gratitude challenge

GRATITUDE CHALLENGE

 GRATITUDE CHALLENGE   October has arrived! Autumn is here. Thanksgiving will arrive in six weeks! Readers may remember that this time of year brings gratitude to my mind. I am offering my readers a chance to participate in a gratitude challenge. Megan (my daughter) and I used to keep a blank piece of paper on the refrigerator starting in October. This paper became our gratitude list. Whenever the mood struck, one of us would write something that caused us to be grateful. (See my blog post: http://roadtofreedomandpeace.com/gratitude/.) I removed the list after Thanksgiving. The lists were kept to glance at each year. Unfortunately, the sheets of papers were left in my former apartment in Germany when I left abruptly to protect Megan. The lists and memories remain in my heart though. Gratitude exists in my heart! The gratitude challenge is quite simple. Make a gratitude list of your own this October and November. Maybe you will even choose to keep two separate lists. A community or family list could be on the fridge and a personal list could be kept by your bedside (or in another safe place). Make sure the list is where it can be seen or where ...
don't stop - perseverance

DON’T STOP! KEEP ON GOING!

DON'T STOP! KEEP ON GOING!   Perseverance … Determination … Resiliency … Momentum … Endurance … Strength … “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill The words above convey power … personal power, communal power, and societal power. I just finished reading the book titled “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah. It was highly recommended to me by more than one person. It is the fictional story of two sisters during World War II. (See: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21853621-the-nightingale.) For anyone who has seen the horrors of war or who has survived the horrors of abuse and torture or who has been close to someone who has been a victim of the aforementioned, this book has even more depth as well as hope. Life does not always bring success in the way we hoped. Sometimes success comes after a person’s death. We all heard stories of starving artists whose works of arts are admired and loved after their deaths. It may take generations for families to heal from generational abuse and to fully escape from it. Life evolves. How do we continue? How do we go forth when life’s trials seem overwhelming or never-ending? How do ...
insights of Howard Thurman

HOWARD THURMAN’S INSIGHTS

HOWARD THURMAN'S INSIGHTS   One day I was shopping for a birthday card for a friend. This quotation by Howard Thurman was written on one of the cards: "There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls." The quotation resonated with me as a person and as a life coach. Many times as victims others take our power. Sometimes we relinquish our power to make peace or to stay safe. Eventually we can lose the ability to go within to discover what we desire and need to be the genuine person we were born to be. The positive message is that each of us can learn how to regain our power. You can discover or rediscover how to listen to your inner voice. (I shall most likely address personal power and authority in a future blog post.) The readers of my blog are from various generations. Some may know who Howard Thurman was. The name ...
"little" gains

LIFE’S “LITTLE” GAINS

LIFE’S “LITTLE” GAINS   Can you name one of life’s “little” gains that occurred this month? Do you tend to mainly see the big changes or large gains in your life? If you are in therapy or a support group, do you focus on not achieving the big goals in your life? Are you frustrated that you did not land your dream job or meet your perfect mate? Life’s “little” gains may be easily overlooked. It is human to look forward to reaching that next goal of importance in your life. The road to reaching your dreams may contain a multitude of “little” gains that we blow off as not being important enough. I, as a life coach, challenge you to be aware of your life’s “little” gains! “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu Maybe you work with a coworker who you dislike or she/he dislikes you. You find common ground one day and the work environment improves for both of you. I would label that as a “little” gain for both of you. ...
alternatives - fun

FUN! ADULTS NEED IT TOO!

 FUN! ADULTS NEED IT TOO!   What do you do for fun? How do you have fun? Ask someone these questions and watch the person’s reaction. Kids will easily tell you an answer. Adults tend to hem and haw. When is the last time you experienced fun? Ask that question also. Ask yourself these questions. What is your bodily response to the questions regarding the subject of fun? Does your stomach flutter? Do you experience guilt because you cannot remember the last time you experienced fun? Does guilt come to the forefront because you do not like the answer? Maybe you do not think you deserve to make time for enjoyable activities. Maybe you are in the habit of sitting in front of the television and you realize that most times it is a passive activity that does not truly bring you enjoyment. Have your kids, if you have any, grown up enough that you don’t play games with them or share physical activities? I experienced much enjoyment raising my daughter, Megan. Engaging in creative outlets, physical activities such as playing soccer or catch with a “super” ball, and sharing in a child’s excitement and joy in life is satisfying. ...
freedom

FREEDOM LIST

 FREEDOM LIST   Today I am introducing the idea of a freedom list. I like gratitude lists, as my readers and friends know. Gratitude brings forth a sense of joy or peace especially in time periods when life seems gloomy and despair is near or here. When I was first in a 12-step program, the idea of a gratitude list was introduced to me. It became a yearly habit each October or November to put a blank piece of paper on the refrigerator. My young daughter, Megan, and I would write whatever either one of us was grateful for on any given day. Some items were funny, some poignant, some unusual, as well as the normal things that evoke thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving, I would remove the list. After several years of gratitude lists, it was interesting to reread the recordings of our gratitude. Growth occurred. No matter what was occurring in our lives, there were always many items on the paper. Gratitude existed. July 4th, Independence Day, always brings to mind my own independence. Thoughts of victims still in domestic violence relationships, incest, or other type of abusive situations weigh heavy on my mind also. My heart goes out to ...

SIGNS of HEALING

SIGNS of HEALING   You allow yourself to face the past and present abusive situations in your life. You find the courage to deal with the truth of the abuse in your past. If you are currently in a domestic violence situation or any situation of abuse or trauma, you admit it and find help. Healing becomes a strong possibility. You have an inkling that you are worthy of a better life. You do not doubt your memories. You do not continually question how could this person who should have loved you and protected you be a perpetrator of abuse and/or torture. You accept that, sadly, the person who “should” have loved you committed abuse against you. Life is not the way you want it to be. It is the way it is. You arrive fully at acceptance – not approval – of the trauma that occurred.  You do not have to prove that the abuse happened. Some people may label you as mentally ill, especially the perpetrator(s). Your therapist, friends, and others (including survivors) believe you. The urge to prove the abuse occurred is no longer with you. It is enough that you know it did. You are no longer ...
anger embers

RESIDUE of ANGER

RESIDUE of ANGER   Recently a residue of anger entered my world for a short time period. This anger was toward the institutional systems that years ago separated my daughter, Megan, from me and placed her with the abuser, her father. This misuse of institutional power is a much more common situation than most people realize. Although I have covered this issue in therapy, in my personal relationship with God, and in my daily life – the outrage and frustration reappeared. It took me more time than I would have liked for me to recognize the signs of the indignation. For whatever reasons, I tend to take anger out on myself via not the best self care or eating habits. As soon as I recognized the residue of anger, all became clear. Wow, here I was once again quite mad at institutions and the people involved. I let myself sit in it for a relatively short time. Actually once I acknowledged the indignation; it became unnecessary to sit in it for long. I knew grief was underneath the anger. Deep sadness for the years lost for Megan and I as mother and daughter still exists. The trauma to Megan and ...
importance of community

IMPORTANCE of COMMUNITY

IMPORTANCE of COMMUNITY   As a life coach, broaching the subject of community has value for clients. Where do you rank the importance of community in your life? Are you single? Do you have a significant other? Children? Aging parents? Are you an active member of a church or spiritual group? Do you belong to a meet-up  group in an area of interest to you? At different ages and stages of our lives, community has different meanings and levels of importance. It is valuable to analyze and acknowledge your individual need to belong to a group to give and receive support and love. As individuals, our desires vary. Americans tend to be rugged individualists and quite independent. The idea of doing it myself without help is not a foreign one to most of us. Some cultures tend to value extended families and reaching out for help and support. Where do you fit in? What is good for you? I enjoy television shows, such as “Gilmore Girls”, where families of all types exist and communities are formed. These communities do not only include family members. Who will bring you chicken soup if you are ill? Who do you serve when they ...
smidgen of hope

CELEBRATIONS!

CELEBRATIONS!   I am a believer in celebrations! If you are reading this post on the day it is going live, my daughter is arriving to visit me. Megan (my daughter) and I will celebrate her graduation from college and her new job! Celebrations, in my mind, do not need to big ones. We tend to mark milestones such as weddings with big gatherings or receptions. There is much joy when a marriage is celebrated, or a child is born or baptized, or a first new home is bought. Acknowledging those milestones with a reception, big party or an open house is wonderful. Funerals, wakes, and memorial services may be a celebration of a person’s life and the love shared. Life, though, holds many smaller occasions and even tiny moments to acknowledge with joy as a celebration. As a homeschooling mom, I marked certain days and seasons to change the schedule and to take a day off from our normal routines. Birthdays (both mine and Megan’s) were a reason to not homeschool, but to spend the day in other enjoyable ways. Children naturally celebrate life and the small details of life. There was a child’s book that spoke of turning ...