An Uplifting Dose of Positivity, Healing Light & Transformational Energy

New Moment, New Energy is about healing past imbalances, living in the empowered now and moving forward to create your best future self!

Archive for Overcoming Challenges

Even When they Are Family

 

A Personal Experience Story

We forged a close bond in an unusual way. It was those long car commutes to and from my corporate job many years ago — I on my cell phone and she on her home phone 1000 miles away in southern Florida. We shared thoughts and experiences, and chatted about family — and we laughed together, my mother-in-law and me.

Because we lived so far apart, these caring and joyful conversations kept me company on those tedious (and sometimes stressful) trips in rush hour traffic. And it was the only way I got to know her in a more personal way after my husband and I were married and blended out families together.

Then the years passed — many years — and we all grew older. My MIL (mother-in-law) is now elderly, infirm, disabled. She is legally blind, hearing impaired and mobility impaired. Certainly many challenges.  She reluctantly agreed to give up whatever little independence she had down in Florida and move up to an assisted living nearby to my home, so that my husband and I could help care for her.

Right before she moved here, we prepared for her arrival very diligently and happily — furnished her bright, lovely suite and made it as welcoming as possible. We believed that being near to family — particularly the great grandchildren — would be uplifting to her.  We were looking forward to having a close relationship with her. We had no idea what the reality would be — and now it is 14 months later and the “honeymoon” is certainly over!

The actuality of her negative, stubborn personality has been incredibly difficult for us. As joyful, as positive as we have both attempted to treat her — there is absolutely no joyful response and no appreciation. She is solely self-involved, with extreme focus on each disability and each pain she feels.

The constant barrage of negative energy has shaken me to the core. However, I always consistently remind myself that yes, I do love her, despite these challenges.  And every once in awhile, on a special outing or maybe when the inspired mood catches her, she might light up a bit and almost seem to have a glimmer of happiness in her countenance.  I wish that would be more of the norm!

Though there are aides and skilled nurses at her facility, some real care still falls to me, as well as to her son. One of my responsibilities include taking her to her doctors appointments.  In Florida, the business of “doctoring” is out of control with all the seniors, and when she was there, accompanied by her aid, she would visit doctors sometimes three times per week. That became the flow of her life and it was a comfort zone to her. Trying to replicate that absurd lifestyle cannot and will not happen here, much to her dismay. (Yes, she somehow enjoyed the doctors visits because it made her the center of attention.)

On the up side, MIL has finally become involved in some of the activities at her facility so that provides some minor busy-ness and interaction for her. And for that I am grateful.

However, the new challenge is that it appears she is at the beginning of some dementia, so on top of that challenging personality, we now have some mental decline to deal with. We cannot believe anything she tells us anymore, even though she states all things as if they are absolute reality.

My husband has waning patience — he works full time in the city and has limited time and energy to spend with her — and with her attitude in general, it is not conducive to encouraging him to want to spend time with her.  It is a sad situation for both him and me.

My resolve as we entered this current year was to step back from the judgmental, self-centered world in which my MIL lives.  Sure, I always cover my responsibilities and I provide care. Emotionally, I am remaining more aloof — for it is too easy to be overwhelmed with her constant drama.

So what is the lesson in all this?  Why do I share this? Yes, I will admit it is in part to vent, partly cathartic. Perhaps you, too, have dealt with something (or someone) similar — or perhaps you will someday down the line. And maybe you will say, “ah, yes, I totally understand.”

Is this a clear illustration of “the best laid plans, etc.”? Sometimes as much as we do set goals, as we do make every positive attempt to help someone, they are not receptive to us. We might think our joyful intentions, our heartfelt drive is so powerful — how can someone not get caught up in the wave of our optimism?  Believe me, there are obviously those that ARE unresponsive, those who make the personal choice to wallow in negativity, turbulence and victimhood. That is truly a depressing life choice.

We all have a choice about how we react to life — the sad thing is that many do not realize this. They remain unawakened.

And another lesson in all this is that powerful reminder that you can’t change anyone else. The only one you can change is yourself. That lesson keeps hitting home… But with my MIL, I was not trying to change her — just encourage her to be a bit more in the flow of peace and adaptability.

That is definitely my sincere wish for my MIL — peacefulness and acceptance of what is.  Also, when it is her time (and I believe this is still far into the future), I truly pray that it will be quick and painless, and maybe she will just pass gently one overnight when her soul is ready to begin the next leg of her spiritual journey.  As for now, we will continue to give her love as best as possible.

 

Affirmations:

  • I strive to remain patient and non-reactive with challenging people and situations.
  • I let kindness and compassion flow to others, with positive intention and a pure heart.
  • When challenging people and drama arise, I make sure to take care of myself in a nurturing, caring way — and remain peaceful within!
A Personal Experience Story

Life is certainly never static — it is a living, breathing ebb and flow of change, shift and transformation.  When we talk about achieving stability and balance, it is but for a temporary moment in time. And though it is a worthy goal to aspire to create some form of balanced harmony in our lives, it is critical to accept that change will always be part of our reality.

Yet the thought of change is daunting for most people, and change can present itself as a huge challenge.  Cultivating flexibility and adaptability — traits that will help you stay in that flow of coping and being open to new possibilities — is worth the inner work!

From my own personal experience of the last month or so, I have definitely had to deal with that specter of change.  My elderly mother-in-law (an octogenarian who was widowed 20 years ago) had two accidental falls too many in a short span of time and finally agreed to move up from her condo in Florida to an assisted living facility local to where I live in Long Island.

She was used to living an “independent” life or so she perceived it. But legally blind, hard of hearing, dependent upon a walker for mobility, her life there — away from all family — appeared more “isolationist” to my husband and myself. She had a home health aid to assist her during the day, and even drive her to wherever she needed or wanted to go.  But each health issue that presented became an ordeal, simply because there was no family around and concern for some serious issue without the support and caring of family was on our minds.

My mother-in-law is very quick to speak her mind and is not a particularly positive-minded person. The sudden availability of an apartment at the assisted living during the freezing heart of winter created a whirlwind of activity and stress in order to get her packed up. Figuring out what she could bring with her and getting rid of the rest of her stuff (some of it lifelong accumulation) was really tough for her, as it would be for anyone in her position. (Please know that she had much physical help in the form of my brother-in-law and his wife.)

Personally, I was anticipating a huge challenge and indulging in too much fear-based anxiety, yet secretly praying/hoping that perhaps she would acclimate… She is not a person who has ever done well with change. And yes, I believe in the Law of Attraction and focusing on positive aspects.  However, the practical side of me, based on previous experience with the lady, brought up challenging thoughts.

And even though the facility has an amazing and caring staff, ultimately I knew that I would be the one most responsible for her day-to-day life and needs, especially since my husband works in the city and is gone for very long days. So the bottom line was, how would this impact my own life?  Yes, I love her and DO have an excellent relationship with her — but this move is a significant change in my life — a life that is already very full without another facet (even a loving one) added to it.

It was about four weeks of anticipation for both her and us — and at the other end in Florida, she was extremely stressed by this whole packing up and preparing-to-move process, and leaving the comfort and knowingness of her home.  Additionally, she was unhappy about coming from the mild climate to this freezing Long Island winter — who could blame her for that?

So now you may wonder — how did it all go?

Well, she has been here for a month and I feel a sense of relief from all that fear-based expectation. Incredibly, she has adapted quite smoothly — a surprising and delightful shock to me and my husband.

Despite many obstacles, she has been fine. The first week she arrived, there was a quarantine lockdown because several cases of flu broke out — fortunately not her, but for several days, nobody from the outside was allowed in. I could not get in and start to bring her all the winter clothes that were shipped via UPS and had been delivered to my house. So her stuff was in limbo and we could not even visit her and she had very few clothes.  Eventually, all the boxes were delivered, brought over, unpacked and her little apartment is all set up now.

She seems happier than I have ever seen her. And I totally believe it really has to do with two things — first of all, the love and nearness of family. She will now be able to watch her great-grandson grow up and establish a relationship with him, which she is already doing. Secondly, she is receiving a very helpful level of care and attention from the facility and included are three hot meals a day that she loves.

So there have been enough positive things to override that she is mostly stuck in the facility due to the outdoor weather being too snowy, icy, frigid and treacherous for her to navigate with her walker.  But she has two heating controls in her apartment and can make it as hot and Florida-like as she wishes!

From my perspective, this journey has been made a bit easier because I have truly focused on being in the moment as best as possible. When my mind would sort of “run away” with trying thoughts about what would be, I would remind myself to be truly present, and simply take the actions of the the moment that were necessary to move the journey along. And part of me just needed to “surrender” and accept that this change coming into my own life would be a positive and joyful one. I would have the opportunity to establish a close relationship with my mother-in-law, especially since my own mother is gone for many years and I am open to having a surrogate “mom” in my life, even though I will be taking more care of her than she of me!

The one life lesson that was clear and powerful for me was that: LOVE really does overcome. I firmly believe that the attention and love that my mother-in-law is receiving from nearby family (us and others) has been instrumental in her accepting and dealing with this major life change. And yes, we are all still adjusting to her being here and working on defining our relationships in a way that is pleasing and workable for all.  Another, very beautiful thing, is that my mother-in-law, not usually very expressive of emotions, has been happily voicing her appreciation for all that my husband and I are doing to help her — so that is a truly kind side of her that I am seeing.

All is well and I am adjusting to this change in my own life, and there is now a feeling of ease and grace to it… and for that I am grateful!

Affirmations:

  • I accept shift and change with a mindset of ease and adaptability.
  • Life is a flow of ongoing changes, and I welcome new possibilities with joyful anticipation.
  • I strive to stay in the moment and to be present exactly where I am on my unique life journey.

We are an “in-touch”, communicative, technology savvy society — or so it would appear on the surface… However, despite all that ease of connection, we still have issues with kindly keeping in touch with those who are in our surrounding circle of family and friends, particularly when they are experiencing times of challenge.

Remember that old telephone advertising slogan “Reach out and touch someone”?? It should be so much easier to subscribe to that belief today — and yet…

I am sharing my own personal observations of “connectivity” in this fast-paced, modern world — so know this is my personal perspective. [Please leave a comment in the comments section and let me know what your own thoughts are.] But are people in general all so wrapped up in their own ego-centric little worlds that they can barely communicate within their immediate circle? That we cannot perceive other people’s pain because we just don’t feel or understand that connection to them?

That we simply refuse to find or make the time for a kind word whether it be in the form of a text, an email or a quick phone call call or even an old fashioned card or note in the real mail?

Of course, there are those who have a deep and profound level of compassion who reach out to anyone in need and that is a beautiful thing. I highly commend this altruistic attitude. But I truly believe they are in the minority, not the majority.

I embrace the concept that there is simply no excuse NOT to keep in touch or reach out, especially when someone close to you is truly hurting or would be helped by hearing from you…

So here are my own thoughts and suggestions for being there for others:

• Awareness and acknowledgment in general. Stay tuned in to the vibrations of others close to you. Know what is going on with others — keep updated. Do not hibernate in your own little shell.
• Be proactive in reaching out. If others are hurting, take the initiative to contact them! Someone who is hurting may not have the motivation to call you or text you so it is up to you to make the move toward connecting with them.
• Remain non judgmental. Respect a person’s feelings whether or not you agree or disagree with they way they are handling a situation.
• Let the person express or vent.  This is a beautiful skill to embrace. Simply lend a sympathetic ear.
• Remain non reactive to things that might not resonate with you — just be respectful.
• Do not offer much advice, unless invited to do so. Most people just need to share their feelings and thoughts and may be resistant to being told what to do if they are going through a difficult time.
Fake it even if you don’t feel a profound compassion. Your willingness to just listen and be there will be deeply appreciated by the other person. This sense of reaching out will greatly enhance the bond/relationship with this other individual

Keep in mind that a communication does not have to be a lengthy phone call (as your time and personal patience level may not always be up to that) but even a quick text message or email saying “I know what a tough time you are going through. Just know you are in my thoughts” will go a long way to soothe someone. For you it might take only a minute out of your busy schedule but for the recipient it might have major impact in helping give them a touch of comfort.

Affirmations

  • I take steps to reach out to others with compassion and understanding
  • I respect others’ feelings and emotions and strive to listen without judgment.
  • Even though I may not totally comprehend another’s personal experience, I still freely offer my support along their journey.

How well do you bend and flow with the storms and challenges of life? What about with the more gentler shifts and changes in daily realities — can you cope?

Flexibility is one of the key components to living a balanced, joyful and healthy life. Each individual is unique with the way that one adapts to the consistent flow of changes that are a part of the life experience here on planet Earth. Nobody’s reality is truly static. It is when one grasps on blindly to the “what is” — remaining caught in rigidity that brings one into the mindset of resistance. And we all know that resistance is a powerfully negative attitude that can disrupt the flow of well-being in a big way… Resistance takes us immediately out of that high-vibration, feel-good place.

Yet human nature seems to be prone to resistance. For we tend to be creatures of habit — even if those habits are not always the best for us. We seem to crave the comfort of sameness and routine.

For many, change is rarely perceived in a positive light.

Maintaining flexibility takes many forms. For our challenges take a multitude of forms. For instance, as I write this, I know that I am on call for Jury Duty this week. Of course, that is my civic duty and I am legally bound to attend when I am called. I am on standby and will call in each evening. I may get summoned to spend a day or more in court — or I may not. This is beyond my control. Do I want to be a juror — definitely not! This temporary state of “not-knowingness” is wreaking havoc with my week. I cannot schedule clients. I can’t make business plans. My car is having some issues and needs repair and it is difficult for me to schedule this as well. My elderly dog cannot be left alone for too many hours at a a time so I have to arrange care for him. You get the picture. And the thought of potentially getting stuck on a jury for a trial is very unnerving because of all these aforementioned considerations.

So have I felt some stress — more than I care to admit. But I have known about this obligation for some time and have even had a chance to emotionally prepare. Yet the bottom line emotion is resistance. So I am working on trying to regain a more flexible perspective — and I am feeling the inspiration to write this article because it is my own inner work therapy, so to speak. It is a reminder to flow with the current.

We need to adapt to not just changes in our lives, but also changes in those around us. A friend of mine has recently become a complete support system for her elderly mom who has experienced a series of serious health challenges in the last few months. My friend has had a very difficult time coming to terms with the aging of her parent because for such a long time her mom has been in such amazing and wonderful shape. So by her own admission, this lady just wants her mother to be the totally healthy and independent individual she was, and is resistant to adjusting to the way her mother is now at this point in time. But little by little, she is coming to terms with the situation, and appreciating the good in each day and the beauty of still having her loving mom around, even though she requires more care and supervision.

Some people honestly admit to being inflexible by nature and don’t see the need to be any other way. But of course, when challenges arise, they are the ones who become severely stressed out and overwhelmed and whose own physical/emotional health may become weakened because of this.

I always go back to that wise analogy of the old tall tree in the forest that bends and sways when the heavy winds and storms blow — but it survives to grow. We need to remain bendable. We must adjust our course periodically and change direction to stay afloat, on target — healthy, whole and in harmony with life. Adaptability helps us navigate and persevere.

So keep that in mind. Whether it is something as mundane as jury duty or as significant as a job change, loss — or an illness, setback, etc. let yourself be that bendable tree. Know that your roots can be strong and sturdy and “this too shall pass.”

Affirmations:

  • I strive to make adaptability an intrinsic part of my path toward self empowerment and joy.
  • A mindset of flexibility helps me deal effectively with all that happens in my everyday reality.
  • I flow with the current of life and tune in to my inner guidance for clarity and perseverance.

“It is not from where you come, but where you are now in joy, and where you are headed with enlightenment.” ~Sheryl Schlameuss Berger

This quote helps me live my authentic truth and helps keep me aligned with my soul path.  I understand how it feels to be so intertwined with negative thought patterns, but I also know how it feels to emerge from that cocoon of negativity and spread my newfound, colorful wings in the sunlight… delighting in the freedom of flight, away from that which previously held me constricted in an unhappy holding pattern…

I have many clients who come to me for healing sessions who express that they bear the burdens of being trapped in cycles of negative thoughts and emotions.

I hear many people state that they are “stuck.” I do not always understand or particularly like that metaphor. However, I take it to mean one is mired in the quicksand of negative thinking and can’t seem to escape.  People say things like: “My life is so difficult.” “I can’t seem to get away from problems and challenges.”

Sometimes my clients expect the Reiki energy to be a quick fix for all that ails them emotionally. I do let them know that Reiki can help bring them into a healing space of more joyful thought patterns, but that they MUST also do the inner work of making that change on their own. And it does take work!

For me, an outside objective observer, it is more obvious that everyone has the ability to decide to get unstuck — and to stop replaying the old “tapes” in your mind.

Get a grasp on the concept that YOU can choose your thoughts — isn’t that amazing? Doesn’t that make you incredibly powerful? I try to convey the profound meaning of this concept to others, but learning and understanding this is usually a process that takes time.  Though I would love to see the figurative light bulb go on in their minds with their face lighting up in an “Ah-ha” moment!

We often grow up in an environment that fosters negativity. I grew up in the perspective of a house filled with it. It is the way my parents grew up and that style of parenting is what they knew.  So of course, what did I learn — absolutely how to be a vessel of downtrodden, debilitating thought patterns…  I like to think that today’s parents are generally more enlightened and know the significance of bringing their children up in as joyful a household as possible.

So decide that it is time to write your own personal life story in a more positive, uplifting way. Say to yourself, “Today I will consciously focus on more joyful aspects of my reality.”

As an easy starting point, tune in to those little things that give you pleasure — your child’s smile, the unconditional love of your pet, the brightness and warmth of the morning sunlight, the scent of the flora that blooms in your garden — or your neighbor’s garden. Be in that space of joy and APPRECIATION as well. Yes, you can train yourself to do this.

When difficult thoughts start to rear their ugly heads, become aware and begin to shift them over to something positive in your immediate environment — or a beautiful, uplifting memory that gives you a sense of comfort and peacefulness.

Speak about your life in the confident, optimistic way that you want it to unfold… and then watch for little miracles that flow your way…

Affirmations:

  • Today I begin to shift my life toward more positive thought patterns!
  • I do the inner work of embracing more optimism in my life.
  • I create my reality in a joyful, uplifting way by cultivating an attitude of gratitude.

 

The new year breezed in with a gust of polar vortex air — frigid temperatures that brought challenges of their own. Plus a slew of unexpected everyday life obstacles.

So despite ringing in the energy of the new year on on optimistic note, writing my positive living article, I was — and still am — enmeshed in turbulence.

It was confusing for me a bit. I could not quite understand where these hurdles were really emanating from.

But I also know that surrounding energies and thoughts affect our personal space. And all that occurs reflects not just my own personal “energetic flow” but that of those around me.

And most of what transpired seemed apparently external in nature, beyond my personal control. A blackout burned out my refrigerator, and due to the holiday season — plus one very bad retail experience — I had no fully functioning refrigerator for 10 days!

Then some pipes froze and we were without cold water in the kitchen. The dishwasher burned out around the same time. And my wonderful trusty heavy-duty all-in-one printer that had been a work horse for nearly six years, printing my Reiki business certificates, flyers, forms in beautiful color — went into death throes.

Okay, so I was in appliance and technology hell — and perhaps still am.

Then my indoor/outdoor semi-feral kitty disappeared for three full days and I spent two days searching the neighborhood, posting flyers and almost thinking the worst… when he suddenly reappeared late one evening. A bit disoriented and completely ravenous, but okay… so I think he may have accidentally been locked in someone’s shed or garage. But it was not a fun few days.

And on the heels of that, Long Island endured another polar vortex with single digit temperatures, gusting winds and a 24-hour snowstorm. So I was out in those icy temperatures shoveling for hours. (The snowblower broke last year and we have not replaced it.) Sometimes young men with shovels who want to earn some cash come by and dig us out, but not one showed up this time.

I am physically exhausted and mentally drained as I write this. But in my heart, I know that this too shall pass.

Is there something for me to learn from these three or four weeks of constant turmoil? To maybe look at the bright side, that proverbial “silver lining” — my Reiki business has been greatly expanding. Our health is fine — and that is something to be immensely grateful for.

Life throws curves and challenges at all of us — no one is exempt. It is a question of how we react, how we persevere and how adaptable and flexible we allow ourselves to be as we traverse the winding road.

It is essential not to let yourself sink from all the constant hurdles. And sometimes a string of relatively petty hurdles does begin to seem like an insurmountable mountain of challenge.

Keep your sights set on something uplifting, whatever you can envision. The other night a friend posted a video of a sunrise on a beautiful, serene and unpopulated beach. For five minutes I watched the sun rise gently and brilliantly in this video and was amazingly soothed by it.

Take small, sweet moments that feel good to you and expand them. Stay present when there is a task to be done and don’t go into the “woe is me” frame of mind for that does not serve anyone. Ultimately, it will not help you feel any better.

Know that life flows and shifts in a constant tide of ups and downs, but enjoy the times when the sailing is smooth — let yourself deeply bask in the gratitude for those moments. Know that you would not be able to appreciate those feel-good moments if you don’t occasionally experience the opposite.

In the grander perspective, take some comfort in the fascinating and multi-textured weave that makes up the fabric of your life…

Affirmations:

  • I handle challenges that arise with ease and perseverance.
  • I learn important lessons from all phases and aspects of my unique life path.
  • By remaining flexible in attitude, I peacefully and wisely navigate any turbulent waves that head in my direction.

Okay, maybe you will never forget. And maybe you can’t imagine ever forgiving. But what about the possibility of simply “releasing?” Which is another variation on the theme of letting go of anger and negative feelings, an in-between point that may be far easier to embrace.

When you remain stuck in place of feeling and believing that someone has so wronged you (we are talking super, mega-wrong) you cannot find peace in the now moment, much less be able to move ahead in a joyful way. You are simply existing in a place of complete rage or outrage, only seeing yourself as a victim.

Being consumed by anger for someone else is self-destructive. I think it was Guy Finley who said that being overwhelmed by anger, resentment and hatred is like drinking poison and thinking the other person will die. You are only “killing” yourself emotionally.

I am not saying that it is easy to move away from this negative place, but it CAN be done.

But you must be ready to truly release and let go — to do the inner work of letting go of those feelings of fury, wrath and all those simmering negative sensations that accompany them. And you can set your intention to release the happening and the accompanying feelings into the past.

Ask yourself: If something positive at all is coming out of this situation and this challenge, what would that be? Did I learn a life lesson? Did I grow stronger because of this? There is always something helpful that arises out of these scenarios, but you may have to call upon your inner guidance to help understand it.

I heave heard both friends and clients make severe statements such as “he ruined my life” or “she destroyed my chances of…” When one succumbs to believing those things, you are giving your power away — meaning giving said wrongdoer an unbelievable amount of perceived power over you.  Yes, someone difficult may have cast challenges and obstacles along your path — and of course you need to deal with them. However, how reactive you become in response to these challenges determines the way you cope with them and how you feel about them. It is essential to stop making those kind of statements, because they are extreme “negative affirmations.”

Everyone has heard that old saying, “Forget and forgive… In some of these cases it is extremely difficult to even contemplate that compassionate action of forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning what anyone has done. And no one need verbally forgive an “oppressor.” Forgiveness in this context implies emotional forgiveness directed toward the person from your heart of hearts.  In reality, it has only to do with you and what you are feeling.

And some think “Forget about forgetting. I will never forget what happened. I will never forget his/her actions.”

Embracing the act of releasing can be very healing. You will feel an amazing freedom when you consciously decide to emotionally let go of the event, the surrounding feelings, to let them become part of the flow of the past, and not something that will continue to negatively impact the present. Choose to be in the joyful vibration of the now moment and reclaim your personal power!

If you can do the inner work (and if you need some professional therapy, then get it) effectively, you will be able to move ahead with greater joy and confidence. And we are all worthy of having a joyful uplifting road in life. Releasing those overwhelming wrathful feelings is like emerging from the dark turbulence of a storm to be bathed in beautiful, warming rays of sunlight… Make the decision to embrace those rays of sunlight.

Affirmations:

  • I make a conscious choice to let go of angry, wrathful emotions and nurture myself with kindness.
  • I release all difficult feelings that no longer serve me — and strive to focus on the joy and blessings of the present moment.
  • Overcoming challenges and obstacles in my life journey influence me to be a stronger, more confident individual.

Admit it — you get angry, frustrated and raise your voice on occasion. Or maybe too often. I am guilty of it at times, even though some people think because of my career path that I must be completely “zen” and calm always. Oh, how I wish that were true. And believe me, I am consistently doing the inner work of striving to maintain a sense of tranquility, non-reaction and the skill of being non-judgmental. But it can take a lifetime (and perhaps several) to learn some of these lessons.

As we are all members of this particular species — that is, human — and I say that with a smile, we are all prone to a broad spectrum of feelings, thoughts, behaviors and self-expression.

It is NORMAL to get cranky, angry, sad, frustrated and the like…

It is NORMAL to be dramatically reactive in certain situations…

We all have learned behaviors, ones we’ve brought with us from childhood on. Personally, any snapshot slice-of-life picture of my own childhood was far from peaceful and harmonious. My family thrived on drama and raised voices. For them, yelling was a socially acceptable expression of whatever frustration they were feeling at the moment. I thought that familial yelling and screaming was something everyone experienced and grew up with. I was quite surprised to learn such is not the case.

It has taken many years to un-learn some of my own ingrained behaviors. So, in my attempt to veer off into the other end of the spectrum and be this perfectly harmonious individual, I have discovered THAT is not normal either. So where is the balance? How can one achieve the middle ground? After all, to be totally zen, I think one would have to become a monk and live on a mountain in Tibet.

After much pondering and life experience, I have come to some conclusions.

1) I do believe it is important to slow down in life, as best one can, despite all the rushing and ultra-busyness of modern life. Slowing down allows you to catch your breath, get in touch with your inner guidance and also tap in to the wellspring of peacefulness or at least some semblance of calm that lies within.

2) DO strive to do the inner work of seeking and embracing tranquility/harmony/etc in whatever way will work for you individually. Maybe that is meditation, yoga, deep breathing, taking a walk, whatever feels right and peaceful to you.

3) It is okay to have periods of more dramatic and excited “self-expression” or negative self-expression. Permit yourself to raise your voice and show some anger or frustration if you truly need to do so and allow this personal release.

4) However, when you do need to release difficult emotion, keep it brief. If it should end up being directed at someone, be sure that person understands that you are having “a moment.” And that you still care about them. (And I am not condoning taking your frustration out on another, but I am acknowledging that as humans, we sometimes do this.) But try to keep any outbursts as something that you personally are experiencing as opposed to inflicting upon another.

One example from my own life was on particular occasion when my husband developed what I consider “domestic amnesia.” Which means he totally forgets about and distances himself from anything at all that may need to be done in the house, even small things that he is usually responsible for. I love him and he is a terrific husband, but occasionally… So this one time he was supposed to take care of something, actually a few somethings — and didn’t — and of course, I was feeling very frustrated. So I definitely got a little huffy and raised my voice but felt so guilty afterward. And then I felt guilty about feeling guilty. Because I do take care of most everything in the house since he works long commuter hours in Manhattan. So maybe he needed to hear what I had to say and maybe I needed to say it in a louder voice to get his attention and make a shift in his approach to taking care of a few things…

But my outburst was brief and it is infrequent that I allow such behavior to surface. And in the end, my husband DID respond to my requests and became more helpful.

The bottom line is that it is okay to permit some negative feeling to be expressed. Just don’t bathe in it, wallow in it and let it last interminably. Don’t become a victim to this behavior. And don’t let someone else bear the serious brunt of it. Let it come to the surface and then flow out… and be done with it.

And DO make every effort to find other constructive and gentler ways of expressing these emotions, channeling them into release before you get to the breaking point…

So acknowledge your “human-ness” and know that encompasses a broad perspective of self-expression. Choose the path of finding your personal voice in your own life — expressing your authentic self on an emotional level but in a way that you show up as a kind, caring, calm, considerate individual.

Affirmations:

  • I embrace an attitude of peacefulness and do the inner work of bringing tranquility and balance into my everyday life experience.
  • I acknowledge my need to express negative emotions and I do so as gently and constructively as possible.
  • My inner guidance helps me express my thoughts in a clear, candid yet tactful way.

So what happens when despite all your efforts to carefully arrange and coordinate the varied facets of your life, the Universe dumps chaos into your reality? Okay, that might sound a bit dramatic. But can you relate to this — at least sometimes?

As a holistic healer, one would think that I spend most of my time being zen and serene — perhaps tuned into the whisperings and secrets of the Universe as I sit cross-legged on cushions surrounded by incense and sage. I only wish!

The reality of modern life (particularly on Long Island) makes the attainment of peacefulness quite an interesting challenge. And on occasion, it almost seems beyond my energetic grasp.

Sometimes we get caught up in an intense swirl of momentum — ending up on the verge of overwhelm. As a positive living proponent, I dislike even writing about overwhelm because it gives way too much negative attention and power to that thought.

So how does one cope? How can one find any sense of tranquility with so many obstacles and demands?

The one consistent answer I have found in terms of that elusive quest for some semblance of tranquility is that the most profound place to look is right in your heart. Going within, tuning in to that abundant inner wellspring is sometimes the only way to tap into the flow of serenity. And going within can be as simple as affirming “I tune in to the innate peacefulness of my soul,” or “My light is strong and radiant.” “I can easily weather this moment, this bump in the road that will soon be past.”

By tuning in to your heart, I also refer to the knowing that peace is more a state of just being, not so much something to actively seek. It is simply a feeling, a sense of harmony with the world on a more broader perspective. Despite the temporary curtain of chaos that may envelop us, in our heart resides that pure seed of all that is calm, radiant, loving and compassionate. And we just have to pay attention to it for it to flourish and grow.

If you can take even ten to fifteen minutes a day to quiet your mind it will be a helpful boost to get you into the flow of harmony. Just breathe, focus gently on your breath. Put on some soft, calming music if that feels right to you.

Additionally, remember to stay in the moment. Be truly present. When chaos abounds, handle one thing at time — the most immediate priority and let all else wait. And do not feel guilty about it. One can only do so much at a time.

Whatever it takes, temporarily tune OUT the surrounding turmoil and tune in to YOU. Even a brief respite can give you a much needed dose of rejuvenation to see you through the day. And do not feel guilty about taking a little time for yourself.

Life is full of cycles, ebbs and flows. I always embrace that timeless adage that “This too shall pass.” For it will…

 Affirmations:

  • Peace and tranquility reside within my heart — and I am learning to easily connect with these feelings.
  • I know that on a soul level, I am always in harmony with my right life path.
  • I embrace the concept that serenity is a state of mind and heart, and is not dependent on external events.

Sometimes we lean into a shift– we choose it. Other times it is thrust upon us. Regardless of how something manifests, shifts can have a dramatic impact on our lives and can leave us with profound life lessons. But the lessons aren’t always obvious so sometimes you must closely examine the situation and find the lesson concealed within. And it can be very eye-opening and fulfilling to discover these lessons.

For me, there were three to four weeks of waves of challenge just surging in like a turbulent sea during a storm. My husband ended up in the emergency room — he was having a heart attack. It was a horrific and painful experience for him (and a very demanding and scary one for me.) He ended up spending a total of five days in the hospital, even though his heart attack was deemed “minor” and a best case scenario from a heart attack perspective. He finally was given the go ahead to be released (his heart rate had stabilized and lowered) and I brought him home.

Four days later we were hit with a major hurricane that left Long Island quite devastated in general, but left us without power, heat and hot water for fifteen days. The temperature inside the house dipped down to a chilly forty-something degrees on some of the colder nights. And my husband had to spend most nights out, as the cold was too taxing on his recovery. I spent a night or two alone in a very cold, dark house with my pets. Most nights we were like nomads, going from house to house, friend to friend. We depended on the kindness of neighbors, friends and nearby family.

Yes — life challenges change us – there is no doubt about that.

The question is does a particular difficult challenge change us for the better or the worse? Initially you may feel downright sad, angry, frustrated. So you need to move through much of the challenging time period first. But when you find yourself finally moving into clarity, and you are gaining forward momentum, ask yourself the question: what did I learn from this experience? And really feel into it.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • Am I stronger from the experience?
  • Did I gain insight into who I really am at my core?
  • Did this experience teach me how to appreciate the beauty, balance of normalcy and the simplicity of everyday routine life?
  • Did I  learn how to genuinely be present and to focus solely on the moment in order to survive?

For me, life during that “dark period” was absolutely a struggle, but we were so profoundly touched by the compassion of many people. One of the lessons we learned was that sometimes being “power-less” meant we had to completely surrender to the “powers that be” — to the Divine plan and also to the compassion of people we did not know well, but who gently and warmly came to our rescue. So though we were power-less, we were profoundly empowered by this knowing. We were enveloped by a warm blanket that was a sense of community that we had rarely experienced or acknowledged during the flow of “normal” life.

I learned to appreciate the modern conveniences in our lives. When our power finally came back on, my husband and I had emotional tears of relief in our eyes. We turned on every light in the house, just needing to soak up and absorb the feeling of radiant electric light. I know in my heart that this feeling of appreciation will last a long while as the lesson was deeply ingrained.

Make every effort to learn from your experiences — even if the experiences rock your world. Our challenges do shape us into who we are — and if we let ourselves morph into stronger, more compassionate, more alive, and more loving individuals — than we have powerfully reached for the positive result and will be happier for it.

Affirmations:

  • Overcoming challenges and obstacles helps me grow stronger.
  • I greet the ebb and flow of life with an attitude of flexibility and adaptability.
  • I strive to remain true to my integrity and my core essence, particularly when navigating through turbulent times.