Unknown Waters – Letting Go of Fear

woman feeling fearThere are events that happen in our lives that present us with opportunities for transformation and growth, often without our awareness. Medical crises certainly qualify as one of those events. I can speak from personal experience on this.

Fear – A Natural Response

During a good part of the last two-plus years, I have worked hard to keep my fears in check as my husband has struggled with a debilitating disease that has required three hospitalizations to date, (with another one within the next 3 months). Fear about whether or not he would recover. Fear about how different life would be if he didn’t get better. Fear about what our lives would be like if he had to continue requiring surgeries. Fear about how we would survive with minimal income – would we lose our house, how would we pay bills, would I ever find a full-time job. You get the picture.

It’s easy to say, as I have done on many occasions, that this type of “project-into-the-future” fear does you no good. It does not give you any answers. It does not make you feel better. And it can be pretty destructive. But the reality is that, when you are faced with unknown waters, fear can be a natural response. Read on……

The Guilt of the Passion-Seeker

Guilt

Guilt

Quite a titillating title, isn’t it? Now that I have your attention, let’s get to the REAL issue – the guilt that we can feel when we follow (or just anticipate following) our passions and dreams.

Recently, I discovered a beautiful quote from the Reverend Dr. Howard Thurman that I knew I had to share, so I posted it on Facebook. In case you missed it, here it is:

 “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive.

And then go and do that.

Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

This is why I knew I had to share this:                                                                                                                                         I often hear the following sentiment from people who struggle with the idea of living a life that is a reflection of their unique dreams and passions:

“But if I follow my dreams, I’m being selfish.”

And to be honest, the first time someone suggested that I embark on a personal journey to discover my passion and live it, I felt guilty about even considering it. Not only was I up against a cultural bias which had ingrained in me the value that other’s needs come before my own, but as soon as I started contemplating addressing my own desires, shrinking dollar signs immediately appeared in front of me, worries about neglecting my family nagged at me, and I quickly talked myself out of even considering the idea of discovering what my passion was, let alone live it.

However, another vague phrase from somewhere in my past kept niggling away at my consciousness, and it goes something like this: “If you’re no good to yourself, then you’re no good to anyone else”. There are many variations of this phrase, but the idea is basically the same. It’s about putting yourself first in the most elemental way so that you are “on purpose”, and able to do your best work. I’ve also heard it described this way: we are each an essential cog in the universal wheel of life, and if the cog is not doing what it was meant to do (its purpose), then the wheel doesn’t work properly. Read on……

Your Year for Change

A Better New Year For You

Whether or not you are a New Year’s resolution-maker, the start of a new year often feels like a good time to take stock of where you’ve been, and where you’d like to go. But there can be many obstacles holding us back from actually taking that journey, and we may not even be sure what that journey is.

A colleague of mine passed along the video below by Max Simon, which contains good, simple advice about the steps to take to figure it all out.  Although the title is “Frustrated At Work”, the ideas really pertain to all areas of your life.

Check out Max’s the full article, “Why You Need to Make Peace With 2014″.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Mindfulness Apps: Gimmicks or the Real Thing?

MeditationWith “mindfulness” having become such a buzzword over the last few years, it could be easy to dismiss mindfulness apps as gimmicks. But mindfulness has become much more mainstream and validated as not only a healthy way of living, but the practice of mindfulness meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction have become integral components of corporate wellness programs and mainstream healthcare. And now, mindfulness apps for your portable devices have entered the arena. Rather than being gimmicky, they are useful and accessible tools to help both beginners and current practitioners stay on track with mindfulness practice.

These apps are available on Apple and/or Android devices, and offer opportunities for everything from just chilling out to some relaxing music for a brief period of time, to practicing various types of mindfulness meditations through guided meditations. Read on……

Mindfulness at Work

job stressI see it all the time: friends, family, colleagues and clients who are valiantly trying to cope with the excessive demands of their jobs. Their departments are under-staffed, their workload is off the charts, their colleagues are irritable, no one seems to really listen to anyone, and everyone is working as fast as they can and still feeling as though it’s not fast enough.

Does any of this sound familiar? Read on……

Be Aware – Opening Your Senses to Your Inner and Outer Worlds

AwarenessTo some people, the word “awareness” may sound like one of those buzz words that are thrown around without much meaning.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Awareness is the key to effective and supportive communication, in developing compassion, in reducing stress, being assertive without being aggressive, developing and maintaining healthy relationships, and mindful living, to name a few. If you open your senses to the world around you, your awareness will bloom.

When you begin to pay attention,  focusing on something or someone, you are already developing awareness. Read on……

The Discomfort of the Unknown

The unknownI was chatting with a close family member recently, and she described what a difficult time she was having making some decisions about what to do next in her life.  She was poised at a transition point and considering many variables, was consumed with the process – it occupied her thoughts throughout the day – and she was understandably exhausted.  I felt badly for her, because I knew that she felt extraordinarily uncomfortable in that limbo that often exists before you make big decisions.

Read on……

The Difficult Conversation – An Opportunity for Personal Growth

ArgumentI was meeting with a colleague the other day, and she described an experience she had while trying to have a conversation with people who displayed some rigidity in their beliefs.  One of the challenges for her was that rigid thinking is the antithesis of who she is, so trying to have this conversation was very difficult. But she expressed how this also provided her with the opportunity to engage in a difficult discussion with gentleness.  As soon as she used those words, I stopped listening and started to REALLY pay attention. Read on……

Mindful Communication – Listen and Be Heard

two cups arguingEverybody’s Talkin’ At Me

Some of you might remember this first line from singer/composer Harry Nillsen’s 1969 hit, “Everybody’s Talkin’”.  The next line is “I don’t hear a word they’re sayin’”.  When you put those two lines together, you have formed a picture of what communication unfortunately looks like to a lot of people today. You may as well be two inanimate objects trying to have a conversation. Read on……

Mindful Living in a Crazy World

Child building sandcastleDid I get your attention?  Good!  To be honest, I don’t believe that we really live in a crazy world, but I think that it may feel that way to many of us.  There are so many things going on, both globally and in our personal lives, which are vying for our attention, that it is difficult to stay focused on what is happening in the moment.  We miss the awesome beauty of nature, a child’s giggle, a loving look from a loved one, the smell of freshly ground coffee .  Instead, we are focused on what to do next – planning and worrying about the plan, and basically being anywhere but where we are at that moment. Read on……