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Turn Challenges into Gold

Turn Challenges into Gold

Turn challenges into gold

Caroline Myss is an author, inspirational teacher and healer in the fields of human consciousness, health and spirituality, among other things.

I wanted to share a few of her quotes as food for thought about the impact of challenges and choices in our lives. I briefly comment on them, but the goal is to allow you to rethink how you approach challenges and how these can become growth experiences rather than victimizing experiences.

My goal is always to lead individuals to develop self-awareness to pass on this beautiful gift to their children, friends or family to make this world a better place at an individual and global level.

The more self-aware we become, the less reactive we are. The less reactive we are, the more present we are to what life places in our path, and the more we can live in gratitude and grace.

Let’s start:

“The challenge that each of us is confronted with during our periods of suffering is whether to allow pain to remain at the ego level or whether we can transform our ego pain into a process that strengthens our soul.” — Caroline Myss

This way to face life challenges had supported me through the difficult times such as when my two-year-old was diagnosed with leukaemia and a challenging separation from my husband. After the initial shock, denial and despair, I transformed these emotions by opening my eyes to the possibility of finding the gifts in these situations. Asking myself “what do I need to learn from this” as opposed to “why is this happening to me, to us?”

A second very helpful element was to accept the challenges as opposed to wishing them away or focussing on the past.

Third, I let go of the need to control. Whether it be the need to know that my daughter would be cured, or the need to know what I did wrong, it was futile. No amount of information would give me more control. Instead, I surrendered to the “what is” and decided to live through it and trust that even if I did not know what the future held, that I had no ability to control the future or its outcomes, that whatever would happen would be in my best interest.

Fourth, handling these periods of suffering with the faith that something good would come out of them even if the mind tends to say “What the hell good can come out of a two-year-old having cancer?” I resisted those thoughts as best as I could.

Changing our perceptions about challenges make them more bearable because I know that I will be okay.

Through the difficulties, I also discovered how strong and resilient I am, and I come out of the storms victorious and undefeated. When all else fails, and I am on my knees crying, these simple phrases that Caroline Myss teaches us to use as mantras have carried me through the most difficult times, without fail: “Hover over me, God” and “Man’s rejection is God’s protection”.

“Built into each of our lives are countless challenges that highlight what we fear and what we find difficult to confront. Regardless of what these challenges are, the underlying purpose inherent in every one of these situations is the opportunity to respond in ways that increase our awareness of our own inner strength and power.” — Caroline Myss.

On my life path were placed a multitude of challenges I never thought I had the strength to go through, yet I did. Life has shown me that I am strong beyond belief. I just need to trust.

So when faced with a challenge remind yourself that you have two choices: approach the challenge with fear or love. If you are fearful, you will miss a great opportunity to discover your tremendous inner strength. So don’t resist the difficulty, allow it to pass through you and you will see what I mean. What you resist persists. What you focus on grows. So don’t resist and don’t focus on the bad, focus on the solution and the desired outcome.

“Until you surrender the need to know why things happened to you as they did, you will hold on to your wounds with intense emotional fire.” Caroline Myss

Don’t waste energy trying to figure out why things happened, invest energy in trying to figure out how to get through them. Do not dwell on the past, regrets or resentments. Instead, aim your attention on the future reality or state you want to experience and live it as if it is already a reality. Feel it deeply so that you can allow it to become a reality.

Acceptance is not condoning a wrongdoing. Acceptance enables us to see what is. Only then can we focus on the next steps and not stay stuck. Fighting or resisting what has happened will in no way make it go away or turn back the hands of time. Non-acceptance is futile. It only causes more suffering.

“Every life has a purpose that unfolds amid a journey of endless opportunities. The choices we make, and the underlying motivations that determine these choices, influence the quality of the next opportunity.” Caroline Myss.

You decide if your choices will be made out of fear or guilt, or out of love and faith. Choices based on the former do not usually bring us the outcomes we wish for, but rather place more of the same challenges that feed our fear or guilt.

When faced with opportunities, stop and think before you make a choice. Will you respond in fear/guilt or with love/faith. See your life take a turn for the better.

Choices made in fear or guilt are choices we end up resenting. As a result, these choices will bring about challenging outcomes. It never ends.

Be quiet and if fear creeps up, notice, and let the fear pass. Instead, trust your gut or intuition and see what you would do if you were not scared, and do that! The more you do it and see the endless possibilities, the more the fear will die down.

The outcomes will speak for themselves. As a result, there will be no turning back because you will experience the relief of making choices from an authentic place. And there is no better way to live!

 

Living in Gratitude…

Living in Gratitude…

forest

Photo by Sebastian Unrau

 

I have found on You Tube a series of inspirational short videos that I plan to share with you, one at a time.

When it comes to teaching children, schools have moved away from life skills, spirituality, home economics etc… the things that made us well rounded individuals.

Now school’s main focus is academics, to a point that arts and sports are no longer a priority, and teaching to read and math have taken priority over play with children as young as 4. I heard lately that we are the only nation (North America) that does not teach our children to meditate and live mindfully. It is quite a shame.

So now these teachings become the sole responsibility of the small family unit. We no longer have a village to raise a child, so it all depends on us, the parents. It all starts with US…. to heal our children, to teach our children, we FIRST need to live by the principles we want to pass down to them. We need to teach by example, not by lecturing here and there.

So, use these videos and watch them with your kids and start a discussion and make it a goal each day to live by these principles. You will see a shift in your family dynamics, but first, you will see a shift in you. It is a lot easier to teach something when we experience it rather than intellectually comprehend it. Our energy changes and it is contagious and our children change by osmosis. It is truly magical. Children are master imitators. Take advantage of it.

The first in the series is about gratitude. Here are a few quotes I have picked up from it…. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. The pictures are stunning, you’ll see. Reminds us how amazing nature is and how much beauty surrounds us that we take for granted.

Life is about making choices and choosing what is important

Too many choices creates anxiety

Focus on what’s important, too often we take for granted the little things in life

Focus on what you do have,  leaves little room for dwelling on what you don’t have

This fuels joy in your life and this turns it into gratitude

Look at the little things that surround you, the beauty

If you find your path you will never lose your way

 

Watch this alone, or with your children, and try to live by this principle. It will bring more joy and less anxiety or worry in your life, or despair.

 

 

 

 

 

Overcoming Depression

Overcoming Depression

Overcoming depression

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I found this great webinar that might be helpful if you are struggling with depression. Let me share the information below which I  have cut and pasted directly from the website:

 

Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness, Compassion and Play

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A CE Webinar with Dr. Elisha Goldstein – When most of us think of the word “anti-depressant,” we think of a pill, but Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. shows us how science is now discovering that that’s not the only natural anti-depressants we have. As we intentionally practice tapping into these natural anti-depressants, we begin to form an anti-depressant brain and uncover a more enduring sense of resiliency and well-being. This treatment model has been inspired by some of the most current research on neuroscience and depression as well as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), created by Zindel Segal; Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), created by Jon Kabat-Zinn; Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), created by Steven Hayes; and research by Brene Brown and others.

In this Webinar, you’ll learn how to nurture the brain’s natural antidepressants, provide clients relief from symptoms of depression, improve emotional resilience and give guidance on how people can protect themselves from depression. Conference participants will gain the following skills, drawn from uncovering happiness – aka Mindful Compassion Cognitive Therapy (MCCT):

  • Utilize mindfulness to lay a foundation for the antidepressant brain.
  • Discuss how self-compassion can be used as an antidepressant technique.
  • Apply meaning, compassion and purpose to develop a deeper understanding of resiliency and well-being.
  • Recognize how making happiness a habit can reclaim play in your life and how play can be mastered to bring about natural antidepressants.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe what mindfulness is and how it helps interrupt the depressive loop
  • List three practical, formal ways to integrate mindfulness-based theory and practice when working with clients
  • List three current neuroscientific studies showing the relationship between mindfulness and depression
  • List and practice key self-compassion practices to use for self-care and to practice with clients in creating healing and forgiveness around pain
  • Describe the anti-depressant effects of compassion, play and learning
 Price: $15             90 Minutes

The link is here to register.

What people think of you doesn’t matter!

What people think of you doesn’t matter!

eyes by Alexandru ZdrobăuSome people hated mother Teresa, or Oprah… Goes to prove you can’t please everyone. You can’t control what people think of you and you can’t have it control you.

Whether it’s an opinion, a life choice, the way you dress, the music you like, the religion you follow or don’t follow, there will always be someone who disagrees with your chosen path. It is well known that many famous people and pioneers, initially were not well liked. People don’t like change, don’t like “different”. It makes them uncomfortable. Change requires people to stretch a little and not every one is ready to do so. Some people may criticize your choices out of insecurity because it forces them to question their own choices or the status quo.

It takes courage to go against the flow, to make unpopular choices that people attempt to force you to justify. What if her or his choice mean that my choices are wrong? Can often be the underlying insecurity.

Some people go through life being people pleasers at their own expense. They make other people happy, they avoid conflict or rocking the boat, but at what price. Over the years, people pleasing takes a toll on an individual, and it is not uncommon, years later, to see these people in my office, suffering with depression, anxiety, have pent up anger and resentments, etc. To later realize they’ve compromised their choices because they were scared of what people might think. And then to be resentful of the same people they attempted to please because they chose to not care what people thought of them.

When dying people are interviewed, one of the wishes that keeps coming up is that they should have lived the life they wanted to live not the one people wanted them to live.

So live your life fully, do no harm, and remember that what people think of you is really none of your business. You can’t make everyone happy and not everyone will like you. That’s simply a fact, deal with it, and carefully pick the ones who will have the privilege of being part of your life.

And remember this, trying to please everyone, in a way is a very selfish and controlling act, as you rob people of the freedom to respond to the real you, you are doing impression management, and in no way is this an authentic way to live life!

Your thoughts can harm you…

Your thoughts can harm you…

Image courtesy of num_skyman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of num_skyman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I came across a few good quotes from one of my mentors, the late Debbie Ford. I thought I would share with you her words of wisdom and encourage you to stop and reflect on these.

  • We can see ourselves in living color by taking note of what we observe in other people. (Note: this is a defence mechanism called projection)
  • Notice what happens when you choose to embrace rather than reject each feeling that arises within you today.(Note: What you resist persists. If you allow feelings to just pass, you dont linger in the negative feeling and thus you suffer less)
  • Not only do we allow our own thoughts and guidelines to dictate our behaviour, but we also project onto others what we believe they want for us. (Note: This can be at the source of great conflicts that could be avoided as they blossom and live in our minds only and may not be based in fact)
  • Turning our dreams into realities means learning how to transmute the negative and turn it into the positive.(Note: A “negative” experience can be a blessing in disguise if you choose to look at it this way. Rejection is protection and often unanswered prayers are leaving space for better outcomes)

Most of us don’t recognize that there are two distinct elements to who we are : the thinking self and the observing self. We tend to bunch them up together. Haven’t you ever thought or felt: “I can’t stand myself”? This statement shows the separation between thought (my in myself) and self (I). Thus when you say I, you are the observer of the thoughts or feelings or sensations or state that you are in, that you can’t stand.

The good news about this, is that you can change those thoughts and thus change your state. The way you perceive a situation greatly impacts how you feel, and the above quotes show you a glimpse of how you can do that.

Start paying more attention to your thoughts and how they impact how you feel. Become an active observer instead of living your life on automatic pilot. By doing this, you will reduce your suffering and experience more joy and bliss in your life. Try it!

As you master this skill and you see the positive impact on your life… teach this to your children. It is one of the many beautiful gifts you can pass on!.

Here is a good read if you struggle with your negative thoughts or feelings : Get out of your mind and into your life!

 

 

5 easy steps for better self care for moms

5 easy steps for better self care for moms

ID-100281564You might think: “What does self care have to do with parenting skills” ? Well it has everything to do with it. As I’ve mentioned probably several times by now, we teach our children mainly by what we do, more than by what we say. If you want your kids to take good care of themselves in your absence, you need to do it for yourself as well.

If they see you always prioritizing other people’s needs before your own, you are teaching them to place others’ needs first at the expense of their own…. People pleasing, does that ring a bell (read more)?

Our unhealed wounds are passed down from one generation to the next, when we live and parent unconsciously. All too common are women raised with the principle that putting their needs first equals being selfish. Other childhood or past wounds lead to lack of proper self care. And if you struggle with this, delve deeper into your issues, and work through them. This will greatly change the way you parent your child, for the better.

Adequate self care starts with setting  healthy boundaries, which goes hand in hand with self respect, and self respect fosters healthy self-esteem.  If your self esteem is healthy, the greater the chances your child will develop a healthy self esteem as well (read more and here).

In the midst of attachment parenting and conscious parenting, there is still space to take good care of yourself. How will your child learn self love if you don’t have love for yourself. You teach people how to treat you, and it starts with your family. If you send conflicting messages between your actions and your words, trust me, your children will follow your actions.

I have seen it too many times in my practice, parents asking me to heal their child of an ailment which is only a mirror image of their own suffering. But like most moms, and I have been guilty of this on many occasions, sometimes we show more love and dedication to our children than we do to ourselves.

We always put them first, at the expense of our own health and wellbeing. But I learned the hard way that if I did not heal or take care of myself first, then I am not a good teacher to my daughter.

It is important that you create for yourself rituals of self care, set clear boundaries for respect of mommy time: practice your favourite hobby, socialize with your friends, have date nights with your husband or partner, workout, do yoga, meditate, read, etc. Whatever brings you joy and peace. It is important that you have time for yourself only.

Step 1: Do make a point to make yourself happy once a day for the easy doable things, and regularly for bigger ticket items. Here are a few examples of what I like to do for myself on a daily basis : read a book at bedtime, meditate, yoga, write my book, listen to my favourite radio station when I cook or walk the dog or drive. Here are examples of things I like to do for myself on a weekly basis : meet with a good friend, go out for tea or coffee in my favourite café and write, have a nice long walk with the dog, take a nice bath with candles, work on an art project, take time alone in my healing room, light a few candles, put soft music, and read special passages in various books (or inspirational cards) that I have, or just sit there in silence and gratitude.

Step 2: Create a special space in your house or apartment for yourself. It can be a whole room or a section of a room. If your space is small you can use a divider or the architecture to create an illusion of a separate space. You can create a non-religious altar where you keep special items in that area (on a table or bookshelf). It can have pictures of people you love, special stones, books, candles, crystals, incense, essential oil diffuser, a Himalayan salt lamp, or any inspirational object that has special meaning to you (example 1 of altar, example 2 of altar; beautiful pictures of altars) . You can add a comfortable chair or cushions to sit on, a music player to relax the senses, etc. Your space can have a theme, a colour, special decorative items, etc. The sky is the limit when it comes to deciding what you make of that space. The important part is that when you enter that space, immediately it shifts you into a positive state of mind, and thus will relax you and help you disconnect or unwind, and bring you peace and joy. I recommend that you give that space a name. I call mine the “healing room”. Retreat to that space in those moments of self care.

Step 3: Self love and self care involve loving your imperfections and doing so out loud. Show your kids that it’s OK to not be perfect and to make mistakes. Forgive yourself and be kind to yourself. Don’t be so hard on yourself and such a perfectionist, as this is what you are teaching your kids to be. Instead of paying attention to your perceived flaws, pay attention to your strengths and assets, and highlight them and be proud of them. Teach the same to your kids. Even super models hate parts of themselves, no one is perfect! If you catch yourself berating yourself or your appearance, correct yourself as you would correct your child. Tell that mind of yours to take a hike!

You need to embrace your mistakes and imperfections, they are gifts. If you don’t, your child will not only mirror them back to you, but how do you expect them to embrace their own imperfections ? Lead by example or you will be perceived as a fraud by your kids. Start by practicing this simple technique called “Mirror Work” as taught by Louise Hay (see here for instructions) and change the way you talk to yourself (more here). What you keep affirming becomes your reality. So make sure you affirm good thoughts in your life.

Step 4: Develop a gratitude practice. Once a day, at least, reflect on what you are grateful for (you can even write it in a beautiful journal). It is especially important to do this on difficult days as it will put things in perspective. Psychology research has shown the positive impact of keeping a gratitude journal (e.g., better sleep, better mood, fewer illness, more happiness – read more articles on the impact of gratitude). Read some  tips on keeping a gratitude journal. Do this gratitude quiz to see how grateful you are :-), it will give you a great baseline measure. It is well known, that an attitude of gratitude leads to greater life satisfaction.

Step 5: If you have unhealed wounds, invest in a good therapist. YOU are worth it.  As you heal your wounds, and take care of yourself, naturally your child will benefit. You will then parent more consciously and thus be more present emotionally to you child’s actual needs, and you won’t project your own issues on him or her (Watch videos here on being a conscious parent).

“When mama’s happy everyone is happy”. This saying bares so much truth. Take the time to pamper yourself, it’s well worth it.

Action Step: To practice self care and self love, requires a bit of introspection. Start by deciding what you value in life and what brings you joy, carefully ponder on this. It may take a few days. Look at your schedule and see how, on a daily, and weekly basis, you can make time for yourself. Develop those rituals that show how much you love yourself by working through the 5 steps mentioned above and start seeing positive changes in your life and your family’s life. Keep me posted below!

For more on self-care, read this good book by Cheryl Richardson (The Art of Extreme Self-Care). Designed to complete one chapter a month.

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