Monthly Archives: May 2014

Obsession

This is about overeating – but if you substitute whatever your obsession is for the word “food” it works just as well!

Obssession gives you something to do besides having your heart shattered by disappointment, conflict, loss. You can become so focused on getting food in your mouth that you block out everything that’s potentially painful. . . .

Being obsessed with food is a way of organizing our lives so that we never have to deal with the hard part. . . .

. . . ending the obsession with food is all about developing the capacity to stay in the present moment – to not leave (our)selves. . .

There are many ways to leave: . . walking out the door. . . distracting yourself by thinking about something else. . . blaming your mother. . . starting an argument. . . comparing yourself to other people . . .watching TV. . . working too much. . .drinking. . . having sex. . . eating. . . spending your life trying to lose weight. . .resigning yourself to the endless struggle with food so you never have to discover who you are . . . or what’s really going on in hte present moment. . .

-Geneen Roth

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, was originally designated as a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States. Regardless of what we believe about war and politics, for most of us, it’s still a reminder for us to recognize and appreciate those who have lost their lives in the armed forces, as well as to thank those still living who are or have served in some capacity. All of them, including their family members, have sacrificed so that the rest of us can enjoy the lifestyle to which we are accustomed. Let me take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to all who have given their energy and lives to protect us.

In recent years, we have expanded this holiday to honor the lives of other loved ones who have transitioned from this physical realm of existence.

If you’re mourning a loss (whether through military service or otherwise), this holiday may be a sad reminder of something you’re already struggling to balance in your life. Go easy on yourself this weekend. It sometimes helps to have a plan – a way to honor your loved one by doing something you used to enjoy together or that was important to them; or to do something totally different to take your mind off things as much as possible. Structure is usually helpful when we’re struggling. But listen to your body and soul and do what feels right for you. If that means staying in bed, watching old movies, going out in nature . . . whatever it means for you, that’s what you should do. Just allow the day to unfold.

Following is an excerpt from Hard Choices For Loving People by Hank Dunn:

A natural response to the possibility of losing someone is to hold on tighter or to try to gain more control. Ironically, this does not lead to a life of freedom and joy, the very things we were pursuing. Most of us do learn to let go. We let go of our childhood and accept adult responsibilities. We let go of our teenage children and our attempts to control them. We let go of finding happiness in possessions or careers. We even learn that we have to let go of other people and not be dependent on them for our happiness. To learn these lessons, we have to accept the fact that these things or people were gifts in the first place.

There are two ways to hold on. We can grasp tightly as we would a coin in our fist. We fear we will lose it, so we hold it tight. Indeed, if we open our hand palm down the coin falls from our possession, and we feel cheated. The other way to hold on is by opening our hand palm up. The coin may sit there, or it could be blown away or shaken out of our possession. But while it is there, we are privileged to have it. We hold on with an open hand. Our hand is relaxed and we experience freedom.

I wish you a relaxing and peaceful Memorial Day weekend.

What is My Purpose in Life?

I occasionally have clients who believe they are wasting their lives because they haven’t figured out what their “purpose” is.

These people seem to think there is some great, magnificent accomplishment they’re here for. If they haven’t figured out what that is by a certain age, they tend to beat themselves up, thinking they are letting God down on his intention for them.

After several years of studying the Afterlife, I now understand that we are not here to accomplish a task or pursue a special talent. Although this may be a part of the process for some of us, we are simply here to experience life as a human being. That experience will likely propel our Higher Self on to new awareness, but we don’t necessarily have to accomplish anything to do this.

If there is some direction you are supposed to move towards, the door will open.
If something you had hoped would be your “purpose” doesn’t work out, then it wasn’t the right path for you. Another door will appear when it’s supposed to and you need to be conscious enough to see that it’s cracked open.

I heard a profound statement about this in a podcast with Carolyn Myss recently:
Rejection is protection

I understood her to mean that if we’re not supposed to go in a certain direction, we will be rejected. We can feel the disappointment, but if we dwell on it and keep trying to go through the same door in the same way, we’ll just prolong the pain.

This doesn’t mean that ultimately, we’re not going to end up there. We may or we may not. And maybe there is a different direction that will eventually lead to the same place – or to an even better one.

Bob Olson addresses this very eloquently in his new book, ANSWERS ABOUT THE AFTERLIFE:
. . . life is about having experiences that our souls are unable to have in the spiritual realm. . . .When a being knows it can die, it changes everything. It creates fear and alters choices . . .many folks believe that something has gone wrong in life when they meet challenges (disappointment, tragedy, suffering, loss, and pain), but life is about experiences, both positive and negative. . . .

Bob goes on to say that if we can accept that life is about experiences rather than about being happy and easygoing all the time, then we’ll be able to understand our lives here (and the answers in his book) more fully.

My hope is be as aware and conscious as possible so I don’t miss the lessons. But the test is not pass or fail. We will each still end up where we are supposed to go from here. We may take a detour or two, but we can’t screw this up.

So relax and enjoy the ride!

Betrayal of Relationships

The following hit home for me because of some issues my family is dealing with currently. It was written for significant, partner relationships. But it fits all relationships. I think mothers, or care-givers especially will see themselves here. Although I like to give credit, I have no idea where I came across this – I believe it comes from a meditation book. I hope it’s helpful for you. At the end*, I have listed some questions I ask myself on a regular basis. I’d encourage you to do the same.

It’s a betrayal of a relationship to sacrifice self-care.

It is truly loving to take care of ourselves. If we regularly feel too tired, too busy, too preoccupied, or too ill to enjoy the rewards of friendship and emotional contact with our partner, then we are dropping our part of the bargain.

We have an obligation to notice our own needs, to look after ourselves like a treasured friend, and to make room for our needs with others. That does not mean “me first,” but it means there is room for everyone. If we constantly defer to others’ needs, we may be present only in body, not in spirit. True intimacy cannot occur when one person is an empty shell. When we speak up to each other, our needs will naturally conflict at times. That is a sign of vitality, so we search for solutions that make room for both persons’ needs. A basic rule for intimate relationships: We will pay each other the honor of saying what we want and need, and then talk about it to make room for our differences.

*Spend a few minutes to think of a personal need and how you are taking care of it. How are you communicating it to others? Or ARE you communicating it to others? Are you accepting of yourself, even though you have this need? Are you allowing yourself time during each day to nurture yourself in this area? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” or “I’m not” or “I don’t know,” then you’ve found an area that needs work – not only for your life, but for the health of your relationships!

Motivation vs Inspiration

I’m often asked by clients how to find the motivation to begin or continue on a path that leads to a positive change in their lives.   While I have a few suggestions for them, it’s always been difficult for me to know exactly how to help them.  The way I look at it, motivation comes from the outside.  If you’re looking for something to motivate you, you can probably find it for short term success.  For example, maybe an upcoming class reunion will give you the incentive to lose those few extra pounds.

But if you’re wanting long-term change, I believe what you need to find is inspiration.  Inspiration comes from within.  For some, this is a difficult concept – that they can inspire themselves to make a change.   These are probably the people who have continual intellectual violence going on inside their heads – all those negative thoughts or memes they have entertained for years.  Most of us will have the same negative thoughts today that we had yesterday and last year and for years before that.  Those are the memes (mind viruses) we’ve learned from our parents or society.  Like any other virus, they are successful in doing their jobs – duplicating themselves while we feel worse and worse about ourselves.  (See Mind Virus by Richard Brodie)

The way to change this is to first, be conscious of your thoughts.  If you want to change something, you first have to determine what the negative belief about yourself is around the situation, because that’s what drives your emotions and behaviors.  Your beliefs stem from the thoughts you are feeding.  Those that gain weight by the constant feeding become your belief.  If you conclude that you need to change that belief, it’s time to begin pumping yourself with more positive thoughts. That doesn’t mean you have to be Stewart Smalley (for those of you old enough to remember SNL that far back).

This is where the external triggers can be helpful.  Look for places to get more positive input.  I listen to audiobooks, podcasts and music that inspires me.  I do it daily.  Although I’m a pretty positive person, I do wake up grumpy often – and if I don’t listen to my inspirational input, I can stay that way.

For me it works well to listen to my ipod while I’m working out or walking.  Then I make every effort to meditate afterward to connect with my higher power and to center myself.  Sometimes, I use a mantra to focus on an issue or relationship I want to change.  On days when I can’t do either or both of these, I make a concerted effort to stay in the moment, and practice gratitude for every little thing that happens.

But you don’t have to do it my way.  Just look for ways you can feed your mind with whatever inspires you.  It doesn’t have to be about the change you’re trying to make, but just something that is positive & makes you feel good – funny videos on YouTube or TV or reading the Bible or a meditation book.  Whatever you choose, you do need to do it consistently and often.

Most of all, don’t be so self-critical when you fall off the wagon & forget to feed yourself those positive thoughts and feelings.  Just climb back on at the next opportunity. Quit thinking so much and pat yourself on the back for being ready for the next step.