Conquering the Fear of Decluttering!

My coaching philosophy is a systems approach where we make internal changes to produce outward results.  There are times when trying to change external habits or behavior can reveal inner blocks.  If we can address these blocks and transform them we can create lasting change and action is not painful or difficult.  Let me give a great example here from my life. In this series of blogs, I will walk you through the process. It was too long, so I am having to break it into several posts.  This process is helpful for removing blocks  in any area of life where you feel stuck. Continue reading “Conquering the Fear of Decluttering!”

Caring for yourself– Key to peace and preparedness!

Ice Angels
Ice Angels

This is an example of rime icing … supercooled water droplets (i.e., liquid water at subfreezing temperatures) in the fog we had overnight, and these super tiny droplets of water froze as soon as they made contact with the weeds  which were also exuding water creating these very delicate crystalline fibers that got bent into various shapes by the subtle winds tracing out what remains of the leaves here in the woods.

You dare not touch them, for they are hollow and disintegrate into a feathery mound of crystals at the slightest disturbance.  Since our temp today will be above freezing, even for a few hours we will lose these delicate beauties.  This is an example to me of enjoying the beauty of life in small things! (this photo and explanation were sent to me by the local weather man- way too scientific for me to come up with, but can still enjoy!)

We are into day 3 of our icemagedden.  This is a unique pattern for Texans.  Day one is fun and exciting as school and work are closed and kids are enjoying sledding.  But by now our food sources and growing slim and cabin fever has set in. Even the paper is not delivered.

Whenever this is predicted, people make a mad dash to the store, emptying the shelves of water, toilet paper and salsa.Of course the predictions could be wrong and we only get non freezing, but very cold rain.  When it is right, who would  want to be caught without the necessities of life. Everyone’s idea of housebound food is different. I sent my hubby to the store for hot cocoa  and-he returned with frozen shrimp!!

This got me thinking about preparation and how vital it is to life.  When a storm comes we stock up, wrap our faucets and put water in the bathtub. I do have great memories of losing power when growing up and my dad (a former farm-boy) keeping us warm and cozy with the fireplace. While life adventures cannot be predicted by the weather man, we can be prepared in some ways for what might happen.  I do not advocate worry or always looking for the next shoe to drop, but life is often crazy and stuff happens.   Our December habit is self- care.  Stay with me here.  When we neglect our self, we are not ready for the unexpected.  Often when life feels out of control or just very busy, the first casualty is our self.  How many times have we neglected, sleep, eating right, and even bathing when life is uncertain.  These are the things that keep us going and keep us ready.

Thursday night I had finally made it home and ready to stay bundled.   My MIL called and had a bloody mouth, possibly from a fall.   Thankfully, I had gas in my car and could make a mad dash over there.  MY thought was to bring her here for the duration, but when I got there she was fine and couldn’t remember a problem. It was good that I went, even if I did complain and even better that I was prepared for the unexpected.

This month when we focus on peace and joy and reaching out caring for others, lets not neglect the fact we must care for ourselves in order to spread peace and joy to the world.

It might be,diligence in an exercise class once a week, making sure to get to sleep on time, or noticing emotional issues we cannot resolve on our own and taking steps to find a good professional to walk us through.

These people were not prepared!!
These people were not prepared!!

Gratitude and the Stress of Life!

We have been in the midst of a crazy decision making time.  With the needs of a teen and MIL with dementia and how to adequately take care of everyone and their basic needs.    My tendency is to switch between denial (not thinking about it) and just making a quick decision and get it going.   Most of the time I am just stuck in the middle, weighing the pros and cons of each possibility.

The best way for me to push myself out of this frozen place, happens to be our habit of the month!  (convenient huh).  When life is feeling overwhelming and difficult allowing myself to go to a place of thankfulness is like an oasis in the desert.  I can create a safe environment for my heart, mind and spirit to  rest and renew.

Asking “What am I thankful for?”, totally changes my perspective on the problem.  I can be thankful for this wonderful, almost a man, child.  How we came through this high-risk pregnancy, preemie birth to discover things about my self, to learn and grow in ways I never did with the other kids.  Now, with just a few years left in my home, I can help him learn to stand-up for himself and get the help he needs for his learning differences.   I can be thankful for my MIL.  I am thankful for her in having the wonderful child who now loves me and supports me like no other.  I am thankful to model love and respect for the elderly when basic life care is unmanageable.

After a few minutes of gratitude, my heart is at rest.  The situation has not changed, but I am more confident in dealing with it.   We will find a solution benefiting us all.  Maybe not a perfect one, but one we can all embrace.

Today’s goal is bathing.  (The MIL, not the son- thankfully).  While the lack of hygiene, bothers us more than her, it must be done one way or another.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to not remember to bathe.   Gives me more compassion for the task at hand.  I just have to be loving and firm.  Today we are going to do this. Can I find a playlist for bathtime??  And maybe cinnamon rolls when we are finished.  🙂  Yes, in addition to thankfulness, I have to ask “How can make this fun” (see previous habits!)

“What are you thankful for today?”

Thankful for the Rainy Day!

While the remnants of Tropical storm Sonia move away, we are left with some humid drippieness.  My wish on a day like this is to head back under the covers with a cup of coffee and a book.  With my November habit, I will adjust my perspective and embrace this day with all I have to be thankful for!  Honestly, after summer drought conditions I cannot complain about 2 rainy days in a row with any seriousness. Lakes are full, trees are saved and burn bans are lifted.  The clouds are like a fluffy blanket of love covering the world as I go about my daily tasks.  Hooray !

 

What do you

 

It's a cloudy and rainy day

 

have to be thankful for?

 

Thankful for this extra hour!!

sunrise
Good morning world!

Hooray for the time change!!

Last night I was ready for sleep at 6pm, but resisted until 9. LOl

Now, this morning, the dogs are up at 5:30 ready to play.  The good news, for my goal of getting up cheerful for the day, is this is very helpful!  Yes, I am up, walked, fed, dressed, music on and ready to write my blog!

A good example to me of embracing what I can’t change (unless I want to move to Arizona).  There are some battles to fight, change, adjust in my life, but this is not one of them and I can adapt and learn and grow.  There are so many areas where I need to release control, it can feel frustrating.  But really, in all situations I can choose to control my thoughts, beliefs and actions.  This is the place where I can choose life, goodness, blessings and joy!

Gratitude is a great place to start.  We overlook many opportunities for gratitude every day.   Are you alive?  Are you breathing?  Can you walk. or move your arms?  Wow!  A great day!    After living in Haiti and showering and washing clothes by hand, I was so grateful for hot water and a washing machine.  It has been awhile since I really appreciated this luxury.

Our habit for November is Gratitude !

What Can you be grateful for today?

When playdoh (or life) loses its fragrance!

A container of pumpkin pie spice. Español: Un ...

What a beautiful autumn day!   Feeling fallish, I wanted to make some pumpkin play dough for my grandson.  To make it, all you do is add pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, ginger & nutmeg blend) to a basic play dough recipe.  All went well until we added the spice and though I kept adding more and more, I could never get enough for that pungent, delirious smell, I was looking for.   Hmmm………… Evidently pumpkin pie spice does not last for many years and mine must have been too old. So sad.  I did add vanilla which redeemed the moment of adventure and it is good to know I will have to buy more spice before the holiday season is fully upon me.

Sometimes life can be like this.  We don’t even realize when we go along in life, doing what we always do, but maybe there is little joy or adventure or spice of life in our days.     We need to know that the need for adventure or surprise in our lives is critically important.  If we go too far into security, life can become boring and mundane, and then often we react in an unhealthy way to balance this need.  We might overspend, or pick a fight with a loved one, just to break up the monotony.

While it may not be an easy fix like just going to the store and buying more, how can we replenish ourselves with a new batch of spice in a healthy, profitable way?  One way could be a habit of “Celebrating the New”.  You know how much I dislike change in my life, so in working on being more open with change, I decided not to call it change, but “newness”.  While it has been helpful in making friends with change, an unexpected benefit has been a new excitement or sense of adventure in my spirit!  ( I love it when one action has multiple benefits!)

What are some ways to celebrate the New?   As with anything, planning is the key.  It sounds like an oxymoron, to plan for surprise, but otherwise it just won’t happen.

1)Take regular trips–  You don’t have to go far.  Just a change of scenery and getting out of your normal routine, even if just  over one night can help.  Look at the next 12 months and plan to get away every 3 months.   This is just 4 times in a year.  It opens the door for new thoughts, feelings, insights and brings perspective.

2) Ethnic meals–  Once a month or perhaps once a week, go to a different restaurant that serves a different type of ethnic food.  There are so many choices and options.  Ask friends for suggestions of their favorite places.  Or, you could get a few friends together and take turns hosting a meal (they could cook or get take out) of different types of food.  You might say, I don’t like Lebanese or Thai food.   HMMM….. I think that is the point!  Get out of the rut and stretch yourself.

3)Music– If you listen to your playlist like we do for our morning or evening routines in the same order, this meets our need for security and stability.  What happens if we add new songs or just put it on shuffle?  It meets this need for surprise/ adventure!  What could be easier than that!  Or, if you walk or drive one way every day, then today, try a different route.  Little adjustments can bring great benefits.

Do you have any ideas?!  How can you “Celebrate the New”  today and bring some new spice in your life!?

At least the pumpkin patch was a big hit!  Now that is an adventure!
At least the pumpkin patch was a big hit! Now that is an adventure!

The Best and Worst!

As we are working on our evening routines this month, I have a great suggestion for communication.  One of my favorite things, when my kids were young, was to tuck them in bed.  This was such a special one on one time. My favorite thing was when  I would ask, “What was the best thing about the day?”  and “What was the worst thing about the day?”.  Then just listen.  This was not a time for teaching, training or other lectures.  Just entering into their world to mourn and rejoice with them on their perspective of life at the moment.  In addition to sharing a moment and feeling heard, this teaches them about life.  A normal life has ups and downs, highs and lows, every day.  Often we either stuff the bad in denial or only focus on the bad things and feel like life is awful.  Learning to accept both and go on is a very special gift.  Adding, ” What are you looking forward to tomorrow?”.  This shifts the focus to a new day and new possibilities.

These questions are helpful in any relationship.  Lunch or coffee with a friend or spouse, or conversation with a co-worker.  It shifts the relationship into a deeper level without overly prying.

It is also a great tool for communication with your self.  Just like I mentioned above, asking these questions regularly, keeps you out of denial without over focusing on the bad and feeling overwhelmed and negative.  A very good thing!!

Here is to the day!  Both the highs and the lows!

 

Changing Gears

Interior in a short nose SAAB 96. Photographed...

In driving a car or 4 wheeler, it goes through a transition as you increase speed.  On an automatic, it will switch into a different gear to make the engine work easier.   On a standard transmission, you have to make that shift your self.  While I really do not understand the mechanics of it all, ( as you can tell from the not so scientific description), I have learned to listen and hear the whine telling me it is time to shift.  On the 4 wheeler, I not only hear the change, but feel it, as it gives me a nice little jerk as I shift into this higher gear.

This week my life has shifted into a much faster pace.  Adding a 26 hour a week internship with some very special kids to my normal life and coaching schedule has been challenging.   I have felt a little bit of a whine as I have worked to shift myself into a higher gear.  One of my favorite ways to give myself that jump into a higher gear is to ask those super, empowering questions!!

If I were to ask, “Why am I so tired?” or Why am I feeling overwhelmed?” , it would give me a different focus than if I asked myself “How did I make a difference today?” or ” What amazing thing did I learn?’”  If you ask your self the same empowering question each day, your brain will automatically look for ways to find the answer. You will automatically even start changing behavior to  able to give yourself a stronger answer!! It is amazing how this works!  This does take a little thought to decide what are some empowering questions I could ask?  But, it really is not so taxing on your brain as staying in these old patterns with  a negative or even neutral question.  It is empowering if it moves you forward – emotionally, mentally or physically!!

Another technique for ramping up to a higher gear is to change your physiology.  What is your body doing?  Take a few minutes to listen to your breath.  When I get busy and overwhelmed I do forget to breathe. Those shallow breathes do not support me in the need to do more.  We can make a quick change in the way we feel or perform, by changing our breathing.  We can relax or stimulate ourselves with different breathing techniques.  Here is one I like from Dr Weil.  http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00521/three-breathing-exercises.html         He also has a great one for relaxation.

Exercise 1:
The Stimulating Breath (also called the Bellows Breath)

The Stimulating Breath is adapted from a yogic breathing technique. Its aim is to raise vital energy and increase alertness.

  • Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Your breaths in and out should be equal in duration, but as short as possible. This is a noisy breathing exercise.
  • Try for three in-and-out breath cycles per second. This produces a quick movement of the diaphragm, suggesting a bellows. Breathe normally after each cycle.
  • Do not do for more than 15 seconds on your first try. Each time you practice the Stimulating Breath, you can increase your time by five seconds or so, until you reach a full minute.

If done properly, you may feel invigorated, comparable to the heightened awareness you feel after a good workout. You should feel the effort at the back of the neck, the diaphragm, the chest and the abdomen. Try this breathing exercise the next time you need an energy boost and feel yourself reaching for a cup of coffee.

 

How will you have a wonderful day?

 

 

 

Can you believe it is August?

 

Time for our new habit of the month.  I have enjoyed the summer time and focus on having fun and freedom.   With  August comes back to school time for many!  Whether as a  teacher or with kids going back to school or just the memory of all the many years we ourselves spent in the classroom, there is a sense of shift from the careless days of summertime to a bit more structure of the fall.  Of course here, the season of fall is far away as temperatures soar, but I can imagine!

So, our August habit of the month will settle in to a bit more of establishing our routines.  Routines are those things we do every day, month etc. They are so much of a habit, we do them without thinking.   I really love routines, as they make life flow and not feel like it is so much work.  Establishing routines does take some effort and is so very worth it.   Back in February we created  a habit of asking empowering questions as part of our evening routine. https://lifecoachingplus.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/january-habit-one/

Now, we will take it a bit further.  In the evening set your clothes out for the next day!!     Bear with me here.  For some reason this usually gets a lot of resistance.  People argue ” But how am I to know how I will feel tomorrow and what I want to feel.  for some reason it feels limiting.  Really though, that is the point!  This is a terrific way to decide how you will feel tomorrow!!  Not only will your morning go so much smoother, but you can place seeds of positive thoughts in your brain.   Think about your day to come and while deciding what to wear, ask yourself “What am I excited about tomorrow?”  or “How will I fulfill my purpose tomorrow?”

Before you dismiss this idea as too much effort, try it for a month and then decide. Of course, by then it will be such a habit in your life, you will just be flowing with it!!

If you haven’t been following our habits toward making your morning easier and exciting, this is a  great time to jump in!!