Posts in Personal Growth
Mama Gena's Five Day Receiving Challenge

I stumbled across a post over on Facebook that snagged my attention. Here's what caught me:

As women, we struggle with receiving praise, love, and acknowledgment.

Whether we...
Avert our eyes and deflect the praise...
Respond with self-deprecation...
Or sabotage our own happiness because we don’t feel worthy of it...
— Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts

Sound familiar?

She goes on to explain some of the reasons why we so frequently fear our own power, and then invites us to join her in a five day challenge where we will "take one action every day that teaches you how to graciously receive love, praise, and goodness into your life (and encourage other women to do the same)."

I'm in! Anybody else want to play along?  Sign up here.!

A Thought for Friday, Thanks to Lao Tzu

This quote found me this morning, and I'm carrying it with me to work today. I thought I'd share, in case it resonates with anybody else.

Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will be blunt. Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench. Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner. Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.
— Lao Tzu
Chronic Shock and How it Affects Your Life

Shock.

It came to my attention during my recent six day intensive training in heart centered hypnotherapy that I've been living in a state of chronic shock for years. 

Stay with me, here.

I see you flitting away to go look at something else because you're too busy or this doesn't apply to you. Guess what? 

Divided attention, crazy schedules, overflowing to do lists - these are all symptoms of shock. Who knew?

Certainly not me. When our teacher asked us to turn to the shock questionnaire you'll see below, I took one look and burst out laughing.

"What?" she said.

"You're telling me people have less than three things on their To Do List? Like, for real?" said I.

She smiled at me, very kindly. "Yes," she said. "People do."

I probably rolled my eyes. What sort of functional person doesn't have an overflowing, insane list of stuff to do?

So I did the little screening test you'll see below, and guess what? I'm insanely high on the sympathetic shock scale, and I flip over into parasympathetic on a regular basis. I'm going to talk about this more, but for this post I want to gently suggest that you take a deep breath, and then either read through this check list or print it out and actually check the boxes and score yourselves. 

I'd love to hear from you in comments how you score.

I'll be writing more about this, so stay tuned. You can also buy the book and go straight to the source. 

I'll be writing more about this, so stay tuned. You can also buy the book and go straight to the source. 

Surviving and Thriving During a Kerfuffle

My dears, we are living in a kerfuffle, which is a fun and fluffy sounding word describing a state of affairs that is anything but:

Kerfuffle: a commotion or fuss, especially one caused by conflicting views

I love words. This is the main reason I became a writer. And kerfuffle is a nugget of awesome. It also happens to be the perfect word for all of my social media feeds and the world at large right now. (Hold tight, this isn't going to be a political rant.)

Now, while I love the word kerfuffle, I'm not so fond of the situation it defines so nicely. I'm a lover of peace and harmony. I'm a little bit like Rae, the main character in my not-yet-released novel I Wish You Happy. Rae is an empath who is nearly incapacitated at times by the intensity with which she feels people's emotions.

I don't think you need to be an empath to struggle with that problem right now. Raw, dramatic, emotions are blaring at us every time we open Facebook or Twitter.  They are on every street corner, on the news. They are coming at us from family and friends, co-workers, and random people in the grocery store.

Unless you stay home, turn off all of the electronics, avoid all of the people, and stay curled into a ball in fetal position it's pretty much impossible to avoid the splatter. Even then, there's a problem, because chances are good that you too are having some messy emotions right about now.

So what are we to do?

I'm still working my way through the answers. But I believe the answer lies somewhere along the lines of the old saying: be the change you want to see in the world. Maybe we could switch it up a bit, and go with this:

Amplify the emotion you want to feel in the world.

This is NOT to say that we should just sit in our ivory towers and try to feel love and believe that's going to change anything. Love in action is important. I think we need to also DO things. Contribute to causes that matter. Join with others for peaceful demonstrations. (The women's march is a fantastic example of this. No violence. No arrests. But an incredible display of solidarity and HOPE.) Use the political channels. Do fact checking. Circulate facts. Donate time or money to causes that matter to you.

But emotion is what drives us to do things. Or keeps us from doing things. Or gets us so tangled up that we can't work through the conflict of WHAT to do. So let me suggest a few guidelines and then we can work it from there.

1. Negativity doesn't generally motivate change. It just tends to amplify into a mass bitchfest. I've been falling into this trap on Social Media. It feels good to retweet or share a post that is snarky and sarcastic, and if it's slamming something (or, I'm ashamed to say, someone) you think is wrong, then you also get to feel good and a little self righteous. There. I've done something positive to share the truth. Um, not so much. When we retweet and repost these things, I think we're preaching to the choir and promulgating ugly emotions. Nothing is accomplished. No purpose is served.

2. Maybe the best place for our messy and difficult emotions is in a private journal. Write them out. Allow yourself to feel them in all of their wide, glorious, and sometimes difficult intensity. Talk to a close friend. Engage a counselor. Emotions are important and need to be tended much like gardens. Take the time. Do the work.

3. Choose, consciously, what you want to project out into the world. Do loving kindness meditations. Radiate positivity. Amplify hope.

4. If you're just plain angry and your anger is justified, direct it somewhere. Anger is an incredibly powerful and useful emotion if it's harnessed. Not so much if it's just spinning aimlessly like a hamster on a wheel. Point it in a direction - not at people - and run with it.

In case anybody is wondering, I'm talking out loud to myself here. I do that. Feel free to hold me to these principles if you should happen to see me stray. Because I will. I'll need to check myself over and over again. I'm like that. Life is like that.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, and how you're all getting on. 

Just Start Somewhere

Decision making is not my strong suite.

I can hear my Viking snorting as I write these words, even though he's not even in the house at the moment. He's all about making decisions, and they are generally good ones. For him, the world usually flows in direct lines from cause to consequence. He's boggled by my difficulty. 

My Meyer's Briggs temperament type is INFP. Some of you will know what that means. If you don't, let's suffice it to say that my brain prefers to ponder the whys and wherefores of the universe rather than the common sense realities of the world around me.

Making decisions? I'm like a kid in the proverbial candy store. So many choices, and I'm never allowed to choose them all. Making a decision is like closing a door on possibility.

Big door. POSSIBILITY in all caps

Take this blog, for instance. I've been meaning to blog regularly here for months. But every time I sit down to blog my brain immediately goes into the realm of POSSIBILITY and I give up and walk away to do something other.

Maybe I should blog about books

Maybe I should blog about my own, personal, day to day growth

Maybe I should have guests.

Maybe I should blog about mind, body, spirit health

Maybe I shouldn't blog at all, because my life is already hectic and maybe nobody will read any of this and my time would be better spent elsewhere.

Fortunately, I've developed an ability to compensate for my indecision over the years. I function well in my day job as a clinic RN, making decisions as I go and getting my work done. At home, I manage the day to day household operations just fine. And for other stuff that feels too overwhelming, I've developed a mantra:

Just start somewhere, and take it from there.

Getting started is the hardest part. Once things are in motion, it's easier to keep them going. It feels a bit like a game I used to play with my older brother when we were in boring situations (like driving for thousands of miles in a car. Or at least it felt like thousands of miles.) He would take a long string and tie it in a ball of knots. And then I would untie it. The hardest part was finding the right end to get started; after that it was all a matter of time and patience.

So, today, I'm starting somewhere with this blog. I have some ideas I'd like to implement. Mondays as personal growth days. Wednesdays, guest posts by writer friends. Fridays, information about various aspects of whole health. Maybe these things will happen, maybe they won't. 

One way or another, it's time to take the ideas out of my head and start putting them on the page.

What about you? Do you like decisions made or to leave all those doors of possibility open?