You Always Have A Choice

Some might disagree with my title. That’s OK. I believe no matter what is happening to or around us, we can choose how we will respond. As we enter into a Presidential election here in the States, it’s easy to allow other’s words or actions dictate our words and actions. You have more power than that.

I like to start with breathing. Slow your breathing down. Let your exhale be longer than your inhale for a few breath cycles. Begin to notice what you are feeling emotionally and physically. Notice your thoughts. Allow the situation to just “be” without having to judge the situation or act on it. Just pause, breathe, and notice.

After a few minutes, consider if there is any action you still want to take. Standing up for something you believe in is healthy but not if it is meant to be intentionally hurtful to another. That’s retaliation. I generally don’t think retaliation comes from a centered, grounded place inside. I think of it as a reactionary way to hurt another because you believe they hurt you. If it’s retaliatory, go back through the breathing, non-judgmental, non-reactive, just be with it place. Give it some time. Perhaps you will change your mind and find a healthier step you choose to take.

Categories: Acceptance, awareness, emotions, Growth, integration, Processing Thoughts and Emotions, Recovery, Relationships | 1 Comment

Empathy vs Sympathy

This video, by Brene Brown is a quick and creative guide to how you can best show up for a friend in need. Click here and check it out!

Categories: Self-Help | 2 Comments

Breathe

Pause for just a moment to take a breath. Make it as deep and slow as you can without feeling pressure to go beyond what you are capable of. Notice what it feels like to breathe, the sensation of breath coming in. Notice your body expanding as you inhale. Now exhale everything out and notice what that feels like for you physically.

Take another deep slow breath, noticing what that’s like. As you exhale allow your shoulders to relax. Notice other areas of your body that are tense and imagine letting the tension go with your exhale.

Take one more breath in and out repeating the steps above. Take this moment with you as you go about your day. Repeat as necessary 🙂

Categories: awareness, Growth, Healing, Recovery, self care | Tags: , | Leave a comment

A Feeling Is Not Necessarily Reality

Our feelings about situations or relationships can be misleading yet we often base our understanding of reality on a feeling we have. Shift your thinking to the data. Does it prove your feeling is right or does the data offer up a shadow of doubt? If you feel your friend doesn’t like you ask yourself why. What tells you your friend doesn’t like you? Is it because she hasn’t called in awhile? Do you know why she hasn’t called? Probably not. You are likely starting to build a case for your feeling but it’s based on assumptions and skewed data in an unwise attempt to prove your theory. Be very careful how you read into information. Step back and take on a neutral stance. Then sort through the data. Also, it helps to contact those involved, in this case the friend, and ask. We have a tendency to create stories without checking our facts.

Categories: awareness, Growth, Processing Thoughts and Emotions, Recovery, Self-Help | Leave a comment

Peace

For some it seems elusive. I find it at times and at others lose it. It seems peace is connected to a choice we make about how we look at our circumstances. When Anna was waiting for her first transplant I struggled to find peace. I didn’t like not living at home and being away from all things familiar including people. I didn’t like the unpredictable nature of the transplant world, every day wondering if it would be the day we got the call for available lungs. I didn’t have a lot of peace.

By Anna’s second transplant I learned a few things. The main difference was being at peace with whatever was happening. I learned to find contentment in the space of the unpredictable and unfamiliar. Paul, one of the writers of the New Testament of the Bible, spoke of learning to be content in the midst of hardships. His were a lot more intense than mine but the concept of finding peace in any and every situation is accessible to all of us.

It is a choice to breathe and relax. To look for glimmers of sunshine in the midst of dark circumstances or simply be at peace right where you are. Life is filled with discomfort. Acknowledge yours, give space to grieve, be angry or sad. Then take a few slow breaths and remind yourself you can get through this a breath at a time. You can choose to hang on to icky emotions or let them go (for now, they will likely come back but you’ll deal with them when they show up again). You can choose to do something that fills your soul in the midst of the challenge (as simple as looking at a flower, the sky, a color you like, remembering a pleasant time or place). You can even follow the gentle prompt of my online yoga friend, Yoga with Adriene, turn the corners of your mouth up.

I understand it can be hard to find peace, but I also know it’s possible. Choose peace 🙂

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Anna Update

I can’t remember when I last posted about Anna so I figured it’s time to write about her. She and her sweet dog are here in Colorado living with me and my husband. She is doing better now than she has in a long time. Her recovery from this second lung transplant was harder than her last but the upside is she didn’t get cancer this time (let’s hope it stays that way!). So far, she is rejection and infection free. She is gaining weight and has not used her gj-tube (a port on her abdomen to put formula into her stomach) in a few months. That alone is a good sign.

She just started taking Trikafta, the new breakthrough medication for cystic fibrosis. The hope is it will correct what cf screws up which should mean fewer sinus, digestive, and pancreatic issues for Anna. It won’t do too much for her lungs since they have the dna of the donor and don’t have cf but it should help her body to be overall healthier which should translate into a longer life. We hope so!

Although Anna is still living at home (rarely the goal of an almost 29 year old!), she is getting closer to one day being on her own again. Being physically able to work enough to support herself is a challenge right now. She continues to teach English online and has added a new venture. She is now a Pampered Chef consultant! Needless to say, I am beginning to acquire a bunch of kitchen products. 😉 Anna is, too! It warms my heart to see her enthusiasm for the products and for her customers. Since everything is being done online anyone can participate. If you’re interested in hosting a party or buying products to make cooking more enjoyable, contact Anna through her Pampered Chef Site.

For me, it feels relaxing to be on this side of her second transplant journey. We are home, there’s more predictability (not that any of us really know what’s going to happen but I think you know what I mean), and I’m not living in the is-she-going-to-make-it space. COVID hasn’t posed as big of an issue as you might think. It does make it more difficult for Anna to work but she is figuring out things she can do that minimize her contact with people. We are well-versed in virus-fighting protocols and doing our best to keep viruses and bacteria out of our home. So far, we’re all doing well. I hope you are, too!

Categories: Anna the lemon | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Thoughts Keeping You Awake?

Having trouble sleeping? Are thoughts running around your mind and keeping you awake? One technique I find helpful is reciting verses in my mind. Perhaps you don’t read the Bible but you know some positive statements. You could recite those. You’ll need to put reins on your mind to keep it focused on reciting which helps you stop thinking about the things that are keeping you from sleeping. Before long you will just drift off to sleep. If you wake up during the night, just do the same thing again.

The more air time you give to thoughts that keep you from sleeping, the worse it gets. We train ourselves to ruminate by doing it again and again. Notice it, stop and switch to reciting. Try it tonight and see what happens.

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A Little Help Along The Way

We’ve been dealing with this pandemic for about five months. I wonder how you are doing? Are you enlisting self care? Are you giving space for your emotional experience?

When all of this first started it was scary for many of us. Our way of functioning was suddenly changed. We had to first deal with the shock of it. At this point in the journey I’m thinking you have found some stability within this unpredictable time. If you haven’t it might help to talk with a friend or mental health professional.

It might sound odd for me to put those two together: friend or mental health professional. I think our best support is found in stable friends. While I see my profession as valuable, I know friends are sometimes the best support. They are usually accessible 24/7. They don’t drain our bank account. They know us deeply (if we let them). Perhaps they have also walked similar roads and may know first hand the twists, turns and potholes along the way.

Sometimes we need the counsel of a professional. Our friends can guide us in that direction if the material we are dealing with is beyond their capability. Whatever you choose, be good to yourself and reach out to others to help you navigate this challenging road.

Categories: Emotional Healing, Growth, Healing, Recovery, Relationships, self care | Tags: | Leave a comment

Getting Out Of My Own Way

I’ve been reading Shonda Rhimes’ A Year of Yes. It’s a quick and enjoyable read. I hear the voices of Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang and Miranda Bailey from her hit series, Grey’s Anatomy. As I turned the pages, I was simply a casual observer of her experiences but one line caught me. She was talking about how she fears people will think she thinks she’s better than everyone else and conceited if she simply says thank you and accepts awards confidently. As I read this line, it caught my breath and tears started welling up in my eyes. This struck something deep inside of me.

I hate (yes hate!) posting about what I’m doing. I struggle with promoting my work on social media, this blog, and my newsletter. I believe whole heartedly in the work I do. I have dedicated myself to growing personally and professionally so I can give the very best to my clients and readers. I’m not ashamed of my message at all. I am afraid you will think I’m too full of myself. I had conquered this piece, or so I thought but here it is rearing it’s ugly head once again.

As soon as the pandemic got going I jumped on Facebook and recorded a bunch of live videos. I realized this was a frightening time and immediately put out material to help people get through those initially scary weeks. After awhile I got tired of seeing myself on my Facebook page and I feared you might too so I stopped. I figured there’s plenty of other people out there offering help I don’t need to add to the noise.

But my message isn’t just noise. It’s unique because it’s from my perspective and it’s helpful. I believe in our ability to heal and find freedom in the midst of uncertainty. I know from my own journey it’s true and I want others to experience it, too.

I have a new awareness around this old issue. I’m not sure what my next steps will be but for now, I am writing. I find when I put my icky thoughts out there they have less power. For the record, I don’t think I’m better than others. I do believe I have knowledge that can bring healing and freedom to others and I need to get out of my own way so I can continue to share it.

Categories: Acceptance, Growth, Healing, Self-Help | 6 Comments

What Is Our Freedom For?

We forget some of the principles this country was founded on. Yes, it was for freedom. Freedom not to be under a tyrannical government. Freedom for citizens to practice their own religion, get a good education, move from one class system into another, have a voice in the way the government was run, and to care for one another.

The United States is a place of freedom for all to have a good life. The preamble of the Constitution sums up what this country is founded on best: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” 

The role of the government and citizens of this wonderful experiment is to support justice, do what we can to insure peace for everyone as well as see to it that all people have basic physical, social and economic needs met. We are to think about how our actions will affect the general population now and in the future. 

Sadly, many people have forgotten these basic tenets our country was founded on. We do things that benefit only ourselves. We cut corners to save ourselves money (or make more) but then sometimes in the process we hurt others (letting toxic waste flow into a stream). Laws have had to be added to help protect us when people don’t care. We don’t like laws. I don’t think our founding fathers intended for us to have so many laws but I think they were naive and blinded to their own selfishness: women didn’t have rights, slavery was legal, and they viewed Native Americans as savages, just to name a few.

We’ve had to do a lot of growing as individuals and as a nation. We’ve had to enact laws to step in and make it harder to violate justice, domestic tranquility and general welfare. As technology and situations change, new laws have to be put in place to address the ways we hurt others. And on this July 4th, the hot topics are racial injustice and wearing masks.

As we approach the celebration of the founding of this truly wonderful country, perhaps memorize the preamble (School House Rock put it to music way back when I was young, it’s catchy and easy to remember). Put what you do through the filter of: is it just, does it perpetuate domestic tranquility, does it promote the general welfare of others, will it be a benefit to future generations? Consider being a model of what freedom is really for by bringing goodness and kindness not only to our country but also to this world.

Categories: Acceptance, awareness, COVID-19, Growth, Healing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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