Posts Tagged With: achieving goals

Oh Those Pesky Emotions!

steep-mountainIn my line of work, I repeatedly help people identify their emotions. For some, a lifetime of shoving emotions away in an attempt to avoid pain creates the belief that they don’t have emotions. Then I come along and challenge that line of thinking and completely rattle their world. A person enters my office because something isn’t working. It’s possible a spouse, family member, co-worker or friend may have suggested they seek counseling but no matter the why, the person has voluntarily entered my office (I rarely work with court-ordered clients). They embark on a journey that has twists and turns, rocks and ravines, steep hills and eventually a place of inner peace and integration. Life doesn’t necessarily get easier, just more manageable. The person has healthy tools to navigate the challenges that will inevitably come.

Integration means the person will now feel the full experience of life rather than run away from or try to bury the emotions they don’t like. At first this is unsettling because it’s unfamiliar. After time, as feelings become more understood, they are easier to accept, acknowledge and process. Now the person experiences inner peace and the confidence to be fully present in life.

I know this journey! I learned to stuff my emotions because I thought only happiness was acceptable. I cut off so many emotions. When I was challenged to fully feel, I had no idea what I was doing. It took years of therapy, coaching and participating in safe groups to get to the integrated place I experience today. I am not saying I have it all together, just solidly committed to this journey of healing and relishing the freedom I experience today.

Do you want peace, confidence and freedom, too? Get help! We cannot do this on our own. Find a therapist, coach or group that will guide you toward understanding and integrating your emotions. Check out Psychology Today or Theravive to find a therapist/counselor near you. If you live in the Denver/Boulder area you can contact me 🙂 Journey Forward

Categories: Acceptance, Emotional Healing, Growth, Healing, Processing Thoughts and Emotions, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Help | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Why Is It So Hard To Change?

Have you ever been filled with such intense determination to change something that you Young tired businesswoman sitting at the table in officethought, “OK, this time I really mean it!”? You started out with some success only to be thwarted and end up quitting. It’s the lament of many of us. What is the deal? Why is it so hard to change? The answer: you’re fighting against solid wiring in your brain called neural pathways. We have the life-long ability to lay down new wiring in our brains but if the new wiring is contradictory to existing wiring, the existing wiring has the first right of refusal…and it doesn’t refuse to be first! That’s what you’re up against when you want to change a behavior, action or reaction.

In order to create any kind of change whether it’s a physical movement (think professional athletes) or a behavior, you have to start by laying down new wiring, new neural pathways, by doing the new action or choosing the new behavior. It’s not natural at all because it’s not something you typically do. As you continue to use the new behavior or movement, you get better and better at it but this takes a lot of repetition and a lot of time. The old pathway doesn’t go away so you will feel almost pulled to it time and time again. If you’re not aware of what you are doing, you will go back to the old way. Sometimes even being aware doesn’t stop us! The more you use the new path, the stronger it gets. The goal is to get the new pathway stronger than the old pathway so it takes over on the first right of refusal contract.

Keep this in mind as you seek to change. It’s incredibly hard! It takes a lot of time and intention. If it’s something you really want, you can do it but you will have to work at it every day. We tend to create change more permanently when we enlist the help of others. So, if you are serious about it enlist the help of a coach, counselor or mentor. Being in a group with others who are on this change journey can be incredibly helpful as well. Going it alone is almost always unsuccessful so set yourself up for success by doing all you can to create and strengthen a new neural pathway!

Categories: Emotional Healing, Growth, Self-Help | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

The Misery of Growth!

I heard a quote generally attributed to James A. Garfield from a friend recently, “The truth will set you free but first it will make you miserable.” Prior to my journey into my own emotional healing and understanding the lies I had been believing about myself and others, I would not have resonated with this at all. When we delve into the world of understanding and healing our reactions to situations and people, we go through a season when it is as though we are falling apart at the seams. In my journey, I learned my once useful coping strategies were unhealthy and I knew I didn’t really want to stay that way. At times I felt devastated. I can remember sitting in deep despair and wanting to quit. I was a mess!

I’m not finished with my healing process. I will be in this journey for as long as I am breathing and I know first hand it is worth it. At some point I turned a corner and had positive experiences of emotional health and connectedness. Seeing myself change and reaping the reward compelled me to keep moving forward. This doesn’t mean the journey is easy now. The dynamic nature of life and a commitment to growth are anything but boring and stagnant. I regularly encounter challenging situations that show me new areas where I can work on my skills. I get frustrated sometimes but in the end, I realize I am free and I will never go back to being a captive of lies!

Categories: Acceptance, Emotional Healing, Growth, Healing, Recovery, Self-Help | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Have A Question About Getting A New Job

Q:  I hate my job! It’s fine but it’s not what I really want to be doing. It pays the bills and I’m afraid I won’t be able to find a better paying job that I like. Should I quit?

A:  Yowzer! The ‘what should I do’ questions get me because I could tell you exactly what I think you should do but it might not be the best for you…it’s just what I think. At the end of the day I am not in your shoes so I really can’t tell you what to do. Here’s what I will say, life is short. We get one shot at this life so why not do things that you want to do (making sure those things are healthy, wise, legal and don’t hurt anyone 🙂 )? Explore your options. Maybe you can find a more fulfilling job. Maybe it will require going back to school. Maybe it means having to step out of your comfort zone.

Look at the reasons you are staying in your current job beyond the pay. Then look at what you would like to do. Lay out the steps necessary to get from where you are to where you would like to be. If you don’t know the steps you can do research online, find out from someone who does what you want to do or talk to a career coach/counselor. If you attended college you might be able to use your alma maters’ career counseling center at no cost. Check into it. Once you know the steps you can determine whether or not you want to embark on that journey. Some changes require a ton of time and money. Some are fairly simple.

Ask your older self to tell your younger self what to do. Think about being on your death bed. What regrets might you have? It’s hard to know for sure but we can learn from those who have gone ahead of us. Rarely do people say, “I wish I had lived a confined life in which I never did what I wanted to do but only what I thought I should do.” We live in a time and location where most of us have many options. Generally we don’t have to do whatever we must in order to survive. That could change, but for now, if you’re reading this blog you likely have options. Maybe it’s time to exercise them 🙂


Categories: Growth, I Have A Question, Self-Help | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Is Your Routine Keeping You Unhealthy?

After a few weeks of celebrating the holidays with family, I’m back to blogging. While I fully enjoy time away from my normal routines, I also relish getting back into them; I find it’s easier to be balanced. Routines don’t have to own you, they can actually help you achieve goals or create lasting change.

If you decided to make some resolutions or changes for 2016 how are you doing with them? Routines will help. Even before you decided to create changes, you were in a routine. It was just a routine absent of the ingredients necessary for you to change. It was a routine that kept you in the place from which you decided you wanted something different.

The easiest examples relate to poor nutrition or lack of exercise. If you don’t eat well or get regular exercise you have routines that support these self-defeating behaviors. When you decide to change, you are simply creating new routines to help you reach your goals.

You are in routines of varying sorts every day. Which routines will you choose today? The ones that keep you stuck or the ones that lead to physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, intellectual and relational health?

Categories: Emotional Healing, Growth, Healing, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Help | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

3 Keys to Creating Change

There’s a voice in my head that sometimes tells me I’m not good enough.  Do you ever have that voice?  I’ve spent many years working on this piece.  Its many facets seem to show up in different areas of my life. I have been working on healing this negative voice facet by facet.  In my journey, I have found three keys that, when implemented, propel me toward success in my quest to heal, grow and move forward.

Anytime you want to create change in your life, a few ingredients must be present for you to succeed. This is not an exhaustive list, just the three I consider the most important.

Consistent – You must have consistency. If you are working on stopping an established habit or belief, you will need a plan that is carried out on a regular basis. Maybe one of your strategies for change includes starting each day reminding yourself of your goal, the reason you want to change the habit or belief, the good you will get out of it. It’s up to you to be consistent and look at your goals every day.

Transparent – You must be honest with yourself and others about what’s really going on for you. If you are trying to hide the very part of you that you want to change, you are not likely to have success. Get honest, get real and be transparent with trusted people, which leads to the next key:

Support – You will need people around you who are for you. These are not the people who you like to hang around because they tell you everything you want to hear. These are the kind of people who tell you the hard things, the truth. They also have your best interest in mind but not in a care taking, it-depends-on-them way; they care about you, they like you, they are willing to journey with you. Some of your support people might come in the form of a counselor, coach or mentor.

I can tell you from first hand experience, change is possible and it is incredibly rewarding!

I’m cheering you on!                                                                                                                                                                    Karen

Categories: Acceptance, Emotional Healing, Growth, Healing, Recovery, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

One Thing

We realize there’s something we need to change to enjoy our life better but day after day we don’t do it. Sometimes it’s because the goal we set for ourselves is too big or unrealistic. How about breaking it down into just one thing. What’s one thing you can do differently today that will have a positive impact on your life?

Categories: Growth | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Contentment or Dread? You Choose!

I had the opportunity last week to drive about 8 hours roundtrip in one day.  My van sort of died on our way home from visiting family. A few days later, with little explanation from the mechanic, it was revived enough for us to drive it home, a miracle of sorts. You know, the kind where the person’s heart stops beating and everyone thinks she died but then she just wakes up and is fine. That’s my van. It has 196,000 miles on it…one of these days it will die and not come back to life.

This particular day offered me one of those opportunities where I had a choice to make. I could be pissed off at God or my car or whatever that we had to drive back to the place of my van’s pseudo-death and drive it home. Or, I could choose to be content. I chose contentment. I do not say this to win accolades but to reinforce the concept that contentment is a choice despite our circumstances. I recognize fully that my circumstance was a first world problem. My husband and I had to drive together in one of our cars to get the other car. Some people have no car. I get it. But I do live in a first world and this was a problem I (and many others) face.

There’s no magic in choosing contentment. You just consciously, with intention, do it. In my case, I looked at the drive as an opportunity to listen to a bunch of speakers I admire and learn from.  Before we left I downloaded a bunch of podcasts from Henry Cloud, John Townsend, Elizabeth Gilbert and Brene Brown. They are my current favorites. I also downloaded a Story Telling podcast on the topic of addiction. The drive turned out to be intellectually exhilarating. I learned powerful lessons on that drive. Lessons I might have missed.

Every aspect of our lives is rich with meaning and purpose if we are willing to look under the surface and find it. We can! We have the amazing ability to look, to think, to question, to understand and accept. I love this about us!!! So today, how will you approach your circumstances in a way that inspires you toward contentment rather than dread?

Categories: Acceptance, Growth, Recovery | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Another Anna Update

Anna was at Duke University Clinic last week for a check up.  She had a bronchoscopy (bronch) and learned she does not have rejection!!!  No rejection means longer spans between bronchs and are a sign that her body is, at least for now, accepting her gently used lungs.  She has an infection and started a round of antibiotics that should take care of it.  It’s not debilitating and she continues to go to classes and work on making friends.  She says Pepper has more friends than she does.  This is not hard to believe because cute fur balls who love people generally attract a lot of attention! 🙂

Today is a big day for Anna.  It is her Golden Birthday!!!  In case you don’t know the magic of the Golden Birthday, it’s the day you turn the age of your birthdate.  Today is September 24th and Anna is 24!!!  I seriously can’t believe I am the mother of a 24 year old.  I’m turning 50 at the end of this year so I guess it makes sense, but I still have a hard time believing how quickly my first-born has reached this Golden Birthday!  We are all certainly thankful she has!  I don’t really care that I have to get older in order for my children to age.  There’s something about the years marching on that brings me a sense of “this is how life should be” and I like it.  I could do without the slowing metabolism, disintegrating muscle tone and loose skin but if that’s part of the price I must pay to watch my children flying out of the nest and on into their lives, then so be it.  I’ll try to keep my vain complaints to a minimum 🙂

If you want to wish Anna a Happy Birthday you may do so at her blog or on her Facebook page.

Happy Thursday!


Categories: Self-Help | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fear is Essential to Growth!

I remember hearing Dr. John Townsend talk about a man he knew who made sure he did something every day that stirred fear in him. He wasn’t looking just to be frightened, not like telling ghost stories, but doing something that put him outside of his comfort zone. Lately, I am noticing that nearly every day I feel fear. I am taking strides to increase the ripples of my work. I genuinely want to help more people than I currently am. Since February I have been working on some secret goals. Someday I’ll tell you what they are, but not yet. I bump up repeatedly against a part of me that is scared out of her pants! Sometimes I freak out and talk myself out of going for it. I’ll say things like, “You can’t do this.” “Who do you think you are?” “No one is going to like it.” And a variety of other lovely self-sabatoging statements. Right now, I’m giggling because I know they are ridiculous. Sure, they could be true but I’m not going to let that stop me because I won’t know if they are true if I don’t try. I would rather go for it and fail than not try at all. At the end of the day, or the end of the self-sabatoge session, I get back to a place of peace knowing I want to go for it despite the risks of failure.

What are you afraid to do? Why? With whom can you talk about your fears? If I tried to go through this experience alone, I’d be a mess! We all need trusted people who can sit with us as we go through life. We especially need them when we want to grow!

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