Finding the Light in Dark Times.

Find the lightI feel your need this week my friends and I am going to bring you as much light as I can right now.  Over the years, I have faced illness, betrayal by a friend, difficult work environments (to say the least), having literally $5 left in my account, car break downs and various other “disasters” that cost me literally thousands of dollars when I didn’t have it to my name, and that time I couldn’t move at all and considered what the point of life was if you were going to be in pain 24/7 and living as if you were dead.  << Yes.  That was me.

What is the one thing that I held on to during those times?   The thought that life had a purpose for me….that I was being tested and measured…and that I really was going to come out on the other side of this stronger than before.

I had faith that there was a plan.  Did I know the plan?  Hell no.  I was apparently going to be the last to know.  But I sensed there was something greater than me at work and through me, things were going to change.

How I found the Light:

  1. I began my new morning ritual with gratitude.  I can not even began to describe the pain level to you at this moment.  It was beyond my skin feeling like it was on fire (it prickled and burned even when no one was touching me), my bones ached to the very core, and I couldn’t sleep at all.  There was no position to sleep in that didn’t bring me more pain.  My gut was distended from autoimmune, and my brain never stopped registering a pain response.  What did I have to be thankful for?  Lots.  LOTS.  So I started there.   Thank you for this new day.  Then I would put one foot over the bed and as the pain flared through my hip, I would step down and utter thanks to the heavens.  I continued this daily…no matter what.
  2. I began to focus on what I had….not what was missing.  <<< This was huge.  I worked my mind to abundance thinking, which was new to me.  I will never forget the day someone used that word.  As in my cup runneth over.  I am full of bountiful blessings.  You see this person who said that to me, made incredible amounts of money.  I literally had like $5 because I had to leave my job, teaching, due to my pain level and autoimmune responses being off the chart.  So I began to think about what I had.  I would list it in my head.  Then I would think about what I could do with the “gifts” I had.  And I gave as much as I could to others.
  3. I stayed as present as possible.  This was the opposite of what me, fantasy world living girl, wanted to do.  I wanted to escape in my head or in my books, where things were easy.   I started paying attention to little things.  Leaves.  Sunlight filtering in.  Tucking my kids in.  My husband’s strong hug when he was just as scared as I was.  Coffee.  The warmth of the cup.  My parents.  Knowing that I could call them, but trying not to cry if things were bad.  Just simply putting one foot in front of the other until that was all I could do.  And lastly, the day that I found the breath.  Through yoga.  I learned how to stay present through the haze of pain in yoga.
  4. I learned how to fall apart…better.  There are tantrums.  There are crying spells.  And then there are “why me” moments.  The silent, soul racking sobs that make you think your entire world is ending and you can’t control what is happening.  The truth is, you can’t control what is happening and you never could.  Not even when things were great.  So this is no different.  I learned to get through those moments and then say to myself “snap out of it” <<< Yes.  I imagined Cher slapping me.  Then I would say what tiny thing CAN I control right now?  usually it was getting out of my damn pajamas and struggling to take a shower.  When that was over, I would feel better and I would see what reserve energy I had left to go to the store.  If I manged those two small things, I felt better.  I could have tea and then write.  This is all in the early days of this blog, but the moments were there when I learned how to “life” better.  I learned to lean into it.
  5. I could control who I was around.  If I had to look at pitying eyes one more time I was going to slap someone.  And if anyone said that it happened for a reason I wanted to stab them.  << Note, no one was actually harmed.  I did however, cut some people off instead.  Anger was a huge part of who I was.  At that time.  And yoga helped me learn to control that to the best of my ability.  I started being around people who could lift me up and meet me where I was that day.  If I didn’t have those people, I searched for them.  I made my own world.  And I didn’t regret the choices I had to make when people were not able to support me.  When people were too busy condemning or judging how I got through this, they went into the boundary holding area Most of them never came back from that area.  The ones who did admitted they were sorry…and a few more later went through difficult experiences and admitted they had no idea until they too were tested.
  6. I created my own feelings of happiness and peace.  I prayed, I read, I meditated, I did the yoga, but it was entirely up to me to be the one to move forward.  No one could do that for me.  I was given the ability to be stronger than my problems, and no one else could turn that key.  No one except for me.  I didn’t wait for a doctor to magically cure me as there was no cure for my incurable diseases…but I also didn’t settle for that answer.  I made my own way.
  7. I used my lessons to teach others.   You can ask my yoga brothers and sisters.  I couldn’t hold myself up in downdog for more than a few seconds when I first started Yoga Teacher Training.  How was I going to get through 200 hours?  Scorpio hard-headed power activate.  I learn to use the word “modify” in a sentence.  It meant for me to do what I could with the pose and use props, blankets, blocks and take a child’s pose as needed.  I finished my 200 hours and went on to take yoga for arthritis and pain.  I then combined every single lesson I had ever learned last year, at this very time, and take some money I had saved and invest in my business to help others.  I launched the 30 Days of Gratitude Group, which then became the foundation for my Head|Heart|Health Club.  I learned how to help others through their own “pain”, whether it was mental or physical, and take one day at a time. 

Need more help?  Use the search bar on the right and type in the word you are looking for.  Want to watch my videos?  << Go there.

The Art of Doing Nothing

The Art of Doing Nothing

The Art of Doing Nothing

Guest post by: Leo Babauta

Sure, we all know how to do nothing. We all know how to lay around and waste time. But many of us are too busy to do it much, and when we do it, our minds are often on other things. We cannot relax and enjoy the nothingness.

Doing nothing can be a waste of time, or it can be an art form. Here’s how to become a master, and in the process, improve your life, melt away the stress and make yourself more productive when you actually do work.

Start small
Doing nothing, in the true sense of the word, can be overwhelming if you attempt to do too much nothing at once. Do small nothings at first. Focus on 5-10 minutes at a time, and start your practice sessions in a safe place — at home, not at work or in a busy public place. You may also not be ready to do nothing in the middle of nature, so do it in your bedroom or living room. Find a time and place where there are not many distractions, not much noise, not a lot of people to bother you.

Shut off all distractions — TV, computer, cell phones, regular phones, Blackberries, and the like. Doing nothing is hard when our communications gadgets are calling at us to do something.

Now, close your eyes, and do nothing. Yes, the smart-asses out there will say you’re doing something — you’re sitting there or laying there, closing your eyes. But we mean doing nothing in the sense that if someone were to call us up and ask what we’re doing, we say “Oh, nothing.” Don’t let them call you up, though. They are trying to distract you.

After 5-10 minutes of doing, nothing, you can quit, and go do something. But try to do this every day, or as much as possible, because it is not possible to become a master without practice.

Breathing
The first place to start in the quest for mastery over this art is in your breathing. If this sounds suspiciously like meditation, well, cast those suspicions out of your mind. We are not here to do suspicion — we are doing nothing.

Start first by breathing slowly in, and then slowly out. Now closely monitor your breath as it enters your body, through your nose, and goes down into your lungs, and fills your lungs. Now feel it as it goes out of your body, through your mouth, and feel the satisfying emptying of your lungs.

Do this for 5-10 minutes, if you can. Practice this as you can. When you start thinking about other things, such as how great that darn Zen Habits blog is, well, stop that! Don’t beat yourself up about it, but bring your thoughts back to your breathing every time.

Relaxing
An important part of doing nothing is being able to completely relax. If we are tense, then the doing of the nothing is really for naught. Relaxing starts by finding a comfortable place to do your nothing — a soft chair, a plush couch, a well-made, clean bed. Once you’ve found this spot, lie in it, and wiggle around to make it fit your body better. Think of how a cat lies down, and makes itself comfortable. Cats are very, very good at doing nothing. You may never approach their level of mastery, but they make for great inspiration.

Next, try the breathing technique. If you are not completely relaxed by now (and a short nap would be a great indication of relaxation), then try self massage. Yes, massage is much better when administered by other hands, but self massage is great too. Start with your shoulders and neck. Work your way up to your head and even your face. Also do your back, and legs and arms. Avoid any areas that might lead to doing something (although that can be relaxing too).

Yet another great way of relaxing is an exercise where you tense each muscle in your body, one body part at a time, and then let the tensed muscle relax. Start with your feet, then your legs, and work your way up to your eyebrows. If you can do the top of your head, you may be too advanced for this article.

Once you are relaxed, see if you can relax even more. Try not to relax so much that you lose control of your bodily fluids.

Bathing – an advanced stage
Those who are in the beginning stages of the Art of Doing Nothing should not attempt this stage. But once you’ve become proficient at the above steps, the stage of the Bath can be pretty great.

The bath must be nice and hot. Not lukewarm, but hot. Bubbles are also required, even if you are a man who is too manly for this. Just don’t tell any of your guy friends. Other bath accessories, such as a loofah sponge, or bath gels, or potpourri, are very optional (editor’s note: think hilarious Friends episode).

Again, you must have all distractions shut off. Bathing is also best done if you are alone in the house, but if not, everyone else in the house must know that you CANNOT be disturbed, even if the house is burning down. If they break this sacred rule, you must turn upon them with the Wrath of Hell(tm).

Step into your bath, one foot at a time, very slowly. If your bath is properly hot, it is best if you get into it an inch at a time. For more sensitive body parts, such as the crotchal area, it is best to squeeze your eyes shut tight and slowly lower yourself into the steaming water despite all instincts to flee. Once you are fully immersed (and you should go completely under, head included, at first), close your eyes, and feel the heat penetrating your body.

You may begin to sweat. This is a good thing. Allow the sweat to flow. You may need a glass of water as the sweat could dehydrate you. A good book is another great way to enjoy your bath. Allow your muscles to be penetrated by the heat, to be relaxed completely, and feel all your worries and stresses and aches and inner turmoil flow out of your body into the water.

A hot bath is even more awesome if followed by a bracing cold shower. Either way, get out of the bath once the water is no longer warm and your skin is very raisin-like.

Tasting and feeling
Doing nothing is also great when accompanied by very good beverages or food. Good tea or coffee, wine, hot cocoa, and other sensual beverages go very well with the Art. It’s best to take these beverages by themselves, with no food, and without a book or other distractions. Focus on the liquid as you sip it slowly, savoring every bit of the flavor and texture and temperature in your mouth before swallowing, and feeling the swallow completely. Close your eyes as you do this. Truly enjoy this drink.

Foods are also great: berries, rich desserts, freshly made bread, the best … soup … ever, or whatever it is that you love. Be sure you eat it slowly, savoring every bite. Chew slowly, and close your eyes as you enjoy the food. Feel the texture in your mouth. It is bliss!

Doing nothing in nature

Once you’ve passed the above stages, it is time to practice this gentle art out in nature. Find a peaceful place — in your front yard if that’s peaceful, a park, the woods, at the beach, a river, a lake — places with water are excellent. Places out of reach of the sounds of traffic and city life are best.

Out here in nature, you can practice the art for 20 minutes, an hour, or even longer. There are fewer distractions, and you can really shut yourself off from the stresses of life. Don’t just let your mind wander everywhere — focus on the natural surroundings around you. Look closely at the plants, at the water, at the wildlife. Truly appreciate the majesty of nature, the miracle of life.

Incorporating the Art in daily life
This is the final stage of mastering this Art. Don’t attempt it until you’ve practiced and become competent at the above stages.

Start by doing nothing while you are waiting in line, at the doctor’s office, on a bus, or for a plane. Wait, without reading a newspaper or magazine, without talking on the phone, without checking your email, without writing out your to-do list, without doing any work, without worrying about what you need to do later. Wait, and do nothing. Concentrate on your breathing, or try one of the relaxation techniques above. Concentrate on those around you — watch them, try to understand them, listen to their conversations.

Next, try doing nothing when you drive. Yes, you must drive, but try to do nothing else. Don’t listen to music or news or an audiotape. Don’t multi-task. Don’t talk on your cell phone, don’t eat, and don’t do your makeup. Just drive. Concentrate on your driving, look at the things you are passing, and feel your breathing. Relax yourself, and don’t worry about the other drivers (but don’t crash into them!). Drive slowly, going easy on the gas and brake pedals. This technique has a great side-effect: better gas mileage.

Last, try doing nothing in the middle of chaos, in your workplace or other stressful environment. Just shut everything out, close your eyes, and think about your breathing. Try a relaxation technique. Do this for 5-10 minutes at a time, building up to 20-30 minutes. If you can do this, in the middle of a stressful day at work or with the kids, you will allow yourself to focus more fully on the task at hand. You will be relaxed and ready to concentrate, to bring yourself into a state of flow. (Warning: Doing nothing could get you in trouble with your boss, so be careful! But if it makes you more productive, you boss might not mind.)

Finally, the Art of Doing Nothing cannot be mastered overnight. It will take hours and hours of practice, of hard work (doing nothing isn’t easy!). But you will enjoy every minute of it! Try it today.

Want more tips on staying focused in your life?  See “Minutes of Mindfulness” every Monday.

5 Ways Hurt People Project Their Feelings (and how you can cope)

5 Ways Hurt People Project Their FeelingsWhen people who are unhappy, have low self-esteem, and generally feel “damaged” inside hurt you, your first response is probably to hurt them right back.  I know that is my initial reaction as someone uses ugly, demeaning words against me in a pattern that is meant to make me feel bad.  The words they use over and over again, throughout the years of my life are meant to belittle me and make me feel guilt or shame.  They are in no way, shape, or form meant to uplift me, make me feel good about myself or build up my confidence.  They are said for one reason and one reason only.  To hurt me.

Once you recognize the pattern, it is time to find the trigger.  When does this happen to you?  Are you doing something particularly awful and foul or are you just trying to have a good time?  Chances are, you are enjoying yourself and having a good time.  That’s usually the trigger my friends.  The thing is, you have probably tried to speak to them about this type of thing before, and how you are just doing your best to be happy in your own skin, live your life, and teach others how to do the same, but they actually don’t care about your feelings.  It is quite evident in the repeated behavior pattern.

Hurt people hurt people. We are not being judgmental by separating ourselves from such people. But we should do so with compassion. Compassion is defined as a “keen awareness of the suffering of another coupled with a desire to see it relieved.” People hurt others as a result of their own inner strife and pain. Avoid the reactive response of believing they are bad; they already think so and are acting that way. They aren’t bad; they are damaged and they deserve compassion. Note that compassion is an internal process, an understanding of the painful and troubled road trod by another. It is not trying to change or fix that person.  ~Will Bowen

How in the hell do you separate yourself, with compassion mind you, from someone trying to hurt you?  That’s a tall order right there.  I have decided to narrow it down to 5 ways these people are projecting their feelings and give you a bit of advice around that behavior.

5 Ways Hurt People Project Their Feelings (and how you can cope):

  1. Hurt people take it out on those who are often closest to them.  Why?  There are lots of reasons, but the easiest answer here is because they think you will either let it slide (multiple times, even if you have asked them to stop) or because they think you will forgive them over and over again.  How do you cope?  Quite honestly, it’s easier to put space between you and build up stronger boundaries than to get them to ever admit when they are wrong.  Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.  They are transferring either some rage they have onto you or feel jealous about something you have.  See it for what it is.  Take the pause here if you can.
  2. Hurt people see every word, or action, as something that was done TO them.  Not for them, not to help, but done to lash out through their narrow vision of pain haze.  Why?  They are not rational and think that everyone is “out to get them”.  Everything is a trap and meant to set them up in some way.  If you don’t answer the door fast enough, you might be avoiding them.  If you suggest they eat healthier, you might have just implied they are Jabba the Hutt.  If you say you like something they are wearing, that might have meant you don’t like how they look normally.  I can go on and on around this, but you are already nodding your head.  How do you cope?  You become a Mime.  Just kidding.  You’d probably mime the middle finger accidentally of course.  Resist the urge though.  Try very hard to put yourself in their shoes.  What do you know about their life right now?  What do you know about how they were raised?  Is there a reason for this type of distrust?  If we act as they do, it will only cause more pain in the end.  It takes massive strength to step back and remind yourself their actions and reactions are all about them.  Not about you at all.
  3. Hurt people often have no real life beyond the hurt.  Why?  They have alienated the people who once tried to help them.  They carry grudges so deep and so wide, that the Grand Canyon is jealous of them.  Remember Ebenezer Scrooge?  When his nephew tries to invite him over and then later he is peeking through with the Ghost of Christmas Present, but they are saying how they feel sorry for him.  It’s just like that.  Only this person presumably doesn’t have the ghosts to show them what the future will look like if they don’t stop pushing people away.  How do you cope?  Recognize that their reaction to pushing people away stems from preconceived notions they firmly believe as truth.  The mind has a funny way of remembering things.  You might extend the olive branch if they are dear to you and know that they will not change.  It is up to you to be the peace maker.
  4. Hurt people are always the ones who are the victim.  Why?  You have seen them never take responsibility for anything in their own lives over the many years of being around them.  They want short cuts, easy ways out, and no responsibility.  They know what they need to do, but they don’t really feel like it.  They are almost certain it is the responsibility of someone else to come save them from their mistakes.  How do you cope?  Don’t enable if you can.  To enable means that you give their thoughts power or you help them self-sabotage.  Simply say nothing if they say they “can’t” do something.  It’s better than agreeing with it.  I mean, to point out that Helen Keller earned a college degree, Stephen Hawking beat his life expectancy against ALS,  is still alive, and one of the world’s leading physicists, and my personal hero, Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms or legs, but later taught himself how to skateboard and surf, to point these things out would fall on deaf ears.  They rationalize their actions and their victim mentality until they decide, not us, that they are ready to change it.
  5. Hurt people don’t recognize your pain.  To say these people lack empathy is an understatement.  They simply fail to see that they are hurting you.  Why?   Any number of reasons, but they like to medicate themselves, drink excessively, or become addicted to false lives.  They don’t seem to be fully present as they continually hurt you.  How do you cope?  If you have read all this and you think it’s time to try to have the courageous conversation with them, you can.  If you have already had that conversation and the behavior is still going on, then you might want to meditate, do yoga, and surround yourself with others who lift you up after being in contact with these people.  When all else fails and you have tried your best, perhaps even going to therapy for you, not them, you get to decide if the contact is worth the pain it is causing you.  Their own self-loathing behavior is constantly being projected at you and your loved ones and it’s time for you to either make peace with the idea that you can’t change them…so give yourself lots of space.

The bottom line is that this is someone who is not at peace with themselves or their relationships.  They cause suffering because they aren’t able to cope with their own emotions.  Do they need therapy?  Yes.  But chances are, they are not going to do the work on themselves.  When we do the work on ourselves, our own inner work, we start to heal these deep wounds.  I know how hard this is my friends, and if you need support and want to work on your own “stuff”, come see me.  >> Learn more here <<

5 Ways Hurt People Project Their Feelings (and how you can cope)

 

The Red Flags of Passive-Aggressive Behavior and How to Deal.

Dealing with passive-aggressive folksIt’s lunch time and you try to avoid seeing anyone in the break room as you know what’s going on in there.  The sharks are circling and trying to get any bit of juicy gossip they can feast on…in order to draw more sharks in.

It’s possible you might not even be aware of what is happening as snide comments are masked, and you are left feeling like you were just complimented and insulted at the same time.  Maybe they even said “Relax.  I’m just kidding.” Like that takes away the sting of their hostility.  The truth is, it doesn’t.  They know that what they said was carefully crafted to hurt.  These people have spent years acting this way and to be honest, might have been raised in a home that used tactics in passive-aggressive warfare. 

Passive-aggressive behavior is actually masked in sarcasm, silent treatment, withholding praise, being critical yet complimentary at the same time, arriving late, procrastinating or avoiding responsibility altogether, and basically sugar-coating mean remarks and hostility.

You can be sure of one thing.  This is open hostility towards you. 

If you noticed any of the above red flags of passive-aggressive co-workers, friends, or even family, it might be hard to deal with.  As a matter of fact, you might just want to shut down, but that’s exactly what they are after so I am going to give you a few tips on how to handle this.

5 Ways to Deal with Passive-aggressive Folks:

  1. Name it for exactly what it is.  Do NOT let them make excuses for why they treat you this way.  “Oh you can’t take a joke.  I was only playing.”  In order to make you think it’s your fault.  The truth is, they can feel when their behavior is wrong.  If someone is using shaming tactics, being unreasonable, making you feel uncomfortable deliberately, trust me, they know.  This is a repeated pattern.
  2. Shore your boundaries.  You can’t change them; however, you can change how you interact with them and how much.  Notice where they hang out and who they hang with.  That says loads about them.  Look them in the eye if they are speaking down to you, and stand up straighter.  Give visual and body language clues by making sure your shoulders are back and your head is held high that you are having none of their crap today.  Or any other day.  You don’t want or need that “energetic pooh” in your life.  << That links to my clean energy tips and what “energy pooh” really is.
  3. Notice how you are being and what triggers them.  If you are having a great day, got a great review, the boss patted you on the back or you got special notice, chances are, they’re probably jealous.  Yup.  Triggers their insecurities and bitterness.  I jokingly said today on my FB Live chat “Mama always liked you best” from the Smother’s Brothers, but it is a true trigger for some people.  Whether or not it happens to be true, the person who uses hostile words masked as “fun” is feeling left out or unloved.
  4. Maintain your composure during the “dig”.  Now is the time to practice RBF…resting bitch face.  Only the eyebrows move up a notch, but you just look at them and say nothing.  You aren’t going to change them, but staring at them for a minute usually makes them say more.  If all else fails, you can use humor, or simply walk away.  Want a bit more on what they are trying to do here?  You can read 5 Ways to Spot an Emotional Manipulator.  Or if guilt seems to be used try reading When Guilt is a Weapon<< opens in new tab.
  5. Be mindful of yourself.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of silly little games, but your weapon can be mindfulness.  How is arguing with them going to help?  What are they trying to gain from this?  Making you look bad.  If you engage, they are trying to poke the bear so to speak.  Oh look at what so and so said to me…can you believe it?  They will conveniently leave out all indication they said anything at all.  Just remember that words can be twisted but if you simply look at them and walk away, they have nothing to use against you.

Looking for a supportive group to build yourself up?  Find out more here.  << Click on I need support.

Spiritual Dark Side…3 Signs You Might Notice.

I will never forget the first time I told someone that I felt more spiritual than religious.  They looked at me like I had just taken the path straight to hell.  In fact, I think that was a time in my life that became a true test to what I believed.

Let me break this down though.  I didn’t wake up thinking I was better than anyone else in this world, no.  I actually felt more connected to others.  I mean spirit is your essence, right?  I felt connected to the true self of others and just realized that I didn’t have to react to everything that was being said around me.  I could take a pause and look to the inside of a person and realize that what they pointed out in others was often what they were afraid of in themselves.  Aha.  I was waking up.

As I started “waking up” I noticed that others were, to use a Star Wars reference (which technically was also Jungian), going to the dark side after proclaiming being “spiritual”.  So what did that mean exactly?

I started noticing yoga teachers who were stuck in ego, people who claimed to be “heart centered” proclaiming how bad others in their field were and to come to them, as well as many other noticeable signs that these people were in fact full of crap.  Like counting followers.  Here are a few ways to notice on your own.

Spiritual Dark Side Flags:

  1. Acting superior to other people…as if it is their job.  Let me break this down for you.  No one, and I do mean no one on this earth, has the job title “supreme spiritual guru”.  Why would someone else pick on you or call you out to others if their job is to be a guide here for growth?  I can think of only one reason and that’s to make themselves feel better.  This type of thinking is from the ego kids (exaggerated sense of self-importance).  A true guide speaks from the heart and does it in a way that is a win-win for all, not a win-humiliate.  What is the point of that?  Truly.  Speaking from ego doesn’t result in growth.  Period.  If you feel this way, try to enforce your boundaries.
  2. They are working through their own stuff, but instead, prefer to constantly help others instead of doing their own work.  This one screams help to me.  They are always giving advice on every feed, platform, and portal around.  It screams “see me”.  Look at me.  I have my shit together, and I can advise you.  They seem to be looking for a crowd to advise because they just “know” how it is, but they are starting “new” spiritual practices all the time and jumping from thing to thing.  When do they have time to do the “work”?  Like really?  I prefer the teacher, guide, mentor or what have you who says they need some time off.  It’s very important to notice those people.  They are putting in the time to do the work.
  3. They have graduated from doing the spiritual work.  This one also screams no.  If someone tells you that they have reached the final enlightenment stage, run (because they must be a ghost).  You don’t stop learning and growing until you die.  I really believe that.  This is a great adventure.  “You can only come to the morning through the shadows.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien  The shadow parts teach us how to walk in the light, and yes, they will be there until the end.  It is part of life and we must embrace all that life teaches us.  Some days are going to be hard and we’re not going to feel like doing the work, and you know what, it’s okay.  There are good days and bad days and we all have them my friends.

I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay, small acts of kindness and love. ~J.R.R. Tolkien

To live is the greatest adventure of all, and to live wholeheartedly takes courage.  Admitting that you make mistakes is okay.  Being a leader who makes mistakes is human.  Don’t forget to find those people.  Those are your kind of people.

Want help in an authentic way?  Feel free to find people just like you here.  Head|Heart|Health Club

How to Recover From Being Lied to.

If anyone knows me, they know that I am in essence a lie detector…and I have to tell you, it stinks.  Deception, small or large, bothers me.  Lies of omission, where only part of the truth is told, or a version of the truth, are included in this.

When someone lies to me, first I check in with the gut feeling I get.  I always ask myself these questions:

  • Is it something I have done?  Yes/no?
  • Why wouldn’t they just tell me the truth?
  • Why did they feel the need to lie?

Here’s the truth.  The lie was never about me in any of the cases, but it still hurts just the same.  They obviously felt like they couldn’t tell me the truth because maybe this is always their default pattern.  Again, not my pattern, but theirs.  The reason they felt the need to lie is something that is in them…and that’s actually where my recovery process starts.

How to Recover From Being Lied to:

  1. In the moment, you have a quick decision to make.  Do you know them well enough to call them out on it and what is that going to do to your relationship?  Chances are, if you are reading this, you are just trying to move on with your life because it hurts and you know that calling them out on it isn’t going to change the behavior.  The only behavior we can truly change is our own and our reactions.
  2. Being taken advantage of actually means you are honest…and yes, it still hurts.  I treat people the way I want to be treated.  I would want people to tell me the truth and therefore I think others feel the same way.  This is actually not the case as I have learned over and over again.  Would it change the way I treat others?  No…it just has to change the way I handle that particular person.
  3. I let myself be angry.  I have a friend that I trust and not many fit that list.  I will go to that friend and that friend only to discuss the event.  It helps me to know that I am not alone.  They usually have a story to tell me about something that relates and our personalities are similar so I trust them.  Trust means a whole hell of a lot to me.  It is not something I take lightly.
  4. Lying is a vicious cycle that will catch up to them.  I had a narcissist friend for many years.  The lies were so thick that I think she actually thought she had fooled someone, but it wasn’t me.  Maybe it worked on other people, but I know that one day it will all come out.  It doesn’t matter if I am around or not, it will come out.  This includes co-workers, your boss, friends, partners, business folks, you name them, if they keep it up, they will get caught.
  5. Keep being real.  It really does hurt.  I know this.  Especially if you see evidence in social media right in front of your face numerous times.  You can lower your vibration by stooping to their level or you can rise above.  Countless times I have seen people who have cheated on their spouse, lied about where they are, tagged such in such in a photo proclaiming love, said they were too broke to go out with you then went somewhere else with someone else, you name it.  You know who you are and that’s all that matters.  Why they are doing this is their karma.

If you can move away from the situation over time, it really will help you heal.  Check out these articles for a little bit more:

How to Practice the Lost Art of Being Present

The Lost Art of Being Present“Mom!!  Can so and so have a ride, and such and such.  And can I go over to this person’s house later?  But first I need some new cleats…okay?  Oh and 40 snacks.  Like right now to take into band.  And I forgot to tell you we have to have people over to finish tie-dying these shirts.  And then can you take Person X back home because they don’t have a ride?”

Ohmmmm.  That was just one of my teens on one particular day this week.  I know that it sounds a bit frantic, and it can be, but so can grocery store shopping if you let the overwhelm get to you.  >> Check out my latest video on staying balanced over here <<< 

So the days of doing nothing, not having a cell phone, not having to feel connected to a device are long gone (perhaps).  However, you can inject mindful moments into your day by practicing being present.

This might be a typical experience in your mind Present moment thought. Past. Past. Past. FUTURE! FUTURE! Present moment thought.  It’s kind of like scrolling through your feed, right?  Checking your social media, and then deciding what you want to click the like or love on.  I would like you to practice the lost art of being present consistently, for one week, before you scroll onto something else.

How?  Your mind screams.  Why should I?  Your mind also thinks.  This is the kind of stuff those “yoga” people do.  I just don’t know if I can do it.  Well, before I was one of those yoga people, I was trapped in so many patterns of over thinking that my thoughts were just like ping-pong balls.  I was exhausted from over thinking because I was time traveling everyday without the Tardis.  Seriously.  If you don’t believe me, try this.

There is only one time that is important – NOW! It is the most important time because it is the only time that we have any power.  Leo Tolstoy

How to Practice Being Present:

  1. Take out your tiny notebook and write P for past, N for now, and then F for future.  Using little tick marks, start tallying your thoughts.  Yes, it might be a lot of work to do in one day, but try it for one day.  Which column had the highest score?  You are going to be very surprised.  You spend more time in other moments even if you start thinking about paying a bill in the future, what are you going to cook for dinner, what do you need from the store, I can’t believe that guy just cut me off in traffic, my boss is a ___ for treating me ___ in the meeting, I have to get 40 snacks, and so on.
  2. Notice your activities.  This might surprise you, but you struggle because you also are judging yourself.  So don’t judge how you are being in your activities, just start to notice what you are doing.  As you garden, start to notice the dirt shifting around your hand or garden spade.  As you come into a new yoga class, don’t notice what anyone else is doing, just focus on the way your body feels on the mat.  As you are walking, start to notice the way your foot moves on the path, and how you are breathing.  Are you breathing shallowly because you are overthinking?  Notice, observe and shift back into the present moment.
  3. The present moment has arrived.  There is no guess work as to what is happening right now.  We already know it.  So practice during one of your normal routines like eating lunch.  Just notice the way you make your sandwich or even your kids sandwiches.  Put music on and listen as you work.  Be fully present so much so that other people’s energy does not throw you off.  That becomes the key which only you hold.  There is only room for your energy as you stay present.  What other people are doing with their frantic thoughts, which then spirals out, can’t really bother you if you are staying present.  You start to become an observer of what is happening. 
  4. Triggers will become apparent in this way.  As you notice your energy, you will start to observe which friend, colleague, child, neighbor, etc, are using old mechanisms to trigger you.  They have learned that behavior as well, particularly anyone who wants to ruffle your feathers.  I will use myself as an example.  I value honesty as one of the top qualities a person can have.  Dishonesty triggers a wave of energy that will result in anger if I don’t ride it out and then breathe deeply.  This includes using tactics of “omission” from my darling kids.  So I have discussed full examples of this so that “Hulk Mom” doesn’t come out.  Instead of worrying, I proactively explained what will happen.  This helps work around a possible trigger.

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.  Buddha

If you are interested in learning more about staying present, learning how to focus on your own energy, and harness your inner power, I invite you to try my Club out for a month >>> The Club with Soul.  <<<

How to Practice the Lost Art of Being Present

 

 

Feeling Down? 7 Ways to Pick Yourself Back Up

Feeling down? 7 ways to pick yourself back up.Feeling Down? 7 Ways to Pick Yourself Back Up!

A Guest Post By Leo Babauta

From time to time, we all get a little down, maybe even a little depressed. Maybe we are feeling overwhelmed, or feel bad because we’re not doing well with our goals. There are many reasons for feeling down, and I’m not qualified to discuss all of them, their implications, or clinical treatment. What I can talk about are some things that have worked for me.

Feeling a little depressed can interfere with achieving our goals. We know we should be doing something, but we just don’t feel like doing anything. This can last for a long time if you don’t head it off as soon as possible and take action. Here are some of the things that work best for me:

  1. Make a list. Sometimes we are depressed simply because we are overwhelmed with all the things we have to do that we haven’t gotten around to doing. You might be into GTD, but sometimes every GTDer falls behind with his system, and sometimes you just don’t have the energy to do so. So all the “stuff” that’s in our head can overwhelm us. Start simply by picking up a piece of paper and a pen, and making a list of the most pressing things you have to do. Sometimes it’s work stuff, sometimes it’s stuff around the house that’s bothering us, sometimes it’s goal tasks, or a combination of these and more. Simply making a list can be a big relief — you’re getting things under control. You can see, right in front of you, what you need to do, and that alone can pick up your mood.
  2. Take action. You’ve made a list, and you still feel overwhelmed? Well, get started on the first thing you need to do. Is it a big task? Break it down and just do the smallest task, something just to get you started. Once you get started, once you get into action, you’ll feel better. Trust me. You might still feel overwhelmed, but at least you’re doing something. And once you start doing something, you’ve got momentum, and that feels much better than lying around feeling sorry for yourself.
  3. Exercise. I know, you might not be in the mood for exercise. But just do it! Taking a walk, going for a run, going to the gym, whatever it is you do for exercise — get out and do it now! You don’t need to do a real hard workout, but the simple act of exercise can lift your mood immediately. Just do it!
  4. Shower and groom yourself. Laying around in your underwear, smelling bad, is not going to do you any good. Simply showering, and feeling clean, can do wonders for your mood. Brush your teeth, comb your hair, shave, do whatever it is that you need to do to feel clean and good about yourself. Instant pick me up!
  5. Get out of the house and do something. Sometimes, if you stay home lying around, feeling depressed, just getting out (after showering and grooming) will change your mood. Staying home all the time can really get you down, and you may not realize this until you go out and do something. Preferably something on your list (see No. 1).
  6. Play some lively music. I like Brown Eyed Girl, the Kinks, the Ramones, or an upbeat Beatles tune, but you might have your own brand of feel-good music. Whatever it is, crank it up, and let yourself move to the beat. It may just be what the doctor ordered.
  7. Talk about it. Got a significant other, best friend, family member, co-worker you can talk to? Bend their ear. That’s what they’re their for. If you don’t, there are hotlines, or professionals, you can talk to. And then there’s always online groups. These are great places to find someone to talk to. Getting things off your chest makes a big difference, and can be a huge lift. It can also help you work out the reasons you’re feeling down.
  Not convinced yet?  Here are a few more articles to help you:
 What works for you?  Feel free to leave a comment below if you tried any of these tips.

Want to Make Friends After 40? Try these tips.

Want to make friends after 40?  Hey.  Want to be my friend?  Sure.  And you go off…hand in hand into the sunset to play with pieces of bark, climb the jungle gym, or skip rope.  I just made a new friend like this yesterday.  Actually, that’s not true.  I wish it was.

As you enter what seems like a new era in your life, making friends should be this easy, right?  Not so.  I feel like I am personally stuck in some limbo place where I don’t know what to do.  My girls are both, ahhh, both going to be in high school now.  However, some of my friends have younger kids.  They seem to have more time to meet new people because they are in that “I still have to drive everywhere, and go to play dates, etc” phase.

I also have friends who don’t have children, or have kids who have been out of the house a long time.  I want to let you in on a little secret.  This in-between limbo place is hard.  I feel like other people have it together in this area, and I look around and wonder if I just don’t “people” well.  I probably don’t to be honest because I don’t fit in with the norm…and I like it that way to a certain extent.  Working alone doesn’t give me time to socialize face to face.

The difference now, is that people who are in their 40’s actually remember a time when we used to get together.  A time when we had dinner parties, house warmings, Christmas open houses, or just come by for a beverage nights.  So what can someone do to make new friends and rekindle this lost art of socializing?

How to make friends after 40:

  1. You have to be open to the possibility.  Meaning, it might take you out of your comfort zone and you might actually have to say “Hey.  That looks like fun.  Can I come too?”  <<< Now I know this seems like you are inviting yourself, but you are reaching out to see what the response is.  New friendships don’t just happen and maybe there seems to be the same ole’ crew doing things, and they aren’t aware that you might like to come to.  You can hint at it, but I actually suggest just outright saying that you’d be interested in x, y, or z event as well.  See what happens from there.  I bet they didn’t think you’d be interested.
  2. Announce it on your status.  Sadly, most people will read your status before they call, text or ask you what’s up, right?  So say “Hey.  I am thinking about getting a paint night together on x date.  Comment if you’re in.”  Boom.  You have a night out planned.
  3. Make a private list in your journal of what you like to do and what types of people you actually want to attract.  I don’t cross-stitch.  I just threw that out there because I am not going to find new friends at a sewing circle.  I do yoga, hike, walk in the woods (almost the same thing, but not quite), drink wine, be a hermit, go to the mountains, read books, garden, write, journal, listen to 80’s music, pet dogs, be a geek, like to eat food that’s gluten-free, and occasionally paint bad paintings at expensive paint nights.  I could go on, but you get my drift.  I would like to attract people who kind of like the same things as me or at least have a few things in common with me.  The hermit part is actually important because I need friends who ask me to do things, yet understand if I say no because insert hermity excuse.  << it doesn’t mean I don’t want to see people, it just means not then.
  4. Join online groups of like-minded people.  After you have your list, check out places like Meetup.com and/or local FB groups.  Also, you can always volunteer at a local museum or hospital.  What if there’s nothing on the list that you like?  Start your own if you want.  Announce in those NextDoor app places that you are having a book club on x night to read Harry Potter again for the 100th time and anyone who wants to discuss the new things you found after this 100th reading can come over.  Wear your house colors though.

Some people say that it’s a matter of lifestyle and what’s important to you.  That if you want to make friends, you really will find a way, not an excuse.  I agree with that to be honest.  I know that I use excuses to back out of things (I’m in a nest today.  I’m writing.  It’s cold.), but lately I looked up and felt panic.  Holy Crap.  My kids are almost in college.  I need to make more of an effort.  And I do believe there’s time for us all to make more of an effort no matter your age.  So let go of the “My house is a mess” excuse, and start planning an event.  I’ll bring the wine or gluten-free snacks.  If you tell me I can wear my pajamas over that’s a plus.

Interested in uniting separately in your own homes to work together with my like-minded journal therapy group?  Read more here >>> HHH Club <<<

5 Money Beliefs You Need to Leave Behind

A long time ago, I worked in the projects.  You actually don’t understand poverty until you have seen people who really do live in areas considered “below the poverty line”.  I know that doesn’t help you right now, but it needed to be said.

On the flip side of this, if you actually do have money, do you feel like you aren’t entitled to it?  Do you feel bad for having it?  You see, for a long time, I felt really bad about money after seeing children from poverty.

I was a teacher, yes.  I struggled just like everyone else to make ends meet.  To be honest though, I never struggled as badly with little money as I did when I had more money, and then suddenly didn’t have as much.  Life’s funny that way.

What lessons did money really teach me then?

  1. I was not as poor as I imagined.  I didn’t have any idea how to use food stamps.  I could actually pay for gas for my car and did not have to use public transportation.  My belief was that I was really struggling.  And while I was, it was not at a level that some people are currently facing.  Money showed me that lesson and in turn, I thanked God for my current situation.  I became a mentor and took children out in their neighborhood to places they wouldn’t have been able to go without my help.
  2. I was not as rich as I imagined either.  Money is hilarious.  It taunts you to spend it and spend it you do.  Then that funny guy called Visa calls on you one day and you owe $20,000.  For house remodeling…that you did to save money.  Oops.  My belief was that I could always make more…that is until the day I got really sick.  I had not learned the save for a rainy day lesson.  I was out that day.  Sick.  I needed to have a savings, so lesson learned.
  3. I was “always” going to be in debt.  You think there is absolutely nothing you can do, but you are wrong.  You can actually call credit cards and reduce your rates, work to pay off the least amount or the highest interest rate, and continue to visualize your debt being paid off.  Here is the part where I start to lose you.  I did good things.  I paid for things, donated, and such…even when I had not as much as others, and more than some.  I tried very hard to get out of this fear mentality that debt wants you to be in.  I knew that it was not going to be forever and I was right.  The belief that it was going to get worse held me back.  It almost stopped me in my tracks, but I made a plan.  This is the hardest of the steps I think.
  4. Others seem to have it “easy”.  There were times I would look at other people’s posts and think wow!  What a nice vacation.  But you know, they split it 3 ways maybe and I didn’t know that.  Or you might see the “I did a great job and got a raise” post.  They don’t mention it took them 5 years of hard work.  Don’t always think that the grass is greener because you know I say it’s Astro-turf.  Some people just make things appear as if it was handed to them, and it’s okay.  You know you are a hard worker and there’s no shame in being real.
  5. Throwing in the towel by saying “I can’t afford that.”  When I was driving my mini-van into the ground…with the oil leaking, the tires deflating and fixed more times than I can count, the hood looking like hail had beat it to death, and the hub caps rusting, anyway, I thought “I will not be able to afford a new car anytime soon…but I have to”.  I started changing the way I thought that year.  I had used that car to get me to more doctor’s appointments than I could count and it had been a good car, but it was time to move on.  So I wrote about it as if it happened.  Over and over again.  Each month.  And then it happened.  We donated our car to a good cause and I bought a vehicle I had long since wanted because one of my illnesses left me with really sensitive hands to cold…and the vehicle came with a warm steering wheel control as well as butt warmers!!!  I thought it was heaven.  I still do.

Money is energy.  I see that now, and I also know that I actually have more control over my actions with it than I previously realized.  I don’t use it as an excuse, I don’t hide behind it, but I don’t need to lie about it either.  When I want to go after something now, I just work harder, and put more energy into my plan.  I don’t if you believe this, but try it sometime.  Don’t let money control your thoughts…control your thoughts and therefore control the flow of money.  ~Aimee

Money beliefs

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