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 ...
the sacred in life

The SACRED in LIFE

 THE SACRED in LIFE   What is sacred to you? How do you personally definite the word (or concept) sacred? No matter whether you are religious, spiritual or not, all of us sense when a moment or an individual is sacred. Recently I discovered a book titled, “Recipes for a Sacred Life” by Rivvy Neshama. The back cover describes Rivvy Neshama as a “writer and community organizer whose spiritual path draws from many sources: Eastern and Western religions, Native traditions, and her mom.” The book reminded me of the series of Chicken Soup for the Soul books. My daughter, Megan, read many of those books as a young girl. I decided to give Megan “Recipes for a Sacred Life” for a graduation gift. When I presented Megan with the book, her first response was that it reminded her of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.   : ) I liked that the author’s spiritual path was derived from many sources. That is so with my own spiritual path. Life is filled with wisdom from various people, places and things. I believe the holy appears more often than we notice. Often our definition of the sacred is quite narrow. Also, many times ...
maneuvering bumps and stress on road

HOW to MANEUVER the BUMPS and STRESS on the ROAD OF LIFE

HOW to MANEUVER the BUMPS and STRESS on the ROAD OF LIFE   Sometimes life becomes too demanding. It may be hard to know how to maneuver the bumps and stress on the road of life. Life may include: busy schedules, finding or making time to implement the desired improvements or goals, family obligations, health concerns of others and/or yourself, keeping true to an exercise routine, making time for prayer or meditation, and other variables. It may seem overwhelming. If we do not step back and relax for a moment (or moments), illness may appear. Our bodies know we need to slow down. Sickness may force us to do so. Emotions may fluctuate. The inner balance one has may be strongly challenged daily. How long does it take you to notice the signs of overload and/or stress? As a survivor of abuse and trauma, do you suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Do PTSD symptoms reactivate if you do not sleep enough or are too stressed? How do you take care of yourself while handling the demands of life filled with busy-ness and stress? Maybe you have been able to make a life for yourself that is balanced and ...
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 ...
vulnerability and strength

VULNERABILITY and STRENGTH

VULNERABILITY and STRENGTH   Victims of abuse tend to be quite strong. We need to be in order to survive. When you begin the process of healing, one learns that vulnerability is needed. First, we as victims/survivors allow ourselves to be vulnerable with those we trust – therapists, pastoral counselors, and close friends – by sharing our stories of trauma. Eventually, later in the healing process, it is easier to allow ourselves to be authentic with more and more people. Vulnerability is part of that authenticity. “To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”                 Criss Jami Christina Rasmussen, who dealt with grief from the death of her husband, addresses this point also in a recent blog post of hers. She writes: “I think when we go through really tough times we toughen up so much that we lose our ability to ask for help. And it takes years, and in my case a decade, to see how much harder I made my life after loss because I did not ask for help.” “You don’t need to do it all on your own.” To read the entire blog post, go ...
living with uncertainty

LIVING with UNCERTAINTY

 LIVING with UNCERTAINTY   Life is impermanent. Living with uncertainty is a challenge. People die. Jobs are gained and lost. Health fails. Accidents occur. A cancer diagnosis is given to you or a loved one. A child is born. Therapy ends. Tragedies occur. A person is raped. A marriage is celebrated. Financial loss causes homelessness. Life is uncertain. How resilient are you? Do you move easily with the ebb and flow of life? Do you hold on tightly to what you have in fear you will lose it? What control do you have? When I lived in the extreme domestic violence marriage with Tom M. (abuser and perpetrator), my life was quite consistent. Financial security existed. Travel was a given. Clothes were affordable. We had decent health insurance as a family unit. We owned two cars. A middle class life was ours. I was a stay-at-home mom who homeschooled my daughter, Megan. Abuse and torture occurred almost daily. It was a certainty. Abuse was a certainty in my life for almost 47 years (from the day I was born into my family of origin until my relationship ended with Tom M.) A severe price was paid by my daughter and ...
trusting yourself

TRUSTING YOURSELF

TRUSTING YOURSELF   A lesson I was forced to learn late in life was to trust myself. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse (including incest and human trafficking), I was not my own person. I did not have a chance to form healthy boundaries. People owned, used, and abused my little body and continued to do so for years. As for my mind, I had contradictory influences forming my intellect as well as my emotional state. On one hand, I received a good education including decent moral teachings during my high school years. On the other hand, I was given messages of my unworthiness and stupidity on a daily basis from my family and other abusers. Along the way though, I learned enough. My instincts became tuned. A skill I used to survive was repressing the memories of the abuse and becoming numb on many levels (including emotionally). My many years of living with my former husband (perpetrator of abuse, torture and brainwashing) enforced my low self-esteem and self-worth. I was a capable, intelligent woman (although I barely realized it). The few jobs I had proved that point. On many levels, I was average. When my daughter was born, ...
freedom from triggers

FREEDOM from TRIGGERS

FREEDOM from TRIGGERS   As I am writing this post, it is Easter Sunday in the Christian calendar. This post on freedom from triggers may be triggering for some individuals, especially spiritual abuse and extreme abuse survivors. Please take care of yourself and use your discretion. The path to freedom for domestic violence survivors as well as other trauma survivors may begin with the actual physical freedom one experiences when the victim no longer is in the environment with the abuser/perpetrator.   Leaving the abusive situation means no longer having physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual abuse and/or torture perpetrated upon them. Freedom from triggers make take more healing and more time. Many survivors suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). This may include flashbacks or other emotional distress due to triggers. Triggers may include persons, places, things, smells, touch … anything that brings memories of the abuse to mind and causes angst.  Some triggers may only cause mild anxiety. Others are seemingly more powerful. Anyone, not only abuse survivors, can incur PTSD due to a trauma. In the 1970’s, Jesus Christ Superstar (the play and the album) debuted. I owned the album and enjoyed listening to the music. Fast forward almost three ...
energy

ENERGY

ENERGY   Recently shingles awoke in my body! The most surprising aspect for me was how shingles lowered my energy level. I was so very tired. Although my mind wanted to accomplish a certain goal, even a quite pleasurable activity, my physical body had little power to act. This fatigue of such intensity contrasted with my normal energy levels. As I age, I do notice a lessening of stamina; but, this fatigue was quite different. I have friends of all ages. Elderly friends tell me of tiredness due to illness or aging. This decrease of vitality is life-changing. There are positive aspects as well as many negative ones. To accept with dignity and grace the new limitations on one’s lifestyle is challenging. A person’s gifts modify to fit the situation. Many find new ways to continue to serve others. One younger person I spoke with recently discovered she had thyroid problems. Now that her thyroid issues are being solved, she finds her vim and vigor are so much stronger. As I was discovering how life is as your push yourself to do even the smallest things, she was finding delight in her body’s ability to do so much in one ...
success or failure

SUCCESS or FAILURE?

SUCCESS or FAILURE?   How do you gauge your own success or failure? Do you view situations through a black and white lens? It is somewhat easier to judge success or failure when numbers are involved. Did you reach your goal of losing 10 pounds? Did you sell $1,000 worth of product? Numbers can lend themselves to black/white thinking. Either you succeed number-wise or not. How do you label the situation if you honestly did all you could and the best you could; and, yet, you did not succeed in reaching your goal? What if the outcome of all your hard work and due diligence produces no measurable outcome? Do you view it as a total failure? What are the benefits of failing in this situation? Are there any? Do you try again? Rethink, revamp, and retry? When do you give up and change direction – either partially or totally? How do you make these decisions? Are you a person who is too easy on yourself, in general? Do you find excuses, procrastinate, and not truly give it your all? Are you a person who is too hard on yourself? Do you seek perfection and feel defeated and deflated when ...