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How Shame Gives Birth To Compassion

(A continuation…)

In the midst of what seemed like disproportionate grief over my husband’s ex-wife’s death, there was something else: shame.

I alluded to it previously. At one time I had not-nice thoughts about her and I told not-nice stories. As time went on, I started telling myself the story that she’d had a painful childhood, that she was a victim, and that I pitied her. Along with pity, however, I was also pissed because I still believed that she was creating pain for others.

And I believed that story right up until the end. Almost.

The experience I had with her just days before she died showed me something else about myself.

My sense of loss was connected to the contrast: I didn’t like her when she was alive, but when she was dying, she touched me in such a way that I was able to let go of all the stories I had ever told about her – and I woke up to her wholeness and her goodness. The wholeness and goodness that was always there, but which I chose not to see.

And I felt shame. And it’s okay.

Brené Brown says that feeling shame is what separates “normal” people from psychopaths (who apparently don’t feel shame).

In referring to the blog post I wrote about Elizabeth’s death, a friend wrote: “I’m pretty sure I could not be the woman that Karen was.”

Fact is, I couldn’t be that woman either…until Elizabeth helped me be that woman.

And just like I can now see her innate goodness, I can also see my own.

I had to sit with my shame for quite a while in order to see this. I had to accept it and choose to experience it, with all its burning discomfort.

Once it burned itself out, I felt indescribable compassion, both for her and for myself.

Rather than using my shame to hurt me, I  choose to let it transform me.

Part of being truly alive is not being afraid of the contrast. Shame and compassion are equally valuable parts of the deal.

This is what it means – to me – to be fluent with my emotions.

Do you consider yourself to be emotionally fluent? Is it something you would value?

On Belonging: A Tribute To My Stepchildren’s Mother

My husband’s ex-wife, the mother of his three children, died yesterday.

Even just a couple of months ago, and knowing she was sick, I never imagined writing those words.

What I am about to say is hard, but I need to say it.

I didn’t always have charitable thoughts about her. In fact, there were times when my thoughts were quite unkind and sometimes downright nasty. And, from what I understand, she sometimes thought the same way about me.

I guess you could say it was typical. Ex-wife/current wife…biomom/stepmom stuff.

But you know what? Over the years we did things together. And I am not even going to say “for the sake of the kids” because while they were certainly the reason we ever hung out together, we did things together because we were meant to be part of each other’s lives, at least for a while.

Some of my fondest memories in the past 20 years include her: sitting in the stands at the Little League field and the gymnastics meets. Some holidays. The time we took 12-year-old Jessica and two of her friends to see Hanson (you should have heard the screaming!). The graduations. The birth of our grandson.

She was gracious. She included me. In pictures with her kids. “You’re part of the family too…”

The thing is, I haven’t always felt part of any family.

Growing up I had two families:

One with my mother, stepfather, and adopted brother. And we’d often spend time with my stepfather’s family, but I wasn’t biologically part of that family. In fact, my mother and stepfather haven’t been married since the early 80s. They’re both remarried now.

And the other with my father, stepmother, and half sister and brother. And when I was with them, we’d often spend time with my stepmother’s family…and I wasn’t biologically part of them either. My father and stepmother eventually got divorced too.

All the divorces, all the remarriages. The steps. The halves. The once-removeds. The people who are there because they’re somehow part of the mix.

And then I married a man with kids and an ex-wife.

It seems so silly, but I am sitting here in tears because I see it so differently now…it was I who chose to feel separate and apart, for whatever reason. It wasn’t because of the circumstances. It was I who had barriers up. I am not blaming myself for it, but I see how I held back. It’s up to me to be willing to be included. To step up and own the fact that I belong…and to act like it.

I know I am rambling on here about me, when this is really about Elizabeth. But it’s all part of the point I am trying to make.

These people with whom we spend time…who love the same people we love…who teach us stuff…they’re family.

Last week, on her last somewhat lucid day, I went to see her. I had been afraid because I didn’t think I belonged there. I didn’t want to “intrude.”

I sat down next to her bed and reached for her hand. She roused herself and said, “None of this handshake shit…I want a hug.” And so I hugged her. A little while later she complained about chapped lips. Her daughter Jessica offered her some Chapstick, which she promptly waved away. She wanted something softer…there was a tiny pot of pink Vaseline lip balm by the bed and Jessica said, “Do you want me to put some of this on?” And she said no. Her son Jeremey asked if he could do it, and she said no. They both looked at me, and Jeremey said, “Do you want Karen to do it?” And she replied, with her trademark sarcasm, “Ding ding ding!” And so I put some balm on her lips.

Godspeed Elizabeth Marshall. And thank you for including me.

Jessica, Elizabeth, Bryan, Tim, Me, Jeremey

Talk About Feeling All The Feelings…

Instead of writing this post, I am supposed to be on a flight to California (it’s landing right about now) so I could attend a Mastermind Retreat in Napa. With people I love and admire.

I had taken a shower last night and my clothes were all laid out. I was up at 3:15 a.m. even before my alarm went off. My bags were packed. I was checked into my Southwest flights. All I had to do was get dressed, grab some coffee (which was all set), a protein bar I purchased for the occasion and an apple, and I was good to go.

I arrived at my favorite little airport, T.F. Green in Providence, RI, at 4:45 a.m., more than an hour and a half ahead of my 6:20 a.m. flight. Green is known as being one of those airports you breeze right through.

I got a great parking spot and left my coat in the car even though it was 15 degrees because I didn’t want to lug it sunny, warm California.

As I entered the terminal, I saw a very VERY long line of passengers waiting at the SWA ticket counter. It was almost to the door. And the TSA line was almost as long. I have never, ever seen PVD that mobbed, especially at that time of the morning. Not even close.

I had a fleeting moment of panic, then took a deep breath, and decided to calm down and stay positive. All around me, people were freaking out, and I kept telling myself it would all work out.

Well it didn’t.

I got to the gate at 6:19 a.m. and was told it was too late. The SWA agent told me she could book me on a flight much later in the day and I decided to go for it, but then I just couldn’t stand the idea of getting to California at 9 p.m. (midnight Eastern time) and then having to rent a car, drive an hour, check in, and so on, get up early tomorrow, then have to turn around and come home on a flight that wouldn’t get in until after midnight on Monday.

I called my husband, who answered the phone with a “Have a great trip baby…are you on the plane?” With a wavering voice, I told him what happened. And that I just wanted to come home. He half-heartedly tried to convince me to go anyway, but I just didn’t have it in me.

(Oh, and I should have heeded the little voice in my head that said don’t bother checking your bag, because my suitcase is now on its way to California without me and won’t be back until tomorrow.)

So, I cancelled everything, drove back home, called my husband again and cried.

And now I regret my decision not to go, even if it meant getting there late.

Talk about feeling all the feelings.

Excitement (for the company I would be keeping and what I’d be learning…and the warm weather).

Gratitude (that I am able to take such a trip).

Pride (because I wasn’t feeling anxious about flying).

Panic (when I sensed everyone else’s).

Contentment (rather than freaking out).

Powerless (as I realized it was unlikely I’d make it).

Hope (as more and more people said “of course they’ll hold the plane…look how many of us are stuck in this line”)

Resigned (as I ran down the concourse to the gate…and it was the last gate, and saw the closed door)

Hope again (when I was told the ticket agent could get me on another flight).

Hopeless (when I was told how long it will actually take).

Anger (because they didn’t wait for me).

Guilt (because even though I was nearly 1 hour and 45 minutes early, I wasn’t the two hours early recommended on the airport’s website, which I didn’t read until after I got home, so it was technically my fault because if I had been there 15 minutes earlier I probably would have made it).

Relief (because I don’t have to fly all day and be away from home and then fly all day on Monday and get home well after midnight and then get up early on Tuesday).

Guilt again (for the relief).

Sadness and regret (because I really wanted to go to Napa, damn it, and maybe I should I have sucked it up and gone late!!)

Appreciation (for the head of TSA at PVD who just called in response to the email I sent [explaining my disappointment and frustration without being nasty], and who was apologetic and acknowledged that the airport was, indeed, a lot more crowded [with sports teams] than they are used to and that 1 hour and 45 minutes should have been plenty of time. She was warm, friendly, and understanding. I’ll be interested to see what SWA has to say in response to the similar email I sent to them).

This is SO not the end of the world, I know. I will get over it. In fact, I am pretty much over it.

Have you ever experienced so many varied feelings in such a short amount of time?

 

All The Beautiful + Thought-Provoking Things

bessette

When you stand in the light of your best self, and you shine that light into the world, sometimes you will hit dark corners. And in those corners or dark areas there will sometimes be some dark dwellers. Kind of like when you shine a light in a basement and critters run back into the darkness. This does not mean that your light was harmful, it means that your light was too bright for the dark dwelling critters.

When you shine your light and people self eject – as long as you shine your light in love and come from the best possible place – there is nothing for you to do but bless them, wish them the very best, and keep shining your light.

That does not mean that you chase them with your light, it means you just keep on going where you were going anyway. Your light is not harmful, but it will repel those who cannot stand in theirs.

SHINE ON!

Jeanne Bessette

(Click the image to be taken to Bessette Studios’ Facebook page)

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“Why are we not allowed to acknowledge childhood trauma…why are we not encouraged to heal from childhood trauma…?” ~ Liz Mullinar

Because we’re told we should  suck it up and get over it. Or because our there are some who can’t or don’t want to allow us to feel what we feel because they think it somehow reflects badly upon them, or it’s too painful for them. Or maybe we feel that the trauma we experienced “wasn’t that bad” compared to someone else.

Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, addiction, and more…we’re ALL on the continuum. And just because something went wrong, whether intentionally or not, it doesn’t mean we can’t heal…the human spirit is so resilient, given a little acknowledgement and compassion. 

This is the most important 8-ish minutes you can spend and it’s an excellent discussion about what trauma actually is.

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“The body is not meant to be controlled. The body is meant to tell us what it needs and when.” ~ Lee Wolfe Blum

Because it’s a partnership, not a power struggle.

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Reminder!

Join me for tomorrow’s no-cost teleclass: “How To Feel Your Feelings In A Way That’s Safe For Others + For You”

Monday, March 3 from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

Dial-In Number: 559-726-1300

Access Code: 830864

If you can’t make the call, a recording will be available. Enter your email address at the top of the page (before 6 a.m. on Tuesday, March 4) in the purple bar to make sure you get it!

 

Go Beyond “Managing” Your Anger: Choose To Feel + Express It Without Hurting Anyone

This past week I ate a lot of cheap chocolate, potato chips, and other crap food because I was angry…and instead of feeling and expressing it, I chose to eat it.

Why was I angry? Well, it’s kind of a long story, but I’ll try and break it down for you.

A week or so ago my husband and I had an uncharacteristic argument. It was uncharacteristic because we hardly ever argue and because it quickly escalated beyond raised voices to me yelling, me trying to make him see my point, me being critical of the way he handled something, and me digging in my heels.

It wasn’t until I had some time to myself that I realized a few things:

1. I wanted him to acknowledge and validate my worth and contribution to the subject about which we were arguing.

2. When he didn’t do that, I got loud and strident…and ugly and desperate.

3. Underlying all of it was this: “I am more trouble than I am worth. I must! prove! that! I! provide! value!! And if the person I love and care about most in the world disagrees with me, then I am not able to prove my value.”

(And yes, if I’ve said it once I’ve said it 6 trillion times: worth is inherent. But apparently I need to say it 6 trillion times +1).

4. I was angry because it was me who devolved into bad behavior and (in my mind), he was the more evolved one, the more even-keeled one, the more rational one, the one who’s always responsible, the one who takes care of everything and everyone…the mature one.

(Yeah…even that pissed me off!)

Upon reading this you might be thinking, “Oh wow, look how she figured all of that out and put a nice neat little bow on it.”

But guess what? I intellectualized my anger (and then ate it)…I didn’t feel or express it.

And that’s why I found myself semi-consciously eating cheap chocolate and potato chips (and surprisingly, not Goldfish crackers, Smartfood popcorn, or Smarties candies). To the point where my body started to ache. I think it was just as much the sugar and crap as it was that unexpressed anger that was literally hurting me.

I am sure you’re wondering what I did to feel and express it.

Disclaimer: No husbands or other living creatures were harmed (or even aware) that I was feeling and expressing my anger (until later when I told him about writing this post).

I put on some music that helps me feel strong emotion (Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More” album) and went for a very brisk, determined walk in which I muttered to myself, cried, stamped my feet extra hard, and pumped my arms furiously.

As I walked and muttered and stamped, I learned that my anger had some additional messages for me:

It’s hard for me to admit that my husband and I had an argument because I’m afraid that others will think our marriage isn’t as solid and healthy as I think it is…and even deeper than that, I fear that if I am angry (loud and strident…ugly and desperate), he’ll leave because who wants to be with a woman who not only doesn’t provide value but is also loud and strident…ugly and desperate?

And? At the very same time I realized how very safe I am in my marriage that I could write all of this down and publish it, knowing that he’d be okay with it (and he is).

So here’s the thing. Anger isn’t meant to be “managed.” It’s meant to be felt and expressed. And anger can be felt and expressed without harming anyone…not even you.

Join me for a free teleclass:

“How To Feel Your Feelings In A Way That’s Safe For Others + For You”

Monday, March 3 from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

Dial-In Number: 559-726-1300

Access Code: 830864

How I Stopped Hating Winter And The Seriously Amazing + Unexpected Result It Had In My Life

The moment we acknowledge the invincible summer within us, the light edges closer, and the temperature goes up ever so slightly. Keep tending that inner flame, and soon there will be enough light and heat to cheer not only you, but everyone around you. ~ Martha Beck in “Coping with a February”

I haven’t hated winter my whole life…it’s only been in the past 15 years or so. And I am not even sure why I started hating it.

I do know that part of the hate came from what I assumed to be SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Winter is depressing, right? It’s cold and dark. BAH!

And part of it came from an increase in anxiety, especially around being sick, and specifically stomach bugs.

(If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you’ve read about this crazy puke phobia thing I had, which terrified and paralyzed me to the point where I’d start to think I’d become one of those people who never leaves their house.)

Some of the things I did to try and overcome the anxiety include using a SAD (light therapy) lamp, Emotional Freedom Technique, thought coaching, and traditional talk therapy.

Now, I am not saying that those things didn’t “work” because they did, but what I know now is that they didn’t work in a way that I thought they would. They didn’t make the anxiety go away, they helped calm me so that I could understand two important things:

1. I had to stop approaching it from the perspective of wanting someone else to “fix” me and, and…

2. I had to be ready to stop actively hating (resisting) winter.

And if you’re a winter-hater, why stop? Because hating winter is fun, right? Everyone bonds over it. Just Google “I hate winter” and see what comes up.

I don't know how to give credit to the original photographer, but I couldn't find him/her.

But here’s the thing: when I stopped actively hating winter, my anxiety dissipated. Really and truly. While I can’t say the puke phobia thing is completely gone, it’s greatly reduced. It’s a freaking miracle.

So how did I stop hating it?

I stopped talking about hating it, I stopped staying “I hate it,” I stopped complaining about it, and I stopped engaging in conversations with others about hating it. Basically, I stopped focusing on it.

As a result – almost magically it seems – this helped me stop making winter equal anxiety. And as a result of THAT, I am getting more exercise than I would normally get during the winter (even with my frozen shoulder recovery), I am eating well, sleeping better…and so on. And we all know what that means.

Because what I see now (in hindsight, of course), is that the more I hated (and complained about) winter, the more anxious I got, and the more anxious I got, the more I hated (and resisted) winter.

Resistance is the fuel of anxiety.

P.S. I don’t love winter. I don’t gush with joy over a forecast for yet more snow. That I was able to stop hating winter during this specific winter (which has been one worst in recent memory), is especially notable. Like Martha suggests, instead I focus on the invincible summer within.

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” ~ Albert Camus

What are you resisting? How’s that working for you?

How I Overcame (And Am Still Overcoming) A Lifelong Fear Of Conflict

“Defense is the first act of war.” ~ Byron Katie

Talk about a provocative statement.

In fact, it’s a statement that might anger you. It sure did anger some of my friends on Facebook…and so I deleted it because, at the time, I didn’t know how to handle the conflict I felt inside.

My goal in sharing it here isn’t to start a debate about whether or not it’s appropriate or true, but rather to share how this statement is part of a profound change/shift I am making.

But first, some back story:

I used to be terrified of conflict. I didn’t know how to handle it. It never felt good, even if I “won.” And if I “lost” it would affect me for days. Intensely sometimes.

Like the time my stepdaughter (about 15 years ago) lied to me about something and I told my husband that I would handle it. She immediately dug her heels in, denied it, and then had what I thought was the incredible nerve to tell me she was taking her father out for lunch on Father’s Day.

My reaction (which she never knew about, thank God) was enormous. I was like a volcano spewing deep, hot, intense anger. And the tears. I cried long and hard…inconsolably.

It was so not about her lie.

Come to think of it, back then I tended to have over-the-top reactions to relatively insignificant situations.

As well, I was envious of those who were/are seemingly able to express strong opinion without fearing what others would think or say in response.

Because mostly? I was afraid that if someone disagreed with me, especially if they challenged me, it meant they didn’t like (love) or approve of me.

(Why did I even care? The answer to that is complicated.)

I thought I was weak, stupid, and undisciplined because I crumbled in the face of conflict, disagreement, or even healthy debate. I’d feel stung, chastised…like a “bad girl.” I took it oh-so-personally (even though I read The Four Agreements years ago and made a point to practice them).

If I chose to defend myself or my position, it never ended well…and if I didn’t, I felt pathetic. Because in my mind it was an either/or proposition with two choices, neither of which felt good to me.

And so I stopped sharing and engaging as much, especially in specific conversations about specific topics and with specific people, unless I felt there was NO risk, which of course, there always is.

Now, there’s more to this change than just that one provocative statement. This is a shift that has been years in the making. But that statement got me thinking about my role in conflict.

Yes…my role.

I see now that there have been times when I chose to stay in conflict (which usually showed up as me defending myself) because I wanted approval/validation/acknowledgement/apology.

I thought I was avoiding conflict when in fact, all I had done was adopted a defensive position. Because I feared it. It was something “out there” that could happen “to” me.

And then one day, fairly recently, I had an opportunity to disengage from conflict without being defensive. All it took was two words: “I understand.”

In this particular situation, I was invited (for lack of a better word) into conflict. I felt myself tense. I felt myself wanting to go for it. I had my defense all lined up and ready to go.

And in that moment I decided I didn’t need to defend myself. I didn’t need to be right. I didn’t need to explain or prove myself. I didn’t need approval or love. I saw that my defense, in this particular situation, would be the “first act of war” (war can’t exist without one party being on the defensive side).

This goes a lot deeper than “I just don’t care what people think anymore.” It has empowered me to know that I can speak my truth without having to defend myself for any reason, unless that is what I choose to do.

Now for the “how to…”

1. Practice disagreeing with someone safe.

This was for key for me. My husband is safe, as are some of my friends. I’m not suggesting that you pretend to disagree or that you do it debate-style, but rather find a subject on which you and your safe person truly do disagree and talk about it. Notice how you feel in your body. Notice what comes up in terms of your motivation. Are you trying to be right? Or aiming to be liked/loved/approved of no matter what?

2. Notice when you feel like defending yourself and ask yourself why and if it’s worth it (and sometimes it will be…and that’s okay if you’re aware that it is, indeed, your choice).

There are many invitations to be in conflict. Some are obvious and some aren’t. Some with people you know well and some with people you don’t know at all (for example, in the “comments” section of an online article). Knowing that you have the choice to accept or decline, as well as your reasons for either choice, is empowering!

3. If it’s not worth it, practice NOT defending yourself.

But what does that even look like? I can tell you what it doesn’t look like. If you find yourself wanting to respond in any of these ways – “I am not…” or “No I didn’t…” or “I never said/did…” or “I only did it because…” or “I didn’t mean to…” or “I was just trying to…” – then you’re in defense mode. And when you use responses like these, you put the other person in the authority position and give him or her more power.

The key here is to figure out what you want and then respond accordingly. What you want will depend, of course, on the nature of your relationship with the other person. Rather than going into detail, I will provide links to some good resources on the subject:

Radical Non-Defensiveness: The Most Important Communication Skill

Responding to Criticism Non-Defensively: Conversation Can Have Different Rules than War

Powerful Non-Defensive Communication

I’d love to hear about your experiences with conflict…

“Instructions For A Bad Day”

A compilation of worldwide YouTube content, the crowd-sourced documentary “Life in a Day” by Kevin Macdonald, and local footage by Jon Goodgion. Audio is the spoken word poem “Instructions For a Bad Day” by Shane Koyczan.

“There will be bad days. Be calm. Loosen your grip, opening each palm slowly now. Let go. Be confident. Know that now is only a moment, and that if today is as bad as it gets, understand that by tomorrow, today will have ended. Be gracious. Accept each extended hand offered, to pull you back from the somewhere you cannot escape. Be diligent. Scrape the gray sky clean. Realize every dark cloud is a smoke screen meant to blind us from the truth, and the truth is whether we see them or not – the sun and moon are still there and always there is light. Be forthright. Despite your instinct to say “it’s alright, I’m okay” – be honest. Say how you feel without fear or guilt, without remorse or complexity. Be lucid in your explanation, be sterling in your oppose. If you think for one second no one knows what you’ve been going through; be accepting of the fact that you are wrong, that the long drawn and heavy breaths of despair have at times been felt by everyone – that pain is part of the human condition and that alone makes you a legion. We hungry underdogs, we risers with dawn, we dissmisser’s of odds, we blesser’s of on — we will station ourselves to the calm. We will hold ourselves to the steady, be ready player one. Life is going to come at you armed with hard times and tough choices, your voice is your weapon, your thoughts ammunition — there are no free extra men, be aware that as the instant now passes, it exists now as then. So be a mirror reflecting yourself back, and remembering the times when you thought all of this was too hard and you’d never make it through. Remember the times you could have pressed quit — but you hit continue. Be forgiving. Living with the burden of anger, is not living. Giving your focus to wrath will leave your entire self absent of what you need. Love and hate are beasts and the one that grows is the one you feed. Be persistent. Be the weed growing through the cracks in the cement, beautiful – because it doesn’t know it’s not supposed to grow there. Be resolute. Declare what you accept as true in a way that envisions the resolve with which you accept it. If you are having a good day, be considerate. A simple smile could be the first-aid kit that someone has been looking for. If you believe with absolute honesty that you are doing everything you can – do more. There will be bad days, Times when the world weighs on you for so long it leaves you looking for an easy way out. There will be moments when the drought of joy seems unending. Instances spent pretending that everything is alright when it clearly is not, check your blind spot. See that love is still there, be patient. Every nightmare has a beginning, but every bad day has an end. Ignore what others have called you. I am calling you friend. Make us comprehend the urgency of your crisis. Silence left to its own devices, breed’s silence. So speak and be heard. One word after the next, express yourself and put your life in the context — if you find that no one is listening, be loud. Make noise. Stand in poise and be open. Hope in these situations is not enough and you will need someone to lean on. In the unlikely event that you have no one, look again. Everyone is blessed with the ability to listen. The deaf will hear you with their eyes. The blind will see you with their hands. Let your heart fill their news-stands, Let them read all about it. Admit to the bad days, the impossible nights. Listen to the insights of those who have been there, but come back. They will tell you; you can stack misery, you can pack disappear you can even wear your sorrow — but come tomorrow you must change your clothes. Everyone knows pain. We are not meant to carry it forever. We were never meant to hold it so closely, so be certain in the belief that what pain belongs to now will belong soon to then. That when someone asks you how was your day, realize that for some of us — it’s the only way we know how to say, be calm. Loosen your grip, opening each palm, slowly now — let go.”

Key Words: Empowerment, Helicopter + (Profound Self) Trust

Sure, there’s a lot of hyperbole in the world, but when I say that this is one of the most important and empowering things I’ve ever read, I mean it.

“Most daughters choose to be loved instead of empowered because there is an ominous sense that being fully actualized and empowered may cause a grave loss of love from important people in their lives, specifically their mothers. So women stay small and un-fulfilled, unconsciously passing the mother wound to the next generation.” ~ Bethany Webster in Why it’s Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound

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The difference between noticing and complaining is priceless in terms of inner peace. #profoundselftrust

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Twice this week, I found myself in very good company:

1. In honor of Healthy Weight Week, an educational event to help change public perception that weight determines health and that dieting is a viable health solution, Green Mountain At Fox Run has named its top 35 Healthy Weight Blogs.

2. Daily Rituals: Find Your Everyday Zen (Gaiam) (love the diversity of answers here)

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Even though I am not the parent of a child, here’s a great analogy many of us can relate to: we’ve either been neglectful parents to our bodies or the worst kind of helicopter parents to our bodies…hovering, worrying, distrustful, trying this, trying that. Both modes are equally destructive. How about this instead: can you give your body the time and space it needs? It knows how to to be healthy…maybe it’s yearning for you to let it do it’s thing…for you to trust it. #profoundselftrust

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Thoughts on fear, Fabeku-style:

Stop focusing on the fear.
Stop mindlessly + habitually talking about it.
(To other people. And yourself.)
Stop obsessing over it.
Stop investing in it.
Stop building shrines to it.
Stop making yourself a devotee of it.
Stop making it bigger than your BIGNESS.
(It’s not. Ever.)
Stop going there by default.
Stop sacrificing joy + possibility + creativity to it.
Stop waiting for it to go away.
Stop pretending you’re paralyzed until it does.
Stop using it as your compass.
Stop using it as a sign that something’s wrong.
(You’re not being chased by tigers.)
Stop using it as an excuse to stop.
Stop using it as an excuse. Period.

Two choices: love or fear.
That’s it.

~ Fabeku Fatunmise ~

We are built to feel fear…we’re meant to feel it. So remember this: when fear happens, recall all the previous times fear happened and that you survived it…only 100% of the time. #profoundselftrust

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Are you local to Southeastern Connecticut?

Acceptance 101: For when you are ready to put an end to conflict + drama in your life

This is a two-hour drop-in group coaching class and discussion for women in which we talk about and practice theories and concepts that bring peace and harmony to life. By focusing on the only thing we can change (ourselves) with a sense curious compassion, rather than harsh judgment, we are practicing the art of self-acceptance. From that perspective, amazing things are possible (like better health, better relationships, more fulfilling work lives, and more.) When we do the work of self-acceptance, we do the work of world peace!

Wednesdays from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at The Center For Healing Therapies, 83 Boston Post Rd., Waterford, CT

Haters Gonna Hate…

…and lovers gonna love.

You and me? We’re made to feel ALL the emotions…we’re capable of feeling all the emotions…we’re meant to feel them all. And our bodies do an amazingly efficient job of it if we don’t try and stop them.

Got some anger? Go for it and stamp your foot. Feel the physicality of that.

A little weepy? Allow your eyes to wash themselves and notice the sweet release and relaxation in your body afterwards.

Giddy? Grin and feel your heart expand…and the warmth spread throughout your chest.

Emotions are nothing more and nothing less than a vibration in your body…and yet, because we make them mean so much more than that, we tend to spend a lot of time avoiding/stuffing/distracting/intellectualizing so we don’t have to feel the vibrations that we consider ugly or uncomfortable.

We also spend a lot of time and effort avoiding what we consider to be negative emotions, but rarely do we specifically take action to increase positive emotions. We choose to focus on avoiding the negative rather than growing the positive.

(We don’t like having our buttons pushed so instead of deactivating our buttons, we protect them instead).

In general, people talk about their emotions (as a concept, usually with long, vague descriptions) but don’t actually FEEL them.

Consider the difference between resisting a negative feeling and just letting it vibrate.

Imagine a swallowing a capsule full of an emotion you find uncomfortable. Imagine, once digested, that you and your body will experience the purest form of that emotion for two minutes. What would it be like to just experience it? Without avoidance, resistance, numbing?

Be curious and fascinated when you notice what you’re feeling.

Whatever you choose to feel, notice that it’s not just something you feel for yourself, notice also the actions you take as a result of what you feel and the impact those actions have in the world.

This isn’t about putting on a happy face if you’re pissed off or grieving a loss. It’s about choosing to acknowledge and feel the pissed off-ness or grief and letting flow on through. All feelings are valid and worthy of being felt. They’re all useful. They all have messages/lessons for us.

Sometimes, we’re afraid to feel a feeling and so fear intensifies that already uncomfortable emotion. What you resist, persists. When we resist, say, anger, we create more anger. We get angry at our anger. We worry about our anxiety. We hate our hate. We create more pain by telling ourselves we shouldn’t be in pain.

Resistance is the fuel of anxiety (and when Resistant Karen learned this and started practicing acceptance, she was surprised to see a lot of her anxiety being released).

Consider that it can be super useful to CHOOSE, on purpose, to deliberately feel a negative feeling. It will flow through you in a wave. And then you will be done with it.

And in regards to “controlling” feelings:

Positive control = taking responsibility for your emotions without feeling “out of control”…the act of practicing/deliberately creating feelings.

Negative control = trying to control the uncontrollable. For example – people pleasing, and saying “yes” when you want to say “no” – both are an attempt to control how others think about you.

Practice.

Imagine the possibilities when you choose to literally (and I am using “literally” correctly…old-school) feel your emotions rather than stuffing your face with Goldfish crackers (or whatever).

Tell me about a time that you allowed yourself to literally feel an uncomfortable emotion…