Self-Help

Conversations

Posted by on Oct 29, 2020 in Self-Help | 0 comments

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✪  Found this post helpful? Similar writings include Loss, Grief and Missing the Past.

Transformation

Posted by on Jul 27, 2020 in Self-Help, Thoughts | 0 comments

With enough time or the right circumstances
we grow beyond who we were.
Our once firm outer skin loosens
for it ceases to accommodate our changing form.

There are old parts of us that no longer fit
who we are now or who we want to be
but they are not to be disposed
for they are not debris.

We devourer the skin we were in
as nourishment.
Minerals to fortify a new fabrication.

Harvest
Consume
Assimilate
Strengthen
Expand
Shed
& Repeat

This is the revolution of personal evolution
where death is celebrated as much as birth
for expired cells recycle into the system
to feed new structures
and mature ones push out what is no longer necessary.

It is in these current 2020 circumstances that 
for many, much of reality is being called into question
and in a sloughing off of old ideas
we are seeing transformation on a grand scale.

A byproduct of harvesting beliefs is a reinforced identity.
the face we use for connection, but also the mask we wear for protection.
So, questioning what we think we know will feel uncomfortable
but it is essential to the cycle that produces our individual and collective progression.

The churning of your carapace
is your divine duty for it is 
a demonstration of your soul’s development.

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Acceptance

Posted by on Dec 11, 2019 in Self-Help | 0 comments

“If I’m going through it, it’s important. Everything that is happening to me is happening for a reason.” This is what I believe, but is it really true?  Ultimately it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. The story has value in that it helps me accept my reality.

 

Why is acceptance important?

If we are leading life with acceptance, it means we aren’t in resistance. It means we aren’t becoming evermore tangled in mental strands of fear and regret. It means we aren’t keeping ourselves trapped in a body of tension and dis-ease.

 

How do I know if I’m not in acceptance with life?

Signs of non-acceptance may include:

  1. Serial complaining – Habitual pessimistic responses to anything and everything. Additionally, rabbit hole complaining, where one loses themselves in a bottomless pit of negativity.  In both these cases little to no therapy is being achieved by the expression. The mind is never sated, relief never arrives.
  2. Groaning – Huffing and puffing, moans, whines and sighs sneak out. Imagine an older man tagging along with his wife while she shops. He’s bored and displeased to have to wait for her while she’s fiddling around in the dressing room. Can you hear his grumbles of impatience?
  3. Feeling a general stuckness – Trapped and stagnant. When we are in resistance to what is, we are blocking the flow of life and intuitively, we feel it.

 

The truth may be counterintuitive

At first we think, “I can’t accept this situation. I don’t like it, so why would I embrace it? If I act in all-accepting manor that mean’s I’ll just be going along with everything in life, essentially allowing myself to get dragged about.”

The truth however is that when we resist, we shoot oursleves in the foot. Of course it’s natural, that when we don’t want something, we resist it. However in doing so, we block the flow of life and put ourselves us in a place of victimhood, not power. So it is really in THIS state that we are getting dragged along by life.

It is only when we accept that we can step into our power. We first have to acknowledge WHERE WE ARE, before we are able to strategize how to get out. We have to input an address into the GPS “starting place” if we want to be guided to our destination.

_______________

If you’re thinking…

“I swear, I am accepting my current situation. It’s just that I don’t like it!”

Challenge this. Have you really accepted it?

Acceptance takes present awareness. If one is truly present they’d move to do something about the situation, either by way of physical change or mental shift. Survival requires it.

_______________

 

How is acceptance the antidote to suffering?

Because in acceptance, at least one of five things happen:

Imagine you stop, see the situation, accept it is how things are, and then
(Recall the man waiting for his wife in the dressing room example.)

  1. Recognize it’s not your preference so you deliberately change it outwardly.
    “Honey you do your thing, I’m going to get a drink and I’ll meet you at the coffee shop in an hour.”
  2. Recognize it’s not your preference so you deliberately change it inwardly. You change your perspective of it.
    “This isn’t so bad, I’m glad I’m not at work, this is a comfy chair. Hey she looks hot in that dress…”
  3. Take inventory of your feelings. Empathize with yourself, and your situation naturally changes.
    “Ugh I’m so bored. I’m so tired. Hmm that feels like a relief to admit. It makes sense I’m feeling this way, it’s been a long day. It’s okay I’m feeling this way. I feel a little less tense now.”
    Wife: “Honey I’ll be ready to go in five minutes, you want to pick a place for lunch?” *
  4. Take inventory of your feelings. Empathize with yourself, and you naturally change inwardly.
    “Ugh I’m so bored. I’m so tired. Hmm that feels like a relief to admit. It makes sense I’m feeling this way, it’s been a long day. It’s okay I’m feeling this way. Ahhh that self check in was comforting.”
  5. (Advanced) You become so present that you are now unflappable. All thoughts float through you. External situation no longer possesses the same hold on you. In presence we unhook our power from our thoughts. Remember that it is often our reactive unconscious mental chatter that causes more pain than the actual situation.
    “I’m so bored. This will never end” transforms to “Interesting how many thoughts around boredom have come up. I’m also noticing how soft this chair is…”

* Certainly, external circumstances may also change without you embracing the situation. But the meantime becomes so much more peaceful if one does relax into acceptance. How would you like to spend your meantime?

_______________

Why not resist?

Resistance is an energy drainer and focus distraction.

 

So why do we do it?

Perhaps subconsciously we choose this path out of fear. We avoid meeting an alternative. Whereas in acceptance, we come face to face with our power and can no longer hide from ourselves and our options.
I’m going to stay “stuck” in this job I despise, because I’m too scared to put myself out there and be a freelance artist… Something I secretly dream of. 


Perhaps we do it simply out if habit. Because we haven’t seen an alternative approach modeled.
My grandfather taught my father the language of complaining, and my father taught me.


In either case, we continue to approach life in this way because we aren’t aware we are doing it. How can we address that which resides in our blind spot? We can bring it into view by asking ourselves:

  1. Where am I experiencing suffering?
  2. What is held in my tense shoulders my clenched jaw, my furrowed brow?
  3. Which thoughts revisit my mind and leave me feeling helpless, hopeless and stressed?

 

Everyday examples of when we may be in resistance
  • Sitting in traffic. This is bullshit. I’m going to be late. Uuuggh!
  • Going to work.  I hate that I have to do this job.
  • The systems in this world do not afford the same opportunities to everyone. The government is BS, no one cares about minorities…

One can accept the objective reality and not sanction the old story. Remember that resistance will use story to feed itself. In presence however, we step back and become the observer – we become aware of our situation and of our thoughts. From there we can decide which story is written. Without this, we continue to cycle on a well worn mental treadmill.

_______________

 

Mindsets that keep us stuck
  1. If I accept it, I condone it.
    I don’t want to accept the lack of education around racial issues because I don’t want to excuse racism in any context.
    This is false. We have to accept the state of affairs to work on changing them.
  2. If I accept it, it means I’m settling for it.
    I don’t want to accept how my boyfriend is treating me because I don’t want it to continue. 
    To accept is not to settle, it is simply to put us in a better position to address what isn’t working. Only when we can claim what isn’t working can we do something about it.
  3. To accept my reality means to enjoy it and that would be fake of me. It’s not realistic to enjoy everything all the time.
    I hate my job. I can’t genuinely enjoy it.
    There is no need to put on a false act. Acceptance doesn’t mean to enjoy, it means to digest the reality so we can make use of its nutrients. If we don’t digest it, we stay stuck chewing on it. In this case, one nutrient may be: more information about what we like and don’t like in a work environment.

 

Resistance feels like suffering

During this existence you have a partner — you can call it God, you can call it The Universe, you can call it life-force. You decide if it will be a fight or a dance.

 

Recall : How to make it a dance?

In acceptance, at least one of five things happen:
Imagine you stop, see the situation, accept it is how things are, and then

  1. Recognize it’s not your preference so you deliberately change it outwardly.
  2. Recognize it’s not your preference so you deliberately change it inwardly. You change your perspective of it.
  3. Take inventory of your feelings. Empathize with yourself, and your situation naturally changes.
  4. Take inventory of your feelings. Empathize with yourself, and you naturally change inwardly.
  5. (Advanced) You become so present that you are now unflappable. All thoughts float through you. External situation no longer possesses the same hold on you. In presence we unhook our power from our thoughts. Remember, it is often our thoughts about a situation that cause more pain than the actual situation.

 

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Kaleidoscope

Posted by on Oct 5, 2019 in Self-Help, Thoughts | 0 comments

First and forever there is light.
Pure and pleasant it glows.
Beams become beings and all is bright.

What if however, it could be made more interesting?
Rays to be refracted, magnified, colored, textured and silhouetted.

How might that appear?

Rainbows and patterns swirling in sight,
Shapes of all shades dancing in delight.

Compelling in concept, but what could make such a spectacle possible ?

It is our sufferings and our successes
that comprise the kaleidoscope through which our beam is channeled.

Prisms, beads, gold and glass.
Tears, fears, loves and laughs.

It is our experiences through which our ray is charmed.

So go now, with the knowing that all you may encounter
is here to serve your grand creation

For it is the apparatus of your story that transforms this holy light
into a composition As uniquely beautiful as you.

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Envelope

Posted by on Aug 30, 2019 in Self-Help, Thoughts | 0 comments


I yearn to cry in the ocean
So it may dissolve my tears
I pray for the night to fall
So it may drown my shadows

Calm in not knowing where one ends and another begins
To be part of
In this desperate search for belonging
Embraced by the outer expression of the inner
Where self isn’t just reflected but surrounded

Enveloped, and there is nothing else

Solace in having a home
In having a place to hide
Here, there is comfort in the camouflage

Blackness and pressure
tells me that I am in my womb
That I am safe
And that it is okay to be vulnerable
It tells me that I am protected
And that even if I am to unravel
I’ll be contained

And so I walk with this weighted darkness
I hold it
And it holds me
〰 

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I found this passage from 2o14. Journal entries, photos and memories, reminders of the many stages one life can take. I remain in awe of them all.

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Power

Posted by on Aug 26, 2019 in Self-Help | 0 comments

Even in circumstances where we may feel completely helpless,

we must remember that we are in truth, not.

With a free mind we have infinite choice

as to which viewpoint we take in response to our situation.

It is in claiming this perspective that we may know our power.

»   P e r s p e c t i v e  =  P o w e r   «

 

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Happiness

Posted by on Aug 20, 2019 in Self-Help | 0 comments

Life fucking sucks sometimes, but it can be equally amazing if we let it. Here’s a pro tip – stop waiting for that big thing to be happy (the vacation, the wedding, the new house…) Goals are great but when we fixate too closely on the future, we can miss the millions of joy opportunities along the way. It’s the little things: the spring blooming trees, the cool breeze, a kiss from our sweet, a funny meme, the house all clean.

And what’s convenient is, delighting in the little things doesn’t at all get in the way of future goals. It’s a no lose way to play the game.

If we’re honest too, how often do our “big” plans fall flat anyway? How often do we end up disappointed after reality doesn’t rise to meet our expectation. Maybe it rains on that vaca, maybe there’s unwanted drama at the wedding, maybe the new house has surprise plumbing issues.

We can’t guarantee our future happiness, all we can do is be present to the potential of pleasure in this moment. We can vow to indulge it when it comes. We can be active in seeking out known bliss bringers.
⋆ ☼ ⚡️ We can be open to and encouraging of life’s amazingness 🌻 ❀ ⋆

 

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Loss

Posted by on Feb 18, 2019 in Self-Help | 0 comments

One of the things that matures us most is loss. And naturally the longer we’re alive the more and more we are brought to part with.

We lose family to death; our “other halves” to breakups; homes to natural disasters; and jobs to unemployment. We lose our abilities to illness and atrophy; our possessions to theft, misplacement and degradation. Whether for relocation or a closing chapter, we leave behind our communities. Opportunities slip by, identities dissolve and we are forced to divorce our fantasies of what could have been. 

Loss is change, sometimes by choice, but more often than not it’s unexpected. Without permission, what we hold dear is recklessly taken and we’re left to tidy the mess, mend hearts and make sense of it all.

It is loss that matures us.

To endure bereavement – To know the yearning of what it is to want for something that only exists in memory. To grasp at a hologram. To know the pangs of a stomach churning with regret and a mind tormented with questions of “What if? How come? What now?” To know the incessant ache of a lonely heart; a spirit sunken by sorrow and a body exhausted from the stress of it all.

To function in a state so barley manageable that the least one can do is pray to live through till morning. Or not.. as any escape from mourning has its temptation.

Along with the discomfort, we must also acknowledge the sacred gifts loss brings.

It brings the gift of discovery, for the more that falls away the more we are able to map the nuanced terrain of our souls – uncovering the valleys, mountains and borders that shape our inner world. Where are we clinging? What are our values? Where might we open up? What might we reinforce?

It brings the gift of presence, as loss has a way of arresting our attention by throwing a wrench in whatever we thought of as firm plans. It can shake us from our slumber of passivity – of resting on expectation. It wakes us up from a mode of taking for granted. It reminds us of the impermanence embedded in all forms of this earthly realm. It can inspire us to take inventory of our gratitudes and ignite meaningful action.

 

There is no guidebook for healing loss; No recipe to demonstrate the right ratio of holding close : letting go. It takes time to find the balanced proportion between honoring the past and moving forward.

In the meantime, it’s confusing and it hurts.
The letting go hurts, the holding on hurts.

And then there’s navigating the scattered debris of practical life
which is a task unto itself.

So how does one do it? How does one trust through something that can bring such devastation?

It’s likely that loss will not immediately inspire trust
but its impact cannot be ignored and in lieu of understanding the why of its presence
we must at least accept.

Survival necessitates acceptance.

Loss possesses the unique ability to both confront our ego and galvanize our emotions.

So, though we may not initially find trust through loss,
perhaps it is in its power
that we can feel reverence for a moment,

and in time,
cultivate respect for its place in our becoming.

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Grief

Posted by on Jan 25, 2019 in Self-Help | 0 comments

Grief has no regard for our schedule. It shows up when it does – 

In the still & quiet moments, when we’re alone and drifting toward sleep;

In the hustle of a work day, while we’re surrounded by colleagues, clients and a million todos.

It has no concern for what or who populates our calendar.

Waves come in,

at their own pace.

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Sometimes we can bear them, holding our ground as they barrel through our soul.
And sometimes we have no choice but to surrender to their force.


Let oneself be taken under

to feel fully their weight,

their pressure and their power.


Let oneself feel the suffocation and helplessness of drowning;

the disorientation that comes with being held hostage to a wild current;

and the humbleness that comes with resigning to something far greater than.

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Grief comes in waves

And there is no easy way out.

Cracks develop as we thrash against the coral
It chipping away at our form, testing our most vulnerable pieces.

As a buoy within reach, gratitude bobs at the surface

graciously offering breath and a glimpse of light.

The swells continue

Their push and pull

But strength too develops, 

as we learn the ways of the ocean and discover the capacity of our lungs.


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Grief comes in waves
As it does go

And eventually we emerge as softer, more refined and polished beings.
More knowing of humanity and of God

For being captive to a weightless, colorless, chaotic existence,

introduces us to both our fragility and our resilience.

 

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Pain

Posted by on Jan 19, 2019 in Self-Help | 0 comments

Pain can bore its hole so deep
that it leaves behind a well

With it, a choice
For how might it be used?

Do we pile in pity, create a reservoir of regret, or of anger and abuse;
let our toxins fester, only to erupt on another or rot us from the inside out?

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Or do we decide instead
to choose love?

I CHOOSE LOVE

Fill me up that much more!
Allow me to share that much more!

Experience has enabled empathy
The mind grows wider

Now a capacity to hold emotions more profound
Feelings deeper

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Pain brings it’s own unique wisdom.
It has an intention to protect and to guide
– to teach, train and test

It comes to shape us into our extraordinary selves.

In time we see its gift
In awareness we appreciate it
With courage we use it.

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Relationships

Posted by on Dec 12, 2018 in Self-Help | 0 comments

When examined, the typical phases of a relationship (whether it be romantic, friendship or internet) are quite humorous.

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The first offering of oneself is often the squeaky clean version. Makeup and manners and moods in check. We do this, not necessarily because we’re disingenuous, rather because we are excited about a new mate; or because we ARE striving for, and therefore practicing this version of ourselves.

 

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With time however we get comfortable enough or brave enough (or have collapsed enough) to say, “I have a secret… I’m not a one-dimensional creature. Beyond the face that you’ve seen, I have others and THOSE are more of a work in progress. I still deal with fears and insecurities and I don’t have my life ENTIRELY together. I don’t always act like a monk or speak like a poet or look like a model or train like a jock.”

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The bigger secret, and the PUNCHLINE, is that – WE ARE ALL A WORK IN PROGRESS.

Every day we fall apart and put ourselves together again – but never back in quite the same way, as each day new pieces are formed. There are new cracks to track and new facets to catch the light.

 

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Every day we make art with our existence, never entirely the master or the pieces.

When we remember the universality of this process, we can shed the shame that keeps us disconnected.
And when we can recognize the divine work of this process, we’ll come to see the beauty in all beings. Including ourselves.

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Grace

Posted by on Dec 6, 2018 in Self-Help, Thoughts | 0 comments

What is grace?

Grace is buoyancy in a sea storm.
✨Poise under pressure

It’s the bowing of jagged edges into arcs.
✨Unhooking the emotions from the ego

It’s an inner elder perspective that can see how all does come to serve.
✨Wholehearted acceptance of what is

 

How can you cultivate your grace
and dance though life
with more flexibility & lightness?


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Attention

Posted by on Nov 23, 2018 in Self-Help | 0 comments

In the tornado of thought stream (worries, regrets, arrangements etc.), I find myself wondering, “If I put this thought on pause to instead be present, am I being avoidant? By not tending to this inner dialogue, am I dodging my duty to deal with the topic of internal discussion?

 

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The truth however is that — to drift into dream state, to be swallowed by story, to lose oneself in the mind — could, in parallel, be categorized as avoidant behavior, seen as escaping THIS moment.


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I realized that though the pull to engage in thought feels strong — of magnetic force at times — I have equal obligation to the reality OUTSIDE my head, in front of my eyes, around my ears, on my tongue, under my nose, beneath my toes…

To come back to the senses, without filtering the gathered information through a judging, evaluating or measuring mind, is to find center. It is to travel IN the tornado, sheltered at the eye of the storm.


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This is not to compare the spiraling surround to the still center on the basis of importance or holiness.

 

From our highest satellite perspective we can see the value in both the ferocious walls of a cyclone and its calm interior. We can appreciate how they balance each other and their environment. We can awe at their individual magic.

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When we recognize our agency, we can access the power of both. Instead of being caught by, we can use the whirling thought freeway – for planning or practicals or play. Likewise, we can tune in to our objective sense reality for pause, for purity and to regain our poise.

We can choose

to ride the current 

or to rest in what is truly current.

 

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Adulthood

Posted by on Oct 22, 2018 in Self-Help | 0 comments

If you shifted your perspective to see others as their child selves, would you still hold onto the mental formations that rise to block pure relation – judgement, expectation, fear etc.? Or would you be reminded of one’s innate sensitivity and fallibility; of one’s unending need for love and support and safety?

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We do not grow out of these basic human needs, nor do we develop armor impenetrable to the pains of life. There is no adulthood initiation where we’re supplied with the smarts and strength to steer us smoothly through all situations.

We are creatures of many requirements and limited resources. Our nature necessitates for us affection and appreciation, sustenance and shelter, contribution and community, purpose and play. We need authenticity and we need freedom. We need to learn and mourn and rest. We need to be heard and understood. We need communication. We need ease and we need harmony. These are some of the many ingredients for human health and invariably are what motivate our actions.

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When we remember this we open ourselves to the possibility of connection through conflict.

The greatest gift we can give our fellow man is to seek to understand where they are coming from. To mute our inner voice that qualifies another’s behavior as wrong, as a personal attack or as an act of evil.

The greatest gift we can give is to guess at what needs were driving their choices. In this we soften as we recognize that we too have these needs and though we may not connect with their strategy we can connect with their humanness.

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Failure

Posted by on Aug 18, 2018 in Self-Help | 0 comments

I was once working with a client who was stuck on this idea that she was a failure and would be destined to fail forever. Can you relate?

Her negative self-image was only fortified by a her skewed and ceaseless rehashing of the past.
“I’ve failed so many times… I left those jobs, and quit that school. Those relationships didn’t work out either.”  Every event became a reason to get down on herself.

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In our session her shift of significance came from the simple act of trying on a different perspective.

I noticed she was going on an on about each unsuccessful attempt she had had in her life — So I cut her off…

“Woah woah woah slow down. Take a breath and let’s look at this.
I find it interesting that you have been labeling all these events as failures. I can see how limiting that has become for you – to your freedom and your confidence. Can I possibly encourage you to look at these experiences in a different way?”

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Take the metaphor of the dressing room. Imagine that you are in a clothing store, you walk around, a few items catch your eye and you pull them to add to your dressing room. You draw the curtain and slip on each garment – every piece you are judging how it looks and feels.

These were all chosen because you had a theory they might work for you. Now, you are living the reality.

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We are all familiar with the following shopping scenarios, right?:

  • Something looks really good on another person or on the mannequin, but then is a total miss for you when you try it on.
  • You randomly slip on something that is totally not your style but it ends up surprising you by how amazing it looks.
  • You try something on, but just for size and come away with new information.
  • You test out a style similar to one you’ve been wearing for years, and affirm that it’s still something you like.

In the dressing room we all have hits and misses. Sometimes we strike out completely, and walk away with nothing. If such is the case, and nothing you tried on felt or looked right, do you think of yourself as failing? No.

In these scenarios we can easily understand that:

  • The item didn’t fit or it didn’t work for us (right now). It simply wasn’t a good match.
  • We don’t say, “Oh my gosh, I’m a failure because that t-shirt didn’t suit my proportions. I’m destined to fail at wearing any kind of t-shirt in the future!”
  • We don’t take it personally and we don’t use it to fuel a complex of ourselves.
  • Here, objectivity comes more naturally.

Now, imagine what it could be like to bring this attitude into our everyday lives?

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Just like clothes, we can think about our experiences as either being a match for us or not. With this approach, we unburden ourselves. We relieve the personal responsibility to make whatever “it” is (job, school, relationship, project, location etc.), work out.

Sometimes the job isn’t a match, sometimes the guy or the girl isn’t a match. Sometimes the location isn’t a match. Sometimes the activity isn’t a matchWe don’t have to believe the lie that may follow — “I fail to be employable; I suck at relationships; I can never live on my own; athletics is not my thing.”


This something is wrong with me, mentality is a victim mindset that, left unaddressed, will do nothing to support personal development.

To be clear, this isn’t about avoiding all responsibility by blaming the circumstance. If everyday you were late for your job; or if you chose not to put effort into your partnership; or if you slacked off with your gym routine — then these are areas for you to work on: punctuality, communication, and followthrough for example.

Illumination of our weak links this is the value of each trial we take. Additionally, our experiences help reveal to us, that which we want and that which we don’t want. These combine to make up more than half the equation that gets us to where we want to be – a life of fulfillment, gratitude, passion and peace.

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Our culture teaches us to be destination oriented. Our focus – to reach a goal or advance a rank or claim a prize. Though perseverance is an important skill, it’s not always in our best interest to see an original plan through. Certain things are not meant to be completed in the way we initially set out to. They may be in our lives instead, to serve as stepping stones. For instance, let’s say you move to another state to attend school but mid-way through you realize it’s not for you. The classes aren’t stimulating and you come to learn that the community values aren’t in alignment with yours. So you drop out. In the eyes of many, you are a failure. There is much however that lies out of view to an onlooker. Your hidden gem – in moving to that state, you met your, now spouse, and are in a happy and healthy relationship!

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Another pitfall to be aware of: Reprimanding oneself in response to a changed mind.

For instance,

“I’m overwhelmed… I want more free time.”
Now that I have it, “I’m bored, I want some work to do.”

“I don’t like it here… I want to move to the city.”
One year later. “I want to move back to the country.”

“I feel lonely… I’d like to spend less time by myself.”
After becoming more socially involved. “I’m desperate for my alone time!”

Observance of such displeasure may evoke self-talk similar to the following.
“It seems like ‘the grass is always greener’ scenario for you! You get something and then you want something else. You are so hard to please, you’ll never be happy.

Be assured – it is okay and natural to desire differing, and even opposing experiences. With a wider perspective we can see that, though it may appear like flip flopping or careless penduluming, in both situations you are seeking the same thing – you are seeking balance – balance between stimulation and rest. And, as it goes with time, a swinging pendulum will learn to find it’s place closer to center.

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We can all do with the reminder that change — internal and external — is forever in motion.

Let’s revisit the shopping analogy. Imagine browsing the aisle and spying a trendy  mannequin. It’s sporting a fluorescent orange jacket which is quite striking to you though you do recognize the piece would be very much out of your comfort zone. For fun you slip it on… only to slip it right off! Clearly it was not your style. A few years later however, you return. Fashion has changed, seasons have changed, your body has changed and your style is a little more adventurous now. Surprise surprise, it becomes your new favorite piece!

The takeaway here – experiment; seek to learn yourself with every try-on; and never write anything off completely. If school doesn’t feel right for you now, then it doesn’t feel right. Don’t however be opposed to reconsidering it if, at age 60, an interest emerges for some more traditional education. We can all do with the reminder that change is forever in motion.

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Let’s shift away from looking at our time spent and choices made, as mistakes. Instead, let’s view them as experiments. We try things out and in the process receive feedback. We learn about what our needs are and which areas of ourselves we can develop. Remember that uncovering both what does work for us and what doesn’t, helps to clear the brush and lay the path to a future of fulfillment, appreciation, passion and peace.

Reframe “failure” today by dispelling negative self-talk with gratitude for the information gifted.

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I understand that a nonlinear life path can feel disorienting, sometimes frustrating.
“Am I really even getting anywhere with life? I seem to just be hopping here and there. When will it all add up, am I just wasting my time?”  In personal understanding of this fear I want to leave you with something that I wrote a few years ago.

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Uppers & Downers

Posted by on Mar 30, 2018 in Self-Help | 0 comments

Do you ever have the irrational urge to run away?

When we are uncomfortable – we seek to escape our present reality. Maybe there is boredom or sadness, maybe there is loneliness or fear, and then there is an impulse to “run away” to alcohol, to cigarettes, to weed, to food etc.

 

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There may also be an impulse to “run toward”. This is an idea that can present as harmless, however some versions of “running toward” are really just a disguised form of running away. For instance, we may avoid facing discomfort by overworking or by going to the aid of another. On the surface these are virtuous acts, digging deeper however, we can see that these may actually be ways in which we distract ourselves.

 

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Generally running away has a negative connotation. We judge one who runs away as avoiding responsibility, quitting on a team, letting others down, not working until completion or squandering their potential.

However, before settling on such an evaluation, what if we first examine the desire behind this urge? What would it be like to trust in the wisdom of ourselves? Maybe, the impulse is not entirely about running away. Maybe it’s just about running – A cue to be taken both literally and metaphorically. Perhaps stagnation, tightness or dullness dominates current life and so there is a need for some movement!

Maybe it’s not a call to run, per se – Perhaps, for you it’s a call to dance or paint, do yoga or swim, strum the banjo or belt out a verse. The question is, WHAT IS YOUR PLAY?

When you feel that itch, that itch to escapeuse this as a prompt to take a PLAY BREAK. We can get so in our heads and serious can’t we? We trap ourselves in a cell of routine, and suppress our unconscious yearnings to venture beyond these walls. This is what we want to get “away” from.

 

 

Think of the desire to run, not as an evil arm of addiction tapping your shoulder – endeavoring to seduce you with cigarettes or spirits or snacks. Think of the desire rather, as a friendly knock on your door. It’s your buddy wanting to know if you’re home and can come out to play!

Understandably having a Play Break can’t always mean hopping on your bike and cruising around the park. We have responsibilities: places to be and people to care for. It doesn’t mean though that we can’t sprinkle in small does of fun throughout the day. Texting with a friend counts; reading internet comics counts; sharing jokes with an elevator companion counts; favorite tunes on, earbuds in, and joyously walking to work counts!

And then in your free time, TAKE YOUR PLAY SERIOUSLY.

Play has a unique way of nourishing the mind, body & spirit that will only serve to enhance all other aspects of your life.

What would your life be like if you were more free, relaxed, alive, authentic, positive and open?

 

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Play is really about no destination travel.
It is about relaxing enough to become a conduit for creativity.
It is about dropping any unnecessary inhabitations in order to drop into the joyous flow of life.

At it’s core, play is the opposite of running away – it is the ultimate participation. It is to be more fully engaged with your authentic, goofy, vibrant, free self.

If this is what play facilitates, we’d be
missing out on reaching our full potential if we didn’t make it more of a priority.

 

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Next time you mentally reach for cigarettes, beer, food, drugs etc. in an effort to escape, consider that perhaps you aren’t being called to RUN AWAY, but rather, to PLAY!

Can you come up with three ideas of how you might access play at a moment’s notice? Keep these in your back pocket 🙂

1.

2.

3.

4. Turning on a comedy podcast.

5. Carrying around a yo yo, hackie sac or frisbee.

6. Calling that one friend that arouses your goofy side.

7. Keeping a basketball in your trunk in case you drive by a court.

8. Doodling or writing in your notebook.

9. Carrying with you your favorite instrument.

10. Putting on a fun outfit.

11. Taking photos.

 

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Perhaps what resonates more deeply is the sentiment, “I want to hide.”

“I want to burrow down, layer up, cocoon in, and turn the world off.”

Whether it’s work stress or relationship troubles or simply the stimulation of our modern lives, this desire is a relatable one.

We become overwhelmed, consciously or subconsciously, and so, seek refuge. We numb out with drugs, alcohol and food; we hide behind gossip and the dramatization of our own lives; we find all sorts of creative ways to place barriers between us and our stimuli. 

If the “I want to hide,” desire ever arises in you, know that this is normal and it’s okay. This too is a whisper of inner wisdom. This is your cue to rest.

We are juggling constantly – and not the fun kind. Our 9-5, our marriage, our workout routine, taking our dog to the vet… This life is a full-time job, not to mention, one that we are just having to learn along the way!

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Atop the stresses that come with managing our relationships and our schedules, lay the stresses of our external environment. Now-a-days we not only have to defend against horrific weather patterns like a -10 degree winter day, but we have toxins in our food & skin-care products; we have air pollution, sound pollution, light pollution, and media pollution. The news blares, and the advertisements tease. We are being chilled, gassed, pulled, scared, judged, pushed and prodded on a daily basis. This is nothing short of an abusive relationship, and one we have to take time to recover from.

 

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In this internet era, we have more at our finger tips than ever before! There are endless ways technology is working to make our lives easier. There are also – endless emails to respond to; 52 unread blogs, “saved for later” in your Bookmarks folder; half a dozen social media platforms to engage with; discount codes to use for all your favorite online shops; a set of 12 enticing thumbnails on your YouTube home page… We have created a portal to a world of infinite content and communication, and in doing so, saddled ourselves with the impossible task of keeping up with it all.

We know we are exhausted, we feel it. And yet to grant ourselves the permission to rest, is still a challenge. The tantalizing nature of our technology has us stuck. The twenty-first century obligation to constantly be productive has us stuck.

When we peel ourselves away however, when we force ourselves through the discomfort of FOMO — the voice that says “I should be doing more with this time” — we give ourselves a gift. Irreplaceable and invaluable, rest is what allows us to integrate our experiences – to put their lessons to use, and to prepare for the ones to come. Rest is what allows us to assimilate our food – to put it’s nutrients to use, and to prepare for the ones to come. Rest is what allows us to grow ourselves.

 

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Ultimately this process gifts us the ability to become more in-tune with ourselves and simultaneously, more available for others.

So, WORK AT YOUR REST.

 

 

Can you come up with three ideas of how you might find rest in a day?
Keep these in your back pocket.

1.

2.

3.

4. Turning your phone off an hour before bed so you aren’t lured down a black hole of internet.

5. Setting on your favorite relaxing music channel when you come home from work.

6. Starting a slow & simple project like Paint by Numbers, puzzle making or knitting.

7. Running a bath.

8. Dimming the lights; using candles; downloading the Flux app (to turn down your device’s harsh blue light).

9. Giving your digestion a break by opting for a smoothie instead of bacon & eggs.

10. Self-massage. (Use rolling a tennis ball under one foot as some easy reflexology!)

11. Any form of grooming that feels relaxing – brushing your hair, doing a face mask, putting on make-up etc.

12. Stretching.

13. Journalling.

14. Three minutes (minimum) of meditation and/or deep breathing.

15. Immersing yourself in any form of comfort – a bed full of pillows, loving words from a partner, sweet memories, visualizations, positive self-talk, ASMR videos, hugs from friends, gentle tunes, aroma therapy through incense or essential oils, crystals, weighted blankets etc.
Scroll through some inspiring art, hold a teddy, nurse a hot water bottle, lie by a fireplace, go through old photos, pull angel cards, block any or all harsh light (with curtains, an eye mask, or a light dimmer), cuddle a pet, read a book or listen to an audio book, almost anything involving NATURE.

 

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Rest deficiency and play deficiency are epidemics. Evidence of this – the amount of alcohol, unhealthy food, cigarettes, coffee, pharmaceuticals, and street drugs that are consumed each and every day.

Within any one of these we are either searching for an upper or a downer.
We are looking for stimulation or comfort.


Why is this valuable to know?

It’s empowering. It’s empowering to know both the questions to ask and the answers to respond with when we are met with discomfort. When we feel the pull to run or to hide — when we feel uneasy and are reaching for something that does not support our health — we can ask ourselves:

“Am I looking for stimulation or comfort right now?”

Even if we don’t immediately use our Back Pocket Play & Rest Strategies, know that, to employ the simple act of self-inquiry is to move in the direction of self-care.

We forget that there are options other than our commonplace vices of drugs, food, and boos. We do know however that these produce more toxins and conjure more stress in the long run then they could ever remedy in the short. So, though they are easy and to some extent effective, they are not sustainable.

 

 

With the right perspective however, we can use our interactions with these substances as teachers. There is undoubtedly a physiological way our body responds to them that grants us with the stimulation or comfort we are seeking. Beer may make us feel more energized and jovial at a party or it may relax our muscles and pleasantly fog our brain after a long day. Though the physical element cannot be denied, it would be negligent not to acknowledge the mental component at play. Mentally, these substances help us give ourselves the permission to behave as we truly desire. A smoke break gives us an excuse to go for a walk outside and take pause from work, a toke on weed gives us the clearance to share that goofy thought, a big dinner gives us a reason to sit down and relax at the table, a shot justifies our crazy moves on the dance floor. We use these because we’ve lost touch with a particular truth and allowed it to slip so far that it now exists in the realm of secrecy. To recover this secret is to remember that within ourselves we forever have access this power of permission.

Reminding ourselves of the value of play and rest is one key to make connecting with this power more of a realistic possibility.

Our handy list of Back Pocket Play & Rest Strategies then introduces us to an array of available tools that we can use retrain our actions into ones more supportive of our wellness.

 

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A. In Action

*Hand reaches for a bag of Cheetos (at a time when physical hunger isn’t present).

Notice this impulse. Refrain from judgement. Proceed to inquiry.
“Am I seeking stimulation or comfort?”

Either answer is very much okay.
“Right now I am seeking stimulation.”

Remind yourself that it is human to feel bored and curious and therefore be seeking stimulation. All of these impulses are, at their core, your internal guidance at work. These are intelligent messages alerting you of an untapped potential, directing you toward a richer experience. Thank yourself for the message.
“Mhm. Thank you.” 

Look to your list of Back pocket Play Strategies and find one to suit the moment.

 

B. In Action

*Hand reaches for a bag of Cheetos (at a time when physical hunger isn’t present).

Notice this impulse. Refrain from judgement. Proceed to inquiry.
“Am I seeking stimulation or comfort?”

Either answer is very much okay.
“Right now I am seeking comfort.”

Remind yourself that it is human to feel vulnerable and tender and thus be seeking comfort. This is an innocent endeavor. Comfort allows us to feel safe, therefore it is vital to our ability to process our experiences and heal from trauma. Thank yourself for the effort to move towards personal care.
“Mhm. Thank you.”

Look to your list of Back Pocket Rest Strategies and find one to suit the moment.

 

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Changing a habit is a challenge, one that is seldom accomplished in a single day. Perhaps on the first several attempts you are only able to get through step #1: Inquiry. You establish “Yup, I want comfort” and then you reach for the Cheeto bag anyway. THIS IS OKAY.

It is still powerful that you were able to pause.
It is still powerful that you were able to recognize what was going on for yourself.
And in keeping your back pocket full, it is powerful to know you have options.

In this initial phase it may seem as though there are no results, trust though that brain retraining is underway and continue to develop your list of go-to tools. Keep in mind, the difference between them and unhealthy vices:

– Vices do help us manage, they help us “get through”, but they do not restore, in fact they deplete.

– Our back pocket strategies however, not only help us in the moment, but are restorative.

As we observe ourselves we will see what we time and time again are lacking (comfort/stimulation). If we use this inventory and note trends, we can apply our knowledge in preventative action. We can learn to support ourselves by scheduling in fun or restful activities to balance out the upcoming week. Or, we can book a vacation near a time when we anticipate life will become stressful. We can act before it’s too late and we are in the grips of anxiety, for in this state, we become less discerning with our choices and will likely seek out our easy and unhealthy vices. Use the aforementioned data to support your future-self. By acting in advance, outside of that grip-state, we are practicing making deliberate choices. This is an empowering place to be.

Here, we are working to develop habits that will in the future, operate with less effort, and that will continue their momentum in the direction of preventative action. We are also working on awareness. 

To be in observance and inquiry of one’s own life is a practice that will only serve. Notice whatever your patterns of escapism are and allow them to inspire investigation – Is there room for this existence to be more satisfying, nurturing and enlivening? How can I craft a more fulfilling life (one that I don’t want to continually withdraw from)?

The goal is to lessen the amount that we push ourselves to a state of “I WANT TO RUN AWAY!” Or “I WANT TO HIDE!”, by installing systems of natural uppers and downers to mitigate the dramas and stressors of life. The goal is to hold awareness long enough to get to know ourselves so that we may learn how to create lives we actually want to live. The goal is to maintain engagement in our existence so that we feel the fullness of our experience. 

To be engaged rather than withdrawn is to step out from the stale indoors to be kissed by the sun and caressed by the breeze. It is to pause an iTunes playlist and remove headphones to stand front row at a live musical performance. It is to set aside a box of bland crackers to take a bite of a fresh, juicy peach. To be engaged rather than withdrawn is to switch the channel from grainy black & white to view IMAX in HD color.

 

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Smooth Sailing

Posted by on Dec 22, 2017 in Self-Help | 1 comment

The house can’t always be neat, I’m not going to always be on time and plans wont always come to fruition. Sometimes it flows, but life, it can also be downright messy. 

One of the thrills of this earthly experience is the process of unwrapping each day. To unveil what was once an unknown can be joyful and exciting, yes, but it can also be quite disappointing and scary.

In the face of this fear I’ve found it helpful to remember three things:

1. LIFE IS NOT MEANT TO BE SMOOTH SAILING.

  • We get ourselves into mental and emotional trouble when we act out a kind of entitlement to that smooth course.
  • “Why is this happening to me?… I shouldn’t be getting sick… I can’t believe he would say that to ME… I shouldn’t have had that accident… I got stuck in traffic again, geez just my luck!… Oh my heart, I got dumped!… I didn’t get hired for that job I wanted…This cable guy is keeping me waiting all day!… It’s so hard to do this long-distance relationship thing… I got another parking ticket… This is so unfair!”
    There are endless waves in the ocean and they wont always roll in our direction.
  • Over time I’ve observed how commonplace it has become to craft stories around how disruptive circumstances might even be personal punishments. “I did something wrong and this is what I deserve.” Or, “Why is this happening to me, I thought I was doing everything right? If I do things a certain way, I am to avoid pain.”
    Alternatively we may use our situation as food to nourish some complex of our victimhood. “With such an injustice there must be a force acting against me!” Or “This happened and then that happened… One thing after another, it’s like endless suffering over here for me!”
  • These “inconvenient” circumstances however are not meant as punishments, in fact they are gifts.
  • Life hasn’t been designed to be 100% smooth sailing. That is not why we are here. Challenges arise to keep us growing – like the next level to a video game or the work that comes in advancing a grade – they keep us interested and engaged. Ultimately human beings find fulfillment in progress, we find satisfaction in problem solving, we find appreciation for that which keeps us curious. If you stay awake, with eyes wide enough to see it, life will be the best game you will ever play.

 

2. YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO DEAL WITH WHAT IS UP IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW.

  • You are always capable of handling your present situation. I promise.
  • These waters may be choppy but you can navigate them because everything up until this point in your life has been a training for this moment.

 

3. GRATITUDE WILL GUIDE YOU.

  • In the darkest hour find your flint of gratitude and then even the smallest pieces of kindling will do.
  • Caught by an unfavorable event it’s easy to become swallowed by despair. Our light dims and our vision narrows. What can we do to regain our luminance? We can voice that which is going well.
  • “I’m so appreciative of the warm water I have to take a shower. I’m so thankful for the friends who have come to my aid. I’m so grateful for my able body. Wow, I have a Wifi signal right now and the infinite resource of the internet, isn’t that amazing!”
  • Start where you are and be authentic. Breathe deeper into these appreciations and you might even find gratitude for the very moment of discomfort that was your trigger – “Thank you for THIS moment. I trust it will be a teaching. I trust that the universe is acting in my favor.”

 

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Vision

Posted by on Nov 15, 2017 in Self-Help, Thoughts | 0 comments

✨  🍀  🦋 🌤 💖 🐠  🐬   🌸

I TELL YOU KIDS, MAGIC IS REAL AND YOU ARE POWERFUL.

⚡️

This is the vision board I made back in 2010. I love love LOVE this project as tactile way to play with future goals and recommend it to anyone who feels so inspired.

🎨

Not a day goes by now that I don’t express gratitude for my life and all the chapters that have written me here. I’ve yet to make another board because I’m truly still just living out this one!

🤸🏼‍♀️

None of this is to imply that things are “picture perfect” for me. Really, I would never want or expect them to be. There are torn edges in the collage of this dimension as well and, in my opinion, they only add to the character of this masterpiece.

🖼

It’s these challenges that keep me growing, these surprises that keep me present. I have to say that, in the least, this life thing, it’s always interesting!

🎟

It’s forever changing and at times it can certainly feel overwhelming to keep up with all the storylines. I’ve found for myself that the most effective navigation has come through a consistent and continuous practice of TRUSTING IN THE PROCESS & COMING BACK TO THE HEART. Trusting in the process and coming back to the heart. One day at a time.

🌸  🐬  🐠  💖 🌤  🦋  🍀  ✨

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The Power of the Mind

Posted by on Sep 16, 2017 in Self-Help | 2 comments

There is no question, fantasies that forecast the future and memories that fish the past have the potential to profoundly influence how we feel and act in the present. The following examples aim to shed light on the fluid nature of one’s current reality. (Defining “fluid”: a substance that has no fixed shape and yields easily to external pressure.)
Each example presents two scenarios:

Example 1:

  • Imagine that it’s a late October evening and you’re hanging out with friends playing truth or dare. You choose dare. Your friends whisper and snicker as they craft your challenge, finally presenting to you that your dare is to go outside in the freezing cold… in your bathing suit! You slip on your swimwear and only after a full five minutes of psyching yourself up, you push open the front door and make the brave step out. You would likely feel the temperature hit, identify it as cold, and tense up. Your shoulders would scrunch and mentally you’d fixate on the discomfort. You would be in a state of distress.
  • Imagine now that it’s a late October evening, this time, you’re attending a gathering at your friend’s cottage. You hear the group call for you to join them in the hot tub. Sporting only your bathing suit you exit the house to make the relatively long trek down the hill to meet them for a very welcomed, warm bath. Walking at night, in the fall, with so much bare skin exposed you’d surely feel the temperature. You’d note that it was cold, but it likely wouldn’t affect your actions in the same way it did in scenario one. In anticipation of the hot tub your body would remain fairly relaxed. You might even walk tall. To an onlooker, There would be no apparent discomfort. 

The external, physical setting in scenario one and two do not differ. It’s the same body, in the same temperature, for the same amount of time. The set for both these scenes has been built to match, the only difference – a thought about the future. The prospect of relief from the hot tub did not change the air temperature, but has the mind, and therefore the body, responding differently.

 

Example 2:

  • Imagine that you’re sitting in your living room alone. This means that beloved family member X is not in your physical presence. They have left for a cruise vacation and aren’t even contactable at this time. You catch a glimpse of them in a framed photo on the mantle and think of them fondly. In this moment, you’d likely be content. The absence of this person wouldn’t greatly impact your feelings.
  • Imagine now, that you are sitting in your living room alone. Beloved family member X is not in your physical presence, this time however, it’s because they have passed away several months prior. You catch a glimpse of them in a framed photo on the mantle. You’d likely be sorrowful. You’d be all-consumed in thoughts of how this person won’t be involved in your future. Your current state would be sadness and despair.

The external inputs for scenario one and two do not differ. This is the same person in the same room with the same lack of company. These sets have been built identically, and yet because of the dissimilar internal dialogue, they play out entirely differently. In one, an onlooker would observe a person at peace on the couch, maybe even perusing a magazine. In the other, they might see someone collapsed in tears on the carpet.

 

Example 3:

  • Imagine that you’re walking home from a long day at work. There are hunger pangs in your stomach. You’d likely identify them as bad; you’d feel uncomfortable, maybe annoyed and stressed. There would be anxiety as your thoughts would strain over the decision of what you’ll have to cook upon arriving home; they’d pain over the idea of having to make anything at all.
  • Imagine now that you’re walking home from a long day at work, this time, with an order of takeout in your hands. There are hunger pangs in your stomach. You’d feel them, but likely wouldn’t be bothered. You’d be accepting, maybe even relaxed and excited. You’d identify the hunger as good. You’d savor the experience of the pangs and appreciate how your strong appetite will welcome your takeout once you get home.

These scenarios are twin physical experiences. The same hungry stomach walks the same route home after the same long day at work. The set has been replicated. In the second scenario however, there is an expectation of being sated in a sooner future moment than in the first. This changes how the hunger is interpreted and thus what dominates the emotional state.

 

Example 4:

  • Imagine that you’re part of a Weight Watchers group. You started at 160 lbs and today you’re going in for a weigh-in. You get on the scale and it reads “140”. You’d likely be thrilled to have hit this number. All day you’d be in good spirits. You’d feel confident and be inspired to don your favorite attire all week.
  • Imagine now that at the following weigh-in you see that you’re down to 130. Woohoo! A few weeks later you arrive for your third weigh-in. You step on the scale and today it reads “140”. You have gained 10 pounds! You’d likely be devastated. Your spirits would be down the whole rest of the day. Self-conscious, all week you’d dress in large sweaters to hide your body.

In both scenario one and two the same body exits the same clinic at the same weight. The set for both days are identical, but the way it plays out is drastically different. One stars a happy, confident, 140 lb character; and the other, a sad, shy, 140 lb character. The only difference between these two days – a thought about the past. There is a comparison to a previous-self, an assessment of being better or worse than, and a conclusion that has a dramatic impact on the present feeling state.

 

What Can We Learn from These Examples?

All feelings and ways of being are accessible in the present moment. Our mood is not inherent to our situation and we are often not reacting to our surroundings but to the thoughts in our head regarding what has come before and what has yet to be. The takeaways:

  • A. We can be empowered in knowing that our mood doesn’t have to be victim to our life circumstance.
  • B. Proceed with caution and awareness – Careful in how we allow ourselves to be influenced by our thoughts.

 

A. In each set of scenes we were shown how varied one may act given the same external circumstance, but differing past and future stories.

If our stories dictate our emotional and physical state, and our stories can be rewritten, wouldn’t we want to author them ourselves? Are you the creator of your thoughts, or is much of what you spin a parroting of others’ opinions?

If our stories dictate our emotional and physical state, and our stories can be rewritten, ideally, wouldn’t we want to leave a page blank for this moment? Wouldn’t we want to put down the book long enough to spy the field of daisies beyond the brim of our binding to which we’ve felt bound?

 

B.
Much of the time we are unknowingly suffering by the hand of our thoughts. Often, these thoughts are not even a pure processing of the present, rather, they are injections of past and future moments. They offer comparisons and possibilities that adulterate our experience of the now. One way to find freedom from these thoughts is to remind ourselves of their hollow nature.


B. i)
Looking Forward
Keep in mind that there is no future fantasy that is guaranteed to materialize. Our body may be relaxed as we feel security in the anticipation of upcoming relief, however this security is an illusion. That hot tub we’re walking tall towards, when we arrive, we may find that it’s actually broken.

Walking home our body may be tight as we anticipate the upcoming task of having to make dinner. However, this idea about a what a future moment may look like is just something we’ve concocted. Our hungry-self may actually arrive home to find a warm casserole on the counter. Looks like our spouse had prepared extra with us in mind! All that worry for nothing.


B. ii)
Looking Back

Memories are illusions as well. It is not possible to retain a remembrance of EVERY single aspect of an experience, and none of what we do recall is truly objective. Also to note, these memories often arise as opportunities of comparison for the present. However, too many factors vary between then and now. From time and place we have access to different resources and are subject to different influences. Therefore, no fair comparison exists, rendering any effort to do so as futile.


B. iii)
Looking Now
When we stop and analyze our thought patterns around the past and future we can easily see how silly they are. We know practically that they are not real. Anything that isn’t this moment, exists entirely in our head as a mere thought-form. It is an interpretation or an imaginative depiction of an event.

To investigate one level deeper, I’d like to expose the vacancy of our present-time thoughts as well.

  • “That person doesn’t like me…”
  • “I’m so talented!”
  • “I don’t deserve this gift…”
  • “There is something wrong with me…”

Even regarding current events, we have a habit of creating stories and believing them to be true. We end up fabricating much of our reality.

 

 

In Conclusion: What does this all mean? 

  • Reality is not objective.
    There are infinite angles from which a single scenario can be viewed. To come closer to truth we must do the work to mitigate our inborn bias and to grow the diameter of our perspective.

    To do so we may choose to focus on:
    1. The observation and investigation of our thoughts.
    2. Entertaining and honoring the thoughts of others.
    3. Letting go of all thoughts.
    4. A meditative mind will leads us to the only truth in existence – the present moment.
  • There is choice with how we respond to our circumstances.
    Often we think we are reacting to our circumstance, but really, we are reacting to a thought about our circumstance. At any given time we have access a multitude if thoughts and emotions. Example one through four demonstrate the malleable nature of our mind and how we continue to subject ourselves to our memories and fantasies. In B. iii) we look at examples of more present-oriented thoughts and see how though these too can be false, in the absence awareness, they can still illicit corresponding emotions.

If we can remember the true, hollow nature of our thoughts we free ourselves from their rollercoaster and return to ground ourselves in the equanimity of the present moment.

 Like this post? You may also enjoy Future Unknowns or Missing the Past.

Negativity

Posted by on Jun 21, 2017 in Self-Help | 2 comments

We’ve all felt some version of depression. And, it’s okay, it’s part of life to have ups and downs. It’s part of life to have passion and motivation that waxes and wanes. The trouble is when we settle in a place of apathy and negativity and then root ourselves there.

The trouble is when our stories eclipse the truth of our reality. One can be sad without the drama of judgement and fear. This drama is a the roller coaster that is neither healthy nor sustainable.

Self-care is all about building a foundation that can support us through these difficult times. If we aren’t practicing healthy habits and proceeding with a positive outlook, we set ourselves up for real suffering. How are you taking care of yourself?

Going to yoga; growing friendships; eating healthy; choosing not to intake toxins like cigarets, alcohol and processed food; painting, playing in the ocean, prayer, talk therapy with a focus on healing old wounds; listening to music; finding things that make you laugh; gardening; reflecting on gratitudes; dancing; journaling… these are all examples of ways we can nurture our being.

All the things you do to address the elements of wellness in your life, these are all the things that strengthen your foundation & decorate your home into it’s fullest beauty.

I say that your life is like your home in the sense that you are responsible for its blueprint and its maintenance. Granted it’s work, but in this you’re also gifted the opportunity to create — to play in the design of it and craft this house into the most fabulous piece of art!

So be sure to avoid the passive route, because nothing gets built & nothing gets maintained.

And two, avoid the negative route, because that toxicity corrodes strength & tarnishes the beauty of life.

For more on this topic, watch “Living with Depression and Negativity”.

 

 

“…When I’m depressed I just take a long nap cause normally there ain’t much around to keep me company but I don’t blame my male friends cause I find it difficult to share my problems and the cause of depression with guys…
Meantime I have a question like ain’t getting over depression like running away from it like you try to divert your mind towards something else to get over it. Ugh this thing really confuses me…” – SD

 

I appreciate your honesty. I’m sorry you don’t have the support you are looking for right now. On that point I would invite you to try out being a little more vulnerable with some of these friends. Perhaps they are in the same boat you are — desperate for support and genuine connection. (We are all human remember!) It might open open the door for them to share some of what’s been hard for THEM lately. OR, they also might not be ready for that kind of intimacy and that’s okay. I’ve found for myself though, that the more authentic and vulnerable I am, I start to attract those same kinds of people into my life.

This is a great question regarding: getting over depression, is it like running away from it? It makes sense that there’d be confusion around it because there is a fine line here…

Sometimes we feel low, in need of rest and perhaps sad – these are simply the emotions that have drifted our way. To not run away is to BE WITH THEM in acceptance and non-judgement. “Okay I feel blue today, isn’t that interesting. I’m just going to take it easy.”

AND SOMETIMES what we are experiencing as depression is just a conjure of feelings that stem from the untruths we tell ourselves. “I failed at my job, I’m useless… I’m ugly and I’ll never find a partner… I’ll never be successful… I suck at life… The world is an evil place… I’m broken… Grrrr….”

We can then get into a habit of mental thinking and daily rituals that further fuel these false stories. We’ve now repeated them for so many years that we couldn’t even guess at their genesis. What we’ve done is create an identity for ourselves and a seemingly solid reality of our life.

I’m not a supporter of running away by any means.

Sometimes what we do need to do is STEP AWAY from our THOUGHTS. This brings us into the present moment where we can truly honor what’s going on. Stepping out of these thought patterns also empowers us to direct our life in the way we’d like, rather than just being a victim of our depression. When we come to the present we come to a place of choice. We can choose negativity or we can choose gratitude; we can choose pessimism or we can choose trust; we can choose resistance or acceptance.

This message is also what is behind my “15 Ways to Get Out of a Rut” video. 

_____________________

“Sometimes depression isn’t about ‘not doing enough to pull yourself out of it’. You speak a lot of balance and I love it. We as humans can be grateful AND sad. Wellness and depression both exist. Self care gets really shaky when depression gets terrible.” – Sage

 

Thanks for that input Sage. I do agree, sometimes depression JUST IS. It’s a cloud that just is. What I think is common for a number of us, is that the cloud has either been self-created or there is a negativity by which we judge the cloud – rather than just being with it, observing it, and maybe even finding gratitude for the shade.

It’s not always as simple as “pulling oneself out of it,” but while we are in it, it’s important for us to ask:

How are we judging ourselves? What is our internal dialogue around life?

I want us to come back to our power! I want us to remember that our interpretation of life and therefore our experience, is within our control.

Missing the Past

Posted by on May 15, 2017 in Self-Help | 1 comment

Simply put, we all want to feel good. Depending on where our balance lies, feeling good will mean accessing different resources at different times. In one moment or another we may be in search of comfort, joy, connection, stimulation, rest, inspiration, purpose or safety, for example.

 

If we aren’t in this present state of feeling satisfied, we can catch ourselves not present at all, but rather off in a past or future fantasy world.

 

We think back to a time we once felt fulfillment, and want for it.

“College, those were the good old days!”

“I remember my job as a summer camp counsellor, that was the best!”

“That vacation to Europe last year was absolute bliss.”

“I was so happy with my last partner.”

 

We put the highlight reel on repeat and in missing that experience we start to wonder…

“Maybe I should go back to school.”

“Maybe I should get that job back.”

“Maybe I should move there.”

“Maybe we should get back together.”

 

We project our rosy past onto our blank future and imagine an effortless replication of that experience.


Certainly, there are going to be times when it’s appropriate to return to a previous relationship, environment or occupation, but more often then not we are forgetting that there was a valid reason that that chapter ended — a reason which may still be relevant.


“You can never visit the same place twice.”
– Maureen Johnson


In making return trips I’ve often found that the place, person or thing I was visiting had changed, or simply that I had changed and would now be looking at it through a new lens. There was no recreation to be had.

 

self help relfection depression anxiety worry thoughts

 

From Destructive Distraction to Helpful Tool

None of this is to say that to miss the past is “bad” or that it is a waste of time. In fact, if we know how to work with it, it can be incredibly useful!

There is a reason the mind wanders. It does so, in part out of habit, and in part because it’s seeking. If the mind is repeatedly conjuring up a particular memory from the past, this can reveal to us what may be lacking in our current situation.

Though it may be painful, to recognize the presence of emptiness in one’s life is invaluable information!

Our mind identifies a problem and in search of a solution, roams in fantasy.  We roam also to escape from the dissatisfaction of the present moment. This is when we can loose ourselves in memories. It becomes a productive exercise though, when we are able to find ourselves in them. If we are thoughtful and inquisitive, this otherwise passive daydream can be utilized to our advantage.

To forage fruit from your trips down memory lane, follow these 3 steps:
1. Observation
2. Deliberate Exploration
3. Dissection, Extraction & Pursuit

 

Observation

→ Which memories continue to arise?

Deliberate Exploration
 → When I fully immerse myself in that world, how do I feel?

Dissection, Extraction & Pursuit
What needs were being met at that time?
→ Which of these needs are not being met in my present life situation?
→ Where might I get these needs met?

 

eflection contemplation self help depression worry

The honest question to ask oneself is:
Do I really miss that situation, or do I miss what it provided for me?
It’s useful to catch oneself in moments of nostalgia because we can work to pinpoint exactly which needs were being fulfilled at the time we are dreaming back to. These give insight to one’s deep desires for the present, thus providing a direction for the future.

 

Examples:

  • 😩 I miss college! → Or, do you miss the community, the autonomy, the mental challenge of creative projects, the gregariousness, the motivation from peers, the mentorship from elders, the stimulation of new surroundings?
  • 😩 I miss being a camp counsellor! → Or, do you miss the time in nature, the physically demanding activities, the playful environment, the comradery of likeminded individuals, the sense of belonging, the structure of a schedule, the purposeful work?
  • 😩 I miss my last vacation! → Or, do you miss the excitement of being in a new place, the sense of freedom, the exposure to art & entertainment, the quiet time for contemplation; the opportunity for relaxation, the nourishing food, the social engagement?
  • 😩 I miss my last partner! → Or, do you miss the companionship, the support, the caring touch, the feeling of being heard, the sense of harmony, the physical intimacy?

 

More often than not we walk around in agony, thinking that we don’t know what we want. It is this first step of identifying our deep desires that seems to be the hardest one. The asking for it/the going after it is the easy part. Once we know our direction we can move forward, if we don’t, we may feel stuck or at wander. 

 

Moving Forward

Note that, to truly move forward, we must shed any attachments to the people/places/things that we have cast as stars in these memories.

For instance, if I wasn’t able to accept my last relationship as over, if I still clung to the dreamy version of it, I might run back to that partner. We might reunite and although I may not be content, I may attempt to convince myself of otherwise in an effort to play out my fantasy. I might try and “make it work,” forcing a square peg in a round hole. In this, l’d likely end up exhausted and yet still unfulfilled…

However, if I were to understand that it’s not that relationship I’m missing, it’s what it provided me with, I could step back into my power. I could seek out different ways of getting my needs met. For instance, finding companionship though more time with friends, finding physical touch though professional massage and finding support through talk therapy. I could then let go of this relationship which would open me up to receive the infinite number of new & unexpected experiences that are coming my way. (Ie. A different partner, a job opportunity, inspiration for a personal creative project etc.)

meditation reflection self help worry fear

 

Looking Back

Memories poke their head out the past because they want our attention. There is a part of us that keeps them alive because they serve. Even beyond what has been discussed, they are helping us in a multitude of other ways…

A 90 year old man may recall the thrilling time he went skydiving. He may not have the desire or ability to parachute up again, but the courage it took to do so will remain a part of him forever. Though it may play out in different ways these days, that bravery has been stored within, so he can tap into and draw upon it at any time. Memories are what help keep character traits alive in oneself.

Similarly, we remember times we are less proud of, like that evening the mother who was so run-down, yelled at her kids. These memories are also here to serve. Though they are painful, they remain a part of us because in retrieving them we are able to relate to others. We may see someone out in public who is shouting angrily at the store clerk and label them as a jerk; or we may have someone act in anger towards us and react by taking it personally. However, when we employ our memory and access that time we felt a frustration that manifested itself as yelling at our children, we can better understand the complex experience of that other angry person. It is this empathy that cuts through judgement and allows for compassion and connection.

self help depression anxiety worry

 

In Conclusion

  • Our memories are not here to hold us back but to guide us forward. With this knowledge we can appreciate the events of our lives, learn from them, and move on with confidence. Though it is natural to embed a particular feeling in an experience, we no longer have to feel shackled to such person, place or thing in order to access this feeling. In directing ourselves to new resources we regain our freedom and our power.
  • Our memories are not here to hold us back but to hold us up, and to hold us accountable. They keep us in touch with the array of character qualities we have experimented with in this life. They keep us humble, they keep us human and thus, they keep us connected.

 

 Like this post? You may also enjoy Future UnknownsFriendship or Guilt.

Authenticity

Posted by on May 4, 2017 in Self-Help | 6 comments

One of the hardest things to accept in this human life is the ever-changing nature of our selves.

We try our best to hold on to, to grasp a little tighter at, to pin down a version of us that felt good, one that warranted approval. We want to maintain our summer glow, our youthful energy, our athletic physique, our confident attitude, our sharp mind, our tenacious spirit…

But it’s all elusive & mysterious because just as we may come into appreciation or even simple awareness, it seems to slip through our fingers.

So, although each day can be an opportunity for growth & renewal, each day can also be a reminder of what no longer is. Here we mourn old traits & abilities. Here we must put to rest our ideas of who we think we are.

We may tell ourselves, “Compared to what I once was, I’m not so hot right now. I’m going to wait to start this new job/relationship/project until I’m able to recollect myself — until I’m back to being my best self. Currently it feels like I’m not living to my fullest potential. I’m not strong enough / attractive enough / organized enough to open myself to the world right now.”

This is a snare many of us get stuck in. We wait. We wait on the sidelines with a timidness and a false belief that what we have to offer right now is not enough.

(To note: If a rest period is what you need at this time, then it’s what you need! This is not only allowed, but encouraged – so long as you are taking it deliberately. The trap we want to avoid is becoming passive to this life. And it’s this erroneous idea, that “as we are, we are not enough,” that lures us here.)

The beautiful thing is that your best self doesn’t lie in your strongest self, your most wrinkle free self, your hardest working self, your most jovial self, your skinniest self, your most confident self, or your most organized self. You don’t have to be collected & composed to be your best self because your best self is your most authentic self. The beautiful thing is that you have access to this self on a moment to moment basis.

self love acceptance expression authentic spirit art

What does this even mean, “my most authentic self”? To me it means, to speak one’s truth & to follow one’s heart. (I do understand that this may sound too hippy-dippy to think about how to incorporate it in a real way.)

So, if you are questioning your authenticity, it might be helpful to have a conversation with yourself, asking honestly:

1. Am I experiencing freedom of expression? (What is in charge of the volume and content of my speech on a day-to-day basis? And, in my more personal life, am I allowing my inner artist to have full reign of their canvas?) Where do I find my actions to be stifled and/or where do I find them to be fake?

2. Am I living this life for me? (Or, was my decision to live here/work here/dress this way/marry this person/eat this diet/follow this religion, etc., was it made to appease another? What would I choose if I felt truly free from familial and societal pressure?

3. Do I allow myself to show up just as I am? When I drop into observation of my state, have I been practicing acceptance without judgement? Or, is it that I label my thoughts/emotions as bad and then try to cover them up?

For instance, “I feel down today but I have to attend this party… I want to reject this depression because I think of it as ugly – I don’t like seeing it in myself and I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to share it with others. Additionally, I don’t believe that depressed-me will have anything to offer. My options are to A. Coat my facade in smiles & attend the gathering B. Stay home and feel bad about feeling bad.

Allowing yourself to show up as you are, would be to entertain the remaining options. C: To attend the party while still honoring your mood by removing any pressure to be explicitly engaging or contributory, perhaps even sharing that you are feeling low. D: To rest at home in the company of your mood, the only rule, to refrain from making any classifications of it as good or bad.)

self love acceptance heart loving louis hay affirmation help

 

Why is it important to act from a place of authenticity?

We could go in depth about the the social, spiritual, physiological & psychological benefits, but I think the answer would be most easily explained through a relation to a particular Ayurvedic principle: Vegadharan, which means “suppression of natural urges”.

Our body is a complex and intelligent system that understands the appropriate times and methods by which to operate. Without our conscious involvement it is designed to maintain a balance among all the substances within us and to also extricate the appropriate material out from within us – all in an effort to keep us as healthy as possible.

Ayurveda acknowledges this inner wisdom and encourages us to honor any natural urge that may arise. This means not holding back any need to urinate, defecate, cough, sneeze, fart, burp, vomit, ejaculate, tear, yawn or sleep. (Unfortunately, mostly by way of cultural conditioning, many of us withhold these on a regular basis.) 

To suppress a bodily urge is considered prajnaparadha, or “a crime against wisdom” — the repercussion of which being malady as non-expression results in toxic build up and interruption of vital processes. To suppress one’s nature is to create disease.

Likewise, every soul has its own natural urges that, when suppressed create dis-ease. When we block our flow, we suffer. This may show itself as despair, anxiety or anger – all of which are ultimately an extension of feeling a lack of fulfillment.

One may also observe that, life, as a mirror, too appears blocked. Our home/family/work life may either feel stagnant, or stuck in chaos.

chaos depression anxiety social alone help support lonely self

 

Why Does this Occur?

There are many internal and external barriers that obstruct our ability to flow fully. At the most basic level, we have to feel safe enough to do so. We often hear the advice to “just be yourself,” but even with this direction, it proves challenging.

Either we fear the criticism (or even punishment) that we may elicit, from ourselves or others.

Or, we don’t know who “ourself” is as we’ve yet to take the time for any reflection, introspection & meditation.

What we can do about it : Creating more safety

At it’s core, a safe environment is one free of judgement. (Being human and a product of our society, to be absolutely free of judgment is a tall order. However, what we can ask for realistically is, to be conscious around it.) A safe environment is also one free of punishment. As punishments are reactions based on judgment, this would inherently be addressed.

We can make an effort to open our minds and shed the conditioning that may be in the way of our authenticity. We can continue to look at what triggers us: what do I have trouble accepting in a person? What are my aversions about and where are their origins?

Finding your practice(s). Painting, yoga, writing, running, tai chi, meditation, swimming, drawing, woodworking etc. To craft a daily, distraction-free ritual is to create a kind of security and intention that together lay the foundation for one’s authentic self to emerge. It’s in this solace and safety that we can more easily make the connection within.

self love reflection meditate introspection louis hay advice

 

What if…

“I have have present commitments. If I discover that these aren’t inline with my authentic-self, what use is this work?”

Commitment to a job, housing, family, or other relationships can make for sticky transitions when a change in direction is desired. Perhaps this particular situation is beyond changing at the moment, but there is still value in asking the aforementioned questions. Even if we aren’t able to act on what we’d like to right away, the exercise of accessing one’s truth is invaluable. In the least, we can then move forward with the understanding of why there may be current feelings of dis-ease. And, we can move forward with a newfound ability to connect with oneself, meaning we’ll have different tools for making future decisions.

Even in the midst of a seemingly unchangeable situation, the practice of pursuing one’s authenticity will bend the course of one’s life towards one of greater fulfillment — just as the rooted sprout senses the sunlight, it bends to grow itself in a brighter direction.

grow support light flower

 Like this post? You may also enjoy Guilt or Continuing.

Guilt

Posted by on Dec 20, 2016 in Self-Help | 3 comments

How often have you been having a hard time and heard some version of, “You really shouldn’t feel that way. There are starving children in the world and you are complaining over xyz!?” In that moment, how do you feel hearing that? It likely doesn’t help. Rather, it hinders by piling on more discomfort in the form of:

1. GuiltHow is it that I have so much and others aren’t given these same opportunities? I am no more deserving than anyone else, yet I’ve been the recipient of so many gifts.”

2. Self-criticism “Look at my life and all that i have, and I still suffer. Something must be fundamentally wrong with me!”

3. Pressure “I do have more resources than others at my disposal, I better do something amazing with this opportunity!”

This comparative approach is often counterproductive as it fails to address either party’s issue in a timely manor. It also feeds into a separatist mentality, one that is quite common in our culture. (In this mentality, the focus rests on the differences between us and our fellow man, rather than the similarities that hold the potential to unite us.)  Lastly, it often leaves the person at hand in an even more distressed emotional state.  (Using guilt as a motivator will always bear negative side-effects.)

distress, depression, guilt, self-help, thoughts, how-to

 

All feelings are valid.
Remember this for when you are having a hard time.

Remember this for when your friend is having a hard time and you are slipping into judgement with the thought that “They shouldn’t feel this way.”
Whether it’s your…

– teenage sister who is upset after failing a test.

– friend who is dealing with a broken heart.

– child who tears up after breaking their toy.

– colleague who nicked his Ferrari.

– or your spouse who simply feels sad today.

What is present is not to be trivialized or dismissed. Allow for validity of the pain without feeding into it – This isn’t about a pity party, this is about empathy.

support, judge, friend, sad, thoughts, depression

 

On every human path there is suffering. No one is immune – not those of money nor health nor power nor fame.

We may understand this intellectually, but can easily forget it and fall into judgement — evaluating an event or circumstance as to determine where it lands on the worthiness scale. We decide for ourselves and for others, what is the appropriate way to react; what feelings and thoughts are allowed.

This process is a flawed for a couple of reasons. One, because this is an assessment no one has the authority, (nor unbiased perspective,) to make. Secondly, the current event/circumstance may not even be the real reason this feeling has emerged. The mind may just be using the situation as a pretext for outletting a particular emotion.

So cry over the spilt milk. Cry if you feel like crying. Those around will likely judge and say, “Wow, they are overreacting.” Those people wont be able to see how the milk represents the general chaos your life has been. They wont be able to see how present your need is to uncork the many emotions that have been suppressed over the years. (From a parents’ divorce, which brought confusion; a house move, which brought powerlessness; a change of schools, which brought loneliness; and an inability to right yourself since, which brought frustration.)

These tears may very well be rooted in the past. By bringing more awareness to one’s experience we can optimize the effectiveness of this weeping as a discharge of emotion. This can be done by giving the tears a particular meaning; or simply by being open to the release of the sobs (ideally, in a safe space with a supportive individual).

This isn’t about staying in it longer than necessary and it’s also not about repressing what comes up. This is about feeling the feelings fully enough that moving on becomes an option.

 

Everyone will get gifted in their lifetime. Privilege comes to all.

  • Though an obvious example would be through the inheritance of financial wealth, privilege doesn’t always come in the form of money. In fact, from one view, not having money can be seen as a privilege.

I’ve known a number of North Americans who have, upon returning from a trip to a developing country, expressed some condescending and confused version of, “Oh my goodness, I feel so sorry for those people, they have so little! It’s remarkable – they have nothing and yet they are so happy!”

I just imagine one of those “poor” families they are referring to, back in their hut, discussing the unhealthy tourists they’ve been exposed to.

(They themselves are content in their simplicity. They have an understanding of what is important in life — their relationships, art, music, play, spirituality, time in nature. They appreciate how being free from the burden of unnecessary stuff makes nurturing all of these possible.)

And then I imagine them, in all their wisdom, saying something like, “Those poor Americans, they have so much, how could they possibly be happy?”

  • Everyone experiences privilege in a different way – Some may be gifted with a high IQ, others with a strong immune system. Some may be born with a nationality that grants them a multitude of freedoms; where others may be born into a simpler life where they aren’t given as many choices, but therefore don’t have the stress of as much decision making. Some may be born with a particular creative talent; others with a particular mental capacity (like resiliency for example).

This isn’t about denying the importance of a global perspective. This is about seeing that pinning realities against one and other in order to make a competition out of suffering fails to serve either party.

united, connect, friend, global, judge, perspective, empathy, privilege, culture

 

When we examine how we converse as a culture we give ourselves the opportunity to question it and to then decide if it’s a dialogue we’d like to perpetuate in & outside of ourselves.

Let’s look at one cliché to demonstrate how we can contradict our word and then remain ignorant the double standards we hold. “Don’t compare yourself to another,” is commonplace advice and yet we use this same approach in trying to shake someone out of their sadness. “You really shouldn’t feel that way. There are starving children in the world and you are complaining over xyz!”

Perhaps an innocent attempt to offer perspective, this message is overshadowed by its subtext, “Your lifestyle doesn’t warrant you sadness… Your experience is lesser-than and therefore unworthy of attention.”

Without ignoring the clear differences that reside over borders of geography, government, culture and race, can we allow space for each individual and the myriad of emotions to which they are entitled?

people, emotion, feeling, expression, depressed, thought, sad, guilt, distress, anguish

Practically speaking…

“You really shouldn’t feel that way. there are starving children in the world and you are complaining over xyz!”

Brushing aside one’s pain will not feed that child, it does not alleviate their suffering. Brushing aside one’s pain is not productive in and of itself. If one truly endeavors to be of service in the world, one route there might very well begin with a step in the opposite direction. To hold presence in one’s full experience and to let go into the suffering, is to tap into the suffering of every human on this planet. It is in experiencing one’s own humanness that an emotional and spiritual knowledge is granted – a key for connecting ourselves to others (others who might like our support, like these children).

support, connection, guilt, global, child, empathy, feeling

So what is to be done in the suffering?

1. Refrain from piling on more stories (like this comparative dialogue example). These thoughts often just get in the way of being present to one’s feeling.

2. Feel the feeling. For most this is easier said than done as many fear getting stuck in an uncomfortable state. The only way out is through though and feeling the feeling is the only way it can be processed and then released.
– Getting stuck only occurs when an emotion is suppressed or a false story is fed.
– Naming feelings can be helpful, but be wary of judgement as this is what keeps them trapped. Trapped feelings are set to manifest as dis-ease and/or violence.

3. Certainly, take time to learn about another culture’s reality and to acknowledge one’s own privileges. However, to optimize receptivity of this information, it’s helpful to wait until the suffering has passed.

 

 Like this post? You may also enjoy Taking Things PersonallyExpectations, or Compassion.

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Continuing

Posted by on Nov 16, 2016 in Self-Help, Thoughts | 1 comment

I’m not here to act like getting out of bed every day is easy. There are many that I’d rather just cocoon up and wait — wait as long as it takes for my wings to sprout and for them to introduce my best-butterfly-self to the morning. But not every day affords this luxury and sometimes I find myself out in the world as a confused and vulnerable little larva.

And although I’m fascinated by, I’m not interested in anyone who is pretending that it’s always sunny. What I am interested in is being real and saying it’s hard. It’s hard and I do it anyways.

Why do I do it?

Maybe it’s because I’m curious… I’m curious to answer all the questions that I have; and I’m curious to hear what new questions I will come to ask.

Maybe it’s because there is a way the joyous memories of the past cast their light on the future, that i’m drawn forward.

Maybe it’s because there is a confidence that comes with seeing how the trying times have served to edify. I’ve now carved out my seat for this rewarding role of studentship.

Maybe it’s because I (and I really do) believe in magic. In the magic that is a kindred spirit; a flash of inspiration; a whisper of intuition; a surprising synchronicity; in the magic that is a moment of pure peace in a day. It’s these unplannable and unexpected drops of light by which I am nourished, that I continue to grow.

Why do YOU do it?

 

 Like this post? You may also enjoy Lack of Support or Future Unknowns.

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Jealousy

Posted by on Sep 1, 2016 in Self-Help | 1 comment

As IG is flooded with pics of perfectly positioned poses, it seems like everyone and their mother is a superstar yogi. I am not one of those people.

I am someone who likes the feeling of stretching and someone who appreciates reminders of awareness and deep breathing.

I’m also someone who has more or less sat in admiration of yogis for years, but never taken on a consistent practice myself.

Recently though, I’ve made some regular attendance in a flow class and am already tuning into the myriad of lessons that translate from on to off the mat.

Especially as social media has us injecting the highlight reels of our peers into the monotonous moments of our daily lives, it’s the unfortunate truth that comparative internal dialogue is commonplace in our culture. “Look at them they are so much more talented, more fit; smarter; better looking; more accomplished; happier; cooler; more confident; more put together; they have more friends than I do…” It seems to be automatic in our society that we size ourselves up against each other, and even to ourselves – comparing our current state to what we perceive was a better version. “I used to be so happy; so successful; so fit; so outgoing; so vibrant; so lean; I used to have everything together.”

In the studio however, we learn that there is no space for this chatter. Setting up for a pose, though we may be surrounded by a flock of more seasoned yogis, all perched steady in their crows and their cranes, it does us no benefit to become distracted by our neighbors.

Intimidation or ego inflation, it will not serve to make comparisons in either direction. What kind of information are you really gathering when the variables are so vast that there could never be a true assessment anyway?

“Wow, they hold their crane pose for a full minute longer than I can!” Well, they may have a particular anatomical advantage that makes this easier to achieve.

“I’m so much more flexible than them!” Well, they may be coming back from an injury. Or, “I’m so much stronger than they are!” Well, they may actually have 10 years experience, but it’s not evident right now because they’ve already done 3 other classes today and are consequently fatigued.

What we learn in the studio is that, like in life, in order to maintain balance, in order to build strength, one cannot become distracted.

If we peek at a neighbor or out the window or get taken by a thought, we’ll surely fall.

IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN BALANCE AND BUILD STRENGTH, the extent of the occupation is… to is focus on the breath, check in with alignment, recall the intention, and relax to deepen.

 

And when there is pain on the path…

Enjoy the challenge of the work.

Listen to the body.

Trust in the wisdom of your being.

 

 Like this post? You may also enjoy Kindness or Non-Attachment.

Future Unknowns

Posted by on Jun 14, 2016 in Self-Help | 0 comments

With an unknown future it’s easy to get caught in complaint.

“Grr… i’m frustrated because i just don’t know…
• What is my career going to be?
• When is the construction on our house going to be complete?
• Am i going to have children?
• Will i find a life partner? where?
• Am i going to find suitable land to purchase?
• What am i going to do when i retire?
• Who will my community be when i move?
• Will this project be successful?
• Which school is going to accept my application?
• When will my immigration visa process be complete?
• Am i going to ever fully recover from this illness?
• When will i be financially independent?
• Will i find my passion? when?”

The thought is that, “I don’t know BLANK. I just don’t know and i want to know and if i only had the answer it would make this moment better.”

But, is there ever pause to appreciate the gift that is the mystery? Aside from the thrilling magic of it all, on a practical level, it’s actually quite helpful to not know one’s future. the truth is, whatever’s next in the timeline is yet to be revealed simply because there is nothing to do about it now.

Think about if you really did know what the future held — you knew all the todos and happenings lined up for your life — it would be entirely too much!

Imagine this…
You open your inbox and see there are three new messages.

• One is from your friend who is asking a question and would like an answer by Tuesday.
• The next is from your colleague who’d like more information on something. he is needing a response by Wednesday.
• The last is from your sister. She is looking for your opinion and is requesting to hear back from you by Thursday.

A typical reaction would be small-scale overwhelm. “Woah, woah, woah. alright, this is a little too much to handle all at once. I’ve got to prioritize here. I’m not going to touch the Thursday deadline message, or even the Wednesday one right now. I’m just going to focus my efforts on the Tuesday one. I’ll do what I need to do to finish that right now. Really, I almost wish I didn’t know about those other two because having them in the back of my mind is just distracting… It would be a lot easier if they’d only appear in my inbox when they were relevant – the current format is just cluttering my mailbox.

It may seem as though the guessing you’re doing about your future is distracting enough right now — being granted a guaranteed outline of what’s to come might sound like a welcomed reprieve. However, in reality this wouldn’t be so. The fantastical thoughts you have about the future, though endless in their variety, all remain ethereal. Because you really don’t know how things will play out, these ideas are kept as equally possible as impossible. They drift as thoughts with little substance. conversely, if you were granted the knowledge of all your assured future happenings, though it would be finite, those notions would hold a different constitution. Their certainty would give them weight; and their details, texture. All these intricacies would muddle the mind as they’re be more details than one could know what to do with.

Imagine this…
You settle into the car for a week long road trip and switch on the navigational system. today you are heading to a friend’s new house located in a part of town you’ve never visited. you merge onto the highway and begin the cruise. the sky is cloudy, traffic is steady and as you make your way out of familiar territory you listen up for the nav’s next aural instruction. a number of exit signs pass you by and curiosity begins to grow. “where am i going?” finally the nav system pipes up.

▸ “Take exit 429 on the right.”
   “Great, thank you.”

▸ “Then, turn left onto woodlawn and follow it for 5 miles. Next, make a left onto church street. Stay on it for 0.7 miles, then, turn right onto brant. Follow brant for 1.2 miles. Make a right onto university…”
   Cars wiz past and you’re having trouble making your way across the highway lanes in order to get off at the 429 exit.

▸ “Keep on university for 0.8 miles. make a left onto king street. keep right…
   A motorcycle races out of your blindspot, swerving in-between you and another vehicle.

▸ “In 24 miles take a right onto cherry st. continue for a mile…”
   There is a transport truck in the next lane who is getting a little too close for comfort.

▸ “In 44 miles… in 52 miles… in 58 miles…”

You haven’t yet been able to reach your first exit and the nav system continues to distract you with instruction. You become agitated. “No no no! Why is this device revealing directions that are multiple steps ahead of my current location? I can’t act on those until i arrive there anyway. I need only to focus on what is taking place right now. Knowing the details about these future steps is not only unnecessary, but confusing – all it does is divert my attention from what i need to do to take care of myself in this moment.”

The universe’s current system is set up in your favor. With pleasure or pain, not being granted the full knowledge of what lies ahead is always in your best interest.

Coming upon that panoramic view of the nature reserve is more beautiful if you don’t see it in the guide book first. The punchline in that movie is funnier if you don’t hear it in the trailer first.

There have been times in my life, I’ll poetically name as “shit storms.” In retrospect i am glad to have not known of their existence on my horizon. If i had known that much pain and confusion and anxiety were around the corner, that suffering would’ve only leaked into the present in the form of fretful anticipation. It would have taken away from the enjoyment and education I was receiving during those times leading up to the storm. There was nothing more for me to be doing during those times than what i was already doing by being present to the feelings and teachings of my day-to-day. Really there is no sidestepping the future, so there is no useful application of it’s whatabouts.

 

Similarly…
I can recall a number of instances as a child where my doctors required me to take a flu shot. The times where i was told in advance, I would only agonize about the upcoming clinic visit, Friday at 4pm. The two seconds of pain had swollen into a prior week’s worth of anticipation. The times i was told the day of, I would again allow the experience to swell. The many hours leading up to it I’d be walking around with a visceral chagrin.

In both cases, the mere two seconds of actual physical pain had dilated in the shadow cast by the unnecessary introduction of their future “knownness.” Funny to me because if i had the chance to experience the feeling of the injection in isolation — say, if i had happened upon a sensation akin to that of a needle prick, and in a scenario where i could have avoided the anticipation of it (if i was bit by a bug for instance, or if i had brushed past a spiky tree during a nature walk) — it would likely go unnoticed. In the least, it would be much easier to handle.

It is a gift not to have all of the answers in this moment – to have the space of now kept as clutter-free as one can allow.

Ultimately, not being distracted by the future’s details will mean more ease in in experiencing whatever is currently happening around & within oneself. The perfection is that – what you are experiencing right now is your personalized primer for what is to come. So, the best thing you can do to prepare for the future is to fully immerse yourself in the training that is this moment.

The best thing you can do is trust that you always have sufficient information. You’ll always know just enough to make the next step.
• I know it’s not daytime but your vehicle’s headlights will show you just enough of your surrounding area to maintain your safety, to keep you going. (really, if you had the whole road in illumination, it’d be superfluous. you’d still only be able to drive it one meter at a time!)
• I know you don’t have the whole loaf, but follow the bread crumbs. each bite will be satisfaction enough until the next one. (really, even if you had the whole loaf, you’d only be able to eat it one bite at a time anyway!)

 

 Like this post? You may also enjoy Moving or Trekking.

Taking Things Personally

Posted by on Jun 12, 2016 in Self-Help | 0 comments

taking-things-personally

Imagine that you are taking a walk in the city and are approached by a man. he looks worn out, overrun by life. You can sense by his tattered clothing and forever furrowed brow that he’s faced significant hardship in his time. Spying the makeshift cardboard bed and the mess of empty bottles on the nearby stoop, you suspect that the street has become his home and drinking & drugs, his occupation. your nose is distracted by whiffs of urine.

The man begins to approach you. His eyes twitchy and his breath sodden with alcohol, he gets right up in your face. Enraged, he begins to spew gibberish. It’s meaning is incomprehensible, it’s content predominately profanity. Among the slurs, “You’re a f**king unworthy piece of s**t!”

…You continue walking.

For you this interaction might have been a little off putting, it might have been unpleasant, sure – but would you have taken this interaction personally? Would you have let this man’s words damage your self-worth?

Likely not. The typical reaction would involve some form of, “Awe he’s just drunk. He’s just high on chemicals, he’s in pain and he’s blabbering. There is clearly a lot going on in his world. (Though his words were aimed in my direction, they have nothing to do with me.)” The typical response would be to brush it off. This other person would have no power over the opinion you have of yourself.

This is a situation where it is easy to recognize that someone else’s words have nothing to do with you. The mind immediately jumps to explanations and the heart to compassion. “He’s clearly having a tough time. maybe he’s also hungry, tired, cold, lonely, desperate… There is a lot of pain and toxicity present for this human being.” – Speculations that aren’t about condoning or condemning this other person’s behavior, but rather, look to understand it.

In this situation we respond with first, Step 0: NOT taking another’s words personally. Then, Step 1: finding possible reasons for their behavior. And finally, Step 2: tapping into empathy for their condition.

So why do we respond this way in one scenario, but not in another?

For instance, would that be your default response to an unpleasant interaction you had with a friend? Likely not. With those who we see on a more regular basis, like our family members, colleagues, roommates etc., it is easy to loose perspective – we can forget that they have their own versions of this man’s alcohol & drugs that get in the way of their authentic communication. Like the man on the street, they too carry their share of influences that determine how they interact with the world. They carry…

• Physical toxins (from their stress, their environment or their addiction to substances like processed food, cigarettes, pharmaceuticals, alcohol etc.) all which affect them on a chemical level
• Mental suffering, the result of many distracting thoughts, enforced through years of social conditioning
• Emotional pain from unhealed past traumas
• Physical distress (like fatigue, constipation, hunger, disease etc.)

These factors filter both how they perceive their inner and outer world and how their self gets expressed.

The only difference between the stranger on the sidewalk and those whose names you know, is the visibility of their struggles.

WHY YOU DON’T WANT TO BE TAKING THINGS PERSONALLY:

It is a no-win situation.
1. You give your power away to another person and in turn make yourself a victim
2. You distance yourself from others through resentment
3. and then burden others with the responsibility of the impossible job of making you feel a certain way
4. You are then so distracted by your own insecurities that you aren’t available for authentic connection with others, to facilitate your own growth, or to help anyone else with their affairs.

The secret here is that you don’t need to wait for someone to reveal the details of their suffering. You can make the assumption that it is always what is at the root of their unsavoriness. With this approach, you free yourself.

So, next time you catch yourself reacting to the actions and opinions of another, think about the man on the street. Although you might be the subject of their outburst, don’t get caught in the trap of taking it personally. Recognize it as a manifestation of their own issues and go from there.

 

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Non-Attachment

Posted by on May 13, 2016 in Self-Help, Thoughts | 1 comment

I often overhear prideful words on the subject of non-attachment.

My self-proclaimed hippy friend recently said aloud, “gross, look at that girl with the expensive designer bag. I’m not pretentious like that. I don’t care about money. I don’t shop in those high-end stores, I shop in used clothing stores.”  What she was attempting to share about was her freedom from an attachment to money, however what i heard was an example incomplete.

If one truly didn’t care about money, yes, they might shop at an inexpensive vintage store, but they also wouldn’t blink an eye over spending a larger sum of money on an item that they liked from a more expensive store. True non-attachment to money comes by maintaining an indifference to a cost – a purchase is based solely on the desire for the good or service.

In another case, a person with more substantial wealth may have attachments to their own idea of money. Though it appears that they are comfortable spending any amount on a whim, when it comes to the sale rack, something changes for them. They’ve become averse to buying the discounted item because it’s newly designated monetary value has now deemed it “less than.”

Freedom from this internal evaluative dialogue would be buying the vintage tee because it’s comfy and the diamonds because of their sparkle. That is living beyond the designated value of money and “not caring about money”

There are many sides to non-attachment. When you say you don’t care about one side, check yourself. Is it possible there is an opposing side… Maybe one that you weren’t aware of, one that you are unknowingly clinging to? Check yourself. Are you behaving self-righteously? Are you holding yourself up by the judgements you have of others?

When I hear, “I don’t care what people say about me. They can put me down all they want, I don’t care.” I’m curious to question, “Do you truly not care what people say? Check yourself. How do you react when you are complemented?” If you really didn’t care what people said you’d give this positive feedback the same zero weight as you did the negative. Ask yourself, is it that you hear others’ words, acknowledge any positive intention and then allow them to roll right off your back; or, is it that these affirmations funnel into a reservoir of pride? Do they feed an identity to which you feel attached?

When i hear, “I don’t like that – insert mainstream pop song title here -,” I want to inquire. “Is it that you actually don’t enjoy this beat, or is it just that you don’t enjoy the idea of yourself liking the song?”

Is there an image of yourself that you are too attached to to challenge?

Maybe one time, you can let yourself dance along, in public, even though it may be incongruent with the image you have of yourself.

Maybe you can release yourself, with the realization that these are innocent notes on a page, simple sound waves, valueless vibrations, that aren’t born with any inherent meaning… Maybe you can release yourself with the realization that you too are as simple and innocent. That you too have no fixed form or identity.


“I’m not vain and attached to my appearances. I don’t take photos of myself, like these other people posting selfies all the time.” Whether an individual takes one picture of themselves or 20; whether it ends up as their facebook profile pic or on a billboard; the only relevant factor is their relationship to that picture.

The amount of attention a photo receives also doesn’t reflect the humbleness of its subject. The woman next door might have an IG account with 10 followers and she could be completely consumed with her image; believing that it is the whole representation of herself. And there could be a famous runway model, with plenty of photoshoots under her belt, who is down-to-earth with few delusions about her image.

I realized a couple years ago that I was trying to fit a particular image I had of myself. In the past I’ve had times where I’ve had an aversion to being photographed – I thought of getting one’s picture taken as act of ego. I saw it as being prideful and vain. I valued humility and thought by refraining from photos I would be supporting the growth of this character trait.

The catch here was, I was caught up trying to maintain a self-image of modesty. This subconscious preoccupation kept me from being genuinely present – from simply being a part of a photograph because it was fun; from posting a picture of myself because it represented an enjoyable time; from sharing a photo of a cheesy grin because I think the world could use more smiles.

It’s sneaky, but this pursuit of the ego-free identity, actually feeds the ego!

To really be free from this trap, to really be humble, is not to not take selfies. it is to take selfies but without attachment to them. It is not to hide from a lens, but to examine what comes up in oneself when in the presence of one.

It is to have photos in one’s life, to have the presence of form, without having it be the definition of one’s being. Ceci n’est pas Kat Green.

 

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selfie-girl

Kindness

Posted by on May 5, 2016 in Self-Help, Thoughts | 0 comments

I have never regretted being kind.

To hold kindness as a practice important as any other means being kind, not just when it’s convenient; not just when you are with your friends; not just when things are going your way; not just when you feel well; and not just to people’s faces. It is about being kind to the irrational driver who cut you off; the dog that won’t stop barking; the store clerk who is being short with you; the mosquito buzzing in your ear; the late bus driver who messed up your plans; the family member who won’t change; the you who dropped the ball with your diet this week.

Being kind in your heart is not about the way you handle the jerks that come your way; being kind in your heart is about seeing all beings with enough understanding and compassion so that you aren’t seeing anyone as a jerk… You aren’t seeing a jackass, you are seeing an individual who is in pain; you aren’t seeing an idiot, you are seeing someone who is confused; you aren’t seeing an asshole, you are seeing someone who is suffering.

This way of being is really about shedding the lenses we’ve come to adopt – the lenses of judgement, fear, expectation and resentment through which we see the world. It is about getting back to an eye that is clear, an eye that is pure love… an I that is one with all.

In this space we find a reservoir of patience and understanding. And in this space, kindness flows.
.pema-chodron

Inner & Outer

Posted by on Feb 23, 2016 in Self-Help, Thoughts | 0 comments

Your body is a reflection of your choices.

Your life is a reflection of your thoughts.

Your relationships are a reflection of your self.

 

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self-reflection

Lack of Support

Posted by on Sep 8, 2015 in Self-Help | 0 comments

We always have what we need in life.

Though it may not be what we want, we will always have exactly what we need.

This is a good reminder during times of despair.

When you’re feeling weak and dizzy in a desperate search for some assistance that you aren’t able to find, know that even in these stressful situations – though it may not be clear –

you are being supported with exactly what you need.

Stop looking down at your feet, asking for sturdier shoes… Look up and see your wings.

 

 Like this post? You may also enjoy Moving or Seeds.

depressed

Time

Posted by on Sep 5, 2015 in Self-Help, Thoughts | 0 comments

There is no such thing as time wasted.

It is all perfect and in this, there is no space for regret.

A tree spends its lifetime in devotion – stretching up, digging down, bending with, feeding on, adapting to and growing strong – every process, an effort towards bearing fruit.

And after those many years, if one of its apples is not picked, it falls.

But the tree doesn’t say, “Oh no, all that energy for nothing, what a waste!” It simply lets gravity deliver its harvest to the ground. There, it will feed the ecosystem that will provide nourishment for its roots.

You are always growing. In this process, nothing is wasted.

 

 Like this post? You may also enjoy Seeds or Future Unknowns.

wasted-time

Life’s Difficulties

Posted by on Aug 22, 2015 in Self-Help, Thoughts | 0 comments

Maybe life doesn’t get any easier… Maybe we just find different ways of asking for help and begin to humble ourselves enough to accept support.

We discover more about our own needs, and become more open to receiving what the world has on offer.

We learn new forms of compassionate communication, and verse ourselves in different languages of love.

Maybe we just work on loosening our grasp, letting go of control.

Allowing for enough suspension of the ego to reveal the simpleness of our being.
It is then that we can touch relief and step into a new dimension of connection.

Maybe life doesn’t get any easier…
Maybe we just become more and more honest about our human experience.

 

 Like this post? You may also enjoy Time, Tightness or Hard Times.

depression

Seeds

Posted by on Aug 16, 2015 in Self-Help, Thoughts | 0 comments

There is an orchard in every papaya,

and a universe in every being.

It is only with the dissolution of form that,

the possibilities within one may sprout.

Get in touch with the infancy of your infiniteness.

Open up.

Allow for a death of the parts to liberate the w(hole).

Allow for presence to turn potential into kinetic, and grow your spirit in every direction…

.

 Like this post? You may also enjoy Time or Hard Times.

papaya-potential

Community

Posted by on Aug 6, 2015 in Self-Help, Thoughts | 0 comments

When your friends become your family and your family becomes your friends… that… that is harmony.


Are you able to appreciate each member of your family as an individual person and not solely for their relation to you? Are you able to walk them down from their pedestal, remove any filter of expectation and stand beside them in companionship?

Making friends with your family means relieving them of any obligation and finding how you may share joyful company.

Are you able to be vulnerable with your friends? Do you feel comfortable that in their presence you will be accepted, without judgment? Do you feel safe enough to be your whole self in every moment?

Making family of your friends means that though you may not share the same dna, you know their story, you know their struggles, and so you adopt them into your world and chose to love them unconditionally.

This is liking who you love and loving who you like.

To be friends with your family and family with your friends is a beautiful thing. And, when you can be fans of them all; your friends, your family and your foe, now that is really something.

Can you find something to celebrate in everyone?

Whether it is the passion your pal has for his painting or the generous nature of your grandparents. Are you able to admire and applaud the performances of these personalities?

And for those whom you feel less compatibility — are you able to, in the least, see their triggers as teachers and say thank you?

When we can see individuals just as people trying their best at this thing called life, and when we can express gratitude for every encounter, we have a recipe for peaceful community.

 

 Like this post? You may also enjoy Compassion or Romance.

family-vacation

Brother, Kat, mother, sister.

Expectations

Posted by on Aug 4, 2015 in Self-Help | 0 comments

Having expectations of someone, of an environment or of a situation will undoubtedly put distance between you and that person, place or thing.

It is like, for example, standing in front of a friend with a box in your hands. You are reaching out to them with this object much like you would offer a present. However, this is the opposite of a gift because it’s an empty box. With this reach you are saying, “there are a number of things that I need you to put in here. I need them from you and if this box isn’t full, I will not be fulfilled, I will feel poorly and I will blame you.” (Expectations leave you prey to the pain of disappointment which often spirals into resentment and/or guilt. And the divide stretches further.)

So as long as you are occupied with the job of holding this empty box, the distance will remain between you and them. Your hands are not available to touch, to hold, to connect with this other person. Physically, emotionally, mentally, the distance will remain.

The same rule of relation applies to experiences of places and things.

Reflect on for whom, for what and for where you have your own expectations… They may be more broad, like holding an expectation of a vacation trip having pleasant weather; of having a work project be successful; of having the body maintain health; or of having your parents act a particular way. They may also be more subtle, occurring on a moment to moment basis, like expecting a movie to make you laugh; a meal to taste delicious; or a friend to be available to listen.

Can you free yourself enough to simply meet whomever and whatever comes, with open arms? Are you available enough to receive what they do/it does have to offer? Or, are you too busy holding on?

*This is not to say that goals and plans don’t have a place. It is to say that, acting with expectation of their result would be to proceed under the impression of one’s entitlement on a particular future reality.

 

 Like this post? You may also enjoy Judgement, Future Unknowns, or Compassion.

communication

Presence

Posted by on Jul 25, 2015 in Self-Help, Thoughts | 0 comments

In each and every scenario,
The greatest gift you can bring to this world, to your fellow man and to yourself is
» your presence «
That is when you grow.
That is how you love.
And that is where you cease to exist.

 Like this post? You may also enjoy Hard Times or Seeds.

kat-green

The Self

Posted by on Mar 21, 2015 in Self-Help, Thoughts | 0 comments

The most important work you will do in this lifetime will be on yourself.

Working on, working down, deconstructing.

Venturing outside so that you may step back in with a lighter foot and a wider eye.

Standing still long enough to witness your own death and rebirth.

 

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hitch-hike

Tightness

Posted by on Feb 22, 2015 in Self-Help | 2 comments

Rigidity can have the appearance of strength because of all the effort it requires. Muscles are flexed and grasps are tight.

An imbalance it this direction however, builds only the foundation of fragility. When anything is held in or held onto with such tension, there will come an inevitable snapping, breaking, exploding.

With such a tight grip on feelings or beliefs there is a closing up as muscles are contracted.

With stretching though, there is an opening up, there is a release. Spreading out means inviting space in and developing the flexibility to bend without breaking.

True strength comes when suppleness is brought into the emotional and physical body. So be gentle with yourself. Go slowly and stretch into the tenderness.

 

 Like this post? You may also enjoy Physical Presence or Being Challenged by Life

stretch

Compassion

Posted by on Feb 17, 2015 in Self-Help | 1 comment

As an exploration in compassion, try looking at other individuals in the same way you might a child.
When they commit an error or act in a displeasing fashion, how would you respond?

When we practice seeing adults as children it often becomes easier to move away from a space of judgement and into a space of empathy.

If we can see them for their innocence, we can understand that they are naive to different choices.
If we can guess what might be going on for them, we can appreciate their suffering.
If we can let go of their actions, instead of falling into resentment, we are able to access forgiveness.
If we can keep our expectations in check, we can become their cheerleader rather than their competitor.
If we can tune into the preciousness of their being, our intuitive caring nature will emerge.

The thing is…when we “grow up” we don’t grow out of a need for love and understanding from others. If anything, we accumulate experiences that may warrant a need for more.
With time, our ability to give love also evolves. As our heart expands it finds new outlets for expression.

To soften ourselves enough to see the goodness in everyone, is to enlighten the world.

 

 Like this post? You may also enjoy Community or Expectations.

compassion

Hard Times

Posted by on Feb 4, 2015 in Self-Help | 0 comments

Life is here to prove how indestructible you are.
To prove that you are not your job or your house or your body or your possessions. You are not your stories, your goals, your accomplishments or your failures.

What you are is beyond. What you are is infinite. What you are is energy and it cannot be destroyed. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be transformed.

Life will prove this by continuing to challenge the construct of this reality, all that you have built and all that you identify with. Let these challenges be an affirmation of what you really are, the eternal essence of the universe.

 

 Like this post? You may also enjoy The Self, Being Challenged By Life, or Life’s Difficulties.

sand

Moving

Posted by on Jan 27, 2015 in Self-Help, Travel | 0 comments

moving

 

In life we move from place to place. A potentially painful process.
Keep moving. Just never into a space of missing. Residing in thought about what was left behind will surely bring suffering.
Allow for mourning, but don’t dwell in loss. This only closes the door to receive the offerings that surround us in the present moment.

 

 

 

 Like this post? You may also enjoy Fear, Change, or Trekking.

Fear

Posted by on Dec 23, 2014 in Self-Help | 0 comments

When we act out of fear we are never granted the gift of abundance. We cling to habits, friendships, romantic relationships, work, money, beliefs, possessions, plans etc., that are no longer serving our higher-self because they are comfortable and because we think that if they go, nothing as grand will be there to fill the void of their absence. We are scared of feeling empty and act to protect ourselves from the tenderness of this vulnerability.

However, when we are brave enough to let go and let go fully, we open up space for new blessings to enter.
There is a common belief that there isn’t enough to go around — that we must live with a mindset of scarcity, of saving/clinging in order to ensure our growth. The resulting reality of this mentality? Lack of fulfillment and a sense of being stuck.

Acting out of fear impedes the flow of energy in our lives. Letting go is the first step in supporting the existence of this energy and feeding its flow.
Staying in a unhealthy romantic partnership is one example. Letting go of that person can be difficult because you fear being naked in the world again. But release them and any expectation you have of that relationship and you will be welcoming untapped abundance. It may come in the form of a new partner, a friend or may a fuller relationship with yourself.

The process of looking to buy a house is another example. It’s easy to cling to one listing because it checks certain boxes. But when things aren’t flowing- the inspection doesn’t go well, you are outbid etc., it is time for self-reflection. Is there clinging to a particular fantasy? Have the blinders narrowed? Let go of that property. Let go and the accommodations in line with the growth of your higher-self will present themselves.

When we relax our grip our palms open to the universe. The limitless, infinite universe.

 

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Being Challenged By Life

Posted by on Nov 3, 2014 in Self-Help | 0 comments

When the world works you over, when it tosses you around and breaks you down, what do you do?

We might choose to be hardened by these experiences. Take them as bricks to build the ego and construct walls that protect us from pain. Keeping out and not letting in.

Or, as tiring as it is, if we stay open and raw and present, we can choose to be in acknowledgement of our discomfort and not of it. And we can soften.

To be soft is not be weak. To be soft is to be water – flexible, fluid, mysterious, accepting, nourishing, playful, powerful water.

To be soft is to be an ocean that wears cliffs down to dust; a river that transforms landscapes; a current that powers engines; a rain that feeds a valley; a sea that supports the earth.

To be soft is to be strong.
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 Like this post? You may also enjoy Tightness or Hard Times.

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