Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Forgive The Regret And Move On

Do you ever look back on your life and wish you hadn't done something you did, or wish you had done something you failed to do? I think we've all been there. Mistakes and regrets. And you may live your whole life agonizing about how different life would be had you made wiser choices in the past. But every decision you've made was based upon your knowledge at the time, and maybe the path you took was necessary to move you to creating something better.

Until age 47, my life was a series of mistakes. Broken marriages, a nomad life, work I hated, wandering through the years with no place to go. Then my mistakes pushed me into being so fed up, there was nothing I could do but find a different path for survival. So I quit waitress work and went back to school, earning two degrees in Clinical Social Work and Psychotherapy. Every time I felt like giving up, memories of my past mistakes kept me going. And my life changed. I still made mistakes, but I didn't allow them to put me back in the pit of despair. Now when I look at my past, I'm grateful for those early years I discounted as worthless.

For the most part, you create the quality of your life, but your mistakes don't need to dictate how you will live. Everyone makes poor choices at some time or another, but what you do with them is important to your future. And getting stuck in regret, self-criticism or blame can sabotage where you want to go now. So one of the most important choices you can make is what to do with your mistakes.

You can harbor mistakes with regret and stumble over them through life, or you can deicde to let them go and forgive yourself for being imperfect. By the way, in my whole life I've never known a perfect person. But I have known some pretty great imperfect people. So you don't need to keep beating yourself over the head and getting into "what if" because you stumbled in the past.

Look inside and see what's in there. Any guilt or self-condemning thoughts? Talk to them. Tell them you've had enough, and you're telling them goodbye. And forgive that inner child part of you that's been suffering for too long. Give her/him a hug surrounded with loads of love and approval. And when you make your next mistake--and you will--do the same with that mistake and all the others that follow. You deserve a life free of regret.

I wish you peace with your past.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Break Ups

We usually think of a break up as with that special someone in our life. But a break up can also be with any person, a situation or even a place--a good friend, family, an organization, the place where you live. A break up means leaving someone or something you're attached to. And that can be painful, or not. But it does mean facing change and making adjustments. Some break ups are what we want and we initiate them, but some are out of our control. And we don't always react to all of them in the same way.

When I got my first divorce, I was surprised by my reaction. I wanted out of the marriage and I initiated the break up, but when I got the final papers, I didn't feel happy like I thought I would. I remember sinking down on the floor in the hallway, leaning against the wall and crying buckets. I was sure I had done the right thing. It was what I wanted. But I felt a deep sense of loss and failure. I'd done all I could to make things work, but it seemed so sad for a family to break up. It took a while to face a new life.

Then years later I was living in Las Vegas, and had to make a move I hadn't anticipated. I was working in the Mental Health Center in my first job as a Therapist. I loved my work, had close friends, and I was very happy where I was. But my mother who lived in another state had a stroke, and I quit my job to move near her and help my brothers care for her. This was a real break up for me, one I would not have made had it not been for the situation. I didn't cry when I left Las Vegas, but I will always miss it. And I'm glad I was there for my mother the last years of her life.

Everyone goes through break ups at some time in their life. It's part of the journey. Some are good and bring happiness. Some are painful and bring a need to heal and adjust. But I think we grow and change a little, or a lot, after each one. Hopefully they make us stronger and better able to face the next one. When you face a painful break up and you have to leave someone or something in your life, do what you can to heal your wounds, and know you can make it. You've made it this far, haven't you? You're probably stronger than you think, and you can make it this time too.

I wish you healing and peace when you need it.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Taking a Break

I'm taking a break this week, and will be back next week. Meet those bumps in the road, and make your journey a happy one.

I wish you a week of happy surprises. :)



Thursday, October 10, 2013

What Is Your Gift?

Everyone is gifted, but some people never open their package.  Unknown

When we were created, each of us was given a gift--something we could express in our life. You may not even realize you have a gift, but you do. And you may or may not be using it. I think gifts are sometimes overlooked, because we believe they need to be something that really stands out, or they don't count. But they come in all sizes, shapes and qualities etc. from small everyday expressions to, yes, something we term as spectacular, such as the number one song on the list or a best selling novel. Yours may not be one of those, but it is spectacular.

There are all kinds of gifts. Some people are fixers, some are good listeners, some are good leaders, some are gifted with empathy and compassion. When I was a child, we had a neighbor who repaired children's bicycles, so they could ride again. Another woman shared her homemade cookies with the children. And I know a woman who is wheelchair bound with MS, and she waves and smiles at everyone, even strangers. I've seen her change gloomy faces to happy ones with her smiles. Now, that's a gift, and she doesn't even see it as that. It's just what she does.

Gifts are something we feel inside, and they express through us. And for each of us, our gift is unique to us. There is no one else like you, and what you have to give is like no other. When we read different people's writing, we hear their unique voice expressing. That's why we're drawn to certain writers. We hear their unique gift. Or we like music by certain musicians for the same reason. And I've never seen a smile exactly like the one the woman expresses from her wheelchair.

The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.  Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is your gift? If you're not aware of one, start noticing what you do well, or little things you do that might be pleasing to someone else, or your habits and what you do without thinking about it. Look inside and ask your inner Voice to show you what you've been given and to guide you in using it. Gifts are meant to be shared, and when you share it, it not only brings pleasure to someone else, you'll feel a sense of pleasure in your heart too. That's the beauty of using your gift. Everyone receives a blessing.

You're more beautiful than you know. Let your life express your gift.

I wish you many blessings.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

How Do You Perceive Your Suffering?

Those who have a "why" to live, can bear with almost any "how."  Friedrich Nietsche

Life is a mixture of happy times and challenges that test our endurance, and each of us experiences life in different ways. But when those tough times come, we all know what it feels like to want the pain to stop. It may be physical, mental or emotional, or all three, and how we perceive our suffering can influence our degree of pain. Sometimes that perception leads us to more pain and our inability to deal with it. When we allow our suffering to become who we are, our true Self gets lost, and our suffering is all there is. But there are ways to change our perceptions. 

For many years I saw my struggle with depression as a curse from which I would never recover. I vacillated between happy times with my children, and temper tantrums filled with regret for stupid decisions that led down the same dark tunnels with no way out. But when two years of intensive therapy lifted me out of my emotional prison and led to a fulfilling career as a Mental Health Therapist, I perceived that my years of suffering led to renewed purpose in my life and provided insight into the lives of my suffering patients. And I understood their pain.

I remember one patient who lived with chronic back pain. His life was falling apart, and he saw no meaning in anything. Then he discovered, through therapy, that while he couldn't stoop or bend, he could lay on the ground, dig with one hand, and grow a flower garden. He still lived with the pain, but by creating something of value his perception of his suffering changed. And I saw joy in his face when he brought me a beautiful lily plant he had grown.

In both of our situations, we released the creative force within us that brought new perceptions and thus new ways to deal with suffering. We both experienced therapy, but that's not always necessary. When you go through any painful time, know that suffering is what you're dealing with. It is not who you are. Use whatever means you can to create something meaningful in your life, and change your perception of your suffering and your Self. With me, it's my writing. I find my Self in my writing, and pain is easier to bear.

Every day acknowledge your Self as the beautiful creation you are. You're here to create and express the essence of your Self. Not your pain. You have the ability to rise above any situation, and your light can reduce any darkness you face. And you can find peace.

I wish you much joy in your life.