Recently, I presented a program about strategies for dealing with stress to employees at a local insurance office. One of the things that became clear is that most people think of stress as something big, powerful, and overwhelming, that controls them.
Stress does not come from the things that challenge us. It comes from our perceptions and thoughts about what is happening. We are the ones in control. We get to choose our response to each and every situation. You can see this in action when two people face the same situation and one is stressed to the max and the other confident and calm.
Don’t give your power away. All of the resources and wisdom you need are inside of you. Yes, there may be some practical changes you can make in your life that limit stress, but the most powerful thing you can do is change how you look at it.
Real Life Strategy: When you feel yourself reacting in a stressful way to something in your life, imagine floating up into a corner of the room and watching what is happening. This will help you tap into the neutral “observer state” from which you will have a more clear perspective and be able to respond more effectively.
Every day is a gift. A blank slate to write on. The choices you make in the first moments after awakening can impact your energy, effectiveness, and mood for the entire day. I am a big fan of morning practices and encourage you to create one of your own. Here are some fun ideas:
- Wiggle your toes and smile
- Snuggle with your pets or people
- Stretch or do yoga
- Express gratitude for the gift of another day
- Enjoy spiritual time (journal, meditate, pray)
- Set an intention for the day
- Visualize your day evolving with ease and grace
- Say an affirmation, your core values, or a mantra that inspires you
- Send loving energy out to the world and then direct it toward yourself
- Listen to music and/or dance
The concept of forgiveness is very noble and we are told it is the right thing to do, but sometimes it is not so easy.
Even when we know that forgivness is not saying the other person was right we may still crave completion, an apology, a way to prevent it from happening to someone else, retribution, or even just understanding what happened.
Forgiveness is a complex subject and we each have our own way of being with it. But, many people get stuck on the word and the idea of what they feel they should do when all they feel is beaten up. And then, they judge themselves for not being able to forgive and long for the relief it would bring. Sound familiar?
When my clients find it hard to forgive and move forward, I suggest they forget about forgiveness. Yep, you read that right. No more trying to forgive. When you try to forgive your focus is on the other person, but true healing is all about you.
Instead of forgiveness, look at the ways the person or situation is still controlling you. How often are thoughts about it playing in your mind? How much is it influencing how you feel? What percentage of your day is impacted by it? Get really clear about the burden it has become.
Make a decision to reclaim your life. To not let what happened continue to hurt you again and again. To truly heal and re-engage with the world in a healthy way. To feel good again.
Let it go! This may be as simple as letting it flow out with your breath, journaling, or creating a ceremony of closure. One of the visualizations that works well for my clients is:
- Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and settle into a relaxed state
- Imagine that the other person has put suction cups on your body and heart that are controlling you and draining your energy
- Sit with the feeling of being drained by the suction cups
- Make a decision to let them go
- Take a deep, deep breath
- When you exhale, let the suction cups fall away (repeat this step if you feel any remaining)
- Breathe in love
If you are finding it difficult to move forward after a challenging experience I encourage you to ask for help. Talk to a trusted friend, counselor, or contact me to schedule an appointment. Healing is a process that can take time, but you are not meant to be stuck in the pain forever.
I may be a love and peace kind of girl, but I do believe in consequences for actions that are harmful to others. It used to bother me that I put a lot of energy into judging the people who hurt me or committed crimes against others, and then, I had a thought ……
If it were true, as some believe, that we get to choose the life we come to live here on earth, who would choose to take on the roles of hurting others? It would be very hard to agree to a life that included doing terrible things, even if it supported a fellow soul in evolving spiritually or was for the highest good.
Is it possible that only the most loving and courageous souls are willing to take on these responsibilities? And, if so, what does that say about the ones that hurt you?
I am not saying it’s true, but what if it is? Would you be able to finally forgive and let it go?
Whatever happened to love, honor and respect as ways of being in our world? Have you noticed that most of our entertainment is based on murder and violence? Books, movies, TV shows, and even the video games our children grow up with. And then, we act surprised when something bad happens.
It’s time to shift the tide.
You can make a difference. Start by replacing random acts of violence with random acts of kindness. Treat people with respect. Bring integrity and honor into your day to day life. Focus on the love in your heart and share it with the world. Be of service. Live your values. Be an example for those around you. Who knows, it just may catch on.
I recently listened to an interview with Dan Millman who wrote the book, “A Peaceful Warrior”. He describes a Peaceful Warrior as someone who has a peaceful heart with a warrior spirit. I like the sound of that and started thinking about what my life would be like if I showed up as a Peaceful Warrior.
I sense that there would be a feeling of being able to protect myself and others completely without the need to engage in conflict. I would trust myself and be able to move through fear with confidence. There would be a sense of being centered, grounded, and standing tall within myself. I would feel capable and do whatever needed to be done. And, I would be at peace.
Sounds pretty good to me. I’m going to practice being a Peaceful Warrior this week. Would you like to join me?
I recently came across this wonderful quote by Wayne Muller:
“Your challenge is not to keep trying to repair what was damaged, your practice instead is to re-awaken what is already wise, strong, and whole within you, to cultivate those qualities of heart and spirit that are available to you in this very moment.”
In the past, I put a lot of energy into healing the things that made me feel broken. I also learned processes that supported me in helping others do the same.
But, something was missing.
Letting go of anger, emotional pain, and stories of victimhood, was not enough. It often left a sense of emptiness where the hurt used to reside. We would describe feeling a void and wait passively to see what came to fill it. We were asleep and unaware that we can never truly be empty.
Our souls were calling out to us the entire time.
One day, when working with a client, I instinctively supported her in filling that empty space with the light of her spirit. That wise, strong, and whole part of her that Wayne Muller described. Her healing experience felt more powerful and complete and I have included that step in my processes ever since.
We don’t have to have a special experience to re-awaken to our hearts and spirits. It is something we get to practice every day. Every hour. Every minute.
Our souls are calling out to us, even now. They are always with us, because they are the essence of who we really are.