Forward on the Path of Life!

Interpreting life as a journey helps keep me going.

Sometimes we get a little lost only to find we were on the right path all along and didn’t know it.

Sometimes the path is bright and cheery and others filled with sorrow. Sometimes the direction is clear and sometimes it makes little sense.

Too often I find I am walking someone else path or the one I think I am supposed to be on rather than the path that is unique and true to me.

There are moments in life that seem so amazing, I don’t want them to ever end or change- but they do and life changes and moves on.

Some moments are so filled with pain and hurt we want to move on, but feel so stuck it is hard to take another step.

Others can join us, love us, support us. Sometimes it is for a long time, others it is fleeting. Some people seem to be in our path as obstacles to our movement and happiness. These people can show us parts of ourselves where we need to grow that we would really rather not see.

My current life journey includes launching my youngest into adulthood. It is exciting and scary. For 33 years I have had a child at home to care for, nurture and prepare for moving on.  It seems like a huge step to move on from here.  In reality it is just one step, just like the others, just like each day.

I remind myself of my intentions-

Give and receive love generously

Be open and connected to my creator

Experience fun and excitement in each situation

These are the constants I want to keep in my daily life journey.   For today I will add –

Just keep moving

Your path belongs to you.  Where are you going and how do you want to get there?  What are your intentions for today??

Garden of the God's

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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?

 

“What did I do to Deserve This?” How our questions influence us forever.

cropped-garden-of-the-gods.jpgWe were driving home from a very frustrating doctors visit, with a doctor who knew little about dementia or how to deal with a dementia patient.  I was looking for assistance with home health for bathing and medication for her anxiety.  Instead, I came away with paperwork on cooking for a patient with high-blood pressure… sigh.  My mother-in-law had already forgotten about the traumatic visit and was distracted by the huge cumulus clouds banking all around the sky.   Suddenly, the sky opened up to a huge downpour. The rain was so heavy and strong even the wipers on full blast could not keep up. It was a bit terrifying for me, who loves storms, trying to see and keep on the freeway.  She was in quite a panic.  Then she asked, “What did I do to deserve this?” Continue reading ““What did I do to Deserve This?” How our questions influence us forever.”

First Things First

10525916_781390441881524_13519433434744531_n[1]When life gets busy and crazy with a never-ending to-do list usually I tend to roll up my sleeves and get on the treadmill and keep going and going and going.  It takes a while for me to realize I have gone too far over the edge.   Yesterday, I thought about working out.  Hmmmm how long has it been?  Over a week…No wonder I am feeling lethargic and tense. Really, I know the fact is, the busier I am, the more I need to be aware of what it takes to keep me functioning – physically and emotionally.   Just like I need to set up routines in my life to make sure the dishes are done every day and people have food to eat, I must have some routines in place to keep me balanced and energized.   Everyone is different.  For me I need to do these things every day!! Continue reading “First Things First”

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”

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?”

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?

 

 

 

It’s Gone!!

English: Early morning in Urbana, Aug. 8, 2005...

I love my morning walks.  The peace and quiet and calmness in the air.  Getting out, moving, breathing in the cool of the night, before beginning the business of the day, is a special time.  There are other runners and walkers, and we greet each other with a nod or quiet, “Good Morning”.  We all accept each other in this unique camaraderie.   Two days of the week are different.   On these days everyone in the neighborhood sneaks out early in the morning, toting all the items in their home they consider unwanted at this time;  placing them on the curbside ritually, ensconced in tombs of white or black plastic wrappers.   Then as if by magic, these items are never seen again.   Those of us who inhabit the streets at this time know the secret.   We are aware of the large trucks and burly men who stealthily roam the roads, graciously gathering all the offerings and leaving nothing behind.    I have lived in places where trash disposal is not quite so seamless and automatic, so I do not take this service for granted and am in awe at how easy it is.

 

Wouldn’t it be great if we could dispose of all undesired emotions, thought  and hurts of the past just this easily.  Every week, just make a choice and decide, “This is not serving me, I am letting it go.”     Last week I cleaned my MIL’s apt, then we went out and did some running around in the car.  The whole time, I was wondering which one of us smelled bad.  This smell got worse and worse as the day went on.   Finally, on arriving home, I noticed I had not stopped at the dumpster and deposited the trash, but had been driving around all day with it in the back seat!!  This is what we to often do with our emotional junk.  Either we continually wallow in it, bringing it up in every conversation, using it for an excuse to not go forward with our lives or we stick it in the truck, pretend it is gone and yet it continues to drag us down, use up our energy and make us feel less then.

 

What would life be like if we noticed our junk and had a plan for getting rid of it on a regular basis??   For me, I think “FREEDOM!

 

What I like about Life Coaching is that it is present and forward thinking.  Where are you going and how can we get there?   There are times though, when you have to realize you are driving around with some crap in your brain or heart.   You know there is fear there.  You know you react to situations or people, based not on the present, but on the past.  We want to be forward thinking and living, but how do we get rid of old hurts and hangups?

 

While many of our past stuff shows up in emotions, the easiest way to change it is noticing the thoughts and beliefs we have picked up on our journey in life.   They often feel like such a part  of who we are, we don’t notice how incongruent they are with our present life.

 

Whenever I have an overreaction or feel a way I don’t want to, I ask, “What do I have to believe to feel this way?”  Then, is this empowering to me – pushing me forward toward my purpose or is it dis-empowering and limiting.   How can I change it so that it serves me and the world?

 

Example-I had some one in leadership, make a decision concerning me without consulting me or discussing the facts with me.  This felt like a violation, since I knew the correct facts and did not feel respected or part of the team.  I replayed it in my mind, getting angrier and angrier.  I knew it was an overreaction, but still was caught up in the drama of it.  (To be fair, I was on an anti-viral medication which made me agitated, but still I knew it was not consistent  with who I am).    When I asked myself, “What am I believing to feel this way?”, I was amazed to come up with, ” In order to be valuable in life, people need to listen to me.”    Hmmm, I usually have very good boundaries and know my value can not be based on what others do or think.  Somewhere though, this thought had snuggled inside my heart as an idea that made sense to this youngest of seven kids.   It came up in the present, in a situation where I was feeling pushed back into this role.    So, I told myself the truth, very strongly replacing this thought with one that is empowering.  ” I am acceptable and accountable to God.”  “No one can make me feel less than unless I allow it, and I don’t !!”     It helps to do something physical with the old one.  Write it down and – burn it, flush it down the toilet etc.  Then, write the new one and place it where you can see it and repeat it often during the day!   This changes my reaction.  I can deal with the decision from an adult place.   I may not agree with it or like it, but really it does not affect who I am.

 

This may sound like a lot of effort and it does require some thought and effort.  But really, how much effort and

English: A quiet Sunday morning in Trosnant Road

energy is it to carry around your junk all the time?  Get rid of it, let it go!!  Once it is gone, it is gone and you are released.  Yes, it is a continual process and it is always surprise when things come up now, but this means I am moving forward and encountering new situations that allow growth in new areas.

 

Sometimes, you can do this on your own or sometimes you might need a coach to walk you though this process, at least at the beginning and then it becomes a life long habit of freedom.  While I am not large and burly like my trash men, it is my passion to walk beside others, helping them  rid their lives of unwanted baggage.

 

What could you get rid of and how would that change your life?

 

Lifelong Benefits of Play!!

“The opposite of play is not work, but is depression.”

Oh my goodness, what a quote!!  To me that is reason enough to make time and effort to play and have fun everyday!!  Here are some of the many proven benefits!!

In his book, Play: How it Shapes your Brain, Stuart Brown lays out facts on how play is not an optional activity for our life, but an essential element.   If we want to have a life of vitality, creativity and learning skills, emotional stamina, and satisfying relationships we must learn to incorporate play every day.

1) Vitality and Personal Health–  Play keeps you younger and healthier.  It reduces stress hormones in your blood streams.  If we have high stress levels it lowers our immune system and ages out body faster.   Play can trigger a lovely mix of endorphins helping us cope with the pressures and stress of everyday life.   Our spirits are lifted and life is no longer rigid and unmanageable.

2) Sharpens our skills-  There are so many ways to learn and play can foster our creativity, opening a doorway to learning.  When our imaginations are stimulated we can go further and retain more.   We can learn about taking risks and how to adapt to complex issues.  Doing something you enjoy helps your brain relax and get into the flow.  This relaxed feeling stays with you when you return to more serious activities and helps your mind stay clear.

3) Relationships-Playing with others gives you a sense of belonging and strengthens community.  You strengthen your social skills as well as compassion and empathy.  You learn to trust each other and feel safe.

It's up to you.  Can you afford to not jump into fun?
It’s up to you. Can you afford to not jump into fun?

June — Habit of the Month!! It is ok to have FUN!!

 

 

 

 

 

This year we have been looking for habits to implement in our daily routines in order to enjoy life so much that we are excited about waking up each morning and unwrapping it as a gift.

 

Do you remember as a kid, being so very excited about summer coming.   Counting down how many days of school left before those glorious days of freedom was one of my favorite activities!!   Therefore, our habit for June will be to have FUN every day!!

 

When we were young children, our life energy was boundless and we experienced intense joy and delight on a regular basis.   In order to become socially except-able creatures, we were taught how to limit and curtail our fun activities.  Sometimes this was for our own safety and other times to not threaten the status quo of those around us.   We noticed that we could be more accepted if we limited our excited, exuberant behavior.  Often as adults we are so conditioned to not have fun and it almost feels painful to try.  Studies show the majority of adults laugh or play together an average of 10 minutes a week.  We might seek out to be entertained, but that does not meet a need inside of us to overcome our resistance and have fun.

 

I really like the word “delight“.    It is more than fun.  I see images of children frolicking in fields and splashing in puddles.  I imagine a full body experience  from my head to my toes!!

 

Do you feel resistant to having fun or delight every day?  Wonder where to start?   It might feel contrived or artificial at first.  Remember the only way to lower this automatic resistance is to repeat the new behavior often enough so that it begins to feel familiar and therefore safe.

 

So, how about it?   What are some things you can do to delight in your day?  Make a list!  Everyone is different.

 

I am off to the pool.   Usually I am a chicken and like to ease slowly into the water.  Today, I will challenge myself to jump in all at once with a scream of joy!!  Yep, I may just have to repeat it several times in order to feel safe doing it.

 

june