Disney Self Care

A Geeky Self Care Post

On this blog I thought it would be fun to do a little mini series of posts about some of “guilty pleasure” Self Care Loves. It will focus on potentially all things geeky, originally I wanted to write this as one long post but then I realized that it would probably be about the same size of a novel. This series while discuss how each of the things I am obsessed with helps me on my journey of anxiety.  In turn how potentially you can find comfort through these geeky loves of mine as well.  Since the Incredibles 2 came out this past week and I also saw Frozen on Broadway(which was amazing btw) I thought why not start off with the fact that I am a twenty something and completely obsessed with Disney.

The Disney obsession started early with my father taking me to see Toy Story as a mere infant in the movie theaters. I think from then on I have seen nearly every Disney movie ever. Even when I was in high school and Tangled came out I tried to ignore it but when I inevitably saw it I became obsessed. Soon after I even wore a Rapunzel style braid to my high school graduation. I even did a project on Walt Disney’s role in shaping the American Dream. I think you can say that I enjoy Disney a little. . .

It’s important to realize why the Disney way draws in so many people to it’s love and adoration. Part of their signature trademark, besides the famous mouse ears, is that everything they create is “Magical” and all of the theme parks offer to be “the Happiest Place on Earth”. The movies and environments they create are aimed to provide a sense that “dreams come true” and provide a “Happily Ever After”.  In this scary world where issues are extremely complicated it is comforting to think about a place where there is a Happy Ever After.  An important factor to the Disney model is how it treats the past. Everything the company strives to do is through the lens of creating Fairy Tales.

Whether it is through the films of Disney Princesses, Frontierland, Main Street USA, or even films like “Old Yeller” Disney paints a picture where the past is as beautiful as it could ever be. Even if the scenery is not that of a specific “Fantasy Land” where there are fairies, and princesses the focus is often in a similar light. With the painstaking attention to detail whether you are watching a Disney movie, tv show, Broadway Musical, or visiting one of your theme parks Disney transports you to the Fairy Tale World.

The key difference that Disney creates in their storytelling is that they always have a direct message and key points to establish that message. Often Disney films will have multiple themes with the overarching theme that “Love Conquers All’ but each movie has their own specific messages in addition to that. In “Frozen” it is the True Love between sisters and stay true to yourself. In the “Fox and the Hound” is that true friendship will conquer all odds. Dumbo learns that what makes him different is his true power. “Finding Nemo” looks into the lengths a parent will go to for their children and also sheds a beautiful light on those living with disabilities through the characters of Nemo and Dory.  In Pixar’s “ “Inside Out” the film explores the necessity for different emotions, even sadness. 

The themes and even subtle messages of these films resonate through and at their core is the belief that dreams can come true. Through the array of different messages people are able to connect with the characters when they are in times of trouble. Each story is so carefully crafted with the overarching message kept in mind at all times that in times it is comforting to see your pain reflected in a story.  So how does Disney help with my anxiety?

Well glad you ask. In times of darkness all things Disney become a source of comfort. Being able to see a fantasy version of the past or a different world brings me comfort in times of panic. When I am in the midst of an episode of anxiety that is excruciatingly terrifying it is nearly impossible to find a happy place. However by watching a Disney film, listening to the familiar music, or even scanning through pictures of my last trip to Disney world I am reminded of the sense of comfort Disney brings to me.

Coming back to the films I am someone who has often had trouble verbally expressing myself, which I know may be odd coming from someone who calls themselves a writer. But for many of the emotions running through me or my anxieties seeing that reflected in Disney films help me. In certain situations, I can empathize with the characters and in moments of distress almost reference certain scenes from the films so those around me have an idea of what is coursing through my head. I am also a musician so I find myself turning towards music when I cannot express myself. The familiar music I know and love bring a sense of comfort that I can physically feel coursing through me.

The main thing that Disney helps me with is the nostalgia factor. Connecting with Disney, for me, makes me feel like I am connecting to the people in my life who I have lost. I even found a postcard from Disneyland my grandmother sent to my parents around the time when it first opened! My parents loved Disney and I went a few times as a child. My biological father even ran the Disney marathon in 2007! On the weekends I would spend with him we would frequently watch Disney movies, our favorite was Bambi. So when my demons have taken over my brain or I am feeling immense grief over the loss of my parents turning to Disney helps ease the pain. It was something that my family shared. After I saw the Incredibles I couldn’t even help but think about what my father would have thought about the film. Being immersed in Disney is a form of self care and helps me articulate my feelings.

If you enjoyed this earlier in the year I wrote about how thinking about Winnie the Pooh has helped me meditate the link to that post is here( https://bravelittlepufferfish.blog/2018/02/02/starting-to-meditate/ ) . Feel free to check it out.

Does Disney do this for you? Do you use Disney as a form of Self Care? Please let me know if you like this sort of content as I would love to write more of it. Please feel free to share with all of those who you think would be interested.

Until Next Time,

Dawn

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Meditating with Piglet

Beginning my practice of Meditation

 

Ding” the Tibetan singing bowl rings through my phone to start the ten minute meditation. I bring my attention to my breath. “breathe in. I know that I am breathing in. Breathe out I know that I am breathing out.” I say to myself repeating the simple mindfulness chant that I read from Thich Nhat Hanh’s You are Here. As air leaves my body at the peak of the exhalation so do my thoughts desperately running away from the present moment. My brain runs to my peers who began their adult life with fantastic jobs and are well adjusted to society. I take another breath and I start to think about Piglet

My mind wanders far away from me to the Hundred Acre Wood. Piglet and Eyeore were always my favorites which may make some sense since I have an anxiety disorder with recurring depressive episodes. Piglet was always the sweetest, always quiet and helpful like I hoped to be in the eyes of my friends. He seriously just wants to help and be there for his friends!  That is so wonderful. I love Piglet. I try to return to my breath grounding myself to the present moment. I open my eyes and glance down at the meditation timer on my phone there are approximately four minutes left. For nearly half of my meditation I have not focused on my feelings, my body, or myself at all but Piglet.

At the recommendation of my therapist, the media, and just about every smart successful person ever I have started meditating every single day. The goal is to take at least five to ten minutes a day to quiet my thoughts focusing on the present moment. This seems like it should be reasonable as well as an easy goal to achieve. However as mentioned in the paragraphs above it proves to be a challenge. There are even days in which I spend fifteen minutes trying to convince myself to be mindful for five! My goal is to be mindful for at least five minutes per day why is it so hard? “Piglet’s Big Movie” is about fifteen times that so I almost have no excuse. The truth is that any Meditation is hard. I personally use Insight Timer as an aid to my own practice of meditation. I have it set onto 5 minutes and after two weeks of practicing every day I give myself a pat on the back if I was truly mindful for one whole minute. Three minutes? Well then I deserve some chocolate cake. Being mindful is a skill. It takes practice. It is normal for your mind to wander, we are used to the noise.

For a few years I did not think that meditation was for me. I find myself squirming around unable to focus on my breath. I did not like many of the guided meditations I found. So I decided that meditation wasn’t for me since I clearly wasn’t good at it. I was wrong. There are other ways to be mindful and meditate than just sitting down listening to a recording about lavender. You can do a walking meditation, being mindful while sipping coffee, or even a shower. Meditation can be for everyone it just takes a bit to find the right fit. I am still not a fan of the popular “5 4 3 2 1” meditation exercise but I know many who love it. What does work for me is taking five to ten minutes in the morning to relax myself. I also love finding ways to be mindful while practicing music and coloring in an adult coloring book. Many guided meditations take you places like a lavender field I seem to prefer the Hundred Acre Wood. That’s perfectly ok!

In the two weeks that I have been meditating I have noticed a difference. My mornings do not feel as hectic even if I am carving out a bit more time to quiet my mind. I do not feel the need to check my phone as often, although I am still quite addicted. I also find myself being more productive. I put more thought and energy into projects. That’s only a difference of actually being mindful for two minutes, even though it is supposed to be ten. Of course meditation is not a cure all for everything but it does help!

Your brain is a wanderer and that is ok. Like anything it does take practice to meditate. If porgs start to fly in while you are meditating then that means you are human and a fan of star wars! Great but at least try to find at least one moment where you are grounded aware of where your body is in space and where your breath is. Perhaps thinking about Piglet wasn’t the best way to spend my meditation time but at least I remembered to ground myself afterwards.

Let me know what you think of meditation? Has your brain wandered towards strange places when you have meditated? If so where? Let me know and have a great day!

Best Wishes,

Dawn