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Posts Tagged ‘balance’

Imagine that you have won a prize at – oh I don’t know – the local fair? A game show…whatever tickles your fancy.

You are given the opportunity to take a completely paid-for vacation to exotic lands, with everything included (yup, even your spending money).  Even better it’s just so happens that this is your dream vacation.  The only glitch is you have to go alone.  You will spend a week or two enjoying your own company or perhaps those of people you meet.  Your family will be presented with prizes that makes them only too happy to see you get your dream vacation so no guilt there!

Or you can take prize number two.  A vacation one town over, nice hotel I suppose but not exactly a dream vacation; however, you do get to take someone with you!

What do you do?

Now please take out of the equation the guilt over leaving your family or spouse. They are perfectly happy in this scenario.  The point I am hoping you notice is many people could never imagine taking a trip on their own no matter if they had a significant other or not. 

How about the idea of sending your spouse on a trip, or the kids to camp.  A month by yourself!  How does that make you feel?

Many people have mixed emotions about it I think. They would love some peace and quiet on one hand but many people are truly uncomfortable being on their own.  When I have coached women who are working out who they are after (and during) a divorce that is one thing that keeps coming back over and over.  They are afraid they will end up being all alone.

Why is that a problem? 

I have to tell you first of all, that I have been on my own quite a lot and sometimes it feels a bit lonely when you want to share things. Then again, I have been in a long-term relationship where I felt lonely every single day. The latter was much, much harder to take. 

I enjoy spending time alone with my thoughts.  In fact I often seek it out.  For me, I like to be in nature, hiking with my dog.  I often find a place to sit and breathe in all that surrounds me and find that inner peace. 

Can you be lonely when you like who you are?   I think so, but it’s not the desperate lonely of a broken heart that is afraid to shine.

When you no longer need to be validated by others externally (not that you don’t like to hear how wonderful you are…you just don’t need it to be happy) you are less likely to despair about being alone.

It can be rejuvenating, refreshing and give you a fresh perspective and appreciation for those who are in your life.  Or the strength of conviction that clarity of thought brings to change and let go.

It can be hard to be comfortable in your own skin and when you are alone, you hear your thoughts, feel you pain and face your ‘stuff’ much more clearly.  Avoidance via being socially busy is a great tool if you want to ignore your higher self.

When we are with others we can’t hear ourselves as clearly. Sometimes we even believe we shouldn’t think/feel/desire certain things because of the company we keep.  When we are teens we call it peer pressure right?  When we spend time alone we question and know ourselves. 

Scary stuff at times.  Painful stuff at times.  Still, it is here, in our alone-ness that we find true and honest selves.

The thing is if you are not fully you, you cannot fully bring all of you to the table to be with others anyway.  Changing who you are and how your thinking is denying your core values and you cannot be content with your life if you do this.  There is conflict within and it presents itself in many ways including physical, mental and emotional. 

Spending some time alone, exploring who you are and becoming comfortable with your higher and best self is a gift that you give not only to yourself but to everyone in your life.  I know I have said many times that we were not meant to travel this life time alone; but I also believe that spending time with just our self is important in order to know who we are traveling with when we are not defining ourselves by what other people think.  Do you agree?

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It has been a weird sort of weekend and start to the week. 

Nothing terrible has happened, nothing much has been moving at all in fact.  Rather humdrum and routine.

It was kind of freakin me out to be honest.  This kind of lull in the ups and downs of life rarely last this long.  Not that I’m not grateful to have some level ground for a bit but when I actually took notice I started to get nervous.

In fact, I believe the expression is that I was ‘waiting for the other shoe to drop.”  An odd little expression isn’t it?  It got rather stuck in my head as I explored this new awareness of calm that has been around for a while.

I bet lots of you out there in the world feel a lot of the same.  These are old habits for me.  A sense of foreboding starts to creep into daily life when you think  this way. 

I made an odd little connection that created a big Aha! moment for me. (Otherwise known as my ‘holy crap, I can’t believe I never saw that before’ moment).

You see, I was lucky enough this weekend to be in the area of town that has an amazing little bakery. While I try to avoid too many sweets once in a while I do indulge but they have to be really yummy to make it worth while.  The apple turnovers at this bakery are worth every bit of the indulgence. 

I planned on having my yummy treat at home later on.  However, when the evening rolled around and the kitchen and dining table were all cleaned up I hesitated.  After all these turnovers were very flakey which meant crumbs.  This mean cleaning up after again. 

For a moment I almost denied myself the pleasure of this treat, one that I’d been waiting for because I might have to clean up. 

What was I thinking?

Suddenly, it occurred to me that we do this all the freakin time to ourselves.  Just like the feeling of foreboding and waiting for the shoe to drop.  I was busy wasting time on these emotions because something might happen? I might get some crumbs in my life?  Whoa; hold on there! 

Talk about wasting the gifts I’m being given!  Let’s face it..life will hand out the trouble cards whether I am waiting for them or not so what the heck was I doing allowing these feelings to hang out with me?  I was not enjoying the treats, the pleasures of the day…because of the unknowns of tomorrow.  I had to give my head a shake when I connected those dots.

Well, no more of that.  Crumbs will happen and I will wipe them up.   Life will happen and I’ll deal with that when it comes.  I will not waste or deny happiness for a second more.

Living in the moment means accepting the joys and reveling in them.  If that is a special treat, time with a loved one or just some calm waters…sink your teeth in and enjoy.  Tomorrow and all the things is brings will come when it gets here.  Let’s stop worrying about what we haven’t got, might lose or problems that may find us.  Instead, I want to focus my energy on being grateful for what I already have, accepting what comes and believing that I will have what I need to deal with the future.

Let’s make it a practice to enjoy today and affirm that good things await us. 

For the record…the turnover was sooooo yummy. Worth every crumb and then some.

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I’ve not been well for a few days and it’s really caught up with me.  I’ve been trying to do too much and not allowing my body to rest as it so desperately wants to. 

Sick PuppyThe bigger problem is that the stuff I have pushed myself to do is crap or only half done.  So now I really have to re-do it and I strongly dislike having to do that.  That is making me feel stressed and irritable.

Even worse than that…I’ve gone too long without proper rest and now I’m short on patience and grumpy.

I was woken up this morning far too early and was already in a ‘mood’.  I’m sure we’ve all had those kinds of mornings where you just know it’s going to be one of ‘those’ days. 

I haven’t been disappointed.

So far this morning I have spilled coffee on my keyboard, tripped over the dog and smacked my elbow, burned my breakfast, lost a document into the nether regions of the internet, succeeded in worrying about what hasn’t been done and now I’ve worked my stress level into the “I give up” phase. 

It’s been a while since this kind of crap sandwich has been served this early in the morning around here.  I figured I’d go have a quick nap on the couch and maybe start over feeling a bit better with some rest.  I’ll be darned if the dog didn’t beat me to it already.

Grrrr. 

So I sit back down at my computer, keys dried off and new cup of coffee in hand.  I opened my twitter to see this quote.

You need to have a bad day once in a while, otherwise, you’ll never know what a good day feels like.

Ha!  Divine whispers right?  And that’s when I was jogged back into myself and remembered I get a choice in how I feel.  I also get a choice in how I react to the ‘stuff’ in my life.  I get it,

Yup, this is how I feel today

I’m worn out, still a bit sick and probably need to just chill out.  Instead of taking care of myself, I’m trying to be a freakin super hero and in the end only really hitting super-grumpy, super-stressed and super-anxious.  (oh Hey..that would be some really hilarious super villains no?)

Who the heck was I trying to impress anyway?  Yes, I had a rough morning.  I allowed it to make me angry and frustrated and was about to start playing angry tag.  You know…sharing the mood and feeding everyone else my crap sandwich appetizer.  Not how I want to spend a whole, blessed, gift of a day!

So…time to do some self adjustment and self care so that I instead find the happy in today. 

Sometimes you are just better off giving yourself a bit of a shake and spending the time reducing the anxiety, frustration and crappy feeling. It’s that whole investing in yourself bit you know?  I mean..who wants to walk around feeling like that? Not me and I certainly don’t want to be the cause of other people ending up feeling that way too.

So, today is a recoup day.  A day for healing, a day for releasing the negativity.   A day that I need to remind myself to show ME some compassion and consideration.  It’s too easy to be hard on myself and get frustrated. I’d never treat another that way and expect them to do everything as normal when they are ill, so it’s time to stop doing it to myself. 

I have a feeling it might take a while so I’m going to go ahead and make another cup of coffee.  I am going to spend part of my day making  a plan to methodically get my to-do list done.  I will prioritize and break down some steps to help with the overwhelm from getting a bit behind.  That’s what will make me feel less stressed out and more in control.  Then later I will take my dog for run…exercise out the stress!

What is your go-to default to help you get back into a good mood when you’ve had a rough go of things?

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Unless you  have been living under a rock or in a cave somewhere, most likely you DO know that in the USA it is Black Friday today.  People are hoping for some great deals right?  In fact many retailers all over are gearing up for holiday sales and hoping the crazy shoppers will start it off with a bang today.  And although I’d love to talk about shopping and getting deals I have another point to make. 

I’m hoping you have sat down and figured out what you can afford to spend this year for the holidays.  (really it’s not that painful and will save you the January fear of the mailbox and bills routine!).  Even if you have yet to do this bear with me.  Okay let’s say you have a small budget this year of only $100 for gifts for the entire family.   Yikes right? For a family of 4 in this day and age that isn’t much at all.

So what do you do?

You have options.  Use credit and go into debt, pay interest and stress out.  Or choose carefully where you spend your money and what you use it on.  And no, winning the lotto really isn’t a realistic option at this point! 🙂

You know this though right?  Of course you do, you’re smart, savvy people. 

So…um…why do you spend your energy like that first option?  You know..overspend, have regrets, stressed because you’re out of energy and now in the negative column? 

Ahh..so we make it to my point.  I’ve written before about how our energy is like a gift card and that post is still bang on.  It’s a perfect time of year however to remind you that your energy is not limitless.  That you need to choose where you spend it or you will burn out. 

You know I love you all so much but you are NOT fun to be around when you are grumpy and barely staying awake but insisting on doing every little thing.

Not the best holiday look!

Choose.  You know your partner can string those tree lights.  Oh sure it’s not how YOU would do it but so what?  Appreciate the efforts, the value and hey..maybe it’s going to be great!  Hidden talent?   Perhaps your children won’t wrap the gifts as nicely as you can, or tie the bow perfectly but so what?   The fact that they did wrap it will mean more to the receiver, and how else will they learn if they can’t practice?

Okay so we get we can spread the chores…err….love around so we can enjoy some of the holiday too. 

Not enough?  Nope.  You may need to pick and choose what holiday parties you attend, and even how long you stay.  I had a client who literally had to bounce from party to party in order to try to attend them all.  She was miserable!  Pick and choose.  And don’t forget to choose some quiet family time.  In fact, I strongly suggest that you actually schedule this into your plans…a sort of family date!

Some of my best memories are after all the noise and fun of the family time was finished.  We always had our feast around 1pm so that those driving could enjoy an easy ride home so it got nice and quiet at our house by 6pm.  It was nice.  We were all tired and we got to sit around, listen to carols and often play games or watch a Christmas movie. 

What is the big point here? Stop being the martyr and realize your family would much rather enjoy you; a relaxed and happy you, not a tired, exhausted and burnt out you.  Consider what the memories are that you are making!  You do not need to do every thing you want to do in order to feel fulfilled. I promise you.  Ask yourself…in 5 years will this matter?  And then focus on the ones that will.

So, as the holidays creep faster and faster upon us, take the time to reflect on how your choices are affecting you.  Spend your holiday cheer as wisely as you spend your hard-earned cash!

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Okay, you’re stressed right? Not a huge shocker for you I’m sure. In my previous post Stress Wisdom, I shared with you some of my favorite quotes about the little monster we all fondly call stress.

The best advice I have ever been blessed with is that we can choose how we respond to events in our lives. Stuff is going to happen. Good and bad. Stress is going to happen.

Stress is a body’s response to what our mind percieves as some sort of dangerous condition. The good news is we don’t have to be a slave to our first reactions. We are not stuck there if we don’t want to be.  

Self Awareness is the key.

Try this. Starting to feel that old familiar tension, that ball of stress? First acknowledge it. It’s there. Just like every other emotion or reaction we have we need to accept it as it is. Pretending it’s not is not helpful nor is it healthy.

Stop, breathe for a moment.

Now look at the problem and define what it really is. Often this step alone takes away much of the power the problem appears to have. Looking at it directly we often find it isn’t as bad as it first appeared.

Now, in an ideal world; what’s the solution going to look like? For example, if my car has stopped working the real problem I need to deal with today is I need to get to work. In an ideal world I’d simply run out buy a new car that is reliable! These are fun to think about but they also give you an idea of where you want your smaller steps to take you.

Okay now we know the big goal is a new car. But, what do we need today? A ride to work right?

 Ask yourself what can you do to make what you need happen. This is the key.  To focus on what you can do.

Example, I can cab it, call a co-worker for a ride, borrow my boyfriend’s car after I drop him off and lots more ideas. Now pick the one that works the best to solve what you need today. If that doesn’t pan out go to the next on the list.

Once that is sorted out you can create a plan to work towards that more reliable car.

Choosing to be calm and solve your problem rather than allowing the stress to run the show will help you a great deal.

Working towards a solution and creating a plan can in and of itself help reduce stress.

Quick review:
1. Define exactly what the real problem is you need to solve today.

2. What can you do today? 

3. Know what your ideal solution is so you know the direction you want to move toward.

Stress is a reaction we can manage with practice and taking time to check in with our body and mind. Next post I’ll be talking more about stress reactions! Stay tuned!

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I find it interesting how tough it can be for people to really nail down a clear definition of what a value is when we are talking about personal core values. I often start my workshop with this very question. I’m nice about it though; I let them work in groups! 🙂

Values are a very abstract concept and connects closely to many others. Often times I find it easier to start with what personal values are not before heading into what they really are.

Personal values are not our ethics, nor are they our principles or standards of behaviour.

In fact, there should be no moral judgment attached to your values or anyone elses for that matter. Our values might inform our ethics or morals but they themselves hold no inherent virtues.

To live life well we need to create and view it from the inside out. Our values are the qualities that let us do this. Becoming aware of your core values and learning to live from those creates a place of harmony within yourself. It takes away a lot of the friction we often have with life when we are fighting against our values.

Next post I’ll talk a little more about defining values as groups of concepts rather than one single word.

Are you living in harmony with your own values at this point in your life? Has it made a difference for you?

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It seems that I have noticed an interesting turn of events in my self these days.  When I was younger..say teens or so, I was as open as they come.  I had little in the way of preferences and was excited about experiencing all that life had to offer.  I rarely looked to see what the Jones were doing except to see if it looked like fun..keeping up wasn’t even in the picture.  I was very content with who I was, what I had and where I was.

Later on I went through a phase of being very comparative.  I wouldn’t say I was overly dramatic about it but I wondered why I wasn’t on the same path as others who seemed so happy.  I would compare where I was to people I knew.  Sometimes I was fine, other times I started to think I should hurry up and ..well I never quite knew what came next.  Keeping up with the Jones seemed smart, but didn’t fit.  I was often very conflicted.

These days I’m a little more selective about the things I put my energy into.  Perhaps I’m getting older and I hope a little wiser.

What I’ve discovered is layered.  First, I realized now that outward appearances of happiness are not always the truth.  Comparing your life with a facade is pointless.  Most of the time you feel like you lose out in that one. 

I also realized that another’s truth and happiness can be exactly replicated but will not necessarily provide the same results for me.  Not an easy lesson to learn, but one that was hard-won.  I still struggle with this one at times.

I’ve also finally been able to accept that I am not meant for a life of putting down roots; at least not just yet.  My sisters have families, children and the house with a yard.  At times I envy them.  They seem so content and sure of what they’ve chosen.  They appear to know where they are headed and what comes next.  Still, I get restless just picturing myself there!  Not that I wouldn’t love a home with a yard…someday.

My mother once told me just before I got in my car for yet another adventure, that I must have inherited some gypsy blood.  I took that as a compliment.  I suppose I’m still trying to ‘find’ myself or perhaps simply find my place in this world.  I just see a wide open landscape ready to be explored.  That is what draws me in.

Not following the norm has become not only okay, but something I learned to take some pride in.  I’ve realized that it is part of my life’s journey. I am not fighting that any longer and I think I’ve stopped comparing (for the most part anyway) my life to others.

It’s often a bit of a hard thing to explain, especially to family who don’t understand, but I have learned I should follow my own heart and path.  I have faith it’s leading me somewhere wonderful. Of course a memo or something on where we’re headed wouldn’t hurt either lol.

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