Hey people! 🙂
Epiphany is coming tomorrow, so it’s still Christmas time, and I decided to share with you this joyful French Christmas carol, played by the German Celtic harpist.
Hey people! 🙂
Epiphany is coming tomorrow, so it’s still Christmas time, and I decided to share with you this joyful French Christmas carol, played by the German Celtic harpist.
It’s Christmas Eve, so while a lot of people in a lot of countries aren’t celebrating Christmas just yet, for those who do celebrate it at all I’m sure the atmosphere is already very Christmassy anyway. If you’re a regular on my blog, you know that here in Poland we start our Christmas celebrations on Christmas Eve afternoon/evening with a very festive supper, and then a lot of people go to Midnight Mass, particularly if they have young children. In fact, it’s fair to say that in the whole Christmas period, it’s Christmas Eve that is most celebrated and festive here when it comes to traditions and the like. So I always like to send people Christmas wishes on Christmas Eve already.
I wish you all a very joyous and peaceful Christmas. May it be a blessed time for you, filled with a bit of everything good – prayer and true joy because of Christ’s coming, beautiful Christmas music, time with your loved ones if you have them around this Christmas, whether in person or perhaps only virtually, time alone, God’s presence in your life and thoughts, yummy food, amazing presents, joy from giving something to others, love, fun, rest, laughter, relax, sleep, snow, cosiness, some funn book or film etc. etc. – And please, I’ve already mentioned Him, but don’t forget whose birthday we’re actually celebrating. I think it would feel very rude for most if not all people if like a half of the world declared they celebrated someone’s birthday and yelled about it for a month in advance, but the person in question wouldn’t even get any attention from most of the birthday guests on the actual day but instead people would just give presents to each other and consistently ignore the birthday boy/girl.
For those of you who aren’t Christians but are also going to have some relaxing, festive sort of time, or for whom it’s going to be life as normal, may it also be a really good time for you and may you find something in it that will fill your heart with joy.
For those who identify with some other religions and perhaps celebrate some other holidays soon, or those who celebrate Christmas a bit later on, may you have just as peaceful and joyous and fun-filled holidays.
And for those for whom this Christmas season will be difficult for some reason, whether they do celebrate it or not, because they’ve lost someone, or because they can’t be with their family, or because it’s a very difficult time for you every year for whatever reason, I wish you hope, strength, and that despite the difficult time, you may also find a bit of comfort in it. At this time of the year there’s a lot of mostly very superficial, sickly sweet and toxically positive talk about how “magical” and merry it is, but it’s totally okay if you do not feel on cloud nine if for you this happens to be a time of grieving, or bad mental or physical health, or loneliness, or exhaustion/overwhelm due too many people around and perhaps also needing to cook for them or something.
Misha doesn’t really care about Christmas as such very much, but he likes all the comotion around it, especially wrapping presents and Christmas decorations, and the Christmas Eve supper because there’s a lot of fish, and a lot of good food for him throughout the Christmas period. So he’d like to wish all the pets a happy Christmas time, hoping that they’ll also get a lot of yummy food and maybe some nice presents and that they’ll have a lot of fun.
Since our actual song of the day today wasn’t Christmassy, I thought I’d do the same thing as last year and share a bonus Christmassy song in the Christmas wishes post. I had a bit of a problem choosing one though, because it seems like I’ve shared all of my absolute most favourite Christmas songs in the previous years. Finally I decided on a song that perhaps isn’t among my absolute favourites, but that I really like to listen to around Christmas ever since I first heard it on BBC Radio Cymru. And unlike last year, it’s not a carol but just a lay Christmas-themed pop song about snow and how beautiful/unusual Christmas time is, although I don’t understand it in its entirety so it’s a very generalised summary of it I suppose haha. Since it’s from BBC Radio Cymru, you’re right to assume that it’s in Welsh. It’s called “Nadolig Oer” (A Cold Christmas) and is sung by Ifan Siôn Davies, who is most known as vocalist in the Welsh indie rock band Swnami which I really like and whose music I’ve shared a few times before. The Christmas music period on my blog is really long though (goes from the beginning of Advent all the way to Candlemas) so maybe I’ll still fall in love with some new to me Christmas carol or song and share it.
Happy Christmas! 🎄
If you had two days left to live, what would you do?
Most importantly for me as a Christian and Catholic, I’d make sure to go to Confession, which I’m going to do soon anyway as it’s Advent and I haven’t yet been to confession since it’s started, and receive Holy Communion, so I could die peacefully, and I’d try to focus even more on my spiritual life than I already do. Other than that though, I don’t think I’d do much differently. As I’ve said it many times, I’m not the kind of person who’s extremely attached to life as such so I wouldn’t be despairing or trying to do as much as possible, worry about stuff like writing my last will etc. Well, maybe I would write some kind of will but there wouldn’t be much to write about really, it’s not like I have a dozen of children waiting for their legacy lol. I suppose I’d leave most of my things to Sofi. I’d certainly leave my computer to her, because that’s what she’s waiting for anyway, hoping that I’ll get a MacBook soon and become comfortable with it enough that I’ll give my current desktop PC to her. 😀 I’d want to talk through some gravely important things with my Mum, but perhaps I’d simply write all that down instead, would be way easier for me. Since I’m doing well health-wise at this point, I assume it would have to be some kind of accident or something that would kill me, so before that happens, I think I also might want to take an advantage of the fact that I wouldn’t be dying of some awful illness and would want to do some fun things. I’d also spend loads of time with Misha.
How about you? 🙂
Hey people! 🙂
Today I’d like to share with you a Welsh Christian hymn, a Presbyterian one, more exactly, praising Christ. It’s a very recent one really because it has only been written in 1960’s, by a Welsh minister as well as a bard, William Rhys Nicholas. The name of the hymn comes from a farm in today’s Ceredigion, in which the hymn was sung for the first time. This is an instrumental version played by the mother and daughter duo whose music I’ve frequently shared on here before – Delyth and Angharad Jenkins, also known as D&A or DNA. – In this piece, however, Delyth, who is primarily known for being a Celtic harpist, plays the piano, as you’ll be able to hear.
Recently, I came across this simple, mini prompt in the PaperBlanks app, and so I thought I’d share with you what I am doing, thinking, feeling etc. today.
Today I… feel really tired and sluggish. My sleep has been fairly weird lately, lately meaning a couple weeks, I think. It’s like as soon as it’s night time, my brain suddenly gets a kick of energy and I just can’t settle myself down for sleep, whatever I do. I had a proper zombie day on Friday, having not slept for the whole night, then the next night I crashed as is usually the case with me after a zombie night and so got a lot of good sleep, but my sleep system didn’t reset, for some reason, as it normally does after a zombie day. Today it was back to where it was. Well, except that I actually did feel rather tired and in need of sleep this time around, but was at the same time kind of wired or something and it just wasn’t happening. Since I had to get up at 8 AM, I’ve only got like 3 hours of sleep and my brain’s not impressed. I generally don’t like taking my anti-anxiety medication for sleep even though it does work, but if this keeps up I’ll just have to resort to it for a while, I guess. Since I guess Jack the Ripper is about to visit any time, PMS coupled with little sleep means I’m having a rather shitty day mood-wise.
Today, I am finishing a sort of prayer challenge or whatever it could be called, that I’ve set myself. I promised God and myself that I’ll be praying for three weeks in July, until this Sunday, for someone that I sort of know and am rather concerned about, even though I don’t know him very well. He seems to be dealing with a lot of yucky stuff, multiple addictions being one of those things, and many years ago I’ve decided that I am always going to pay particular attention and have special dedication in my spiritual life to those people that I know or have come in contact with, with whom it seems unlikely that anyone prays for them, or at least not consistently and seriously, despite it seems that they might need it particularly much. I’ve learnt it well in my life that God loves creating what we’d usually call coincidences, and so this time, when I got into it I learned that July is actually considered a month of prayer for people who struggle with addictions. At the same time, addiction is a sort of… hmm, hot topic in my family currently, and my Mum is also praying for someone who has this problem who is our family member, so I felt a bit stronger having company and support like that, especially that my Mum really has been my best spiritual director and always has the strange talent to say or point me towards something that is exactly what my soul seems to need at a specific time. This whole challenge thing has been rather difficult, with a lot of ups and downs, and I wasn’t even sure if I was seriously going to stick to it, I mean, I really wanted to, but some part of me didn’t think I could manage with all that praying, IFing etc. for long. I also often had thoughts that I don’t believe strongly enough in that God could actually do for me what I was asking Him for, because from a human perspective, a dramatic change for the better in this person’s life doesn’t seem very likely and is even hard to imagine. But I tried my best to believe as strongly as I could, and even though I always experience a lot of hurdles with praying, in that I find it difficult to actually concentrate on it properly, I have a feeling that, while I don’t know if I could have put more effort into it, I’ve put a lot more of it than I thought I even could. I am so hopeful for some better, fuller, more valuable life for this person, whatever God considers that to mean in practice for this guy. Pretty much exactly at the time when I took up this little challenge, I also learned about a 30 day Gospel challenge that is a thing now on Hallow (a Catholic prayer/meditation app that I sometimes use). The goal is to read 2-3 chapters of a Gospel every day, so that we’ll be finished with all four Gospels in 30 days. And while I thought it wasn’t for me at first, because I’d never be able to stick to it, and because I’ve always been somehow apprehensive of reading the Bible in English mostly because then I tend to focus on the language more, haha, eventually I figured that the timing of this is very telling, and that I probably should take this up too. I have previously read all four Gospels chapter by chapter several times, as well as the whole Bible, but I initially thought it would be challenging to stick to it every single day and finish exactly in thirty days. But so far it’s going extremely well and I’m actually very surprised! It’s day 14 and I’ve never missed a day. The linguophile in me also manages to keep reasonably quiet, and I feel like I’m more actually engaged into it than I was all those times before, when, despite being Christian, I’d always read the Bible more like I would any other great work of literature, more intellectually than anything else. It is rather difficult for me to just sit down and listen to the Gospel for 20 minutes without doing much else in the meantime, I usually do several things at once and it feels more natural, but at the same time it feels weird to be listening to the Bible while doing something else very trivial in the meantime and give God only part of my attention. So this has been an interesting time in this respect and I’d never have expected it.
Today, I am a little anxious about living practically on my own for the next two weeks. You might recall that in one of my recent posts I was saying that I’m going for a trip into the mountains with my family on Friday/Saturday. The Friday/Saturday eventually was postponed until this coming Tuesday, because my Dad’s leave was postponed until then. Then Sofi decided that she’d like to take our cousin along, as she thought she’d be rather bored otherwise. As I’ve said, I’ve been feeling a bit off recently, very crampy and with rather little energy, and am pretty sure Jack the Ripper’s coming any time, and I started to feel kind of doubtful whether going for that trip is a good idea in my current hormonal and brainstate. So, as our camper isn’t very huge, I thought that was a good enough reason not to go, ’cause our cousin could go in my place. And so that’s what going to happen. Olek is also going to stay, as he always does, since he has work and stuff to do, but he’s out most of the day, so it’ll be mostly me and Mishmish. Which is fabulous, but, like I said, I’m a bit worried. I’ve never really lived on my own for this long, and, while Olek will be here in the evenings and he’ll also bring dinners for us both, so that at least I won’t have to deal with any delivery people or anything like that every day, I’m kind of scared, like, what if something goes wrong? I don’t even know what… anything could go wrong. From Misha choking, to Olek forgetting to clean his litter box, to me letting him slip out accidentally, or having some sort of an accident and doing something to myself, like in the kitchen or whatever, as usually if I do something in the kitchen Mum supervises me more or less, to needing an “eye” to help me with something asap, to having a bad sensory anxiety flare in which case I really don’t cope well with being totally alone. My sensory anxiety has actually been pretty bad this week, and it’s the sort of thing that is extremely easy to set off or exacerbated by thinking about it, more than any other anxiety that I have, so in a way that feels kind of unavoidable, especially if we consider my shitty sleep lately. Still, an equally big part of me is really looking forward to this, and, if things go reasonably well, I think it’s going to be a lot of fun for Misha and me to be pretty much only by ourselves for so long.
Today I am very glad that Misha has been with me all day so far, and not hiding under the bed or anything like that, but properly laying in his own bed, and he’s very cuddly. I hope this state of things won’t change soon and he’ll be like that once my family leaves for the trip.
What has been your day today like? 🙂
Are you learning anything new?
Of course I’m always learning new words and structures in, and new things about my languages, but this is the everyday standard. Other than that, one major thing I’ve been learning lately is, I’ve recently started exploring and also practicing a bit Christian/Catholic meditative prayer, which I was a little bit apprehensive to before for all sorts of reasons, both totally personal/emotional and more spiritual, and a bit confused by it, but now I feel like it could be both a good thing to encorporate into my life long-term for strengthening my relationship with God and becoming a better Christian, but also a very valuable alternative to secular mindfulness for my emotional well-being and healing. That being said, I still haven’t made up my mind whether it will be a regular thing in my daily routine and whether I’ll stick to it, I’m trying to get more of a feel for it for now and if it could work for me on a regular basis.
How about you? 🙂
Do you prefer Christmas or Easter (if you celebrate, if not pick your favourite holiday)?
I feel like saying both and neither at the same time. 😀 Both because they’re both very important to me in a spiritual sense, and neither because I mostly dislike the very social aspect of both and they can be super stressful. Well, maybe not just plain dislike, I do think it’s important and an integral part of these festivities but I simply find it quite challenging and exhausting most of the time so I struggle with it on a personal level.
But I think I’ll choose Easter, because, at the end of the day, it is more important for us Christians and the real essence of our faith, and also because it has less of that kitschy, marketing coating that Christmas is wholly covered in, and which puts me off a bit more each year. It’s not quite so infantile. There’s no Easter music haunting you everywhere from the start of lent so that by the time the actual holiday comes it comes out your ears, as is the case with Christmas. The general craze with shopping, decorating etc. seems a bit lighter. Oh yeah and in recent years, I seem to have followed my Mum and started to really like Lent for all the specifically Lenten prayers and things like that. I used not to like it very much at all but these days I do. And then when it ends, somehow I also feel more joyful than at the end of Advent. Speaking of the ending of Lent, I love the Paschal Triduum and especially the rich, complex and loooong liturgy of the Paschal Vigil. The Midnight Mass on Christmas has a great feel too, but the Easter Vigil is kind of more mysterious, for lack of a better word.
But I do like Christmas food more than Easter food. Maybe it’s just my family and not a generally Polish thing but I feel like there’s a lot more diversity and generally a lot more traditions for Christmas dishes vs Easter dishes, and the Christmas ones are simply better in my opinion, and my siblings think so too. Generally, despite the greater importance of Easter, we always celebrate it more low-key in terms of external festivities like food, presents or what we do on these holidays in general. Like this year for example we didn’t even do presents at all, and that was okay with everyone, we just didn’t feel like doing it this year, especially my Mum. I only bought some candy for Sofi because I promised her a lot earlier that I’ll get her a specific type of candy for Easter that she likes.
How about you? 🙂
Do you believe in karma? Why?
No. The simple answer is because I am Christian, and karma is a strictly hinduist/buddhist concept so it just doesn’t go hand in hand with my beliefs. I don’t believe in reincarnation, and those two thiings are strongly connected, so I can’t believe in karma either. I believe in that good may attract good, and evil may attract evil, but I don’t see it as some sort of a cosmic law which occurs in every single situation, I don’t think it’s something that happens automatically as a rule. Here on Earth, I think this happens mostly due to the fact that our actions usually trigger reactions of others, so if we do something good to them, they may feel inclined to express their gratitude and do something good to us, and if we do a lot of good to a lot of people, naturally we may be experiencing a lot of good in our lives, same goes for evil. But it’s not some process that’s always bound to occur and that always whenever you do something good or bad, it’ll come back to you. People do get away with evil actions and have successful lives, or good people have miserable lives, at times. As for the afterlife, I believe it’s God who judges us after our death, our good deeds and our sins, our choices in life, so what our afterlife ends up being like is the result and consequence of our choices here in this life. God can also reward us during our lives on Earth, if we do a lot of good in our lives, or He can allow difficult things to happen to us which may end up making us better people than we were before. But again, that’s not a rule in this world and there are plenty of very good-natured people, even saints throughout history who had done a whole lot of good deeds yet have suffered incredibly their entire lives.
What about you? 🙂
Do you think there is a god?
Quite obviously I guess for anyone who knows me at least a bit, yes, I do believe there is a god. More exactly, I am a Christian and a Catholic, so I believe that there is only one God who at the same time is three Persons – the Father, His only Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit – is almighty, eternal, perfect, just, forgiving and of endless mercy. He has created the world. He loves all of His creation, but especially us humans whom He has created in His image and likeness, by giving us immortal souls. He is our Lord but at the same time we have the privilege to call ourselves His children and He cares for each of us as His most beloved child. I believe that God in the Person of the Son came down on Earth to become a human just like all of us except not sinful, and save us from our sins (which is why we celebrate Christmas, by the way, but I suppose everyone who celebrates it knows about it). He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary who agreed to become His Mother. He was crucified and gave His life for all of us. He was buried, but on the third day after His death he rose from His grave, later ascending into Heaven which was witnessed by His Apostles. He will come again on the day of the final judgment and will judge us all fairly and mercifully. During His life on Earth, He said to His Apostles that after His ascension, the Father will send Holy Spirit to them in His Name, as a comforter, who came onto them in the form of fiery tongues, and who has the power to inspire us all in our daily lives.
So yeah, if you’re familiar with Christian beliefs, which I suppose a lot of people are even if they aren’t Christian themselves because this religion is so widespread and kind of rooted in our western culture, this is probably all or almost all known to you and very basic stuff about the Christian faith. Obviously it’s just God in a nutshell, as there is so much more that could be said about Him.
How about you? If you do think there is a god, what do you believe him/it to be like, and is it just your own personal belief or do you identify with some specific religion, or maybe you are somewhere in between? 🙂
Hey people! 🙂
I decided that, since it’s Christmas time, I’d share a hymn with you – not such that would be particularly connected with Christmas, but any Christian hymns really seem very right to share at this time of year to me. –
Lisa Pedrick is a relatively new artist to me, I come across her music listening to Cymru FM and quite liked her. Lisa was the winner of the first series of a Welsh music talent show Waw Ffactor – the same one that Duffy competed in, in case that tells you something more. –
This song, as you may easily recognise if you’re a Christian yourself or somehow acquainted with Christian hymns, is just the Welsh version of the English well-known hymn “As The Deer”. It’s also known here in Poland, and here it’s neither the deer or the hart, but the doe. This hymn was composed by Martin Nystrom and based on psalm 42. I really like the way it sounds in Welsh. I think generally Welsh is a great language for praying in.
Does fate exist? If so, do we have free will?
As a Christian, I see fate as God’s will. Both God’s will and our free will definitely do exist. I believe that God is the one who takes care of what we call our fate, He is the one in control of our life and death, and He has a plan for our lives that’s best for us. However, we are also able to choose freely whether we want to live our lives according to His plan or pursue our own ideas and go against His will and He won’t stop us from that, although He can make different circumstances happen in our lives, which we may not necessarily always perceive as positive ones at the time when they happen, but which are meant to have positive outcomes for us eternally and maybe even during this life and which may prompt us to come back on the road that is the best for us or give us different kinds of grace that will help us with that in whatever way a specific person needs to be helped, but essentially the choice is ours whether we’ll choose to ignore/waste it or not and how we’ll use all that. I think it’s a huge responsibility. God of course knows in advance what decisions we’re going to make during our lives but that does not mean that everything that happens in our lives is God’s will simply because it happens.
How do you see it? 🙂
Hi people! 🙂
Yay!!! I’ve been waiting all year to share this song with you, and finally the right time has come! 🙂 This is a song about Halloween. Those of you who know me may be wondering now what happened to me that I’ve been dying all year to share with you a song about Halloween when I’m Catholic and do not celebrate Halloween. But if you know me you’ve also noticed that there’s Jack in the title and you know that I’m a Jackophile. So there you have it, that’s exactly the reason. 😀
But seriously, to be more specific, I absolutely love this song because to me, it proves that even Jack-o’lantern doesn’t really like Halloween. It’s so heartwrenching and I truly feel for him! Any time I’m listening to it it makes me want to call out to all the Jack-o’lanterns of the world “Hey! Come to me! You want to have to play creepy here! I promise I won’t be scared of you, you all will have different, better lives”. Actually, as someone who doesn’t celebrate Halloween, I wonder, what do people do with their poor Jacks after Halloween? Perhaps I could become some sort of a Jack-o’lantern collector and people would drop them off or send here for me and I would transform their lives from crappy to happy, from yucky to lucky. I wonder are Jack-o’lanterns edible? Uncle Google says yes but not particularly delicious for purees. Well, I was thinking that my Mum could make a soup out of all them Jacks because she likes pumpkin soup but if they’re not good for it that’s even better because I hate pumpkin, it’s so pulpy and mashy and it tastes gross, so it would be sad to have them all lost in my Mum’s soup, and she wouldn’t eat so much of it anyway so it would also be a huge waste. But I love pumpkin seeds! And My Mum has mentioned to me many times around Halloween how she thinks the Jack-o’lanterns are very decorative and before the Halloween boom came here to the point it is now (not that it’s anywhere near to how much people celebrate it in the US, it’s still seen a rather new tradition) she often thought that she’d like to have a pumpkin candlestick, but now everyone would think she’s a Halloweener too. If I was her, I would do it anyway, but at a different time of the year. And yeah, someone may think I am celebrating Halloween in February but so what? 😀 I’m all for celebrating things in an unusual way as it’s so eccentric and out of the box. I love it since when I once called my former long-term therapist in the middle of April (we mostly had phone contact because that was often the only option because of me being in the boarding school) and when I called her there was a lot of chaos and people talking in her house, so she apologised to me and said she’d call me back later because she forgot to let me know earlier that they were celebrating New Year’s Eve today. I was of course like: “But… New Year’s Eve? In April?!” “Yes, why not? We’re just weird like that”. And I love doing things this way since then when I realised that you actually can! 😀 My family is very conventional so it usually isn’t an option with festivities but I can practice my eccentricity in other ways, too. And now, I could have Jack-o’lanterns all around the house as candlesticks all year round except for Halloween. They wouldn’t be creepy. They would be warm, cosy and inviting and if someone would scream at their first sight it would be in awe of their amount and how beautiful they look. I’m sure with very many of them it wouldn’t be possible or safe to transform them all into candlesticks and it wouldn’t be practical either, but over time I’d become more inventive I’m sure. Oh, I was just about to publish this post when another potentially superb idea creeped into my brains! We, in Poland, have All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days on November 1 and 2. And we have a custom, which as far as I know isn’t a thing anywhere else, of lighting candlelights on the graves of our loved ones. I suppose it would be controversial for many people to place Jacks-o’lanterns on graves, but if it was with the right intentions, perhaps with Jacks having been exorcised or somehow consecrated beforehand if need be, it could be a good idea.
I think I shared something by Karliene Reynolds on here before as I like her a lot and she’s such a prolific singer, but even if I didn’t, here’s Jack’s Lament.
Gosh, what a wordy and clumsy title! But I didn’t have any more graceful-sounding ideas and didn’t want it to be too bland either.
A while back, I bought myself another book to work with for my journal, and also for blog post inspirations, about the existence of which, again, I learned from Astrid at
It’s Listify, written by Marina Greenway, and as you can guess from the title, it focuses mostly on lists. The first part of this book is all about gratitude, and the first list idea is the following:
Ways I can show gratitude to myself and others
It’s important to show others we appreciate and care about them, but it’s equally important to acknowledge ourselves and all we do. List the ways you can do so, and challenge yourself to do one from each list everyday.
As for the challenging myself part, I wrote the original list in my journal a few days ago and decided to indeed do these things to show my gratitude to people. So far I don’t find it particularly difficult as it’s mostly my close family, and of course I’m doing the MIMRA which is also one huge act of gratitude but also a whole lot of fun for me. I suppose though with people I’d feel less comfortable around I’d have more problems with some of these points, but I’ll try anyway when there will be an opportunity, as gratitude is a good thing, obviously.
Below is the list of ways of showing gratitude to others that I’ve come up with so far.
Can you come up with anything more? Please do share in the comments, unless you prefer to write a separate post and pingback, whatever feels better. 🙂
Now that was (and is) a tricky thing to me. Not just implementing it, but generally the concept. I don’t know, perhaps I’m seeing it in a very inflexible way, and most likely, just like I wrote in the title, my view of this is very biased, but I can’t really see much sense in self-gratitude. Maybe I just don’t understand it well. As I was preparing to write this post, after I read some things online about it, thinking that perhaps they will enlighten me (which they didn’t) I asked my Mum what she thinks about it, whether she has ever felt it, and if she has any ideas about how one could express it, and also how it’s different from self-care or taking pride in your accomplishments. My Mum had a similar view on this and actually started laughing and said that to her it also doesn’t make much sense, because according to her in a way it implies that there would be another self inside of you to whom you could be grateful for example for doing something you yourself wouldn’t think about doing, or wouldn’t be able. Like: “Oh, thanks, self, for reminding me that I should set my alarm at 6 AM, I don’t want to sleep in”. 😀 I mean, do any of you really think like this – say you’re driving somewhere, and instead of taking your usual route you have a gut feeling to take a roundabout one, and later you learn that on your usual route there was a huge traffic jam because there was an accident earlier – would you think: “Oh yay, thank me!”? If you would, it’s not at all that I think it’s wrong for anyone to do this and I think you shouldn’t, I’m just curious and would like to know because it’s certainly not my default reaction and I would probably burst out with laughter if I tried to force myself to it.
What I assume people understand as self-gratitude, is for example when you had an exam and passed it very well, you learned for ages until your brain got so swollen it nearly burst out of your skull and you mainly focused on this goal of passing this particular exam because it’s important for you, so perhaps you often refused yourself many things you liked and spent most of your time with your nose in the books despite you didn’t particularly enjoy it. But you did pass the exam and you’re euphoric, so now you can go for a huge dinner plus some very fancy coffee and an ice-cream dessert, then go to the spa and have a massage and then go shopping for things you really enjoy shopping for, because this is your way of thanking yourself for your perseverance, determination and for achieving your goal.
And that’s all good. But, just like I said earlier when asking my Mum, how’s that different from just regular self-care or celebrating your accomplishments? It seems like it should if it has a different name, and when I was thinking about a potential list of ways to show myself gratitude, I thought it was just a list of self-care activities.
Perhaps I don’t think in such a “Thank me” way, because I am a Christian, and rather than thank myself, a much more natural thing for me is to thank God. Like, when it’s a nice day and the weather is lovely and there’s a lot of crunchy, fallen leaves for Misha outside, I’d rather say “Thank you, God, for giving me the idea to go out and refresh my brain, and thank you for the lovely weather and that there are so many beautiful leaves for Misha here” than something like “Thank me for going out”. It just feels totally unnatural to me, and I’m not just talking about the “thank me” form which I’m mostly using in a humourous way to emphasise just how unnatural and awkward the whole thing seems to me. I may rather say: “Oh, I’m so glad I went out” or: “What a great idea I had that I got some leaves for Misha” (that’s still not my typical inner dialogue as I’m normally way more self-critical and sarcastic with myself but at least something I’m trying to aim for).
When thinking about any accomplishments, I don’t really think of them in a way that I’m grateful to myself for them. For example, I am quite proud of my language learning accomplishments but am not grateful to myself for them. It’s not my merit that I have good linguistic skills, I didn’t get to choose them at birth or program my brain to pick up languages easily. Neither is it really my merit that I’m learning Welsh now, because I wouldn’t be able to do it if the people who did the course wouldn’t create it, if my Swedish teacher didn’t show me how to learn a language on my own and didn’t always believe in me and that I can do it, if I wasn’t taught how to use technology and if my Dad wouldn’t be employing me so I could actually allow myself for paying for the courses, buying Welsh speech synths, Welsh books and what not without stressing myself about it. Thinking according to Christian faith, I wouldn’t even be able to take any action having all these things if I wouldn’t get the idea from Holy Spirit. Okay, I guess I could be grateful to myself for acting upon that idea and not wasting the skills I have, but in what special way should I show this gratitude to myself? Sometimes I also have a sort of self-gratitude feeling when I feel really euphoric about something so my self-esteem also goes up but that’s very much fleeting and not a mature, serious kind of feeling so the more I don’t know in what way I could act on it.
Going my Mum’s trail of thought, that it sounds like we should be grateful to some other self, well, perhaps that makes some sense when we think that our personalities are made up of different parts. There may be, speaking in a very basic way, a part of us that is more prone to do good things, and another one that makes us do things that we regret later. So we may be grateful to that “good” part. Perhaps that’s what it’s all about. Or I’ve mentioned on this blog sometimes how I have this part of myself that I call Bibiel, who is very childlike and humourous and eccentric and always talks about Bibiel-self in first person and who is like a mentally healthier sort of, less inhibited version of me whom I actually genuinely like. So maybe the clue is that I should feel grateful to Bibiel? Actually I sort of am, because without Bibiel I’m not sure where I’d be now, and Bibiel helps me with a lot of things. Perhaps I should be more grateful to my inner self-critic Maggie when she’s not as critical of me as she is usually, and maybe that will make her feel better?
My Mum goes as far as to say that all these self- things only make people more conceited. I think that’s a rather huge overstatement because it’s definitely important to be kind to yourself and love yourself, as much for your mental, physical and emotional, as spiritual wellbeing and even the wellbeing of others, though there is certainly a risk of this as these days we hear about alll things self- all the time and it’s easy to lose balance between what’s still self-love and what’s already conceit, in my opinion.
So my view of this is definitely strongly influenced by the fact that I’m a practicing Christian, someone who is not might think differently, as well as the fact that I have avoidant personality disorder, which has quite a strong influence on how I feel about myself. And it’s because of AVPD that I think I may be biased here.
So I’d like to hear your thoughts about this. Do you practice self-gratitude? If so, in what ways and how would you define it? In what ways would you say is it different from self-care and celebrating your accomplishments? Am I missing out on something huge here? Let me know. I may not be able to share your opinion, but that doesn’t matter as far as I’m concerned, and who knows, you may even convince me. 🙂 Oh yeah, and let me know if you can think of some other ways to show gratitude to other people perhaps ones that you use yourself that I didn’t list.
What was the last YouTube video you watched?
Hmmm, let me have a look… I watched a lot of YouTube earlier today and a lot of different stuff, so right now I don’t remember what was last. 😀 Ah, yeah, it was a testimony of a Polish guy who is now a Christian but used to be muddled in the occult and new age stuff, and how he got rid of it and now educates people about spiritual dangers, from the point of view of the Catholic church, of course. And he actually seems very competent in the topic. Many people I’ve heard about or even known, who are dealing with this or who tried to help to get me out of my own shit like lucid dreaming, Doses etc. etc. seem to know what can be harmful and dangerous but can’t say why, which makes it feel much less credible, ’cause naturally if something is harmful, you want to know why exactly, what are the risks, what’s wrong with it, and if they can’t provide you such information, why should you believe them, especially if what you’re doing seems fun, as it often does with such things at the beginning? People just tell you “Don’t do this” “Don’t do that” because “It’s wrong”, and it always bugged me when they wouldn’t say why. Of course, in most cases, if you’re inquisitive enough and genuinely want to know you can dig deeper yourself and check it out, but not everyone wants to, for example I didn’t want at the time and only later did I begin to want to learn about what might be wrong with these things, when I’ve already started to feel like I might be heading in an entirely wrong directioon with this whole life thing. And not everyone has the patience or intellectual abilities required. And even if people do know about what’s exactly wrong with specific things that are considered spiritually harmful for Christians, and what makes them harmful, they often seem not to know much about this thing in practice. I mean, back when I started feeling like there might be something seriously wrong with lucid dreaming, and I was reading in Christian resources on it, even people who claimed to have some past experience with it and now specialise in helping people with similar experience, know a lot about the topic both from the inside perspective as well as from the Christian perspective, they often wouldn’t be able to even spell the word oneironautics properly – oneironautics – oneironautics is lucid dreaming and the ability to travel in the dream world – and would often confuse different terms or such, that made them feel much less credible to me because it made them look like they didn’t even care to make the research, and their claims of having experienced it directly or indirectly weren’t very believable. For people who are deep into the bad stuff it’s not going to be convincing. I remember how I once got really annoyed when my Mum sent me a list of “forbidden” artists and bands that a Christian shouldn’t listen to, compiled by some priest. I can understand, though don’t approve of, the intention behind using the word “forbidden”, as it’s so jarring and I guess the whole thing is not about forbidding because everyone has free will, but it was all the more jarring that the list following it was not only full of spelling errors, making it feel very possible that the author had little practical idea about these artists and who they were or didn’t care enough about the people who were going to read it to even just autocorrect the spelling, and, more importantly, it felt like a totally random list of artists from all sorts of genres, without any explanation or anything, just a list. It did include obvious stuff like “Ozzie Ozborn” or Juda’s Priest, but even such people like… Amy Grant! Amy Grant is a Christian singer. I used to like a few songs by Amy Grant just because of how they sounded, I only knew English enough to understand that it’s Christian music but not what it exactly is about, so I don’t know, perhaps there are some disonances between her lyrics or whatever she’s doing and the actual Christian faith, I had no idea and I’m no longer into Amy Grant because I’m just not into Christian pop music, but back then, even though I was no hardcore fan of Amy Grant at all, I found that very frustrating that someone would “forbid” me to listen to something without any explanation at all. And I think many people may feel that frustration and it can discourage them greatly and effectively from either coming back to Christianity or accept it as one’s religion. I’m so grateful that I was not one of such people and that I got a chance to re-convert and was able to use it and that I have my Mum who has prayed for me and has been my spiritual director, and who has shown me that there isn’t only one way of experiencing God, even in one religion. So it feels really good for me to see people who actually have an idea about these things. And as it seems not only about the new age-y kind of stuff, because a lot of Christians when they think spiritual dangers think only new age and the occult.
How about you? What did you think about the video you watched? 🙂
I haven’t written in quite a while, so I thought I’d do some longer piece today using one of the journaling workbooks. This time, I chose a prompt from The Year of You by Hannah Braime, which goes as follows:
What are your top five core values? Core values are the qualities and experiences that are most important to us to embody and have present in our lives. These might include things like trust, love, connection, freedom, growth, etc. (…)
I’ve written such a list of values already in my diary a while ago, but here I’ll try to expand on the topic of each of them at least a bit so that this post is more substantial. In my diary I also mentioned some of my negative core values, but here I decided not to do so for a few reasons, but mostly because typically when we think core values we think about the positive and helpful ones.
This is extremely important to me. As I wrote in the post about the roles I play, I may not always feel like I’m doing a great job with this, but nevertheless, I’m trying to do my best and do and think what and how I believe a Christiann should do and think. Obviously I don’t only mean things like praying or going to church, but also things like being helpful to other people, not judging them, making big and small decisions in my life so that they’re intact with my conscience and Christian rules, like not voting for a party who promotes killing unborn children or not celebrating Halloween. It’s also an important quality for me in other people which I deeply respect, but at the same time I have no problem associating with people who believe in God differently or believe in a different God, or don’t believe in any God whatsoever. Some Christian people have a weird problem with that but I think that, while common values of this importance in friendship make things way easier, having some different values and beliefs can make things more interesting, as long as both sides are willing to respect each other and not argue about that. Which sometimes means it’s just safer not to discuss the topics in which your opinions differ, or otherwise you just most definitely will argue, while at other times exchanging your different beliefs can be enriching and fascinating. In short, this is the most important value, or perhaps I should say set of values I am always trying to follow in my life, with varying success, also probably the most difficult to follow, but normally if something I’m making a decision about is contrary to these values, I am not going to do this.
I’m putting them together because while they’re three different things, I think as values they have a whole lot in common. Intelligence is a quality I really appreciate having, as it’s proven so helpful for me in countless situations. I guess it’s my biggest strength and one of my most effective protective mechanisms, and seems like one of the things that people value me for. My brains are a crucial part of my identity, therefore my brain health is important to me and I’m utterly scared of all sorts of neurodegenerative diseases. I also very highly value intelligence in other people and love having such people around me. It’s a very important quality in a friend for me. As for open-mindedness, I value thinking outside of the box, outside of my own perspective, or just in some unobvious way. It isn’t always easy, as it’s in our nature to think from our own point of view, and it can feel very abstractive to do it the other way around, but it’s an intriguing brain challenge and can be a powerful experience. Similarly, I appreciate people who are capable of doing so. The more so that, as a blind, mentally ill and just all round very quirky person with strange experiences and ideas, it seems like my perspective is not always easily understandable for other people, so it’s great when someone does take an effort to try and understand things from my point of view. Or even not from my point of view, but generally when I see someone who can easily think very flexibly, I have a lot of admiration for such a person. I think the most open-minded person in this way that I know was my Swedish teacher and I often think that if not his open-mindedness, his courage in taking up different, weird challenges with me and his flexibility of thinking my Swedish learning may have been much more difficult, or I may have even become completely discouraged from learning languages altogether, and this is not at all an overstatement, in case you’re new here and don’t know my a bit tumultuous language learning history and are wondering. 😀 By versatility I mean taking an interest in lots of different things, as well as having knowledge about them, or being capable of doing lots of different things. This is a very impressive quality for me and I always say that it’s one of the most important qualities for me in a faza object, haha, or at least they always do end up being quite versatile people. I do have a whole lot of different interests, and I believe I know a fair bit also about things that don’t directly interest me quite as much, but I am somehow not sure I am quite as versatile as I would like to be. Still, I am probably more versatile than most people I know in person.
Yeah, I often say when someone asks me about my views, usually in the context of politics, that I am an open-minded traditionalist. I like combining innovation with tradition. In any field, be it music, religion, food, politics, baby naming, language, fashion or interior design, etc. Always with a bit more of tradition than innovation, but enough innovation that it doesn’t feel plain, boring, or, God forbid, totally backward, but tasteful, fresh, niche and unexpected. I’m thinking about tradition and traditionalism here as a very broad thing. My religious beliefs are very traditional, apparently these days they might even classify as orthodox for some Christians, though I personally don’t consider myself orthodox, however I admire truly orthodox (not to be confused with fanatic, as these are yet another kettle of fish) Christian people. I love folk music, which speaks for itself, folk is obviously traditional, though just as I said earlier I do like tradition with innovation so things like neofolk, electrofolk, folk pop, folk metal etc. are close to my heart and brain just as well. I am passionate about keeping endangered and minority/indigenous languages alive, and same applies to all sorts of cultural traditions. I love learning about folklore of different areas and people’s customs, and always feel sad whenever I hear about such things extincting, though a lot of such traditional treasures – especially languages – are so unbelievably resilient and can thrive in the most unfavourable circumstances. – By the way I think we humans can really take an inspiratioon from languages, when we’re going through rough things in life. 🙂 People typically think of trees, especially oaks, as symbols of resilience, but I think of languages. Oh yeah and on a more personal level I absolutely dread changes and have a hard time adapting to them, which I think also goes in line with the whole traditional thing, though probably has a bit different etiology. 😀 However it’s not like I’m totally against change, if I can see its positive aspects, just that it’s a totally dreadful process and adjusting to it usually takes me ages and a lot of rumination in the meantime.
I even like the way the word helpful looks in English. I have fun synaesthetic associations! 😀 Would describe them to you but it’s too complicated and would take up too much space and this post is not about this. That’s why I wrote “helpfulness” rather than “helping people” which would probably look a bit more natural. I really like that feeling, when you know you have helped someone. Well I guess it’s a natural thing for all of us who are empathetic beings to have that feeling and to like it. This thing alone can drive us to want to be more helpful. I don’t know, however, if I help people as much as I could. I often feel effectively inhibited from doing it by different factors. I am rubbish at helping people in person because of all the difficulties I have with communicating with people like social anxiety. I have a hard time initiating the simplest conversations with most people, so while I am a good observer and very often easily notice that someone may need some kind of help, I don’t know how to offer it to them, or how to ask them what they need, or don’t know what to do about it altogether, or maybe even know but it feels too scary and overwhelming a process so I only watch the situation from a distance hoping that there will be someone else who can help them and feeling awful for not helping them myself. If I do try to make the effort and help them, I feel awful for helping them not the right way, or not adequately, or making things worse rather than better. Also I usually feel like I’m not even the right person to help people because of my own various limitations and that I just won’t be able to give them the help they need. Thankfully there are some areas where I do feel a bit more confident when helping people, like listening to people (unless they clearly expect me to say something, as then I usually feel like there’s nothing I can say that could be particularly helpful), or supporting people online, or helping people financially, or sharing something with them, or sharing some of my skills with them, with the latter I’m thinking things like translating something for my Mum, for example. These are usually very small areas and I feel like most people help others much more, but I comfort myself in that at least a lot of the people whom I have helped have said I was helpful to them so perhaps my help is more a quality over quantity kinda thing. I’ve always lived by that rule, as quantity is something largely abstractive to me, so if it seriously works like this with my help, it’s probably not as bad as I usually imagine. 😀
I actually wondered whether I should really include this value or perhaps leave it out and write about something possibly more interesting, because this whole family thing is complex and I’m not sure it’s indeed this high among my values, but I decided to write about it nevertheless, because even though I struggle with sense of belonging and don’t really feel a strong connection to my extended family, my closest family are pretty much the only people in real life that I’m close to and they are important to me, also I do respect all of my family, and am loyal to them, never mind that I don’t really feel anything more towards most of them. Also family as a more general term – as in roots, origin, heritage etc. – is an important thing for me. Loyalty towards family is, as I said, an important thing to me and I think family members sort of owe it to each other. I try to keep good relationships with them as muchh as it’s possible, though I don’t give a shit about it if they don’t try as well. My most immediate family – by which I mean my parents and siblings and grandparents – are people for whom I am capable of making a lot of sacrifices, for example attending family gatherings even when I don’t feel at all like doing this mentally and have to deal with the consequences of this afterwards, which include a substantial increase in Maggie’s (my inner critic) activity, feeling mentally and physically drained and a general brain overload. I know they won’t really care about my actual presence there in itself, but if I won’t be there they’ll have a problem either with me that I am so unfeeling and neglectful, or with my Mum, which I don’t understand, it appears that some of my family think that somehow my Mum is to blame if I don’t appear on their birthday party. I want to spare her that, because she has so much stronger ties with her family, so unless I really really can’t, or it’s someone I can’t be bothered about, like some people from my Dad’s side of my family whom I have a hard time genuinely respecting, I just deal with it and go. It’s awful, it’s pointless and I don’t think they realise how much mental energy it sometimes can cost me while it’s happening as well as before and afterwards (though perhaps it’s not okay that I actually expect people to care, and most likely makes me sound terribly whiney,) but I do this because I feel obliged towards them as my family. I also deeply value the connection I have with my Mum, she is so very important to me, as well as Sofi. Sofi is very valuable.
So there you have it, these are the top five of my values.
What are yours? Have you thought about this before and made a more comprehensive list?
This post is going to be long, the more that before I get to the actual topic of it, I’d like to fill you in a little on what’s been happening in my life so that you have an idea if you’ve been wondering what was going on, but feel free to skip a few paragraphs to the actual topic. 🙂
As you know, I’ve been getting used to my new iPhone the last couple of weeks, which is one of the reason I hadn’t blogged much at all lately. I’m getting better with it, though still, there are things I have to figure out, and I’m still pretty slow at using it, and I suppose it may just be the case that, despite it seems to be the opposite for most people, I will not be able to use the iPhone as fast and efficiently as my computer. But I do know how to do the basics, and even some things that aren’t basic by now.
Also, we had a bit of a heatwave and that really affected my energy and generally my wellbeing, and last week was migraine-filled and also difficult emotionally as I was really low, which was followed by our short family trip during the weekend. The trip wasn’t that very fun at all, as it wasn’t a particularly interesting place and there wasn’t much at all to do, also it was terribly hot for all of us and the conditions in our hotel were rather poor, but we mostly just went to keep Dad company as he was having some work related training and exams there, and because Zofijka loves staying at hotels, so we thought it could be fun for her. I’m really happy to be back home and now appreciate it even more than I did before that I can sleep in my own bed and do things I want when I want and just be in my safe space. We also went to the seaside on Sunday and that was so much more fun, I just love the sea. Except that I got badly sunburnt and now it hurts like shit but oh well, luckily it’s going to pass at some point. So that was, in a nutshell, why I was less active in the blogosphere in the last few weeks.
Another thing I started doing recently is I’ve got more ebooks to read in English. I’ve always wanted to read Kindle ebooks which I theoretically can do as there’s a pretty accessible Kindle for PC app, or was I really determined I could get myself a Kindle device with text to speech functionalities, but I’m very picky about the ways I read, and I want to be able to read my books on my PlexTalk, as well as Braille-Sense. Which I can only do with Kindle ebooks if I remove the DRM. I know, I know, it’s illegal, but I believe that if I buy a book, I have every right to read it however is convenient for me, and the mere fact that I’ve removed the DRM doesn’t immediately have to mean that I’m going to give it away to all the people I know IRL and online, or to anyone at all, for that matter, does it? There is a pretty uncomplicated little app that converts ebooks from and to lots of different formats and can remove DRM protection so that you can copy your book on to your preferred device and have it in a format that your device is able to recognise. But despite this app is very easy, for some reason I’ve been struggling to remove the DRM with it from Kindle ebooks specifically, it just doesn’t seem to recognise them properly or something or can’t locate them, even when I select the Kindle folder and a specific file manually, there’s just something wrong and I can’t figure it out on my own. I contacted the developer but so far haven’t heard from him, it seems like he’s been inactive online for a while so I may have to just wait. Meanwhile, because the app is able to work with other types of files on my computer with no issues, I decided to give Kobo books a go. And Kobo works really well for me, I don’t have to convert their books, as my devices read epub, so I only have to remove the DRM. I also may give iBooks a try soon, now that I have an iPhone.
Anyways, since I’ve started using Kobo, I’ve got myself quite a few ebooks, all of which I’m still going to read, and among them are two books with journaling prompts that I learned about from Astrid of
who uses them. One is The Goddess Journaling Workbook” by Beatrix Minerva Linden, which sounded really good to me as a folklore junkie, and the other is “The Year of You” by Hannah Braime. I really like the idea of books for journaling and I think I may be getting more of them. I’ve already used a few prompts from both in my diary, but also thought that I’d like to do some of them on my blog, and this is going to be the case today.
I thought I’d use the very first prompt in Hannah Braime book, which I already did in my diary in a bit of a more extended and personal form, but I think I could just as well write about this one on my blog. The prompt goes as follows:
What are the different roles you play in your life (e.g. mother, partner, sister, etc.) List as many as you can think of.
So here goes, in mostly random order. To make it more interesting than just a mere list, I will write a bit about each of these roles. I am not including roles as in masks, like who I may pretend to be for all sorts of purposes that isn’t actually me, and also I’m not including very small roles that don’t really matter for my life as a whole and that I simply don’t have much to say about.
What are the roles you play in your life? 🙂
With many of us being in self-isolation right now, days of the week can become very similar to each other and we may get confused. Therefore, Linda has started the
series on her blog, so that we can keep track of what we are doing each day and just be in touch with each other within the blogging community during this strange time.
For me, and most of my family, this time hasn’t been really very different from our usual lives, because I am spending most of my time at home and am happy with it, so does my Mum as she is a homemaker, or a home manager as she prefers to put it, and my Dad and Olek have to work anyway. The only person for whom life has become quite significantly different right now is Zofijka, because she doesn’t go to school since about the beginning of March and has recently started to learn online. This is not easy for her, first because it’s such a quick and stressful transition for all students and teachers, and second because she is not a very disciplined child and now there’s no one really to make sure she’s doing what she is supposed to do most of the time, so if she has something to catch up on that she hasn’t caught up on in time, isn’t up to date with something, didn’t do something on time or isn’t informed, there’s no one to blame other than herself, and she has to be more responsible. Also she is such a sociable kid and now there is no one to play, she can only Skype her best friend from her old school, and play with Jocky of course but that only helps so much. Misha has been incredibly supportive of her in this time, as if he could empathise with her. He spends loads of time with her in her room, assisting her in her learning, even during her live video lessons, watching movies with her and sleeping for hours in her armchair. He is just so sweet. Still, despite the social isolation effects not having much of a direct influence on my life, I decided to jump in anyway.
The only area in which I do feel affected by the pandemic is that we cannot go to church as we used to. We are a Catholic family as you may know and we normally go to church every Sunday and on holidays or important feasts as well. Now, here in Poland, there can be only 5 people during Mass, so in practice that means you are only supposed to come if you have ordered it, or you are a relative of someone in whose intention the Mass is celebrated, or something like that. This sucks big time, and we are not impressed, but I’ve found that it has it’s advantages too. Now there are more religious services being broadcasted in the media, or live streamed online, I don’t think it was as much of a thing here before the coronavirus outbreak, not to such an extend. While it is of course the best when you can go to church and receive Sacraments, I’ve noticed that now, when we are praying more at home, it is easier for me to focus on prayer. I wrote on that a while ago that for me it can be really difficult to focus on just one thing at a time for an extended period of time, and that can be extremely difficult when praying or meditating. It seems easier now that I am not surrounded by a lot of people, a lot of stimuli and all that, I’m less prone to distractions and feel more relaxed and focused, and I don’t have to worry that my blood pressure will drop below what’s my “normal” because of a lot of standing in one place or feeling hot and that I will faint, which of course doesn’t help with focusing, staying engaged and present. That has been an interesting experience. I mean, I’ve often listened to Mass from home when I wasn’t able to go to church, due to migraines or something, but it’s a completely different thing when you’re lying in bed and participating very passively so this whole thing now is quite new to me. It’s Lent, and both me and my Mum have decided to take advantage of this time and use it for our spiritual development. We all, as a family, have been praying more now, together and on our own, since the start of self-isolation. I had decided to do my Lent retreat online. Mum has managed to complete her retreat in the church at the beginning of Lent before the COVID-19 situation has become more serious in Europe, but the rest of us wasn’t able to complete it fully, so I decided to make it sort of more personalised this year, make use of all the resources online, and that was not only very interesting and enjoyable and very new to me, but also, because of being more personalised, I think it enriched me more in a way, and I was able to delve in some religious topics that I’d always wanted to. My Mum wakes up early every day and listens to the Mass in Latin on YouTube. If my brain is in the right timezone and I can wake up on time without being a zombie, I try to accompany her. So in fact I guess we’re praying more than we would otherwise, even during Lent, but I guess desperate times call for desperate measures, right?
I was talking about all that because today, I did wake up in line with the timezone we have here, or maybe even earlier than that, as it was just a little before 6 AM, which I didn’t expect because my sleep had been all over the place most days over the last couple of weeks, and I’d been in a phase of sleeping in late even like until 1 PM and generally sleeping a lot, I’d had to put a lot of effort into it if I wanted to wake up at a more decent hour or sleep less and a lot of the time I’d fail at that anyway because I was too groggy. I don’t like to sleep in late too often, though that happens a lot of the time to me, I mean certainly more than to a normal person with normal circadian rhythm anyway, so I’d be happy if my early awakening today would mean that my internal timezone is going to change to something less lousy, for however long that may be.
That allowed me to listen to the Mass with Mum, so that was a nice start of the day for us. Then Mum went out to get some groceries for ourselves and other family members who have it more difficult right now, and both of us plus Zofijka who also woke up by the time had a very yummy breakfast after she came back, and we drank cocoa. We drink a lot of cocoa lately, and especially so do I. I guess from being a coffee addict, I went on to being a cocoa addict lol. I still miss coffee though, nothing’s gonna change it, and I’ve lost hope that there is an equally good alternative that is good for me in the sense that it wouldn’t make me as anxious as coffee did, that I’d like the taste of, and that would make me as energised as coffee did. But cocoa at least tastes delicious, and I like to have mine very strong just as I did coffee.
Although no one in our house is particularly scared of the coronavirus and getting sick, and even my Dad stopped watching TV now that COVID-19 news are everywhere, Mum says that going out of the house is starting to make her feel a bit anxious when she sees all those people in masks, and when they tell everyone to put gloves on in grocery stores etc. She said that when she got home she felt a bit paranoid for quite a while, feeling like her hands are very dirty all the time, no matter how intensely she would wash them, and that all objects and surfaces around her are dirty and full of germs as well. 😀 I can understand that, I think I would feel similarly, even though in general as I said I don’t feel particularly scared or stressed out by the pandemic. The only thing I’m anxious about is if my family catch it, as I would be devastated if someone from my immediate family would get serious complications or die from it, but then it’s not very likely as no one in my immediate family has any underlying conditions other than my Mum has episodic asthma which is generally mild when it does flare up and is now in remission.
I spent a lot of the day trying to help Sofi with her school work and encourage her to think independently. I’m not the most patient person with kids, not even with Sofi, and neither am I particularly tolerant to ignorance or good at teaching others, so that was difficult for both of us. Misha was in her room though, so he was making the atmosphere calmer. 😀 Then we were watching a movie, eating crisps and bouncing on those big, exercise balls, I don’t know how they’re exactly called in English, and so did Misha with us. I don’t remember anything from the movie itself as I always struggle with following movie plotlines and it wasn’t anything I was into, just some teenage-y kind of movie, and we were talking meanwhile so I don’t think Sofi registered much either.
I’ve also bought some new English books for myself, and an audiobook for my Dad (in Polish of course) so he can listen to it at work.
It’s evening already, and I think I’ll soon be going to sleep, since I’ve had such an early start. As you can see, there hasn’t been much going on, but overall things are going well. I’ve noticed that I am actually having somewhat lower anxiety levels since the world has began self-isolating, which makes sense as a lot of my anxiety triggers are temporarily gone or have decreased to the bare minimum. So, subjectively, so far, I can’t say I feel the toll of this whole situation.
How are you doing today? How has the coronavirus outbreak and its consequences affected you so far? Are you feeling very worried or anxious? Or maybe bored? Let me know. 🙂 Or write your own #WDIIA post.
Hi people. 🙂
I’m so sorry I haven’t posted for a week but this week has been rather nasty for me.
Do you believe in ghosts, spirits or paranormal occurences? If so, have you had an experience yourself?
In a way I do, in a way I don’t. I don’t believe in ghosts that haunt the attics or show up to innocent people at nights just to make them jump out of their skin. What I do believe in, as a Christian and Catholic, is that there is purgatory and that the souls of dead people can visit us on Earth if need be – that is if they need us to pray for them, or perhaps to help, especially if a person has helped them in the past to get out of purgatory or something or if they’re family. – I guess technically you could call them ghosts but this term sounds firstly rather superficial to me, and secondly, kind of offensive. I would never call someone I liked or loved who had died a ghost. If they visited me I’d rather refer to them by their name or said they visited me in spirit or that their soul came to me or something, not a ghost! Also, purgatory souls do not want to do us any harm, not even creep us out, so, even if someone does experience such a grace and extreme privilege that they can talk to or see a person who has died, it’s usually in dreams or such unless you’re a mystic or something. They don’t want to scare people or haunt their houses or blackmail them or possess them or whatever else stupid things people can come up with. I don’t believe that what people do at spiritual seances is calling the real souls of their loved ones and the people who died. Or rather, okay, they may want to evoke those people but it’s not them who they see, rather those are demons and evil spirits pretending to be who the person wanted it to be. Souls of people in purgatory or heaven don’t come to you at your whim, not even at their own, but when God wants it, He is smarter than we and them together and, seriously, He knows what to do and when, without us telling Him. And the consequences of such evoking spirits can be nasty. As for other paranormal stuff, it’s hard to say, I have an impression different people classify different things as paranormal and also have different terms for what’s considered paranormal. Since there can be so many such phenomena I guess I won’t be writing about those things in detail but I’ll just say a lot of paranormal phenomena feel like absolute bullshit to me, while there are some that I definitely do believe in and that they exist and can happen, and what I think of them can really vary haha.
As for my own experiences, don’t know if that fully counts as paranormal, I guess more esoteric, but back in the day I used to have a lot of OOBEs (out of body experiences) and LDs (lucid dreams). And lucid dreams still happen to me but these days they’re unintended and not even half as frequent as they used to be. I have witnessed and experienced some things that perhaps may feel on the edge of paranormal for some but overall I don’t think I am the kind of person who is susceptible for such things to occur to me. I know from my Mum and grandma that my great grandmother – my maternal grandma’s mother – was very devoted to praying for purgatory souls. She was a Franciscan tertiary and was said to be able to see purgatory souls on quite several occasions (or experience their presence in any other way and communicate with them, I’m not sure about the details). I think it’s so fascinating and I’m so happy and proud to have had someone like this in my family, I regret that she died before I was born and I’d really like to know what she’s like more than just what I’ve heard. But she was very humble about it so didn’t even talk much about it to people from what I know. I think this is largely why my grandma, my Mum and me and Zofijka feel a close connection to purgatory souls and praying for them is a huge part of each of us’ individual spirituality. I have several people that have died and that I feel a close connection to that I pray for every day and ask them for intercession so that we can help each other, I think it’s so fun that it works like this that we can actually take care of each other, be thankful to each other, count on each other’s help and try our best to return the favours, haha. I have not had such spectacular experiences like my great grandmother did, but while I often find it hard to pray, to feel God’s presence in my life, I guess everyone who has some spiritual life has such difficulties at times, my purgatory souls help me with that, and there have been many occasions in my life, especially in recent six or so years, that I have felt their presence very deeply, not in any metaphysical level or anything like that, but I knew they were there praying for me and helping me. Especially at the beginning of my journey with praying for them, straight after I sort of re-converted, there have been SO many absolutely strange, wonderful and unbelievable, seemingly purely coincidental but on the other hand very unlikely to happen otherwise situations in my life, it was mind-blowing! And not only was it simply mind-blowing to observe but I also believe that their intercession has helped me, more or less directly, hard to say, to get to the point where I’m in my life right now. One of the souls I’m putting a lot of effort in helping is one of my music crushes Cornelis Vreeswijk who died 32 years ago and I’m sure needs a whole lot of help, and, of course it’s just my belief or an assumption and maybe it wasn’t anything to do with him, just how I want to see it, but always when I think about how I got out of my boarding school (which was just a couple months after I got my crush on Cornelis and quite soon after I started praying for him) and how absolutely weirdly, miraculously and fabulously all my problems with further schooling were solved, and the following school year was my best and strangest school year ever, when I think of that I always think of him, and am grateful for his intercession (as strange as it sounds that Vreeswijk would pray for anyone but I believe his spiritual views may be different now) because I was praying a lot for his soul and I often just talked to him casually and was asking him that if I’d helped his situation at all, I would very much appreciate him helping me as well, as I was struggling a whole lot mentally and with life in general. Since then, there have also been many small, often humourous coincidences in my daily life that I strongly suspect may have something to do with my relationship with the purgatory souls. Also, another way of helping the souls out of purgatory is to offer your sufferings for them or make any sort of sacrifices for them. That sounds so pathetic when you think of it especially if you’re not religious and have no experience yourself, but since I’ve been praying for those purgatory souls I feel close with, I am really happy that I can offer up all my daily life struggles whether big or small to help them, and I started to enjoy fasting and like seriously fasting, not just not eating meat on Fridays but having one day once in a while when I wouldn’t eat anything whatsoever. I used to think it’s a huge deal but really, when you have a reasonable motive and are supported by Holy Spirit and the soul you’re praying for it doesn’t have to be like this, although I did have to switch to intermittent fasting when I want to fast because otherwise my blood pressure drops like crazy. That’s by no means paranormal, but it definitely is a wee bit otherworldly.
When I was 10 and recovering from the Achilles tendons surgery, with my legs in plasters from thighs to toes and unable to move them for six weeks, I was super neurotic and feeling very lonely and anxious and just all things awful, and this was a time in my life when my relationship with my faith and with God and all that was incredibly neurotic too. One of the many nights when I couldn’t sleep and felt very lonely and desperate, I had a feeling that someone came into my room, or rather sort of floated in, and I could sense someone standing by my bed. I reached my hand out and felt some silky fabric, as if I was touching someone’s dress or something. Knowing me, I would normally be creeped out in such a situation, at least a bit, even these days, let alone in the state of mind I was then. Yet I wasn’t creeped out, I immediately had a feeling that I was experiencing something quite unusual. I suddenly felt soothed by this presence at my bedside even though everything was back to normal in a second and I didn’t feel anyone there with me anymore. And for whatever reason, whether rightly or not, I was strongly convinced it was Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn who visited me. It was her holiday that day and I knew about it. I was convinced about it for many years, though considering how generally messed up I was at that time and how surreal and vague the incident was and feels I’m no longer so sure of it, I’m actually very skeptical. I wasn’t psychotic or anything like that at all, and it’s not completely unlikely of course that it did happen, but I just think my sensory deprivation and mental state could make me think and perceive things in really strange ways, especially that my imagination is overactive even when my brain is doing much better, and it’s more likely that it was the effect of my brain feeling completely disoriented and more that I just really needed to feel soothed and less lonely. But it was interesting.
Also that’s not my own experience but I’ve bee on several pilgrimages to a sanctuary where a lot of people experience a very fascinating thing that is called sleeping in the Spirit, or something similar. It is when the priest prays over a person and they fall asleep in the Spirit. It’s just like people lose control and fall to the floor and just fall asleep for a couple minutes. When there is prayer over people, some men have to stand behind a person just in case to hold them if they fall so that they won’t hurt themselves or fall hard unexpectedly and there can be quite a few people falling asleep during such services. I used to be sceptical about that and so was my Mum because, well, there are mostly older women going for those pilgrimages, you could very easily think it’s hysteria or something. But it’s really all kinds of people who fall asleep, often such that you really wouldn’t suspect of being histrionic or attention-seeking or overzealous or anything like that. It once happened to my gran who said she didn’t feel nothing while asleep but when she woke up she was feeling calm and rested as if she was sleeping for a long time. Still, I am a control freak and I can’t help but feel a bit creeped out when that happens, even though I rationally know there’s no need to feel this way. But I think you need to feel open for such a thing to happen, and really trust in God and let Him control things. It’s never happened to me, but that priest was praying over me for the first time last year and I felt a strange sensation like I was very firmly pushed backwards. I was absolutely convinced that, for whatever reason, it was that priest doing so and at the beginning I was like huh, anyone can make people fall asleep in the Spirit if it’s like this, 😀 and my Mum and Zofijka who also experienced this type of prayer for the first time were convinced about it too, but my gran, who’s going there every year and has loads of experience in that sanctuary told us that she could see those people falling asleep many times and that they are not pushed, they’re just sort of bending backwards. Weird. Apart from that I didn’t feel anything, certainly not that I was going to fall asleep. I was only a little bit nervous about what if I will, and a tiny bit frustrated because I came to the sanctuary to ask God to help me with my sleep paralysis, and I expected I’d be able to tell the priest about that during that prayer, yet the priest knew from my gran that her granddaughter is blind and readily assumed I must have come there to pray to be able to see, but in the end I guess it didn’t matter what he was thinking right? Again, would I call that falling asleep in Spirit paranormal? Not really. Supernatural and extraordinary? Yes. I think there is a difference. But people perceive different things differently so I’m mentioning it.
How about your views and experiences with all sorts of paranormal/supernatural/spiritual phenomena? 🙂
Hi guys. 🙂
Here are some questions for you.
What were your teenage interests?
I think my interests have been, overall, pretty consistent. I don’t think very much has changed since then. At some point, as a teen, I felt very lost, in an emotional and spiritual way, and was full of shitty feelings that I hadn’t let out for years that were bottling up, and, as a way of silent rebellion, I decided I didn’t want to be Christian anymore and desperately tried to believe I was an agnostic, then Wiccan, or something. It was because my school was Catholic, and I felt like there was quite a lot of pressure put on it. But also, my family is very Christian so in a way I wanted to rebel against them too because, what I didn’t fully know back then, deep down I was feeling rejected by them, so I wanted to reject them as well. My Mum once told me that she’s not worried about me, because she knows I’m at the right place, that she knows I’ll never be lost in life because my school is Catholic and because I myself am mature enough to know what’s good for me, as if this was all you need as for not to feel lost at some point in your life. She said she was most worried about Olek, who was doing a lot of silly things at the time. So – because I think deep down I was desperate for attention even though then I’d say I wasn’t – I sort of decided that she’ll have a reason to worry about me too. And I just wanted some adventure, ya know, something fun to do, but most of all, something that could give me an escape from my life. So, getting to the point, I think my only other interests that I don’t have right now but had back then were all the spiritual stuff and esotericism. I was lucid dreaming whenever I could, or doing astral projections, talking to psychics and doing my own rituals and just reading all that I could find on the topic of astrology, esotericism and all that. I still think it’s interesting, but am no longer directly into it, apart from some stuff in astrology that I genuinely think makes some sense. I was also hugely into new age-y things. But most of all, I loved lucid dreaming and experimenting with Doses, which are like sound drugs – these are sounds which change something in your brain waves and simulate the effects of drugs. – They say they’re not addictive so that’s why I gave them a go, but in fact they can damage your brain pretty badly and, really, considering all the stuff I was experimenting with, I assume I must have a really determined and patient Guardian Angel. 😀 Or just as they say, silly people always get lucky haha. Apart from it weakening my relationship with God, and having some obvious but not overly tragical emotional and spiritual consequences that I had to deal with after that, I don’t think it did very much harm to me, not quite as much as it potentially could. I’ve started getting more severe sleep paralysis since then but that doesn’t necessarily have to be related. And my relationship with God was very difficult even before, and I’m still trying to get closer to Him which is at times very difficult, but I think I’m already much more bonded with him than I ever was. Oh, and at that time, I also loved all things Gothic. I wanted to be a Goth, I listened to Gothic music, when I was at home I dressed very much in a Gothic way but without the makeup, I listened to loads of Gothic rock and metal and symphonic metal and such and later on also to artists like Emilie Autumn – I still sort of like Emilie Autumn but listening to her always makes me depressed, and I still listen to some Gothic songs/bands that don’t have something that would go against Christianity in their music/in the way they present themselves, but I’m not half as crazy about it. – I did meet a real 100% Gothic Goth some time later on when that esoteric phase was already over for me and after I came back to God and came back home (it was my dear friend Jacek from Helsinki) who got me into his online Gothic cycle, but, being slightly older and more certain of my own values and all, I didn’t get fully into it, I never became a real Goth. I learned that there are people calling themselves Christian Goths and I identified as such for some time while hanging out with all them Goths in Jacek’s online community, but also I didn’t wear all that stuff and makeup they usually do, didn’t listen to most of their music, so it was a very loose connection. I liked that and liked being one of them but at the same time being a part of such communities, who are sort of supposed to look the same, like the same things etc. was never fully for me and I never truly felt like I belonged there. So, my fascination evaporated relatively quickly, my contacts with Goths loosened even more and then I just only talked to Jacek and all my other interests started to really bloom. I never do all that esoteric stuff anymore and don’t have the slightest desire to do, also I don’t take Doses anymore and don’t do OOBE and such, I sometimes lucid dream because sometimes that’s the only way for me to avoid the scary dreams and sleep paralysis, or it happens without my control, but it’s never like I seriously want to do it. It was always a bit difficult for me anyway because to get to the lucid dream part, first I had to get through terrible sleep paralysis and anxiety that was through the roof. My “transformation” started very suddenly, but that’s a whole new story, and I am so so grateful I got that chance!
How about you? 🙂 How much has changed in your interests since you were a teen? 🙂
I have a niggling feeling that despite my love for Irish language there hasn’t been much Irish language music that I posted here actually. So here’s the Irish version of “Silent Night” in ENya’s exquisite performance. I just love it so, so much!