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I was chatting with an older lady a day or two ago about some different new items (you’d think I’d learn not to do that huh? lol).

At one point she said that usually people are mean to other people because they themselves have been treated unfairly.  I really don’t want to start a conversation about the topic so incase you were thinking I’m being rather vague – you are right!

I then had the (apparently) crazy comment that despite the past – wrong is wrong and while I agree that it creates some understanding of why – it doesn’t create an excuse.

Whoa!  That got an angry response from her.

To be honest not much surprises me these days the this really took me back.  This lady is not someone I would have guessed to have not only this opinion but so strongly too.

She feels that if society or a group of people, or even another individual hurts a person they have the right to be angry (agreed) and lash back (not so much in agreement) at other people in general.

Now just to clarify we aren’t talking about an incident that happens in the moment or a situation of defense.

I disagreed with her take on this.  Hurting other people – especially ones who’ve done nothing to you – simply because you have been hurt in the past is not okay.  It perpetuates anger, hate and pain for all.

What kind of twisted circle of anger that would create with everyone feeling victimized and quite justified?  Let me rephrase that…they’ve been created for generations already so why keep doing what isn’t working

We have all been hurt, we’ve all been treated unfairly and we’ve all got baggage.  Creating more crap in the world has never holding on to anger burns only youhelped, fixed or changed any of that.

Now forgiveness, kindness and peace…to me that what is going to change things.

She was quite defensive and angry about it – telling me she has the right to think what she wants.  I agreed and simply moved on.  There was no discussion to be had there, no discourse or exchange of ideas.  Too much emotion and defending.  You can’t talk about things when one person has those walls up can you?

But I ask you dear readers, is there every a time when you feel it’s okay to treat others badly because you may have once been treated badly?

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Many of my regular readers know that a few years ago I was in a car accident and suffered some injuries from that which left me in quite a state.

What many people don’t realize is that despite creating a lot healing in my body and mind,   I am still usually managing my life in a state of pain.  Now this ebbs and flows with how bad it actually is and for the most part I don’t allow it to impede too much of my life.

It does affect me more than I let on…but I’ve learned to be so grateful for what I can do and let the rest of it go.  I also don’t like to focus my energy on this aspect of my life and so don’t often bring it up.  I do so today because it’s part of the message and needs to be said to make the rest of this make sense.

What doctors and people don’t tell you about constant pain, even when you can get up and out to do things; is how exhausting it is.  Truly, it wears you out even when you feel like your handling it.  It’s just how it is.  I drop faster than I used to and it’s much harder to gather up my energy to push through.  I can and do, but at the same time I will not send myself into a tailspin because it’s also a much longer recovery.

What I have discovered is I have had to walk away from some people in my life who refuse to ‘hear’ what I’m telling them in any sort of compassionate way.

a_true_friend_button-p145655074167690832t5sj_400Well, to be honest, the first year of my accident really showed me who was in my life to stay and who were – what’s the phrase – fair-weather friends?

A lot of people dropped away when I couldn’t “do” for them anymore.  It hurt for a while, but now I realize that this might have been a gift.  Seeing the true colors of people also showed me who would be standing by me when I was in real need.  The colors on those folks are simply beautiful.

However, these days it’s not so black and white or colored.  Self-care is a big issue for me because I have BIG, crazy and passionate dreams to fill and that means sometimes I need to take a time out and or limit things.  I am aware I can’t do it all, at least not all the time.

In fact, I think we all do, I’m just really aware of how fast I can drop to burned out.  I can’t afford that anymore.  I learned the hard way that it’s far, FAR better for me to take a day of rest and quiet me-time than it is to push too hard and end up in worse pain that keeps me from doing anything other than basic survival for days.

If I didn’t tell people I need to recoup or why I have these limits, I would totally get the confusion.  But I have a couple of people in my life I’m letting go of because they refuse to accept it and refuse to show any understanding or compassion.  I’ve realized the ‘stuff’ they want to do with me isn’t about our friendship or spending time together. I’m simply a person to fill a space.

I refuse to be made to feel guilty, manipulated or shamed into doing something that will cause me grief and put a hold on my life, simply because of someone else’s desires. Clearly this does work for them some of the time with some of the people, but I gotta say,  it’s not cool to treat anyone like that.

I kid you not when I tell you I’ve been called ‘party-pooper’ and it’s been suggested I’m not ‘fun’ (all in front of a crowd!).  I’ve agreed to meet and do one activity and then been harassed and annoyed by repeated attempts to force the issue to do something else I’ve made clear I do not want to do.  Seriously?  Do those tricks work?

The favorite one is the tricky start off question.  You know…so what are you doing this Saturday?  If I said nothing in particular, they act like there is no reason you can’t come with to an event or do them a favor.  What they fail to realize is I don’t need a reason or excuse.  ‘No thanks’ works just fine.

There is one person who actually gets ticked off when they don’t get what they want.  I guess they aren’t used to someone saying no to them because of the way In-the-end-these-things-matter-most-How-well-did-you-love-How-fully-did-you-live-How-deeply-did-you-let-go-Quote-by-Buddhathey ‘ask’ for favors.  Interestingly enough, they are never able to return the favor.  I also rarely hear from this one person until the moment they want one of these favors.

And the gossip and complaining! Oh don’t even get me started on that.  I can only take so much of that on any good day.  That alone is exhausting don’t you think?

And all that is perfectly okay.  It does sort of seem that we are not sharing the same head space.  I don’t want play those games and have the kind of energy floating around.

I know that this kind of stuff isn’t what I want around me.  I dislike these forms of manipulation, but more importantly I’ve realized how lacking in compassion these relationships are.  Don’t get me wrong, I think these folks are really nice people at heart, but as I said, we aren’t in the same mindset about what life is for.

I would rather cultivate relationships that are based on mutual passions, compassion and kindnesses.  Wouldn’t you?

So yes, I’m letting go of these relationships.   Some completely, some just in a very diminished sense.  And it feels good.  It frees up space and time in my life for those who have similar mindsets to come fill.

Not every relationship is meant to be a life-long one.  I really do believe that some people come into our lives to bring lessons.  Once that lesson is learned we need to move on.

The point is, I am a lot more aware of what I will and won’t tolerate in my life and boy, does that ever make things clear!  I have also learned that things cannot drag us down if we stop holding onto them.

So I ask you.  What are you tolerating in your life that you can let go of?

 

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A fair number of people have mentioned that I tend to do things ‘outside’ the box.  One person just this week suggested that I had a bit of a rebel streak.  I’m certain they meant it as a compliment; at least I hope so because that is exactly how I took it.

For whatever reason, as a kid and even as a teenager I rarely judged what I was doing as good or bad, or for that matter if others were good or bad.

That lack of awareness (and yes, at the time that is what it was) that I ‘should’ be weighing things in such a way took me pretty far.  I never really got pigeon-holed into one group of friends, or by one way of thinking or doing.  Which meant I also got to experience many different facets of life.

I am so grateful for that.  All those experiences opened my eyes to so much and many different ways of thinking and doing.  I believe this is why people sometimes view how I live as slightly out side of what is “normal”.

what is normal?Ugh what is normal anyway?  Who gets to really decide that?  I love the quote that says “normal is an illusion – what is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly”.  That’s often how I feel, not that I’m outside of normal…just that I appreciate my own sense of normal.

Perhaps we’d be better to use the word traditional?  Goodness knows I gave a few people heart attacks when I decided to move across the country and in less than 1 month was on the road to my new adventure.  Yup, sold my house, gave away tons of my things and just went for it.  Not the tradition in my family most certainly!

I knew my path led elsewhere and I was going to damn well figure out where that was.

Was I judged for this abrupt left turn?  Oh yes.  Did I care?  Not really.

Now that I’m building my career as an Empowerment and Transitional Coach, I’m seeing a lot of that stuff come up again.  Why would I leave teaching to do this?  What they are really saying is why would I risk this?  Risk is bad right?  <– just another judgment!,

The thing I’ve realized is when we judge things as good or bad, normal or weird…or whatever we only limit ourselves.  I’m not talking about when we have to decide for ourselves which direction to go. That’s different from judging.  That’s simply weighing our options to make a choice.

If I had bought into the judgments about moving from being a teacher to coaching, I’d have limited my own growth.  It’s my strong belief that we all have stepping-stones that contain lessons we need to learn.  Perhaps my passion for coaching and taking my message to the world now is simply because I’ve learned all I can from teaching.  My next step is Coaching.  That same passion that drove me and sustained me to be a teacher is now there for coaching.  I cannot ignore that.

I don’t understand how anyone can do that, although I do know that many do.

Once we make that choice we often start judging ourselves around it.  Imagine if we could just experience life and all it has to offer – including those who are so different from us – without having to label them?

I find it rather fascinating that one of the things I’ve heard about people who love their pets is one of the reasons they love them and feel so at ease is because a cat or dog or horse never judge them; not for a bad hair day, clothes, tears or doing a silly happy dance.  And yet, we haven’t figured that out for our people relationships? Hmmm.  mother-teresa-quotes

If we could finally realize the power in that then we’d be able to see more of the beauty in the souls of others.  I think we’d attempt more and do more and in truth – we’d live more.

My motto – life is short, eat dessert first!  It simply means to do what matters and what you love first!  If someone is judging your actions it really says more about where they are in their life than about where you are.  Love yourself and follow your passions.

Can you think of places you hold back in your life because you feel that you may be judged?  Or are you judging yourself?

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The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for me. I actually had to go look at my date book to see how long its been because I’ve been SO caught up in my classes, peer calls, studying, listening to tele-classes and more that it seems like I’ve been doing this forever.

That also might be, because I think I have been doing this forever.  Maybe not with the skill level I’m developing now but I think it’s always been part of who I am to be a coach.

One of my clients this week, stopped me for a moment and asked me how long I’d been doing this…I actually asked him ‘doing what?’.  He said that he figured I  must have been coaching a long time – gosh I wish I could remember the exact words he said but it really caught me by surprise. Basically he was paying me a complement in regards to how well the session was going for him.

We jumped right back into his coaching session and carried on but later when I was reflecting I got a real buzz from that one little comment.  Amazing what an off hand comment or thought can do for and to us isn’t it?

I see other people who just so naturally do their jobs that they don’t realize how incredible it is to the rest of us.

A very good friend of mine confided that in the back of her mind she keeps waiting for someone to call her out on the fact that she doesn’t really know what she’s doing.  She’s a teacher of emerging readers and I personally have witnessed her working miracles with all the love and patience you can imagine.  She instinctively knows how to reach kids who are struggling and inspire kids who are excelling.

She has no idea how many people wish they could figure out how to do that.  She was shocked to hear me say that to her.

You see, it’s so natural that she thinks everyone has the ability, like she does.  While she has developed it and honed it through self learning, workshops, and practice there is an internal instinct that has always been there.  One that isn’t learned in the workshop or books.

You too have natural abilities that you don’t even realize are amazing because they simply come so easily to you.  It’s a challenge to recognize these for what they are because to you they seem so simple.  So this week I’m challenging you to ask others what they think you do really well.  I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised and maybe even a bit shocked at what they say.

Take it in and appreciate these gifts that are yours to use with ease.

Blessings,

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Have you taken a good hard look at an acorn? They actually quite small aren’t they? I mean it’s a good size meal for a squirrel I guess but even those furry guys can handle a couple at a time.

In fact, my dog likes to knock them around at the park as if they were some sort of naturally occurring super ball. Yup, they bounce pretty good, but they roll really fast so that’s exciting. It’s cute when he tosses them up in the air and catches them.

But take a closer look. They have a pretty hard, smooth brown shell that is really quite lovely with an almost cute little cap.acorn-oak-nut

Now look up and around…you see that big tree they came from? Take a moment to really let it sink in that this little acorn has all the potential in the world to grow to those heights. Really kind of amazing isn’t it?

This is what your faith in yourself can be like.

For those of us who’ve been hurt, rejected and broken our faith in who we are can seem shattered and non-existent. But it’s not. It’s in every one of us; it might feel hidden or in hibernation but it’s there.

OAKtreeKind of like the potential for amazing things is hidden inside that little acorn.  Nurture that acorn just a little and it will burst forth with all the determination you could imagine to grow and thrive into a giant, towering oak.  This little acorn doesn’t even recognize its final goal, it just knows the next step is to take the chance and break through the shell it’s been protected by for so long.

You can do that too.  Look, a little faith in your hidden acorns; your faith in your own gifts and potential, can go a long way to starting to allow yourself to grow and thrive.  To peek through that crack in your shell to see that the sun is shining.

But like acorns these little nuggets of faith need to be nurtured.  They need to be brought out into the light, allowed to feel the rain and grow some roots.  And just like the acorn, this is a fragile process at first.  One that need gentleness, care and time.    You need to stretch and reach for the sun.

We have all the potential to thrive and grow into something even more amazing than we are today.  And like the acorn it takes persistence!

Find your little acorn of faith.  What can you do today to nurture it?  What little ways can you begin to starting to grow your own potential?  Little steps, small goals can add up to be quite an amazing thing don’t you agree?

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Hey, remember back when you were a kid and $5 or $10 dollars seemed like a freakin fortune? Imagine getting that excited now for what can’t even buy a meal deal at McDonald’s. Do they still call them that? Hmmm, I might be dating myself quite a bit with this post.kidmoney

Or how about when you first graduated from high school. Yes, for some of us this was a while ago. I remember thinking that one day I’ll have a job that pays me a whopping $35,000 or even $40,000! I’ll be rich!

Mind you I also thought renting an apartment would show how ‘grown up’ and sophisticated I was. *Ahem…I may have been misled on that too.

The thing is it’s all about perspective. $5 to me now doesn’t seem like it would go very far and I have no qualms about handing it to a homeless person or to a kid collecting for charity. But, to that homeless person it might be the difference between eating today or not. It might mean being outside all night or having enough to buy a coffee to sit in that all night diner during the darkest and coldest part of the night.

Perspective is everything.

Our version of success comes from our perspective. For my high school self success meant graduating from university as a certified teacher. That was it, my everything. For other people I know, success meant their babies were born healthy.

It’s all about perspective.

So how can we know when we actually successful? Well lovelies…you have to decide what that means for YOU. Just like I talk about in my book Building your Beautiful Light, you can’t keep leaning on the expectation of society and expect to be fulfilled and happy. Society tends to skew things and generalize things and ignore personalities and well…that fact that life happens.

And then, you have to stand in that truth. If making $40,000, but being home when your kids are done school is success then love that. Someone somewhere is also striving for that success. If speaking your message through writing a book is that makes a difference in lives is your idea of success – get typing! Love it, LIVE it.

Remember you can’t compare because no one has the same perspective as you do. That is one of the more complex parts of life and also one of the more beautiful.

One last thing, just like when you grew up and realized that $5 won’t get you much in the grown up world don’t be afraid to allow your perspective to change when need be. I was successful in that I because a teacher, worked as a teacher and loved being a teacher.  At some point my perspective changed and I wanted something else.  Which is why I’m now Coaching.  Oh and that homeless man may one day get a job and a home. When this happens his perspective will change and he might one day realize that $5 is easy to give away too.

Blessings
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I think there is some assumptions about meditation made by those who’ve never experienced it. Let me tell you first off that you don’t’ have to dress in robes, or have a gong or burn incense.

Yes, you CAN do those things if you like, but you don’t need to by any means.

You can meditate exactly where you are, dressed as you are, right now.  You can stand, sit in a chair, lie down…in fact I find it rather meditative to be on the elliptical at the gym.  Yes…pj’s work too. In fact I often do my meditations in my pj’s as I like to meditate just before sleep.  Some folks like to meditate almost as soon as they wake up…which I also do in a way.

You see, the key to this is simply that meditation is as personal as anything else in your life.  What works for one person may not cut it for another.

I once tried to meditate by looking into a flame of a candle.  Drove me nuts.  It just didn’t work for me and I couldn’t understand how others found it helpful at all.  A fire in a fireplace maybe, but the candle just didn’t do it.  However, a friend of mine recalls doing this and she loved it.  She didn’t realize that this was a form of meditation and was really excited because sitting quietly trying to focus was hard for her ADD brain to handle.

I, however, found that meditative music worked wonders for me. Celtic meditative music in particular soothes my soul.  It gives my wandering mind something to focus on that connects deep within my spirit.  I understand that this type of music has a higher vibration that helps us also vibrate and that level.  I find it helps me settle into my self and when it fades out to silence I am able to sit more easily with that silence and focus on my breath.

meditation_Sep081For some (myself included) it can also be helpful to have ambient sounds in the background to keep from being distracted by sudden noises.  I live in a condo and a noise from the garden or the hallway can rip me out of a meditative state very suddenly.  I have an app on my phone that plays bird songs, rushing river, rain etc. called Relax Melodies.  Very helpful at times.   I have a very easy time meditating when I can hear the ocean lapping against the shore.  Assuming of course my dog doesn’t decide to go for a swim and then shake right next to me.  🙂

It took me some time to realize what worked for me.  It was a process and I am grateful for all the online guided meditations that are now out there that helped me get deeper.  I expect as my meditation muscles get stronger I will add to what can work for me.  I already find myself able to do short mediations out in the ‘real’ world when need be to calm myself or regain focus and energy.

Many ask “So why should I even bother to try to find a way to meditate that works for me?”

Easy answer? —> Meditation improves your  health and well-being. 

Several clinical studies have documented specific ways that meditating may help people stay healthier, improve mental focus and find better emotional control and connection with their emotions.  It increases your ability to be mindful even when not in the midst of meditation.

Some studies even show that the brain of someone who meditates may be physically different from someone who does not.

“A   study in 2005 by Sara Lazar, Ph.D., an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, worked to find out which parts of the brain came into play when a person practices mindfulness and meditation. Her study included 20 people who meditate regularly and 20 who do not.

The findings were amazing. The brain region called the cortex, which is associated with attention, sensory awareness and emotional processing, was thicker in those who meditated. In fact, people who meditated were discovered to have brains that grew thicker in direct correlation with how often they meditated.  The findings suggest that meditation can actually change the structure of the brain.

Meditation is a lot like playing a sport or going to the gym.  You will struggle a bit at the start, you’ll have to find what works for you and you will have good days and bad days with it. As you get more in tune with yourself you will be stronger and better at it.

We spend a crazy amount of our time and energy focused on the external world.  Our jobs, cars, bills, family…the list goes on.   Meditation allows us to explore our inner world and workings.  In turn it gives us more to offer our external world and puts all of that into perspective.

I also believe that this is a time you can focus healing energy on your heart, soul and body.  When I began to meditate regularly I found my body healed much quicker after my car accident.  I had less pain and more ability to focus on getting better.  I give a lot of credit to my practice with meditation for the decreasing pain and increasing mental focus and energy.

During meditation you can hear your true spirit and this is something far too many of us are missing out on.  I found my path to coaching when I was able to listen deeply to where my spirit wanted to go.

I love the expression that meditation charges up my ‘spiritual batteries’.  If you let your batteries run dry you have less to give your family, your job or your hobbies.  Less for life.  You need to nurture your spirit as it is the space you live in. It’s what you bring to your life and to other in it.

This is why I meditate.  This is why I struggle through those tough days where my brain just doesn’t want to settle down.  I heard it said somewhere that during times I am too busy to meditate, I need to meditate more.  Even the act of meditating imperfectly brings about some benefits of stress reduction, focus and calm.  Be kind to yourself as you get started and remember that everyone was once a beginner.

It is a practice and I will continue to practice.  Will you?

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