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shine from the inside out

Month

January 2016

I love you, man.

My stepfather FREQUENTLY told me that “You never know what will happen” and that I should tell the people I am close to that I love them as much as possible.  And then on the evening of July 3, 2007, he went to sleep and never woke up.

In recent weeks, I have seen multiple posts on social media about people passing away; people in both the larger world spotlight and in smaller, community and family-centered spotlights.

One of those people was a friend of my husband’s, who, 3 days before passing, was at our house sharing a conversation with my husband about playing music together more frequently in the future.  It was remarked that “We’ll have time”.  Since experiencing this loss, my husband has made a point of telling every friend and family member that he loves them. He has been reaching out to people that he hasn’t spoken to in a while to tell them that he loves them.  He tells basically everyone that he talks to that he loves them.  When he was told he had the wrong number, he even told that guy that he loved him.  And it makes my heart happy.

This is exactly what our world needs.  This is exactly what our hearts need.  More love. 

Sure, some of the people react with some discomfort and stumble over an obligatory “um, love you too, man” or just “thanks”.  It may be a little awkward at first, but please believe me when I say that it is much more difficult to deal with knowing that you didn’t tell someone you love them when you had the chance.  And that takes a lot longer to get over than the brief awkwardness of a random “I love you”.

Optimus Prime

(Hey, just because he is a Transformer doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have wise things to say…)

It makes me wonder about why we get so uncomfortable and hesitant to tell others that we care about them.  And I think the answer lies in looking at vulnerability.  Horrors, I know.  

Brene’ Brown (one of my personal heroes) states in her amazing book, Daring Greatly,

“Vulnerability is at the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.”

 And

“Connection is why we are here.  We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.”

In working with patients diagnosed with severe depression, a common theme is isolation and withdrawal.  It can be hard to tell which came first- the isolation or the depression- but it is not hard to see that isolation does nothing to help the patient feel less depressed.

Hearing my husband and his friends sharing the love and reconnecting on this level has been so refreshing and healing for him, and I am sure for all of them.  We know the sayings, ‘Everything can change in an instant’ or ‘We are never promised tomorrow’, but truly, people, we aren’t.  (Refer to previous blog entitled We Are All Gonna Die…)  And of course, there are lots of ways to tell someone that you love them, so choose your own adventure there, but do it.

What is holding you back, anyway?  They may not say they love you too?  Ok, so what.  You got your feelings out in the open and you don’t have to worry that they never knew.  Someone else might overhear?  Ok, so what.  We NEED to hear more love messages.  You may feel uncomfortable?  Eh, that will pass.  You may get made fun of?  If your friends are like mine, that is just a way of coping with the awkwardness.  And…they will probably find something else to make fun of you for if not this…

So, get out there.  Spread the love.  Make the world a more loving place.  Be vulnerable.  Don’t take the chance on waiting until “later”.  Let love do it’s thing in connecting us to each other.  It’s what we are here for.

I love you guys.

-k

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right in the feels.

As humans, it is instinctual for us to do what we can to avoid feeling uncomfortable.  When we are hungry, we eat, when we are cold, we pull on extra layers, when we are tired, we sleep.  So, it’s no wonder that I see such a widespread phenomena of people pushing down uncomfortable emotions when they pop up.

As a mental health therapist and in my role as a yoga instructor, one of the most common reactions I see in people is to avoid, repress, ignore, and resist the emotions that they are experiencing.  Typically, we have specific things that we don’t want to feel- or that we are afraid to allow ourselves to feel- sad, angry, anxious, fearful, etc.

What many people don’t realize, however, is that we can’t stop feeling only the emotions that are uncomfortable to us.  If you can envision your emotions flowing through a pipeline, they all flow through that same space.  When you put a barrier in the pipeline to stop the flow of the “bad” emotions, the “good” emotions can’t get through either.  So, when we start resisting feeling the fear, pain, guilt, anger, and so on, we also stop our ability to feel joy, love, and gratitude.

This is where depression and anxiety flare up and eventually, numbness can set in.  This is not how you want to live.

Another image to envision is that each emotion you choose to “push down” is like a beach ball you are holding under water.  The second you stop holding it, it pops up, and many times it pops up and smacks you right in the face.  I must acknowledge that over time, you can get pretty good at holding the ball under water.  But then without fail, another uncomfortable emotion pops up that you don’t want to feel- another ball to hold under.  This is becoming exhausting- holding all of these beach balls under water- and nerve wracking.  And then there are times when you can’t hold them all and some pop up and you snap at someone, you breakdown, or you react in a way that you wouldn’t normally react.

This cycle of trying to control and resist feeling our emotions, leads us judge ourselves more and reinforces our determination to hold the beach balls under water- more control, less emotion.  But we can typically only do this effectively for so long.

And then, we are exhausted, numb, irritable, and isolated.

Tolle

 

One other thing about emotions.  What we don’t express stores in our bodies.  And do not be fooled, it will express itself in some way.   Maybe we experience back pain or tight shoulders, or perhaps we experience ongoing digestive issues.  We go to the doctor and we say, “I don’t understand.  All of a sudden, I started having back pain.”

Here is the good news: If you allow yourself to feel it, it will go away.  Think of your emotions like waves.  If you are standing in the ocean, sometimes (as with less intense emotions) the water comes up to your knees and then continues on toward the shore.  But other times, (as with deep and intense emotions) the water comes up over your head and washes completely over you, but then it keeps on going and you are still standing.  Yes, you can get hit with several back-to-back waves of the same emotion.  But, it won’t kill you.  If you allow yourself to feel the emotion, it will wash over you and then go away.  Nothing lasts forever.

Here are a few things that may help as you set out on this journey of feeling again:

  • Set aside time and give yourself permission to feel whatever you feel.  Your emotions are like your opinion- they can’t be wrong.  Stop judging yourself for feeling the way that you do.  It’s all part of being fully alive.
  • Practice self-compassion.  We frequently skip this step and go from “that didn’t go as I wanted” to “how do I fix it” and we skip the “well, that really hurts” step.  Take time to acknowledge what you are feeling and treat yourself like you would treat a friend experiencing the same thing.
  • Talk to a friend or loved one.  Chances are, others have experienced something similar to what you are going through.  It’s helpful to talk about your experience and to realize that you have support and are not alone in having these feelings.
  • Have some body work done such as massage therapy, myofacial release physical therapy, or have chiropractic work done.
  • Try yoga.  Yoga is a hugely effective intervention for releasing emotions and trauma from the body.  [For more information on specific trainings pertaining to yoga for releasing trauma, balancing mood, PTSD, visit www.yogafit.com]
  • If things become overwhelming, unbearable, or too much, talk to a therapist.  That is what we are here for.

Once we are able to allow ourselves to feel again, we can work on feeling the “good” stuff more frequently than the “bad”.  But really, nothing is good or bad, it’s all in how we perceive and react to it.  It’s all just a part of authentically experiencing this journey.

I encourage you to live fully and feel it all.  As usual, I will be practicing along with you.  Thanks for sharing your time with me.

We will talk again soon,

k

Stop fighting already.

We make plans for the future and we envision how we expect it to all look.  Sometimes, almost immediately, life turns us in a different direction and we have to recalibrate.  But sometimes, we get caught up in day-to-day living and years go by, and then one day, we have a vision of what it was that we had expected.  We compare that ideal vision to where we are and we instantly begin to fight.

We fight against what is already happening in the moment as if it could be anything other than what it is.  And all this does is make us unhappy- it brings suffering.  We fight out of fear.  We fight because we feel out of control.

Eckart Tolle said, “The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but your thoughts about it.”

We listen to our fear-based thoughts, we listen to the critic in our heads, we listen to everything except our hearts.  We try to talk our way out of it; we bargain, threaten, and demand.  We think we know EXACTLY what we need and exactly how things should be.

We think we know better than the universe, better than life itself. 

But, we can’t see the path.  We can’t see anything outside of our expectations and this automatically spawns disappointment and judgment…in ourselves, our life, and the decisions that we have made along the way.

We have the audacity to think that WE are in control.  That WE are the ones who know best.  What we fail to see is that if we give up the illusion of control- the fight to be in control, we will free up all of that energy used in fighting the present moment and we will be able to embrace where we are.  We will be able to make each moment the best moment yet.  Again and again and again.

Present Moment

 

In yoga, there are teachings on living a good and ethical life.  One of these teachings is Santosha, one of the Niyamas.  Santosha is translated into ‘Contentment’.  This teaching is about learning to be content in any and all situations.  When you are bored, you are content being bored because “it already is what it is”.  When you are sad, you are content feeling sad; when you are excited, you are content feeling excited.  It’s all about acceptance and giving up the fight for the present moment to be anything other than what it is.  When we can calm down and stop fighting, we can become content.

Relax.  Our wishing things were different will not change how they already are.  Relax and know that there is a path even though we can’t see it; that the universe has our backs and is listening.  Lately, when I have noticed myself having this internal conversation of something like “OMG, I wish this were different right now!” and “Pleeeeeease, this is the worst!”, I have coached myself to follow that up with “The universe knows better than I do” and “There is something to learn from everything, just stop fighting it.”  (Don’t get me wrong- it takes me a moment to get there and a lot of practice…)

If we can focus on being in this moment, whether pleasant or not, we can make it through anything.  One breath at a time.  One moment at a time.  We get so caught up in what may or may not happen that we miss out on LIVING in this moment.

So, just for today, see what it’s like to act as if you chose every moment exactly as it unfolds.  As if you know the plan and each moment is leading you exactly where you need to be.  Because it is.

And you know I will be trying right along with you.

Talk again soon,

k

I get by with a little help from my friends

Historically, I have been one of the last people to ask for help.  I think I can do it all and that I have no need for help.  It seems to take collapsing from exhaustion and my irritability level reaching neck-snapping potential before I realize that I can’t do it all.  (Even though my husband has gently suggested that I may need help- from a safe distance across the room- more than once at this point.)

Part of this is that I am very hard headed.  Part of it is that I want to portray that illusion that I CAN do it all; that I am actually a Wonder Woman underneath it all.  Part of it is societal and part of it is how I was raised.  But, the truth is, I can’t do it all.  And really, I don’t even want to anymore.  I have begun to realize that when I ask for help, I am actually stronger for doing so.

One of the things I hear frequently from patients when they first start the program where I work is that they feel weak for having to ask for help.  They feel like they should be able to handle things on their own and they shouldn’t need help from anyone else.

My response, “Says who?!”

Somewhere along the line, we have supported the belief that unless you can do everything, perfectly, and without help, then you are weak.  How this expectation began, I have no idea.  But, it is serving no one.

No one can do it all.  Everyone has those things that they excel at and those things that they need help with.  And that’s ok.  Actually, it’s really great that others can fill in the gaps where we may need it.  Asking for help doesn’t mean that we are weak.  It means that we are wise enough to recognize the opportunity for growth.  It means that we are open to learning.  It means that we recognize that others may have gifts or talents or knowledge where we do not.  Asking for help is, in itself, an act of strength. 

But don’t ask your ego if that is true because chances are, your ego will tell you that you are weak and stupid and a failure for needing help.  And you can tell your ego, “Thanks for your input, your opinion will be considered with all available information as I move forward with my decision.”  (That should shut him up for a little while.)

Listening to the ego’s view of needing help is what makes asking for it so difficult.  The ego uses fear tactics and statements like ‘What might people think?’ and ‘They are going to know that I can’t do it myself’ and ‘If I weren’t such a failure, I wouldn’t need help’.

The ego is afraid of change because that means you may not listen to what the ego has to say anymore.  You may no longer require his services.  And if you don’t ask for help, you will stay stuck where you are and nothing will change.  That is the easy way out.

Courage Oprah

 

If asking for help were an act of weakness, it would keep us stuck and promote no change and it would be effortless.  But asking for help takes effort- sometimes a lot of hard work- and that requires strength.  Ergo, asking for help is by definition an act of strength.

Be proud to ask for help when you need it.  It means that you are inviting in the possibility for change.  It means that you are opening yourself to grow into the next best version of yourself.  And it means that you are not responsible for doing EVERYTHING without the help of others.

I will keep working on it if you will.  We will try together.

Talk soon.

k

I wish for a lot of presence…

The holiday season can be a very difficult time for many.  Lots of emotions pop up around the holiday season as the year is coming to an end and we all become a little more reminiscent.  For some, it is a time of stress, expectations, overwhelm, and complications.  For others, it is a time of sadness, grief, loneliness, and anxiety.

Here are a few tips to help with the emotional overload of the holiday season.  My wish for you is a lot of presence…

P- Present.  As in be present or all in one place at one time.  We are frequently in one place physically, but our minds are miles away.  We get caught up in regrets or reminiscence about the past even though we cannot change it now or worry about the future and what may or may not happen.  When this happens, we miss out on the opportunity for joy in the present moment.  Try being mindfully in the moment by checking in with your breath and with what your body is telling you right now.  Remind yourself that nothing lasts forever, so if the present is not pleasant, it too will pass.

R- Rest when needed.  The patients that I work with are frequently surprised at how physically exhausted they are after a day of mental health therapy.  Emotionally draining experiences are physically draining as well.  So find some quiet time this holiday season to rest and unplug. Unplug from whatever it is that you need a break from- too many people, your phone/email/social media, your to-do list, etc.  Give yourself the gift of some calm and peace (even if it is just 20 minutes) doing something you enjoy or doing nothing at all, rather than doing only the things you feel you need to do.

E- Expectations bring disappointment.  Try to let go of the expectations you may place on yourself and your ability to handle the season, the stress, or the family.  Stop ‘should-ing’ on yourself.  In other words, try to let go of all of the thoughts of “I should be able to handle this”, “They should treat me better”, “This should be going more smoothly”.  These expectations lead us to feeling disappointment when things don’t go exactly as we think they should go.

S- Sing, chant, hum, laugh.  All of these are so healthy for your body, mind, and spirit.  Let loose and raise your vibration by singing seasonal songs, chanting a mantra, or humming a note or a tune.  Not only is the vibration healthy, but it will aid the body in fighting off congestion.  And laughing is one of the healthiest things you can do.  Laughter relaxes the nervous system, helps to drop blood pressure levels, releases healthy hormones, helps the mind to process in a more creative way, works muscles, relieves tension, and it’s fun!  Laughing is my favorite.  When you feel the tension building, try to laugh at the situation.

E- Exhale slowly.  And then take a deep belly breath in.  Repeat several times.  When things get stressful, our breathing typically becomes more shallow.  Stop and notice your breath.  See if you can inhale so deeply that the belly expands and then slowly and completely exhale.  Once you are focused on your breathing, try inhaling for 4 counts and exhaling for 6 counts.  The longer exhalation helps to amplify the Parasympathetic response of the nervous system, literally calming the body.  As frequently as you can think of it, take a few deep, expanding breaths and exhale slowly and mindfully.

N- Notice your automatic reactions.  Many times, we think we have “things” under control until we spend time with our family and all of a sudden, we find ourselves reacting the way we always have.  Take a deep breath and try to notice your feelings and how you impulsively want to react.  Then, see if you can respond rather than just reacting without thinking first.  Once we are aware, we can work to change it.  But, try to let go of judgment as this one can take some practice.

C- Cut yourself some slack and get creative.  Many of us get ‘stuck’ in our analytical, non-creative brain when we get stressed and we start overthinking, over-analyzing, and making ourselves even more stressed out.  First, cut yourself some slack by remembering that no one is perfect and you shouldn’t expect yourself to be.  It’s ok to ask for help if needed.  Next, find a creative outlet to exercise the other side of your brain and to give yourself a break from the linear, repetitive, and judgmental thinking that pops up.

E- Enough- as in you are enough just as you are.  You are not your accomplishments, your past, your family, or even your body.  You are the incredible spirit inside that is on the journey of this life.  You are good enough, smart enough, creative enough, brave enough, beautiful enough, successful enough…You are enough.  Just as you are.  Maybe you could even try that on as your mantra this week.

be-here-now

 

May you experience joy, love, and peace this holiday season.

We will talk again soon.

k

Out with luck, In with intention

When I say that I am a terrific procrastinator, I mean that I could earn a living as a procrastinator trainer if there were such a thing.

I have always loved the movie “Gone with the Wind” for many reasons.  I was fascinated by this epic drama and the fact that it could keep my attention for 3 hours and 58 minutes.  I was in love with Rhett Butler and that, of course, morphed into love for Clark Gable.  I couldn’t watch the burning of Atlanta without seeing the wall from King Kong go down.  I was horrified and perplexed by the whole concept of living in petticoats and corsets.  And I am a true natural at Resting Bitch Face and can call it up at a moment’s notice like a champ.  However, when I was younger, my mother would call me Scarlett because, in true procrastinator fashion, I would frequently say, “I will think about that tomorrow.”

Vivien_Leigh_Gone_Wind_Restored

 

I have also always thought of myself as a dreamer.  I think big.  And a lot.  I work through scenarios in my head.  Sometimes over and over.  I dream about how things could be…

But, I also really struggle with making decisions.  I struggle with fear of making the wrong decision and then having to live with it.  Fear of what others will think and how I will be seen.  And, I have been this way for as long as I can remember.  So, the way this has worked in my life is that on many occasions, I just wait, pro/con it to death, and hope that good luck will strike and everything will magically work out.  This approach allows me to coast by and to be free of all responsibility.  This way of living allows me to sit back, grumble about where I am, and put all of the responsibility on fate.  You know, the whole, “If it’s meant to be, then it will happen…” motto.

I can think of times when I have even wished that something would happen to force things to go one way or the other, and then I would be able to say that I didn’t have a choice- life intervened and this is the direction I had to go in.  As I write this, I can see that this is the extreme of daydreaming about procrastination and avoiding making decisions.

The problem here is that this passive way of living keeps me stuck right where I am.  Don’t get me wrong, where I am in my life is not bad.  At all.  In fact, in a lot of ways, it couldn’t be better.  But, I’m also not living my dream.  Time’s a-tickin’ and I ain’t gettin’ any younger.  I am getting to a point in my life where I am starting to feel more afraid to wait and sit back than to jump out there and take a chance.

And then, the other morning during meditation, the Universe intervened and told me that waiting on good luck impedes living.  Boom.  When the universe says something so plainly, I listen.  The message literally could not have been clearer.

Change doesn’t come from Luck.  Change comes from Intention. 

I have to assume that signs and messages were probably sent before this, but I have to say that I love it when the Universe is so undeniably direct in pointing the way ahead.  This was a call to action.  As of late, I had been going back and forth in my head about a proposal for my boss regarding my work schedule.  I had been going back and forth about several creative endeavors.  I had been allowing fear to be in charge by scaring me with the possibility of rejection and ‘no‘.  So, I was doing the passive thing of sitting back and expecting that things would wondrously occur and I wouldn’t even have to take action toward what I want.

But, that’s just silly.  No more sitting around in fear.  I walked in to my boss’s office and made my proposal.  And I felt good about it.  And about myself.  I have begun brainstorming my creative ideas, making notes, starting outlines.  Not everyone will love what I do, but, as long as I do, that’s what matters.

Intention

In her new book, Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes states, “Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to, as your inner voice tells you to.  Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.  Don’t apologize, don’t explain, don’t ever feel less than.  When you feel the need to apologize or explain who you are, it means the voice in your head is telling you the wrong story.  Wipe the slate clean and rewrite it.”

No more excuses, no more waiting, no more hiding, no more shirking responsibility.  You are the only one who can live your life.  You are the author of your story.  This week, find 1 thing you can do to take action toward what you want and who you want to be.  Keep on dreaming, but then do something to work toward that dream.  It’s OK if you are scared; I am too.  But we will do it together.  And we will be great.

Talk soon,

k

Me and Meditation

Some of the things that meditating for 500 days in a row has taught me (in random order):

  1. Meditating outside is awesome.
  2. Meditation does not mean that you can automatically make all thoughts go away. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  The mind is a restless little thing and it tends to get antsy some days when things get quiet.
  3. I need lots of different methods of meditation to pull from depending on what my mind is doing that day.
  4. Some days I just need more sleep.
  5. The effects of meditation show up when you are not sitting.
  6. It, like anything else, can become competitive and filled with self-judgment.
  7. Some days, morning meditation isn’t the most effective time for me to sit.
  8. If I can get quiet and focus, I really can get answers.
  9. I do have the wisdom within me.
  10. If you can breathe, you can meditate.
  11. EVERYONE needs meditation.
  12. Our society is training us into chitta.
  13. Petting the dog can count as meditation.
  14. Now that I have figured out how to sit so that my leg doesn’t fall asleep, my knee is talking back to me.
  15. I’m a work in progress.
  16. I am immensely blessed.
  17. The world needs loving kindness meditation and so do I. It has the ability to enable healing.
  18. I may never fully understand all of the aspects of myself and will certainly never understand all of the aspects of anyone else.
  19. I can only change me.
  20. I can control, change, and redirect my thoughts, which in turn, changes my experience and my reality.
  21. When you tell people you are going to sit in meditation for X# of minutes, they generally respect that.
  22. There is something much bigger than me and at the same time, the entire universe is within me.
  23. Even though I meditate every single day, I still lose my shit sometimes.
  24. Meditation has changed my experience of time. When the mind slows down, time seems to pass at a different rate.
  25. Nothing lasts forever.
  26. I LOVE mantra!
  27. 5 minutes can be as effective as 20.
  28. When I add even a few yoga poses to my seated meditation, my body feels even better.
  29. I am not my body, my thoughts, my accomplishments, or the stories I tell myself.
  30. I want to help people and I just want everyone to be happy.
  31. Sometimes, I am too serious. I want to be able to laugh at everything.
  32. Things that we treat with importance, many times really don’t matter.meditation_benefits_cartoon_3
  33. I still get caught up in my thoughts, emotions, and stories and have to practice redirecting myself.
  34. I can’t imagine living without yoga and meditation in my life.
  35. I have a lot of good to share. And you do too.
  36. Your brain is a liar! (a lot of the time)
  37. We should be teaching meditation and yoga in school.
  38. Everyone has time to meditate if they choose to.
  39. I plan to live, practice, and teach this for the rest of my life.

Here is a link to a great article outlining scientific benefits of meditation: http://liveanddare.com/benefits-of-meditation/

Give it a try.  For the next few moments, focus on your breath.  How it feels entering through your nostrils, filling your lungs- full enough to allow the belly to expand as you breathe in.  And then notice your breath as it exits through the nostrils and your body relaxes.  Now repeat this 9 more times.  Do this whenever you think to!

Talk soon!

k

We are all gonna die…

A few months ago, my mom gave me a box of items from my childhood bedroom.  Among the items was a small, lockable 5-year diary.  The date was at the top of each page and below were 5 lined sections each beginning with 19__ .  Upon review of said diary, it was apparent that I had used it mostly during my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade years of school.  I didn’t write in it every day, but every single post- Every. Single. Post.- began with the same sentence scrawled in my elementary handwriting in pencil: “Today was so much fun.”

That was followed by statements about going out to eat, playing with my cousins, going to a friend’s house, visiting my grandparents, etc.  This made me happy and sad all at once.  (I also felt affirmed in my natural affinity for Positive Psychology) I had kept a “What Went Right” journal as a child!  Yay! But why wasn’t I still doing that now? Boo!  It became glaringly obvious to me that I have lost touch (as so many of us do as we begin to adult on a daily basis) with that excited enthusiasm about daily life and I began to wonder how to retrieve it.

My mind then shot forward from elementary school to approximately 5 years ago when I was managing a clinical team at a residential treatment facility.  The team was overworked, underpaid, and functioning in an environment of constantly dealing with kids who were behaviorally acting out from terrible trauma.  It was emotionally and physically draining.  We had a weekly clinical meeting on Monday morning that lasted up to two hours and it was incredibly painful to get through.  So, I implemented an opening ritual of going around the table and having everyone complete the following sentence- “Isn’t it great that…”  Of course some would struggle at first, but this really began to change the attitude of the meeting over time just by starting with a more positive perspective.

We are reminded DAILY of all of the bad in the world.  We are also shown that we are not guaranteed another year, month, day, or even moment.  In talking with the adult patients at work this week, one patient stated that “Some day” she planned to do what she loved.  On some level, we have all experienced this put-it-off-til-later thought, expecting that ‘some day’ will come.  When she said this, I simply told her that we are all going to die.  (Of course, I then had to take a moment to calm the patients suffering with panic attacks…)

Typically everyone gets all worked up when I say this, but let’s be honest, it’s the truth.  We are all going to die.  I absolutely love Dan Millman’s take on this from his book Way of the Peaceful Warrior: 

“Wake up! If you knew for certain you had a terminal illness–if you had little time left to live–you would waste precious little of it! Well, I’m telling you…you do have a terminal illness: It’s called birth. You don’t have more than a few years left. No one does! So be happy now, without reason–or you will never be at all.”

What are we waiting for??  ‘Some day’ may never come.  If we are always putting off the things we love and the things that make us happy for ‘some day’ or for when we have time or enough money or enough of anything, we very well may never do those things that truly make us feel alive.  And that simply won’t do.  What tense are you living in?  Are you living in the future-tense of ‘some day’ land?  I, for one, most certainly do not want to look back as I am lying on my deathbed and wish that I had done more of what I love.  Are you feeling my sense of urgency here?!

Buddha

 

There is no time to waste.  We were not created to slog through each day dreading how we spend our time.  We are here to feel love and joy and happiness and connection.  We are here to live– not just exist.  So, I have an assignment for you.  This week, every morning upon starting your day, complete this sentence:

Isn’t it great that…

And every night when you go to bed, complete this sentence:

Today was so much fun because…

You have the power and even bigger, the responsibility to shift your focus and live the life you want.  Start your day with a positive perspective and find some fun in every day.  In some way.  You can do it.  And you know I will be practicing with you.  Isn’t it great that we are in this together?!  Today was so much fun because I got to share from my heart with you.  Thanks for that.

Talk again soon.

k

I am basically a superhero. And so are you.

We all do it.  From time to time, we get caught up in the mindless busyness of life and we fail to recognize the good that is around us.  I have to admit that I have been in a funk about work lately.  We have been super busy and the stack of documentation I need to catch up on keeps growing.  (please don’t mention that to my boss…)  We keep getting new patients (which is great for the business, but quite stressful in all other ways) and that means that not only do I have more and more group therapy and individual sessions, but I also have ongoing and seemingly non-stop Utilization Review.

That sounds quite glamorous doesn’t it?  Utilization Review…WOW…what might that be?!  It means that I deal with all of the insurance companies to keep the patients funded and I do all of the FLMA and Short Term Disability paperwork for our location.  Be still my heart… (It means job security and help for our patients.)

Anyway, back to my complaining about work…

I really do have a great job.  I love the level of care I work in, I have a wonderful boss who let’s me do my thing without micromanaging, I can see the patients improve as they move through the program, I get to do yoga with the patients almost daily… I really can’t complain.  (Especially compared to some of the environments in which I have worked in the past.)

Yet, lately, I have been complaining.  I have been focusing on the bits I don’t like about it; I have been whining about things that are not going to change right now; I have been wishing it were different right now; I have been dreading Monday’s coming all day long on Sunday… you get the picture.  I have been wallowing in the bad and suffering through.

So last week, I was working with the adolescents and leading a group therapy session.  One of the girls was especially whiny about not wanting to be there, about how bored she was, her wanting to quit coming to treatment, and how it was terrible just like school.  The other kids attempted to encourage her to no avail.  I simply told her that she was creating her reality.  That she had the power in her mind to change her thoughts and have a good or a bad experience…that it was up to her.

We moved on with the group and a bit later, she started again.  “Kellyyyyy…this is sooooo borrrrrring.   Can I just go home?  I don’t want to be herrrrrrrrrre.  This is awfullllll!”  And on it went.  Again, the others attempted to encourage her and one group member even told her that she did not think she was trying hard enough.  I again told her that she was creating her reality and making herself miserable by focusing on how much she disliked it.  I told her she had the superpowers to change her experience.  I even mentioned that there were people held as Prisoners of War that, after release, would talk about having only their thoughts to keep themselves sane and positive.  (Of course, then she said that she felt like a POW…smh)

Once more, we moved on with the group session and one last time, she started to whine.  I looked at her and she (with a dramatic eye-roll) and I simultaneously said, “You are creating your reality”.  And that’s when it hit me.  This was a lesson for me every bit as much as it was for her.  Ah, the things the patients teach me…

expect life

 

I am the creator of my reality.  I have the superpowers within me to change my perspective, to see things from a different view, to find the good in every situation, to be present, and to make my experience what I want it to be.  And so do you!

So, this past Saturday night when I went to bed, I thought about how grateful I was that I did not have to work the next day and I reminded myself that I was creating my reality.  On Sunday, I had a GREAT day!  I redirected myself back to the present moment any time I started to think about going back to work.  And when I did have to return to work on Monday, I continued to remind myself that I am creating my reality and that I can waste the day being miserable or I can enjoy myself and be grateful for all of the good things in my life.  And you know what?  It worked!  I have been happier, less stressed, and better able to handle whatever pops up by using my perspective-changing superhero glasses to view the moment.

So, this week, turn on your superpowers and take control over your experiences.  Remind yourself that you are creating your reality.  Even in moments of stress or frustration, you can fight against the moment and be miserable or you can accept what is and find some happiness.  It’s all up to you.

Yes, it takes practice and redirecting over and over sometimes, but remember, you aren’t alone.  I will be practicing my superpowers with you.

Talk soon,

k

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Victor Frankl Man’s Search for Meaning

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