Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How To Keep Your New Year New

Hello again. I missed you while I was gone. It's been an eventful couple of weeks for me. First my computer bellied up, stone dead, and couldn't be revived. So I had to get a new one. Then my backdoor slammed on my hand with a force that put my body in shock, and I fainted on my kitchen floor. I was in the hospital 3 times in 2 weeks, and I'm still in the process of recovery.

We never know what each new day will bring. And we never know what each new year will bring. Life itself is a mixture of challenges and easy sledding, and there's no guarantee for what we get. We have more power than we realize to ensure better outcomes, but we tend to take whatever comes. And we forget that each new day or year offers new chances to lighten our burdens and bring more joy.

Have you ever thought of releasing some of those burdens you've carried inside for a long time? Or do you think you're just stuck with them forever? Have you ever watched a child building a tower with blocks, one after the other, until suddenly he puts one more block on top, and the whole tower falls?

That's kind of what we do in life. We get through one challenge after another, but we fail to release our heartaches, mistakes, regrets, losses, whatever brought us pain, and we store them somewhere inside pushing them down when they resurface. And our burdens get heavier. Everything that happens in your life fills a space somewhere inside, and you can only hold so much. But life can become lighter when you clear out old hurts and make room for new happier times.

Think about what you'd like to release. Do you hold a grudge against someone, or mourn a lost friendship, or live with self-criticism over past mistakes, or allow regrets to gnaw at you, or hold anger toward those who hurt you, or a habit that does not serve you, etc? We hold onto these things with both fists and carry them with us. And our new years lose their sparkle. They become just new places to put the old baggage.

So now you're facing a new year, and in order to make this one new, you must clear out some of what you don't want and make room for what you do want. Clear out the old, and make the new ready for more happy times. Before you step over the line to your new year, make a list of all the painful thoughts, feelings, and events you've been holding onto. And make a commitment to let go. Then, in your mind, picture a large balloon, any color you want, and drop your list into the balloon. Tie the top of the balloon and tap the bottom lightly. Now watch it float up into a beautiful blue sky as you smile and wave goodbye to those burdens you've been carrying. And let them go with a happy heart.

As you enter this new year, take with you all the goodness and happiness you've known in the past, and know that you can grow and expand with it during your new year. And this will give you the strength you need when new challenges come. Now you have room to find more of your true self...your beautiful self.

I wish you newness of life with peace in your heart.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Power of Tears Before Your Healing Begins

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love." Washington Irving

Was there ever a time when the tears on your face reflected your breaking heart, and someone said to you, "Stop blubbering, and get a life?" That's the attitude some people have about crying. A sign of weakness? No. Crying is a sign of being human. And all you wanted...needed...was for someone to understand without judgment or criticism.

Tearless grief bleeds inwardly. Christian Nevell Bovee

Or suppose you force a weak smile and choke on your tears so no one will know you're dying inside, and someone might say, "What's 'wrong' with you? Can't you at least be sociable?" They don't know. How could they. It's your secret.
We encourage tears of joy. Seeing someone's happy tears brings happiness in us. But what are you supposed to do when you lose someone you love or something important to you like a job, income, your home, a friend, your health, etc, and you experience emotional suffering? Tears well up inside for a purpose. They're your gift for healing. And there should be no shame in allowing them to pour out. They may not change a situation, and some broken hearts may never heal completely, but tears can cleanse the soul and bring you peace. They reduce stress and supply the strength you need to go on and do what you can to remedy a situation when possible.

Don't discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak. The Shack/William P. Young

At some time in our life we all experience painful situations when we either release the pain with tears or stuff it down and work to keep a lid on it, maybe crying only when we're alone. And those times can be accompanied with guilt, embarrassment, self-criticism, shame, etc. After all, aren't we all supposed to be strong and brave...like tears are wrong? No, tears are a necessary part of living and, sometimes, a way to finally smile again.

How to find your smile:
I don't discourage crying. In fact I believe in planned 'pity-parties'. There's nothing wrong with feeling sorry for yourself sometimes. Plan 30 minutes to one hour when you can be alone and cry into piles of tissues, talk to yourself, say things like, 'it hurts sooo bad', 'I feel broken in pieces'...on and on...however you feel. Let your tears flow freely and release your pain.
Then when the time is up and you're thoroughly exhausted, lay on the floor on your back, arms and legs out to the side, and breathe. Feel your freedom to just breathe. Now thank your body for letting go, and allow a smile to linger on your beautiful face. Then when you're ready, go directly to an activity you had in reserve before you started. Maybe mop the kitchen floor to some jazzy music. Whether you feel like it or not.

Pity-parties can help as long as you plan them, and turn them off when the time is up. And they don't need to be planned far ahead. I've used this method many times in the past, and sometimes when feelings got too heavy, I did my pity-party right then. And each one relieved some of my suffering.

In our worst of times, we must look for something to shed light on the darkness. Author 

One time in desperation I went to my Minister, and she asked if there was anything in my home that I thought was beautiful. I said, "Nothing is beautiful to me now." And she said, "Then go find things you used to think were beautiful, and put those in your home." So I brought new plants, flowers, pictures, incense, and music into my home. And I felt some light return where there had been none.

So cry your tears when you hurt. Then rediscover the light in your life, and let your light shine. You always had your light. You just couldn't see it through your tears.

Now this from jonathan lockwood huie. May your spirit soar throughout the vast cathedral of your being. May your mind whirl joyful cartwheels of creativity. May your heart sing sweet lullabies of timelessness.

I wish you healing strength beneath your tears.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Power Of Choice. A Good Thing Or A Bad Thing? And Does It Help Or Hurt?

In every single thing you do, you are choosing a direction. Your life is a product of choices. Dr. Kathleen Hall

We're given free will, and we have power to make choices. Then we tend to label things good or bad, helpful or hurtful. But the initial outcome of our decisions can be deceiving. What we at first consider a negative outcome can be a blessing in disguise. Our choices take us in many directions. And the process can be complicated.

Formula for choosing: We choose with our mind, our heart, or both, and our formula in this process depends upon many variables. We come into the world with inherent traits, and during childhood those traits are either nurtured or discouraged by our environment. We're molded into a personality, and what we learn from our experiences influences the way in which we make choices.

 Blockages to positive outcomes: In our own unique way, we sometimes create outcomes we don't consciously intend to create. An impulsive person may make impulsive decisions, and then suffer disappointing consequences. Being fearful of making a mistake can cause hesitancy in choosing. A lack of self-confidence may cause someone to lean too much on the opinions of others, and lose out in the long run. Much depends upon our personal approach.

The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live. Flora Whittemore

We don't realize how many hundreds, maybe thousands, of times each day we choose something...coffee or tea, which radio station or TV channel, back door or front, answer that call or not...on and on. And most of the time we don't say, "I think I'll choose this instead of that." We simply choose and then act upon our choice, unaware of the brain and heart activity at the time.You may believe that only the 'big' choices are important, like those pertaining to work, relationships, health, finances, etc. The rest is just little stuff. But that little stuff is part of your overall approach to decision-making. And all of your choices determine the quality of your life, with consequences depending upon the importance of each choice.

Choice is strength. Having choice is also freedom. Coulter Watt

And having choice is a blessing. You choose what you want in your life, and you can choose to be happy with a positive attitude. You choose. Then the happier and more satisfied you are, the more good you can bring into your world. Maybe you're already a good decision-maker but, once in a while, when you create a negative outcome, you can choose to learn from it and find a blessing in that lesson. I used to be an expert in creating painful outcomes from well-meaning choices. And I didn't see a blessing in any of it. But sheer frustration and 2 years of therapy saved me. Now when I occasionally goof up, I can find the blessing. We're all works in progress, aren't we?

So how do we reduce the goof ups?

First step in decision-making: The first step is to train yourself to be a good decision-maker, so you can choose wisely.
1. Get to know how you make decisions. Impulsive, thoughtful, thorough? Clarify your strengths and weaknesses.
2. Notice what you feel when faced with a minor/major decision. Fear, discomfort, confidence?
3. What do you really want in your life? Or not want? Be specific.
4. How much do you trust yourself? Or others? (family, friends, sales people)
5. Think about your past mistakes, and what you might change. How do you handle mistakes? Guilt, anger, let it go, learn from it?
Next step: Choosing.
1. Know the outcome you want, and clarify your requirements.
2. Gather information. Read, ask questions, explore your possibilities and ways to get what you want. Will your choice hurt you or help you?
3. Analyze and compare different choices.
4. Explore your alternatives. Consider outcomes, positive and negative.
5. Now leave your mind, and quietly go within to your intuition. What is your heart telling you? Listen with your full attention.

Now choose, not in fear, but with confidence. You know yourself better, and you've done your homework. You've learned well, and you will goof less. And you're blessed.

I wish you many wonderful outcomes.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Where Do You Go When You Need Understanding And Compassion?

Life promises to give us a variety of experiences, and it certainly keeps its promise. Just when we think we're sailing downhill, a cloud fills our path, and we're hoping for a miracle. Maybe most of the time, we're able to cope and move on, but there are times when we're emotionally bogged down and need help climbing out.

You already know how to solve your problem, but you're hurting, and you don't have the emotional strength to move ahead. Right now you need support to know you're not alone--you're loved--you matter. You need help.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

Family and friends may respond with either pity or compassion. Both can feel sorrow, but one will help and the other won't. Pity is a more passive response. It doesn't require becoming emotionally involved with understanding or feeling your feelings. And it doesn't improve a situation. You may hear people say, "C'mon. Smile. It's not that bad," or "Count your blessings," or "I had the same thing happen to me, and I got over it." Well, that is them, and you are you. And they don't get it.

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. Dalai Lama.

In excerpts from an article by Tris Thorp, Master Educator at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, she says, "Compassion has the ability to connect and heal. To actually feel someone's pain is to be empathetic and to be passionate to help that person create a different experience. When you look upon those in need with compassionate eyes, you can act as a support or lend a helping hand if needed. Showing compassion means being there for another without judgment--being a pillar next to which they can stand."

 Sometimes all we ask is that our words be heard and our feelings be validated. Randi G Fine

Have you ever gone to someone for help and left feeling even more empty and alone? Years ago, I was going through a hard time, and I went to family members for emotional support. Their response was telling me what to do and venting their own problems. They hadn't heard anything I said, my pain, my feelings, etc. So I talked with my Minister about it, and she said we all have gifts--something we do well--but we don't all have the same gift. And not everyone knows how to listen, understand, and support with love and kindness.

She said think about what gifts the people in your life have, so you'll know who can share your feelings and give you the understanding and compassion you need ... and who can't. Then when you're going through the pain of a difficult situation, go only where you know you'll be supported, and go to others for other needs. But love all of them anyway, and give your own gift freely with love.

Well, a couple years ago an old patient of mine said all this in just a few words. She said, "You can't get bread from a hardware store." How profound. Now I know who's a hardware store and who has the bread (support). So I know where to go when I need understanding and compassion.

As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way. Mary Anne Radmacher

There are many kind people who have difficulty dealing with another person's pain. And if you're one of those, look at your own life and discover your gift. You may not be aware of what you would call a gift, but you do have one--something you do well. And you can use your gift to put some light in someone's life. When just talking with someone, listen to their words and hear with your heart. Give your gift with a smile, and you both will be blessed. And when you're hurting and need help, look for the bread store. :-)

I wish you blessings whether giving or receiving.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Using Health Challenges As Windows To Self-Discovery

In our travel through life we live in mostly predictable patterns involving every aspect of life. When we get up in the morning, we expect our day to be as we've already imagined it. Our plans are made, and we expect to fulfill them. And we don't want unexpected occurrences changing any of it. No interruptions, please.

But whether we like it or not, unforeseen things do happen, like a check bounces at the bank, the car has a flat tire, your kid missed the school bus, you forgot an important appointment, etc, etc. All bothersome, but part of daily life and fairly quickly resolved or at least tolerated. But what happens when unexpected illness invades your systematic life, like a ferocious belly ache, a hip replacement, a fractured leg, the flu, various viral infections, etc, etc. Such health challenges are not life threatening, but they put your life on hold, and they require more than a band aid.

Ten days ago I had eye surgery to remove old lens debris from cataract surgery 7 years ago that just now caused a cloud over my eye. After surgery I spent 2 days exhausted and a little dizzy, maybe from anesthesia, most of the week with visual restrictions, not driving, and I'm still using eye drops and an eye shield at night. I never heard of such a thing, but it's a good example of how a health challenge can suddenly interrupt your life.

Some perceive even a minor illness as devastating, while others take it in stride. The way you perceive it depends upon your personality and the way you view your life. It may involve physical pain, frustration, annoyance, guilt, self-criticism, worry, resentment, added expenses, etc. And it may rob you of your mobility, freedom, and independence, leaving you feeling helpless. It interrupts your daily plan for living and leaves time on your hands that doesn't fit in with your scheme of things.

Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you. They're supposed to help you discover who you are.  Bernice Johnson Reagon

Over the years we're given many opportunities to learn and grow as our own unique, special self. But do you ever see such a blessing in those health challenges that knock you off your familiar path? How do you respond in those situations? Do you stomp your feet and throw things because you can't keep that important event? Do you worry about being late paying the electric bill? Do you worry about the unknown? Or do you take advantage of each situation to observe yourself and discover more of who you are?

The wish for healing has always been half of health.  Lucius Annaeus Seneca
My eye surgery could have been more stressful had I not learned from a bout with pneumonia last spring with 3 days in the hospital, then home with medication and oxygen 24/7. That oxygen hose hanging from my nose and dragging the floor around my feet and legs slooowed me down enough to turn on some self-observation. And I'm learning a lot about myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. I don't like being sick--I'd rather be swimming with an alligator in Silver Springs (a tame one)--but now I'm better able to view illness not as an enemy, but an ally there to help me. I'm learning more about me, and I'm transferring what I learn to other aspects of my life.

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr

When you go through a non-life-threatening illness, and your life has been put on hold for a while, quiet your mind and ask what you can learn from that experience. Clarify your thoughts and feelings. And pay attention to how you react to physical pain and/or your situation. What are you losing and gaining? Question your life style. Are there positive changes you can make? Use this extra time to learn more about you...the most important person in your life. And come through it changed in some way with gratitude.

I wish you happy enlightenment.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Could The Vows You Make Be The Answer?

We make many vows during our journey through life, either written, vocal, or just a thought, and they get tucked away in our subconscious where, sometimes, we forget about them. But they all have a consequence, positive or negative. Do you ever wonder why certain people or situations are a struggle for you, and you're confused about the way some things in your life turn out? Maybe your vows are behind some of it.

We make vows at any age, but children are especially impressionable, and they oftentimes respond to their environment with vows. The child hears, "You're stupid." So he vows, "I'm too stupid to do anything right, so I won't even try."The child hears, "We don't have money, so stop asking for things." So she vows, "I won't expect anything. Then I won't be disappointed." And so vows are formed and patterns for living are established.

We walk through each day doing what's ours to do, seldom in touch with that subtle something inside that motivates our actions and determines outcomes--those vows we made in the past. But our vows have power, and they do influence our lives. Vows are made for 2 reasons, to avoid what we don't want or to help create what we do want. But each kind can be tricky. And we may not always get the results we want.

Avoidance: We think avoiding something protects us from painful situations, and maybe it does, but it may end up depriving us in the long run. When I was 6 years old, my father died, and no one was there to comfort me. I made a vow that I would never need anyone again and never bother anyone with my problems. I've spent my life true to that vow, being independent and taking care of myself. And I've learned it's lonely being alone inside. Now in my old age, I realize all I missed along the way because I clung to my vow.

A small, shy child who is never chosen for baseball games in elementary school may be a wizard at baseball in his backyard or in the park. But to avoid any future rejection, he vows never to try again. And will never know the thrill he might have had making the winning home run for his high school team. He may also spend his life afraid to compete for anything, like a job promotion or the attention of his pretty next door neighbor.

Positive Creation: When you hold a vision of something you want to bring into your life, but you're afraid to move forward with it, a vow to release what's holding you back can serve you well in different areas of your life. And it can be made in the form of an affirmation such as the following by Louise Hay, "I now free myself from destructive fears and doubts." The vow can be heard in these words, and it can give you the confidence you need to create your vision.

Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself. Coco Chanel

You're not being yourself when you're functioning from a vow made in fear. That's not to say you're never afraid. Your human self knows fear, and sometimes that's useful when it's justified. But being authentic means you work toward recognizing when it's the real you or when you're coming from unrealistic vows. So take a look at your life, and make a list of what's working and what's not working.Then ask if a vow could be holding you back when you have all you need to go forward. And ask your Voice within to reveal your answers. Now here's where a creative vow would be useful. "I vow to listen carefully for the answers I need and to draw on my Divine wisdom to guide me on my authentic path." Use whatever vow feels right to you. You're on your way to freedom.

I wish you freedom, wisdom, and much happiness.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

PTSD And Hope For Returning to a Meaningful Life Part 2

Statistics on PTSD reveal that this condition is more prevalent than imagined. According to the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, about 7 or 8 out of every 100 people in the U.S. experience PTSD at some point in their lives. And according to the U.S. Department of Defense, as of 2013 rates of PTSD have been estimated at up to 20% for vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Information on PTSD is endless. Entire books are written about it. But without first-hand experience, most people know little about it and may not recognize symptoms in others. Some suffering is visible, but sometimes it hides behind a facade to hide feelings of guilt, shame, and weakness. And people may suffer alone rather than seek help.

Causes: PTSD can result from a single life-threatening event, such as a car or plane crash, robbery, fire, physical attack, rape, etc, OR long lasting trauma, such as physical, mental, or sexual abuse, trauma during childhood, traumatic jobs, etc. Risk factors may involve a person's stress tolerance, biochemical changes in the brain and body, and a person having little or no support after the event.

Symptoms: Symptoms can run the gamut from mild to severe. NIMH suggests 3 types of symptoms: Re-experiencing in which the victim re-lives the trauma over and over through nightmares, flashbacks, and thoughts; Avoiding reminders of the event, feeling guilt, depression, numbness, losing interest in activities, not remembering some parts of the event, anything to avoid thinking about it; Hyper-arousal, feeling on edge, on guard, angry outbursts, fear, self-destructive thoughts. They want to run away, but there's nowhere to run. And with some, it can be torture.

PTSD from military combat can be particularly debilitating and even dangerous. When I worked with a Mental Health Team in the jail, I counseled a young Navy man who suffered severe PTSD symptoms. He had been on the ship's bridge in the Persian Gulf when he saw 2 missiles headed for his ship, but the alert was too late to save the ship, and many Navy men were killed. He began having PTSD symptoms and was assigned to help clean up the section where he and his buddies were housed, and he had to pick up their dead bodies from the flooded water. His symptoms increased, and on the way to the ship's U.S. home port city, he experienced severe trauma with frightening flashbacks, hyper-vigilance, nightmares, and hearing voices. He called his family in another state and told them not to meet his ship, because the city was teeming with dangerous terrorists. After reaching port, he had a psychotic break with voices telling him terrorists were near, and he was arrested for murder. While in jail awaiting trial, he saw a Psychiatrist multiple times, was in the state mental hospital twice, and attempted suicide 3 times, feeling he didn't deserve to live. He was discharged from the Navy, and in civil court was given life in prison without parole. A tragic story for all concerned, and this is not an isolated case. Too many similar situations do happen.

Treatment: Everyone is different, and a treatment that works for one may not work for another. But early intervention and support with psychotherapy, medication, or both are important for any good outcome. The U.S. Department of Defense and NIMH prefer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy involving safe Exposure to events, places, etc with tools such as mental imagery and writing; Cognitive Restructuring in a realistic way dealing with guilt, shame, etc; and Stress Inoculation Training to replace fearful, upsetting thoughts with positive, less distressing ones. But with all the intervention, some of the most important ingredients for healing are love, understanding, and compassion from family, friends, and even from people we don't know.

After my car wreck (Part 1) I was fortunate in the nursing home for 2 months of rehab where medication kept my anxiety in check, and a Psychologist helped relieve my fear. I also used coping skills I knew as a Psychotherapist myself. I'm a careful driver, but since that time 10 years ago, I've not driven at night, and at intersections where someone out of my view may be waiting to turn in front of me, my stress rises

. But that soon abates with self-talk and my angels on the hood of my car.

If you have PTSD, get help. If you know someone who has it, give love, understanding, and
compassion. And be happy.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

PTSD Overview Part 1

PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a mental health condition resulting from a traumatic event, either experienced or witnessed., usually with incapacitating symptoms. PTSD affects every aspect of one's life, such as health, relationships, work, everyday activities, etc, and may cause use of alcohol or drugs to cope. May even cause suicide.

Many people who go through a traumatic experience are able to cope with symptoms and, over time, adjust and move on, and not be diagnosed with PTSD. However, those with PTSD may have difficulty functioning, and without treatment may suffer with symptoms for years. According to the National Institute of Mental Health there are 3 categories of symptoms: Re-experiencing the event in various ways, Avoiding reminders of the Event, and Hyper-arousal.

Since each of us is unique, each would have different ways of coping with trauma. My PTSD involved a car wreck in December, 2004. I spent 4 days in the hospital and 2 months in a nursing home for rehab, and went from wheelchair to walker to cane. I still needed the walker when I got home, couldn't drive for a year, and screamed when I saw a car wreck on TV. My treatment involved learning to walk again and learning to trust my surroundings. Months after the accident, writing memories of the accident helped me release and cope. The following is as I remember it.

                                                       I survived, but my car didn't                                                                

Oh,no. Look out. Slam on brakes. Can't stop. Sliding. Skidding. Push on brakes. Harder. Harder. Keep pushing. Hold on. Can't stop. I close my eyes. Help. Oh, Lord. Bang. Crash. Smash. Metal collapsing. Glass breaking. Deafening. No airbag. I lunge forward...then backward. Arms flying. Head bobbing. Helpless. Round and round, a limp rag swirling in a crazy washing machine. Oooh. Please, stop. Aaah.

Thud. Stop. Gripping silence. I open my eyes. The morning sun is too bright. Look around. Dashboard fell apart. Can't breathe. Can't breathe. I lean back against the seat. Gasping for air, but can't stop screaming. Help. Help. Release my seat belt. Get out. Get out. Run. But I can't move. 

Someone opens the door. A man's voice. "Are you all right?" I reach out and yank his shirt. "No," I scream. "Can't get my breath. Please help me. Help me." He says, "Don't move. Calling 911." I lower my head and watch blood gushing onto my beige jacket, dripping down the front across the zipper. Blood everywhere.

Sirens. I hear sirens. Hurry. Men rush to my car. Questions. Questions. "Where do you live? When is your birthday? How many fingers am I holding up?" I rattle off numbers and dates I see in my head. Dot, dot, dot, like a robot. I don't sound like me. Horrible pain in my chest. Something pulling my hair. So scared. Can't stop screaming inside. Get me out. Get me out.

Policemen. I hear policemen talking. The other driver made an illegal turn. His car is wrapped around a pole. He's not hurt. Two EMTs put a brace around my neck and lift me onto a stretcher. They're gentle. Thank you. The ambulance rushes through streets. I bounce up and down on the board beneath my body. Siren blares in my ears. I'm rushed into ER. People surround me. They call my family and my friend. When I get back from x-ray, my friend is there. She takes my hand and wipes my tears. Oh, God, I'm not alone. I'm safe.

Voices. I hear voices. Fractured ribs. Bruised sternum. Ankle fractured in several places. Multiple bruises all over my body. My forehead gashed open. The doctor stands over me sewing it up. "Close your eyes," he says. "There's a lot of blood." My friend winces and turns away. I squeeze her hand and feel the sutures moving through my skin.

My friend follows me to my room. She hugs me goodbye, and I wipe her tears. She leaves. Now medication dulls my brain. How many hours have passed? It's night. My family comes into the darkened room and hovers around my bed. I don't hear what they're saying. I cry when they leave. I float in peaceful mist and watch pink bubbles dance through white clouds. Now I sleep.

Tune in next week for PTSD Causes, Symptoms, Treatment. Part 2

I wish you peace in your heart.


Monday, October 5, 2015

The Road To Freedom After Divorce

As we go through life, we're joined by others on our journey. Some stay with us, while others, sometimes through divorce, may leave or remain in a different capacity. But each one is there for a purpose. I've heard it said we come together for a blessing, but sometimes that blessing comes from learning a painful lesson. Divorce and the major life change can bring that blessing as one grows through it.

Maybe you're dealing with divorce or know someone who is. Or divorce is somewhere in your past. If so, you know how it turns life upside down and makes you question what was real or what was just a dream you thought was real. It makes you question yourself and who you thought you were. And you don't know the answers. You just know it hurts, and you're not sure of your next step when it's over.

You must let suffering speak, if you want to hear the truth. Cornel West.

Mine was one of confusion. I wanted the divorce, but felt no joy when I received it. I'd like to share an excerpt from my book, Silent Echoes, about my reaction when I received my divorce papers. "One afternoon I was getting ready for work and watching for the mailman to bring my final divorce decree, ready to celebrate my freedom and put the past behind me. The divorce papers came, but afforded no comfort. I walked down the hall toward my bedroom and read the return address, Clerk of the Circuit Court. A strange feeling gnawed at my stomach. Where was the joy? My hands shook as I removed the legal papers and read words I didn't understand, but knowing it said the marriage was over. I felt my body slide to the floor, suddenly consumed with sadness and confusion. My tired back rested against the wall. I mourned what I'd imagined as a child but never found with my husband. What happened? Why had it been such a mess? How could we have failed so miserably? I put my head on my knees and watched my tears sink down into the dark green carpet."

Time brought survival, but I still had much to learn, working through one turbulent experience after another in pursuit of freedom to express my true self. We all move at our own pace on our journey, and each experience is like peeling an onion, one layer at a time toward freedom.

You can do the impossible, because you have been through the unimaginable. Christina Rasmussen

If you are experiencing a divorce:  Internal and external issues create a need for inner and outer recovery work. And you may feel like you've been socked in the belly and can't get up. So right now make a determined intention, commitment, to recovery. And write down your recovery statement.

Then find someone who can help you through all that's yours to do--someone who can help you restore your strength and confidence with understanding, validation, and compassion. Without guilt or judgment, own up to anything you could have done different in the marriage, but know that failed marriage is not who you are. You are still the special person as you were created. Look within for anything you need to release--anger, confusion, guilt, shame, sadness, fear, etc. And let them go. Wayne Dyer offers good advice. "Initiate a habit of choosing thoughts and ideas that support feeling good and powerful, and that elevate you to a higher level of consciousness."

Work on putting new things in your life that inspire you. My niece became a Radiology Tech, and is now very happy working in a children's hospital. She says that without her divorce, she would not have realized this blessing in her life. Be patient with yourself, and keep your eye on the future. That's where your blessings appear.

If you know someone in divorce:  Be there and help them with the above strategies for transition to freedom, healing, and positive change. And you will receive a blessing too.

I wish you freedom to be who you are.


Monday, September 28, 2015

What To Do With Regrets From Your Past That Live In The Present

Do you ever think of your past and find 'what ifs' running around in your mind? What if I hadn't done that, what if I'd done something different? Mistakes and Regrets. And you spend your whole life agonizing about how different life would be had you made wiser choices in the past. Everyone goes through it, but you don't have to live with it.

One day, perhaps, you will see for yourself that regrets are as nothing. The value lies in how they are answered. Steven Erikson, House of Chains.

What kinds of feelings come up when you think of your mistakes...anger about what you did or failed to do, sadness at how things turned out, guilt, stupidity, disappointment in yourself or feeling others disappointment in you? We can be pretty hard on ourselves for being imperfect. 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 ifs' because you stumbled in the past.

Getting stuck in regret, self-criticism or blame can rob you of confidence and clear vision and then sabotage what you may want to create now. You can harbor your regrets, and stumble through life, but every decision you made was based upon your knowledge at the time. And maybe the path you took was necessary to move you to creating something better. Louise Hay says, "Every experience I have is perfect for my growth."

When I worked in the jail with a Mental Health Team, I counseled homeless inmates incarcerated for trespassing, stealing food, yelling at police officers, etc, some with mental illness and some without a mental disorder. And many came from dysfunctional homes with physical and/or mental abuse. I heard a lot of 'what ifs' from them with poor self images and memories of one mistake after another. They saw few worthwhile qualities in themselves and no hope for a positive future. But as I worked with them I found many bright minds with potential for a better life, and many learned to see their mistakes not as reasons for blame, but as learning tools to turn their lives around.

Cut away the nonsense, the drama, the regret, the scars of the past, and make a decision to no longer let them govern your happiness and freedom. Steve Maraboli

Awareness: Sometimes we're not aware of what's churning in our subconscious robbing us of the freedom we need to grow on our journey. If you have a sense of something holding you back, look inside and see what's in there. Any guilt and self-condemning thoughts? Any memories you've hidden somewhere so you don't have to re-live them? Bring them up and begin your road to freedom.

Forgiveness: You're not your mistakes. You're not stupid or incompetent. So you don't need to forgive yourself for being who you are. You need forgiveness for doubting yourself and allowing your mistakes to create a false image of you. Deal with your mistakes and feelings from your true self. Affirm your positive qualities often, acknowledge who you are, and claim your true identity--a beautiful person who goofs up sometimes.

Confrontation: There's power in thoughts and more power in words. So when any self-condemning thoughts come up, talk to them directly, out loud when possible. Tell them you've had enough, and you're letting them go ... goodbye! Refuse to let them hang around.

Comfort: Comfort that inner child part of you who's been suffering for too long. Give her/him lots of hugs with 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're the caretaker, and your inner child needs you.

I can't count the times I kicked myself in the rear end with regret, and it always took a while for those thoughts and beliefs to give up and go away. But each time it was a new step forward. And I wish those steps forward for you.

Let the past go and enjoy your freedom.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Self-Image And Your Light Within

We move so quickly through life today, time for 'self' is disappearing. And it's easy to forget who we are. If someone asked you to describe your self-image, what would you say? Would your answer be swift and firm? Or would you spend time groping for an answer? And would your answer be based upon others opinions of you? You may be surprised at what you'd find if you took a closer look inside.

We are gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light. Mary Dunbar

Yes, you're unique, different, special, an adventure to be explored, with a light within of which you may not be aware. Oh, you may have heard of that light, but how often have you recognized it? This light longs for awareness and expression in your life. And it comes through a self-image based not on lies about you, but on the truth of who and what you are.

Negative childhood messages give a false self-image--I can't, I mess everything up, I'm homely, I'm not worth much, etc. And we go through life revealing our weaknesses and denying our strengths. How can we see our light with eyes blinded by lies?

I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being. Hafiz

I had a friend who's negative self-image was not true, but she'd never searched for anything else. When I gave her my impression with a dozen wonderful qualities I saw in her, tears filled her eyes. She said, "No one ever told me that, and I never saw it. Is it really true?" I convinced her to observe herself and take note of each time she expressed her strong points. She amazed herself with each discovery, and her wonderful self became real to her. Over time, she learned to let her light shine, even in her own eyes.

The first step in self-discovery is awareness. How can we grow if we're not aware of what we're working with in the first place? When I was a child I watched my brother put together model airplanes. First he laid out all the pieces on the table, and carefully identified each one. He was grateful for those ready to use pieces, and happily worked on others that needed sanding down and rough edges smoothed out. No piece was more important than the other. He needed all of them to create a plane that would fly. And if we're to fly, we need to search inside the box, see all the pieces, and work with them without judgment.

When you live from your heart and your self-image involves more of your true self, your light will shine brighter in your life and in the lives of others. What do you see when you smile and say hello to a stranger? How do you feel when you complete a task with love? And what do you hear when you ask yourself if your life has meaning? If you don't get a positive response to such questions, take a closer look inside and discover 'more' of wonderful you--and believe you are wonderful.

Explore inside and identify all the pieces. Keep the qualities you want--work on releasing what no longer serves you in a positive way--and watch your self-image change as you accept and reject. Your true self is already there. It just takes some searching and fine tuning to bring it into the light. And your light is testimony to who you are.

There is power in the words "I am." If you say I am sick enough times, you will be sick. If you say I am poor enough times, you will be poor. Whatever you claim with "I am" will be yours. Say no to the lies, and start claiming your kindness, wisdom, compassion, peace, joy, creativity, all those qualities you were born with as the special entity you are. And allow them to shine in your light.

I wish you joy as you express light in your life


Monday, September 14, 2015

How To Bring Abundance Into Your Life

Many of us go through life everyday thinking we must live with whatever life deals out to us. But you don't need to be content with the status quo. Life can be abundant with love, harmony, health, good relationships, rewarding work, financial security, whatever goodness your heart desires. But it takes daily time, attention and work.

There is only abundance. The only scarcity we have is based upon holding onto certain modes and models. James Arthur Ray

The answer to abundance is within each of us waiting to be tapped into when we know where to look. The Universe functions on energy vibrations, and whatever we manifest depends upon those vibrations, negative or positive. We block our good with low vibration negative thinking. But if we raise our level to a new positive energy vibration with positive thinking, the Universe will answer in kind. Our abundance is already there. We just need to tune into the right vibration and claim it.

Our life journey is usually a mix of positive and negative experiences--rarely all good or bad at one time. But sometimes we're so absorbed with a difficult issue, we forget about a positive issue that exists at the same time. Recently, I was feeling alone and depressed with a health problem, and I couldn't see anything but the pain. Then I had a birthday, and so many birthday wishes flooded in I was re-awakened to the abundance of love in my life. Sometimes we need reminders when our mind is focused on lack.

It takes practice to develop a new ongoing mindset so abundance can become a positive 'yes' attitude--not a sometime thought or desire...not maybe someday...but now.

1. Intention: Intention is a powerful tool that puts productive energy in motion. Write a letter to the Universe asking for what you want, and declare your intent to have it. And hold this thought of intention.
2. Inner blocks: Search within for any messages or beliefs that may block your abundance. ie You're not worthy, you will never have what you want, you will always be poor, you don't have what it takes, etc. etc. Every time you have such a thought, confront it with an affirmation such as this one by Louise Hay, "I deserve the best, and I accept it now. All my needs and desires are met before I even ask." You might even write affirmations on file cards to read through the day.
3. Move to the heart: A desire begins in the mind, but it must move to the heart to manifest. So feel your desire and intention in your heart. Make it your heart's desire, and feel as if you already have it.
4. Focus and Allow: Keep your focus on what you want and envision it in your life. Don't get caught up in where, when or how it will manifest. You don't need to know this. Tune in to a state of allowing it to happen instead of forcing it into manifestation. And let the Universe do it.

Expect your every need to be met. Expect the answer to every problem. Expect abundance on every level.  Eileen Caddy

5. Expect: Expect your good, and record each instance with gratitude when something you want comes into your life, even in a small way. The energy in acknowledgment and gratitude encourages more abundance to come.

There will be challenges and difficult times, but by raising your energy vibration level something good can come out of each experience, and more good will come into your life. If a sense of lack creeps in, immediately change your focus from lack to plenty and note other areas where there is positive abundance.

Do what you know, and stay with your intention to keep your energy positive. If you slip back, it's okay. Stay vigilant, start over and keep going. Love your life, and love your efforts to make it better. You deserve an abundant life.

I wish you the blessing of abundance on your journey.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Experience The Healing Power of Trees

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be quiet to hear it. Minnie Aumonier

There's a place of rest within each of us--a safe haven as we rush through life too worn out to deal with everything that hits us in the face. But to find the peace, comfort, wisdom and strength to meet life's demands, we need to form a connection through daily prayer, meditation, music and nature--whatever way pulls you inside to that quiet place. And one of the most effective ways to reach that place is with a tree.

Trees put oxygen into the air, provide shade from the hot sun, wood for many of our needs, substances for some of our medications, and some provide nuts and fruits to nourish us. What a miraculous gift they are. And their vibrational energy is known to be healing.

In modern and ancient times, trees have held an important place in many cultures for healing, religion and spirituality. In 2004, Japan's National Land Afforestation Promotion Organisation, conducted an experiment and discovered that a forest stroll had beneficial effects on blood pressure, heart rate and the immune system. They also found that people who just looked at a forest view for 20 minutes had a 13 percent lower concentration of the stress hormone cortisol.

In every walk with nature, man receives far more than he seeks. John Muir

In an article by Laura Hamilton in Psychics Universe titled The Spiritual Power of Trees, she says, "The energy of trees can also affect our mental, emotional and spiritual energy. With roots reaching deep into the earth, they have excellent grounding energy. Their vibrations are slower, deeper and more concentrated compared to some other living things. Essentially they give out the energy vibe of safety, security and stability. By coming into contact with a tree, you begin to resonate with the tree's energy and you become more centered and grounded. This can explain the comfort many people feel when next to a tree, or the peace and serenity when they sit under a tree or walk through a forest." She advises hugging a tree and thanking it for helping you ground your energy. As for me, I enjoy sitting under a tree leaning against its strong trunk.

One time while visiting in Seattle, I sat on a shady porch taking in the pristine beauty of giant northwestern trees. I've always loved trees, and just the sight took my breath. Then a nearby tree called my name, and I thought of what I'd heard about the benefits of sitting under a tree. Something shifted inside, and I was drawn to try this new way to reach my quiet place. As I relaxed against the tree, I felt negative energy moving down from my body into the earth. Then the earth poured her loving energy up into my body and joined the powerful energy of the tree. My heart was very quiet, and I was wrapped in exquisite peace and strength. I'll never forget the experience.

As I sat in this quiet, I remembered singing in my school choir many years ago. We sang Joyce Kilmer's poem about trees. Now I understood his poem, and so much more.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Find your way to go within and be quiet. Listen for the truth in your heart. You really can walk through life with peace and joy when you know where to look. And look for a tree everyday.

I wish you peace, health, joy and strength as you walk through each day


Monday, August 31, 2015

Life Comes In Packages. Learn How To Choose The Right Ones For You.

What is beauty or ugliness but a false front that prompts man to make assumptions rather than delving deeper. Kristin Callihan

What do you do when you receive a package? Do you spend time examining it, shaking it, and assuming what it might contain? And does the wrapping affect your attitude about what's in it? Kind of like Forrest Gump and his box of chocolates. Well, that's what we sometimes do with life situations. If a situation doesn't come in a pretty package, we may assume it's not what we want and discard it, missing something wonderful wrapped inside.

Many years ago, I took a job with a mental health team in a county jail setting, not the kind of work I wanted. But I took it until I could find one wrapped in a prettier package. My attitude wasn't productive until I began to open the package and notice the many unexpected rewards in my work. I gradually realized I was in the right place, and spent 10 years in a job I loved. I would have missed that wonderful experience had I not looked past my initial assumptions.

The packaging can work the opposite way too. A certain situation in your life may seem to be dripping in pretty tinsel, so you accept it with great anticipation, only to find it's last week's trash. I learned that lesson. It was the dead of winter when my heat and air unit went out. Freezing. Then came a fast talking salesman glittering in fancy talk and promises of instant warmth. The package he presented brought visions of heat melting the ice from my frozen toes, and I never thought about opening the package to see what was really inside until I realized I'd been financially taken.

Untested assumptions and lazy habits of thought can be shown up, once put in a spotlight of a different hue. Julian Bagini 

Almost every day we're confronted with something new, and our favorite way to deal with unfamiliar people and situations is to assume the nature of what we encounter. But clinging to assumptions with old ways and ideas can sometimes bring results we don't want. It's wise to look closer with different eyes. There may be a prize in the Cracker Jack box...or not. But you have to look inside to find out.

Attitude: When you encounter someone or something new, keep an open mind without any prejudgment. Notice what's apparent and take mental note of what may be subtle. And check your gut feelings against what your mind is telling you. If you feel deep inside that something is wrong, pay attention. But give the person or situation some time when possible.

People in your life: Have you ever accepted someone in your life and wished you hadn't...or didn't and wished you had? Opening the package first might have helped. Learn to distinguish between the honey-drippers, manipulators, sour-faces, and the for-real-genuine-ones. Some may be self-serving, some just unhappy, and others may actually be what you see at first. But know what you want, and know what you're getting.

I once met someone who's habit of giving me advice got on my nerves. But looking deeper, I saw a kind, loving side to her. So I ignored her bothersome habit and enjoyed her other qualities. And we became close friends.

Situations: Whether it's work, finances, a place to live, repair needs, activities...whatever, don't make snap judgments. Look past appearances to the whole picture, and know what's involved. Get used to checking inside the package before you decide to keep it or let it go, so you don't end up with something you don't want.

Summary: Choices influence the quality of your life, and you want to make good choices. So when possible, sufficiently research and learn what's behind the scenes. You will at times make mistakes. We all do. But by opening the package before you choose will minimize those mistakes. And your life will flow more harmoniously. 

I wish you clear vision and happy results.


Monday, August 24, 2015

The Many Forms Of Loss In Life, And How To Survive Each One

 When was the last time you experienced a loss in your life? Are you going through one now? We know what loss is, and no one escapes. It comes in many forms: death of a loved one, loss of job, health, money, relationships, home, your life dream, anything that's important to you. When experiencing loss, something within us changes and may alter the way we think and function in life. It can turn joy to sorrow--trust to distrust--faith to despair--and fear of the unknown. We identify with people and situations in life, and when they're gone, we sense a loss of identity. Who and what am I now? How do I see myself now?

Any growth requires a temporary loss of security. Madeline Hunter.

Loss begins in childhood and continues through life. And the older we get, the more we experience. Hopefully, we grow with each one. As I look back on my life, I'm amazed at the number. I've lost both parents, both brothers, a couple husbands, many homes and friends, including one I thought was a dear friendship, jobs, money, health, my church family, my writing group, and...and. And I'm not done yet.

Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn't you--all of the expectations, all of the beliefs--and becoming who you are. Rachel Naomi Remen

Moving through life, there's always a part of us not yet expressed. And as painful as loss is, it can help bring out more of who you are. It's different for different people. Your loss may seem small to others, but it's yours, and it matters. And your experience can tap into those dormant parts of you, bringing positive change.

Most of us are familiar with Elizabeth Kubler Ross' five stages of grief--denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These are present following the death of a loved one, but they may apply with any loss. And you will respond in your own way. Your first feeling may be disbelief. "How could this happen. Why?" Maybe anger sets in. "It's not fair." Depression is present in almost all forms of loss, but hopefully acceptance finally comes.

Depending upon what you've lost, your healing process is unique to you. Is there hope of replacing your loss--a job, money, home? Or is something gone forever--a health issue, a dear friend, a dream you had? Whatever it is, healing begins, and you must move forward. Allow your feelings to emerge, and address each one.

Resistance: The more you resist your pain, the stronger it becomes. Don't repress the grief. It's necessary for healing. When it comes up, give it some time and experience it. Then turn to an activity. Clean the house, go shopping, call a friend. If you allow it to stay too long at a time, you may find it hanging on constantly. But give it time.

Anger: Address your anger. Maybe you have a right to be angry, and that's okay. Stomp your feet. Punch a pillow. Let it out in safe ways.

Depression: It's your inner child who cries. Allow the tears, and let your child know you understand, and you're there with love and comfort. And help him/her smile again.

Reaching out: When you feel strong enough, reach out to others you feel comfortable with. And add positive things in your life. During one of my losses, I went to my Minister for help. She asked if there was anything in my house I thought was beautiful. Nothing was beautiful then, so she said to bring in things I used to think were beautiful, and find renewed joy in those. I was amazed how beauty returned to me. 

In depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. Albert Camus

Acceptance: Release any ill feelings toward anyone, and use positive intention to heal, accept your loss, and move forward. Explore what you've learned from your experience, and express gratitude. You're becoming more of the whole person you're meant to be. And that's a blessing.

May peace replace your losses.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Do You Believe In Angels?

The most incredible thing about angel miracles is that they Happen. G. K. Chesterton

Today's article is a bit different from what I'm used to writing, but it's what's on my mind and feelings now. Angels. Many people scoff at the notion of angels being present in our lives, but surprisingly, according to various polls and investigations, most Americans do believe in them, and can relate some fascinating experiences with them. Since ancient times, angels have existed in many religions. But today we're becoming more open and receptive to all kinds of phenomena, and we find angels portrayed in many areas of our modern life, like movies, songs, TV shows, greeting cards, etc.

I'd like to share with you how I came to believe. For much of my life I never thought seriously about angels until one day during a routine visit to my dentist. I sat with eyes closed as he prodded through my mouth checking each tooth. And suddenly my mind envisioned groups of angels filling one end of the room, glowing with shimmering white light. Out of nowhere, I was astounded. When the dentist paused for another tool to put into my mouth, I opened my eyes, and there they were, those beautiful angels covering one wall of the room. I sat back, breathless, almost unbelieving. Then I felt a hand on my right arm. But the dentist had both of his hands busy with my mouth. Who? What? When he paused again, I looked. And there was one tall, regal angel with her hand on my arm standing in the same space in which the dentist was seated. I asked her name, and she said Agnes. I felt so close to her. And I've believed ever since.

Later I remembered my mother telling the story about Agnes, my beloved caretaker when I was small. Agnes had fallen and was in a coma. My mother put me, a baby, on Agnes' chest, and I crawled up and nuzzled her neck. Then Agnes put her hand over me and said, "My baby." It was told that I saved Agnes' life. A coincidence? I don't think so.

It's not your imagination, sometimes a 'coincidence' comes with a lot of angelic effort. Author Unknown

Another time I was in a hospital waiting to go through a series of tests. There was a mix up about my appointment, and I was there alone for 4 hours. As time passed, I became more uneasy, even scared. As soon as I asked my angels for peace and comfort, a nurse brought me a warm blanket. Then 2 other patients came over and talked with me. Then a friend I hadn't seen in ages saw me and came over to me. Then another patient came across the room, sat next to me and said, "I hope you don't mind, but God told me to give you a message." She told me what God said, a message of peace and comfort. And my heart felt overwhelmed with gratitude. Did my angels arrange that scenario? I believe they did--like all the many other times they've helped me.

It took a while for me to get used to knowing my angels, but now I talk to them everyday, and I feel they're an important part of my life. Every time I ask for help, I end my request with, "Thank you. I love you." And I know they smile.

When you feel lost, pause and look closely around you. Somewhere, somehow, an angel will be waiting to guide you home. Author Unknown

We can't prove angels exist, but the experiences are too remarkable to not be true. If you don't believe, open your mind to the possibility, and see what happens. If you do believe, talk to your angels even when you don't need help, and see what happens. What if we all believed in angels and asked for peace on earth. What do you think would happen?

I wish you many angel moments.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Coping Through Transition From The Old To The New

Every positive change - every jump to a higher level of energy and awareness - involves a rite of passage. Each time to ascend to a higher rung on the ladder of personal evolution, we must go through a period of discomfort. I have never found an exception. Dan Millman

Each change in life is an opportunity for growth, but some changes require a period of transition from letting go of the old to embracing the new. These transition periods may be almost unnoticeable or painfully profound, depending upon the situation. At times like this, we may want to cling to the familiar, but change is inevitable, and it requires that we accept the transitional state and move through it. This is part of the process.

Do you ever feel stuck, like you're spinning your wheels and going nowhere--you're leaving something behind, but not yet moving in a new direction? This can feel like a dark tunnel with no way out and no end to it. A change is taking place, and you're in transition.

 It's a strange feeling, and you don't know how to live it. Examples: You've never been between jobs before, and you don't know how to live idle days. You've just lost your spouse, and you don't know how to deal with the pain and learn to live alone. Your last child just married and moved out, and the house seems so empty. You've developed an illness that's partially incapacitating, and you don't know how you can live a full life now. You've lost your retirement fund, and you don't know how you will manage financially. (That last one happened to me)

At times, we all find ourselves in the tunnel, and we feel lost. But there are ways to live through it with inner and outer work--with an attitude of acceptance and purpose in your situation. You can walk through your tunnel and find the light, stronger and wiser than before.

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Mahatma Gandi

Now is the time to be quiet and listen for that still small voice inside for help. You may fret and stew and/or cry buckets over your situation, but take some deep breaths, and you'll find comfort and direction in the silence. Revisit this inner self several times each day.

Reflect upon your life as you knew it. Then release what worked in the past but is no longer useful, and embrace the resources you still have. Look at your inner strengths, your coping skills, who you are. You're still you, and nothing can take that from you.

While you're waiting for something new to emerge, look at your outer situation, and be clear on what you need--a new job, comfort regarding a loss, new friends, new activities, different medical care and support, financial help? What do you want at the end of this tunnel? Specify your needs and reach out to any resource that can help you cope now and realize your goal in the future. Act on it, and make it happen.

Ask yourself what's the purpose in all this--the change, the confusion and perhaps pain, the transition to something new. Are you supposed to move to a better life position? Are you supposed to learn something? Clarify where you've been, why you're moving on, what you can learn, and what you want to take with you.

When you find yourself in a transition tunnel, pay attention to your thoughts. Are they taking you into despair or are they lifting your spirits to a higher level? While you do what's yours to do, know this is a time of preparation for the next step on your journey. And allow your life to unfold with peaceful thoughts and feelings as you move toward the light at the end of your tunnel. It's there.

May you learn and grow in peace with each transition.


Monday, August 3, 2015

The Pain of Rejection. Bondage or Freedom. Part 2

Often, out of our greatest rejection comes our greatest direction. Joel Osteen

The pain of rejection can inhibit your natural responses to any number of situations in your life. But with self-reflection you can learn a way out and free yourself from feelings and behaviors that hold you back when you yearn to move forward. You can be free to be who you are, but it's important to understand 3 elements of your rejection. And hopefully, you've been researching these questions.
1. How were you rejected?
2. How did it make you feel?
3. How has it been reflected in your life?

And now another question you may not have thought of. Many people, when they feel the pain of rejection, make a vow to regain a sense of power and protect themselves from being hurt in the same way. Vows seem like protection, but they can ultimately lead to loss instead of gain. Example: A child gives a recitation in school, and is rejected by classmates. So he vows to never speak in public again. This vow protects him from pain in the future, but inhibits his natural ability to speak up for himself in other important situations.

Ships in harbor are safe, but that's not what ships are built for. John Shedd 

When I was 6 years old, I cried, heartbroken, when my father died, but my mother didn't comfort me. I felt alone, unimportant, and rejected. To ease my pain, I made a vow to never need anyone again, never expect help, and take care of myself. Looking back, I understand my mother was a widow with 3 children to support in the Great Depression years and didn't realize my need. But I created an image of being independent, not needing help. So over the years no one offered help. And I learned it's lonely being alone inside. How would my life have been different if I had reached out to others without fear of rejection?

If you made a vow when you were hurt, ask in what situations it held you back from being your whole self? Once you have all your answers, it's time to make a choice. You either live with that put-down voice inside, or you choose to free yourself from fear when particular situations come up. Wouldn't it be great to just be yourself all the time?

In the past you chose to accept the rejection, and you ran with it--the criticism, the pain, the knots in your stomach, all the negative stuff that went with it. And you projected it into your life. Well, now you have the true power to reject the rejection. And you can run with that.

If you hear a voice within you say, "you cannot paint", then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. Vincent Van Gogh

1. Intentions are powerful. Write yours out in first person. Examples: I am now gaining all the courage I need, I am now releasing all pain and fear of this rejection situation, I am releasing any fear of change, etc. Choose your own words. And feel them.
2. Self-talk is powerful. When you feel emotional pain, be the adult and speak comforting words to your inner child. Every day explain you're making changes to release his/her pain and fear. And give yourself hugs with a smile.
3. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is an effective exercise to release what you don't want and increase what you do want in your life. Maybe you've heard of it. It involves tapping on various meridian points on your body to create positive changes. It's too much to fully explain in this article, but check out information and videos on the internet. It's easy to learn and it works. With EFT I released the pain of my father's passing.
4. When you hear that voice inside saying, "you can't", stomp your feet and say, "I can." Then move out, be yourself, and do your thing. If you get criticism or rejection, remind yourself that you're here for a purpose only you can fulfill, and you're so important that if you disappeared, there would be a shift in the universe. Smile and know that's true. No matter what, you shine.

I wish you freedom to be wonderful you.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Pain of Rejection. What Do Your Feelings Tell You? Part 1

Everyone knows rejection. We've all experienced the feeling. It can be a simple put-down with surface wounds that heal quickly. Or it can wound the soul so deeply, it robs you of your full potential. Maybe once you were a confident, easy-going person, but since the rejection you're guarded, skeptical, and you feel you've lost part of your real self. For long periods of time you may not even think about it, but it's reflected in different aspects of your daily life, and you carry it with you with no sign of recovery. It sounds extreme, but it does happen.

Children especially need to know love and acceptance, and they're sensitive to rejection from any source. A child may not be chosen for the team, one child in a family may be left out, they may be called stupid or useless, etc. And scars can be left on young hearts. When I was a child, I moved to a northern city with my southern accent, and my classmates kept asking why I talked funny. I took this to mean I didn't fit in, and to me that was rejection. I cried sometimes when no one saw me, but in time they got used to my curious speech, and I finally felt acceptable in my new school.

Sometimes rejections come in innocent ways, without intention from others to say or do anything hurtful. Or other times they may be deliberate. Either way, we live with them. Adults may feel rejection in broken relationships, problems at work, being left out, their race or religion, different lifestyles or life situations, any way they're considered different. Reasons for rejection are numerous and can come from any source with minimal or severe consequences. And we feel the pain.

The greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity or power, but self-rejection. Henri 

Rejections from outer sources hurt, but what about the way we reject ourselves with all kinds of inner criticism and fault-finding. Maybe that comes from messages when we believed negative remarks and treatment in our world--messages that said you're selfish, ungrateful, unworthy, unimportant, incapable, you don't matter...whatever. We picked up those messages and sent them to our subconscious as truth. Then our subconscious said, "yes", and spits them up when our buttons are pushed.

Healing begins with self-reflection to expose those rejection messages and regain your strength to erase the scars you carry. You may be familiar with feelings of rejection but not clear about what the message is telling you.
1. Get quiet, close your eyes, and identify any fears, negative beliefs and behaviors you see in yourself. Make a list of whatever you come up with.
2. Now connect a feeling with each one. Examples: (belief) Nobody cares what I have to say, and (feeling) that makes me feel unimportant. Or, (behavior) I don't ask for help, because (feeling) when I do, I feel selfish. Continue your list, matching feelings with what you see in yourself. And allow yourself to really feel your feelings.
3. Now ask yourself where you got a message that coincides with each entry on your list. Examples: How did I get the belief that nobody cares what I have to say that makes me feel unimportant and rejected? Where did I get the idea I'm selfish if I ask for help? Now put a check mark only by those that have a sense of rejection connected to them. Those are the only ones you will need to deal with in this exercise.

Never be afraid to fall apart...because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you always wanted. SoulKu

This may seem like a lot of work, but most people will actually come up with a short list where rejection is involved. And it shouldn't take much time to clarify the needed information. Next week I'll get into ways you can begin to confront the messages and change your feelings from rejection to freedom. This week research, and next week heal.

I wish you freedom from the pain of rejection.



Monday, July 20, 2015

From Fear To Faith

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.  Marie Curie

We're all afraid sometimes. It's part of the human condition. Rational fears of a real danger mobilize to positive action. But fears of imagined threats can be destructive and immobilize to exhaustion. We deal with both as we move along our day-to-day path. And it's helpful to understand what it is we're dealing with.

A few years ago, I was in a serious car wreck caused by a driver making an illegal turn in front of my car at an intersection. My foot immediately slammed on the brake. Panic and fear gripped my senses, and I couldn't stop screaming until impact suddenly stopped my car. I spent 4 days in the hospital and 2 months in a nursing home for rehab. I went from a wheel chair to a walker and then a cane. Yes, real dangers need positive action. But fears we conjure up in our minds take their toll in unnecessary stress and worry.

So what are you afraid of? What scares you? Does your mind sometimes drift into "what if" thinking, and you function from a state of fear? What if...I don't get the job, I make a mistake, this person leaves me, I get sick again, I look foolish, my plan doesn't work. What if...what if....  It doesn't get you anywhere, does it? But we all do it.

Faith and fear both demand you believe in something you cannot see. You choose. Bob Proctor

We can't see into the future, so everything in life is unpredictable. Caution is useful, but fear of the unknown can become a damaging habit. Usually it begins with doubt, then you worry, and then fear sets in. Can you imagine how much negative energy you're pouring into a situation? You're already contaminating it. And your mind has chosen that route. But you have the power to choose freedom.

An effective way to stop a fear habit is to replace it with a habit of faith. And that takes some monitoring of your thinking patterns. Once you identify your doubt, worry, and fear, then you can do something about it. When you feel that first bit of discomfort in the pit of your stomach, go inside and clarify your feelings, honestly. And begin confronting those feelings.

Don't be afraid of change, because it is leading you to a new beginning. Joyce Meyer

I'm a believer in denials and affirmations to change our feelings about something. We can't deny our emotions, but we can deny them any power over us. Pull the fear up to the surface and talk to it like you would another person. "Okay, fear, I know you're there. But I deny you have any power over me. You're no bigger than a fly on a horse's rump, so you might as well go away. I'm done with you." Then affirm the truth about the situation. "I release you now, and affirm my freedom from you through the real Power of faith within me. I am a precious child of the Universe, untouched by your mischief. So get out of my life." Use whatever words you're comfortable with, but be firm in your faith, faith in the truth of who you are.

  Ridding yourself of unwanted emotions isn't easy, and it takes practice. But as time passes, you'll feel a shift of courage within you, and you'll smile. As Maya Angelou says, "Courage is fear that has said its prayers." Not every situation in your life will turn out the way you want it, but you can avoid those negative feelings, and walk your path with courage and faith. It's like having a tool in your pocket when your human self gets in the way of your sacred Self. Life is not for living in fear. It's for learning and growing and feeling happy.

I wish you faith filled walks through each experience in your life.