Monthly Archives: November 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just wanted to wish each of you a peaceful and happy holiday.

I’ve learned much in my old age from many experiences.  One of those things is to not ascribe too much meaning to holidays. That doesn’t mean I don’t celebrate, or that there isn’t meaning for me there, but rather that it’s just another day – and if I need to honor or celebrate the meaning behind the label, I can do that regardless of the day, or in another way than is traditional.

My wish for you is that you find peace and joy in whatever you do this week – if nothing else, honor your “beingness”. You’re here for a reason, whether you know what that is yet or not.  The world would not be the same without you in it!

Namaste

Finding the Giving in Thanksgiving

I posted this blog 2 years ago, when our granddaughter was living with my husband and I.  When I re-read this, I got the same teary-eyed, choked up feeling of love and connection that I describe in the blog below.  I hope you will enjoy it.

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As Thanksgiving approaches, most of us focus on the gratitude we feel for all that we have.  But today, my 4 year old granddaughter reminded me of a different aspect of the holiday.

Her Papa is a professional Santa, so this is a busy time of year for him.  Today (the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving), he had 2 gigs, so it was just us girls playing around the house.  After lunch, we bundled up and drove to the local Price Chopper to pick up a couple of items.  Jess always jumps into the carts that look like a truck and pretends to drive me around the store.  She has never been very shy, so she usually yells, “Beep, Beep!  Get outta the way!” at everyone we meet.

Today was no different.  She jumped into the “truck” and we began our trip into the store.  The flower shop is the first thing you see, and all the cut flower bouquets are at eye level for her, so of course she wanted some flowers. Finances have been pretty tight recently, so it felt a little frivolous at first, but I agreed to buy her a bouquet, on the condition she share.

Thus began our quest to give away flowers.  She chose one, very small bud that she wanted to keep for herself, and one by one, she gave flowers to other shoppers.  I can’t describe the elation I felt as I watched.  Occasionally someone would decline and tell her to keep the flower, but she had none of that!  She would follow them, tug on their coat and say, “No!  These are for you!”  As they accepted, she said, “Happy Thanksgiving!”

A couple of shoppers who weren’t fortunate enough to receive the flowers came up and told me what a wonderful lesson I was teaching her.  I nodded – I know it’s sappy, but I was getting choked up – because in reality SHE was showing ME how to give from the heart.

When we had given the last flower away, we got in line, paid for our items, and as we left, Jess turned around  to the cashier and said, “Happy Thanksgiving!!”

Most of us have so much in our lives.  We get hung up on all the things we don’t have, or thinking we need more.  Changing our energy to one of abundance and giving helps us remember to be grateful for all that we do have!  And I have it on good authority, that when we can really do that, we receive even more.

As for the shopping trips, I have a feeling I’ve started something.  But that’s OK!  I can’t think of a better way to brighten a trip to the grocery store!  Jessica and I challenge each of you to find the “giving” in Thanksgiving this year.

And have a Happy Thanks Giving!

The Capacity to Receive

“It’s better to give than to receive.”  Most of us grew up with this rule, especially those of us who went to church.  I heard it so much that I beat myself up when I was the one who needed help!

But one of the things I’ve learned to love in my old age is to think outside the box, and I look for ways to encourage clients to do so as well.  When the concepts we grew up with aren’t tested, it leads us to think we know what to expect out of life and that’s comforting.  But I’m going to challenge this belief about giving and receiving.

Author, Rob Schwartz gives several reasons we incarnate on earth.  One of those is to balance karma. (Brief note here:  In this perspective karma is not a punishment, but the simple need to be able to experience both sides of any particular event/condition in life.  In order to understand this view of karma, one has to at least open themselves to the possibility of reincarnation.  Souls incarnate to experience a multitude of situations for the purpose of spiritual growth.  Sometimes two or more souls come together to help each other in this quest.  Balancing karma is one way this happens).  For example, one might be the caretaker for the other in one lifetime, and then they reincarnate together in another to switch roles so they can each experience both sides of giving and receiving.  The ultimate purpose might be to learn compassion for others and/or self love.

Mr. Schwartz says that giving and receiving love is the most fundamental purpose to incarnate. In my opinion, the energy of love is always flowing around us, but it’s up to us to step into that energy and allow it to continue it’s flow or we can block it.  Either way we affect all other souls to some degree because of the continual flow and ripple effect of energy.  The way Schwartz explains the flow of love is to envision it as a big circle. If you divide it in half, one half is giving love to other people, and the other half is receiving love from others.  So not allowing others to love us (because we don’t want to be hurt again, or for some other reason our ego makes up) blocks the flow of love in the world just as effectively as if we refuse to give love.

There is also the reality that each of us has times in our lives when we can’t do for ourselves.  We lose loved ones and don’t know how to go on with our lives; we lose a job and the sense of identity it gave us; we lose our health and can’t manage our daily tasks by ourselves – the list is endless.  And virtually each of us will find ourselves in this place at some point.

According to Brene Brown (shame and vulnerability researcher), in her book RISING STRONG, most of us believe that helping is courageous and compassionate, and a sign that we’ve got it all together.  If we’re not feeling brave or generous enough, we’re not helping enough.  But we also believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness.  However, when we attach value to giving help, we attach value to needing help.  Brown lists 3 keys to learning about giving and receiving:  (PLEASE read these slowly and consciously).

1) When we judge ourselves for needing help, we judge those we are helping.

2) The idea of tying our self worth to giving, attaches shame to us when we need help.

3) Offering help is courageous and compassionate.  But so is asking for help.  Giving help can occasionally lead to vulnerability. Asking for help ALWAYS includes vulnerability.  (Opening ourselves up to vulnerability requires courage).

Both giving and receiving help are necessary in life.  As adults, we need to model both behaviors for our children.  My granddaughter gets extremely frustrated when a game on my iPad isn’t working the way she thinks it’s supposed to.  My routine, when her frustration starts, is to calmly repeat to her the steps she can take:  1) Make sure you’ve done everything you know to do.  2) When you are sure you’ve done that and it’s still not working, then it’s OK to ask for help. I also try to model that behavior for her. It feels good to accomplish something on our own.  But once we have tried all we know, if we can ask for help without attaching that shame, we’ll incorporate the task more easily because our heads won’t be so full of all that negative self talk.

Another point made by Brown is the reason we hesitate sometimes when someone else needs help.  She gave an example from her own life that hit home with me. My elderly father was needing a little help one day when I was visiting.  My brother (who taught nursing courses) was my parents’ caretaker in their later years.  I had always provided the emotional support. But on this day Dad needed help physically and I was the only one available.  As I hesitated, he was the one who had to say, “It’s OK.  I need this and you can do it.”  I didn’t think I was capable of doing what he needed, so I had backed off.  Looking at it now, it feels ridiculous that my impulse was to not help at all. Even if I wasn’t able to perform the task perfectly, helping him with something he could no longer manage was better than doing nothing!

According to Brown, if we’re not secure in how best to help, we sometimes feel vulnerable also.  Again this is tied to the worth we put on giving/helping.  She says this is because it puts us in touch with our own need, and again that scary word: our own vulnerability.  If we can get past the belief that vulnerability is weakness, and understand it as a huge part of being human, we might come to terms with it easier.

This is why we come to this life in the first place – to allow ourselves get in touch with our strength and our vulnerabilities, so we can experience love from all sides!  “We don’t have to do all of it alone.  We were never meant to.” (Brene Brown/RISING STRONG).

In any given moment we have 2 options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.

 

 

 

 

All Work and No Play . . .

I sometimes have to re-learn a lesson I talk to others about all day every day!  Balance is one of the most important concepts for all of us to grasp!

I confess, I’m a workaholic.  Especially now that I work completely from home, it’s that much easier to get stuck in my office.  There’s always SO much more that needs to get done.

But, over the years, I’ve learned about balance – a simple word that can save our lives sometimes.  I’ve done well to incorporate balance into my life at different times, but then I slip back into being that “human doing” that is obsessed with accomplishing things.  When I get in this mode, even my precious granddaughter, who I love more than life, can “catch it” when she tries to get my attention.  All work and no play can make Patti a real b _ _ _ _ some times! 

So I have (once again) reminded myself that getting things done are sometimes necessary, but not the most important thing in the world.  I’ve said this before: I honestly don’t believe that anyone will meet me on the other side with a big clipboard, and say, “Whoops!  On November 5, 2015, you didn’t get all those insurance companies called!”

But what I do believe is that when I get there, I will have to review my life to determine if I managed to learn all the real lessons of love that I set out to learn this time around.

I don’t beat myself up when I catch myself being less than loving because I think my work is more important.  I just remind myself as compassionately as I can, that I am a work in progress, and that I need to get back on the track to balance.

Here’s a passage from Melody Beattie’s book THE LANGUAGE OF LETTING GO on Balance (March 28):

Seek balance.

Balance emotions with reason.

Combine detachment with doing our part.

Balance giving with receiving.

Alternate work with play, business with personal activities.

Balance tending to our spiritual needs with tending to our other needs.

Juggle responsibilities to others with caring about ourselves.

Whenever possible, let’s be good to others, but be good to ourselves too.

Some of us have to make up for lost time.

Today, I will strive for balance.