The Blog

a-twist-in-my-story

A Twist in my Story

Me?  Attached to my Story?  That’s just ridiculous.

I have a been through some life threatening situations, have you? You think your high school years were rough? . . . try being a minority!  You think being an entrepreneur is brave . . . tell that to your spouse.  You’re a survivor, well you haven’t heard my survival story yet.

Nothing like a few years of regular yoga and meditation practice under the ole belt to help you become more aware of your issues and the stories you tell yourself.  Oh, you didn’t know I do Yoga?  Yeah, well, I’m pretty awesome like that!  But enough about me, again…

See, how easy it is to slip into “I, ME & MY” story

That’s right, even when I was trying to let go of my story as an active practice, it became apparent to me how desperate I was to keep injecting my stories into conversations in order to feel impressive, interesting, and truthfully I was going for irresistible.  Eventually, I was relying so heavily on my past experiences as a way to prove my own worth, charm, and love-ability, that even I got sick of listening to myself.  But even then, I would still fall right back into that same habitual practice of story telling.  UGH!

I remember getting upset with my mentor because she never even allowed me the chance to “wow her with my life story” as I ventured into my life-coach training.  I became keenly aware of repeated thoughts like, “She doesn’t KNOW me!?  If she just knew what I’ve been through, she probably wouldn’t dare challenge me like that!  I deserve more sympathy, empathy, or was it apathy?

OR …Hold on a second…  is this an intentional part of our training?  To eliminate our current construct of self and simply continue to dive into our fears, our current state of reality, our fogginess around what we really want?  Whether it was or wasn’t a purposeful tactic, I realized it was working for me and I had been given a gift here.  But it sure was ticking me off!

How could I spend so much time with someone, working through my very real frustrations for a year, and wonder if he/she really KNEW me?   I pondered this for a few days, and recognized that in conflict resolution the best course of action for me, as a mediator, is to know absolutely nothing about the situation or people involved so that the PROCESS of MEDIATION could stand on it’s own merit and allow a real positive solution unfold.  There are NO SIDES, only perspectives muddled up with emotions and cyclical beliefs caused by old or current wounds… There is always room for a positive outcome, but only if all participants are willing to be vulnerable, honest, forgiving, or trusting in some way.

This concept of being “known” according to our story… does that really define who we are?  Should I choose to remain attached to my story and title of being a survivor, does that mean I am doomed to always survive one tragedy after the next?  Or did I survive a tragedy once?  I happened to be a minority within high school but that was only 4-6 years of my life… the other 30 years of my life, I have not.  So if I am only attached to the years of my life when I was struggling with prejudicial treatment on the daily, have I trapped myself into an existence of marginalization due to pride?  It is certainly something to ponder.

I think for me, I allowed my story(s) to govern too many excuses for my life not panning out the way I hoped.  But that’s just me.

So what’s your story?

September 17, 2015 0 Comments
A boy running

Stuck? 5 Spiritual Practices to get you moving again!

Transition or Change comes in many forms and can be experienced in many categories of one’s life; the loss of a loved one, a new job/career, recent separation, or a new move.   Luckily, your search for help has brought you here!  Many of these major Transitions in life hit on the top 5 most stressful events one can experience in life.  If you happen to be experiencing more than one of these stressful changes, then it’s no wonder you may feel like a chicken with your head cut off or completely disjointed.

 These 5 Spiritual practices can aid you through Transition

and may even shed some light on what seems to be blocking you.

  1.  Get Grounded or Centered:  While we are in the midst of change we are in need of people, places, things and activities that are a “constant” in our lives.  If you don’t have one, then create one.  Walking is very grounding!  Any single-pointed, focused activity such as drawing, knitting, playing darts or ping-pong, cooking or practicing an instrument are excellent ways to get you out of your head space and back down to earth.  You can’t chop wood AND go over your To Do lists at the same time. .. that’s just a bad idea.  Avoid Video games and T.V. if you are suffering major stress symptoms due to your transitioning as they only amplify the stress cycle:  especially before bedtime.

2.     Breathe!  Breath is a marker for one of our “VITAL“signs that doctors, nurses, and EMT’s will use to ascertain whether a person is alive or dead or how “critical” their condition may be. . . But we very rarely listen to this vital as a marker of our general health or well being, both physically and emotionally.   Running 5K is good, obviously, but do you maintain that same healthy deep steady breath when you are at work or dealing with family?

  •      Many Eastern practices of Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Yoga, and Martial Arts recognize the value of harnessing one’s breath for various reasons.  To calm the senses, or heighten others, to redirect our energies or maintain focus.  The Karate kid practiced “paint the fence” and “wax on, wax off” without realizing it’s value until mister Miagi related his work to the art of Karate’.  It was the intention of “self-defense” that shifted the purpose and use of his breath and movement.

3.   Forgiveness the key to freedom:  when we are in the midst of change we are not our usual selves… we are generally our most stressed out, freaked out, fearful selves because everything is different.  If “old” issues creep up in your thoughts and actions while you are in the midst of transition, then you may not have discovered the root, yet.  However, we need to be forgiving of ourselves as we struggle through these changes and know that most people do not hurt other people’s feelings out of malice.  People hurt other people’s feelings because they are hurting, themselves or have poked an open wound of yours.   Forgive them, and forgive yourself.  When this is particularly difficult for you, start with the prayer, mantra

“I want, to want to forgive ____________.”

 4.   Get Creative!  Get coloring, painting, writing, watching Sci Fi movies, read children’s books, play “imagine“ with your kids…or someone else’s kids ( within good reason 😉  anything that expands your mind beyond what you see with your two eye-balls.  Let’s face it, they don’t see so far!  You wanna stay stuck?…  Just keep looking at the same old crap day after day…metaphorically or literally.   It is our creativity that fuels hope and new possibilities.  We don’t always credit the Arts for cutting right to the heart of a matter but how quickly just the right song, poem, or piece of art can awaken a well of emotions and memories.  Just give into it and go with the flow.   Art Therapy, baby!

5.  Talk it out:  I myself am not a Catholic, however, I appreciate the idea of “confession”.  To pronounce how I actually feel, what my inner-most thoughts, sins, desires or concerns are to another human being is freeing!   There is something to be said about speaking to someone outside of your normal circle of friends, family, acquaintances that provides enough anonymity to really address the authentic core of who we are and where we want to be.  If you don’t know of someone, give me a try, I’d love to help you! and if not me, cuz this felt like a total plug for my business, which this little bit is and it just disgusts you, I get it. . . just talk to someone!

blog leak photo basement leak

Life became unmanageable…

I have used the term “unmanageable” when relating to difficulties at work, on committees, or with people I simply dis-agreed with but still had to work alongside.   One day, however,  a friend told me they recently realized that their life had become unmanageable and that they had begun to seek out help.   We had a wonderful visit, made great “connections” together about our lives and our life’s struggles but for whatever reason that word (unmanageable) struck a chord with me.  It resonated with me, there was a sudden vibration in my body, a discomfort and annoyance and I couldn’t shake the use of that term “unmanageable” , let alone, my very strong reaction to it.  So in the days that followed our visit, I allowed my awareness to rise and greet this idea…  how or where in my life did I feel out of control?

There are many compartments to one’s life ie; family life, career, education, intimacy, play, finances, friendships and more.  This question of something being unmanageable fit easily into one or two of these categories of my life.   In fact, I had already recognized and been working to change some of these negative cycles for years.  As I reflected on this question I began to realize that a negative cycle of mine had leaked!   Evidently it was a slow leak, because while I recognized some red flags throughout the years, I had isolated some of these “negative cycles”  as occasional mishaps, misunderstandings, or “accidents”  until there were enough gathered to make an obvious puddle.  O.K. , my basement was flooding!  How did this happen?

The truth is how it happened is of little consequence, but was I willing to call for help?  If the basement of my house were flooding you bet your butt, I’d be on the phone so fast calling for a plumber and without any hesitation.  So why did I hesitate then?  you know, to call for help?  to admit that I needed help and that my life had become unmanageable.  Because it’s scary that’s why!  Just how bad is it?  Is it repairable?  What if people found out?  what would they think?  Well I decided to apply what “they” would say if I told people that my basement was flooding to my personal life.  Most people would say,

“Oh that’s terrible!”  – it is terrible

“What did you do?”  – I called for help

“Did you lose anything of value?”  – no not really, just my pride, ego, and attachments to things that really didn’t end up mattering.

“How long will it take to fix?”   – don’t know until the assessment, and then I’ll  better understand what my options are

“Will it cost a lot?  – don’t know, but if I wait too long it will get worse

“Is there anything I can do to help?”  –  maybe, if I let you

I don’t know about you, but I really struggle with some of the answers to these very basic questions surrounding things that are undesirable in my life.   I could easily get stuck blaming all sorts of people, places, and things too, but that doesn’t move me towards fixing anything.   I chose to get help, and it wasn’t fun discovering some of the foundational damage in my life, but you know what?  It got better.  I’ve become better at recognizing my leaks more quickly and practice using the tools I’ve been given to fix them as soon as possible.  I am also becoming better at not caring what anyone else thinks, it’s my house and I have to live in it!   I truly believe that mind, body, and spirit are all inter-connected and affect each other.  I find it interesting that I would have expected my problems would have only remained in one room of the whole house?

April 10, 2013 0 Comments
kid with suitcase

“I’m outta here!”

I was about 7 years old and leaving home.  No one appreciated me and all my hard work.  I helped my Mom with chores, fetched tools for Dad working on the car or building stuff, and always helping my little sisters, who drove me nuts!  I remembered lying in my bed thinking I would probably leave and no one would miss me.  I was going to live with my friend Jenny (though she nor her parents were informed) and play pool, video games, and Charlie’s Angels with our friend Holly without any interruptions.

So I packed a bag with only my favorite clothes, my favorite blanket (yellow with a satin ribbon edging), and my pillow.  Jenny would have everything else I would need.  I remember getting about a block away from home when a few thoughts entered my mind.  Jenny always wanted to stay for dinner when we had our Cajun style “red beans n’ rice”.  I’d have to get that recipe… and my Mom’s chili… not to mention monkey bread (obviously fine dining was of clear importance to me).   I then thought my Mom would not get off to work in time without me to help chorale my sisters in the morning to get dressed, eat breakfast, and walk to school.  But it was not my fault if they were late!!!  NO!  . . . And how would Dad ever fix the car without me to pass the metal thingy’s?  Sure, my brother could help, but he was always off playing with his friends.

I am certain any on-lookers from neighboring windows got a good chuckle out of watching me and this very serious internal debate going on inside my head.  Outwardly, I would walk a few houses, stop, turn around, change my mind, and walk a few houses more before changing my mind again. ( I see now that “indecision” has been a long-standing friend of mine.)  But things had to change, because my living conditions became unbearable and I refused to go on unappreciated like that. . .  I was going to tell my parents what I thought!    The details are foggy but I recall reciting in my head, on the walk home, what circumstances would need to change in order for me to stay.    When my parents arrived home from work we had a little chat.  It turns out my parents were reasonable people!  They were wonderful listeners  and we had a lovely conversation about a many great things.  It felt so good letting my parents know how I was feeling and to have those emotions validated and heard.  I moved back in and rested very well that night.

I find it so interesting that some of my negative thought cycles began so young, and with such strong conviction!   It’s amazing how much responsibility I had already accepted for matters and problems that were never mine.   My focus was already on making everyone else feel good and allow their happiness take precedence over mine.   I may have returned home and unpacked my emotional baggage and that felt good, but I continued that cycle for most of my life.  Things would get uncomfortable with friends, family, or even work and already I was packing my suitcase with unspoken hurts, emotions, and disappointments with an underlying thought of “that’s it, I”m outta here!”   But I was doomed to repeat this same toxic cycle over and over until I decided to change the only thing I could, . . .  ME!    

Now, rather than insert myself(me) into other people’s problems or base my life’s decisions around the happiness of others,  I try to pack my bags and move on, but for very different reasons.

 

 

 

March 1, 2013 0 Comments
Acorn

The Acorn lesson in healing

I barreled out of the house barefoot to run and get my father, and ended up jamming an acorn between my big toe and toe nail.  I’m sure I cried bloody murder, and in my young eyes, there was enough blood to prove it.  Dad swept me off my feet and rushed me to the bathroom, resting my bloodied legs in the bathtub.  He was calm and collected. . . I on the other hand was freaking out.   My heart was racing, I went into a full blown sweat, and my breathing shallow and frantic.

Dad was searching through the medicine cabinet and then came towards me with what appeared to be tape of some kind, bandages, and a bottle of what I thought to be rubbing alcohol.  “Don’t put that on me, it’ll sting!” I cried.  Without hesitation, he told me to close my eyes, and just keep taking really deep breaths.  Before I could finish my first “deep breath” that acorn was yanked out from under my toe-nail, and something poured over my foot, I looked down at what appeared to be a tub filled with blood, and in my panic, he said ,” It’s Iodine, it’s red, see!“ and poured more out to prove my blood loss would not be fatal.   I believed him.  However, up to that moment, I feared a trip to the hospital; poking, prodding, and even surgery!  (I know, what a drama queen, eh?)  Per request, I resumed my deep breaths while he dressed my wound.

Lesson #1: 

Thoughts drive our emotions!

My heightened panic was a direct result of worrying about what my future might be like.  I suspect the pain I was experiencing was also rooted more in my worries than the actual experience of the moment.

Lesson #2:

Where my attention goes, energy flows! 

Focusing on my breath and more specifically, taking deep breaths taught me how to redirect my thoughts.  As long as I was focused on my fearful outcomes, my body was in agreement . . . my heart rate increased, my breath was quick and shallow and my anxiety increased.  When my attention shifted to breathing with intention, I increased the amount of oxygen to my lungs, slowed my heart rate, and broke my “stress cycle”.

Lesson #3:

Help from another person opens our situation to resources beyond our awareness.

I learned that day, that my father had served as a medic in the military and  previously worked caring for burn victims in a hospital ward.  Even without his background if he was unable to manage the situation, he would have called on someone who could.  The small scar on my right big toe, was proof of my traumatic experience and retold “swapping horror stories” throughout my childhood.  No matter what emergency my parents responded to; my brother’s many broken bones, my sister’s cracked head, the tick burrowed into my head. . . their response was basically the same.  I am aware that there are far more horrific injuries many of us have encountered in our lives.  My story is not meant to trivialize more harmful situations, or belittle very real problems.  It is simply a story to illustrate how to begin to heal what is broken, one step at a time.

Don’t worry, everything will be fine

Take deep breaths and calm down

We’ll get you taken care of…

March 1, 2013 0 Comments
"Awaken and engage YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF with clarity and courageous action!"