Enough!

enough

The past two weeks have been crazy in the news.  When tragic tragedy occurs other places and cities, we stop and pause.  It is heartwrenching and makes you wonder about life and who are these people.  Then you go on with life.

When violence comes in your own front yard, climbs on your porch – it changes you. For me it is a ripping at the fabric of my heart.  Our leaders responded quickly setting an example to us all of humility and of determination.  A gathering of hundreds in the heart of the city brought some great messages.

Mayor Mike Rawlings said “We as a city, as a state and as a nation are struggling with racial issues, they continue to divide us. We’ve got to change.”

“Is this what it takes for us to come together? Does it take tragedy? Does it take murder?” Imam Omar Suleiman asked. “Hatred is not an appropriate response to hatred.”

“We are being tested down to the core, to see not only if we will survive the atrocities of last night, but if we will rebound and become a better city,” Bishop T.D. Jakes said,  “Enough is enough. Let that which unites us be greater than that which divides us.”

We in Dallas have seen the end of the path that hate speeches and violence, and taking sides will take us and have said “NO, not in our city!”   And the biggest cry has been a call for action.  This event is unacceptable and we have to make a change.

Not just expecting someone else to do it.  Not pointing fingers, not taking sides.  While I appreciate our leaders for setting an example, I can’t expect them to do it all.  It is going to take all of us showing up each and every day.

 It is going to take me standing firm and asking, “How can I be the change I wish to see in the world?”

I have seen this in effect on the streets and in churches and organizations. Many have asked this question.  I see this in individuals at the store of all races raise their heads and make eye contact, giving smiles and greetings and hugs.  The outpouring of support for our fallen officers has been monumental as well as support for those officers who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe.  People are taking a stand and action.

Police Chief Brown puts out an opportunity, “We are hiring, put in an application.” While a good idea for some, this would not work for this grandma, way past the hiring age.  So where does that leave me, still asking the question.  In another blog I will maybe outline my process for this discovery, but for now I will simply say, “I have  to look at what I have, who I am, what are my gifts and abilities. How can I stretch and grow and share who I am and be the change?”

Sooo. I have a blog.  I can write.  I also have some great information on communication.  Practical and down to earth.  How can we really listen to our spouses, children, neighbors, friends and enemies?  How can we listen to ourselves and respect our beliefs and open lines of communication, celebrating the differences in others?  How can we communicate our desires and needs effectively?  Very often, it is not what you say, but how you say it.

In the next few weeks, I will use my blog to speak out on some great communication strategies that will help you in all areas of life.  I would love to join with you and  discover how we can make a difference in this world. In our own way. With our own unique gifts. In our own corner of the world.

I would also love to hear your views.  How are you dealing with the current situation in our world?  We can all learn from each other as we stand together and say- “ENOUGH”

It will take us all.   Every One of us!sonja in hole at gog

Sonja

 

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In This Moment….

May 8 Waterfall

Today, I sit in my favorite spot on top of my favorite waterfall. The water level is less than it was only a few weeks ago when I had such an amazingly fun time.  I am also aware that next month there will possibly be no refreshing water at all cascading over these rocks. It is a challenge to enjoy the deliciousness of this moment and to accept what is true at this time, in this place. The sun, the breeze, the birds and the cool water all provide a banquet for my heart and soul.

I went for  an annual exam at the doctor.  I like to hear everything is ok and working as it should.  Only, not this time. Hmm… what’s this lump. Of course it is a lump, why did I not notice it myself?  Which led to another appointment, another test and then yet another.  And the expectation of more to come.  Words we really do not want to hear from someone in a white coat. Not what I had in mind for my summer plans. I can take this moment to stay here, accept what is truth and not fight it, yet not make it more than it is.  I know I am stronger than I feel.

I can remember back so very long ago a  situation with a tumor which grew to be as large as my unborn baby.  The fear and struggle from that time tries to fill my heart and soul.  I have to remind myself, “This is now, not then.”  I am in such a different place.  Of course, I can remember the good lessons from that time- love myself, love others, don’t sweat the small stuff , keep a sense of humor and stay in the moment- don’t get ahead of yourself. I just have to look at my amazing 6′ 5 son to remind me of the miracle of that time.

So, here I am  in this moment.  I am free to choose courage over fear.  Acceptance over striving. Peace and grace in this moment.  I can enjoy and celebrate all the love and support from family and friends. Decisions will need to come. Summer plans and goals will adjust and change. Tomorrow, I will deal with what comes my way in the strength of that moment and the next and the next.  I will gratefully return to my waterfall perch in times when I need to refresh, renew and remind myself to accept and thrive in this moment.  There may be an abundance of water or none at all, but still I can choose to embrace this time.  Kind of like my life at this moment.

How can you embrace this moment for yourself?

 

Mothers Day When We No Longer Have a Mother….

Last year for Mothers Day, we took Clay’s mom out to eat. With her flowers and card, she told everyone it was her birthday. We went with that. It is a good memory in the midst of that season.  This year she has passed and we find ourselves with no mom in the family. When my mother died a few years ago, I was surprised by the strong orphan feeling.  I am an adult and been successfully navigating my life for many years but when faced with the reality of both parents leaving this earth, it was an odd mix of responsibility and neediness. Now with my husbands family gone, we are it.  The patriarchs of the family.  It is strange with no family standing between us and the end of life.  Whether we have had great relationships or struggles, there is something comforting about that buffer. Even when I remind myself -this is normal life changes and seasons, it feels odd and unnatural. Embracing this new season and acting on my decision of what do I want this time to look like and feel like for me helps to make it more normal. What legacy do I want to leave in this world? Am I making steps to make that happen?

Then, we are faced with a holiday reminding us of what we are missing.  Normally, I say look at what you have in your life rather than focusing on what is missing. However, Continue reading “Mothers Day When We No Longer Have a Mother….”

7 Ways to Play Where You Live!

Fun times with my daughter!!
Fun times with my daughter!!

Yes, I will admit it.  I have been running away quite a bit. I have had some great times with loved ones where we had such fun times.   Considering the hectic pace of my life this summer, I am saying it is good stress management.  However, traveling from  my last getaway, I was thinking, “When can I  go again?”   Somehow, I would need to arrange my life in a way where the day to day routine is more exciting and inviting.  While it might be good stress management to have breaks, it is not healthy to  only be ok when I am away from home.  We all do it, though. While, I love to getaway to the country and hike and 4-wheel, the people there just use their 4 wheeler for work, and not play.   This idea spawned my

“Play Where You Live” plan. Continue reading “7 Ways to Play Where You Live!”

Courage to Be Yourself

Come on jump into the fun of being yourself!
Come on jump into the fun of being yourself!

Throughout our lives we have received input on who and what we should do do be ok.  Some of us have huge ideas that are impossible to reach or often these ideas are conflicting.  We read magazine articles or books trying to improve ourselves and if you are like me these are sometimes helpful and sometimes make us feel a little less than or never able to measure up to others.  Other people look like they have life easy and have achieved perfection or gotten it all together.  So,we try harder and sometimes we are successful and other times fall on our faces.  For me the break though came when I realized no one really has achieved this perfection.  Everyone puts on a nice smile and gets dressed the same way I do!  I can learn great things from others in one area or another and they can actually learn from me in another.  I am so lucky to have a long time friend who taught me to be more structured and organized with my days with young babies.  She is highly gifted in this area.  She in turn says she learned from me to relax more and have more fun with her kids.  We all have strengths and weaknesses.  The challenge it to grow in both of them; to understand and accept our own unique selves while continuing to grow! Continue reading “Courage to Be Yourself”

Living With Dementia

Titus and his Great Gram!
Titus and his Great Gram!

All things considered, it could of been a lot worse.  The transition of moving my MIL to my home went very smoothly.  I took her out shopping and eating while hubby and the kids worked hard and recreated her apartment in my former master suite.  On bringing her home we just showed her, her new home.   She keeps forgetting where she lives and we have to bring her into her room over and over again.  Repeatedly, it is like she is seeing it for the first time and is happy with it and very thankful. Continue reading “Living With Dementia”

How was your weekend?? It depends on your perspective!

Fun time or stressful.  The choice is mine!
Fun time or stressful. The choice is mine!

It is so easy to look at the lives of others and think about how amazing they are, and then compare our family and life to this vision.  We see our own foibles and feel somehow like we fall short of the dream life and family.  The truth is there is no perfect life or family.  The reality is that life is a roller coaster.  We can however, choose our focus and the meanings we place on events.  Care for an example from my crazy weekend trip?

Continue reading “How was your weekend?? It depends on your perspective!”

Frustration RX

A simple, effective technique for dealing with frustration.  try it and see.
A simple, effective technique for dealing with frustration. try it and see.

Does Life ever bring those frustrating moments?  Sometimes I feel like I go from one frustrating moment to another. Then, other things that are usually easy, become difficult and Wham!…Life  just feels overwhelming and not much fun. What happens when we feel frustrated (along with her cousin anxiety) is the two parts of our autonomic nervous system become out of sync.  When the sympathetic division (responsible for our fight or flight zone in the brain in which is called upon for the sake of safety) and the  parasympathetic division (responsible for maintaining functions of the respiratory tract, ingestion and digestion and the disposal of wastes) are out of sync, is the signals in the nervous system are chaotic. It’s like driving a car with one foot of the gas pedal and one on the brake.  This makes for a jerky ride; burns more gas and wears out the car sooner.   So it is with our bodies and emotions, we tend to get frustrated more easily and often go into anxiety or anger. While it would be wonderful if we never had times of stress or frustration in our lives, we are going to encounter things that we do not like or that are out of our control.  Remember, it is not really the circumstances, but your perspective toward the circumstance and how that has put your nervous system out of sync. So, what do we do about it???    The people at HeartMath Research Center have been studying this for over 20 years.  I was delighted to learn some amazing techniques to deal with just his problem.

  • Become aware of how you feel about the situation at hand.  Admit to what you are feeling.  “I am frustrated and a little angry for spending 6 hours at the ER with my MIL and answering the same questions every 10 minutes.”  While I might wish I were a better person and not angry about this, acknowledging what I feel and naming it helps be to own it rather than just brush it off.
  • Slow down your breathing.  Breathe in for 5-6 seconds and out for 5-6 seconds.
  • Focus my breathing on my heart and breath in and out of my heart. (Yes, you are really breathing in your lungs first , but it has proven you can focus this breathing energy toward your heart.)
  • While still breathing ask yourself, “How would I like to feel?”   Compassion, love. joy, fun!
  • The more you focus on this new feeling, the more your nervous system becomes in sync and the more you can experience this desired feeling.
  • Express gratitude for this new feeling and for this moment in time.

Sounds too good to be true?  There is scientific evidence behind this!  It is a little challenging at first to get the habit, but gets easier the more you practice it.   So, give it a try and let me know how it works and lets leave frustration behind and life of gratitude. Another step in designing the life you have always wanted! Sonja

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 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?