As We Are Formed

My father’s mother died when he was two. It wasn’t unusual in 1913 for a woman to die in childbirth and her baby as well. It was unexpected, though, since Floyd and Lottie had a healthy five year old daughter and a robust two year old son.

Lottie was the fourth of seven girls in the Meffan family. When she died, her sisters circled around the “sunlight” in the dark and dreary days — the sunny, lively, loving little boy. He was passed around from home to home, shared, fought over, and generally adored by the large, grieving family. For three years he was comforted, cuddled, played with, and doted on. Fifty years later, this man who lost his mother when he was two said to me, “I had a really happy childhood.” The aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents and neighbors and friends did an amazing job of teaching this child that love comes from community. Safety truly is to be found in numbers. All his life my father talked about his family and friends from childhood, even while constantly increasing the circles of community and neighborhood.

Settled in Durham, Pennsylvania, instead of his native Bethlehem, Pennsylvania — even though he worked at Bethlehem Steel for 41 years and drove into Bethlehem every work day– Durham became his home. He helped found a local Lion’s Club and was active for 50 years. He served on the School Board for 38 years, assuming the presidency the year I graduated from high school, so that it was my daddy who handed me my diploma. He became a Durham Township supervisor and took the nine square mile farming community from the red into the black, even building a township facility and getting some great zoning laws into place. He taught Sunday School for over thirty years and led the singing in the communal beginning of every Sunday’s service, before we split up into classes.

My point is, and I could bore you with many more examples, my dad, as a young, impressionable child, realized in his bone marrow that he was part of a vibrant, loving community — the community of aunts and uncles and cousins and church friends. All his life, he continued to serve whatever community he found himself in and whatever community he found it wise to help create.

When my dad turned eighty-one, my mother finally insisted they move into Westminster, a life care center in Allentown (literally across the street from Bethlehem’s city limits). We were all afraid moving from Durham would kill him. Not so. He had a new community at Westminster. Within six months he was serving on the advisory board for the residents. Then he and another resident erected six bird houses and went together every few weeks to buy bird seed, from their own money, of course. My father never tried to get other people to pay for what he valued. If he thought it important and essential, he made it happen. Then the life long gardener started a small community garden at Westminster. Soon he was treasurer of the council and then, secretary, and, of course, then, president.

It was no problem for him. Community was were you were and who you were with. We had so underestimated him. He just shifted his focused and became a public servant in a different arena. Truly, he bloomed where he was planted.

Many, many people know more about psychology and human nature than I do. But I do have an opinion based on seventy-two years of observation, my education, my reading, and the stories clients have shared with me for the last thirty-some years. It is this: the first five years of our lives are called the formative years for a reason. Those early years give us a template for how we will navigate the waters of life. Will we be able to trust and depend on others? Will we be suspicious and withholding? Will we feel we must do everything ourselves? Will we be confident or cautious? Will we see a glass half-full or a glass half-empty? Will we love freely and generously?

I wonder, when you think about your first five years, what you see? Were your parents or caretakers able to put their egos on hold and make you a priority? Were they courageous and confident, or were they fear-based or angry people? Were they abusive, withholding, and harsh, or attentive, comforting and kind? We cannot control the family we entered and the ways in which we were treated. (Yes, I know there is a theory that we choose our parents. I have no idea if that’s true or not.) What we can control is what we do as adults when we use that early template to launch ourselves into fulfilling, purposeful, peaceful, exhilarating lives.

Those first five years are formative. The rest of our years are free. We get choice after choice after choice. We need wise teachers and mentors, and we need the wisdom to listen to them, watch them, and learn from them. As Richard Rohr says, one of the saddest things to see is a person who has climbed the ladder all his life and then realizes he had his ladder against the wrong wall. If so, we need to keep moving the ladder until we know we’re at the right spot. I’ll close with a funny example from my friend, Paula and me. She was my supervisor for my marriage and family degree. She had done a lot of therapy and was transitioning into more teaching. I had done a lot of teaching and was transitioning into therapy. Laughing together, we realized we were both headed in the right direction. WHY? She would sweat when she was doing therapy, but not when she was teaching. I would sweat in front of a class, but not sitting in my rocker, listening, as a therapist. So there you have it . . . the sweat test!! You learn something here every week, don’t you??

 

Peace and love. Enjoy the view from your ladder, and if you don’t, move it!!!  Susan

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June 2, 2018 at 10:30 AM 1 comment

A Dreamer’s Dream

The invading army stole in during the night, hiding in the trees and rocks on the far side of the river.

Those assigned to watch did nothing, as they were instructed. “Just wait and see,” they were told. It made them nervous, but they did this.

The next morning the village went about its daily business. The cooks prepared great quantities of meat and the bakers brought fragrant bread from the ovens. The water-bearers filled all the containers. The lamplighters made sure the fuel was ready for the next night. The musicians practiced their music, the artists painted, and the writers recorded the village stories. The children had their lessons and games. Old women sat in groups making quilts and sweaters for the upcoming winter. The old men played their own games while they bounced the babies on their laps.

The invading army was confused. No one seemed scared that they were encamped just across the river.

After evening meal the left overs were put in a boat and volunteers were called to row the boat across the river. Eighteen year old twins volunteered, a male and a female. When they reached the far side of the river, they quickly unloaded the food, placed it on a flat rock, and rowed back across the river.

Now the invading army was really confused. Never before had the town they were about to conquer willing shared their food.

The next morning the villagers held their weekly service of gratitude. They sang and danced and sat in silence and then walked to the river and lined up, feet in the water, and passed a cup of fresh river water down the line, each having a sip, no more, and then nodding and giving the cup to the one beside them. When this was over, a large fire was started along the bank of the river, and meat was roasted for the village. Children were sent into the woods to pick berries. From somewhere a large barrel was brought and a few mugs were filled and again passed around. The men and the women, old and young, drank from the barrel. Another barrel, which looked like it might contain sweet milk, was the barrel the children circled, also sharing a few mugs, sipping, then running off to play, and running back.

When the meat was roasted and smelling fragrant, the villagers put slabs on pieces of bread and ate their fill. They sat around in a circle, then, listening to one older sage in particular. Volunteers were requested to take the leftovers across the river. Two strong young men stepped up, but in a loud voice another man gruffly moved in front of them. He would make this trip. He seemed less serene and calm than the others. The villagers were somewhat hesitant. Then a small older woman stepped beside him and said, apparently, that she would go with him. He motioned that she was not strong enough to row the boat. She motioned back to challenge him. Wasn’t he strong enough to row for both of them? He lost some of his swagger and helped the woman into the boat. The food was delivered without incident. The rock was found empty. Apparently last night’s food had disappeared. They returned across the river.

A fire burned late into the night on the side of the river where the invading army was camped. In the morning the villagers looked across the river. They could see nothing but a piece of material on the flat rock. Those who watch told the villagers the army had left at first light.

Two volunteers were about to cross the river and see what was on the rock when a giant hawk swooped down, snagged the material in his talons, and flew off looking like the victor of some unknown contest. The villagers laughed and shrugged and went about their daily tasks.

As the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu says; “She doesn’t contend, so no one can contend with her.” And, “If you compete with no one, no one can compete with you.”

Peace within and, maybe, someday, peace on earth, Such is the dream of the dreamer.

Love, Susan

May 26, 2018 at 11:40 AM Leave a comment

The Saboteur of Self-Care

The saboteur comes in the night while we’re sleeping. He (or they) wake us from our slumber and startle us with panic. He (I’m just using “he” for ease of language) says things in our ear like: “Oh, you should have. . . . ,” or, “Surely you didn’t . . . ,” or, “What are they going to say when . . . ,” or, “Really? You . . . .”

Alternately, we may be vacuuming or taking kids to school or speaking honestly to someone we thought we could trust when the saboteur arrives.

The saboteur is, of course, us. The saboteur is the way we beat up on ourselves. The saboteur of self-care is our very own SELF-TALK.

No one talks to us with the disrespect, the disdain, the humiliation, the disregard and the fear with which we talk to ourselves. We are our own worst enemy. And our own worst enemy doesn’t ever raise a hand to us. Our own worst enemy doesn’t have to touch us. It’s an inside job. We collapse under the weight of our own self-criticism.

Sensitive, thoughtful, kind people — you and me — are constantly self-editing. We review a thousand times every single thing we did and said. We are so concerned with not hurting anyone else’s feelings and not being rude or brash or selfish, that we DRIVE OURSELVES CRAZY.

Truly, my friends. We have to find a much healthier balance.

Here’s a starting point. When we start in on ourselves about a conversation we had….let’s stop. If I offended someone. . . it is up to them to tell me that. If my friend or colleague or boss doesn’t come back to me to say something, I certainly don’t need to hang on to my worries that I have done something wrong or said something thoughtless. Steve Perkins, my teacher/mentor/boss, used to remind me, “Susan. What other people think about you is none of your business.” That was a breath of fresh air to me. I previously thought I had to anticipate what others would think about everything that came out of my mouth. Obviously, we cannot take good care of ourselves if we are more concerned about what everyone else is thinking and feeling than about our own selves.

Once again, I want to assure you, if you are reading this blog, you are a person of integrity and kindness to others. The bitches and bastards of the world would never care about such things as we discuss.

So, changing the way we talk to ourselves is the number one way we can take better care of ourselves.

I have never been able to do the things some people suggest, like looking in the mirror and saying: “I LOVE YOU.” Um….going a little to far for me. But I have been able to learn to catch myself when I’m in critical, defensive, attacking mode IN MY HEAD. I would be a millionaire if I had a penny for every minute I gave spent sabotaging myself, doubting myself, and criticising myself. No matter what an army of others have done or said or thought about me — I have been a hundred times worse and have limited and harmed my own joy and peace and self-worth.

What we are thinking and where we have learned to be so harsh and relentless with ourselves is a topic for another time. For today, let us become aware of the saboteur whom we allow to live and breath within us. It is very important to self-edit and be self aware. It is horribly dangerous to our mental and physical and emotional and spiritual health to grind ourselves into the ground every time we aren’t perfect.

Here’s to being our best. Here’s to being as kind and gentle to ourselves as we are to every other living being.

Love, Susan

May 19, 2018 at 9:45 AM Leave a comment

THE STILLNESS OF SELF-CARE

When did you last walk into a quiet house? It’s probably been years. We live in a noisy, frenetic, chaotic culture. The television is blasting, the music is pounding, the washing machine and the vacuum are sputtering and even in the middle of the night the furnace or air conditioner are humming and the ice cubes are dropping into the ice container — for those of us fortunate enough to have air and ice! Everyone is looking at his or her phone, wearing ear buds so they don’t miss any of their playlist favorites, talking on the hands-free while driving….it’s crazy-making. Our American affluence is deafening. This gives new meaning to the old expression, “I can’t hear myself think.”

This constant starting and stopping of different forms of noise and optic stimulation takes a serious toll on our psyches. We stay suspended in a state of hyper-alertness. We breathe from out throats instead of our diaphragms. We produce constant adrenaline rushes. We’re ready for “battle” most of our waking hours. And what does this do to our sleep? We can’t get to sleep because we’re  still revved up.  We can’t stay asleep because we haven’t turned off the radar which is always searching for incoming information. Add sleeping while the television is on, and you have a complete nightmare of restlessness.

Every faith tradition I know of and many secular mental health practitioners, as well, recommend meditation of some form. We have to teach ourselves to calm down and take a break. We have to re-teach ourselves to breathe. We have to teach ourselves to relax. Imagine a car that was turning on and off all day, speeding here and there, constantly being worn down by overuse. It would go through “oil” like crazy. We humans burn not only the midnight oil, but we also burn up the oil which lubricates our joints — think knee, hip, feet problems as the joints get dry and bone rubs on bone. We exhaust our immune system, which would be like the drive train of a car, I’m guessing. Because we are never quiet and calm, we never recharge. Our phones wouldn’t last long if we didn’t plug them in. We won’t last as long as we could if we don’t start recharging ourselves.

I could go on and on with my analogies, but I’m sure you’re thinking of your own by now. We desperately and consistently need a way to “take a break,” “calm down,” “reset,” “reboot,” and “relax.”

If you have never practiced meditation of any kind, I’d suggest you start with a relaxation tape or an app on the phone that leads or guides you through a meditation sequence. Probably the hardest way to start meditating is to begin sitting in silence. That tends to work in reverse. The silence is so different and strange, it freaks us out. We need some intermediate guidance to start getting us calmed down, get our shoulders out of our ears and lowered, put our shoulders back instead of hunching over as though we have to make a quick get-away, unclench our jaws, close our eyes and give our ears a rest. Listening to a quiet voice or some soft music is a good beginning.

Some meditations lead the listener through a systematic relaxation of the whole body, starting at the top of the head and working toward the toes. Other meditation sequences ask you to imagine a safe, quiet place, the bank of a river, the sand along a deserted beach, the top of a hill or mountain, the shore of a lake. One of my favorite meditators, Thomas Keating, suggests sitting along the river bank, and everytime a thought comes into your mind, just put the thought in a little boat and watch it float off down the river.

I’ve been practicing meditation for two years, and it is still a rare “sit” when I am able to shut off the monkey chatter and just be. Teachers of meditation will tell you not to judge the success or failure of a “sit.” Just sit. Show up. Every morning I “sit” for twenty minutes after my first cup of coffee. Once in a great while I can actually get to a still place. Sometimes I fall asleep. Sometimes I spend the twenty minutes arguing with someone in my head or planning a meal. I no longer judge myself for this. I’m listening to the teachers: I just show up and “sit.”

Start small. Start with a few minutes. Start with just stretching your legs and arms. Start with closing your eyes and listening to the sounds around you instead of the sounds being produced by technology or the relentless chatter inside your own head. One of the birds I hear when I do this keeps saying, “Pretty. Pretty.” He’s my favorite, sweet guy!!

Next week I’d like to tell you about the Saboteur of Self-Care. I think you’ll be surprised.

May you find some stillness and relax into it. It’ll do a body good — not to mention a heart, mind and soul!

Love, Susan

 

 

May 12, 2018 at 9:46 AM Leave a comment

Dream of Self-Care

I had a startling dream this week. I was sitting at a kitchen table. (In dream language, MY kitchen table would represent the heart of nurturing and nourishment. Yours might hold very different dream meanings.) So, I’m sitting at the kitchen table looking down at a phone or a book. I look up, and there on the kitchen table is a baby. This baby is swaddled, wearing a cap and a sweater, and has a blanket partially over his face. My first thought is, “I’ve suffocated the baby!” I start unbundling him, and he awakens and begins stretching. He’s apparently been asleep and forgotten for a long time. I’m so relieved that he’s not dead. I can’t believe I forgot I had a baby to care for.

We each have a baby to care for: our inner child. Many of our inner children have been neglected and abandoned for years. Every once in a while, we think about doing something for our inner child. I used to search for swings, since my little person loves swinging. Then we hear the “chorus” telling us that’s really selfish. Isn’t there something we could do for someone else instead? One of my clients this week was admitting how overwhelmed she was on one day in particular. “I had nothing else to give to anyone. I was empty. When my husband went off to play with his sports team, I almost hated him!”

Yes, I’ve had two men in my life who were excellent at self-care. One was a fellow therapist. Every day he took three hours out of the middle of his day to exercise and eat lunch. I was jealous and envious. It didn’t occur to me when I was in my forties: learn from him. Let him be a model for self-care. No. I just resented him. The second man who was a champion of self-care would back out of a responsibility to family or friends and do what he felt like doing at the drop of a hat. I thought him rude and self-centered. It didn’t occur to me: learn from him. It doesn’t always all have to be about caring for others. Every airplane ride reminds us: put your own oxygen mask on first.

There’s a saying these days which I love: better or bitter? Those who don’t care for the baby in the middle of the kitchen table will turn out bitter for sure. Our inner child, the self we were born to be, our truest and purest self, needs us as surely as a baby needs a loving care-taker. What do babies require to thrive and grow and be all that they can be? I’d suggest three categories of things: first, babies need routine and stability. Secondly, they need novelty and stimulation. Third, they need to learn a balance between care for and from others and self-care. (THESE NEEDS REMAIN ALL OUR LIVES, btw.)

Babies need to eat on a regular basis, have their diapers changed on a regular basis, and be held, cuddled and adored on a regular basis. The routine, the dependability of someone coming when we cry, the stability of our needs being met, the music played every night when we’re put in our crib, the comforting voice which is so sweetly familiar, the baby-talk and the efforts to get us to smile and interact all produces babies who are adorable instead of annoying. When we get what we need at any age, we are typically fairly contented people. People who are “TOO” loud, too reserved, too bossy, too unassertive, too controlling, too demanding, too whiney, too ruthless . . . too anything, are people whose needs weren’t met when they were too young to meet their own needs. That’s a pretty strong statement, and I’m sticking by it. The worst and most lasting harm any of us will ever endure is that which we experience before the age of five. We are too vulnerable to protect ourselves. Our inner child needs our protection throughout life. I believe this aspect of self-care is essential for the prevention and reduction of anxiety.

Babies also need stimulation and novelty. They need mobiles over their beds and lots of different tastes and touches and smells and textures. They need words and songs and stroller rides through the nature trails and the malls. This is the aspect of care which makes babies curious,adventuresome, and courageous. Babies and children who aren’t exposed to differences grow up fearful of different people and different places. They are reticent instead of resilient. They’ve grown up with “the world is dangerous” stamped on their hearts. This absence of introducing “other” people, experiences, possibilities leads to little, shallow, protected lives. Helicopter parents tend to raise either fearful or rebellious children. These children are much more likely to suffer from depression throughout their lives.

Third, babies, including and especially our own inner children, need love. Trust and dependability are two of the qualities of love which make for confident, resilient and responsible human adults. If a young child realizes he cannot trust his mother and/or his father, biological, adopted, step-, he suffers childhood trauma. It is that basic and necessary. He becomes a failure to thrive baby, not in terms of physical thriving but in terms of emotional thriving.  We can overcome the early absence of consistent and concerned care, but it is really difficult. Every once in a while I’ll say to a client: I am so proud of you. You have learned to give what you never got. That is the ultimate in human growth and development, as I see it. This, learning to give things we never received, is something we all need to do in some ways. (An example: anger was never allowed in my home. I am still learning to give and receive appropriate anger.)  Those who suffered trauma as young children in their own homes, sexual, physical, emotional or verbal, are post-traumatic stress survivors. We don’t think to include in this list family secrets, like, your mother is really your grandmother or your father is not your real father, but holding and carrying such secrets is like try getting a plant to grow with no roots. Adults who suffered childhood trauma tend to either let no one in and depend on only themselves for care, or care only for others and ignore their own needs completely. It’s usually one extreme or the other.

As I promised (or threatened) last week, more on self care next week. Same promise. I can guarantee, if you are reading this you don’t have a selfish bone in your body. Remove that guilt from your system. SELF CARE IS GOOD BECAUSE IT MAKES US BETTER NOT BITTER.

Love and peace, Susan

Happy birthday in memory of my dear Aunt Ruth. She suffered from deep depression and relentless anxiety most of her life and still continued to shine as one of my finest examples of grace and dignity.

For those of you who are still reading and curious, that was an actual dream I had on Tuesday night when I went to sleep thinking about what to write for this week’s blog.

May 5, 2018 at 9:38 AM Leave a comment

STAYING GROUNDED

The Many Faces of PTSD

So, this morning before breakfast, this what what I read: Rachel Maddow EVISCERATED Donald Trump; I need to take two quick steps to solve gun violence; the new Secretary of State nominee is anti-woman, anti-science and pro-torture; Mulvaney was selling access to lobbyists; UNLESS I ACT IMMEDIATELY (by which they mean send money) Robert Mueller will be fired and Medicare for all will not pass; my food is contaminated with GMO’s; and, developers Next Door to me are stripping the land of topsoil. And this just in: Unless I send $5. immediately, Sherrod Brown will not win in Ohio.

It takes such a toll on us, doesn’t it? All the urgency, the disaster, the emergencies, the FEAR MONGERING. That’s what it used to be called back in the dark ages when I studied rhetoric: fear-mongering. How do you get people scared, because when they are scared, as we all know…

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April 28, 2018 at 9:32 AM Leave a comment

STAYING GROUNDED

So, this morning before breakfast, this what what I read: Rachel Maddow EVISCERATED Donald Trump; I need to take two quick steps to solve gun violence; the new Secretary of State nominee is anti-woman, anti-science and pro-torture; Mulvaney was selling access to lobbyists; UNLESS I ACT IMMEDIATELY (by which they mean send money) Robert Mueller will be fired and Medicare for all will not pass; my food is contaminated with GMO’s; and, developers Next Door to me are stripping the land of topsoil. And this just in: Unless I send $5. immediately, Sherrod Brown will not win in Ohio.

It takes such a toll on us, doesn’t it? All the urgency, the disaster, the emergencies, the FEAR MONGERING. That’s what it used to be called back in the dark ages when I studied rhetoric: fear-mongering. How do you get people scared, because when they are scared, as we all know, they will either “fight or flight.” The writers of all the hyperbole and exaggeration are hoping we’ll fight with our wallets. That’s the problem, though: they’re hoping we’ll fight.

Most of you reading this lived through a dramatic alternative to fighting: non-violent resistance. We watched as Gandhi “used this method in a magnificent way,” wrote Martin Luther King, Jr, in his famous Love, Law and Civil Disobedience speech which was presented to the Fellowship of the Concerned of the Southern Baptist Church on November 16, 1961. By observing and studying Gandhi, MLK realized, “If we succumb to using violence in our struggles for freedom and justice, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness. Our chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.”

I find his words absolutely prophetic. We are in the midst of a seemingly endless reign of meaningless chaos. We are drowning in bitterness. Things feel desolate. Interestingly, according to history, it is the oppressed, the minorities, the impoverished who feel these things while the majority sails blithely on. I don’t think it is like that right now. I am the majority, and I feel inundated with hatred, horror and panic. I believe we are all under the same heavy cloud. I think we are all being blinded by fear.

How do we stay grounded?

The student non-violence movement of the 1960’s gives us a remarkable template for groundedness in the midst of “meaningless chaos.” Some of the things MLK discusses in this amazing speech are, first, that the means must be as pure as the ends. In simple language, we don’t teach a child to stop hitting by hitting him. Secondly, we must adhere to a consistent principle of non-injury. Most of us defy this principle all the time because we injure others in thought, word and deed constantly. We do not use non-violent language and we do not think non-violent thoughts. I know I am guilty daily. Third, we need to love others. MLK uses the Greek word, agape, to describe the love required: understanding, creative, redemptive good will to all people. We don’t have to like them. We have to love them. MLK’s famous example is that he cannot like someone bombing his home, but he can love that person. He can love that person because God loves him, MLK, and God loves that other person. Fourth, we must believe that there is within human nature an amazing potential for good. I always think back to my days as a nurses’s aide at Easton Hospital. I was assigned to the newborn nursery. In my five summers there, I never once held a “bad” baby. Fifth, the movement holds that there is a moral obligation to refuse to cooperate with evil, just as there is a moral obligation to cooperate with good. Hence, civil disobedience. And sixth, how do we know which laws we may disobey? A just law squares with moral law. A just law uplifts human personality. A just law becomes saneness made legal.

This sixth principle was what led the Boston Tea Party, the abolitionists, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Jesus of Nazareth, just to name a few of the rabble-rousers who felt and fulfilled the moral obligation to stand up to evil, unjust laws. Martin Luther King reminded his listeners that everything Hitler did in Germany was “legal.” All the anti-Semitism, all the sterilizations, all the medical experimentation, all the abuses, torturing and killing of the most vulnerable elements of the population was legal.

“Uncivil disobedience,” MLK said it should be called, because what we are objecting to is uncivilized, inhumane law and treatment. When parents come in for family therapy telling me they have a disobedient child, the first thing I want to do is get that child alone and find out just what those parents are expecting. I have rarely met a child who is disobedient at home when the rules are clear, consistent and loving. Kids who are being abused, punished on whim, treated unfairly, expected to be mind-readers, humiliated, ostracized and demeaned will either sink into depression (flight — fleeing from the environment by escaping inside their own heads), or fight (be disobedient).

This third way, this non-Democrat/ non-Republican way, is a way, it seems to me, we can remain grounded instead of blowing in the wind. Obviously we need a few practical suggestions to go along with all this philosophy, too. Those of us who already suffer from PTSD, anxiety or depression are particularly vulnerable to being caught up and thrown off-balance by the fear in the air. Limit how much you listen to, watch, or read. NEVER listen to the news before bed. In you awaken in the middle of the night, NEVER turn on technology. Meditate, pray, do yoga — have some sort of daily, consistent calming ritual, where you re-center yourself in your true, simple, soul self. Ground yourself in your senses when you feel yourself getting upset — focus on something you see, taste, smell, or hear. What noise do you hear right now? The comforting slosh of the washing machine? The birds saying, “Pretty! Pretty! pretty!” to you? Go get a peppermint and taste the cool flavor. Put some lavender oil or lotion on your arms. A thirty-second grounding in your senses will detour the run-away train of your anxious, depressed thoughts.

More on grounding ourselves as we learn to stay out of the dualistic either/or pull of these challenging times. I leave you with the positive wisdom of Clarissa Pinkola Estes: “We were made for such times!” Or, as the farmers say, “The cream rises to the top.” We got this. We can do this. We have each other!

Love, Susan

 

April 28, 2018 at 9:17 AM 3 comments

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