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Inspiration Null

adult1

I simply have not had any inspiration to blog.

Hmm.  Just reading that sentence back: I know that’s not even slightly true. I think perhaps I’ve had way too much inspiration… and maybe simply not the energy to use it. Ever feel that way?

I felt that way A LOT when I was “awakening”- my term (and others’) for disengaging the auto-pilot switch powering perceptions of what life was suppose to be. Until my 30’s, school, jobs, money, relationships were programmed as “what life is”, not as I see them now: optional tools for me to explore the expansive and textured facets and depths of life – a wholly more fulfilling existence!! As I awoke to a consciousness that how I was living my life did not match my instinctual feelings both about the intent of life and the gifts I was here to offer, well… it was simultaneously excruciating and intriguing; confusing… and CRYSTAL clear.

My “revival” was infectiously stimulating; I found books, I found teachers, I found my intuition: inspiration, inspiration, inspiration! And then I found: overwhelming exhaustion. Mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually. Physically. Tons of inspiration… and no energy to use it.

be-you-role6It’s a lifelong process, growing your YOU-ness. A zillion things contribute to each of our journeys… no right, no wrong: just real life requiring a series of “course-corrections” (as life-coach Nancy Levin so validatingly puts it). Gratefully, as I began to connect with my “self” during those highly transformative third-life years, I naturally gravitated towards people, perspectives and activities that literally fueled my spirit. And though it took some blind faith as I navigated a whole lot of new folks, the more time I spent in “like-mindedness”, the more the scales of endurance and joie-de-vivre balanced. I found the key to perpetual energy: my ME-ness.

So today, as I take a hard look at my I’d-rather-have-dental-surgery feelings re: “inspiration” and the many failed attempts at writing this blog, I finally hear the proverbial bell clang way, WAY loud, and the bell tolls for thee… er, me… oh whatever:

Could I be further awakening??

Ahhh…(ding ding ding) me thinks so!!!For Whom The Bell Tolls

Tired: check  
 Profound yet equal frustration with life and intrigue for life: check 
Feelings of confusion… but a sense of absolute clarity: check and check.

Yup. More awakening.

As mentioned in past posts, it’s now well over a year since my Mom passed. I had no idea how that experience would play out in my life.  You can read more here, but in brief: emotionally and spiritually, the passing of one of the people I love most dearly in this life was… light– if not actually: fulfilling! WHEW, eh?!  As time goes on, it’s been more clear that instead of the classic “pain” of loss (a pain which I absolutely have experienced in the past and so have good reference for), with Mom’s passing, I felt more of an energy drain. Listless… flat: limited highs and lows… and NO time at all for drama and bullshit.

Which… actually makes perfect sense, when you think about it: Mom’s love, hugs and love-yourself-core-3chats were a consistent, reliable fuel for my spirit since inception- and unconditional love fills you up.  Now, in the transition period since her loss, the needle drops below full: just enough to choke my energy lines and threaten a stall. Re-sourcing said fuel, after decades of simply satiating in the ever-present Mom-flow, requires a new and deeper awakening. Core deep. And though “deep” is a word often conjuring weighty feelings of seriousness or complication, here: it feels far-and-away more simple… and more peaceful. Because now, what I know from my life journey so far is that, as my AUXILIARY (and much valued) love-fuel lines fluctuate, my INHERENT ones are primed to do the job they could… should… and actually were doing all along – had I stilled more often and truly took awareness and ownership of my own power:
Drive life from the depth of my soul- beyond the clutter of reactionary, inauthentic “expectation”.
Own it.
Show it.
Live it.
And to no surprise, this totally fits my life’s overall experiential pattern:
the more depth i.e. ME-ness I concede, the simpler life is.

Ahhhh…. and the SIMPLICITY of life is INSPIRING beyond words! I suppose to really make that point, I should stop writing here. 

 

choice-consequenceBut I need to connect a few dots. There are life experiences whose only job is to get us to stop and check in with our values, priorities and actions. What are you here for… what do you want – how do you want to do it?? Death is a pretty overt pivotal experience for folks, but really, the impetus could present much more covertly: yelling at baristas, clutter, Candy-Crush marathons, keeping money you just found in the mall, resenting friends’ holiday pics or new homes, dreading Monday mornings – not to mention health flags like chronic backache, IBS… some think even cancers. […Or pain, anger, disillusionment in humanity from an election??*]

You are responsible for you.
READ ON:
 Could being pissed at a botched Starbucks order really be a CRITICAL life “pivot-point?
 And what’s TRULY the culprit for my lethargic ” lack of inspiration”…

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Soul Searching

soul move cropI use the word “soul” a lot when I’m working with clients. It dawned on me, that while I have a very clear understanding in my mind of what I’m referring to and why I’m choosing this particular word, I’ve never stopped to give myself an actual working definition. That I could actually write down. Or quote to a client: if they actually paused to ask me “just what do you mean, when you say soul?”.

My bad.

Easy fix: jot down my definition so I have crystal clear vocabulary at the ready.
Okay. No probs: GO!

Uhhh….

mmmmm…??

Okay, not so easy.

As I search for my “soul”, my first stumbling block is that I believe I have two distinctly different uses for the word: one I use with clients and one I use personally. Hypocritical?? Well, let’s see as this post progresses… I think you’ll understand that, given I work with a very diverse clientelle, I want to refrain from any upfront connection of the word soul to anything sounding remotely affiliated with “organized religion”. Simply put, it’s a respectful way to start out and make YOU feel safe as we get to know each other.  Next, I’m cautious not to use the word soul in any soulsearching 101way close to sounding “woo-woo”. While I vehemently oppose the mostly derogatory, arrogant, fear-mongering (but let’s get real: fear-FULL!) use of the term woo-woo, on what are for the most part, unexplored theories fully worthy of exploration, I do understand that soul-speak has been thrown around with some very alternative beliefs. I could make my job very difficult (and ineffective, really) if I don’t tippy-toe a little with my vocabulary: it’s my job to listen to you, my client, to hear your frame of reference for any terminology or phrasing that comes up; and then gear my words to how you will hear them best, regardless if your definition is miles from mine. If I’m unclear about your use of a word or concept, I ask for clarity – which invariably proves quite revealing, as clients pause to question if they actually know (and/or believe!) their own definitions! (“Clarity” is self-help magic: shhhh!) Clarification for the word soul, though, has never come up, funnily enough. I’ll take that to mean I’m doing my job well!! Little wins!

Now as a little aside: I do actually use the word woo-woo quite frequently – as do many doing this kind of work. The word to me (us) connotes “forward thinking”, and it’s been reclaimed in the self-development, psychology and wellness industries, among others, as light-hearted (perhaps a little “told-ya-so”) sarcasm: ribbing the skepticism of “crazy” ideas which are often dismissed out of ignorance and fear; and that have ultimately produced many positive game-changing and world-impacting results. I love world-renowned neuroscience-quantum physics geek, Dr. Joe Dispenza‘s viewpoint on this: “Science is the language to explain possibility”. Brilliant!!! Just when did we begin discriminating where this concept can be applied – or more pertinently: WHY??  All “credible” scientific developments started as blind woo-woo exploration; and guess what – some of that “credible” research has now been proven – wait for it: WRONG!! “Proof” of something is actually current working theory, not fact. With the rapid increase in tools available to measure and challenge past and present woo-woo theories more consistently (e.g. fMRI’s, 3D ultra-sound, hubble telescope)*, woo-woo and science are, rightfully, becoming one very quickly. Can’t wait to see what the future holds! Some of my fave woo-wooisms and woo-wooites:
Nietzsche dance2-Copernicus, earth/sun rotation
-John Dalton, atomic theory, pffft
-Marconi, radio waves… leading to cell phones, Apple, you’re welcome… and while we’re here, computers were pure fantasy when I was a kid (but adorable in tennies!)
-a deranged William Harvey said blood circulates… say WAHHH!
-that insane Josiah Nott claimed bugs – BUGS! can carry disease to humans!!
-PMS is, hello, clearly mental “hysteria”!
-Dr. Damien Finnissplacebo research leading to more discriminatory use of pharma… because hey, guess what, maybe the human body came pre-loaded with self-healing mechanisms that we just haven’t given it credit for…yet!
-and please, burn ’em at the stake for even imagining test-tube babies or a man on the moon!!!
A lot of woo-woo has made YOUR life pretty fabulous – just what if those far-out thinkers succumbed to narrow-minded fear?! I’m holding the faith that people are finally coming around to blood circulation.

“Perhaps understanding how and why are the booby prize.”
                                       -Rachel Naomi Remen (full quote/story)

Back to the soul search: maybe it would help me formulate my definition if I gathered some vocabulary from a few others. Good ‘ol Oprah to the aid….

READ ON: Oprah’s friends offer some perspectives on the term “soul”: will they meet my needs? Yours??

You’ll See It When You Believe It

Change the way you look at things, the things you look at change

“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”

One of my all-time fave philosophies. Change. It’s powerful beyond measure, and also crippling as hell. Sigh. There’s been another death in my life.

I shared in a recent post that my Mom changed residences from her comfy loving home here on earth to somewhere, hopefully, even more wonderful. For you straight-shooters: she died. I wrote of how for me, Mom’s passing was a positive, enlightening experience and I have felt very little of the grief that I had been forewarned of and feared most of my life – and I LOVED my Mom! I valued my relationship with her greatly; she was a beautiful spirit that brought only good things to my life – the most obvious being my heart, lungs and brain! Read more about my ‘positive’ experience here, but to reinforce the sentiments of that post: today, fifteen weeks later and the day after her birthday, I’m still just revering Mom’s death with a smile! My world has felt a bit off its axis for sure, and her absence has me a wee bit out of sorts: but contrary to my fears, her loss has brought little pain. And let me say again clearly: I loved that woman dearly.

Best teachers help you find your own pathSo why then, has the death of someone I have never even met left me heartbroken?!? Psychologist, philosopher, author, speaker, “father of motivation” and master of the above “Change” quote, Dr. Wayne Dyer, passed unexpectedly on August 30th, 2015. Wayne’s work influenced every field related to mental and physical health, motivation, personal development, professional development, spirituality, education. Any of those things relevant to your life? Then so was Wayne.

I wrote a post on Wayne a while back so I won’t regurgitate his bio and deets, rather, I’m just so curious as to why I, alongside millions of others, felt such shock, sadness and utter loss upon hearing of Wayne’s passing. Clearly, he was a teacher for me. I’ve often been asked: “what teacher impacted you the most growing up”; questioners expectantly awaiting a gushy, grateful idolizing of one of my public-school teachers. I could indeed provide a high-school teacher’s name: Mr. Toews. Pronounced “Taves”. My Grade 9 Social Studies teacher. Why? Because he had a mini-guillotine on his desk and would behead a pencil if I walked in late for class. Still echoing in my soul, Mr. Toew’s sinister voice: “Loughlinnn!!!” CHOP! This anchored to my young psyche forevermore, that being late wasn’t necessarily a bad thing: the flying pencil-head was pretty cool. Otherwise, not a damn thing resonated under Mr. Toew’s tutelage; and it has really bothered me not to be able to name a single school teacher who even slightly inspired me. I’m sure I came out of public school with a decent memorization Off with your head!of some useful (and a lot more totally useless) information and some handy skills, however, no galvanizing direction, having never been approached by anyone in the education system – EVER, offering me personal context, incentive, or even a bolstering of curiosity as to how this ‘education’ could be harnessed “to be anything I wanted to be“. Ditto for college: strong contributing factors as to why it took me so long to identify my calling, me thinks. Wayne Dyer impacted my life greater than any “formal” teacher I’ve ever had: encouraging me to shift my definition and means of education; to shamelessly pursue my tribe, fulfillment, joy; and, most importantly, inspiring a desire to inspire others. And I’ve never met the man.

You got some 'splainin!

CONT’D: So why tears for a stranger, when I barely shed them for Mom? And…see how Wayne made me a believer in the ‘afterlife’!
PLUS: Are You A Self-Help Whore?? (page 2)

Fifty Shades of HSP

Too sensitive?

Are you feeling just a wee bit of empathy for that sad, lonely little pin? If so, chances are you’re HSP… and/or a marketer’s dream!!! Come on folks: it’s a PIN!  But if you’re like me: I had an immediate physical ‘sensory’ reaction.

[……. spawning an emotional backstory involving other pin-people that are greatly affecting Pokey’s life… and not for the better: he definitely needs a mentor!!]

And I’ll call my shrink: HE??!
Well, I can’t help it – and neither can you if this pic triggers your emotions in any way.

So many of you resonated with the posts on HSPs (highly sensitive person) and how it is biologically driven moreso than conditioning. Without a mainstream understanding of this, many of you – us – have felt “different”: flawed, lacking; confused by our heightened sensories; painfully suppressing emotions; labelled introverted, shy, weak, wimpy or the incredibly condescending: OH, YOU’RE JUST TOO SENSITIVE!!! You just might be über sensitive, but that’s your calling-card: part of your identity to develop and use to your greatest life.

What’s really interesting, both from blog comments and conversations I have in general, is the number of folks that need their self-image and life to fit into a perfectly defined BOX with the duly assigned bow. Case in point, this comment in an email “Kelly2.0” wrote me:

“I thought I was right-brain, based on the criteria,  
but I’m definitely a list-maker and a planner– so I guess I’m not.”

And my client, let’s call him “Jack”, a very social, life-of-the-party type of guy, was puzzled – almost offended, when I suggested he may want to read a bit about ‘introvert’ tendencies, snickering disdainfully…

Me. Introvert. I don’t think so”.

Rather, Jack was convinced he had depression: because he regularly locked himself in his room for dark, quiet solace- often for days. Both of these folks had clearly misinformed ideas, and were looking at “definitions” far too linearly.

I'm with stupidI want to make it perfectly clear: all of these human “labels” such as introvert, extrovert, HSP, left-brain, right-brain ARE ALL JUST GUIDANCE – clues if you will, to help us understand ourselves a little better; to know that most of our tendencies are normal, and that there are other folks out there (like: MILLIONS!) with idiosyncrasies just as “crazy” as yours and mine! Naming characteristics and behaviours and “grouping” them simply makes it easier to communicate; and greatly benefits professionals to make some relative sense as they’re doing their jobs.  Just like rules: these “categorizations” too, are meant to be broken.

HUMAN BEINGS are on a gray-scale pretty much in every single thing about us: you might have more of something, less of something else; fit clearly into one group description, or fall flatly in the middle of two. I might be a “woman”, but I do not have the same DNA as any other woman on the planet Unique blends(if my parents can be trusted!). You haven’t the foggiest if I was born with a uterus; and my nether parts may biologically include a penis: am I still a woman? My assertiveness is chronically attributed to being a ‘fiery redhead’: there must be something pretty potent in Feria #74 – I’m a brunette! I have categorically green eyes, but their custom tones reflect colours from hazel to blue, depending on my shirt. (Sigh, my bio-family has called me blue-eyed my whole life!). I’m right-handed: but waterski and snowboard “goofy”*. I have 7,499,488,203 freckles. It’s summer: that could change.  My chromosomes put me in the general category of “female”, but as any other “female”: my own customized version. “Sensory” and sensitivity falls equally in the ingredients list of “being human”: how it functions and manifests for each of us will be on a gray-scale too.

As with everything in life, the golden ticket (as stated in the last HSP blog) is simply: AWARENESS. The more you know yourself, identify and respect your different shades, the better you can choose and navigate your path. Knowing you’ll never exceed 5’1″ will most likely save time when considering an NBA career (…and heartache… and your knees).  Knowing you feel pain and empathy for a pin, will most likely save time when considering a nursing** career (…and anxiety… and pharmaceuticals).  Having an understanding of what might be biological, what might be learned, and how to manage and monopolize on both gives tremendous personal power.

50+ Shades of You

READ ON: Kelly2.0 and “Jack’s” – AND MY
misunderstandings about “sensitivities”

 

Speaking of monopolizing on sensitivity…
Check out Ariana Page Russell and her “Skin Art”:
Use your sensitivities!!“My skin is very sensitive and I blush easily. I have dermatographia, a condition in which one’s immune system releases excessive amounts of histamine, causing capillaries to dilate and welts to appear (lasting about thirty minutes) when the hypersensitive skin’s surface is lightly scratched. This allows me to painlessly draw on my skin with just enough time to photograph the results. Even though I can direct this ephemeral response by drawing on it, the reaction is involuntary, much like the uncontrollable nature of a blush.”
Sensitivity at its most literal… but uniquely Ariana’s to use!

First Confession

Fly Mom!

Forgive me followers for I have sinned:
it’s been 122 days since my last blog.

And whew, what a 122 days
Six months, really. This is definitely in the “Top 5” consciousness periods in my life – and I’m including my birth and reserving a spot for my death in there!

My Mom died.

Thank you, I can feel your warm energy.

It was not an unanticipated passing, but not a given at this time either. She had a stroke three years ago; and between adjusting to physical limitations, and struggling to re-engage the social stimuli – which was equally her life-blood, she faded a little more day by day… by day….. by.

Mom's Wedding Portrait 1958After the initial stroke, Mom’s personality and thus my relationship with her changed. She and I had a very intimate meeting of the minds and shared a life-philosophy that was not comfortably entertained in our household: it was a lovely place to deepen our relationship. The cool conversations we would share for hours (typically me lying on her bed, she in her favorite chair after having watched our daily regimen
of The Young and the Restless [another confession!] in our cozy bedroom cave), well… they simply changed. It became more and more challenging to explore and share the vulnerabilities of our take on the world as her attention, body and mind recessed. It was then that I began grieving the loss of “My Mom”.

“how lucky i am to have known someone
who was so hard to say goodbye to”
                                                          – adapted from Winnie-the-Pooh

Coincidentally- or not- as a permanent student of life, at the time of Mom’s stroke I was in a phase of actively exploring change“: neurologically, behaviourally, emotionally and philosophically. [Managing change is  the most prevalent challenge with my clientele- and that of most coaches’ and therapists’.] Me & Mallory
I was intrigued with and paid particular attention to experiences and behaviours around loss, death, and grief. It’s never sat right with me how the majority of North Americans (and my British heritage) perceive and thus manage death: as a death sentence. The default mood upon hearing of a death is morose, dark, sad, uncomfortable, and clinical.  It mongers fear: we almost instinctively jump to the negative view of our own mortality. But death is SO a fundamental part of life: it is an equal milestone to birth in our journey here on earth, is it not? We highlight death dates in obits (virtually the main public bio of one’s existence); and d. is one of the few bits of info on headstones: we don’t list our grad dates, first-job dates, marriage dates, or birthdates of our kids in either of those important declarations. I’ve never seen any contract guaranteeing: my exit date; the amount of time my parents/mates/kids get with me; or how or why I go out. You?

Life is jiggly.  Life on earth is simply a full contact, no-rules journey. Then it’s over. We have HOPE ONLY, of impactful experiences. Even if it’s as simple as a mother and baby only ever knowing each other’s heartbeat from inside the womb – THAT is as complete a journey as any – and we have no reason to expect more or judge it less.  With full knowledge of How are you living?the crapshoot nature of life, why is death so feared and so devastating to some; and so minimized as an accomplishment? The evolution of our physical bodies alone is miraculous, and worthy of conscious acknowledgement for “housing” our beloveds – and in Mom’s case, for a time, me.  Shouldn’t deaths send our thoughts instinctively to a place of fascination, dreams, inspiration and motivation, as we anticipate the wonderful space ahead of US, just waiting to be filled? Big, BIG discussion… but at the time of Mom’s stroke, in my personal journey, I was massaging my own working theory around life and death and was LOVING the insight into the beliefs and practices of others around this issue. I did in fact solidify a belief about death that was comfortable for me – but it was all still in theory, not yet in practice.

Well, in my Mom’s world, “practice made perfect” and she did not miss this opportunity – although a rather extreme one, Mom! – to offer me the benefit of experience. And I’ve got to say: both my curiosity of life and the belief system that I have tentatively adopted are paying off in spades: I am having the most enlightening, beautiful, fulfilling, calm, loving “mourning” period ever.

Huh??My Mom

Page 2: Confessing to enjoying death? What, how, why, who helped – who didn’t… and the greatest confession of all

Letters of Expectation

Did you take the test to see if you are HSP: a highly sensitive person, as per the last post?  As mentioned there, people seeking my mentoring services last year had a very common thread, generally, an obliviousness to their own sensitivities: a birth-given gift and crucial tool, not simply a conditioned “asset” or “deficit”. Biological sensitivities – mostly acknowledged wrongly as being “emotional” or “too sensitive”, play a huge role in our personalities; identifying and mastering our specific biological traits – be it in times of challenge or times of growth, make life a whole lot easier.Pay Attention!!!!!

I suppose there’s a quickie test for everything nowadays and we’d drive ourselves insane trying to figure life out rather than live it; but I have to say, twenty years ago, stumbling across Mel Levine’s work on “learning patterns” (A Mind at a Time) and Elaine Aron’s HSP quiz, raised neon flashing-flags for me so crimson that I thought my eyes were bleeding! Clearly: triggers that there was something there for me to pay attention to; enough to wake me up to look at myself not through expectation or behaviour, but through what my simple biology brings to the table. It changed the whole dynamic of my life.

Awareness is my point. The more aware we are of our personal characteristics the better we can navigate.  What if the likes of judgment-inducing procrastination or lack of direction is really due to your biology? You think you’re unmotivated and lazy… when in reality, your biology fumbles with the tools that you learned should work … seem to work for everyone else. For instance, a right-brain, visual learner doesn’t benefit from sitting down and making a detailed goal list: a flow-chart or visionboard maybe… but did you ever learn to “visionboard” your goals, huh, huh – did ya?? Colour-blindness affects 8% of men and .5% of women* translating to 7% of boys and .4% of girls thinking they were idiots growing up,** not understanding that there weren’t four red crayons in the box but cerise, fuschia, brick and mulberry, as classmates were only too quick to point out. An HSP might overwhelm with noise thus retreat to healthy quiet: earning an “introvert” label or anti-social stigma. Simplistic examples with life-altering implications; each scenario above could absolutely direct or challenge a life, relationship or career choice. Leaping off of ground-breakers like Levine and Aron, neuroscience research and evidence is rapidly connecting temperament, brain function, and biology/biochemistry so closely together now that ideologies like HSP and the VALUE in identifying any and all of our personal nuances becomes the true gift.

Speaking of the value of our gifts, a thought…

Other Wise, Deep Thoughts

If HSP means that you have stronger or more intense emotions,  it goes without saying that you must have high EQ: emotional intelligence.

heart B4 head

Oh, so wrong!!! EQ is out-ranking IQ in the new thinking around life and career growth; and while there certainly can be a correlation of HSP and EQ – like say an HSP using a key trait of empathy to gain trust in anything from nannying to copy-writing, it’s not a given that HSPs can recognize and use their gift productively and/or intelligently.  Non-HSPs absolutely can be emotionally intelligent, and have no less opportunity to be so than their HSP counterparts: we can all capitalize on any natural EQ skills, and of course, EQ can be learned. HSPs have a natural edge for EQ with more access to their right-brain functions, but this can also prove to be a detriment via its potential for over-stimulation: being auto-empathic can be e-x-h-a-u-s-t-i-n-g!!  Learning one’s own HSP traits (or lack thereof)  and how to manage it makes all the difference.

OMG all these letters: intellectual alphagetti! To that end, read on for my little ditty of recognizing HSP, funneling it into productive EQ, managing overwelm ATST, so my life wouldn’t be FUBAR.  Smart?Fearless?Idiot?? And… an article giving you a clue as to how hard you might have to work to improve your emotional intelligence: highly sensitive or not, it’s yours for the taking. BYKT.
Next: EQ… or EGO?

Sister Act II

life plotIn my reinterpretation of Sister Act (last post), I began a tale of how nature and nurture are so intricately co-dependent that without a secure understanding that you are free to both style your own destiny and to create a supporting tribe, a life-story can transition from fairytale to horror flick with or without the assistance of scary monsters.  A life can go off the reel simply by being uninspired: no need for tragedies or down-and-out tales.

I have to admit, it was difficult writing the Sister Act post – not because of vulnerability, but because I could have written a BOOK with all that I have to say about cultural conditioning, the squelching of authenticity societally, and the impact both of these had on my own life. I’ve pared things down in these Sister Act posts and they’re really just overviews of my experiences, and because of that, they don’t go quite to the level of vulnerability that I believe is crucial to shift the fear of folks just being their unmasked selves. Really, there shouldn’t even be a need to attach a concept such as “vulnerability” when sharing life experiences: being me as me, being you as you is NORMAL. Unfortunately though, we are still buying into the crap that we should conform to a predictable sameness: a boring, colourless, inspirationless, stifling, robotic sameness rather than innate, primal, compelling, exhilarating, gratified uniqueness. Being “vulnerable” i.e. the real me with you, is one way I can personally contribute to the fabulous ripple-effect that my encouragement of you to be you will naturally bring. I commit to share as intimately as need be in future posts as I break my personal movie out into smaller soundbites.

Sister Act 2I don’t know exactly what genre Sister Act II falls into: in the 20 year span from the point where I thought I had an absolutely sure vision of where my life was going, to the point of WTF and surrendering to my spirit rather than trying to direct it, my bio-pic runs the gamut of themes: family film, chick-flick, mystery, horror… yikes, crime too; I’ve lived more than one medical drama, a war (with myself) story, definitely some comedy, and lots of educational content. While more than a few of those twenty years felt completely fictitious- often even animated (like a representation of me but not me), I think I’ll summarize this particular story arc as “action-adventure”: though oftentimes in the moment, I really didn’t appreciate the adventure. (I sure hope it is a period-piece.)

What those 20 years basically brought to light is…  that when you are not consciously living-  living with that kid-in-your-heart, live-it-out-loud authenticity, with a truly supporting tribal-cast, the universe defaults to become your primary tribesman, offering up whatever scheme it needs to get you to check in with yourself. Act One of my universal butt-kicks was during that period referred to in the last post at age 16, when, ultra-bored, I began lobbying my parents to change schools: sensing inherently that I needed a new tribe. Having elicited no concern from my parents, I abandoned any further action. SMASH!!! The universe brought me action…. in the form of a semi-serious car accident, which in complete sarcasm, could have wiped out half of my ill-fitting tribe: my then girl-posse was in the car with me… I was driving. It was a strange night: the girlfriends and I were unusually quiet, not much traffic, I turned left, we were broadsided at 50km/hr., spinning into a merciless pole.  Whew that my broken nose was the only visible casualty (besides my temporary insanity: “maybe Mom won’t notice the dent” I told my first-on-the-scene big bro!) My posse got trips to Hawaii via the insurance money; I got a decades-long limiting belief. My parents never spoke of the accident to me past that night: apparently my 4th-child, sibling-induced pattern of being so competent and not needing much direction led each of my parents to interpret my quiet calm as “handling things well”: no need to rock the boat. You okay?In reality I was in a state of shock, feeling 3-yr-old-little-girl-fear, desperately needing someone to come hold me and give me words to understand the startling randomness of life and the perceived personal failure that the accident provoked; and, just to have someplace safe to cry. Reminiscent of my actual age three when my Mom “disappeared”, and, with no conversation around it everyone just got on with things (per last post, she was in hospital for an extended period due to a car crash), this incident simply reinforced my belief that when life is confusing: you just figure things out by yourself… and get on with it.

Act Two… I continued on my conveyor-belt life: college… first job… up the ladder to second job… next rung third job. I had new players in my life but they were typecast per the uninspiring others, so trusty old universe stepped in again:

Read More: Stalkers, FBI… say whaat???  And  “Why Your Life Sucks!” (page 2)

Sister Act

sister nun blondeGood Golly Miss Molly… can you smell the change in the air: that summer-to-fall slight earthiness edging out the sweeter scent of summer??  My supersmell usually picks that up to the day, reinforced by a chillier now-I-need-a-sweater evening.  The air changed August 20th FYI; I mentioned it to my parents in a phone call that day and could hear the way-post-term-pregnant pause and unspoken “huh?”, followed predictably by: “oh, uh, okay… your Aunt phoned….”. A clear example of tribal lines. I asked about my Aunt: I’m long past trying to get my parents to relate to some of my traits for which they simply have no first-hand experience; and sincerely appreciate the occasions when they may explore me with me more.

Prior to my little summer hiatus, my last post entertained exactly this concept of going outside of your family-of-origin to seek your “tribe”: your support system. It provoked more than a few comments* from readers- ranging from relief to guilt, that family members may not be your best tribesmen as per the unofficial rule book of life.

You’ve asked me to elaborate on my alluded to “misfit” in my family tribe. I am more than happy to do so: I offer mentorship for the pure and simple reason that so many people have been able to learn and grow from my story and its muddy tributaries. Sure, I’ve had some “fun” and unexpected elements to my tale, however, what proves to offer the most value is my out-and-out “normalcy”. The perception that a challenging life comes with a history dominating in dysfunction still prevails: bad parents, no money, disabilities, abuse, no role models, few opportunities; or, if blessed with a few decent elements, you must be the freak, the geek, or – oh my – the one with the deviant gene. The contradiction of my having challenges in life even with a “textbook-perfect” upbringing is unsettling to people (and has made more than a few folks in my life very, very uncomfortable). Even though we clearly know as adults “well of course, nobody’s life is perfect”, people want to be able to have a place to attribute (…excuse… blame – pick a verb) their problems; and they want the reciprocal and comfortable justification that others “have it all” because of their golden roots and obvious advantages. If that were NOT the case then………omg.

privilegeWell, I had somewhat golden roots. But guess what: as even a bush-league gardener can tell you, any roots being nurtured in the wrong soil will struggle to thrive – or survive. From the stereotypical image of a family misfit, I in no way fit the mold – in fact quite the opposite.  I looked like my family and peers, had friends, good grades, was outgoing; no rebellious army fatigues or mohawks- -and never has black lipstick touched these lips! I looked normal. I was normal. My normal. Just terribly uninspired as I went through my “Stepford” bootcamp. Pre-conceived ideals suck the living souls out of us – and in my case, it took 20 years to get it back.

What I think has been most valuable to realize- and hammer into others, is that no life path follows the clear pattern of any other; and that the definition of success is yours and yours alone. While there are some societal foundations to facilitate order and cohesion, the rest of your life is a blank slate and you manage all the tools with which to write upon it… or draw upon it, or dance upon it, or turn it into a cake, a rocket ship, a sports playbook, a Tibetan prayer mat….
Blank SlateMaybe your tools are common and familiar to others; maybe they are one-of-a-kind and/or history-making. There are no shoulds: just can’s, do’s, be’s. Act from intuition, desire, joy, curiosity – not from expectation or others’ definitions of living.

Our greatest enemy is conditioning without the understanding that life is yours to change and mold as you need or want. Conditioning happens quite naturally, and for the most part with no calculated agenda; and it can form a very solid, secure jumping-off point to a healthy life. The key, however, is knowing without question that you have free will and permission – if not outright support, to realign your thoughts, beliefs, actions, environments or tribe to foster your authenticity. In my experience, this has not been a standard ideal: and it must be. Challenging the popular book, all we really need to know was not learned in kindergarten.

So… wanna hear more of my story, eh? Well, here we go with…

Sister Actsister true

What are the odds that of the 7,256,508,556 people in the world (as per to-the-second clock on worldometers; oh look, now it’s: 7,256,508,842 ! lol), that the five others in my family are going to fit the criteria for my personal acceptance/ support/ inspiration team?? Well, actually, a lot closer than the now 7,256,509,002 others, science might say – and logic too, given that my siblings and I have come from essentially the same nature/nurture pool. Not really though, and with the rapid advances in the fields of neurology and epigenetics¹, my family and I get further and further apart.

Apparently, most young adults think that they’re the “different” one in the family – the more misunderstood one: go figure!  Read More Sister Act (page 2)

Quotes to Query

See Quotes on… family!

Can I Be More Thoughtless?

Just when I’m ready to take a break from my series of thought-full blogs, here comes Mr. Dyer again with a whopper…

dyer kaleid
“You might think that you have no control over the thoughts that keep popping in your head, but consider this radical idea:

Your thoughts are not located in your head.”
-Wayne Dyer

 

Say whaaa??? Take a minute and let this one resonate. Your thoughts are not located in your head.

I gotta say: immediately that idea made it easier to identify with the concept that “you are not your thoughts”; it reinforces thoughts as being external to “me” – thus not me. Personally, I’m doing pretty good putting this whole thought thing into a perspective that enhances my life:

  • I believe thoughts are made up, not reality
  • I believe I can control and manage thoughts
  • I believe that what I think about puts focus and attention on the subject of those thoughts thus narrowing what I see/feel, and bringing more of what supports my thoughts – positive or negative, into my realm (i.e. thoughts create reality)
  • I believe the quality of my thoughts create my future – can’t fix a problem with the same old thoughts that created it!
  • I KNOW of the existence and power of subconscious thought: through first-hand experience… and believe it can both manipulate us and us it!! (p.s. Mr. Dyer calls it “habitual thought” – might be easier to comprehend!)
  • I meditate, so I know I can stop thought and have a voiceless, empty head  (I can hear my brothers going: duh!!!) 

I follow a lot of neuroscience and have great insight into the theories and science-based realities of mind/thought/brain connection… but I gotta say, I’ve never really contemplated that if thought is not located in my head, then… where’s it hangin’??

I went back to Wayne Dyer to elaborate on this statement, and this is what followed, excerpted from his book Excuses Begone*:

“Thought is an energy system that isn’t found anywhere in the physical world.
The universe itself and everything in it is both mental and spiritual in nature.”

soul energy

Now this statement, relative to Wayne’s work and other current research in the quantum physics world, is actually a fairly simple, science-not-religious based concept.  But if you’re not up on his work or haven’t explored the world of spirituality and/or consciousness much, it can easily be lost and abstract: “huh what… energy system… mental/spiritual in nature, ya, whatever!!”
As per previous posts, I love how all of the old “woo-woo” concepts of the past are being validated by the new science, and therefore, I encourage you to take the time to read some of Wayne’s books. (I don’t even think they are close to woo-woo… however some ideas can seem a little heady based on the narrow-minded education, religion stereotypes/biases, and societal fear of “philosophy” that most of us westerners have been raised with!). Maybe supplement it with a scan of Bruce Lipton’s Biology of Belief, or Rick Hanson’s Buddha’s Brain, if you want a quick dive into the new neuro/consciousness research that helps to put it in perspective: “you” vs. your thoughts vs. your brain. (A-ha, seeit’s not all your fault – it’s YOU’s fault!!).

In the meantime, just lay down, tune into your body and really get a feel for your thoughts and the concept that they are not simply a nattering” mini-me” in your head, but rather, may be outside of you altogether: part of a much bigger picture.

Okay. Cool. I think that’s wrapped up some final insight on “thought”: I feel good to stop this blog series here.  So… what subject to tackle in my next blog?? I turn on my fave place for inspiration: Hayhouse Radio. Awesome!… it’s Joe Dispenza on the air – love me some Joe Dispenza! Dr. Joe is a chiropractor who diversified into neurology and wellness; most recognized from being featured in the award-winning film What the BLEEP Do We Know!? Dr. Joe is driven by the conviction that each one of us has the potential for greatness, and unlimited abilities; he always offers up some cool new perspective every time I hear him talk. Let’s take a listen to which of his many titillating interests Dr. Joe’s on about today:  meditation… corporate coaching… nurturing creativity?? Oh, you gotta be kidding me: PLACEBO effects i.e. the power of THOUGHT!! Now, it’s not really so far-fetched a topic for Dr. Joe, given his extensive research on brain mapping, holistic/integrative medicine and epigentics: it’s just… ironic!

And sorry… but now I’ve gotta go here: Dr. Joe  has just released his book You Are the Placebo, which “explores the history, the science, and the practical applications of the so-called placebo effect”¹.  (So-called, because other cultures and progressive scientists, thinkers and doctors have known for DECADES that thoughts can change and heal a life, yet mainstream folks most often think of “placebo effect” as flushing out hypochondriacs and annoying Pollyannas.)  The book might sound a little predictable – BUT IT’S NOT!! There is a whole new, juicy meal of fresh ideas around thought – in a perspective I’ve never heard before.  Dr. Joe speaks and writes for the common-man, and this book might give you a whole new insight on just WHY you can’t seem to master and change your thoughts (even though you’ve had all of this great information on OtherWise to provoke you!!).master-thought Interesting to me in particular, is the identification of thought patterns as an “addictive” behaviour: we get use to and crave the neurotransmitters that we have created through our thought patterns – good or bad. That’s some major insight, if you parallel it to a smoker or cocaine addict trying to stop! Not only that, but our trek down the same brain path over and over and over with a repetitive thought (60,000 thoughts a day, 90% of them repeat!)² carves a little river (figuratively), perfectly formed to our comfort zone — and a complete bugger to dam up! New behaviours need to stack up enough momentum to divert the flow of our comfy dysfunction and forge healthy new tributaries: thought by thought by de-toxing thought!!

Oh… where we could go with all of this!!  But alas, I will move on to a new topic next blog.  It wouldn’t be very thoughtful of me to leave you without a link to Dr. Joe’s Hayhouse interview with Diane Ray re: the above referred-to placebo book; Diane represents newbies to the subject, so it’s an easy interview to follow! There’s an interesting comment challenging:  we are not our thoughts…; and also, if thoughts don’t live in our head, then too: where do feelings live???  Here’s a bonus link to a lecture by Dr. Joe… and here’s one final article specifically on thought – for now! Fear not: thought will traverse through a lot of future topics: it’s a nucleus to a contented life!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
* see Quotes Archive 2014 for a list of the most common excuses!!
¹quoted from www.drjoedispenza.com
²According to the research of Dr. Fred Luskin of Stanford University.

worry chairFour Tips to Reduce Worry and Rumination

How to break the “habit” of unhelpful worry and rumination
by Edward R. Watkins

Rumination and worry– repeated dwelling on feelings, problems, and difficulties – has been found to be a significant “process” causing and maintaining depression. Many people with depression report that they brood repetitively on their symptoms of depression (e.g. “Why can’t I get better?”), on their perceived inadequacies (e.g. “Why can’t I do this?” “Why do I always get things wrong?”), and on past upsetting events and losses. We know from long-term follow-ups and from experimental studies that rumination exacerbates negative mood and predicts increases in depression.

Next: How To Stop Ruminating (page 2)

Are We Over Thinking

I'm so over thinking.Alrighty now, lets do a little summary of some of the things we’ve been exploring about “thoughts”:

~ We are not our thoughts. We are the awareness.

~ Our thoughts are not the truth – just thoughts. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral.

~ Thoughts can sit dormant in our subconscious and spring to life at any time, without any warning- and may in fact feel like a brand new concept that we might even think we’ve never thought before.

~ Our brains and bodies can’t tell if a thought is based on real-time activity, subconscious memory… or pure imagination.

~ Every single thought you have can be assessed in terms of whether it strengthens or weakens you.

~ A single negative thought can change the course of your life.
So can a single positive thought.

~ Change your thoughts, change your life.

Crikey – who’s in control here?!! It sounds like I have power, I can change my thinking and therefore myself; and then it sounds like thoughts can divebomb me at any time and my brain and body might respond with behaviour patterns that I created years ago!?! Huh – I don’t get it: what do I need to know or do to manage my thoughts to live the life I want??

Examine the thought itself - not the content.I guess we’re not quite over thinking yet! So far, I think the biggest message around this subject is awareness. When you catch a thought or thought pattern that you know or suspect is not serving your best interest, you can stop and take a look at the thought itself – not just the content of the thought. For that matter, whenever you are feeling stressed, upset, fearful, unsettled, confused: it’s a pretty good clue that your thoughts might not be serving you. Thoughts that serve you feel safe, secure, peaceful – even if they’re negatively manifested, for example, yelling intuitively at a stranger invading your personal space: you may not know if a stranger is danger, however, your instincts know what you need to feel safe, and it’s quite natural and okay to enact those responses. (You can always soften the blow after the fact should you feel compelled!) Likewise, foundationless or forced Pollyanna thinking could hint at denial or limiting beliefs, which will also feel unsettled or unsafe.

Righty then: you’ve busted your thoughts for making you feel unsettled… stuck on repeat… going nowhere good. Now what? Well, that’s a very big discussion… ranging from simple thought-stopping tools and techniques right on through to in-depth cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). One of my favorite simple tactics for understanding the sabotaging nature of thoughts and thus managing them (learned first from a therapist then reinforced by good ol’ Dr. Phil) is: follow the thought right through to the end. Basically, identify if a thought is true or false. Take the common stressful thought: I hate my job. This one could give tornados a run for their money! Here we go:

Thoughts of the dread of having to get yourself out of bed and go into work even one more day spinning and spinning, slowly picking up whatever thought debris is in its path: nasty bosses, horrible commutes, the raise you didn’t get, how tired you are when you get home, guilt at not being home for the kids, how bored and unfulfilled you feel…
A little momentum and: what can I do, I can’t quit, I’m unappreciated, I’ll never make enough money, is this all there is for me, will I ever find my purpose, can I ever find a job that I’ll like, I don’t know what to do, I’m stuck, what do I do, I can’t talk to my boss… (and on to REPEAT:) he’s nasty, my commute sucks……..

That’s a lot of clutter for one little thought: and each acquisition of debris comes with it’s own little storm! That’s adrenal suicide, and thought overload.  Here’s the same thought, following it through to the end:

I hate my job – I dread going in to work everyday.

So, what if you quit your job.
Well… I need to make money.

So, what if you need to make money.
Well… then I’d have to find another job.thoughts aware3

So, what if you have to find another job.
Well… it will be hard, I hate job searching!

So, what if you hate job-searching.
Well… I need to make money, I’d just have to do it.

So, what if you just have to do it.
Well… I’d have to get some help.

So… what if you have to get help.
Well… I don’t know where to look.

So… what if you don’t know where to look.
Well… I could google or ask people.

So, what if you have to google or ask people.
Well… I’m sure I would find some help.

So… we can conclude: you’ve identified that you have help (if not some really good friends!) to find a new job that you don’t hate and make the money you need?? Next.

Yay! You now have positive thoughts, a basis for an action plan to a desired outcome, happy chemicals flowing, increasing energy, a sense of safety knowing that you are in control – and one less worry.  You get it: follow the thoughts Positive thoughts positive life.through and at the end of the day, you’re not dead. I refer to it as free-floating thought: thoughts that are going nowhere because you haven’t followed them through to the end to see if you end up dead. Free-floating thoughts take up ENORMOUS head-space and energy and the sooner you nip them in the bud, the sooner you will take away their power by understanding that the anxiety and falsehoods of your imaginings are always worse than actual facts/reality. Following thoughts through will dead-end them with some kind of answer – generally a positive one, because you won’t stop the “so what if’s” until you’re somewhat happy!!

My other most favorite simple tool is talking to my thoughts – giving “thoughts” an identity. When I feel uneasy, anxious or unfocused, I stop and see what’s going on with my thoughts at the time: where are they leading, are they based on anything real or useful?  Giving them a role separate from “me” gives a sense of control: I can take a step back and realize that thoughts are simply popping out randomly from my collective memory – “I” am not necessarily choosing relative or productive thoughts. It helps me see thoughts as simply a tool the body uses to offer up potential ideas for something that has yet to solidify a pathway to a peaceful action/feeling, or duh, I would have taken it without all of these lingering thoughts! As stated, if I feel dis-ease, my thoughts are not useful, so I might have a conversation with them that goes something like this:

Caught you again you sneaky little thoughts: you’re really not helping me much right now!!
I appreciate that you conjured yourselves up to let me know that there’s a better way of creating what I want – so you can go away now!! No, really – you can go now: I’ll clear my mind or choose affirmations or
Manage your thoughtsthoughts that are more empowering and create the right kind of chemicals in my body to allow me to better move forward in a way and in a direction that is healthier and more peaceful for me – so you can go. Thanks again for making me check in with myself – I’m good: beat it! 

Yes, I actually do speak to my thoughts like that – though often I can get away with a good “scram”! It’s taken some practice to be able to firmly and concisely tell my thoughts that their current employment is over, and stop them trying to bargain their way back in; and really, what that’s about has nothing to do with vocabulary and everything to do with gaining confidence that I really do have power over my thoughts. I can now catch my thoughts quickly, laugh and have fun busting the little guys – and can pretty much discipline misbehaving thoughts in one good talking-to! This is totally based on the “change your thoughts” theory of Wayne Dyer;  and giving thought a personality separate from me nurtures the Eckhart Tolle thought vs. ego ideology.  Keep in mind, this is not about simply denying all things negative, it’s about choosing a route to create the best likelihood that you can move in your desired direction, by changing brain and biochemical responses that enable you to capitalize on what your body has to offer to do so: primarily neurotransmitters and hormones that calm you and support you to both feel better and take productive action.  It’s amazing how well thought-talk works to raise your consciousness and get you in a positive frame of mind and body, once you get the hang of it! (I also talk to my aches and ailments!) Anyway, what do those rampant, churning, directionless, idiotically repeating, cortisol-producing, brain-path hijacking, negative thoughts do for you – absolutely nothing! EXCEPT: remind you, you have power!!

Soft dandelion flowers macro border over sky blue backgroundI’ll do a few more posts on managing thought before I move on to another topic: rest assured, we will be revisiting this subject often! “Thought-stopping” has many permeations and techniques, depending on what you are trying to accomplish. Even the simple tools above take time and practice: do not despair (and they payoff in spades)! Negative thoughts will always be a part of human behaviour. I’m just a firm believer that being raised with a solid sense of self, and a lack of a need for comparison regarding self-worth or success, will take a lot of the ammo away from our minds. Identifying thoughts and their power, and maneuvering them favourably, should be second-nature.  Where we stand now though, we could ask: can manipulating your own thoughts have a down-side? I love the thousands of studies that accompany all of this new research on mind/brain/body: you can’t imagine how far rats and fMRI’s have gotten us recently!  For your amusement, here’s some nice light research about thought suppression and its effect re: forbidden romance, your golf swing, and…Basil Fawlty?  Sans rats!

Next: 8 Ironic Effects of Thought Suppression (page 2)

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