Judgement

I grew up on a dairy - animals were  there for production.  My parents were not big on pets and would actually criticize people who spent money on vet bills.  Its not that they were cruel people but felt very strongly that money should be used to help people in need.  My parents had very strong opinions about things and lots of messages of right and wrong.  Like so many people I grew up feeling that I would be rejected by my family if I had different opinions or beliefs.

It is amazing to me that at age 57 I still feel twinges of fear when I make a choice that is different than what my mother would do.

In the last 2 months both of our cats (who adopted us in Oct 2016)  needed to be seen by the vet.  Our girl, Comes and Goes, had been in a fight and poor Tabby developed an abscess in his mouth.  Thank goodness both things were easily treatable.  

Last week  my mom and asked how the cats were doing.  I took a deep breath knowing that I could just omit the part about the vet and avoid her judgement or that I could use the opportunity to push through the fear of her judgement and be true to my own story.  Before I could even finish my story my mom says,  "well I guess people are going to waste money on all kinds of things".  

I really do love my mother but its those types of statements and reactions that make it just so hard to have a warm relationship with her.  My mom is 96 years old, she is probably about 4' 8", walks with a cane and can't open a jar of pickles.  But man her words are powerful.  The crazy part is I spent the rest of the day wondering if Rod (my husband) and I were making a mistake.  My ole brain, George, took over and started the chatter ... "see Rosemary you are always making mistakes, your judgement isn't sound, people are going to laugh at you for how you spend your money, on and on it went for a few hours.  

   As I conveyed the conversation to my sweet husband he said, Rosemary, we made the right decision for our household - so simple, so straight forward and very reassuring.

The next time you find yourself feeling judged and wondering if you made the right decision ask yourself - is it right for me - because you are the only person who gets to decide what is right for you.   

Downward Dog - Yes the TV Show

"I'm sure self love is easy when your perfect.  But when your as flawed as me choosing to love yourself maybe the bravest thing ever attempted in the history of the world."

Hubby and I were watching an episode of the new TV show, Downward Dog, a really sweet show about life, love, friendship and all the challenges that those things bring.  There are so many choices to make at every turn of our lives.  Big choices like career and where to live and little choices like going for a morning walk or using the time to connect with loved ones.  

Every choice we make helps determine how we feel and in what direction are lives are moving.  The above quote about self love uttered by Martin, the canine star of the show, struck me as so very significant and important.  Its in  loving ourselves - utterly and completely - accepting all that is that gives us the room and permission to make choices that help us feel good, live compatibility with our values and give us a fuller richer life.   

What we do today impacts our tomorrows and so to make decisions that are motivated by love will invariable be helpful.  Its a loving act of self to eat healthy, to treat others with kindness, to set appropriate boundaries, to find time for laughter and joy and to create discipline so that we can accomplish life goals.

Life is already hard and challenging.  Life is filled with so many losses, hurts and disappointments that its easy to see how we learn to hate ourselves.  And, its easy to understand that when we hate ourselves we treat ourselves in hateful ways.  So for today lets challenge ourselves to be kind, gentle and forgiving of ourselves (truly loving)  - this like Martin said is,  "maybe the bravest thing ever attempted in the history of the world". 

 

Perseverance

Lately I have a hard time sticking to some of my personal goals - exercising and weekly blogging.  I'm noticing procrastination sneaking into my life and I want to stop this nasty habit before it robs me of too much of my life energy.  So after 3 days of putting the research off (LOL) I finally took a deep breath and  found the following article.  It reminded me of some simple tools to use in combating procrastination.  Hope you find this as helpful as I did.   

Whether you’re tempted to give in to that craving for a cupcake, or you’re about to give up on your goals, perseverance isn’t easy. But before you blame your lack of God-given willpower and before you make an excuse for your less than stellar performance, consider this; it only takes a few minutes a day to build the mental muscle you need to reach your greatest potential.

Building mental strength is similar to building physical strength. Doing 50 push ups a day would only take a few minutes of your time, but doing it consistently would help you build a tremendous amount of upper body strength.

The same can be said with your mental muscle. In just a few minutes each day, you can train your brain to think differently, manage your emotions, and behave productively. With consistent exercise, you’ll build mental strength.

While there are many exercises that can help you grow stronger, here are three exercises that will help you build mental muscle in five minutes or less:

1. Identify three things you’re grateful for.

Counting your blessings—as opposed to your burdens—has a big impact on your psychological healthStudies consistently show gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.

Make gratitude a daily habit by intentionally identifying three things you are grateful for in your life. It could be as simple as feeling thankful for the clean water that comes out of your faucet or appreciating the cool breeze on a warm day.

Studies show you can physically change your brain by making gratitude a habit. Write in a gratitude journal, list the things you feel grateful for over dinner, or make it a habit to identify what you're thankful for before you go to bed. Over time, being thankful becomes like second nature and you’ll experience benefits ranging from improved sleep to better immunity.

2. Practice mindfulness.

It’s impossible to stay strong when you’re rehashing something that happened last week or when you’re predicting horrible things are going to happen tomorrow. Mindfulness is about staying present in the moment. And since the only time you can change your behavior is right now, it’s important to be able to focus on the here-and-now.

Science shows mindfulness has a multitude of physical and psychological benefits. Among those benefits are reduced stress and a more compassionate inner dialogue.

So take a minute to just focus on what’s going on around you. Listen to see what sounds you can hear. Look around the room and see what you notice. Do a quick scan of your body and pay attention to how it feels.

With regular practice, you’ll increase your ability to focus—which is tough to do in today’s fast-paced world. And you’ll also be able to enjoy each moment because you’ll be less distracted by yesterday’s problems and tomorrow’s worries.

3. Act “as if.”

It can be tempting to wait until you feel different to make a change. But waiting until you feel good about yourself before applying for a promotion or waiting until you feel happy to invite your friends out for a night on the town could backfire.

Instead, studies show you should behave like the person you want to become. When you change your behavior, your thoughts and your emotions will follow.

When you’re sad you might hunch your shoulders and look at the floor. Doing so keeps you in a depressive state. Put your shoulders back and smile, however, and you’ll feel an instant boost in your mood.

And don’t expect feelings of confidence to come out of nowhere. Instead, ask yourself, how can I act confident? Acting like a confident person, even when you're filled with self-doubt, helps you feel surer of yourself. And research shows acting confident even increases other people’s confidence in you.

Try asking yourself what would a mentally strong person do? Then, act as if you feel strong already. And you’ll grow a little stronger.

Do Your Mental Push Ups

Every day is an opportunity to develop some mental muscle. Simple, short exercises performed consistently over time will help you build mental strength.

Additionally, pay attention to the bad habits that rob you of mental strength. Feeling sorry for yourself, giving up after your first failure, and giving away your power are just a few of the bad habits that could wreak havoc on your mental weight lifting routine. Giving up those unhealthy habits will help you work smarter, not harder.

Source: Amy Morin

 

Please Just Let Me Be Understood ...

A few days ago I went to see a movie with 4 friends.  The movie was THE LOVERS and was the story of some nice characters who were wrapped up in some pretty bad and hurtful behaviors.  I got caught up in the story and the characters and enjoyed the pace of the film.  

We get to the lobby and immediately my friends start talking about how weak the film was, how there wasn't enough information given to really understand the characters and pointed out some visual flaws in the film.  Its one of those moments where you think "did I just see the same film".

I instantly felt a bit of  sadness.  Sadness that they hadn't enjoyed the film, sadness that I was alone in my enjoyment,  and a profound sense of being mis-understood.  I felt alone in the experience and felt a bit of the outsider -  there was 4 of them after all.  "George" my brain started the chatter, "see they are smarter than you"  and "they understood things that you didn't get."  

I've noticed that when I'm feeling like the outsider that I start fighting hard for my opinion.  As if I have to justify what I believe - almost like I'm trying to convince them that I'm right.  I start working to get them to change their minds.   My friends are great and have never called me out on it but its has to be pretty annoying for them.  I'm working on this part of me and am gently trying to change the behavior.  

This comes from a very deep and old wound - growing up with 10 brothers and sisters I was frequently told I was wrong and my life choices were often criticized.  I often feel like the outsider and feel so misunderstood.  I yearn for understanding and recognition that my beliefs,  values and judgments are just as valid as other peoples.  And more importantly even when I see the world differently I can still be part of the group and belong to the clan.

I'm working on separating out that different beliefs, opinions, or tastes are just that - different beliefs, opinions, tastes.  Its not a matter of right and wrong its just a matter of different.  The truly sad part is that when I start fighting for what I believe then I'm at risk at alienating others and I'm more likely to loose friendships.  Its a difficult balance to speak up and share my thoughts and opinions without having to sound like I'm convincing others that they have to think just like me.  

I'm working on the old wound of being told so frequently that I was wrong about things.  More and more I'm trying to create space that allows for differences and the recognition that people can think differently about things and it doesn't  mean right wrong it truly just means different.  

Like Nina Simone said: 

Baby you understand me now
If sometimes you see that I'm mad
Doncha know that no one alive can always be an angel?
When everything goes wrong you see some bad

Well I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

Ya know sometimes baby I'm so carefree
With a joy that's hard to hide
Then sometimes again it seems that all I have is worry
And then you burn to see my other side

But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

If I seem edgy
I want you to know
I never meant to take it out on you
Life has it's problems
And I get more than my share
But that's one thing I never mean to do

'Cause I love you
Oh baby
I'm just human
Don't you know I have faults like anyone?

Sometimes I find myself alone regretting
Some little foolish thing
Some simple thing that I've done

Cause I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

Don't let me be misunderstood I try so hard
So please don't let me be misunderstood

Songwriters: BENJAMIN, BENNIE/MARCUS, SOL/CALDWELL, GLORIA

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

 

Feelings Are Not Facts

Ten years ago a human being (or beings) had the brilliant idea of building a glass walk way out over the Grand Canyon.  Absolutely amazing!!!! You can stand on this thing and look 4,000 feet down.  For me it was a real challenge - like so many people I'm frightened by heights.   Right up until we were out there I wasn't sure I could do it.  

Standing on that thing feeling a bit like I was hovering reminded me of how important it is to let go and let things be.  Even though I knew I was on solid ground - it didn't feel solid - my insides were tightening up and I was a bit dizzy.  George, (my brain) kept saying get out of here, your going to fall, its not safe.  I kept thanking George for his feedback and then reminded myself that I really did want this experience.

 The view from there was beautiful and I don't have words to describe the intensity of  looking directly down into the Canyon.  But darn it George won out and convinced me to get out of there pretty quickly.  I didn't truly savor the moment.  My body was feeling unbalanced and because the feelings were uncomfortable George convinced me that I was going to plunge thousands of feet to my death.  Now keep in mind that this walkway has been in operation for 10 years -- NOBODY has fallen through it -- its completely solid.  So the fact was that I was safe but I did not feel safe. 

Sadly, I rushed through the walkway.  I clung to the side rail and could barely look down.  The feeling was too overwhelming.  The time out there reminded me of the so many times I've been up against emotional hurdles.  Feelings of guilt, shame, feeling unlikable - how often in my life have I acted on feelings rather than on facts.  

 Life can be richer and even larger when we act on fact rather than our feelings.  Just because I felt unsafe on the Grand Canyon sky walk doesn't mean I was unsafe.  I invite you to join me in practicing deep breathing and creating space to tolerate unpleasant feelings so that we can respond to facts not the feelings.   

 

 

A Really Big Hole

Just got back from a trip to the Grand Canyon.  A week without deadlines, demands or any musts.  Rod, my husband, and I planned the trip so that we didn't have to rush or be any where at any given time.  We packed our suit cases and jumped in the car.  It really was a perfect trip:  relaxing, the weather was mild and pleasant, and so MUCH beauty.  The spring flowers were still hanging on, the colors of the Canyon were amazing,  and the people we encountered were friendly.

The vastness of the Canyon reminded me of how small and insignificant I truly am in the scope of the world and the entire universe.  How small my problems are and how in the context of all of history how transient my worries are.  Its sort of crazy but there is peace in realizing I'm not that significant - it gives me permission to ask for what I need because I'm not so scared of being turned down or rejected.  

In Western culture we put a tremendous amount of significance on how important and special every human being is, and although I agree that we are important,  I'm noticing that this belief puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the ego.  The ego, the part that fights to be right, the part that won't risk being embarrassed, the part that puts self before common good.  The ego wants to believe its survival depends on the fight.  Amazingly all the fight does is create struggle and anxiety.  To notice the ego and accept what is allows people to relax and to be in the here and now.      

I'm thankful to be back home with our cats,  to return to the work that I enjoy and to the routine of our lives.  But I'm also very thankful for the reminder from the "big hole" - I'm just not that significant  which gives me room to relax and not be so controlling.  Ah that feels better - thanks "big hole".  

        

  

Sometimes Laughter is The Knowing

Its been a really tough week - extremely busy and and the death of a distant relative.  Sometimes turning to google for a laugh is what keeps me going -- and so for now I share Chuck Lorre's Vanity Card in the hope that it brings you a laugh and the wisdom of knowing that none of us know.  

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #532

I have somehow stumbled onto a magic spell. It consists of three words that have changed my life for the better. And here, faithful vanity card reader, are those words:

I don't know.

Now before you get upset by their unremarkable quality, their lack of faux Latin, Harry Potter mumbo jumbo-ness, I'd like you to try a little experiment. Say the following out loud:

"I don't know what tomorrow will bring. I don't know how long I will live. I don't know how my smart phone works. I don't know how my body works. I don't know how pretty much anything works. I don't know how we got here. I don't know where we're headed. I don't know what I don't know. I don't know why I'm doing this, considering how unlikely it is that Chuck Lorre knows anything of consequence."

Okay, well done! Now that we've established your lack of knowing, a vacuum of sorts has been created. And what do we all know about vacuums? Nature abhors them. So it stands to reason that something will rush in to fill that vacuum. And something does. I don't know what it is. I just know it's magic.

<< >>

1st Aired: 12 May 2016

 

 

3 Dead Birds

In Septmember of 2016 two sweet cats showed up on our door step.  Without invite just started hanging out on our front patio.  For a few weeks we just ignored them and still they hung out.

 I've never been a pet person and my husband (outside of the last 4 years) has always had animals.  I could tell he was getting really hooked and enjoying having the cats around.  So we did the responsible things:  had them checked out by a vet - tried to contact their previous owners - and finally officially adopted them.  

Our yellow guy is named Tabby and the calico is Comes & Goes (you got it she tends to wonder a lot).   We began looking forward to seeing them in the morning and are enjoying sitting with them on our front patio.  Both of the cats have a sweet demeanor and it has been fun having them around.  I've been pleasantly surprised by how much love and joy they add to our home.

In late March we decided to install a pet door and started making the transition from outdoor cats to indoor / outdoor.  Again, I've never been a pet person so trying to acclimate to cat hair,  monitoring their scratching habits,  making the time to vacuum more often was a bit of an adjustment but the joy, fun and love we were getting was well worth it.  

Then came Monday night, April 24, 2017 (a day that will live in infamy).  I came around the corner from our dining room into the hall way and saw - a dead little baby bird.  "Rod", I yelled at my husband,  "this can't be happening ... dead birds can NOT be allowed in the house".  I opened the door to the garage, "Rod, dead birds can NOT be in the garage".  I walked out to the patio, "Oh no, this can't be happening - there is a 3rd little dead bird".  "Rod this can NOT be!!!!!!!!"

Now keep in mind Tabby and Comes and Goes are sitting in the living room completely calm and enjoying their comfortable places on the couch.  My brain (whose name is George) went into over time.  "What if I had stepped on the dead bird, how do we prevent this from happening, good housekeepers don't have dead birds in their houses".  George kept yelling at me, "Told you animals in the house were a bad idea, see what you get for being so dumb and letting them in, you can't allow for this it's too horrific".  

Quietly and patiently my husband disposed of the birds and then gently reminded me that cats share of their "treasures" with their humans.  Rod reminded me that everything in life has a down side - can't have the cat love and joy without the cat hair and once in a while their kills.  He reminded me that of course we could keep the cats outside but that would limit our time with them.

Two weeks ago the thought of a dead bird in my house was absolutely unacceptable so today I'm working on accepting the unacceptable.  I'm noticing when George starts screaming his loud voices, I thank him for his feedback and then go about enjoying the cats in the house.  Of course I will have icky feelings if I find more dead animals in the house but I'm working on tolerating the icky feelings so that their is more space to experience the love and joy that the cats offer.  

George would say "THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE"  because my body would feel icky feelings and stories have been built up in my head that somehow I have failed or made a mistake because we have to clean up a dead bird.  George keeps trying to convince me that this event means something about me and that I lack the  ability to manage the world.  Somehow George is saying "you Rosemary are bad, dirty and not competent"  and I'm noticing this and over and over and over just reminding myself that a dead bird in the house is just a dead bird in the house.

 The more I open myself up to the unacceptable be it a dead bird,  fear of public speaking, fear of looking stupid, fear of failing, the more I can accept uncomfortable feelings the more I create space to make my own decisions in life and to enjoy life's simple pleasures like the purring of a cat.   

  

 

What Is The Purpose

So very often clients ask what is the meaning of life - why am I here - what is the purpose of it all.  Its such an important question and one that has been asked  a million times in a million different ways.  As soon as the human brain started evolving the question of meaning, purpose and the why questions started hounding humans.

I say hounding because its a question that can cause such pain, anguish and suffering.  I've seen people riddled with so much anxiety about the meaning of life that they stop participating in life.  So afraid that they are just wasting their time in school, work or socializing that they start to isolate and  become paralyzingly depressed.  

Sometimes when things are challenging or I've had some major set backs I notice that I start asking myself - whats the point - am I making any difference - why bother when life can seem so difficult and filled with loss.  

Recently I  had a client say "I'm not sure I deserve happiness" and it just really struck me that its such a human thing to ask or ponder.  We have 2 cats in our home.  They certainly don't ask if they deserve happiness or what their purpose is - they just are and do.  They  enjoy the sunshine, eat their food, wonder around the neighborhood exploring and sit around bringing us lots of joy and happiness (sometimes sitting in places they don't even belong in).  The beautiful tree in our front yard never asks any question it just reaches toward the sun, allows the rain to nurture its roots, and brings beauty and shade to our yard.  

Maybe this is too simplistic but to get caught up in the questions of why and meaning and purpose just complicates things.  Maybe its OK to stay on the side of knowing that life is really brief and precious and its not about doing things perfectly its just about doing them.  Try differnt things if you enjoy them keep doing them, if you don't enjoy them stop and move on to something else.  

Stay in tune with what feels right to you - focus on what brings you contentment - not just pleasure in the moment but full blown contentment.  I once read that eating chocolate cake is tasty but is a passing pleasure whereas staying focused on a major goal like running a marathon brings us a sense of accomplishment and lasting pleasure.  We can't think our way to the purpose or the meaning of life but we can find our purpose and meaning through our actions.

So I don't know if any of us deserve happiness and I certainly can't answer the purpose question.   - but I do know is that joy and happiness are there for the taking.  Life is short - to wait till we feel like we deserve happiness keeps us waiting a long time - go do something today that makes you happy.  Go for a walk along the river,  do some volunteer work, try something that your afraid to do - go challenge yourself and I'll go do the same!   

 

   

 

 

Its In The Doing

For years I've struggled with not feeling good about myself.  I'm too fat, too ugly, not smart enough ...  

I kept telling myself I'll work on my self-esteem and when I feel better I will do all the things I want to do.  When I've "calmed" my inner critic I will be more social and will join fun groups.  When I feel better about myself I will stand up for myself, I will start the exercise program, I will try new and scary things.  

So I kept going to therapy, attending support groups, reading self-help books ... I just knew if I could "believe" I was good enough then nothing could stop me.  But to quote Mark Manson, "It turns out that merely feeling good about yourself doesn't really mean anything unless you have a good reason to feel good about yourself.  It turns out that adversity and failure are actually useful and even necessary for developing strong minded and successful adults".  (THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A FUCK, p. 43-44)  

I'm reminded over and over again that its in the doing that we grow, change and learn to accept ourselves and learn who we really are and what brings us joy and life contentment.  

Are you waiting to feel better about your body in order to join the gym?  Are you waiting to like yourself before you join the social group, are you waiting to feel smarter before you take a class?  Don't make the mistake that I've made for years and wait to do things.  

Go and do ... you'll probably find that its in joining the gym that you will gain respect for your courage and feel good about taking care of yourself.  In joining a social group you will find that you have things to share and people who want to be with you.  And if you choose to take a class you'll learn to appreciate your ability to keep learning along with meeting new people.  

Fear and voices of not good enough say pull back and don't do ... be safe from rejection or feelings of embarrassment.  

I'm here to support you and me in that feelings are just feelings - as tough as some of them are they are not facts.  Yes, I have felt embarrassment along the way but the more I've put myself out in the world the better I have come to feel about myself.  

So for today, just take one tiny step toward something you want to do, notice the voices in your head that want to tell you to stop, notice them, thank your brain for them and take one tiny step toward something that you want to do.   There is much freedom in the doing!!!!!!

  

 

 

Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families

DO YOU: 

1) Guess at what normal is

2)  Have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end

3)  Lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth

4) Judge yourself without mercy

5) Have difficulty having fun

6) Take yourself very seriously

7) Have difficulty with intimate relationships

8) Overreact to changes over which you have no control

9) Constantly seek approval and affirmation

10) Usually feel different than other people

11)  Act super-responsibly or super-irresponsibly

12)  Extremely loyal even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved 

13)  Act impulsively ?  

If you found yourself relating to the above list - welcome to being human - and know that these are characteristics of adult children of dysfunctional families.  It is said that 95% of all families are dysfunctional the other 5% are in denial.  Don't know where I got that statistic but it captures just how complicated it is to be human and to connect with the people in our lives. 

In a truly functional family all members are treated with understanding, accepted for who they are and everyone plays an appropriate role in decision making and truly feels like a valued member of the pack.  This is the ideal "Brady Bunch" family but for many of us  most of experiences are closer to "Arrested Development" or "Shameless".        

"A dysfunctional family  is a family in which conflict, misbehavior, and often child neglect or abuse on the part of individual parents occur continually and regularly.   Children sometimes grow up in such families with the understanding that such an arrangement is normal".  (Wikipedia)  Dysfunctional homes are riddled with tension, secrets, unclear rules leading to confusion, and fear.   

I grew up with 10 brothers and sisters, parents who loved us dearly but were so riddled with their own anxieties, fears and history of abuse that their parenting left many emotional scars.  Years of therapy and regular attendance in Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families Support Group has helped me to calm my emotional monsters and learn to be a bit more at peace in the world.  

“You don’t need strength to let go of something. What you really need is understanding.”– Guy Finley  The process of examining how family stories impact us can be very important in understanding our behavior today.  Children are great observers but horrible interpreters and when kids are exposed to abuse and neglect they internalize the conflict and believe that something is wrong with them.  

If you relate to the list of 13 above I invite you to join a support group for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families - start therapy - read a self-help book (I highly recommend the works of Claudia Black).  

YOU ARE NOT ALONE AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO STRUGGLE ALONE.    

 

Let It Be

"You don't have to push or pull or fight or win, the struggle is illusory.  Sometimes or rather, all times, you just have to be".  Andrew McMaon

Man wouldn't it be great to live like that just letting it be.  Yet we humans constantly struggle with all of the noise in our heads - or at least this human does.   So many rules,  expectations and so many shoulds.  Right now some of  my shoulds include :  it shouldn't be hard to write, and it shouldn't be hard to exercise and the biggest should of all - Bob, shouldn't be dead and yet - Bob IS dead, and my sweet sister who is only 65 years old is a widow and my nephews and nieces will never see their father again.  

To accept that life is hard -  filled with loss, fear and pain actually allows for less struggle. To give up the idea that I will always be happy & comfortable allows space for what is there and I can move through it more quickly and honestly.  To accept that Bob is dead allows me to grieve and to move through it rather than railing at the unfairness of a man being diagnosed with cancer 2 months after his retirement.  To rail against what is usually causes resentment and bitterness.  It  makes sense that I have pain over the loss of my brother in law and lots of sadness for the pain his family is experiencing.  

Maybe its ok to let it be.  If someone falls in quicksand the more they struggle the quicker they sink.  Its very counter intuitive but in quick sand stay still and calm and the body will rise to the top and then you can roll out.  Like quicksand, in life when we struggle against things we make them even harder - let go and just let them be.  Its not about giving up - its about giving up the struggle so you can have the energy to do things that you enjoy in life and get  closer to your goals.

 

Fear Of Blogging

 When I created this website I told myself I would regularly  blog and then George started talking to me.  George started saying stuff like,  "Who do you think you are? Blogging is for people who are really smart and have things to say.  If you write stuff down publicly everyone will be able to see how silly you are and even catch your grammatical errors.  Your a 57 year old woman who has a hard time with technology and now you're gonna blog?"   George just wouldn't stop.    

So week 1 became week 2 became week 3 and the weeks became months and sadly I kept listening to George.   I kept finding excuses and reasons for not writing.  Everyone tells me there are good reasons to blog.  It's a good way to pass along helpful information, helps prospective clients get to know me, keeps my website fresh and active, helps get my thoughts onto paper.  Logically I knew I needed to do it - heck I even wanted to but the voice of George is pretty darn strong.  George's voice was winning and I kept postponing.  Fear had its grip on me and George was feeding that monster.    

Are you wondering why I kept listening to George when clearly his messages were not helpful?  They rob me of jumping in and taking risks, they make me feel badly about myself, and even convince me that it's more fun to be bored than to try new things.  George is forever reminding me that to do something puts me in harm's way.  People might laugh at me, criticize me, I might offend someone.  George kept telling me it would be just awful to feel the feelings of shame or humiliation or risk any conflict .

I did my best to ignore George, yelled at him to shut up, and even tried to numb his voice out with bad TV and food but he just kept getting louder and louder.

Oh, have I told you that George is  my brain.  Yes, George has been with me since day 1 of life and although he has been very helpful to me at times - the poor guy was pretty traumatized when we were little and vulnerable (there was a lot of anger and critical statements floating around our house)  and so he can be pretty negative.  The sad part is he thinks he is protecting me - by telling me to not do things that are scary he thinks he is saving me from feelings like fear and embarrassment.

Yesterday, I was sitting in session with a client and working on facing fears and man oh man it all hit me like a 2 by 4.  The only way to face my fear around blogging was to actually do it ... no more excuses, no more numbing.  It's not like it was new information but rather that this particular fear - performance anxiety if you will - has been part of my story for years and I will go to my grave working on it.   

 As I turned on the computer to write I noticed George putting up a fight and so I thanked him for all his energy and for his comments and even gently told him that he thought he was being helpful and then I started writing and look at me go.  It feels good to feel the fear and do it anyway so now the question is will I push the publish button.  I'm noticing that George is still chattering away and telling me its not a good idea but  I also know that I always feel better when I've challenged myself and when I take risks.

 I'm wondering if you feel the same way and are wanting to take some risks in your own life?  One small step in taking more risks is to name your brain so that you can have some distance from any thoughts that might get in the way of your risk taking.   By naming your brain you can gently hold him or her at a distance from you and talk back ... thank your brain for that information and then you decide if you want to listen to a particular thought or not.  

Thoughts are just thoughts and feelings are just feelings - no one lies on their death bed and says I sure wish I avoided risking embarrassment - people lay on their deathbeds and talk about the things they didn't do.