Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
Lao Tzu

My word for 2011 was Gentle.

I held that word in my heart as I navigated school and work. I meditated on it as I slipped between consciousness. I attempted to keep it at the forefront of my mind when I would start my anxiety spirals.

And it was lovely.

I was dubious of this experience. I thought that it was grand to have a word in your head but how would it actually translate into real life? But it did. As I look back over the year, I am impressed at how that simple word, carried in my heart, affected me.

So, as 2012 rolled around, I thought about what word did I want to help define my year. I knew I was walking into a year which would be challenging. I am at a turning point in my program, getting closer to finishing. I am also feeling more protective of my relationships, and less open to change (though that change is a tricky beast). I am also working on my life list, specifically thinking about our finances.

It’s a big year with changes and excitement as well as sadness and challenges.

Thus, when I was cycling through words in my mind and heart, contentment jumped out at me. It truly spoke to me, stating that this was my word.

Contentment, defined, means: the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind.

I like contentment because of the action sound it has. The fact that it seems as if this is a decision which me make, to be content. To live in a state of contentment, rather than just being.

I’m working it out. I roll this word around in my head most days and try to understand what this even means, because it’s not as simple as being gentle with myself. It’s a challenge to find contentment, but one which I am happy to begin.

And then we built a mantel.

This week, my mister and I built a f*cking mantel.

For real y’all. Not just hung a shelf and called it good. We created a full blown mantle (mantel?) with a lovely place for candles so I can pretend we have a fireplace. Oh, and we have somewhere to hang stockings, now, too.


So yeah. We’re feeling like pretty hot sh*t right now. As we should be.

I’ll do a post about that experience (because it was an awesome-doozy) soon.

I’ll also write about my word for the year, my new 365, and other stuff.

For now, I am off to write a short paper and then probably sleep.


Life Lessons from a Toothbrush

So, I was going to share with you the new awesome nickname which I have dubbed the husband, so I could stop referring to him as “the husband.” But I’m waiting on that because of a dentist visit this morning.

I grew up going to the same dentist from the age of 3 to the age of 21. I went every six months to have my teeth cleaned and checked. And filled in (damn those cavities).Then I moved to Nebraska and was insurance-less. So, no dentist for Miss. Nicole. During Spring Break though, this awesome email landed in my inbox. It said something to the effect of:



I was sold, because I’m that weird kid who *loved* going to the dentist and promptly made my appointment.

I happily talked about my teeth and had x-rays taken. I forgot about my nose stud so there’s this awesome weird looking line on my big x-ray now, which is superfluous information (I just wanted to use that word).  And then my dental hygienist (I have so much respect for these people) stuck her hand in my mouth and started cleaning and poking my gums.

Verdict was that I have some slight gingivitis which can happily be cured by regular cleanings (yay!) and more flossing (always).  There’s some “decay” (ahem, I blame chocolate) that the dentist believed is just stable and will be watched. I just need to use a special toothpaste. Further, I currently have all of my wisdom teeth and it’s recommended that they be removed.

But, the last thing, which was odd, is that I have been diagnosed as an aggressive teeth-brusher. This means that I have literally brushed the gums off of some of my teeth which has left the root exposed. The cure? Be more gentle with my teeth. The gum won’t grow back, but I can contain some of the damage.

Now, this was slightly ironic for me. The word which I chose for me this year is gentle.

I haven’t really talked about this here, but I picked gentle because I wanted to remind myself that I’m slowly growing. And gentleness is key with me.

I have to be gentle with my thoughts, my actions, the way I speak, the way I move, just the way I am. I have to be kind and tender with myself. I have to be good with good enough and perfectly okay. Or, I’m going to get nowhere.

So, it was amusing, and frustrating, to hear that not only had I been to abrasive and aggressive with myself in my life, I have even been abrasive and aggressive with my teeth. But, it’s okay. I can take care of that, by being gentle.

Clearly, gentle is a good word for me. And probably a good word for all of us.

P.S: That necklace up there, that’s made by SoShe on Etsy. And you should go buy it. Right now.

The Anxiety Shit Storm Spiral

Part of the job as a TA is to do exam reviews with students. These things are impossible. Each student gets about 30 minutes to go over their exam. Some reviews take 3 minutes, some take the whole 30, leaving me breathless, sad, and irritated.
Yesterday, I had to sit down with my calendar and plan when I would give these reviews. I have two classes, totaling about 70 students. About 50 will want to do reviews. In case you’re not counting, that’s about 25 hours of reviews — remember, I only get paid for 13 hours of work a week. By the time I finish reviews on the first exam, they’re taking the second and it’s never ending. In there, I also have to continue my classes, seeing clients, research, and sanity.
Yesterday, I started down the Anxiety Shit Storm Spiral. It sounds like this:
what the hell do you think you’re doing here? really, you don’t have time or talent for this. you really aren’t a counselor, and you’re definitely not a teacher. you can’t even keep up with emails. and scheduling? you suck at it. seriously. you can’t even remember to pay all your bills on time. don’t forget you still owe money to the school. and speaking of money, where does it go? why can’t you budget and make money work. you got a massive tax refund and now a good chunk of that is gone. why aren’t you more responsible? why aren’t you more compassionate? why aren’t you a better person? why do you think your husband wants to be with you? you have way to many issues to be normal; who would love you? why do you even bother? 
and on and on and on. 
This is my head. This is where I live. I am so critical of myself it makes me sick. And that brings out its own anxiety. 
necklace by sherie on etsy made just for me.
I’m not necessarily in a better place today. I’m little bit more centered and little bit more trusting. Of myself. Of my relationships. Of my ability to do this. I’m reminding myself of kindness and peace and gratitude. 
I’m playing this in my head: 
I am real. I am true. I am ALIVE. and right now, I am taking a minute to remember that and to breathe.
If I could just get these damn gremlins out of my head…