Tag: allowing

Living in the Moment

sky diving

“Forever is composed of nows.”
― Emily Dickinson

 

“Life is a preparation for the future; and the best preparation for the future is to live as if there were none.”
― Albert Einstein

In a world where we are encouraged to analyze our mistakes of the past and plan for a successful future, it can be challenging to live in the present and enjoy the moment.

All we really have is now. The past is over and can’t be changed; the future is to come and can’t be predicted. The only time we are experiencing in our bodies is the present moment. Have you ever spent a vacation taking pictures so you could remember it, only to lament later that you didn’t fully enjoy the moments you were so eager to capture? Have you ever looked at a photo of yourself from a time you were unhappy and with hindsight and wisdom realize you had much to be grateful for but didn’t recognize it? When we live in the past or the future, we don’t appreciate what we have, who we are, and that we are a part of the NOW.

If you would like to be more present in your life, here are some ideas:

Focusing on an object to connect with the present. Look closely at an object. It could be anything—a leaf, stone, book, chair, piece of fruit—but it is best to choose something that is easy to study intently without disturbing you or the object. Look at the object and note your initial impressions. If the object is small, hold it in your hand; if the object is large, get close enough to see details. Study it’s color, texture, weight, shape, if it has a smell, how it compares to others like it. Notice if your feelings or thoughts have changed from when you first looked at the object.

Ignite your senses. Choose a place that is rich in stimuli—different noises, movement, smells, etc.—where it is safe to sit and close your eyes, and use all your senses to tune in. Be curious with what you are taking in. What do you hear? Where is it coming from in relation to you? How would you classify the sound—melodious or harsh, soft or loud, smooth or staccato, continuous or intermittent? Experience all that is happening around you, allow all of your senses to focus on whatever attracts their attention. Recognize that as you are listening, watching smelling and feeling you are a part of the NOW.

Practice gratitude for what you have right now. This is a valuable daily exercise to ground you in the moment. Take a few minutes to mentally list all you are grateful for. Nothing is too small, too silly, or too common. Additional benefits you might notice from practicing gratitude are lifting your mood and putting things in perspective.


When It’s Over: How to Let Go of a Relationship

couple in fightIn the post, Evaluating Your Relationships, I shared how to determine if a relationship is not working for you. Sometimes, even when we come to the realization a relationship is over, it can be hard to heal and move forward. When we end a relationship, it can be helpful to remember the positive aspects we enjoyed about the relationship. Since Adrenaline and Cortisol are released whenever we are upset, we usually remember the unpleasant incidents more readily. So the unpleasant ones are probably fresher in your mind’s eye. Here are some ways to help you let go of a relationship that has ended, so you may move on in a way that is loving for you.

Think of what you gained from the relationship. Did it teach you something? Did you learn something valuable about yourself or experience personal growth because of your interactions? If you are looking for the meaning and purposes of why the two of you came together, do you now have a better sense of it? Discovering the lessons and positive effects of the relationship can provide a path to growth and successful closure.

Remember the good times. Recall some good moments you shared with that person. Even if the relationship has ended badly, there were times that you were both in harmony and enjoyed each other’s company. Try not to go past the recollection into judgment (for example, I had a good time but if I had known what kind of person s/he was…). Remembering what you liked about the person can help facilitate forgiveness.

Allow forgiveness. This one can be very difficult but most important in letting go and moving on. Here is a blog post that focuses solely on the topic of forgiveness, The Freedom of Forgiveness.

Find closure. Determine what resolution you need in order to move on permanently. When we do not, or cannot, receive closure through the other person, we can come to it on our own. Some ideas on how to do so:

  • Write down any strong feelings, memories, or thoughts about the other person, each entry on a separate notecard or piece of paper. Nothing is too insignificant…if it causes any sort of upset, it is important enough to write down. When you are finished, read each note aloud—allowing its full effect on you—and then destroy the note by using a shredder, scissor, or by simply ripping it up. Take a deep cleansing breath and imagine the weight of that thought leaving you. Continue this process with the remaining notecards or pieces of paper.
  • Write a letter to the person, detailing exactly how you feel. Let out all your lingering frustrations, hurts, betrayals, resentments, etc. You can feel safe in not holding back because you will not mail this letter to them. This letter is a chance for you to acknowledge all of your feelings and allow their release harmlessly. Once you have completed your letter, seal it in an envelope, address it, and “send” it on its way…in the same manner as the notecards and pieces of paper.

Make a supportive choice with mementos and reminders. There most likely will be many reminders of your past relationship, such as a song, favorite dining spot, or item you bought together. Some of these can be painful or not supportive of your desire to move on. You have the choice to either let go of painful reminders—discarding, selling, giving away physical items—or to assign new memories to them. For example, something like a song or location is difficult to remove from your life, but you can choose to replace your associations with positive ones. Perhaps you can think of an important person in your life who ALSO loves that song, so that you will guide your thoughts to them each time you hear that melody. Likewise, take a friend you have fun with to that favorite dining spot and make new memories you can go to from now on.

Honor your process. The way someone else has moved on from a relationship, or how you think you will move on, may end up looking very different from what actually happens. Allow the process of letting go and moving on to unfold in its own way. You are unique and therefore, your journey will also be unique. Be kind to yourself, practice awareness, self-love, and do your best.


The Freedom of Forgiveness

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“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
― Nelson Mandela

 

“True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.”
― Oprah Winfrey

Forgiveness is not about pretending something didn’t happen, surrendering, accepting injustice, or being weak. It is about acknowledging what happened and moving past it, hopefully with more wisdom and enlightenment.

When we hold onto the feelings caused by a wrongdoing—anger, resentment, fear, hurt, shame—we keep ourselves imprisoned in that story. We relive the injustice and its effects on us, which prolongs the pain and can even cause it to grow. Releasing our feelings through forgiveness releases us from the story.

The following are some ways to facilitate the process of forgiveness:

Try to separate the facts from the story. Think of how your situation would be presented in a scientific journal. Only things that could be proven would be included, and anything not directly observed would be considered a hypothesis or prediction. Anything related to emotions, feelings, and hearsay would be useless to a scientist. This exercise can help untangle emotions from events to provide a more objective view of what happened.

Remember that this involves another human being. We all make mistakes. While being human doesn’t excuse us when we do something that is considered “wrong,” it is helpful to remember we all have faults, weaknesses, and errors in judgment.

Examine why you feel the way you do. Perhaps your feelings are tied to a previous betrayal, or the person’s actions brought up issues with which you are struggling but have nothing to do with this person. Knowing specifically what you are upset about and why can shed light on the real issue. It can also allow you to have a clear conversation with the person you want to forgive, if you decide to talk with them about it.

Make a commitment to forgiveness. Sometimes we say we want something, but don’t really want it or aren’t ready for it. To forgive someone and move on, we have to truly want to forgive that person. Give the same kind of focus and energy to forgiveness as you would a meaningful goal or intention. Imagine your desired future relationship with that person, or if dissolution of that relationship is in order, imagine yourself making peace with that decision and moving on in a way that is supportive to you. You may want to try Loving-Kindness Meditation.

Be gentle with yourself. Forgiveness can be difficult when the wounds are fresh. If you do not understand the reasons behind the injustice, or you can’t find any positive light from the experience, you may not be ready or willing to forgive. It often does not happen overnight, and it is also not something you master like a learned skill. Forgiveness is the subject of many spiritual teachings and can be viewed as a daily spiritual practice. Therefore, allow yourself to see forgiveness as a journey, not a destination you must reach. Try to release any self-judgment in the process. Forgiveness starts with you.


Shifting Your Perspective to Relieve Stress, Anxiety, and Anger

Photo by Kristin Rath

In this…world

Nothing is the truth or a lie.

Everything depends on the color

Of the crystal through which one sees it.

― Pedro Calderón de la Barca

When the unexpected crosses our path or things don’t go our way, it is natural to react with feelings such as irritation, fear, anxiety, and anger. However, if we allow these emotions to go unexplored, we will be allowing our perspective to be restricted and possibly negative. When we continue to view the world from this state, it can color our perspective for hours, even days, later.

The great news is we can change how we view a situation by recognizing when we think, feel, and/or act in a way that is not beneficial. By asking ourselves some questions that will shift our thinking we will change our current viewpoint.

For example, perhaps you have a long to-do list, and have been worrying about getting everything accomplished. The worry grows throughout the day into guilt as you know you can’t possibly get X, Y, and Z done. Now you’re in full stress mode, feeling irritable/emotional/anxious/etc. You’re on autopilot, reacting to what comes at you. Nothing seems to be going your way, you can’t seem to do anything right, and the day is generally not enjoyable. What if you had known how to stop the worry in its tracks when it first crept into your thoughts by asking yourself a few questions to gain clarity on the issue? Perhaps the worry would have only lasted a few seconds instead of ruining your day!

Here’s how you can put a perspective shift into practice: Be aware of when you feel anger, anxiety, fear, or any kind of stress. Mentally say, “Stop!” and then visualize a stop sign. This will halt the body and mind from continuing to circulate non-constructive thoughts and feelings. Take a few deep breaths while you ask your body to release any tension. Then ask your mind a few of the questions below that are relevant to your situation. Check in with yourself and note any changes in mind and body. With practice, these steps will become effortless.

  • Is there really a problem? Or do I perceive a problem? In relation to the example of the to-do list, ask yourself what items are priorities and what are not? If a task is a priority than you can choose to complete it; if it is not you can allow yourself to choose to put it off for a day until it is a priority. Keep in mind that plans are fluid and can change. When we shift our perception, the thoughts and emotions that don’t serve us have the freedom to slip away. You might surprise yourself with how much you can get done with the energy you used spending on worry and guilt.
  • Are the outcomes I’m imagining necessarily going to happen or am I expecting a worst-case scenario? Being prepared when you are clear what outcome is ‘supposed’ to occur is useful, however it is unproductive and needlessly stressful to focus your energy on scenarios or outcomes that may never happen.
  • How significant is this problem in the grand scheme of my life? How significant is this in relation to the timeline of the universe? Shrinking the perceived enormity of your situation can allow you to collect your thoughts and emotions. Once you are grounded you can ask yourself: Is this something I need to act upon? If yes, you can now do so from a centered, open viewpoint.

Life is 10 percent what you make it and 90 percent how you take it.

― Irving Berlin

 


Life and Loss

Most of us believe that relationships are supposed to be permanent, yet loss and grieving is a theme in our lives. Inevitably along our path someone dies or will be left behind. Loss of a relationship plays a significant part in all of our lives, as it is part of life.

Often we define ourselves by our relationships; we believe something is wrong with us if we do not keep our friends for life. What I have learned is that relationships come and go throughout our lives. When someone dies, leaves us, moves away or becomes estranged, it can feel confusing, sad, overwhelming, we might feel a bit lost for a time. The loss of the relationship is an opportunity for us to grow and get in touch with our authentic selves; to learn and understand that we are not our relationships.

In all relationships there is some degree of dependency. Whether it is your relationship with your life-partner, mother, father, sibling, friend. When a relationship ends, you will find yourself forced to undertake tasks that the other person used to do; or perhaps you will be taking care of their will. In all cases with loss comes new experiences, some enjoyable some scary, some just a nuisance. What is wonderful is that it is through these tasks that a new sense of self will evolve.

Whenever we let go of someone a psychological death occurs and we want to allow ourselves to grieve for our loss. Death comes in many forms; it may be an aspect of ourselves, our youthful qualities, our health, or a dream that is no more. Or it may be a relationship that is ended by death or distance.

With every death there is rebirth; something of value is growing inside us. How we react to the constant changes that occur in our lives through our relationships is probably the only aspect of a relationship that we have choice about.


How do I get close without getting lost while in a committed relationship?

Ever wonder how to know if you are being intrusive? It is much easier to get when someone else is being intrusive. Sometimes that can be confusing as well.

When we are in a committed relationship our confusion with boundaries becomes most evident. It can be quite confusing. Is it okay if I tell my partner what I think? Will I be invading their space? How come I get upset when my partner tells me what he/she thinks? If I want something done a certain way am I invading my partner’s boundaries? These questions can go on and on. Understanding our own boundaries is quite complex and worth the effort.

I have noticed that all working relationships have some degree of haze surrounding the boundaries of the persons within it. Relationships are alive and the people in them often overlap in order to achieve comfortable levels of intimacy. Relationships take on a life of their own separate and apart from the I or the you.

The question many of us ask, is how can I tell if I am getting lost within the life of my relationship? And yet some of us do keep our sense of self and do not get lost in the forest of our relationship. While others forget to leave breadcrumbs when they go into a relationship and so they get lost.

What prevents us from maintaining our identity in a relationship? Perhaps we did not have a clear sense of self when we went into a relationship and so the relationship became whom we are. It is possible to lose your sense of self-while in relationship if you are trying to accommodate the other person.

It may be time for you to look for your I.

In all relationships there is some melding of identity. Understanding and knowing your own boundaries will allow you to know yourself and who your partner is with clarity.


Divorce ?

When we marry most of us believe it really is for the rest of our lives. We often create a combined life as well as individual life. It is the combined life however that usually has the priority in marriage. Separating from our life partner is painful; feelings of anger, abandonment and yes relief may also be present. There is no escaping your feelings, whatever they are.

I have seen some people avoid their feelings by dating constantly or drinking or drugging. I have seen others plummet into despair for periods of time. It is natural to miss the warmth, friendship, financial security, and sex you had or hoped you would have.

If you have children parenting becomes much more challenging as your role does change and the frequency that you will spend time with your children will change as well. Questions like when do I introduce my children to the person I am dating will arise and possibly cause you anxiety, as there is no ‘right’ answer, only better ones.

Divorce is often one of life’s most stressful experiences. I refer to divorce as a mini-death. In some ways it is more challenging than a ‘real’ death in that the person you have separated from, possibly feel abandoned by, is alive. If you have had children together you will be seeing your X for the rest of your life. This for many is re-wounding, especially if you are unable to forgive yourself and you’re X for the divorce. It is common for both parties to have feelings of failure regardless of who initiated the divorce.

On the positvite side, a divorce can be a time of discoving yourself again, creating new relationships, learning and growing. In order to move forward taking responsibility for your part in the divorce rather than blaming your X for it is paramount. As well as, allowing yourself to grieve your loss and honor your feelings. Then you will be in a space to grow into your new life, the one you will create out of joy. The life you used to dream about having when you were married and unhappy but always thought you could not create it.


How to Make a Great Decision

For a moment think about the decisions that you made this week. Were they easy or difficult? Did you avoid or postpone any decisions? Are you hoping that others will make the decision for you?

Making decisions are important because how you make the decision and of course what decision you make will influence the quality of your life and happiness.

What makes decisions a challenge for many of us is that there is a lack of certainty with most decisions. Each decision is a risk.

How can you help yourself know the best decisions to make? Reminds me of the scarecrow in the film ‘The wizard of Oz’, at every cross roads he would just trust his heart, swing his arms and walk; but not all of us are comfortable with this approach. Another way to begin is by making an analysis of the situation. Based on the knowledge and circumstances of the moment, weigh the pros and the cons of each possibility and then ask yourself these questions:

  • Will this decision reflect my personal values?
  • What is my body telling me about this decision (excited, tense, relaxed)?
  • Do I feel great about the direction this decision is taking me?

By doing this you will be considering your actions and insuring that you are acting from your best intentions. If after you have made a decision, you notice that it’s taking you in a direction you don’t desire, you can stop, re-evaluate and make a different decision that will take you in the direction you prefer to go.


Self-esteem – How to Lift It

Taking responsibility for your life is the key to having high self-esteem. Here are two clues that your self-esteem is not as high as you might like it to be:

  1. Blaming others for what does or does not happen in your life.
  2. Complaining about your life as if you have no say in it.

Having higher self-esteem is about how what you think, feel and believe gets interpreted by you. It is about your interpretation of how you feel and how you transfer those feelings into your beliefs. Often when people blame and complain they are unconsciously giving away their power. Taking responsibility for your life is the way to shift this.

Here are a few affirmations you can begin to work with to raise your self-esteem:

  • I am willing to be responsible for my thoughts, feelings and actions.
  • I am willing to be responsible for myself.
  • I am willing to be responsible for the choices I make.
  • I am willing to be responsible for allowing myself to enjoy my life.
  • I am willing to be responsible for the decisions I make.
  • I am willing to be responsible for what I do to others.
  • I am willing to be responsible for what I do to myself.
  • I am willing to give myself love.

Above are eight examples of affirmations that will raise your self-esteem if you believe them. If you find that some of them are not a great fit for you than begin with: I am in process of being…


Intuition

I have been thinking about consciousness, intuition and the connection between the two.

If we are Intuitive does it mean we are more conscious? Perhaps it just means we are more sensitive to our environment both the visible and the energetic. Perhaps we listen more intently with all our senses.

Intuition is key to making clear and correct decisions in our life.

Much too often we ignore our intuition. Allowing our intuition to guide us is a perfect way to make healthy choices.

What do you think?