Today is a new day. A day like no other day. Today is a day of transformation, a day for a quantum leap in joy and fulfillment. Today is a day to remember. Today is a day to celebrate provided we are open to our intuition and imagination which we liberate to run wild. Today is a day to follow leads that spring from intuition, a hunch we don’t dare overlook, or something we see or hear. a message in something we read, a person we encounter. We must ask for leads, recognize them when they arrive, and act upon them.
My heart has been broken and mended a number of times in response to painful circumstances, felt betrayal, witnessing social injustices but never more than in the last two years of lockdowns and other worldwide life-altering medical and political policies that have frightened many, harmed many, and in a few instances inspired some to rise to new heights of integrity and compassion.
It is a challenge to be NOT the VICTIMS of life but the IMPARTIAL WITNESSES of life’s events. This awareness can open the door to WINNING at the GAME of LIFE.
In recent years, I have been enriched by participating in social media IFS groups (Internal Family Systems), EFT groups (Emotionally Focused Therapy) and Trauma Recovery groups. They have been nourishing and inspiring, personally and professionally. In this short missive, I will share my own integration of all that I have gained from participating in these forums, reading the works of reliable spiritual teachers and my own observations of daily life.
True love is an inside job. We cannot look to another to love us when we feel unworthy of love. If they love us, we will not receive it because we have erected barriers. We will push that love away, discount it and attract those who use and abuse us.
A client I once saw wrote a song with the following words:
I know that I must be loving me
To let another person get close to me.
My self-loving is setting me free and
Making me the person I am meant to be.
What is true love? Love is a creative energy that flows from the heart, not from the
mind. It is what powers all growth and discovery. It is what heals and empowers. It is
that which sets us free and brings us joy.
We are challenged this year to find our JOY and stay in our Joy alone or together with those we love at a time of the year when so many have become accustomed to celebrating the return of the light, literal and symbolic.
It is urgent to reclaim our inner authority and let no lockdowns or fear-mongering messages destroy our capacity for JOY, love, connectedness and FREEDOM. Now is the moment to be creative, resilient and resourceful in celebrating LIFE. The natural world continues to offer inspiring sunrises, sunsets, mountain and ocean views, flowers and trees in abundance, magnificent birds. Music, dance, journaling, exercise, reading are all outlets within our reach. Masks are not mandated on Zoom, FaceTime or Skype.
Trauma is the experience of fear in the face of helplessness. ~ Peter Levine
Many couples report feeling traumatized, anxious, depressed and/or frustrated when conflict, unclear communication, financial stress, toxic family relations, work stress or other factors produce a rupture to a previously close bond.
The dismay and felt betrayal at misunderstandings and unexpected outbursts can be intense. In addition to being painful in themselves, these ruptures may trigger memories of neglect, abandonment or abuse often going back to early childhood when we were at our most vulnerable. Sometimes unresolved trauma from a past intimate adult relationship plays a role as well.
The challenge is always to develop and implement the skills to be allies in healing and recovering from past or current trauma as quickly and completely as possible. The recent changes in global circumstances due to lockdowns, sheltering in place, working in isolation or losing work altogether have raised the baseline of stress and reduced the window of tolerance for such ruptures. More than ever couples need the calming effect of a secure and reliable bond with their partner.
Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.
Here are 10 tips to assist you to navigate these uncertain and challenging life circumstances. We all need to lighten up, stay connected, and live with JOY.
What we resist persists.
Research by Dr. Kristen Neff and many other experts shows that acceptance
of unpleasant circumstances contributes to a sense of well-being and happiness.
While this appears to be counterintuitive, the research does confirm it.
Accepting does not mean liking or condoning what is unacceptable, accepting is simply focusing on the REALITY of what is. This increases emotional resilience and a return to equilibrium when stressed. It also lays the foundation for becoming an effective agent of social change in work conditions, living arrangements or community services. Often social change is needed to increase personal well-being and vice versa.
2. Love Yourself
We have been, many of us, groomed to feel SHAME when we lose our jobs,
homes, and/or lose a relationship we depended upon. We have in such circumstances already suffered enough without adding further punishment. Self-love is the best antidote to shame and also to guilt and other sometimes hurtful feelings. I have, in other articles shared tips on how to love yourself more. For now, consider this a reminder to use brain gym, affirmations, and act in ways that demonstrate self -love.
Life as we have known it has dramatically changed.
The ramifications of the current global crisis created by the Covid-19 health hazard are multiplying at a rapid rate. The information disseminated by the WHO, the CDC, other scientists, and the media are often contradictory and confusing.
Are you one of the many seeking more solid and reliable solutions than hand washing, social distancing and the wearing of masks? Are you ready to take charge of your well-being?
If so pay attention to the condition of your immune system.
It was with some chagrin that, after eleven years of public schooling, and another eleven years of university and graduate school education, I allowed myself to face the fact that very little learning had occurred about how to live life. What I had learned was how to pass examinations, endure anxiety, earn approval, obey others, and suppress pain. In short I had learned to be an impostor, to appear confident and authoritative while feeling fearful and ignorant.
How freeing it was when, finally released from the prison of academia, the unlearning process, the deconditioning could begin. Daily living offered richer education than any classroom or book. I began to discover the importance of joy, ease, peace, love, truth. I learned not by being told about them or reading a “how to” book, but through close observation of people who seemed to experience these qualities. I learned through keen observation of my own process, through paying attention to what thoughts, attitudes, and behaviours produced feelings like fear, shame, guilt, self-doubt, resentment, loneliness. By observing conditioned states of mind, and expressing the inevitable feelings that they produce, I set free energy previously wasted in controlling and containing myself. I noticed that if I did not invite new experiences into the space created, I inevitably recreated further suffering and pain.
Many of those who consult me ask for tips on dealing with uncertainty. We all wish we could control the future. We especially fear loss or pain. To accept uncertainty calmly and peacefully, we must stop a thought or replace fear-inducing thought, with reassuring talk.
The unknown can be handled effectively if we rehearse and prepare: as in writing a will, purchasing insurance, eating well, relaxing, exercising, activating a loving supportive network, and reading biographies of inspiring, creative people.