Monthly Archives: March 2013

Recession-Proof Your Mind

This article is reprinted from my newsletter sent out in the Spring of 2009.  After 4 years, it still rings true today

These days listening to the news is a little like passing an accident on the street–it’s gory and awful, but somehow you can’t quit looking.

If you take on all the depressing, negative information as if it’s happening to you personally, maybe you shouldn’t listen to the news. It’s one thing to be informed about the issues, but these days the media is so reactive that I carefully choose where I get my facts. I’d much rather spend my energy pulling in more positive information. If something REALLY big happens, someone will let me know!

In spite of my best efforts, I find the news about the economy–and some of the realities we are facing in my household–pulling me down emotionally at times. But I think the key is that I realize I’m LETTING it get me down and I can pull myself out of those depressing thoughts.

How? First by eating foods that give me energy, rather than drain me of it. By working out on a regular basis, and trying to balance my life with some relaxation and play time.

But I think the most important thing for each of us is to pay attention to what we’re thinking. If our focus is on the Dow Jones, gas and grocery prices fluctuating daily, those other “crazy” drivers, etc, then our focus is on people and things we have no control over.

I’ve watched as our society has increasingly become one with a “quick-fix” and extravagance mindset–where more is always better. I had a real estate agent become angry with me a few years ago because I “qualified” for so much more than I knew I could afford! (Today, we all know where that mindset led).

I see this recession as a sign that we need to put our focus back where it belongs–inside, where we DO have some choices. When we’re at our lowest point is when we’ll generate the energy to propel ourselves to a higher place. To get a ball to bounce, we first have to let it drop. The harder we bounce it, the higher it goes when it comes back. We all know we grow from the rough times of our lives. It might be too hard to imagine right now, but we can even be grateful for these times. And that can generate more positive enery to move forward.

Which brings me to my last point. Behind every obstacle, is a hidden opportunity. If you find yourself jobless or with less income, maybe this is the time to get training for new skills or to consider starting a business in a field that has always excited you. Or if you just get anxious listening to all the negative news, maybe now is the time to find a way to conquer some of those fears that keep coming up.

Staying focused on what we can’t control doesn’t help our mood. The doorway to higher places and opportunity opens inward.

NEVER LET A CRISIS GO TO WASTE!!

This is Why We Practice

I feel very strongly about practicing what I preach.  When I was running addictions programs, I worked the 12 step program with a sponsor, just as I expected my clients to do.  Now, when I encourage meditation, good nurtrition and excercise, I make sure I do the same. 

None of us are perfect.  We all have the tendency to slack off when things are going well, myself included.  But that’s where discipline comes in.  We all know that physically, if you work out on a regular basis, your muscles don’t feel as sore, and you feel healthier and better about yourself.  So it is with emotional and spiritual health.  If you know meditation or prayer works to help you  feel better about yourself, feel more peaceful and to deal with the world around you, then build that strength by doing it consistently.  If you continually strive to express how you feel (taking personal responsibility for it – not accusing others of making you feel it), you’ll eventually learn to tolerate those emotions in a healthier way – not letting them control you, but recognizing them as an integral part of your whole self.   And you’ll have stronger communication skills when that important conversation with your boss, your child or your partner needs to take place.  The more you do these things consistently, the stronger you’ll feel when you need it.

Thanks to my friend, Darla, for sharing this article.  It says what I’ve just tried to relay in a much more eloquent way:

 

You will be called on to expand. And this is why we practice.

I traveled to Dharamshala, India with six friends to meet with The Dalai Lama. It was cell-altering and heart-expanding. (The story is here.)

The week before our arrival, there had been a horrible event in which some monks were murdered — most shockingly, by other monks. The story was on everyone’s mind and in our small, private meeting with His Holiness, the first thing we did was offer our condolences. His response captivated me.

“Ah, yes, thank you for your thoughts,” he said. “This is why we practice, for times like these when compassion is so necessary.” He didn’t nod in mutual disdain. He didn’t show any drama. He was soft and … practical.

This is why we practice.

For times like these.

You don’t need to forgive until you need to forgive. You don’t need nerves of steel until you need nerves of steel. You don’t need to call on your reserves of compassion, or fortitude, or faith until you’ve used up everything else.

This is why we practice.

This is why, that even when life is ambling along nicely and there’s food in our spiritual cupboard, we still make sure that we get to yoga, or the reading group, or Sunday services.

When we’re healthy and happy we make sure to dance, we hit the court, we pick up the phone to check in, we drop by with something in hand.

When we’re believing in the fairness and the glory of human nature and the so-called Fates, we keep seeking, and meditating on reality, and praying for healing though nothing obvious ails us.

We keep standing up to make our art even when we could be predictable pedestrians.

Because the day will most certainly come, as it does whether you are a whole-hearted Lover or in denial of Grace, that you will be struck down or ground down by life. It can come in tiny tearing heartbreaks five times a day, just walking through your neighbourhood. It could come in the name of tragedy that could only happen once in a lifetime.

And you will need to withdraw the insights that you put into your heart’s escrow. And you will need to call on your people — the unseen and the ones right in front of you –to help you meet the day.

You will be interrupted. You will be called on to expand. You will be asked who you are and why you are here.

This is why we practice.

-Danielle LaPorte

Shame

Shame is like mold . . . it grows the best in the dark!

If you open it to the light (by sharing your shame with someone who can be trusted), shame loses it’s power. It’s best if you share with someone you know can be trusted – someone with whom you have experience that they can listen without judgment and without telling others.

Secrets and shame go hand-in-hand. In the 12 Step Programs we say, “You’re only as sick as your secrets”. The only way to be truly free is to not have to carry a load of secrets.

First Anniversary of The LikeMe Lighthouse

This is a blog I shared a year ago as we were getting ready for the grand opening of The Lighthouse.  I have not been able to be as involved as I had originally hoped to be, since we have our granddaughter with us now, but I still manage to get there occasionally and stay in touch with some of the amazing people I’ve met there.  If you haven’t checked it out, go by any time – 3909 Main, KCMO.  They’re also having an anniversary party on Saturday afternoon (March 9).

http://likemelighthouse.org/

Inclusiveness

Posted by Patti in General on March 2, 2012

As we near the grand opening of the LikeMe Lighthouse, an LGBT Community Center in downtown Kansas City (next weekend), I’m exhilerated about the possibilities that lie ahead. I sit on the local Advisory Board of the Lighthouse, as Chair of the Mental Health Committee, so we’ve been busy getting everything ready. I’ll write more in the next couple of weeks about the Lighthouse. For now, I’m reposting a blog I wrote about a year and a half ago. The Lighthouse is the brainchild of Chely Wright (mentioned in the blog).

Tolerance vs Inclusiveness:

I’ve seen & heard the word “tolerance” thrown around a lot this week. I’m not very fond of that word when used in the context of tolerating other people. If I need to tolerate something or someone, it implies that somehow I’m “better than” and just allowing that person or thing to exist in my awareness. So I prefer the word “inclusiveness” since it implies that we are all equals in our worth as humans and are a part of the same universe. No one is left out.

Our friend Chely Wright has been all over the national (& international) news this week. If you don’t know who she is (up to this week, there were a lot of folks who didn’t), she’s a Country Music Artist who has just come out of the closet as a lesbian – apparently the first to ever do so).

I’ve known Chely since she was 5 or 6 when we moved to Wellsville, KS where she grew up. My husband was her elementary principal and my kids went to school with her. Back then, I didn’t know she was struggling with this issue, but in recent years, have guessed – athough I had no idea to what depths it was taking her emotionally. She didn’t tell anyone and she became very good at hiding what she was going through. Those of you who know me at all know I’m fond of the 12 Step saying, “We’re only as sick as our secrets”. Secrets just exacerbate our shame and shame is the lowest emotional energy.

Chely is a shining example of a role model for inclusiveness. I had nothing to do with who she is today, but I’m so impressed and proud of her and how she has lived her life up to this point. She is not only extremely talented as a song writer and singer, she is compassionate, loving, inclusive, intelligent and articulate. She’s beautiful inside and out. I know what she is going through now is a relief after a lot of suffering and I don’t want to minimize anything she’s experienced. But I do believe there is a higher purpose to what she’s endured that has already shown up in her life – and it will be experienced by many for years to come.

I’ve been given several opportunities to help others come to terms with her announcement and how they feel about it. What I’ve said is this: Being gay is not a choice. She can’t change that about herself any easier than she can change being white or female. If you get the opportunity to read Chely’s memior, LIKE ME, you’ll see that she tried to change it. She tried to pray it away. From the first page you’ll understand no one would choose to go through that! It’s her truth. And that truth is going to help so many others find their own way.

On a much smaller scale than Chely is experiencing, I’ve experienced how my life has opened up once I’ve connected with and honored my own truth – in a multitude of issues. There’s a freedom that is indescribable when I just surrender to what I know is right for me. And it enhances not only my own life, but the lives of everyone I come into contact with because I’m so much more open and honest with them – allowing each of us to just be who we are.

I hope others will find this freedom to be who they are. Otherwise what’s the point of our being here? Imagine how dull life would be if we were all exactly alike!!