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?

 

5 Life Lessons We Can Learn From A 100 year Flood

Thankful for those flood plains as water reaches new highs!
Thankful for those flood plains as water reaches new highs!

1) In order to end a drought, we have to have a flood:

One rain storm, even a heavy one will not erase years of drought conditions.  We have to have a deluge and more than we need. If we neglect caring for our solves, one healthy meal or sleeping in will not bring us back.  If you find yourself in a place of burnout, you get into a crisis care situation and really need to spend lots of time regrouping.  Self care is not selfish.  It is essential to living.

2) Those Flood Plains are There for a Reason:

WE get used the the drought  conditions and all these vast areas of land around rivers seem so odd.  Thankfully city planners and civil engineers know what can happen and plan accordingly.  It is not a good idea to build too close to the river or lake.  In life we must plan with margin.  When we fill our schedule too full with no down time, we put ourselves at risk. It might be great in the short term, but situations beyond our control are inevitable and can overwhelm if we don’t have emotional reserves to deal with them.

3) Respect the Boundaries:

The stories of people who notice a barricade and choose to go around it, only to get stuck in high water and have to be

I don't think this guy is worrying today! Happy to go exploring.
I don’t think this guy is worrying today! Happy to go exploring.

rescued are puzzling.  While I am so about expanding yourself and going beyond our internal limits, it is foolhardy to disrespect others boundaries and try to change or control them.  Lack of boundaries  also encourages us to take on others expectations for us rather than being ok with he person we are.

4) The World is an Abundant Place:

When we have severe water rationing we have to  conserve and be aware of lack. It is also so disproportionately spread.  Even now California needs some of our abundance. This month 35,000,000,000,000 gallons have fallen in the state of Texas.  This is enough to supply the entire worlds population with 10,000 days of water for everyone to have eight 8-oz glasses a day. We know 85% of the worlds diseases are caused by lack of pure drinking water.  While I can’t completely fathom this or hope to change this gruesome statistic by myself, I can be informed and contribute to organizations working to make this change through education, relief and drilling water wells.  Emotionally,I can be in a good place where I share hope and grace rather than fear with those I encounter on a daily basis.  Loving words, kind gestures or even a smile to a stranger at the grocery store can spread abundant life.  As we encourage our family members and coworkers we create strong emotional waves to spread and renew life and love.

5) Life is fragile and the Future Uncertain:

While the loss of life has been small considering how extensive this has been, each story is so sad. Makes me aware of the fact that we cannot control so many events.  We can spend quality time with loved ones, building them up and not letting hurts and wounds cause rifts and bitterness.  Deal with your issues and move past.  Don’t allow fear and worry or insecurities to rule life.  I want to enjoy each moment.  This year my motto has been Peace with the Past, Present in the Now and excited for the Future.  While I may not always stay in this place, this season of crazy weather has helped reminder me this is my goal and where I want intentionally to live my life.

Here is our favorite spring fed waterfall just a few weeks apart.  Funny on the left, the fun was from climbing on top and on the right, from hiking in the creek and under the falls. Ahhhh Life !

May 8 Waterfall
May 8 Waterfall
May 29, 2015
May 29, 2015

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….”

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”

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”

Good Grief (even when it doesn’t feel good)

Good GriefJanuary marks an anniversary of my father’s death.  It is not marked on my calender and has been over 25 years.  Sometimes I don’t remember or acknowledge it, but this year it came into my mind. I am writing a Middle School curriculum on The Vikings and a High School study on the book Kon Tiki by Thor Hyerdahl (one of his favorites).  It was one of those moments where I thought “OH wow, the movie Kon Tiki is on instant Netflix, I need to call my dad and tell him.”  Of course, the next moment realizing I cannot do that brings a wave and sadness and grief to my heart.  Thankfully, as I go ahead and say it to him aloud and enjoy the movie and my  heritage, the grief passes and I can rejoice in life as it is today.  This has not always been the case.  The very strong emotions I felt after his death were the most intense I had ever experienced.  Granted I was pregnant, had a preschooler to care for and was exhausted from his long illness.  At that time it  was all completely overwhelming, so I just responded by stuffing those painful emotions down as far as possible.  Of course the result  was a crazy horrible depression t hat lasted for too long of a time.  Digging out of that pit and learning to deal with all these uncomfortable emotions was a difficult journey and also a gift to myself and to everyone around me.  I am so thankful for those lessons learned.  When my mom passed, I was able to deal with the strong painful emotions and come out on the other side quicker.  While I still miss them, I honor the memory by living my life fully charged and with purpose.

This experience has led me to focus on helping grieving people in my coaching. Losing a loved one is hard and painful.

One exercise I have found very helpful is to write a letter to your loved one.   Explain to them what you are thankful for, then what you are angry about and finally how you wish things could be.  These items take you through most of the emotions of grief and sharing them with your loved one helps to acknowledge them and validate them.  After this tell them you will remember and hold on what is good and then say goodbye.  This is a hard step.  People often say, “But, it has only been one week, …or month …or year….!”  consciously saying goodbye is accepting reality.  It takes you out of denial and allows the grieving process to work within you.  This may need to be done more than once and even years later.

If you find yourself stuck in any of the stages or emotions of grief denial, anger , depression, bargaining-find someone to help you get out of it.  These stages are necessary and normal, but getting stuck in any one doesn’t help and the longer you stay , the harder it is to get out.  Working through grief is one of my specialties, primarily because I had quite a struggle with it when my Dad passed away and just couldn’t find the help I needed.

The process of grief is painful and challenging, however it can bring new strength and endurance to 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?

Need some help, please

Good Morning Blog World!

This morning is one of those simply amazing times- perfect temp, perfect amount of humidity, sun shining, but not too bright.   A great opportunity to enjoy the moment.  I know this afternoon, it will change and I will have to adapt to the 90 degrees and blazing sun.   This is life.   Not every moment can hold that perfect mix of everything being wonderful.  Things happen- pain comes, work comes, relationships are stressed.   Our growth and happiness is dependent on us learning how to accept what we cannot change, change what we can, even if it is within ourselves and adapt to life in a way that makes it a better place for all.  Life is an adventure- ups and downs, turns and twists.  Embrace it, go with the waves. Love, live and laugh your way through the rapids!

This is my perspective and what I want my blog to be.  To live this and encourage others.

A year and a half ago,we started out titling the blog as Life Coaching Plus, thinking it would be the work of Clay and I and this is the name of the coaching practice.   I mean really, what is better than 2 life coaches and we have some very diverse ideas.  A big plus in my world!!          As the blog has grown, we have adapted- Clay going to power2live.wordpress.com for his ideas and this one becoming more of my own voice.

So, I am thinking of changing the name!!  This is where I need your help.  Those who read my blog could tell me what they get out of my message and mission here-  How can I say it in 3 words?      My friend and colleague has “Purpose and Joy”.  (Of course we so often want what we cannot have, but I am looking for something that illustrates my message)

I have also considered Sing A Sonja .  You have to say it aloud for it to make sense.  This is my voice or my song.  Doesn’t say anything about coaching, but it is catchy and when I give it as my email, I usually get positive responses.

Now, feedback time.  What do you think of Sing A Sonja or do you have another idea for me?

This is a good time to thank all of you who read my blog.  I have really had fun learning how to get my ideas on paper,(Even though it is virtual paper)  and sharing with you all!!  My goal for the summer is to increase my posts from one to five a week, so stay tuned and see if I can do it!!

Don’t forget to have fun today!!

Sonja

Canoing