How Get The Most From Your Life!

Dreaming Into The Life You Want Most

Will Give You The Most

 

discipline

What Do You Want In Your Life?

It might feel a bit uncomfortable to become “conscious”  of what you want the most from life, but Not knowing might land you somewhere else.

Dreaming Into The Life You Want Most Will Give You The Most!

The greater the clarity of your dreams, the more likely you’ll make choices along the way that honor your vision. The following instructions will help you get started.

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Where do You want to see yourself in 6 month? … 2 years? … 5 years?  Try to visualize yourself in the future.

Imagine walking into your home five – ten years from now…

Imagine arriving at your home –  where is it located?  Is it a house, an apartment…?…

Walk in the front door. Who lives with you?…

Reflect on your day. What was it like?  If you work, take a moment to dream into it. Or were you doing something else?… were you with friends, family…?

What will you do in the evening? Again, just imagine the perfect situation.

2. What are the necessary qualities you will need to achieve this vision?

If, for example, you see yourself in 5 years with a different career, you may need schooling. If you see yourself as part of a couple, you may need to work on your interpersonal “issues”. If you see yourself as healthy, you may need to give up a bad habits. List a few of the qualities that will help you get there.

See it to become it!

Letting Go Of the Past to Appreciate the Present

Suffering doesn’t make us grow –

But what we do with our feelings could make us grow. ⚡️💡

It’s an interesting saying though. Where did it come from?  Perhaps it’s because anguish and acute awareness sometimes occur near one another, in time and space.dreamstime_m_43975880

For me, however, what makes us grow is understanding our feelings, questioning the thoughts behind them, seeing the cause-and-effect of it all. If we utilize this information the next time these feelings arise (anger, sadness, depression, confusion, fear), we can remember the awareness, aha moment, or insight we discovered before. We can  notice that what we are experiencing in the here and now is separate from the past.

Uncomfortable feelings are nearly always preceded by a stressful thought, and when the feelings come, we can isolate the stressful thought, idea, or assumption and question it thoroughly.contemplation

I find journaling a powerful aid here. Just write your rambling thoughts about a situation that made you uncomfortable (in your mind or in reality – doesn’t matter). Then let it set. You probably will already feel better because the act of writing is cathartic. But for true growth to occur, go back later and read what you wrote. Pretend you are a scientist!  Your job is to (compassionately) dissect your writing to find the threads of connection… Try asking these questions:

 1.  Have I ever felt this way before? Are there any other similarities? 

•   Personal example: going to son’s junior high school to deliver his ADHD medicine – it left me with a racing heart, a sense of urgency to complete the task, and an overall sense of shame. It made no sense in my logical mind.

 Have I ever felt this way before? Are there any other similarities? 

Turns out yes! Junior High was very scary for me. I was picked on by other girls and I was even beaten up a number of times. The threats often occurred when students were moving from one class their next, so I was especially scared when that bell rang!

2.  What were the beliefs/thoughts around the event? 

Thoughts– that caused the racing heart, urgency and intense fear. 

(BTW – I think I ‘should’ be embarrassed to share this, as the discovered back-thoughts seem so clearly absurd and immature… but, I wouldn’t have known these were the thoughts if I hadn’t compassionately listened…)

I might be attacked!.. Did I do something wrong???… If I can become unnoticeable, I might make it…             

Well – pretty obvious right? But my body didn’t know that , so:
junior high = made mistake (let son run out of meds)  = fear….

Let me say, I’m not reactive to junior high’s anymore.

By listening, compassionately, to your own mistaken, innocent mind, you can become free… from this, then that, then…

 

 

 

How To STOP Overthinking Everything

“We all do our best to stay positive, but occasionally we can slip into negative thinking patterns that can wreak havoc on our lives. We might worry about our past mistakes or current stresses, and how these could lead to negative outcomes in the future. We might obsess about or over-analyze regular experiences and interactions, reading into them things that aren’t actually there. We might find that as soon as one bad thing happens, we associate it with all the other bad things that have happened in our lives and begin to feel miserable. We might feel anxious in the present, having a hard time getting out of our own heads as we worry and obsess about the things that could go wrong.”   ~ Thinking Minds

If overthinking interferes with your general sense of wellbeing, here are a few tips to Take Back Control of Your Brain!

1.  Understand “Normal”

The brain is actually hardwired to think out all the possible outcomes of a situation.  Thanks to the decision-making frontal-lobe, we’ve evolved to think about our problems.  But overthinking keeps the brain in an agitated cycle while dumping fight or flight chemicals into our blood system(Research shows that overthinking releases cortisol, the stress hormone, that will get you even more distressed).

2.   Jot it down

When you notice your thoughts are recycling the same scenarios, taking a few deep breaths will help calm the brain down. Then put your thoughts on paper. By getting it “out of your head” and putting it in black and white on paper, you effectively short-circuit the brains need to remember! And looking at it, instead of thinking about it, you get a new perspective.

3.  Practice mindfulness meditation

When we’re racked with too many thoughts, we feel over-stimulated. Mindfulness meditation can quickly calm you down, making it easier to make sound decisions. Try it now – close your eyes. Focus on the air moving in and out as you breathe. Tune into your tactile sensations: your weight on the seat, the feel of the fabric of your clothes, the warmth of the sun on your skin…. If thoughts arise, notice, and allow them to float on by….

4.  Get moving

Changing your environment, walking, hiking, biking, getting the heart pumping, can loosen the closed-circuit cycle of relentless thinking. You don’t need to try to clear your mind – just let your thoughts roll through your head at their own pace.

5.   Check your beliefs

Underlying all anxiety and all overthinking are a set of beliefs. Have you ever asked yourself where they came from? Or if you actually really believe them? For instance, most people are mortified by the thought of tripping or falling in public. Why??? “People who fall are idiots”. Hmm… I actually do NOT believe that. “People who fall are weak”.  I don’t think that’s true either. But maybe being perceived as weak means you’ll need to be removed from the herd! Well, thanks to the frontal-lobe, I no longer need that instinctual response, so I can choose to dismiss it.

What a relief!

 

The Damage of Anger in Our Relationships

When I was a camp counselor, various stories were told at the end of meal time. These stories were meant to stimulate conversations for later, when kids and their counselor returned to their cabins for the night.

The following story hit me hard, so I’ve never forgotten it.
WordsSaidInAnger-public-domain-images-free-high-quality-resolution-downloads-3 copy

“There once was a girl with a very bad temper.

The girl’s father wanted to teach her a lesson, so he gave her
a bag of nails and told her that every time she lost her temper
she must hammer a nail into their wooden fence.

On the first day the girl had driven 25 nails into the fence. “This is kind of fun”, she told her father. “But by the time I’m done hammering, I can’t remember why I was so mad!”

Over the next few weeks, as she began to control her temper,the number of nails she hammered into the fence gradually dwindled.

Finally, the day came when the girl didn’t lose her temper at all. She became so proud of herself and she couldn’t wait to tell her father.

Pleased, her father suggested that she now pull out one nail for each day that she could hold her temper.

The days passed and the girl was finally able to go back to her father and tell him that she had pulled out all the nails.

Very gently, the father took his daughter by the hand and led her to the fence.

“You have done well, my daughter”, he smiled. “But look at the all the holes in the fence.  The fence will never be the same.”

The little girl listened carefully as her father continued to speak.

“When you say things in anger, you leave a scar, just like these that have been left by the nails. Even if you say you are sorry, the wound will still be there.”   ~anonymous   

Later, I came to realize why it had special meaning for me. Unlike the girl in the story, my anger was used as a defense-mechanism – to protect me from my critical family. I learned, unconsciously, that anger made me feel stronger – People backed off!  It became so automatic that I didn’t even notice the damage I was causing.

But like so many of our childhood coping skills, I couldn’t even turn it off in circumstances that didn’t involve my family.

So when I heard this fable, I woke up.  I had to become aware of anger’s purpose for me.  I learned that my defenses were not who I was – they are coping skills. I had to decide that I didn’t want to be that way anymore – after all, I was no longer a child – and I learned, instead, to cope with the underlying feelings. I taught myself that being sad, confused or scared, were “okay”.

If anger is expressed without awareness, it will damage all of your relationships. Take the time to learn to communicate effectively; journal to learn to understand your feelings; get a book about Assertive Communication.

If you wrote it Autobiography, What Would the Chapter Titles Be?

What links your life together?

Start with ten.  (This is one of the assignments I frequently give my clients.)

You can choose life events, demographics, influential people you’ve known, talents, even “aHa” moments.

Mine might be:

  1. Born female, in the USA, to a progressive, liberal mother.
  2. “Abandoned” at four years old (for a year).
  3. Abused by my stepfather, resulting in their divorce.
  4. Moved, age 10, from a middle-class neighborhood to poverty neighborhood. I was suddenly a “minority”.
  5. My mother worked 18 hours a day, so my siblings and I raised ourselves.
  6. Growing Up in the 70’s.
  7. Studied spiritual philosophies, finding an affinity with Christian, Buddhist, and Taoist ideas.
  8. Became a mother of twin boys.
  9. Started my own business as a psychotherapist.
  10. Killed a person in a car accident.

(Wow! I just did that off the cuff! Very powerful!).

Next, you fill in the chapters. What about (That) affected you? What characteristics were created because of ________? You might ask yourself:

  • How did ____ influence you?
  • What did you discover about yourself?
  • What did you have to learn to overcome?
  • How did ______ wound you? Strengthen you?
  • Define your gratitude for these occurrences/events

Using one of mine as an example:

Yes, I killed a person in a car accident

  • I discovered that life can change – drastically- in an instant. And in THAT particular instant, I didn’t even know it. For a long time, I’d have terrible dreams, I’d have flashes of people appearing in the road before I could do anything about it… I struggled with my connection to God (I’d like to have made it through my life without killing someone).
  • I discovered that I loved and understood myself, even if society didn’t. I confirmed my value of always telling the truth, as I knew it, and that I continue to do what I think is right – even if others disagreed (I wrote to his family against the advice of my attorney, who thought such an act would be misinterpreted as guilt).
  • I had to learn to live with knowing most people would make up stories about me that weren’t true (“she must have known!”, “She must have been drinking!”).  I had to overcome needing people to understand me.
  • I will always have this heavy burden in my soul. 
  • I am grateful for the people in my life that tried to help me. I’m grateful to learn that other peoples  opinions of me no longer affects what I think of me.

     What have been the greatest influences in your life? What ties your life all together?

     

    One Trick to Learn To Relax

    inhaledreamstime_14582420
    Here’s a  visualization I use in relaxation meditation exercises:

    Inhale … as the ocean  rushes out to sea…

    Exhale … as the water topples over, creating a wave…

    See the regular rise … and fall … of the ocean’s water.

    This beautiful rhythm reminds me of the breath of Life.

    Can you feel it?

    Discovering Self Through Stories

    Archetypes offer unique windows to our Soul

    (~ 2 minute read)DT-GameOfThrones- free reuse Flykr

    Archetypal psychology carries with it an approach to life that values the development of the individual soul. There are times when it is developmentally appropriate for people to be self-centered, materialistic, independent, or a warrior. We help people best by honoring the lessons they can gain from each state. Stories and folklore assist in our developmental tasks – using archetypal characters – by helping us make meaning of our lives.

    As I’ve discussed in previous articles, both Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell encourage us to discover our purpose in life – or to glean meaning – through the archetypes which are revealed to us in the stories we hear; the novels we read; in our dreams; and the shows that we watch. These two great thinkers suggest that human beings are biologically hardwired to understand the symbolism and expression of character archetypes. These archetypes are consistencies observed throughout the world and all times, providing meaning to otherwise individual experience. We recognize them, and we understand them.

    Our reactions to the characters in these mythical dramas offer unique windows to our soul, and a chance to work with the “Shadow” side of our psyche.

    Are you willing to tune in to aspects of the self that are ready to be discovered?

    I’m a big fan of Game Of Thrones, for example. I typically avoid exposure to violent content – I don’t want to ‘adapt’ or accept violence in my life. But in Game Of Thrones, there is so much more. Every major archetype is explored and exposed in this drama series. There are righteous Kings, wicked Kings, altruistic Kings, and immature Kings. There are old Wise Ones, young Wise Ones, budding Wise Ones. There are Martyrs, Lovers, Jesters, Warriors and Innocents. And many more.

    One of my favorite characters is Daenerys Targaryen, the young, wise Queen of Dragons, and the woman who wants to rule the seven kingdoms.

    The word ‘hero’ is derived from the Greek word hērōs, which means something along the lines of ‘warrior’ and ‘defender.’  A hero is someone who is ready to sacrifice to protect the greater good.  In fact, the Hero must sacrifice in order to transform herself and the world she is attempting to save, for “the mythological hero is the champion, not of things, but of things becoming.” (Joseph Campbell)

    The female hero can fit into the traditional Hero’s Journey—we prove that Daenerys’ experiences match up quite nicely here—but the lack of ancient questing female hero myths forces us to construct our archetype more from the old idea of the great goddesses. Joseph Campbell recognized this necessity.

    Daenerys Targaryen and her Heroes Journey

    The Hero archetype isn’t just born. They evolve through other archetypal stages. The Hero’s journey, like all journeys, begins with Innocence. The achievement at this stage is the ability to gain others’ trust and optimism because of their endearing innocence.

    The next stage is the Orphan. Daenerys has no desire to join her brother’s wish for power after her parents died. But the orphan wishes to regain safety, away from King Robert’s assassins, yet they also don’t want to be exploited. Though her path was thrust upon her, she found her protector in Khal Drogo, the leader of 40,000 Dothraki warriors, in return for the use of his warriors in invading Westeros. She also eliminated her exploiter (her brother).

    But when she succumbed to her destiny, she discovered her own Warrior spirit. She discovers she is the Queen Of Dragons, and is determined to fight for her new goal – To claim her title of Ruler of the seven kingdoms.

    As the Warrior discovers his/her competence and power, the Caregiver emerges, moved by compassion, generosity, and selflessness to help others. She freed slaves!

    But the caregiver and rescuing others, in and of themseves, weren’t enough. Daenerys took her responsibilities to the next level, embracing the archetype of the Righteous Ruler – Not the power-hungry, self-centered and entitled type of Ruler. But one who embraces all the prior journey’s wisdom, of caring, of being willing to be a warrior for what is “right”.DT-GameOfThrones-Free reuse

    As her journey continues, what other archetypes will emerge? Stay tuned!

    What characters do you relate to? What do these characters reveal to you, about your place in your current journey?

    Article sources: Awakening The Heroes Within;  Season 1 – Game of Thrones Wiki – Wikia