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Archive for August, 2012

As some of you know I was trained long ago to be a teacher.   I also had many freaking amazing mentors along the way who taught me some of the truths behind it all.

I have also had a lot of varied life experience and have been on the wrong side of bad teaching methods.  To this day I still haven’t forgotten how it felt to have been screamed at, had my book thrown across the room because I didn’t finish all my math homework.  I tried…if the teacher had looked a little closer he would have seen all the eraser marks and worn page as I tried and tried.  I honestly didn’t understand it.  But, he was so frustrated with someone else that he exploded.  As a shy little girl I was terrified and never asked for help again that year..and years after. 

Scary what we adults can do isn’t it?

This summer I have some fun working again as a teacher with students visiting from Korea.  My job is to help them acclimate and understand how the schools work here.  I heard the other two teachers (ones who work normally in the school year) talking about different punishments for varying crimes.  I listened and at first I was glad to hear they didn’t like punishments that made the children humiliated.  Things like a shame jar, having to sing in front of the class…etc. 

Then they continued to talk about how to properly punish kids.

Something felt off…and then I realized, not once did I hear how to properly praise kids, motivate them or catch them being good to reinforce behaviours we like.

Crap..this again?

Know what?  Negative reinforcement doesn’t work as well as you might think and there is a huge HUGE difference between a consequence and a punishment.

As adults we hear a voice in our head and I know full well that most of us hear a really negative one.  Where do you think that comes from?  I hear parents and other adults talking to their kids in a such a way that if a perfect stranger did the same we’d freak out. 

Who do you think has the most impact?

Yes, we need to teach children about boundaries and social morales, but you know what? It doesnt’ have to be looked at as a punish them when they screw up.  It can be looked at as showing them what to do and telling them when they get it right.  We also need to teach them about loving life, loving themselves and being kind to others.

No more excuses.  You know how it feels as well as I do to be trod upon.  As a Mindset Coach I urge you to stop talking to yourself without compassion and let’s teach our children to have a compassionate inner voice as well. 

Compassion isn’t just for those who are broken…it’s also for those we don’t want to break.

You with me?

 

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Please raise your hand if this applies to you.  If thing are going too well,  how many of start to get nervous?

C’mon now..don’t be shy. I know I’m not the only one.  And it’s no longer being blamed on my being a Libra either! 

Life has a way of ebbs and flows that I used to think had to even out somewhere.  So in my mind if something good happened that meant something equally bad was going to also appear to ‘even’ out things.

Crazy right?

Maybe, but I don’t think I was or am alone.   There is a reason we have sayings like ‘waiting for the other shoe to drop’ right?  Or the idea of ‘walking a tight rope”.  It seems the idea of Life Balance may be a little off.

Why on earth do we assume that we can’t simply have an overall happy life with a few blips along the way?  Instead we prefer to think that the world is out to ‘get’ us, that we will be victims of something or other if we don’t worry enough and be vigilant. 

Boy oh boy does this suck the life right out of us. 

Have you ever stopped to think that this might be true only because we make it so?  I have noticed that there is a limit to what is acceptable happiness.  Kind of like a glass ceiling of sorts and if we get to close to feeling just blissfully happy we start to pull away from it. 

Holy Crap….as a society as we afraid of being too happy???

We worry about being too happy, we worry about being depressed, we worry, worry, worry!  Heck we even talk about how worried we are as if it is the thing to be doing. 

I wonder, how uncomfortable would it feel for you to reply to the question “how are you?” with “I’m really quite happy and joyful”?   But we are all perfectly okay with replying to the same question with “oh my goodness I feel awful” or “okay I guess” or “I’ve had better days”.  

We are all so accepting of everyone being miserable that we are hardly concerned when someone tells us they are.  This is concerning. How will we ever hear a cry for help is all we hear is this sort of thing?

Why is one socially okay but not the other? Is it a misery loves company sort of thing?  Hmmm.

I know that my thoughts create my reality and I know my thoughts become my words and actions.  SO perhaps what we need to do is start allowing the positives, the blessings to be what we say and do. 

It’s time to make being happy the normal, and being down in the dumps unusual. 

So, I’m going to try a little experiment and I hope you join me.  For the next week or so I’m only going to talk about how great things are and I won’t be awkward about feeling good.  I am going to share how blessed I feel, how grateful I am for what I have in my life rather than complain I don’t have everything perfect (yet).  I’m going to cheer and celebrate when something good happens and downplay the not-so-good.  You know..the reverse of what most of us do now.

I want to see how others react.  Will they be uncomfortable, annoyed or join me in my positive thinking? 

What do you think? Will you help me with this experiment?

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Avoidance.

I mentioned this as a coping skill in my last post “Fooled or Foolish” and I’ve since had the question about what I meant by that.

When I started getting a little better and could be awake for more than an hour at a time, I had to start to deal with all the stuff I ‘missed’.  You see, I was pretty much on my own for this *ahem* adventure in car accidents. 

I didn’t do very well. Or maybe I did.  Either way I did the best I could and that I suppose, is all anyone could ask of themselves.

And when I got a lot better, where I could actually remember what I did the day before, I started to also realize a lot of things had changed.  Myself included and I struggled with that.  I wanted ME back, I wanted my happier life back; I didn’t want to deal all the stuff that had piled up and I fought those changes and problems with avoidance.

I simply refused to deal with it until I what ever issue it was got so big I was forced to do something. 

Looking back I realize that at the time this was a coping skill.  I wasn’t able to deal with literally everything in my life turning upside down and on its head, as well as the emotional upheaval and the pain and rehab…ugh!  It’s not all over with yet either.  I just deal with it much better (most days).

Avoidance is a coping skill.  However, I found out that all that stuff just grows bigger while you’re pretending it’s not there. Now, I really did need to learn to put things aside so I could heal and I have to deal with that. 

However, it’s not a great way to cope over the long haul.  Avoiding life is fine for an afternoon where you have  a migraine that makes you want to hide in bed and just try to survive it.  It’s not a great way to live your life.  And  many do everyday and not because of an accident; they are simply stuck in a terrible cycle.  It causes a great deal of stress and upset, and it doesn’t have to be this way.

Perhaps this is a good thing to have gone through because as a Mindset Coach I can recognize it quite clearly.  I also can relate and understand how much emotion is behind using avoidance.  I also know first hand what it takes to fix it and get through it.

What I want you to know is this.  It doesn’t go away. You can avoid it only so long and you will have to deal with it.  It is much easier to deal with things one at a time as they happen then it is to have everything build up and come crashing down on you all at once. 

Facing up to life, getting things under control takes time, effort and courage.  I ended up having someone totally unexpected come around to help keep me from falling off the edge.  We need support and sometimes even ideas on what to do next when we are overwhelmed.  Boy do I get that.

So, what can I help you with?

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Who exactly are you trying to fool? Or perhaps you have convinced yourself you are the one who is fooled?

I know I’ve written before about cutting out the BS but it still amazes me how often we do it and don’t even realize that we are trying to pull the wool over our own eyes.

As a Coach, I see it all the time.  Most of the time I can tell pretty quickly who has an honest relationship with themselves and who lives in an alternate reality – so to speak.

A perfect example of this came up for me this weekend while I was out shopping for some groceries.

A rather large and loud woman (for the sake of the story lets call her Sue) and her friend (let’s call her Susan) were shopping in the same area.  Susan suggested that they pick up strawberries.  Sue took a look at them and very loudly proclaimed how expensive they were, and how regular people like her simply could not afford to eat such things. 

Now I happened to be almost right behind her and could clearly see in her cart.  People who can’t afford to eat concern me…I’ve been there and I have been blessed to have someone help me cross the hurdle.  So I peeked.  And that’s when I spotted it…the BS.

4…yes FOUR name brand full-sized bags of chips, three bottles of soda.  One of those bags could easily be exchanged for a box of strawberries.  No kidding…almost the same cost.

Now I try hard not to judge we all have our issues after all; but if you going to yell about it in the grocery store, please don’t try flinging around the cow patties you know?

The thing is you bet she fooled herself into believing it…because she wanted the junk food.   Hey…go for it.  It’s your body your pouring crap into.  All I ever ask from my clients and friends is that they don’t BS me or themselves about it. 

I do stuff sometimes when I know better too.  One of my favourite coping skills that I developed when struggling through the first year of pain and strife after my car accident was avoidance.  You can come up with a TON of excuses that might even be slightly true with that one. 

It wasn’t until I started being straight with myself and asking “what’s the real reason?” that I was able to begin healing and moving forward. 

BS is strong stuff…keeps you stuck and sucks you in (I know…gross metephor but it’s more true than you realize).

So, think about that important question.  “Why am I doing this?  What’s the real reason?”  Have you discovered some BS in your own life?

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Do you have one of those bucket lists?  You know..the wish list, the life list…whatever you want to call it.

I do.  Only I don’t pay it all that much mind from day-to-day.  I have big goals and things I’m working on and seem to get distracted by those dreams.

Still every time I notice my bucket list I get very emotional. These are real to me.  Pinterest has made it loads of fun to create this list. I love visuals!

I started thinking about why I have this list if I don’t pay enough attention to it.  What’s going on there? 

Interestingly enough, I came up with a lot of excuses…or reasons? Nah..they were excuses.

Let’s see.  A couple of favorites that came to play?

  • there is only so much time in a day
  • and just who is going to pay for all this?
  • can’t just leave everything and go off like a nutter (yes you can, I’ve done it before! lol)
  • what to do first?

I kept picking at this one and realized that while many things might take some planning and maybe won’t happen today; they also won’t happen ever if I don’t mind them and start making some steps towards them!

Okay, while it’s true I can’t do everything in one day I can certainly prioritize and start the process of getting things underway. 

So what’s the problem?  Well first of all I needed to work though these questions I think.  Then it hit me…shoot.  So much of this was fear talking one more time.  Once I opened that door, I could hear so much more of what my heart and soul were really saying.  I heard things like “what if I never make it and all that planning and work amount to nothing?  I think we know the answer to that…’so what?’  Some of it was just simply fear of moving forward to the unknown.

One of the biggest things I have on my list is travel, travel and more travel.  I struggle with travelling alone since my car accident.  I suppose that makes sense BUT it won’t get me to those experiences.  Time to figure out some things around that!  I don’t want my list to be just wishes in the wind.

So, how often do you plan for things on your bucket list?  How or what do you do to make the dreams come down to reality?  I’d love to know how you handle this!

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There are so many people wandering around this world worried about what others might think if they do this or do that.  They aren’t living fully because of this worry.

It breaks my heart to see people hold back on living in case it upsets another person.  You know what I say to that?  Screw that! 

Here’s what I have learned that I really want you to know.  First, anyone who is upset because you are happy and showing it has deeper problems than you can know.  This is not your stuff.  We all have enough grief in life and we really ought to take the happy times and live them fully and wildly.

Secondly, in my experience, most of the time, other people love to be around those who are able to let go and express joy.  It’s almost as if seeing you do it, gives them permission to lighten up a little too.

For some reason it seems that we are addicted to doom and gloom.  As if refusing to let the happy in and show it, we are preventing any other extremes from happening.  Kind of like that old saying waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I have some news.  Ignoring the joys of today will not prevent the sadness of tomorrow…it just wastes the gifts you have right now. If that proverbial shoe is going to drop it will drop anyway.  You can deal with it if and/or when it happens.

There are times when we are sad, when restraint is needed but I think we have taken it way to far.  My friends…my adult friends…get over yourself and your own egoand have some fun. 

Go on and run through the sprinkler with or with out kids…still feels good on a hot day.  Laugh out loud; stop trying to keep it quiet…let it out! Be a little silly, play with puppies, make a puppet show happen, toss the football around, sing along and loud with the radio and dance while you sweep the floor. 

Take the gifts of laughter, joy and fun and let them reign; let the crappy days be the ones that are out of the norm…let them be the exceptions.

Laugh and smile because you can…and share your joyful spirit with others.

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In the past, I have struggled with the idea of controlling my thoughts.  After all, things just pop into my head don’t they? I can’t control that.  I had no idea how to do this.  In fact, I sort of believed that it was really not possible. Maybe if you were some highly trained guru or something but I really had little faith in this.
 
I know many of you out there think and feel the same way.
 
Don’t worry about that.  Here’s the key to your mindset.  You can’t control the thoughts that pop into your head, the things that suddenly appear are just thoughts.  Most importantly, they are nothing more than this; unless you decide to pay attention and hold onto them.
 
That’s right…they are nothing more, nothing less.  No different the gentle wind; you generally don’t even notice it unless you pay attention to it.  It’s your attention that makes them more (or less) important.
 
You see, it’s the things we pay attention to, that we give our energy too that will come into our lives.  If a yuck thought comes into your mind, you have a choice. You can either latch onto it or let it keep floating right outta there.
 
Of course sometimes it is harder to let them go.  Especially when it’s a worry or fear.  This is where you DO control your thoughts.  You have the choice to allow that to be your truth or you can deliberately choose to replace it with another thought that is more loving and supportive towards you and your life.  You can choose to latch onto the positive or the negatives…it’s all up to you.
 
Need an example?  Okay, not long ago I had a beautiful vision of a tele-series that would bring together some wonderful people to share what they have learned from their own journeys.  I had no idea what I was doing.  At times, especially as the calls got closer I wondered just what the heck I thought I was doing.  I was no host!  Ack…so when I heard that fear thought coming up I heard it and then replaced it with the thought ‘if this matters for just one person, it is all worth it’.  (By the way, turns out it mattered for quite a few!)
 
This is one of the biggest (and toughest) lessons I have learned; but also the most important. 
 
I have created my life and am still doing so and this concept; the idea that I can ultimately control where my thoughts and energy go; has been the key to changing everything.
 
Be mindful of the thoughts you hold onto.
 
We all have many that flit and fly through our brains but it’s the ones we grab hold of, rest our happiness on that matter.
 
~Bonnie
 
 

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