Wednesday, March 29, 2017

How Do You Respond When Unexpected Life Challenges Knock You To Your Knees?


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.

Marilyn

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Ways To Make Wise Choices And Avoid Consequences You Don't Want



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.

Marilyn

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Value Of Hope And Faith In Meeting Life's Challenges



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.

Marilyn