stress, spirit & self care

STRESS, SPIRIT & SELF-CARE

STRESS, SPIRIT & SELF CARE   Stress is a given in everyone’s life. There are benefits to stress as well as problems with an overload of stress. Recently, I found myself stressed out due to situations beyond my control. It was important that I use my skills to deal better. This type of stress is familiar to each of us at one time or another. Solutions to stress overload or stress that seems never-ending include all of the usual and obvious ones. Some of these are: Exercise Eating healthy Sleeping well Making time for fun! Experiencing nature. The above options are wonderful ones. A hike in a field or on a mountain or around a lake can do wonders for one’s spirit. Riding a bike, roller blading, or participating in a group sport or activity can provide fun and freedom! Do it! Experience life in spite of the stress. It is necessary at times to find ways to cope during the actual stressful situation(s). Maybe your work environment contains extreme pressures. Colleagues are showing the effects. Even if you are usually the calm, easy-going type, the tension from situations may build. You may find that suddenly you are experiencing anxiety, ...
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 ...
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 ...
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, ...