A DAY FOR GIVING THANKS

“We see no need for the setting apart one day in seven as holy. For us all days belong to God,” said Ohiyesa, Dakotah Sioux. I wonder if this thought strikes you as it strikes me: Duh. Of course. How obvious. I read the words of a Native American from another century and realize the irony in setting apart ONLY ONE day in SEVEN.

The irony intensifies when we think about setting apart ONLY one day out of every three hundred and sixty-five to be thankful. I think we might just have zeroed in on one of the reasons this world seems so selfish and entitled. But that is for the theologians and spiritual teachers to talk about. I’m here to focus on the mental health issues of anxiety, depression and PTSD. Does GRATITUDE, on a single day or whenever we become attuned to it, effect our mental health?

Anxiety, depression and trauma reactions all change our brain and body chemistry. Please always remember that I understand that, and I hope you do, too. Sometimes out of nowhere, we get flooded with the mania of anxiety, the flat, exhaustive apathy of depression, or the white, hot rage of PTSD. We are knocked to our knees and can find no thought or feeling or action on our part which precipitated this flood of chemical misery. I get that. When this happens, the best thing we can do is simply be still and wait for the flood waters to subside.   We have to give ourselves a time out. We wouldn’t hesitate if we had the flu. Time for a day off, cancelled plans, the couch or the bed and a warm blanket.

What I want to talk about are the anxiety, depression or trauma reactions over which we do have some control. Fear, sadness and anger are all emotions, and every emotion we feel is preceded by a thought. Therefore, what we think determines how we feel, give or take the physical or emotional flu over which we are mostly powerless. I’m repeating this point to make sure that you know I am not expecting either myself or you to be able to think ourselves healthy twenty-four/seven/three sixty-five. We can, however, think ourselves healthier in more ways, more of the time. We can certainly do so more than one day a year.

It turns out gratitude, a grateful heart, and a mind full of thanks giving are wonderfully health-promoting, physically and emotionally. Gratitude may well be the Vitamin C of our emotional medicine cabinet. Maybe even the multi-vitamin.

Gratitude relieves tension. We involuntarily relax when we are thinking about people and things for which we are grateful. Try it. See what happens when we say to ourselves, “I am so glad . . . Whew, was I ever lucky when . . . What a blessing that . . .” One of my granddaughters is now eleven plus years beyond her cancer diagnosis and surgery. My daughter-in-law and I still use that momentous event as our watermark. Nothing else matters. Everything else is small potatoes. With a gift like that recovery, we do our best to never ask for anything else. We simply say, “Thank you,” and we do this routinely when things we’d like to complain about pop up, and we want to rail about the unfairness of life. You have such blessings in your life, too. Use them as your watermarks. See what happens to the tension in your body when you focus, gratefully, on what went right.

This month’s AARP Magazine (yes, I’m old enough to read it) features an interview with Ted Danson in which he describes himself as “a mess and a half,” living with “an undercurrent of anxiety that no level of fame or success could squelch.” There is always fear, he says, “and it’s all the human stuff: jobs, work, money, kids, health. Now, when I have a fearful thought, I flip it into gratitude.” He gives the example of worrying that something has happened to his wife if she’s delayed getting home. “Thank God I have the opportunity to be married to a woman I love so much.” He realizes his love is what activates his fear, so he steps back into the love and tells himself: “Aren’t you lucky?” Interestingly, he also shares that “the right SI pelvic joint on his L5 vertebra acts up whenever he goes into panic mode.” That mind/body connection!!!

Gratitude stirs hope. Hope provides energy and the courage to look forward instead of staying stuck in the past. While anxiety is rooted in fear for the future, depression is firmly grounded in regret from the past. If it happened before this minute in time there’s not a thing you can do about it, except, learn from it. One of my goals in life is not to make the same mistake twice. There are so many exciting, fascinating new mistakes to make. Why ride the same old merry-go-round? Rethinking it will not change the outcome or bring us to a different destination. Let’s try something new. I’m convinced this is why people love travelling. New sights, scenes, places, and cultures are energizing. Mastering new skills is confidence building, and travelling demands mastering new skills. On my last trip, I finally mastered using my phone for my boarding pass. I felt brilliant and quite a modern woman. On the same trip, for the first time ever, I hoisted my suitcase over my head into the luggage rack instead of checking my bag. Heaven only knows what I’ll conquer the next time I go somewhere. It is hard not to be grateful for new accomplishments which stir energy and hope.

Gratitude is mutually exclusive of anger. You cannot be angry and grateful at the same time. Suppose I’m angry at my brother. He didn’t do or say something I needed him to do or say which hurt my feelings, and now I feel alienated from him. Then I think about the way he took the burden on his shoulders when each of our parents died. Immediately, I’m over my anger and concentrating on how selflessly he assumed that responsibility and how thoroughly he handled every detail. I am so grateful. Often we get angry at people when they don’t do things our way. Actually, we should be eternally relieved that we all have different talents. In Christian language, we are all the Body of Christ, and, as Richard Rohr says, he is a “mouth.” Others are willing hands or busy feet or strong backs or soft hearts.

So . . . without the turkey or the Norman Rockwell pretence of the perfect family or the need for a holiday, let’s just carry the gratitude with us moment by moment, day by day. Right now, I am very thankful to you – YOU – for sharing this journey with me.

Gratefully, Susan

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November 18, 2017 at 9:38 AM Leave a comment

Letting go of “Admiration”

Hello, my friends — check out the statements below:

“Good job!”

“You look so pretty!”

“You nailed it.”

“You are the smartest guy in the room!”

“You must have graduated first in your class.”

“You get promotion after promotion!”

“You have the best figure, so slender and muscular!”

“You sure know how to talk to people.”

“You have helped me so much.”

Whether we’re being complimented on our physical bodies, our sharp minds, or our sweet personalities, we sure do love admiration, don’t we? It feels great to be seen, appreciated, and valued. Here’s the catch, though. (Why does there always have to be a catch?) We are all addicted to praise. Addicted, I say. Addicted, I mean.

An addiction is something we get a little of and then develop an insatiable appetite for. If we are not getting a steady diet of praise and adulation, we get anxious: What am I doing wrong? We get depressed: What’s wrong with me? And we get angry: why are people so withholding and stingy with compliments. Or we get angry at ourselves: I am such a screwup. Or we get angry at the traumatic events and people in our past and decide that since we are trauma survivors we don’t deserve praise — those people or events have ruined our lives.

Something else really tragic happens, too. We have elevated our faith in the praise from others and ignored our own voices. We know if we’ve done something well, whether it’s make the bed or be a good friend. We know when we’ve done something poorly, whether its road rage or a snarky comment to the clerk at Aldi’s. But, we’ve stopped looking inside, if we ever did, for our own validation and affirmation. We’ve come to only trust the judgment of others. This is another way in which we desert ourselves, diminish ourselves and slowly destroy our SELF-esteem in preference for the esteem of others.

We’ve stopped paying attention to our internal feedback. Much of the feedback happens on a cellular level. When we behave admirably, our bodies hum. We feel a sense of peace and well-being. We tend to feel energized and upbeat. We are more likely to sing, whistle or smile. We feel generous. We have just filled our own “pot,” as Virginia Satir, the Mother of Marriage and Family Therapy, called it. She saw low self-esteem as the biggest problem in the world.

When we behave poorly, our bodies reveal our self-condemnation. We get defensive, bitchy, irritable, cranky, and often develop somatic issues: stomach aches, headaches, heartburn, and body aches of all kinds caused by the tension we’re trying to hide from ourselves. A quick admission, like, “Wow. I need to do that better next time,” can cure a ton of ills.

A word to trauma survivors in particular. Self-editing, taking responsibility for our own behaviors and self-forgiveness come very hard to those who were abused as children. That segment of the population tend to feel shame — I AM WRONG — instead of guilt — I DID SOMETHING WRONG. Shame is a heavy burden to bear. It’s so sad because children who are being abused are usually dependent on the abuser. Because they can’t blame someone on whom they are dependent, (the abuser or the silent parent who allows the abuse,) they learn early to blame themselves. Abusers are only too happy to support this innocent acceptance of childhood shame.

All of which is to say: learning to free ourselves from the praise of others and depend on our own self-knowledge is difficult enough for those of us who feel guilty when we act inappropriately. It is extremely difficult for those who were raised on shame. BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELVES.

One final word on how to handle praise without “letting it go to our heads.” For me, the formula is in the Christmas story in the Bible. “Mary held these things in her heart.” We can hold the validation and kind words lightly in our hearts. Who wouldn’t? But we don’t need to let ourselves be inflated or deflated by the opinions of others. We need to let go of our need for admiration and trust our own self-monitoring.

AND, when you do get a compliment, be sure to return a compliment: “How kind of you. Thank you.”

Peace and harmony as we travel more lightly, together. Love, Susan

 

 

November 11, 2017 at 3:17 PM Leave a comment

Letting Go of “Safety”

Hello friends — Welcome to today’s edition of unpacking our bags and lightening our loads. The connection between healing from trauma, anxiety and depression and travelling light cannot be stated too strongly. Picture two travellers in the airport. The one with the multiple suitcases and bags is struggling, exhausted, unfriendly, and miserable. The guy or girl with the simple backpack is light on his or her feet, looking around, interacting with people, seemingly enjoying the adventure. The one with all the stuff is a neurotic mess because he has to protect all the stuff. The vagabond has nothing to protect since there is no excess. I don’t know if you have read Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, but Jack travels with a toothbrush and the clothes on his back. Now that’s light!

When we are overwhelmed by too much stuff, even if that stuff is the need for security or safety or esteem or affection, we are focused and fixated on getting and keeping all the “stuff” we need. Now safety may not seem like something we want to unpack, but, believe me, it is. Being cautious is, of course, necessary. We need to stick to the speed limit, lock our car in the mall parking lot, and pay attention to our surroundings. If we’re instructed to evacuate the island, I vote for evacuating. It’s not the physical safety which ends up messing with us — it’s the emotional need so many of us have to “play it safe.”

Listen to these familiar words from Robert Frost: “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I was that I could not take them both, but I took the one less travelled, and that has made all the difference.” He took the unfamiliar, the uncharted. He took a risk. THAT HAS MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

How does taking the road less travelled make all the difference? When we take the road most travelled, we align with the majority. We conform. We fit in. We swallow and hide our uniqueness. We ignore our inner voice. We push away the soul messages. Most of us have received “messages,” “nudges,” “signs,” to take a stand, speak our truth, be ourselves. Yes, but, if we do  . . . someone will get angry, disapprove, unfriend us, we say to ourselves. Our moral imperative is: DO IT ANYWAY.

Each of us is particularly and specially designed to add our own unique seasoning to the stew. But, we say, no one else is adding oregano. THAT’S BECAUSE YOU’RE THE OREGANO. No one else is adding honey. THAT’S BECAUSE YOU’RE THE HONEY. We each have a role in this amazing human drama that no one else has been given. When we don’t listen, when we play it safe and go with the crowd, there is no one else to take our role. Our small, but perhaps essential, part in the drama that is the family of man, goes unspoken, unacted, undeveloped.

“Oh, Susan,” you’re thinking, “If you knew the things I’ve thought of doing, the messages I’ve thought I’ve received, the parts I’ve imagined I could possibly play . . . you’d be appalled.” REALLY? You are saying this to the woman who is writing a blog on letting go of safety? You think you feel weird? The daughter-in-law who actually likes me calls me “ODD.” I don’t even want to imagine what the others call me.

Steve Perkins, a wonderful mentor and friend, was fond of saying, “What others think of me is none of my business.” He totally supported his clients and the therapists with whom he worked in being their own best selves. Phil Hockwalt, another great mentor, gave up a lucrative career in accounting to become a therapist.  No one has ever changed the course of humanity by going with the crowd. All positive, life-affirming change comes from the single voice that dares to have a different, previously unspoken, unique opinion.

Joan of Arc was accused of being imaginative. “Those voices you think you hear,” her accusers said, “are just your imagination.” She agreed. “Of course they are. God speaks to us through our imaginations.” As Richard Rohr says, “There are many holy names for God.”  If “God” is not the name you use, who cares. Use what name you wish. As Jesuit Father and Zen Roshi Robert Kennedy says, “There are as many truths as there are leaves in the forest.” Just listen to your truth and follow your bliss and stand up for what you know to be right and good and loving. Don’t play it safe. Take the path less travelled. It will make all the difference.

Next week we’ll be talking about letting go of our need to be esteemed, admired, and looked up to. That is a source of a lot of anxiety, depression and trauma triggering. I hope these thoughts are making sense to you as you read them and that you are allowing these ideas to lighten your emotional load and free you for adventures on some new, less travelled roads!

Peace and love to you, Susan

 

November 4, 2017 at 8:54 AM Leave a comment

Letting Go of “Security” — Take Two

Hello, my friends —

Thank you so much for the comments about last week’s post. Clearly, I wasn’t very clear, so, let’s try this again from sort of a different vantage point. We’re going to start with a short poem:

Ever since the storm

Blew the roof off the house,

I have a much better view

Of the moon.

Sweet, idealistic poem from someone who lives in a hut on a desert island, right? Doesn’t apply to us. Imagine if the roof blew off our house? Why, in one night everything would be ruined — the bedding would be damp with humidity, the rug would get mildew, the drywall would get clammy  and moldy and have to be replaced, not to mention what would happen to our stuff, if anything was left after the thieves and looters got done taking advantage of our easy access. Vultures would swoop in and get the cat. I mean, really, the more I think about it, that’s a ridiculous poem — nothing positive about having the roof blow off our house.

But, you see, the roof blowing off the house is a metaphor for us losing the illusion of security. We like to believe we have the “lid” on everything and we are safe and sound. We’ve got our houses “locked up,” the alarms “armed,” the smoke detectors have fresh batteries, the phone is beside the bed so we can dial 911, and so it is safe to take our Xanax or Tylenol P.M. or trazodone and chemically turn our brains off so we can get some sleep.

I am speaking as a mental health professional who listens to people who are struggling with anxiety, depression and the after effects of trauma. Our demand for personal security, our unending campaign to keep ourselves safe and untouched, our physical and emotional dis-ease if we feel exposed or vulnerable — are doing us great harm.

Here’s the nugget of meaning from the poem: When the illusions of security disappear, we rely on what is there and has been there all along. The moon, the stars, the galaxy, the universe — for almost 14 billion years those stars and planets have been staying on course. For fourteen billion years the ocean has been ebbing and flowing. Which should I align with, something that has been in place for four years — the roof of my house — or something which has been steadfast for fourteen billion years, the moon?

We have complicated our lives so completely that we are like the people in Plato’s famous cave illustration. We have our backs to the opening of the cave and are staring straight ahead at the wall of the cave, jumping and terrified at the shadows on the wall. “Freedom” lies just outside the doorway of the cave, but we’re paying attention to the wrong things. A modern day example is the way people responded to the recent eclipse: they headed to their computers to get the highlights. Who has time to watch a whole eclipse? You could hurt your eyes. Who cares that a miracle of nature is happening outside? The lights of Macy’s never dimmed — shop on!

Again, I say, my concern with this is that we are creating and maintaining for ourselves a cycle of suffering which is unknown in human history. We are the architects and constructors and maintainers of our own dis-eases and discomforts and disastrous mental health issues because we are focused on the wrong things. Our mental health diet is as poisonous as our physical diet. We need to return to the organic, natural feast that has been here for billions of years and is waiting for us, available to us. Think of this as food. If we ate what the ocean and the earth provide, we’d be incredibly healthy. If we ingested and digested more sunlight and moonlight and starlight instead of so much computer light and television light, our eyes would be less strained and our minds less frenetic.

We’ve gotten away from what is mentally healthy — silence, nature, focusing on “the” world instead of “my” world. We need a clearer view of the moon — and not from the computer screen.

Next week we’re going to talk about letting go of the illusion of safety. The template for our taking control of our own health – emotional, physical, psychological – is in our ability to perceive and choose a healthy “diet.” We can do this, and be more robust, more energetic, more positive, and more loving — both to ourselves and others — as well as a more grateful, thankful people for this earth-walking privilege we have been given. One step at a time, one perception widened or deepened, and our anxiety (fear) diminishes a little, our depression (sadness) lifts a little, our traumatic reactions (often, anger) calms a little. Try not to get discouraged, my friends. It is hard work, but a community of us are journeying together.

Love, peace and blessings to you, Susan

 

October 28, 2017 at 4:27 PM Leave a comment

Letting Go of “Security”

Hello, friends — Thank you for indulging me last week in my ramblings about the sea. Now we’ll get back to the business of travelling lighter by letting go of those things which no longer serve us. First on our list of misleading items, those we think we MUST have and SHOULD amass, is our desire or need for security.

What makes you feel secure? What must you have to be able to relax, to feel prepared, to believe you are on top of things? Think about that before you read on.

For me, security used to mean having plenty of food on hand. Now I came by this naturally. One of the stories in our family is the time (during a blizzard) my brother unexpectedly brought his 18 piece jazz band to my mother’s house for supper. She not only fed them, which I’m sure I could do, but she fed them the same thing, which I could not do. Hamburgers and fries for all. She probably whipped up a couple cherry pies, too. So, I grew up thinking a freezer full of food equalled security. Then came the hurricane, and all the lovely security in my freezer and refrigerator defrosted and spoiled. Time to rethink having a stash of frozen security.

Many people think money equals security. But, then come the crashes, whether of 1929 or 2008, and the hard-earned money dwindles and those who had the most lost the most.  I believe Dave Ramsey advocates not having debt as the way to attain security. People feel secure with money stashed in shoes, piled under the mattress or locked in a steel box  with a secret combination. Others equate physical safety with security, feeling quite secure in their gated communities or inside a house with an armed “security” system. Still other people need weapons to feel secure. And I think most of us look for security in “things,” like new cars, big houses, brand name this and that.

The Tao Te Ching, the ancient Chinese book of wisdom, dismisses most of what passes for the possession of security:

Fancy things get in the way of one’s growth.

Racing here and there, hunting for this and that —

Good ways to madden your mind, that’s all.

The striving for security is a good way to madden our minds. We are depressed when we don’t attain it, and we are anxious when we do because we must work diligently to hang on to it. Trauma survivors have lost their sense of security due to whatever “trauma” they have had to endure, so they are often overly preoccupied with establishing security. This causes them anxiety, depression and, frequently, hostility and anger at anything or anyone threatening their sense of security.

But, my friends, security is an illusion. No one lived this more starkly than Viktor Frankl, the psychiatrist/neurologist who became a Holocaust survivor. His powerful story of survival, Man’s Search for Meaning, explains that everything can be taken from us, everything, ever last vestige of security, except our attitude. He studied those in the concentration camps who retained their humanity. They created purpose in their lives. They searched for and found meaning, even in the most degrading circumstances imaginable.

This is the only security we have – our ability to chose our perceptions, our perspective, our attitude, our purpose in life and the meaning we ascribe to our lives. Some people call this faith. No one can take away this security, not a stock crash, a disease, a depression, or a disaster of any dimension.

For our mental health and wellness, we need to let go of the childish illusions we still carry. This is hard work, serious work. The benefits are endless and enduring, however, and so it is exciting and worthwhile work. I’m glad we’re doing it hand in hand. Blessings, my friends, Susan

 

October 21, 2017 at 10:50 AM Leave a comment

From the Sea

 

My friends, known and new –

I’ve just spent a week at the ocean. It occurred to me that a teacher could teach any class or any subject by just taking students to the ocean. What a classroom for physics, mathematics, biology, entomology, anatomy…on and on. Most especially, though, the ocean teaches us about the limits of our own control, the beauty of variation, renewal, and the seasons of life.

The ocean teaches us to be respectful of it’s power and aware of the limits of our own control. I told my son I wanted to try taking a boogie board out in the ocean and floating around, but I had my doubts because I watched a little girl trying to control a board, and she was having lots of problems. “Mom, she’s five,” he nixed my doubts. So, overly optimistic that I was stronger than a five year old, I managed to get a board out almost beyond that line of breaking waves. The boogie board then unceremoniously smashed me in the head and dragged me upside down under the surf. I ingested about a gallon of salt water — it appears to be a diuretic, in case you wondered– and a few small fish, I think. Their effect on my internal system is as yet unclear. The ocean taught me a thing or two!

The waves made me think of people. You simply can’t tell a wave by its size or appearance. A wave will break in the middle or anywhere in between — whenever it the stress point makes it snap. Like people, waves can be gentle and benign or wickedly brutal and unpredictable. We heard a woman screaming on the beach because one of those nasty waves had knocked her arm out of its socket. People are similar; you think you’re going to bounce around in a little swell or float in some kind conversation, and presto/bingo, you’re demolished and reduced to sand. Trauma survivors know this lesson so well. Don’t ever criticize a human for having walls up and being standoffish. They have learned the necessity of that  caution the hard way.

Every time I get the chance to be on the beach, I am astounded by the same sense of continuity and renewal. What is it now, 14 billion years that old ocean has been ebbing and flowing? And it never runs out of water — or salt. And it keeps being hospitable to life. How does it renew itself so completely and so beautifully? I don’t know. But this I do know: it’s contagious. I always feel renewed when I get to watch those waves. My heart slows down and my breathing entrains itself with the tides. I have to come here physically often enough that every night, in my real, landlocked life, I can close my eyes to go to sleep and see the waves coming in, dancing, breaking, crashing and then flowing back out to build and repeat the performance, but always with different variations and adaptations.

I am particularly aware as I grow older that the ocean also reflects the seasons of life. Young children and older adults see more and are contented to watch the hustle and bustle of the ocean and of life. They are happy on the shore, nearby, observing. Kids, teens, young adults want to be in the midst of the breaking waves and the teeming surf. They are “in” it. More mature adults often “use” it. They make money from it, with boats or rental houses or seaside resorts and restaurants. They hardly even acknowledge the majesty and magnificence anymore. They are interested in what the ocean can do for them, how they can benefit from this gift we’ve been given. And then, if we’re lucky, we circle back to a deep sense of appreciation.

The ocean teaches so much more, but I’m needing to pack up and  return to my current life, reminded that we can learn anywhere, anytime in any circumstances if we have “eyes to see and ears to hear.”

Peace and blessings for this week ahead. Channel the ocean for anxiety relief, remember the unending renewal of all things for depression relief, and my dear trauma survivor friends, remember the words of Buddhist teacher, Thick Nhat Hahn: “When the wave realized she was water, her fear disappeared.”

 

 

October 14, 2017 at 11:19 AM Leave a comment

LET IT GO!!!!!!!

Hello friends and fellow pilgrims on this journey of ours!

We’re going to spend the next several weeks “letting go” of things we started carrying around when we were children. Some of these “things” we no longer need, but we are unconsciously still acting as though we do.

We spend childhood and young adulthood constructing an ego and an identity for ourselves. Am I strong or sweet? Am I smart or social? In high school we travel in packs, the wolves separated from the bears, the owls distinct from the foxes. We identify ourselves by sticking with those who are similar to us and avoiding those who are different.

Interestingly, we did this early on and stuck to it all our lives, despite realistic, contrary evidence. Here’s an example from my life:

Durham, Pennsylvania, a town of 75 people, was a great place to grow up. In the summer, about a dozen of us various aged kids would gather in a big field by Cook’s Creek and play baseball. I was always, truly, always, the last person chosen for a baseball team. Therefore, I came to believe, I was “Not Athletic.”

Later, I was a high school majorette, “strutting” for five miles in parades, my knees raised to my waist with every step, a swimming instructor, a jogger, a line dancer, a morning three mile walker with my two neighbors, the mom of three active boys, and now a regular attendee of Silver Sneakers and yoga classes. But, nope. I stubbornly cling to my ancient, out-dated, untrue belief: I am “Not Athletic.”

Now, I’ve given you a benign example. You can think of such examples from your own life. How we define and explain ourselves, even if just to ourselves, both expands and limits the possibilities of our lives.

Let me give you an example of both a limiting and an expansive belief. I was not considered “smart” in my family. In fact, no one told me I was smart until I was 35 years old and Alice MacDonald, an English teacher at The University of Akron, looked me in the eye and said, “You are really smart.”

A fascinating thing happened then. Instead of the C’s that I had gotten all through high school and college, I started getting A’s. How do you suppose that happened? And why? I have frequently noticed a similar strange thing with my clients. The women who believe they are “pretty” are not necessarily the women who are pretty in any classical or culturally accepted way. The women who believe they are not pretty are frequently attractive and are often lovely. At some point in time a belief was instilled and it remains, rigid and firm, despite any evidence to the contrary.

Expansive beliefs are not all that good either. As a child I was labelled “sweet.” What a burden! All my life, I have carried the expectation and assumption and responsibility which was given to me by the adults around me when I was a child: I was to be unfailingly sweet and kind. Always. Everywhere. To everyone.

A couple weeks ago I spent a sleepless night and in the morning tried to figure out what was bothering me so much that I couldn’t relax and go to sleep. I spent the whole night going over and over in my head and heart an encounter with a coworker. I was afraid I had been unkind. Had I had been too blunt or stated the truth as I saw it instead of protecting the other woman from negativity, and, perhaps, the need to be accountable for her own action? Had I had betrayed myself? Was I was not sweet? Truly, I laughed the next morning when I figured it out and said to the cat, “Well, it’s about time I drop the mantle of sweetness.” I decided to pick up the mantle of truth.

So, in the next weeks, we’ll talk about letting go of other things we needed when we were vulnerable children. Here’s a preview: security, esteem, affection, power, control, and the desire to change the situation. But, we are no longer vulnerable children. We are competent adults. We get to redefine ourselves. But, this time, let’s do it differently. Let’s do it as “ONE” of the ways we can choose to be instead of a definite, rigid imperative. I no longer have to be sweet all the time, but I can be sweet whenever it feels authentic.

Want to walk with me while we explore the empowerment of “Letting Go”?

Peace and blessings from a formerly non-athletic sweetie.

October 7, 2017 at 10:24 AM 1 comment

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