Too Busy Mopping Up the Floor to Turn Off the Faucet!

How often in life do we focus on treating the symptoms instead of getting to the root problem? Please take a moment here to pause and reflect. We all do it, we’ve done it and many of us are living it; daily.

It seems that each year that passes the expectations increase: work, life, home, social media. I find myself, especially at work, multi-tasking “to the max” (showin’ my age here) and then wondering why I’m tired and then later having difficulty sleeping.

Yet, in my work I help clients find a balance between self-care and care of everyone else. Some are more receptive than others. Some resist even the most basic of changes to help themselves live better.

It took me decades to figure out how important a daily routine of quality self-care for myself was, a routine I’m still tweaking. I cannot imagine where I’d be without it.

Today, where can we begin to take the time to turn off the faucet, so that we’re not just continuously mopping the floor? Where can we create space in our over-scheduled lives to care for our own physical, mental, spiritual and emotional needs? “Waiting” until the next break, vacation, holiday, day off, etc just kicks the can down the street. Be joy now. Bring it! 

Love anyone or everyone by taking care of your basic needs! The world will thank you!

Namaste

Recovering from Heartbreak: Taking it to the Next Level

Healing from heartbreak can be a drawn out and difficult process. It can seem to take forever because we don’t like feeling hurt or that we are broken. Often we suppress our feelings and try to rush the process in our desire to feel “A-OKAY” which can further prolong the process.

Idealizing the person and the relationship keeps us stuck and from moving forward. These thoughts become an addiction. It is up to us to choose when we no longer wish to ruminate, when we would like to move forward. Just as with changing any habit, to be successful, we must replace our old habits with new ones. Initially, this takes effort and near constant redirection. Here are some of the tools I have found helpful in breaking the habit of idealization:

  • Burn Letters – This can be very transformative. Pour out your emotions onto paper. Say whatever is on your mind, or that needs to be gotten off of your chest. Then place the paper into the fireplace, or fire pit and let your feelings be transformed. The stronger the feelings, the more times this may need to be done. For some, it may be one and done. For most, it may require repeated efforts.
  • Sh*t List – List out the things you did not like or that went wrong. Yes, focus for a little bit on the negative. When we are idealizing someone or something, then we are avoiding the negatives.
  • Gratitude – Each time you think on the ex lover or relationship, mentally thank your ex for showing you what you want in your next relationship. In relationship, we experience examples of what we liked while learning through contrast what we do NOT want again.
  • Wish List – List out all the things that you want in your NEXT RELATIONSHIP. Feel into as many items as you can as you list them out.
    • Additional suggestions:
      • Make an A to Z list. Challenge yourself to find at least one thing for each letter.
      • Read and feel this list everyday.
      • Record the list in your own voice. Listen to it daily.
      • When you start to think about the ex-lover or that relationship, look at the list.
      • Share the list with a trusted friend who will NOT ridicule you.
      • Allow this list to live in your heart.
  • Radical Self-Care – What have you not been doing for yourself? Were there good self-care habits that fell to the wayside when you were in relationship/grieving?
    • Some ideas:
      • Love & forgive yourself more. The Ho’Oponopono Prayer* is amazing: “I Love You. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.”
      • Change your schedule.
      • Tidy your home, office or car.
      • Drive to work differently.
      • Exercise your body. This helps to get the emotions moving, too.
      • Fast (safely).
      • Eat foods that are right for your body.
      • Meditate.
      • Take a salt bath.
      • Go to the spa, get a massage, or have some energy healing done.
      • (Re)Connect with friends.
      • Journal.
      • Seek counseling or hypnotherapy.
      • See an Acupuncturist.
      • EFT

Race for Peace

Have you ever found yourself rushing to get to your peaceful place? Maybe driving faster or rushing to get out of the office to go home so you can relax? Or do you find yourself thinking things such as, “if only this were not here, I would be okay”? I only ask these questions because I must confess that I have lived them each this week.

Just the other day, I was upset about being late because it cut down on my “relaxation” time before work. It meant less time walking with my bare feet in the sand. It meant less “me time” before show time at work.

Then I looked further back and saw how, at times, I’ve been more easily agitated after a good relaxing meditation?! Because I was not at peace with the “chaos” of that moment. It’s easy to be relaxed when we’re in our happy places, not so much so in the day-to-day.

How can we carry the peace from our yoga mats, from our meditations into our daily lives? Daily life is a practice. In giving ourselves the loving grace both in and outside of our happy places, we begin to see that we are being and doing the best that we can be and do in that moment.

Racing after peace means we are never peaceful. (Much like the pursuit of happiness.) Peace is a state of being. At any given moment we have the choice to be at peace or at war with the present moment. And what we resist, persists. We carry it forward with us into the next moment, days, years, decades, etc. Best to practice being at peace with the present. How can we be at peace when we are at war with the present, with who we are or where we are?

May we each rediscover the peace within that is waiting to be seen, releasing the need to fight against ourselves or to use our stories to keep us embattled. 

Namaste

When Pain Becomes a Companion

Recently it became apparent to me that I’d rather hold onto the pain of my past than to allow for something better, and to prevent from feeling lonely. It was something I did not realize that I was doing, thinking nor believing. In some ways, this recognition still seems somewhat surreal to me: who the heck would hold onto their pain? (well, me, that’s who…for starters).

In speaking with my creative life coach, Sam, I told her that I still felt there was something in the way of a fuller expression of my creativity. She had me sit back, take a few deep breaths and then she asked me for what I “saw” (as in visualized) when I went within the part of me that felt something was in the way. Immediately, I saw myself standing on a catwalk over a huge dam. The water was spilling over the top, yet there was still much of the river being held back.

Next, Sam asked me to allow the river to flow more readily in a way that was comfortable for me. The dam wall then began to retract downwards and the water was fully released. In fact, it was released to the point that I sat in a dried up river bed looking up at an empty expanse of “nothing.”

It really bothered me to be in this vacuity. It was not a complete vacuum, yet the space was immense and left me feeling utterly lonely. Almost immediately, I was looking up at the walls of the canyon, wanting to climb out. She asked me to stay and reluctantly, I did so. Eventually, I began to feel at peace in this inner landscape of my own making.

It was later in the week that I saw the pattern emerging that I was also more comfortable holding onto scraps than allowing myself to wait for something better. Again, pain was my companion.

Now when I feel that I’m hoarding my emotions, or my emotional responses to something, I am sitting with it and imagining the whole dam(n) wall retracting into the ground. All of the emotions are then able to move freely. Sometimes I am left at the bottom of the riverbed, other times I grow out of the canyon.

What I’m seeing is that in allowing the emotions to run their course internally I can then see things differently. I no longer need to hold onto my pain to avoid feeling lonely… pain no longer needs to be my companion.

May we each find peace with our pain, allowing it all to flow so that we can each live more fully again.

Namaste

Healing The Roots of Despair

In talking with my mother about the culture of the county in which she was raised, which I only visited as a child, I have come to a new understanding of some of my habits. It frightens me to be publicly recognized for my achievements. Actually, that applies to any recognition, even one-on-one.

Compliments are not something that I find easy to receive. My mind focuses on where things “could have been better.” While this mindset pushes me to do better, it also thwarts my ability to feel at ease or at peace with … just about everything in my life.

Where my mom grew up, those who “had more” or who “looked pretty” were targeted by others … there was a culture of rape and a fair amount of lawlessness. So anyone who “had,” could be expected to have something taken.

The effects of this culture meant people were, out of fear, generous in giving to others and also in putting down their own achievements. It was better to be pitied (at least people would “bless your heart”) than to be seen as having something that someone else wanted.

So here I sit with this awareness. Seeing how complicated it can be to feel comfortable with being at peace or even happy. Softening into the fear, shining the light of my awareness on why happiness has scared me, aside from brief glimpses. Slowly, the fear begins to melt.

Within a metta meditation, I send love back up the ancestral lines, and the community that brought this fear into being. May all beings be at peace.

Namaste

Radiating Love: A Meditation

This is a daily mediation that I started about 3 weeks ago. It has been very helpful in keeping me from becoming overwhelmed when things gets tough. Some of my friends and coworkers have mentioned the differences they’ve seen, even without my telling anyone what I’ve been up to.

At least once a day for 5-10 minutes:

  • Sit upright with feet flat on the floor or ly down on your back.
  • See your body as a vase or vessel, imagine emptying it in the way that feels best for you.
  • Usually I visualize the wind emptying out the vessel, and when it’s been “real bad,” I imagine I “flush” the toilet. Yet without water filling back in.
  • After emptying out as much as possible, then visualize golden light like liquid sunshine filling your body, pouring in from the top of your head.
  • When the vessel is full, begin to see the light radiating outwards from you. Allow the rays to expand as far out from you as you can.
  • Call upon this image of a radiating you as you go through your day, especially when things get tough.

Consistency with this exercise increases its effectiveness. There are some days where you may notice it is easier than others.

Go forth and radiate!

Namaste

Dancing Through Sadness

For several hours, I moped around like Eeyore. Thoughts like a broken record circled my mind, it seemed the sadness and grief that gripped my heart would surely cause it to cease pumping.

The backstory could have been anyone’s. Yet what I did next may seem novel. I played sappy love songs to pull out the pain. Then, I got up from the couch, rather reluctantly, and began to tap one foot. My heart was tired of the weight of the sadness and knew dancing would help. It just took my mind and body a song or two to thaw out.

After 20 minutes of increasing movement, I had gone from toe tapping to boody-shakin’ and arms-in-the-air full body dancing. This is the best part: my heart, mind and body all felt light again and literally after 20 minutes. Now I’m asking myself, “What took you so long to shake and move it?” 😉

I wish I could take credit for the idea behind this, but it is not my own. Several months back during a session with my life coach, Sam, she suggested that I dance every day until our next session. While initially reluctant yet receptive, dancing became a necessity that got me through some rather tough emotional times.

While my regimen has fallen back to several times a week, it was so helpful to keep me more even-keeled when I danced a daily basis…

I strongly encourage everyone to find a favorite tune and shake it out. Happy or sad. Angry or not. It can be immediately mood altering and uplifting. Given time, it becomes life altering.

Namaste

image: google

The 8-Minute Miracle Shift Every Parent and Child Needs

After an emotionally stressful day at work taking care of post-divorce fall-out, and wrestling with some personal demons, I drove directly to my children’s school to pick them up. They were in their after-school programs and being away from them all day, it had been my habit to make a bee-line to each of their classroom doors. Sometimes when I get to my son’s classroom, he refuses to look at me and drags his feet to leave. I believe now that he must be able to see or sense the stress I’m feeling.

Tuesday, my emotions were too mixed up for the bee-line and I knew it. I waited until I could park in the furthest spot to give myself some privacy. It was then that I set an 8-minute meditation timer with the background sound of a “winter fire” (insight Timer App is AMAZING and free!). Once I closed my eyes, I allowed my emotions the oxygen, light and space they needed to “burn out” on their own. In 8 lovely minutes, I went from feeling like pulling some of my hair out to “I’m ready to be a calm, nurturing mom.” Allowing the emotions and thoughts is the key: to force peace, or any other emotion, just pushes them away!

When I walked into my son’s classroom, he played a game of peek-a-boo, to hide the wide smile on his face. He could tell my mood before I crossed the threshold. From kid pick up to bedtime, we had an amazing night! I even took the kids for a quick trip to the grocery store (something I usually avoid as much as possible). Though I did have to give the kids a few behavioral reminders, I didn’t lose my patience once (that’s a feat!).

In reflecting on this shift, I recognized that when I picked up the kids, it had been my habit to want to rush home so I could “relax.” As if rushing leads to relaxing?! Plus, when did the relaxation ever really come before the kids were in bed?! I’m seeing where this just made the kids, particularly my son, edgy (well, and me, too). So now, I’m committing to NOT rushing to relax, NOR putting it off until later. Why not now? Really!

So today I relaxed first and took a lot of pressure off of all of us. Now why didn’t I think of this before?! I really don’t know. It now seems so simple. BUT, I realized it and now I know how to do it differently!

Namaste

P.S. It is also important to add that I did some visualizations today, seeing my son being happy and grateful to see me when I picked him up. I do believe this was part of how I saw the need to do the meditation that shifted me into relaxation mode pre-pickup.

P.S.S. I believe this type of mini mental break can help improve any caregiver-dependent frustration. Use it at will! Really.

Is anger easier to feel than love?

As I drove to work this morning, I noticed my thoughts were honed in on the areas in which I have felt wronged. In fact, looking back further, I see this has been the primary pattern I have held this past week – and beyond. My fist and jaw muscles were clenched while I seemed to hover slightly out of my body. The still, quiet voice within softly whispered, “focus on your heart.” Immediately, I let out a slow, long breath that, before that very moment, I didn’t realize I had been holding onto. I felt the back of my body again, no longer hovering. My muscles softened, appropriately (afterall, I was still driving). In the same moment, I felt the healing glow of my heart light open and warm the restrictions in my throat and stomach.

Within seconds, I saw where I felt so much better just by changing my focus from my grievances to my heart. One of my next thoughts was, “why didn’t I just do this sooner?” I did see where, overnight, I would turn the focus onto myself to see where I was contributing to the problem, AND by doing this, I was still focusing on the problem. Now, my focus was fully on my heart and I felt complete and whole again, where once I had felt completely broken.

After recognizing the internal battle that ensued overnight, I began to ask myself: “is it easier to be angry than it is to love?” Immediately, I began to see where, indeed, our anger helps us to feel justified, gives us the feeling of power and protection. We feel armored, and it also separates and disconnects us from others. In other words, anger keeps us stuck in our own thoughts, actions and habits.

On the other hand, literally, the open hand of love versus the closed fist of anger makes us feel incredibly vulnerable. Love means we are open, to some degree, to whatever is to come.

Anger disconnects and love connects. To feel love and compassion is to see life from someone else’s perspective. Love is scary because it means we need to change how we view the world, ourselves and how we relate to others. Now love doesn’t seem so great now, does it? (just kidding).

Here are some heart meditations that I have practiced this week while working through the muck that a few times threatened to keep me forever stuck. Trust me when I say that pushing away the anger and frustration is like building a bulkhead along the ocean, the waves dig out the sand in front of it and the waves just return bigger and angrier. Here are some strategies to side-step the building up of anger, by opening up the heart light.

Gratitude

Gratitude is such a powerful tool for opening the heart and seeing life from a different perspective. Sometimes the greatest challenge is just beginning. It may be best to start with the basics. The other day I began my list with being grateful for being warm (I don’t like being cold), for my cozy bed (that I was still in at the time), then my home, running water, water heater, my kids, my Jeep, my Job….

Write the list if this helps to solidify things for you. When we focus on the things that ARE going well, it helps us to gain perspective a higher perspective and rise above the things that close our hearts. Gratitude is infectious, be careful! (wink)

Heart Meditations

Imagine the parts of yourself that are hurting, for whatever reason, in bubbles in front of your heart. Remember a time when you felt love, or ask Your Higher Power to give love to these parts of you (in the bubbles). See the bubbles filling with love and see the various part of yourself, within their individual bubbles, transformed. When ready, allow these bubbles to rise up to the heavens, or see them reintegrate with you. Or follow what your heart tells you to do.

This same technique can be used to help someone else who is suffering in some way.

Digging Deeper

What are some ways in which you can each open your heart to a greater depth of love?

How can you tell when you are being closed to others? I personally find that my muscles go into hyperdrive

Where has your focus been this week or what thoughts are you running away from?

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