Have You Joined The Symphony?

One of my favorite self-care activities is going outside and listening. I hear birds. Just writing that sentence brings tears of joy and a smile to my face. My neighbors have bird feeders that attract all kinds of birds. I get to hear them sing. They have different songs but all together it really does sound like a symphony, a work of art.  It leads me to think about all of us. We each have a part to sing in the song of life. Individually we can contribute something to this planet that brings joy. Sometimes our fear of being noticed or not being noticed, stops us. The birds are not affected by whether or not they have an audience. They just sing.

What about you? Do you live out your authentic self whether anyone notices or not?

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Is Your Anger Eating You Up?

Angry with anyone today? Think about the things the person is doing that contribute to the anger you feel toward them. Then think about this: Sometimes we are so quick to point the finger at others and forget to look within. Is there something you might be doing that is contributing to the situation? Perhaps in other areas of your life are you doing the very same things you are angry at the other person for? Maybe…maybe not.

When we get in our self righteous stance, we sometimes forget someone else might be angry at us for something we have done…or not done. When I am really angry with someone it’s easy to list all of the reasons why I am justified. Another thought occasionally finds its way into my mind, “You know, Karen, people are probably angry at you right now for something you may have done.” That thought stops me for a moment. It softens me.

Sometimes our anger is justified but even in justified anger we can get really hard and unloving. It turns into bitterness that can eat us up from the inside out. It’s ok to be angry but bitterness is not good for us or anyone around us.

Is there an area in your life where it might be helpful to soften the intensity of the anger you are feeling? To recognize you aren’t without fault in this life? The softening might give you a healthier perspective of the situation. At the very least, it will be better for your emotional and physical health.

PS I’m working on this, too!

Categories: Acceptance, Boundaries, co-dependency, Emotional Healing, Forgiveness, Growth, Healing, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Help | Tags: | Leave a comment

When My Experience Isn’t Yours

Relationships are fulfilling and exhausting! When we see eye to eye we usually get along better. But we don’t always see things the same way. How do we navigate the space of different views, different experiences? I think we have to be willing to accept that the process will be messy.

I’m in a space like that right now. My siblings and I own a business my father gave to us years before he died. Prior to us being involved, it was just his. He made all the decisions. Now, the task of making decisions falls on the shoulders of me, four of my siblings and our children. We are strong, independent people. We have different ideas of what success looks like. We have different ideas of how to grow and when to grow. It’s unbelievably challenging navigating these waters.

I see life through my filter. They see life through their individual filters. We are currently in a state of “my filter or experience is not like yours”. Our rough edges are showing. Harsh words have been spoken. Hard feelings are on the surface. Where do we go from here?

We must step back and listen to each other. We must understand where each person is coming from and why each has the view they have. It can’t stop there. We must own our part in why the discord exists and ask ourselves, “What am I doing that is contributing to the dissonance?”

This doesn’t mean I give up on my view of the situation but it does mean that I not hold so tightly to my view that I “make” others accept it as the only possible view. I am a work in progress on this one. In the end, we are not talking about literal life and death. The consequences could, in a worst case scenario, mean the end of our family business. It’s a business. Businesses come and go just as empires rise and fall.

How does this apply to you and your life? Are you in a disagreement with someone?

  • Step back, give time and space to see the other person’s point of view.
  • Repeat back what you are hearing the other person saying, as this may bring some clarity. Sometimes what we think the other person’s view is and what they actually mean are different. Avoid assumptions by asking questions.
  • Be honest about your experience without bringing in shame, blame or criticism.
  • Work toward solutions that are a win for all concerned, if possible. I’m actually a fan of the belief that if a win/win cannot be found, no decision is the best decision. Table the issue and come back to it after you have had a chance to process as well as get neutral input.

In the end, I think relationship should trump a decision. Life is short. Is anything really worth sacrificing relationship? We think so sometimes, but I believe nothing is more valuable than healthy, human connection.

Personally, I’m still in process on all of this. It’s much easier to say than do. 🙂

 

Categories: Acceptance, Boundaries, Forgiveness, Growth, Healing, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Help | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Humming Along

So sorry for a long delay between posts. I ran into a bit of a technical issue with my blog that is now remedied. Since last writing, we have learned that Anna’s lung functions stabilized.  She has about 1/2 her lung capacity. It has remained this way for about the last two months. Our hope is she stays at this level for the long haul. Anna has adjusted to the reduced lung capacity physically and doesn’t notice most of the time. We’ll know more about the progression of the chronic rejection this summer after Anna’s next Dr’s visit at Duke.

NEWS: I have a new website that will be up and running hopefully soon. I’m combining my Journey Forward website with my new, Journey Forward for Life domain. I am planning on offering videos and online workshops to supplement the Journey Forward Workbook. I also have an idea to create in-person retreats that will give a limited number of people the chance to go to a beautiful place where they can work on issues in a group format lead by me.

The first retreat will be on Self Care. You’ll have the opportunity to explore who you are, what you like and don’t like and how you can restore and recharge. We’ll dig into the whys behind the challenges you face in taking care of yourself or even knowing what you like. I’m excited about the changes to come. If you want to stay in the loop, please email me and I’ll get you on my email list. No constant filling of your inbox, just letting you know when I’m launching new offerings. Email me as well if you are interested in participating in my first retreat this summer: karen@journeyforward.net

Here’s to humming along!

 

Categories: Emotional Healing, Growth, Healing, Journey Forward Workbook, Recovery, self care, Self-Help | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Another Anna Update

Some of you have asked how Anna is doing so I thought I should write another post to keep you in the loop 🙂 Her lung functions continue to decline. From September to February she dropped 30%. If she continues at that pace, she will need another lung transplant before the year ends. Yesterday she was given Campath, a chemo drug that will reduce her immune system considerably. The hope is to stop the body from attacking her lungs. She will go back to Duke in early April to check her lung function and find out if the Campath helped. The future looks like a lot of “wait and see” (which is the reality for everyone!).

We are living in the moment not freaking out about all the “could be’s”. I continue to grow in this mind set, reminding myself that worrying doesn’t do anything to change reality. This approach does not mean sticking my head in the sand either. It’s an acceptance of reality, researching options and holding loosely to the outcome. I just keep getting opportunities to practice this with big ticket circumstances 🙂

Thank you to all who are holding Anna in your prayers and thoughts. She needs all the support she can get!

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Everyone Has A Story

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Sadness Everywhere

I am in Cambodia volunteering as a counselor at a retreat for women. The majority of the attendees are from Cambodia. There’s a smattering of women from Canada, Australia and the US as well. As I get to know the women and their stories, I am reminded that sadness knows no boundaries in terms of location and privilege. I want to honor the differences between cultures but I realize more and more the common thread that binds us: want.  The want for something different.  When the want goes unsatisfied, sadness and depression set in.

I am not criticizing the want. Simply noticing it. Giving a voice to it so to speak. The want for a better life or health isn’t wrong or bad; when it goes unmet, we hurt. And that makes sense. It’s good to acknowledge the sadness that comes with an unmet want. The acknowledgement is actually part of the healing. Once acknowledged, we can move toward acceptance of reality. We might not be able to change our situation but we can breathe. We can reach out to others who will accept us in our sadness and just sit with us. Often when we have been heard, we will figure out what our next step needs to be.

I have not met a single person who doesn’t feel sadness and depression at times. I have not met a person who doesn’t want for something. Regardless of geographical location, I believe, if we are honest, we are more alike than different.

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Take Care of You!

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Reduced Cost Workbook

I just lowered the price of the workbook from $19.99 to $9.99. It will be available at this price in 3-5 days on Amazon. I will keep it at this price until January 29, 2018.  I also created a Kindle version. The Workbook isn’t ideal for Kindle, but it does make it easier to take the Workbook with you when you are on the go. If you buy (or bought) the print Workbook, you can purchase the Kindle version for $2.99. It’s called “Matchbook Price”.

The Journey Forward for Life website will be up and running by the end of February. I plan to offer a variety of workshops to compliment the Workbook and help you on your Journey Forward 😉

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Living in ‘What is’

Anna has returned home from Duke Hospital! She is laying low and doing her best to avoid all the nasty germs since her immune system is not strong.  She is getting back to just living a normal life. She will return to her new apartment in Phoenix next week. She is in a friend’s wedding next weekend and then she will start her internship at Southwest Behavioral Health.

I asked her how she is doing with her diagnosis of chronic rejection. She said she is choosing not to think about it. There is nothing she can do to change it. Moping around about it sucks life out of her and makes the present very gloomy. She is living in the moment of what is rather than what could be. She spent some time crying about it and then wiped her tears and said, “OK.”

I’m sure those tears will crop back up now and then. She’ll feel them and then continue to move forward. That’s the healthiest way to deal with the harsh realities of life. She sets a fabulous model for all of us as we face our own challenges, disappointments, and pain. Feel them if they are real, let the tears fall, and then wipe our eyes and move on. Live in the now, not the ‘what could be’.

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