Thursday, April 9, 2015

Financial Spring Cleaning in 7 Steps

Do you find yourself stressing over your bills?  Do you dread sitting down to make ends meet?  Have you been avoiding making yourself an honest budget?  Finances can be a significant source of stress, leading to physical ailments, anxiety and depression.  Taking a positive approach to releasing this stress can greatly enhance your health and well-being.
Start with some financial spring cleaning!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Take Off the Armor

There are some people who feel good enough inside and worthy of love and belonging most of the time.  Then there’s the rest of us. We wake to face each day with doubts.  Am I smart enough? social enough? successful enough? attractive enough? accomplished enough?  Am I good enough to have meaningful relationships with others?
When our inner voice answers “no” to one of these questions, we polish up our armor, put it on, and go out to meet the world.  We use our protection to avoid being hurt by others who seem to have enough of everything we yearn for.  Our armor can be trendy clothes, intellectual prowess, judgement of others, rigid beliefs, perfectionism, or whatever makes us feel safe from hurt.
Sadly, despite our best efforts, we can still lose our jobs, make poor financial decisions, commit a social faux pas, have health problems, or be confronted with failure, and the list goes on.  More importantly, our armor has separated us from what we need most – our loving connection with other people.
BrenĂ© Brown, author, researcher, and professor, has a compelling segment on You Tube where she discusses the power of vulnerability (taking off the armor).  Brown apologetically says “our capacity for wholeheartedness can never be greater than our willingness to be brokenhearted.”

I can relate to this idea.  I have unwittingly spent many years wearing all sorts of armor.  My fears of having my heart broken are deep seeded in childhood and adolescence.  My experience is not unique.  My armor fits so well that I have to make an intentional choice to take it off when being with patients, friends, and sometimes, family.  Interestingly, the situation where I’m most likely to go without armor is when I work with coaching clients.  The coaching relationship demands that I be wholeheartedly present as an equal partner.

Taking off your armor involves several steps.  Here are a few:

Save your armor for situations and people who aren’t safe for you.

Recognize what the armor looks like, what forms it takes.

Embrace the idea that you are good enough regardless of your abilities and your life situation.

Know that when you live with vulnerability and get hurt, it will not destroy you, and you don’t have to face it alone.

Decide if you will muster the courage to stow your armor and be vulnerable, maybe just a little at a time.

Practice removing your protective barrier with someone you trust, someone who creates safety for you. This could be a partner, friend, family member or a therapist or coach.  The rewards: the joy, freedom and well-being that come with fully embracing life; the inner warmth of giving and receiving love and true belonging; the peace that comes with accepting yourself, just as you are.

Friday, January 2, 2015

7 Ways to Deal with Unmet Expectations

Expectations can lift your mood but when they aren't met, can weigh you down. Have you ever planned a vacation and had visions of what it will be like? Did you arrive with exciting expectations only to find that the real experience was nothing like you imagined?
We all do this to some degree. Part of the fun of travel, vacation, and new experiences is the process of envisioning them. Unfortunately there is a tendency we have to become attached to our vision, and then we feel disappointment when things don't go as planned. My recent trip to the Caribbean was very different than what I had imagined. I love to snorkel, and most of the islands where I have stayed have had very easy ways to take time out to enjoy reef life. I enjoy kayaking, hiking, eating at local restaurants and hanging out with new people when on a trip away. My expectations have come from past experiences and from photographs of the new place I plan to visit. On my recent trip I was able to relax, read, and visit a spa, so that was wonderful. But my other expectations didn't happen, and I had to make some adjustments. I must confess that there was a subtle feeling of "missing out" on some things that I enjoy. I adapted fairly quickly to what the trip was going to be after the first day and a half. I had fun, and I learned about what to plan for on my next vacation. It didn't take long to adapt, because I've been practicing "letting go of expectations" for several years. This letting go has led to a much happier and more fulfilling life. So how do you let go and enjoy?

1- slow down and pay attention to what is

2- notice all of the things that you find enjoyable in your day

3- notice where the negative feelings show up in your body with a sense of curiosity (takes you out of thinking/obsessing mode)

4- adjust your plan to fit your situation

5- treat yourself to something special

6- allow yourself a few moments to feel your disappointment, but avoid complaining and escalating your negative thoughts

7- recognize that your current experience will not be the only one that you will ever have (this is not the only vacation I will ever take)

If you work on these steps, your travels and time off will be much more fun and relaxing.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Challenge - final thoughts

Thanksgiving Challenge day 21

Yesterday I completed the 21 days that I had dedicated to noticing what I am grateful for in my life. Of course creature comforts are much appreciated, but time and time again it comes back to people. My family, friends, and those that I encounter during the journey through life are what I am most thankful for. Our connections with one another are temporary, precious, challenging, comforting, and joyful. Making time and opportunities for staying close with others is worthy of our best efforts. Wishing you a Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holiday season.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Value of Silence

When we can sit with someone in silence, (and I don't mean the silence that happens when we are texting and checking on FB) ....we create a space for powerful dialogue to emerge.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Thanksgiving Challenge day 13

Nothing beats a beautiful day and I had one today! Sunshine, family, fresh air - so very grateful.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thanksgiving Challenge Day 12

Today I have had some time to reflect. Driving home in the snow last night placed my car in the path of a deer. It was trying to decide whether to cross the road. In the slippery darkness, I knew that I couldn't make a quick stop. I thought about how much I wanted the deer to make a good decision...and it did. It looked at my car, turned around, and headed back into the woods. Now that is something to be thankful for.