Tag Archives: self care

Self-Care Isn’t Selfish! 5 Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care

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There have been a few times in my life that I have had what I refer to as a “light bulb” moment. It happens when something becomes so crystal clear and illuminated in my mind, almost like a light bulb has been turned on in a dark room.

I had a light bulb moment when thinking about my self-care routines, and ultimately it helped to transform me and change extended to my entire family.

As a young mom I had an idea in my head that being a martyr meant I was “doing it right.” I thought that putting everyone else’s needs before my own meant that I was proving my love to my family. The only problem was that when I did they got the exhausted, depleted, and overwhelmed version of Mommy.

We have all heard flight attendants instruct us to put our oxygen mask on before those that we are caring for. Every single time I fly I silently thank the airline for the gentle reminder. It never gets old.

We cannot share what we don’t have. If we don’t have reserves of energy that allow us to feel balanced and centered we can’t give our best to our children and loved ones, to our jobs, or to our friends and extended family.

The more I began to prioritize my own needs and care, by practicing meditation, mindfulness and gratitude, the more patient, present and joyful I became. I was able to bring the best version of myself to everyone that I cared about.

What I learned as I transformed from a “hot mess” to a “mindful mom” is that it doesn’t take as much time as one would think to practice self-care. Small tweaks had a huge impact on my life. Things such as: Continue reading

Pathological Altruism

You know that thing we do, where we overextend ourselves unnecessarily when we don’t have sufficient physical, financial, emotional or spiritual resources? Scientists have now coined a name for this: “Pathological Altruism.”

In today’s New York Times article about this, the incomparable Natalie Angier gives revealing examples: a doctor who pushes for more invasive, aggressive techniques because “there is always hope,” “animal hoarders” (a real term) who amass so many animals that they can’t care for them all and they begin to die, patients of bulimia who are so tuned into others feelings that they sacrifice their own well being.

I grant there are times when over-extension is necessary. I often give this example: I arrive home tired at the end of a long day. I know that what I need is a home-cooked meal, a bath and a soothing evening. But as I am leaving my car, I see my elderly neighbor has fallen, injured himself and can’t get up off the sidewalk. Nobody else is there to bring him to the hospital. What do I do? Take my bath and leave him there? It is not even a question. Of course I bring him to the hospital.

Or maybe I have a chronically sick child, parent, spouse, pet. Or an infant. There are stretches in life that demand a lot.

These situations are the exceptions to the put-on-your-own oxygen-mask-before-helping-your-neighbor-on-a-plane rule. When we make it a habit to prioritize our own well being, we are not sacrificing the well being of others. On the contrary, we are likely to be healthier, kinder, more solid human beings and, fundamentally, isn’t that who we would like to see populate our world? Isn't that what we thrill at seening in our children and admire in our heros?

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / rishibando

HE STILL CALLS ME A GIRL!

A CONVERSATION ON GYM TRACK:  "You are both an inspiration to me" I said.  "Never give up" this elderly woman told me.  And her husband  said " I been chasing this girl around for 73 years, and I still can’t keep up with her." She replied "He still calls me a girl." 

This conversation took place on the indoor track at the gym.  A woman on a walker with wheels, went slowly around the track.  About ten feet behind her, a man walked even more slowly while holding onto the railing around the track.  At one point the man caught up with the woman, and we all left the track together.  I told the elderly couple that they were an inspiration to me and that I wanted to be like them when I "grew up."  

Psychic Medium and Inspirational Author Carole Lynne

www.carolelynne.com

www.carolelynnecosmicconnection.com

Love Starters: 3 Ways To Start Your Year From LOVE v.s. FEAR

I am a big believer in the phenomenon that how you begin your year is how you will live your year. And as I recently learned from my acupuncturist Dr. Feng, there is an ancient Chinese proverb that says the exact same thing. That is powerful medicine. Think about it, how you decide to step into these first few weeks of January says a lot about the energy you will walk with the remaining 11 months.

To get into the spirit of how I want to begin a new year, I like to imagine myself wearing a new pair of shoes that fits who I want to BE that year, and then see myself walk through the days of the calendar month by month wearing those shoes.

For 2011, wearing red velvet, heeled, rounded toe, 1930s looking beauties, I had a radical thought for how to step into this coming year: "What if I I made a conscious choice to choose LOVE instead of FEAR, in every moment of every day? Like literally input a new decision making tree into myself, so that when fear showed up, I could turn the channel and find my way to happy place vs scary place… what would happen?"

Now I’m not talking about living without fear, because I think that it’s natural to feel fear in today’s world. I am talking about amping up awareness of fear so keenly that you could see it and smell it as soon as it arrives, and then using all of your self-love and feminine super power muscles, make the choice to move through it to find the truth, to find love for yourself.

So I’ve put on my red velvets and turned this question into a 40-day self-love practice called "See past the fear into the love." While I don’t know how this will all turn out, I do know that in the past 5 days since I started this walk, I am happier, more peaceful and feeling more loved than ever before.

Some of the benefits I’ve already experienced include:

* The ability to ignore the voices of "You better have a plan. What are your goals for 2011? What do you mean you don’t know yet?"

* The ability to enjoy the fact by January 31st I will have clarity on my stake for 2011… and I’m loving being in the not-knowing and discovering in the meantime. Journaling, reading, listening, meditating.

* I am taking naps. When I feel tired, instead of pressuring myself to have it all figured out, I go to sleep. Usually I wake up with some really great insight.

* I have turned the constant churn of my mind off, the mind that is always generating a new idea or angle about how to solve, create or find the answer to what to do. My mind is clear and I am learning to listen with my body.

* I’ve created less work and more impact – enough said.

This is all one big experiment, and as I learn, I promise to share with you. For now, I share with you 3 of the self-love guidelines my practice of "See past the fear into the love" has given me for starting out the year. I call them Love Starters, because they support you to start your 2011 from LOVE not FEAR, and in today’s crazy world, we can all use the support!

1. Revise Your Timeline to have 2011 "Figured out."

FEAR: "Rush, rush, move into action! You must know what you are going to do, accomplish, where you going in 2011, now!"

LOVE: "Give yourself the month of January to REVEAL what this year desires to GIVE YOU, vs you being the one to make it all happen. You will be delighted and surprised, promise."

If Rome wasn’t built in a day, why the heck would you try to figure out your entire year in a week? The entire month of January according to the Native American tradition is called the ‘dream time.’ Think about it. The northern hemisphere of the earth is frozen, things are still. We humans would be well served to be still too. The value of the stillness of January is that in the silence we can tune into our Inner Wisdom and see possibilities for our year that we couldn’t if we were busy moving into full action. Give yourself full permission to take the pressure off of having to figure it out all of 2011 now (or ignoring it completely). Do like the groundhog does, come out on Feb 2nd with your grand 2011 statements and desires.

2. Let Your Body Tell You What It Needs

FEAR: "You have to fit into a bathing suit in a few months you know… all that sugar, fat and alcohol you consumed is sitting right on your hips… work out 7 days a week, diet, and refrain from eating anything and everything that you enjoy, it’s what you have to do to get back in shape."

LOVE: "What you consumed over the holidays is the past, it’s irrelevant to today… and the truth is that while you probably did indulge, you enjoyed yourself! Now your body wants something different. Listen to what she needs, LOVE her in to the shape she wants. And give her some time to get there. Being healthy and fit sounds way better than dieting!"

The tabloids and slew of diet-focused emails you receive in January would have you believing that if you don’t drop 5lbs by Jan 31, you are doomed. Did you know that it’s a normal winter activity for your body to put on a few extra lbs to keep you warm? Give your temple a chance, she will shed what she doesn’t need, if you listen. Maybe it’s a cleanse or pulling back on sugar. Drop the militant approach and the focus on all the ‘bad’ choices you made to get here… focus on listening to where your body wants to go from here.

3. Relax, don’t do it. Slow down.

FEAR: "The party is over! Holidays are done. Time to get back to work. Look, you are already behind! Better speed it up."

LOVE: "Slow down, there is no where to speed off too. Practice being present. Enjoy the stillness. Pay attention to clearing out clutter – in your body, mind, emotions and spirit. Slowing down now will help you go faster later."

While your achievement junkie and doing addict may be pulling your arm and pushing you from behind to get a move on it, to propel yourself into action, your Inner Wisdom knows that January, the dreaming time, is a time of stillness, replenishment and clearing. This is the time for inner movement not outer movement. So concentrate your energy on things that bring you internal clarity, that clear your physical and emotional bodies and that replenish you. I for one have been enjoying my naps! The more you can slow down, the more you will be able to hear the wisdom, and fuel up for the work ahead.

BONUS LOVE STARTER: Pick your pair of shoes for 2011 – what and how will you walk through 2011? And if you really want to turn up the self love, go out and buy them! Or find a picture of them and put them where you can see them.

I really encourage you to give yourself the month of January to clear out and listen for what is upcoming in your year. To give yourself the gift of self-love by taking care of the most important partner you will ever have in this lifetime – you.

I understand the pressure to have it all figured out, to move into action, to get that body back in shape today, I notice it all around me, and sometimes, more than I would like it to, it does creep in and catch hold of my emotions, my mind and my spirit. Which is why I chose this 40-day self love practice of seeing beyond the fear into the love. The moment I feel myself moving into rush mode, feeling anxiety about not having my entire calendar planned, or faced with another 15 hour day… I am committed to stopping, noticing my own fear, and seeing past it to love.

I’ve already found answers, some I have shared here with you. And I know there will be more. I look forward to celebrating February 13, the international day of self-love, with you so that we can all celebrate the gift of love we chose to start our year with.

Laughter Really is the Best Medicine

My video collection is inexplicable, unless you understand its purpose.  The only movies I actually purchase to keep are those which are safe and make me laugh.  I know no one dies, there is no violence, no animals are killed or harmed in the viewing of this movie and it makes me laugh.

Now I have a fairly warped sense of humor, but that’s OK.  These movies are not for other people.  They are for me.  When I’m going through a stressful period, when I’ve been exposed to too much pain at work, when I’ve heard too many horrifying details of the trauma some of my clients have experienced, when I’m too tired to think, or when I’m feeling really down I put in one of these movies.  I know the lines by heart.  I know nothing awful is going to flash on the screen.  I know they are not going to scare me or make me sad.  I count on them to comfort me and make me laugh.  They are one of the forms of self soothing I use.  I can be very serious and focus on the negative too much and this provides balance.  I use DVDs of stand up comedy the same way.  But I forget to mention this.   In some ways it seems too simple, and it is.  But it works.   

 

I’ve found this same technique works for clients.  One woman was going through a very painful divorce which left her racked with grief.  She sobbed and sobbed, which is good.  She needed to get it out and I would never want to thwart the expression of feelings or use any method to deny them.  Feelings are to be felt.  But sometimes you’ve felt all you can and need a break from the pain.  This client had a favorite old comedy series that she had watched as a child.  Fortunately, these days, you can buy these old favorites in complete sets.  She did.  And she watched one show after another as a way of comforting herself.  It worked.  It soothed the heartache of her loss and enabled her to face the world again. 

If you don’t have such a collection you might want to think about starting one.  It’s important to remember that you are buying these for you.  What makes each of us laugh is very individual and personal. 

For more articles on self care and mental health, please visit my blog at:  www.kellevision.com.

 

 

Path to Spirituality: Honesty and Discipline

It is so easy to understand what the other guy needs to do. What is really tough is looking ourselves straight in the eyes and taking in the truth about what we need to do to “clean up our act.” 

Many of us have noticed that the massage therapist never gets a massage, the diet counselor is over weight, and the physical trainer is either doing too much exercise or not enough. Of course there are exceptions, and please do not take offence if you are a massage therapist, diet counselor or physical trainer. The point that is being made here, is that it is easy to advise others, and extremely hard to have the courage to look at ourselves honestly.  It is even harder to develop the discipline needed to solve our personal challenges.

The path to spirituality is self improvement. If we can do what is good for ourselves, then we can lead better lives and have much more to offer our families, friends, communities and the world.

 

Psychic Medium and Inspirational Author Carole Lynne

www.carolelynne.com

www.carolelynnecosmicconnection.com

Pampering Thy Self Means Global Pampering

Considering that we are all in this quantum soup place we call the universe together and all our pieces are what makes the whole, pampering “thyself” should be on the top of everyone’s list.

Pampering Tips For Your Organic Space!

Your Favorite Music
This is almost an immediate mood/energy changer for most of us. A quick way to do adjustments throughout the day when needed is to put on the tunes and do a quick dance in your space. I consider this part of attention to our spirit.
 
Human Touch
It is now proven that the human touch is an important support to health while we are here in these bodies! Thanks to healing therapists even if someone does not have a lover, child or friend to hold our hand, we can still fulfill this need with a massage, reiki service or other healing touch modality. Ever tried a wet room treatment at a day spa. Incredible. My colleagues and I partake in the Hunters Retreat at Burke Williams. Delightful!
 
Good Food
Good food is usually simple food, closer to the way nature created it. Purchased most cost effective through local farmers and prepared at home, or better yet, grow it at home. I believe this to be the start to a healthier body, mind and part of our collective human responsibility to ensure long term health of our planet and physical bodies. We need a good house for our spirit to play in.
 
Attention to Your Body
At least once a week we should all take care of our skin, hair, nails and sleep. What is equally important is the practice of prevention which should be considered as a necessity of pampering thyself. If we don’t take care of ourselves we end up turning to our disease care system we call the medical system which can bankrupt people when they are sick and is inaccurate at many times . I’d rather just take care of my body, it’s much simpler.   
 
Enjoying Spirit
The obvious, meditation, every day. Implemented every day, this beautiful time with you is priceless. Start off with invigorating your sense of smell. Favorite oils can be great to rub in your hands, inhale to enjoy. They can evoke different energies.

Enjoying your relationships is enjoying your spirit as well. I just loved the eye opening article from Dr. Chopra on dealing with negative family members he posted on the 3rd. I found some healing in the line “If your perception of them (family) is dominated by your love for them, without any expectation that they should be different than they are, then you won’t see them as a negative influence.”

A most excellent view which enhances the flourishing of love in relationships and spirit!

It takes a tribe to raise the children.
It takes a tribe to take the best care of themselves to create a healthy tribe.
 
  

Always Organically Yours,
Renay Matthews
 
Connor’s  view, Anini  Beach, Kauai 2009
The King of Pampering
 
Renay Matthews can be reached at www.organeewellness.com

Building Self Esteem through Self Care

Many people ask me how to build self esteem.  I think one of the most important aphorisms I’ve heard was spoken many years ago by Dear Abby, "We teach people how to treat us."  So this is where you begin, with good, healthy self care.  When you care for yourself you communicate to yourself and others that you are worthy of care.  What constitutes good self care?

Several years ago I wrote a checklist for childhood trauma survivors who needed to learn how to reparent themselves in healthy ways, as opposed to the neglect and abuse they had received at the hands of their parents.  These same rules apply to all of us.  That article is below and applies to anyone, whether you have been abused by others, or neglected by yourself. 

Self Care 101

A lack of self care can be the first indicator that the trauma is getting the best of us. Many survivors of abuse are taught to sacrifice their own wellbeing to satisfy the needs of an abuser. As adults some survivors act out the abuse they suffered as children by repeating the abuse over and over. In order to fully heal you have to rewrite the script that was handed to you. You are no longer a victim of abuse. You are not longer an object to be used for the pleasure of others. Replace the hurt that was inflicted upon you with loving, nurturing self care. This will communicate not only to yourself, but to others around you, that you are worthy of respect and kindness.

1. Sleep

Sleep is more important to your body’s ability to function properly than food or water.Your body repairs itself when you are sleeping deeply. Failing to get enough sleep impairs your body’s ability to function and, if severe enough can actually result in your system starting to break down. Your thinking and emotions are particularly susceptible to lack of sleep. Sleep is often a very big problem for trauma survivors, especially survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Many children are abused while they are sleeping. Making your world safe enough for you to be able to sleep is crucial.

2. Eat

The eating habits of the modern human are often deplorable. How many times have I been working with an anxiety ridden trauma survivor only to find that they are downing coffee and energy drinks all day? Caffeine and anxiety often don’t mix well! Neither do high sugar products. Sugar and caffeine will temporarily boost your energy and make your neurons fire a bit faster, but they both end with a crash. The crash can often leave you feeling worse than before and you may resort to more coffee or candy bars to boost you back up. Caffeine and sugar also artificially boost you way up. This boost can also boost your anxiety or your hypervigilance and may increase the changes of a panic attack.

For energy it is better to mix quality proteins with complex carbohydrates and quality fat so your body has a steady source of fuel throughout the day instead of a massive jolt, then a crash. The neurotransmitters your brain makes to calm you (like serotonin and dopamine) and to provide you with energy (like norepinephrine) are made from amino acids which are in proteins. Providing your body with enough water to be properly hydrated also insures that all systems are firing properly since dehydration results in clouded thinking and fatigue. Good self care requires a good healthy diet so your body has the nutrients it requires to function well.

3. Exercise

Exercise releases dopamine and endorphins which calm and soothe. However, I have found that different kinds of exercise work differently for everyone. Some people do best with high energy cardio workouts. The extra endorphins and the fatigue which results is very calming for them. Others are only agitated more by high energy workouts and find it increases their anxiety. Calming workouts like yoga, tai chi or qi gong work better for them. Some people like to workout best in the air conditioning, while others don’t like to be around other people and/or prefer fresh air and sunshine. Experiment with them all and see which works best for you. Whatever you choose, it should be enjoyable and pleasant and should calm you in the long run.

4. Socialize

Developing a support group is essential to good self care. Having people around you with whom you can confide and lean on during those difficult periods is important. It is also important to foster relationships built on honesty and trust. Having a friend or loved one who will pull you out of your shell and take you to a movie when you need it or confront you when you are not taking care of yourself is crucial. Friends and loved ones should be there when you are sad, help you see the light when you are lost and let you vent when you are angry. You should be able to get a “reality check” from them. They should be able to tell you the truth, with compassion. Cultivate relationships with people who give as much as they take – and be sure to reciprocate!

5. Play

 

Learn to play. Experiencing trauma is learning to see the world as a dangerous place. But the world can also be a tremendously fun place. Garden, play games with your kids or your dog, go to an amusement park, enjoy a special movie, play, opera or concert with a special friend or loved one. Take time to entertain yourself. Laughter is especially therapeutic. I once had a client in the throes of a devastating divorce. He purchased the entire DVD set of an old comedy sitcom he enjoyed and watched a few shows every night. In order to be healthy it is important to exercise your sense of humor. Laughter can truly be the best medicine.

6. Soothe

Touch is a very basic human need and it deeply affects us. Most survivors of abuse have experienced some form of violence against their bodies. Learning to enjoy the sense of touch again is crucial. Whether it is a massage, a yoga workout or a warm bath, take back the good feelings your skin and body are capable of generating.

7. Think

Minds need stimulation in order to be happy and content. Boredom is a killer to a healthy human mind. Expose yours to things which stimulate your five senses in a positive way and stimulate you to think. Computer programmers have a saying, “GIGO”, Garbage In Garbage Out. Be aware of what you put into your mind. I had a client who was having nightmares every night. Granted, she had experienced a lot of trauma in her life, but her nightly habit of watching a horror flick right before going to bed did not help. Graphic movies, violent music, loud or stressful work environments, working in a place with a nasty stench. Be aware of what you are exposing your mind to. People who have an endless string of complaints and are negative and draining? People who are violent, abusive or manipulative? Garbage In, Garbage Out. Go to an art gallery. Listen to beautiful, soothing music. Learn to cook beautifully prepared and healthy foods. Try foreign films instead of horror flicks. Attend a lecture on something that fascinates you.

8. Chill

Learn to take things in stride. So much of what we experience depends on our viewpoint. Be patient with yourself and with others. Allow for foibles, mistakes and human error. Address negative thought patterns that cause you to be frustrated, annoyed, irritated or angry with yourself and others. Look at perfectionistic attitudes which cause you to be too hard and unforgiving with yourself and others. Slow down, take things as they come and focus on living in the moment. Many abuse survivors are control freaks with relentless schedules. Learn to trust yourself, those you love and life just a little bit more as you get stronger and safer in your world. Trauma is about being out of control. There was a moment in your life when you were out of control and you got hurt. Being a control freak is your attempt to make your world safer, by insuring that you are never out of control again and therefore are not so vulnerable to being hurt. Learn to recognize this tendency if you have it and take back your ability to trust.

9. Feel

Get in touch with your feelings – and trust them. So many abuse survivors were told that what they experienced wasn’t real, it didn’t happen, they misunderstood it, or they were lying. They often grow up not trusting their own five senses. Get in touch with your five senses. Trust what you see, hear, feel (as in touch), smell and taste.

Then check with your emotions. I call this “checking with your gut”. Abuse survivors are taught to tune out their basic instincts which told them they were in danger or being hurt. Take back this valuable tool. Tune in to your “gut” or your emotions – and learn to trust it as well. Is your gut telling you that this is “wrong”? Then it is. Many survivors attempt to rationalize. “Well I don’t know exactly what is wrong or I don’t have stone cold evidence of what is wrong so I must be mistaken.” You’re not. If it feels “wrong”, it is. Trust yourself. If it feels sad, it is. If it feels infuriating, it is.

Once you tap into your emotions, take time to sit down and feel them. Learn to find creative ways to express them. Write, journal, paint, write poetry, sing, dance. Everyone learns to express themselves differently. Express yours emotions in a way that is comfortable and natural for you. Don’t distrust your feelings or bottle them up. This is what your abuser did to you. Take them back from the abuser and claim them.

10. Maintain a Spiritual Practice

If you are a spiritual person, notice if you’ve kept up your spiritual practices. If you are religious, you may use prayer as a major stress reliever and strategy for emotional health. Going to church may provide a place to socialize and glean support. If you are more spiritual than religious, you may prefer meditation, visualization, music, yoga, tai chi or qi gong for spiritual comfort. Not everyone is spiritual, but if you are, revive your spiritual practices to calm your mind and emotions.

You can read more about mental health on my blog:  www.kellevision.com.

 

 

What to Do When You’re Addicted to Your Laptop

One would think that I could manage to stay away from my computer for at least 24 hours in gay Paris, but no….Like millions of others in the world, I could not travel without my laptop this recent trip to Paris, France and Essen, Germany.  As life would have it, two days into the trip my hard-drive crashed beyond repair and I discovered I had an addiction. 

Initially, I managed to handle being untied to my computer without too much distress.  Having access to my friends’ computers, I experienced only intermittent anxiety when I longingly gazed at them surfing the net and playing youtube videos, or when it was my time to go to sleep and I did not have my spider solitaire came to numb out my brain. I otherwise occupied my time socializing and exploring, spending five glorious days in Paris with wonderful friends, delicious food, and mouth-watering wine.

The next stop for me was going to prove to be more difficult.  After Paris, I traveled toEssen, Germany where I was scheduled to lecture at a conference for several days. As I had traveled by myself, for the first 4 days, I was essentially alone.

When I wasn’t lecturing, I found I had little to do.  I had no access to cyberspace. I could not work or write, as I am so used to typing.  When I tried to write with a pen, in fact, my hand hurt, so I stopped.  I had no spider solitaire to numb out my brain.

I meditated, several time, which lieterally got tiring after a while, as I managed I fall asleep. I read, two books in two days. I played sudoku, with a pen. 

In between, I walked around a bit, ate by meslf and otherwise, twiddled my thumbs and stared out the window, contemplating my loneliness.

I sat for long periods, allowing myself to be flooded with overwhelming feelings of anxiety and aloneness or disconnectedness. Outside my window, I could hear laughter and conversations in a language I could not understand. It only made me feel more alone.

My anxiety reared its ugly head—something I hadn’t experienced in quite some time as I had become so adept at using my self care skills like meditation or exericse to counteract it.  This time, these particular self care skills weren’t enough to relieve my anxiety.  I started craving my computer—craving the chance to pour out the overwhelming feelings within me into work, typing, instant messaging, or playing my spider game.  I wanted to numb the loneliness and I wanted my computer to do it.

‘Wow,” I realized, I am addicted. “I must be going through withdrawal.  When did this start?” I wondered.

Looking back at my life, I saw that my addiction to the computer and my card game started back in 1996, when I had experienced the devasating event of being stuck with an HIV+ needle during my residency training at a Boston Hospital.  For six weeks I had to take a cocktail of 14 medications to prevent myself from converting to HIV.  For 6 weeks, I thought the end of my life was near. I was a physical and emotional mess—from the medications and from my distressing and ongoing thoughts.  The only thing that got me through this was the love I received from friends and family. When they were with me, I felt better.  When I alone, I threw myself into my solitaire game so that I could numb, not think.

Six weeks passed and my blood work turned out negative for HIV.  Perhaps if I had stopped playing my game then, the addiction would not have started, but the next 4 months of my life turned out to be just as stressful, with deaths in the family, my father’s heart attack, (which he survived) and the absolute destruction of all my worldly posessions in a house fire.

My spider game was all I had for coping at that time. I didn’t meditate yet, exercise, eat healthy, pray, or sleep much for that matter.  The only outlets for my anxiety were being with friends or family, and being on the computer—involving playing my card game or working/writing.

As my life evolved and I developed better coping skills, I found my anxiety was much better controlled.  In fact, if I did ever experience it, it was short-lived and I used it as an opportunity to work on myself, reach out for help and work on developing The Love ResponseÒ.

But all the while, I still had my trusted computer.

So now, alone in a foregin country, I felt abandoned without it.

And this, this belief that I was alone, unsupported and abandoned, was one that I was familiar with.  I thought I had ‘fixed’ it, but here it was again.  It appeared that funnelling my anxiety into work or numbing it with card games, allowed me not to deal with this distorted belief completely. 

Well, I had to deal with it now, in Essen Germany, or my misery would get the better of me.  I called on my Love Pyramid—social love, self love and spiritual love-to help.

  1. I called my family in the states and told them how lonely I felt: Talking to them and admitting I was not okay was a big deal. 
    1. Advice: ask for help and connect with others.
  2. I went for a walk around the lake and appreciated the incredible beauty of nature around me.
    1. Advice:  Get out of your head and connect with nature.  When you appreciate, you get out of the stress response, which will pull you out of negative beliefs and attitudes.
  3. I prepared myself colorful, delicious and healthy meals.
    1. Advice:  Love and nurture yourself by eating with appreciation, foods that nurture you and make you feel good (thus comfort food).
  4. I meditated with The Love ResponseÒ by using my imagination to create the experience that I was surrounded by those who love me, like divine parents and friends.  I imagined, for instance, that I was being rocked, cradled, nurtured and held by my divine mommy until I could feel my entire body and mind relax into her love.
    1. Advice:  Use your imagination to create a connection to something larger than yourself, that you may not necessarily be able to see with your physical eyes.  This is spiritual love.
  5. I paid attention to the negative thoughts and beliefs that were causing me to feel more stressed, namely the belief that I was not loved and supported, and all alone.
    1. Advice:  When you feel more quiet, pay attention to the ongoing negative thoughts and beliefs that make you feel that you are not enough of or have enough of something –loved enough, smart enough, good enough or have enough money, support, friends, etc.
  6. I began to repeat my positive verbal command over and over again—even though I didn’t believe in it—“I trust that I am loved and supported enough.”
    1. Advice:  Repeat a positive verbal command to reset the thinking and unconscious beliefs in your unconscious mind, even if you consciously do not believe the words are true.

I thnk all or the majority of us, in todays high-tech age, have some sort of addiction to the computer or phones, that keep us constantly connected to something or someone.  The problem is that this virutal connection has managed to replace the real connections we need to live a happy, fulfilled and loving life with.  The connections that help our hearts and minds feel truly alive cannot be found on a computer or iphone.  These connections involve actual experiences—real people, real trees, real food, real sensations of touch, smell, taste, sound and sight.

So my last words of advice are these:  Take some time away from cyberspace and connect.  Appreciate.  See life and yourself as small miracles and allow yourself to experience awe.  You will feel more alive and you will be reminded that indeed, you are not alone. 

After a while, the computer can become something you do and work on, not something you need.

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