April 28, 2011

On Being Good Enough

Recently I read an article by Pema Chodron in which she says that our behavior is due to fear...the nameless fear we cannot name and scurry to cover up with overeating, overshopping, overtalking, overworking, and drinking/drugging. She says, and it rings true for me, "The basis of fear is not trusting yourself, not loving yourself. In a nutshell, you feel bad about who you are."

Our conscious mind does well with a constant positive "feed". With this in mind, I share my favorite quotes about the goodness of being you.

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
Dr. Seuss

Embrace your uniqueness. Time is much too short to be living someone else's life.
Kobi Yamada

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
e.e. cummings

Every time you don't follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness.
Shakti Gawain

We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.
Fran├žois Duc de La Rochefoucauld

You were born an original. Don't die a copy.
John Mason

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
Oscar Wilde

Just being ourselves is the biggest fear of humans. We have learned to live our life trying to satisfy other people's demands. We have learned to live by other people's points of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good enough for someone else.
Don Miguel Ruiz

April 24, 2011


Resistance is something which never ceases to amaze me. Work with clients becomes difficult until the resistance to change is worked through...and sometimes, the client bolts before that is accomplished.

I find it no less amazing in myself! I have given up understanding it, and am not practicing acceptance of it, which, I think, is a necessary step in the process of working through it.

If you've experienced breakthrough from resistance (to a situation, to change, to a task etc.) full acceptance, you know what incredible relief that brings. It's as if the sky has cleared after a many dark and gloomy days.

The only thing that ever makes you tired or bogs you down is RESISTANCE.


April 19, 2011

The Art of Apology

No one likes apologizing. And, yet, we feel good once we've done it!

How to Apologize
Apologizing is rarely comfortable or easy, so if you're going to do it at all, make it count. Aaron Lazare, MD, a psychiatrist and dean of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, has spent years studying acts of contrition in every context, from interpersonal to international. He has found that, to be effective, most apologies need to contain the following elements:

1. Full acknowledgment of the offense. Start by describing exactly what you did wrong, without avoiding the worst truths. Once the facts are out, acknowledge that your behavior violated a moral code. It doesn't matter whether you and the person you've hurt shares the same ethics: If you've broken your own rules, you're in the wrong. Accept responsibility.

2. An explanation. A truthful explanation is your best shot at rebuilding a strong, peaceful relationship. The core-deep explanation for your behavior is your key to changing for the better. Explanations help you and your victim understand why you misbehaved and assure both of you that the offense won't recur. Excuses merely deflect responsibility. Leave them out of your apology.

3. Genuine expression of remorse. Anyone who has been on the receiving end of the comment "I'm sorry you feel that way" knows the difference between sincere regret and an attempt to avoid responsibility for bad behavior. Few things are less likely to evoke forgiveness than apology without remorse.

4. Reparations for damage. An apology includes real repair work: not just saying "I'm sorry." Often there will be nothing tangible to repair; hearts and relationships are broken more often than physical objects. In such cases, your efforts should focus on restoring the other person's dignity. The question "What else do you want me to do?" can start this process. If you ask it sincerely, really listen to the answer and act on the other party's suggestions, you'll be honoring their feelings, perspective and experience. The knowledge that one is heard and valued has incredible healing power; it can mend even seemingly irreparable wounds.

April 13, 2011

Accepting What Is

None of us can make giant leaps from where we are. It takes time to learn to think new thoughts, and yet more time to integrate them. When I heard Byron Katie speaking about "loving what is" I understood the concept....for about a minute, and then that brief flash of light was gone. I've tried to find that comprehension again, and...so far....have been unable to achieve it.

Today, I was shown the way when I ran across the following quote which, for me, is a stepping stone in comprehending how to be at peace. Learning and growing is about small steps, not giant leaps.

"Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind
.... To be happy, rest like a giant tree in the midst of them all." — Buddha

Now, THIS I understand!:-)

April 11, 2011

Boosting Optimism

This is a classic optimism boosting exercise from Martin Seligman, PhD, the father of positive psychology. The goal, Seligman says, is to get you to stop thinking pessimistically, rather than teach you to start thinking optimistically (which rarely works). "This fix isn't instantaneous," he says. "But we've done studies on it involving thousands of subjects, and we know it's effective."

A. Name the adversity, or problem.
(For example: "I didn't get a call back after my job interview.")

B. List your beliefs.
These are your initial reactions to the problem. ("The interviewer saw right through me. I don't deserve that position. And he could probably tell I don't believe in myself. I'm sure the other applicants are smarter, younger, and more qualified than I am.")

C. Identify the consequences of your beliefs.
("I'm going to quit my job search so I don't have to suffer through this feeling of failure again.")

D. Formulate a disputation of your beliefs.
Pessimistic reactions are often overreactions, so start by correcting distorted thoughts. ("I probably didn't feel confident because that position wasn't the best fit. It's only a matter of time before I find an opportunity that's right for me. And now that I've had practice, I will be better prepared to present my best self.")

E. Describe how energized and empowered you feel now.
("I'm more motivated to keep looking for a job that makes me happy. I won't let fear stand in my way.")

Practice this exercise as often as possible, and when you can, take time to write out the ABCDEs. Eventually, the sequence will become a habitual thought process. Seligman found that his subjects were still using the technique four years after he taught it to them.

April 9, 2011

Turning Things Around

We are all Vibrational Beings. You're like a receiving mechanism that when you set your tuner to the station, you're going to hear what's playing. Whatever you are focused upon is the way you set your tuner, and when you focus there for as little as 17 seconds, you activate that vibration within you. Once you activate a vibration within you, Law of Attraction begins responding to that vibration, and you're off and running -- whether it's something wanted or unwanted. (Abraham-Hicks)

And, this is why when things are going awry, the quickest way to change them is to put our focus on that which makes us happy. It may not always be an easy thing to do, but it's well worth the effort. All that's necessary is to point ourselves in the right direction, even if it's only slightly better than where we are. Small steps. We just need to keep taking them.

April 6, 2011

Our lives are made of stepping stones, one experience after another in perfect and divine order.

The way we show up for our lives today and tomorrow has an enormous effect on who we will be and what we will be experiencing years from now. If we can remain fully engaged in the day at hand, enjoying all it has to offer and putting our energy into making the most of it, we will find that we are perfectly ready and capable to handle any future when it arrives. (based on the Daily OM)

Years ago, when working in a job not particularly suited to my skill-set, my mantra was "Suit up and show up!" It means being fully present and willing to do what the day brings up. The result is a relaxing of will while doing one's best. Today....what feels like centuries later....this concept is even more meaningful to me. I LIKE how my life works when I show up, ready to listen to and follow a higher guidance system.

April 3, 2011

Taking the High Road

When someone we trust treats us treats us shabbily, how we react is our choice. If our assessment of the situation tells us that peaceful discussion is not possible, we can either express our disappointment and anger, or take the high road by treated them the way we wish to have been treated.

We want to set good boundaries, and not be someone to walk over, but there are some people so addicted to drama and conflicts that it's impossible to reach an understanding with them. If it is not possible to reach an understanding in a kind sort of way, we need to respect ourselves enough to reevaluate whether the relationship is one we really want for ourselves. We are not ever going to change the other person!

Not feeling anger and hurt in such a situation requires having reached a rather high level of spiritual development, I think. If we are acting "as if" by taking the high road, we may have to suppress a lot of emotion in order to make that choice. If this emotion is not given a healthy outlet, it will "out" itself in other ways. Depression and physical illness are only some of these. I think taking the high road is a two step process. Taking care of ourselves means allowing ourselves to feel the emotions we chose to not express and finding a healthy outlet for them. Physical activity, finding a private space where one can scream, massage, or writing letters which we never mail....are examples of some healthy outlets. Find what works for you.