Friday, April 28, 2017
We're all involved in relationships, and no two are alike. The easy ones bring joy and comfort. The impossible ones may stay for a while, but most of the time they don't last. The difficult ones may take some work, but we usually feel they're worth keeping. And each one is there for a purpose, to bring a blessing and/or a lesson. No matter what, our life is blessed by people.
When dealing with those difficult ones it's wise to first know yourself...to understand your feelings when someone ticks you off. What bothers you and what doesn't ...and why? Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? Are you tactful or confronting...quiet or outspoken...judgmental or accepting? What are your fears and insecurities? And what ability or talent can you express to others? You may have valuable qualities of which you're not even aware. The better you understand yourself, the better you'll understand others, even the difficult ones. So know yourself first, and then focus on the people in your life.
Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; often times we call a man cold when he is only sad. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
A person's behavior patterns are clues that reveal much about them. And difficult people may require closer attention to understand their behaviors. The more you observe and understand, the better equipped you are to deal with them. They may have inner fears or insecurities that cause troublesome behaviors that frustrate or irritate you. Maybe there's fear of losing control, losing position, revealing weaknesses, or some other hidden fear. Or there may be some emotional pain the person is not comfortable sharing. We all try to protect ourselves in some way, and we may use negative behaviors to cope. We can't see inside of another person, but knowing and understanding as much as possible may lead to a better relationship.
Everyone is unique with particular talents or abilities, and these become part of who they are in the world. Some can fix problems, some are comforting, some are fun, some give good advice, some are good listeners, etc. But no one is all of these, so we can't expect anyone to be everything to us. Nor can we be everything to everyone else. But learning a difficult person't talents and abilities can be used to create a more harmonious relationship.
Some of the best people with whom you can have a relationship are the people who challenge your thinking. T. D. Jakes
Years ago when I worked with a mental health team in a jail setting, one Sergeant felt threatened by our presence and always gave us a hard time. So I devised a plan to soften his attitude. I noticed he was organized and had a talent for keeping his floor running smoothly with few problems. So I assumed a subordinate attitude and began complimenting him on the exceptionally good work he was doing. Well, his frown quickly changed as he threw out his chest and smiled with ego satisfaction. From then on, our difficult relationship became one of congenial cooperation. So compliments are sometimes useful in melting a negative attitude.
Sometimes things work and sometimes they don't. So if your efforts to create more harmony are not producing results, it may be time to regroup and alter the way you relate to a person. If there's conflict when you try to discuss deeper personal issues with someone, but it's absolutely necessary, then do it. But try to generally relate to them on a lighter, more surface level, so as not to step on thin ice. Avoid areas in which they become defensive. Try to understand where they're coming from, and help them feel safe with you. But if nothing works, be willing to let them go.
Sometimes God uses difficult people, like sandpaper to rub the rough edges off us. Joel Osteen
If you want to keep a difficult person in your life, try to look past behaviors that disturb or irritate. And don't get caught up in their chaos. There's good in everyone, even those who come across otherwise. So look for qualities in them that you can enjoy. You wouldn't want to keep them if you didn't already see something of value, even something to help you learn and grow. Approach all of your relationships with love and as much understanding as you can muster. You just might find a diamond in some rough exteriors. And their lives just might enrich yours.
I wish you many happy relationships.
Friday, April 21, 2017
Many, if not most people today are familiar with Eric Berne's psychological theory regarding the parent, child and adult ego states, different parts of ourselves from which we function. The parent expresses our value systems, morals and beliefs, and may be critical or nurturing. The child is our feeling self. And the adult uses rational thinking and problem-solving, and tries to keep the parent and child in balance. If we become familiar with these parts of ourselves, we can work with them and create a healthier, happier life.
We've all had traumas and painful experiences as children. But you don't have to be adversely affected by the past when you start healing the child within. Unknown
Since the child is our feeling self, when you feel sad, hurt, angry, scared, frustrated, any painful feelings, that's your child crying for help. And your child needs attention. We're all human, and we will have those feelings sometimes. They're part of life, and we can't totally shut down all negativity. But you can be aware of your feelings, know where they're coming from, and turn to your inner child with love and compassion. You can learn to diminish the negative and increase the positive feelings. And your inner child, and thus you, can learn to be happier.
"It is necessary to own and honor the child you were in order to love the person you are." Robert Burney
As you become more familiar and relate more with your inner child, you'll know right away how to work out any painful feelings. And you and the child part of you will feel more like the one person you are. But it's also important to recognize your parent self, the self that can be critical or nurturing, and your adult self with its rational thinking and problem-solving skills. Then when your parent self gets critical, you can call on your adult self to handle the situation and free your inner child from more hurt.
"She held herself until the sobs of the child inside subsided entirely. I love you, she told herself. It will all be okay." Raven Rose
Seems like you go in and out of different characters, doesn't it? Well, all 3 of them are you, and whether you know it or not, you've been using all of them all of the time...crying with pain, criticizing yourself, and your adult self intervening. Example Scenario: Suppose someone said something unkind to you, and you were hurt and cried (That's your child self). Then a voice in your head said, "Oh, can't take it, huh? Stop that blubbering (That's your parent self). Then you dried your tears and told yourself, "Never mind. You're loved and you do matter (That's your adult self soothing your inner child feelings). We use all parts of ourself automatically.
Now there's another side to all of this. While you're healing the hurts and drying the tears, your inner child would really like to have some funl. You know, the things you used to do before you got so busy. So let her/him out sometimes. Sing with the birds, make funny faces and laugh at yourself, walk in the rain, dance around the house, eat an ice cream cone and let it melt down your belly. The list is endless. The more you laugh, the less pain you will feel. And it will be so much easier being you.
There is a child inside all of us who continues to believe that it can always get better. That it doesn't end here. Vienna Pharaon
When your child self is happy, you look up instead of down. It raises your sights to who you really are...God's beautiful creation who only wants good in your life. You have the strength to successfully meet life's challenges. You have wisdom to make wise choices and create peace instead of pain. You have the courage to bring what's good for you into your life and rule out what's not. You live each day with faith and hope. And you learn to love your wonderful self. You heal your inner child, you heal yourself. And life can be so good.
I wish you fun being you.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
If you're like most people, everyday you drive your car to a destination. And you handle gas, oil, water, tune-ups, and repairs when needed. Maybe you take a bus or train, but you always have transportation during your life journey. So you probably use many vehicles over your lifetime. But do you ever think about the only vehicle that transports you throughout that journey without any trade-ins? Think about it. It's more valuable than any car you'll ever drive. Yes, it's your remarkable body that gets you through your lifetime in spite of all the challenges you may encounter.
I stand in awe of my body. Henry David Thoreau
Our body is an absolute miracle to be cared for and used wisely. But we move through each busy day with little thought of its welfare and the many ways in which it serves us. We don't see it as the vehicle that houses all parts of our total self working together as one beautiful entity. We're usually not aware of our body until aches and pains crop up, but each precious part of us needs daily attention if we're to fulfill all we're meant to be. As a car needs gas, oil, and water to function, our body needs food, water, air, sleep, and lots of TLC.
Do you ever think about the food you take in every day and how it actually nourishes you? We consume protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, minerals, and plant based molecules that serve as antioxidents, anti-inflammatories, and anti-cancer agents. We routinely consume food every day without thought of its value. Do you ever look at a glass of water and wonder why it's so important? Water regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, flushes out waste products, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, makes minerals and other nutrients accessible to the body, protects body organs and tissues, and moistens tissues such as mouth, eyes, and nose. All that in a glass of water? Remarkable.
We don't think about breathing unless something happens and we're short of breath. And we realize the value of air. Each breath carries oxygen to our cells and powers every process in our body. Then carbon dioxide is released with pollutants and foreign organisms. Sounds simple, but life depends on it. Refresh and Release. Wonderful. But did you know that air also contributes to sound which we need to make words?
Thinking about our body, we can't forget about our brain. That's what keeps us on the right path on our journey. Our brain is equipped with several levels of brain waves, ranging from very alert to deep sleep. And they're constantly in motion depending upon what we're doing. Theta Healing says, "Everything you do or say is regulated by the frequency of brain waves." During times of deep relaxation, Theta brain waves activate the body's natural self-healing processes. What about that....your body can heal itself.
I used to think my body shut down when I slept, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, during sleep our bodies restore and rejuvenate, grow muscle, repair tissue, synthesize hormones, and solidify and consolidate memories. And after sleep, we retain information and perform better in memory tasks. I better check on that one. I don't feel that smart in the morning.
"Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel." Kevin Trudeau
Much is constantly happening in your body, but you carry more than flesh and bones. You're given a mind to understand and reason, to choose, to create, and relate to others; your heart keeps faith and hope, it loves and forgives, and brings smiles instead of tears when life knocks you down; spirit comforts and reminds you of who you are; and your soul is who you are. The years take their toll, but inside is the spark....the light....the eternal motor that keeps you going while all the finite parts serve you on your journey.
Your body has needs only you can supply. So listen to your body for direction. It's the barometer that knows what you need no matter what your mind may be thinking. And you'll hear it speak if you pay attention. Love and care for this magnificent gift, and allow it to take care of you. You are blessed.
What I've presented in this article doesn't even touch the magnitude of this remarkable creation. And you may disagree with some of my thoughts. But I continue learning. And I invite you to learn too.
I wish you health and happiness in your discoveries.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Music is the voice that tells us that the human race is greater than it knows. Napoleon Bonaparte
Healing music fills our world and runs through our lives everyday. But we're so busy we miss the beauty that comes with meaningful music that touches our heart and really makes a difference in our daily life. And health issues, anxiety, and depresson either take us down or run beneath the surface hidden from the world as we struggle to function.
A few years ago, I developed a chronic health challenge that kept me wired up, and I was in a constant state of anxiety and depression. Then I discovered two sources of healing music. And oh, what glorious sounds.
Stephen Halpern's incredible music is like nothing you've ever heard. He uses music for healing, without continuous rhythm or recognizable melodies. And it draws you into a natural state of harmony and balance. When I sat quietly and listened to Halpern's Chakra Suite, I was embraced in the quiet relaxation and peace I longed for. This music touched my soul, and helped me through a difficult time.
Then there was Il Volo, three amazing young men who brought their glorious music and Italian voices to the world. I didn't understand the Italian words in most of their songs, but their voices spoke to me about life. And their expression touched my heart with the realization that we humans are blessed with beauty we're not even aware of. As I listened, I felt alive. And my life was meaningful.
But as time passed and I felt good again, I forgot and drifted away from my daily music routine. And fatigue, anxiety, and depression crept back in. So I've returned to Halpern and Il Volo. Perhaps my angels are teaching me a new lesson, because listening to Halpern and Il Volo now, I've become aware of other voices in the world, the ones we don't hear as music. But sometimes that music we don't hear can fill our hearts with joy and heal our deepest pain, if we listen to its songs.
If the sight of blue skies fills you with joy, if the simplest things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice for your soul is alive. Eleanor Duse
That healing music is all round us; a song in the wind blowing through trees, waves hitting notes against the shore, bees humming around a flower, or children's laughter. Now I even whistle with birds in my back yard. Yes, really. It's all music. And our most important song is inside of us. We all have our own voice, the unique way we express ourself. And we have the power to choose our songs.
In the grocery store, one of the clerks always smiles, asks how I'm doing today, and if I want paper or plastic. She sings the same words everyday, and the title of her song is, "I care about you." I know this because I feel her caring voice expressing the words. (Some really do care) My niece sings with smiles from her wheelchair, and I know writers who put their songs on paper. Ah, the music.
Michael Jackson said, "To live is to be musical, starting with the blood dancing in your veins. Everything living has a rhythm. Do you feel your music?" It can lower your stress level, help heal your body, and lift your unhappy soul to new levels of peace and balance. Each day listen to the music your world has for you, and express your own music to others. You have the voice within you to choose your song. Sing it to the world. There's healing and happiness in sharing the music.
I wish you songs to sing and joy to share.
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Life itself is a series of problem solving. That's what we do. We move through each day on various levels of energy, sometimes easy going and sometimes difficult. Everything affects everything else. So with experience, we learn what to expect and how to handle what we encounter. And we do pretty well in that environment. But what about those unexpected situations that suddenly arise without warning. Sometimes they seem to come out of nowhere, and may be the result of our own actions. Most of the time they're fixable situations, but some can put your life in turmoil.
It's the unexpected that changes our lives. Unknown
Some unexpected situations may seem fairly miner but can skyrocket your stress level....like when you're ready for work and discover your car has a flat time; or you forget to register your kid for summer camp; etc. Those situations can force you in a direction you didn't know was coming.
On a more serious side, you suddenly lose your job; or a major health issue invades your life and robs you of your independence. A few years ago after a hurricane had passed, a gigantic tree limb crashed to the ground in my back yard. I was grateful it spared my house, but the thundering sound was deafening, and I was frozen to the shaking floor. Removing that tree limb became a major challenge.
Another time through no fault of mine, I was suddenly in a serious car wreck. I spent 2 months in residential treatment, and went from a wheelchair to a walker and then a cane. Recovery was long and hard, and I didn't drive for a year. Serious yet, if you suddenly lose a loved one, this kind of unexpected trauma requires some inner healing and time with others close to you for understanding and comfort. And the loss may always be there.
Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference. Virginia Satir
We all respond in different ways to the unexpected. Sometimes the first response is to get hung up on 'What ifs'. What if I'm late for work; what if my kid thinks I forgot because I don't care; What if I can't find another job; what if I never get well; what if there's another limb ready to fall; what if I'll never walk again; what if I can't recover. Or you might dive right in with immediate action. If there's danger like a fire, you'd probably swallow your panic and get help right away.
What gets measured, gets managed. Peter Drucker
Unless you're facing an emergency, your first concern should be what you're feeling inside. Panic, even the initial stress, can cloud your mind, and you could miss your best options for a solution. Just a few moments within can make a big difference in your outcome. If you can, let the problem be, and identify what's going on inside. What are you feeling....panic, fear, trauma, anger, regret, sadness, grief? What is it, and how severe? Notice your breathing. Any racing thoughts? Now take some deep breaths, and allow your body and mind to let go as much as possible. And give up the 'what ifs' and 'ain't it awfuls'.
When you're a little more calm, step back and gauge the size of the mountain. Ask, "How big is it really? What can I do about it? What happens if I can't fix it? Where can I find help if I need it? etc." Meet each day knowing you have what it takes to handle whatever comes up. And those puddles may not be as deep as they seem.
"Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations." Unknown
If an unexpected situation is a result of your own mistake, never condemn yourself. Adding a problem to the one you already have does nothing beneficial. So don't do it. Instead, say some affirmations. "I am strong enough to lick this tiger, and smart enough to find a clear road ahead." Sometimes an unexpected difficulty now is the
very thing that may lead you to that clear road ahead. Look for it with clear vision.
I wish you peace in your heart along the way.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Everything we say or do in life is a choice. Unknown
Push a button, turn on a thought, talk, get dressed, drive somewhere, thousands of actions every day. We're creatures of habit, and most of the time we're unaware that each action is a choice, and each choice has a consequence. Of course, we need to form habits to function on a daily basis. But each decision we make creates a result, positive or negative. And it pays to understand the bigger picture, so our major choices can benefit us as well.
For every choice we make we set a cycle of energy and consequence into motion. Caroline Myss, PhD
We take everyday habits for granted. But you choose. And those daily activities probably meet your needs. But what about major decisions about work, finances, relationships, health, home. etc...those choices that are difficult to undo or change? And what about situations that just happen through no fault of yours? A few years ago, I experienced a serious car wreck. I didn't choose the accident, but I chose the route that got me there. So where does it all come from?
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate. C. G. Jung
We learn during our whole lifetime, but for the most part, childhood is where we learn how to live our life making choices. We make them in our own individual way, with a number of factors that influence our methods. And these influences prepare us well or lead us to a series of misguided decisions with negative, even painful, results. As children, the demands on us can create a sense of confidence or mistrust in our judgment.
Situations such as poverty, health issues, disruptive environments, and negative messages can hamper our ability to make sound choices. Trying to live up to roles assigned by our parents can engender security or insecurity. Even where you are in the birth line can make a difference. Nothing written in stone, but the oldest are usually more independent and self-reliant; the middle may feel shadowed by the others; the youngest more dependent and welcome support.
Life is all about choices. Good or Bad; Right or Wrong; Your destiny will unfold according to the choices you make. Unknown
How many people do you know who look back in regret wishing they'd chosen differently in their work, relationships, health, etc? I can't count the times I've done that. I had to experience 2 years of therapy to learn that my fear, insecurity, poor self-image, loneliness, and so forth had altered my ability to choose wisely. And that's when I turned the page with wiser choices and happier consequences.
There's no guarantee that all your choices will be the right ones. But you can learn to create better outcomes most of the time. There's a saying, "Look at your life, and you'll see what you have created." So first look at your life and own responsibility for having created it. Then look at each present situation in your life, and think back in time to what choice you made in the past that created that situation, positive or negative. Some choices may appear to have been mistakes. But re-examine and see if anything good ultimately resulted from them. You may be surprised.
Now consider what there is within you that may influence your choices, positive or negative. Is it doubting your ability, poor self-image, fear of failure, what will people think, etc? What determines the choices you make? Just being in too much of a hurry could be a problem. With awareness and understanding, you can sometimes correct situations in your life with new choices. And those you can't change, you can choose ways to better cope.
The next time you have to make a major choice like buying a product, finding a doctor, a new friend, a job, a relationship, or a major life change, analyze what you're thinking, and get in touch with your gut feeling. Don't expect a perfect answer, but trust yourself, and vanish any fears. Check your options, get a second opinion, gather needed infornation, talk it over with someone you trust. All of this information will empower you to go forth in confidence. You've done your homework, and in the future it will pay off. Maybe not perfect, but you can experience more of the life you long for deep inside. And when you learn, you can teach someone else.
I wish you clear vision and happy results.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
See beyond what you see. That is where Hope is. Unknown
Life is a mixture of things turning out just the way we want, and times when nothing turns out right. Either way, there are no guarantees. We explore, investigate, gather facts, plan and make decisions. It's part of life. But there are times when no matter what we do, a situation is iffy, and we can't be sure of what tomorrow will bring. But then we never can be sure of tomorrow. Life has a way of surprising us, good or bad.
We all know how to enjoy the good times. But those tough times can put us to the test...Row your boat or go down with it. And we respond the best we can. Most of the time when those tough situations arise, we can see a way out. And we resolve them. But some are overwhelming, and we can feel helpless and trapped. Each of us has the inner tools we need to get up when we're knocked down. But in painful situations, we may forget how strong and powerful we are.
One of our greatest gifts is our will to life. Not only to be alive and exist, but to have a life, to grow, thrive, and be all we're meant to be. But that truth is hard to find when you're on the bottom, treading water, afraid you'll drown. And you want to just give up. Pretty desperate. But there are many people who know this place well. Maybe you've been there. Or maybe you're there now.
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness. Desmond Tutu
It's my belief that all living things have this will to life instilled in them, and will fight for life as long as they can. Last month I sat on my front porch looking at my beloved azalea bush with its dead branches and wilted leaves. After 30 years of gorgeous crimsom blossoms, I was told it was dying, and I watched it giving up. It's dear to my heart, and I cried for its loss as I would for a human. But then...then...just recently I saw a few little blossoms burst forth...and more blossoms...and more. Most of the branches are gone, but its heart is fighting to survive with whatever strength is left. It reminded me of our human struggles. And my own heart jumped with HOPE. Now I'll take pictures of it to a gardan shop and see if I can save it. And if I can't save it, I'll honor its gallant memory and the message it gave to me.
Hope is the ability to hear the melody of the future. Faith is the courage to dance to it today. Unknown
What do you do when faced with a dilemma? At first you may be tempted to look outside of yourself for answers, but your first response should be to go within and examine your feelings. If you're already falling apart inside, your mind will not think clearly. If you find any worry, fears, uncertainty, etc, step back, take a deep breath, and claim your innate resources of strength and power with a strong capacity for Faith and Hope so you can move forward.
Even an easy challenge requires understanding and a wise approach to maintain a position of confidence and positive direction. So now look outside of yourself. Clarify your problem and define the outcome you want to achieve. What resources will you need, and what's already available to you? Is there enough money, contacts to help you, useful tools? Are there people or groups in your life that can give you the understanding, compassion, and support you need? And what will you need to create?
Your Faith will give you the strength you need, and Hope will guide you as you move along with your plan to scale another hurdle. This is part of life, and you have a life to live. Make it a happy one.
I wish you Hope and Faith on your journey.