali
    Miracle
    Rudy

    As for what I can do to recharge I drink a lot of water, exercise, spend time with friends and family, set up a motivational training program and speech for the Youth program I work with. or I will take a nap.

    Oh and a beer with the guys is always a good idea too!

    Good luck and hope you feel better soon.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    .... and then dealing with the rising tension here in Cyburbia, ....
    What rising tension? Is this a MOD thing?

    I relieve tension the old fashion way..... and I would tell you, but I might get censored.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Moderator note:
    Public bickering deleted


    Now, would anyone like to join me in sincerely sharing what inspires them and what they do to keep a level head in the face of the kind of stress the entire nation is dealing with? We cannot seem to remain civil to one another here. So why does it surprise us that folks under much more stress are looting and shooting and sinking into a lord of the flies scenario? I, personally, would like to avoid seeing Cyburbia dragged down into that by current events beyond our control. Do you agree with that goal and would you like to support it?
    Thank you.

    Quote Originally posted by Budgie
    What rising tension? Is this a MOD thing?

    I relieve tension the old fashion way..... and I would tell you, but I might get censored.
    No, it is not a MOD thing. It is a Michele thing.
    And "Killing kittens" is the acceptable, relatively polite euphemism if you mean self-love.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 01 Sep 2005 at 12:56 PM.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    I find that sitting down on the couch, with the dog snuggled beside me, a favorite movie in the DVD player and working on some needlework, clears my mind and relaxes my muscles. I can pay only marginally attention to the TV, a little more attention to the needlework, and let my mind just wander. This exercise allows my mind to focus on whatever it needs to work out, and if I let it, sometimes I slip into daydreams and "what-if" scenarios. I always end such a session feeling refreshed, and ready to tackle whatever my mind just resolved. This exercise requires at least an hour just to get settled, so rainy weekend days work best.

    For battery recharging - I find that a good book (no specific genre required) and a nap work wonders. Put on some music - for me, soft classical - and just let the morning/afternoon/evening slip away. After reading and napping, I'm ready to go out and dance. OK, I haven't been clubbing in a long time. I'll revise to say ready to go out and be active. Watching TV does not recharge my batteries, even though I'm just sitting there.

    If the nap and a book option isn't available, then going out and doing something with a girlfriend works, too. I don't mean marathon shopping or yoga class. I'm talking about 2 hour lunches or an afternoon at the spa. Focusing my attention on a good friend, the comfort of being with them, and knowing that this time is precious, makes me happy. If a friend calls me needing some girl time, I make every effort to work it into my schedule, because I know they'd do the same for me.

    OK, on to books/movies based on real events that I find meaningful/inspirational. To be honest, this is not my favorite genre. It's just so hard to not gloss over people's bad parts, and hard to find a balance between the public and the private aspects of that person's life. I'd say A Beautiful Mind and Ray are the first two that popped in my head, followed by Shindler's List. I can not recommend any specific book - I just don't read this type, unless someone close to me specifically says "READ THIS!"

    One way to avoid stress and misery is to not get involved. While this works for some people, it drives me to greater depths. I avoid stress by leaving work at work, and keeping home at home. Otherwise, deep breathing - in through the nose, out through the mouth - keep me from saying some things I might later regret.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  6. #6
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    My suggested read to feel good or at least better is a fictionalized autobiography. Maus by art spiegelman.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  7. #7
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    My preferred stress reliever is a long bike ride exploring my area. I love the sense of discovery and the excerise and "fresh" wind in my face.

    Or playing frisbee with the dog or maybe a hike with her and my wife in a Forest Preserve.

    Or taking a "mental health day" from my commute/work grind and doing the above

    Can't think of any books/movies right now, but I will once I think of some.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Big Owl's avatar
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    Good thread and timely too. I too am feeling down with all the reports coming from the Lousisana and Mississippi areas. I feel helpless even though i have donated to the red cross both money and blood within the last couple of days. So I am going to read down at my Foster daughters school here in a bit... hearing the cheerful sounds of kids make me feel better . Just doing the good that i can do helps. Going out with friends beer or not helps. just breaking from my daily rotinue makes me feel better, going to a different grocery store, taking the long way to work or home.

    Moderator note:
    MS/MZ Bickering content deleted.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 01 Sep 2005 at 12:55 PM.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    In instances like the recent hurricanes, the best way for me to cope with it to saturate myself with information regarding the event. The more I immerse myself in it, they better I tend to feel later. I guess if I can't control a situation, at least I know all the why's about it's formation, development, and consequences..and that knowledge makes me happy and balanced. I followed the same path with 9/11, Tsunami, etc. I search out all reputable and crack pot information I can find.

    I havn't had a personal event occur that was so devastating to me that I needed a recharge/coping period. (knock on wood)
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  10. #10
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    I am publicly asking for a moderator to step in and examine the posts and take appropriate actions as they see fit. Other members are held to a particular standard, and I think that this should be equally distributed here.
    Moderator note:
    Public Bickering deleted. Both of you, please cool off, or take it to PM's
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  11. #11
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Watching Shrek while eating a bowl of homecooked popcorn and downing a cold bottle of Grolsch can do wonders at times. But the trouble with this type of techinique seems to be that the solace lasts only until the next unpleasant reminder or thought happens to come along. It is only a distraction and the underlying trouble (i.e. the negative emotional state) remains only inches below the surface.

    I guess it's no secret that I suffer from depression. Dark moods can descend on me for days, weeks, or even months at a time. Events that might normally not bother me much end up sometimes fraying my nerves badly while dwelling in the lower end of the emotional spectrum. The instances where I have been best able to get out of a funk I have been able to do so by: 1. Stopping the train of thought. Most people's minds are constructed such that they will continue to play or rehash certain thoughts in rather habitual patterns. The prevailing emotional state tends to feed itself with the quality and type of thought that it is attracted to. This is where doing something like eating popcorn and watching a happy movie can act as a sort of first aid because it breaks the inertia of the negativity. 2. Consciously force my mind to use reason. Once in a tolerably 'good place' mentally (even if only temporarily thanks to Shrek and popcorn) it becomes possible to direct reason towards the thoughts and feeling which are getting me down....asking myself questions like "why am I watching the news right now? Is this information I require at this moment?" or observing that my mind has repeatedly returned to an unpleasant thought like how I'm going to pay for the upcoming property tax assessment from a relatively calm standpoint often puts things into perspective. If my thinking about how to pay a big bill is concerned with devising a workable solution to the problem then I proceed in that direction, but more often than not the type of rumination that goes on while in a bad state tends to be little more than fretting or self pity and I think we all agree that's not healthy. 3. Repeatedly make the conscious effort necessary to stop thoughts and examine my feelings in light of reason as often as required. Chances are, even if I do steps 1 and 2 correctly I'm still going to slip up and start playing bad tapes in my head out of sheer force of habit. However, if I can maintain the presence of mind to keep repeating the steps I find I am able to return to a more sane and positive state of mind on a more permanent basis.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  12. #12
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    2 Books:
    "Letters to a Young Poet" by Rainier Maria Rilke
    and
    "The Little Prince" by Antoine St. Exupery

    Take a swim in the ocean, preferable on an uncrowded beach. Works wonders for me.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    I do a few things to keep me grounded. One is visit the mountains. There is not a better place to escape to. The scenery and solitude make it very easy to enjoy yourself.

    two of my favorite hobbies are golf and fly fishing. For some strange reason, I forget about everything stressful or depressing when golfing, regardless of how I play.

    thebest thing is to take the kids to the park. Watching kids play, run, etc. helps your realize what it is like to not have a care in the world. It keeps me youthful.

  14. #14
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    A nice, long walk usually does the trick for me if I'm in a down mood or have a lot on my mind. I'll also go down to the lake and skip rocks.

    I go volunteer at the local animal shelter to kind of uplift myself. Those animals are just so excited that something with two legs is paying attention to them that you almost can't help but feel better.

    Those "uplifting" movies don't do much for me. However, a movie with a lot of brainless humor makes me feel more recharged and happy in life. Tommy Boy is one of my favorite movies for doing this.

    I'm like Boiker in that I have never really had a major life crisis that has required a full-blown recharge and coping period. When a major event happens I tend to engross myself in finding out why it happened. With 9/11, I was kept busy looking up why the towers collapsed and don't know how many times I've watched that special on TV that National Geographic or Discovery did. With the tsunami I was stuck on learning about warning systems and how they detect the waves when they are not readily apparent on the surface. With New Orleans I started digging up information about levees. I guess knowledge makes me feel more in control of a situation.

    Hmmm... not sure if that was your question, but that's what my mind spit out!

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman
    Those "uplifting" movies don't do much for me. However, a movie with a lot of brainless humor makes me feel more recharged and happy in life. Tommy Boy is one of my favorite movies for doing this.
    One of my all time favorites is "Cool Runnings" -- based on the true story of the first Jamaican Bobsled team. It's hysterical and most of it is light-hearted. I have heard they took some creative license and, for example, the movie has only one has-been former bobsledder (played by John Candy) running a bar but in real life there were two guys. But other than some minor streamlining like that to make the plot flow better, it's a true story. Both funny and triumphant. So maybe you would like it too.
    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman
    Hmmm... not sure if that was your question, but that's what my mind spit out!
    It's a perfectly fine answer. I don't mind people liberally interpretting the questions.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    As you know I've had the year from hell, and I've often contemplated some of the same questions. Usually taking a walk in a remote area with nobody around really helps me out. When I used to live in Cali, I would often drive from Sacto to the Muir Woods or up to Stinson Beach and just hang out by myself and hike around. Maybe you need a little 1-on-1 with Mother Nature.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    You all know what this Bear does.....works on De Noc.

    Just a fake city, bunch of pencil lines, stacks of paper, what does it all mean, anyway?

    Relaxation. This Bear is not good enuf to be a real writer so I construct my novel in an unorthodox manner.
    _____

    Other forms of relaxation include:

    Civilization II
    Rock & Roll Music
    Other Types Of Music
    Excel Spreadsheets (what a geek)
    Historical Novels
    Reading Maps (Especially DeLorme State Map Gazateers)
    _____

    I have mentioned before, when really down I will pull out Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention. Or, Beethoven's Ninth.

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nerudite
    As you know I've had the year from hell, and I've often contemplated some of the same questions. Usually taking a walk in a remote area with nobody around really helps me out. When I used to live in Cali, I would often drive from Sacto to the Muir Woods or up to Stinson Beach and just hang out by myself and hike around. Maybe you need a little 1-on-1 with Mother Nature.
    My pics of Muir Woods are still up, if you ever want to visit that online sometime.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Going canoeing really is the best thing for me, when I can do it.

    "The Daily Show" sure helps my day-to-day life.

    Re-reading "Buck Fanshaw's Funeral" (Mark Twain) always makes me smile too.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    One of the few things that totally de-stresses me is a day at the beach with a good book. It never fails.

    And a newly discovered one: when I have a visitor from out of town, I don't need my anxiety meds. Hmmm...

  21. #21
    Cyburbian ikeaboi's avatar
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    I know this might sound a little odd but it works for me every time. When I feel like I need to relax, I lie down on the bed, extend my arms and legs like I'm trying to make a snow angel, and close my eyes. Then, I clear my mind of EVERYTHING, go into yoga breathing, imagine the climax at the end of "A day in the Life" by the Beatles, and when that last note hits I take a 20 min nap.

    When I wake up, I'm fine. Sounds completely crazy, but it works every time.

  22. #22

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    Relaxing for me normally involves watching cricket with a cold beer. Preferably outside on the village green in the sunshine, but TV will do if it's raining outside.

    Reading a good book shut away from the world too, or in terms of films two ones that spring to mind would be 'The Shawshank Redemption' and 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'. Neither of them true stories I'm afraid, but both very uplifting in their own way.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by noj
    Reading a good book shut away from the world too, or in terms of films two ones that spring to mind would be 'The Shawshank Redemption' and 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'. Neither of them true stories I'm afraid, but both very uplifting in their own way.
    I used to have a recording of "The Shawshank Redemption". Kind of a jagged little pill but, yes, very uplifting in its own weird way.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    For inspiration (I know, the planner dork in me), I often look at my maps/atlases, work on my Amish Sim Cit(ies), or even pretend I have my own big-box store, and come up with a national location list for it...

    Aside from planning, I try to spend time with my dog. Other times, I sleep. Other times, I listen to music. Music is very inspirational to me and puts me in a better mood. Often times, it's sad songs, other times uplifting ones. Even popping in a concert video is good.

    Any favorite comedy movie is sometimes healing. If you want to be in the sad mood though, pop in Forrest Gump...one of the greatest and most inspirational movies ever.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    And a newly discovered one: when I have a visitor from out of town, I don't need my anxiety meds. Hmmm...
    I took the bus to GIS school in southern california. It was like an 11 hour ride. I had fallen 3 days earlier and my wrist was in a brace. The nice Cuban immigrant who sat next to me was kind enough to put my laptop case in the overhead luggage bin for me -- something I couldn't really do, at least not without worsening my injury and lots of pain. He generally hovered and was sweetly protective, though his English was atrocious and I was a total stranger. I fell asleep for a bit on the bus, something I never, ever do on public transit. I know folks who can saw logs handily almost anywhere. But not me. It later occurred to me that he made me feel safe enough to relax, in spite of it being so public.

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