As we approach the final pages of the calendar year and temperatures begin to drop, we enter the Holiday Season. When we begin to anticipate the Holidays, life can become more stressful. Stop for a moment and think about this time of the year. What thoughts run through your head?
If we plan properly, holiday stress need not overwhelm us. There are a variety of ways to help us handle this annual stress. The most important thing is to realize and accept that stress is normal. During the Holidays, stress takes on a different character than at other times of the year.
Continue reading “Calming Holiday Stress” →
As the Buddhist teachings say, “to live you must experience suffering.” Throughout life, it’s natural to endure sickness, injury, tiredness, and old age. However, when we look at our emotional suffering, such as loneliness, doubt, frustration, fear, embarrassment, anger, jealousy, disappointment, etc., these feelings are more difficult to accept. When we feel upset we often get impatient and want to rid ourselves of these unpleasant feelings.
Many personal troubles involve being preoccupied with wanting something different.
Continue reading “Wanting Something Different” →
Life is filled with countless emotions and experiences. When things are going well, we tend to glide easily through life. However, when suffering arrives, we struggle with it. Our difficulties usually bring us to a redefining moment. They challenge the way we look at ourself and our life. Our unfulfilled plans, mistakes, doubts and disappointments are all part of sorting through our life. All our experiences are valuable in some way.
Each day, we have the opportunity to welcome whatever emerges. Life is a full range of emotion. They arise when we arrive at a place in our life that fills us with joy, happiness or laughter. Or, we could reach a crossroad in our life that is filled with sadness, tears, and discontent. Sometimes, our pain gives us reason to wonder whether we will ever be OK again. A wounded heart can be just as alarming and unwelcome as a broken arm or an illness. However, just like physical pain is a call to action, our emotional pain needs to be welcomed and given attention. Give your hurt feelings, your physical healing and your unmet needs the kind of support that allows you to more easily shift your approach in how you look at your circumstance.
Continue reading “Welcoming Our Struggles” →
The other night in preparing for my youngest son’s wedding, we sat looking at old family pictures in my living room. After my son left, I went outside to reflect on my feelings. Looking back at the pictures, I was overcome by my beauty, but also a bit saddened by the fact that I didn’t feel attractive internally as a young girl. Then I felt a surge of gratefulness for my life and the lessons I’ve learned. I am no longer compelled to hold onto the emotional influence of my past and when it does surface, I am able to manage it. I’ve come to an age where I know real fulfillment comes from self- acceptance, from daring to be just as you are and expressing it. The sooner we are aware of our reactions the sooner we can find balance.
To grow and expand as a person of strength, we need to validate our feelings, fears, and struggles that we had. Understanding is the key to balancing and managing the experience of who we are. It’s a worthy endeavor to be familiar with those precious wonder children!
Continue reading “Let Your Self Shine” →
“If someone comes along and shoots an arrow into your heart, it’s fruitless to stand there and yell at the person. It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that there’s an arrow in your heart…” Pema Chodron
Have you ever had someone talk AT you?
Words coming at you!
There are times when people harbor frustration, then, without warning they harshly express what’s on their mind. Their fighting words can catch you off-guard and ignite a rattled feeling. It strikes an inner-core of familiar yet uncomfortable feelings; feelings of unworthiness or helplessness.
When you aren’t prepared for this type of criticism, you instinctively react to protect yourself. Either you get agitated and verbally retaliate, or the opposite can happen–feeling hurt and overpowered, you respond with silence.
Continue reading “Being Rattled” →
“Our greatest instrument for understanding the world—introspection .
The best way of knowing the inwardness of our neighbor is to know ourselves.”
How well do you know yourself? The foundation and practice of awareness is about putting yourself first. By curiously becoming a witness of who you are; your thoughts, feelings, memories, needs, fears, and sensations, you can strengthen your natural ability to understand and know yourself. It gives you a psychological edge in all areas of life. People who are self-aware are in the best position to see their choices more clearly, rise above disagreement, and freer to find solutions that feel right.
When you practice awareness it nurtures the relationship you have with your ‘self’. It cultivates acceptance, appreciation, and patience, not only for yourself but for others. As C. G. Jung expressed, “Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
When faced with disturbing situations, the key to breaking any negative downward spiral is stepping back from your emotional reactions. Attentively use your senses to explore what’s happening. Notably, your behavior is mostly driven by your desire to achieve self-worth. Even a tiny bit of self understanding and compassion can bring a sense of relief, perspective and make it easier to get to the bottom of an issue. Continue reading “Practicing Awareness” →
“Discontent is the first necessity of progress.”
Don’t let discontent linger for too long!
Muhammad Ali said, “Often it isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you out, it’s the pebble in your shoe.” Imagine you are walking down a pathway enjoying the beautiful scenery. At some point along the way, a little pebble gets in your shoe. After walking a few feet you realize it has become very uncomfortable. In order to continue your walk untroubled, you decide to stop a moment to remove the aggravating pebble. The discomfort was your signal to pause and adjust yourself. When you listen to your feelings of discontent, “your unhappy can make you a little bit wiser”.
Some people pay attention to that gnawing feeling, which then, motivates them to do something different about their situation. At the same time, some people get stuck in discontent. They may feel it’s a comfort zone because it’s familiar, but in reality, it’s not very comforting.
In addition, there are people that are discontent and choose to let it be acceptable. For instance, discontent with their work might feel acceptable because they have to earn an income to pay for their standard of living. Or, perhaps they are in a time-invested relationship, and they accept the discontent in order to wait for things to settle, pass over, or eventually get resolved. In these ways, they choose to learn to manage the discontent by accepting the obligation or commitment. However, the feeling of frustration, sadness or boredom is still calling for their attention to evaluate the situation.
Discontent can provide a reason to stay right where you are, or it nudges you to do something different. Remember, when you move away from the familiar, it takes some courage to adapt. This is when you need to rally your strengths, discover meaning and what fulfills your aliveness.
Take a step back. Listen. If the discontent could speak, what would it say?
It can be frightening to let go of the familiar when we don’t know what is on the other side. I recently saw a Facebook post written by one of my mentors. She briefly posted about the moment of letting go and reaching out to the gap between two trapeze bars.
There is a moment when the trapeze artist must release their hold from one bar and reach out for the other. Despite all the training and practice, that moment is filled with uncertainty about what will happen.There is the space of letting go of the known and reaching out for the unknown-it is the place of transition.
In our everyday lives, soaring across this dark void of uncertainty can bring about unrest. Nevertheless, I have come to believe that transition is the only place that change occurs. Transition zones are incredibly rich places. They should be honored and savored–yes, even when filled with struggle and feelings of being out of control. We must stand with courage in our vulnerability.
Continue reading “Embracing Transition” →