Tag Archives: life

You are the Hub of the Wheel

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hub of the wheel

Imagine yourself as the hub of this wheel that daily life revolves around, make the spokes of the wheel as connections to those you care for most. The wheel’s activities, its responsibilities surround you, spinning and spinning through each day, week, and year. You are central, the key to keeping it all balanced. Recognizing this, it’s important you care enough about yourself in order to preserve your mental, physical, and emotional health. And consider this… when you’re out of sorts, the wheel’s balance is too. If you haven’t taken the time to give yourself the nurturing you require, the wheel can lose balance and begin to wobble!

Some years ago while on vacation, I recognized my own wheel-wobble. I wondered why I couldn’t put more oomph into just having fun with my family. Doing my job, both jobs, 1) taking care of my family and 2) working a full-time job, took every ounce of energy I had. I had nothing left to give. Fun, what was that? Playing cards or a board game, going to the museums, taking walks, watching movies just didn’t seem as needed as keeping the house clean, doing the laundry, running the errands, getting my youngsters where they needed to go, you name it, I was doing it. The “work” side of the wheel was heavier than the fun side, and I was wobblin’ big time!

Who suffers when we don’t care for ourselves? Right us, and not just us, but everyone we come into contact with. We are home base for our family, the safety net everyone falls into. It’s important for us to be rested, happy, healthy and nurtured. Use the lists you created from the last blog, “Me Time,” to help you do this next exercise.

ACTIVITY: HUB OF THE WHEEL:

  1. Draw a circle or other shape in the center of a blank sheet of paper and write your name in the center.
  2. Choose another color to draw spokes outward. Label each spoke a responsibility or commitment you have to someone, i.e. husband, wife, significant other, children, pets, church, school committees, civic organizations, fun activities with friends, etc… Anyone or anything you have day-to-day or week to week contact with should be included. Whatever takes time in your life, write it in.
  3. Using another color, draw branches off of each spoke. These will represent duties and responsibilities you perform regularly for that individual, pet, or organization.
  4. Finally, choosing one last colored marker or pencil, encircle your responsibilities connect them one to the next, surrounding the spokes like a tire revolving and spinning on the hub.

Now take the time to look over your wheel and reflect. Who do you spend the most time with? Who or what is an energy drainer? Who or what do you wish you might spend more time with? What do you want to change? Use this visual tool to evaluate your life activities. Do it every week if necessary to get a visual for where your time goes. Turn the autopilot off and make the conscious decision to LOOK at what you do. We will use information from this exercise in later modules to help change your focus to areas you have passion for, or goals you wish to take steps toward.

JOURNAL ACTIVITY:

  1. Who or what do you spend the most time with?
  2. Who or what do you wish to spend more time with?
  3. What do you want to change?

Kudos for this activity:  A workshop participant emailed me several weeks after doing this particular exercise to tell me that he had taped the wheel to the refrigerator for the entire family to see. He wrote, “The kids were amazed at how much I do on a day-to-day basis, other than going to work. After studying my “wheel,” they decided to pitch in to help where they could. Thank you for bringing the awareness of how much I do not just to me, but to my family as well.”

Give it a try. Post your “Wheel” and see what reaction you get from family members, friends or colleagues. Next week: Realities of the Past.

 

Primary Caretaker – Me time

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Me time

Art from lineleoff.com

 

Over a 25 year period, I’ve had the opportunity to facilitate self-awareness workshops. What I found is that there are countless numbers of us, both women and men, who have taken on the role of primary caretaker and as a result have put aside our own self-nurturing and self-care. This is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves to develop a life lived with joy.

In some of these workshops, taking care of oneself seemed an almost alien concept to some. “What do you mean by self-nurturing?” They would ask. We raise our children while maintaining a healthy environment for them. We promote education, gently guiding family members in particular directions when a talent is recognized. We are there to “lift up” our spouses, significant others, friends and colleagues when they’re blue. We rise in the morning thinking of others. We go through each day, each hour, sometimes each moment planning how we will care for our family members, friends, or coworkers. We are the nurturers of the world!

I am mother to five children (now ages twenty-one through thirty-eight). When they were younger, I remember getting up in the morning before anyone else was awake heading for the shower already thinking of the dentist appointments, what to cook later for dinner and when? How would I get my then sixteen year old to a German club meeting and still get to the event I had volunteered for? Mind moving on and on, all of these thoughts occurring within a moment or two’s time… once resolved, I moved on to the other challenges I’d face that day.

Back then, time for my own interests was difficult to find. Whether to begin doctorate work became an anxiety ridden decision. Who would help with evening homework if I wasn’t home? Would my sixteen year old bring a troop of friends over while I was out? How would I prepare any kind of meal before I left for the evening? And finally, was the coursework something I even wanted to do? Or was I feeling pressured by my peers and employer? Talk about stress. One simple decision became a masterpiece of confusion and anxiety.

Does this sound familiar to you? Knowing how to care for ourselves, how to journey through each day being gentle on ourselves, being just as considerate of our “self” as we would be toward a family member, friend, or coworker… this is what we need to work toward and maintain. From a young age many of us were taught to be caretakers, we were conditioned to believe that it was our responsibility to care for others while our own needs were put aside. Today, many of us are caring for children or young adults, while very possibly caring for aging parents at the same time.

When you have a few minutes, try the following activity. What are some of the things that you do for others on a daily basis?

DO: List what you do for other people on a daily basis, right down to the smallest detail. 

Here’s an example of what a typical day looked like for me while raising my children and working a full time:

  • Cooked breakfast before school and work
  • Cleaned up the dishes and started the dishwasher
  • Made school lunches and my lunch for work
  • Threw in a load of laundry in both the dryer and the washer
  • Made beds
  • Worked all day at the office
  • Fed the birds
  • Paid Bills
  • “Helped” the kids do their chores
  • Took recycling out to the garage
  • Did the banking
  • Helped my oldest write his resume
  • Called a friend in need
  • Stopped at the store to pick up household goods
  • Worked on insurance benefits

My list was for a full day and I’ve most likely forgotten several things since that time. When you listed your day, you probably found your own list growing longer and longer with responsibilities that you typically do on “autopilot” and promptly forget. What I ask you to do next is more of a challenge. How much of your day is spent doing something for yourself, something rejuvenating or stress relieving? Something educational or a hobby you enjoy?

DO: List your own self-nurturing activities now.

I know you listed fewer activities. And you’re not alone! The majority of the people that have attended my workshops have had shorter lists as well. If you aren’t nurturing yourself, if you’re operating on overload… Not caring for you can lead to stress-filled days, resentment toward others, and finally burnout. What I’m suggesting is that you take the time to attend to your own well-being, just as you do for so many others.

Are you over-doing? It’s time to take steps toward self-nurturing. You are worthy of the same care you provide to others. You are just as important… just as special. Incorporate a reality check into each morning of your day. Evaluate what you want to happen in the day and how you’ll put some “me” time into your schedule. Set that time aside and stick to it as much as possible. Check it off at the end of each day. It doesn’t have to be some long impossible list. Here’s an example of my activities list. I would choose one or two from the list to incorporate into the day:

  • Work out
  • Spend time walking in nature
  • Sit at the local bookstore and sip tea
  • Read for 30 minutes after dinner
  • Write uninterrupted for one hour
  • Answer friends e-mail
  • Lunch with a friend at work
  • Sketch in my journal
  • Read and post affirmations
  • Attend a cooking class
  • Join a book discussion club
  • Have friends over once a week to just sit and gab
  • Refurbish a piece of furniture
  • Garden
  • Listen to music
  • Meditate

What did you put on your list? Choose one activity close to your heart and begin incorporating it into your day or week. Make it formal by putting it on your calendar or daily schedule. Block the time out for you! I’d love to hear some of the activities you’ve incorporated into the day or week just for yourself.

Next week: “You are the Hub of the Wheel,” an activity that helps create a visual snapshot of your life activities and responsibilities. Have a fabulous week!

Conscious Decision Making

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Life By Design nl

 

In February 2013, I had a lucid dream experience where I was consciously creating in the fabric of space and time. I was present before the canvas of matter creating images with thoughts and gestures. Since 2013, there have been many mornings when I’ve actually awakened with my arms and hands up in the air gesturing as if I am still creating from the “other” side of the fabric, spirit body on that side, physical body on this side. I know that with regular practice through meditation, lucid dreaming and conscious awareness, I can change day-to-day physical reality creating a more desirable, joy-filled life-path. As a mystic, I know that we are, we live, simultaneously as both source-self (spiritual being) and the physical manifested self, experiencing life. One might look at the physical self as an avatar of sorts, a vehicle that allows us to experience living out all sorts of adventures through a physical body! In short, we live between two worlds.

Naturally and unconsciously through choice, we have created daily experiences using thought and action. However, many of us are thinking, acting, and creating experiences running on “autopilot,” allowing life to occur, to just happen… and as a result, often left wondering why things aren’t quite the way we’d prefer. How do we create change?

The simple answer is to turn off the autopilot. To be mindful of thoughts and consequent actions. To take responsibility for, and examine the choices made… and then choose differently where possible. We can create a new reality, with conscious mindful thought, conscious mindful decisions, conscious mindful planning, and conscious mindful action.

Will daily life then be picture perfect? I can say from experience that it will not because some of the choices made up until now have resulted in the experiences each of us are currently living through. However, I can say it will be better and that circumstances can be changed. Life is better because you will have become fully engaged. Daily life events are no longer just happening to you because you will have become a conscious, mindful, active, participant in its creation.

How to start? Over the next couple of months, each week I will introduce a set of self-exploration exercises to assist in becoming mindful of current life situations, where your focus has been, where it’s at today, how to make time for self-nurturing, and how to manage time and plan mindfully. These simple no-nonsense self-discovery activities are meant to be used over and over as you cycle through decisions, discover new facets of self, choose goals and take steps toward change. These activities have been used in workshops for over twenty years, basic, tried and true.  They are focused, personal, and will nudge you toward self-nurturing, as well as personal and spiritual growth. Next week: Module One – “Primary Caretakers.”

Soul Family

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soul family

 

Where do you find your strength? What moves you forward, upward, onward, possibly inward despite what’s occurring on the day-to-day life path? Who or what inspires you?

At any point over the last several years. I might have given up, stopped working completely, crawled into a hole, thrown in the towel on every day life, surrendering to the debilitating physical illnesses that insidiously sideswiped me, throwing me off my comfortable life-path. I crashed, but didn’t burn. I refused to lay there and got right back on life’s roads… repeatedly. Wouldn’t have any of it. No. Wouldn’t given in, wouldn’t give up. But I wasn’t alone, my “soul family” walked beside me.

Reflecting on what occurred over the last several years, the people I came into contact with, those family and friends that continue to be present… all has been instrumental and necessary. Looking at it all from a different, big picture perspective has provided insight. The insights as a result of my experiences were waiting in the wings whispering for attention. Some so in my face and obvious, I missed them completely! Other lessons quietly moved me from one step to the next and the next and the next, where then… a destination magically appeared, perhaps not what I expected or what I might have chosen, but a destination nonetheless. Then. When I’d land, and think o.k. I’m all right for now, surprise! A vortex of chaotic activity appeared again swirling into yet another series of events.

I learned patience and true self-care. As a result of dietary and nutritional changes, my overall health improved. I learned how important it is to get the sleep my body requires (not what I thought I could get by on). Much of my life I’ve acted as if I were Wonder Woman, able to face and overcome any obstacle at any time, doing whatever it took. Now I understand this is an unreasonable demand on the mind, body and soul. Wonder Woman behavior can cause what I call “body crash” and “soul disconnect,” something I’ve experienced first hand and continue resolving today. I now realize and accept healthy limitation. Each day I am better and better in every way. Progress has been a little slower than I’d prefer, even so it has appeared and I’m a grateful.

Soul family members walked this path with me, sharing in the experiences… my adult children, siblings, friends, work colleagues doctors and other medical professionals, throughout the toughest times, they held me in positive thought and supported me with encouraging words and actions (for which I am ever grateful). We’ve talked and shared what it means to truly practice care for the mind, body, and soul. The health challenges I’ve faced have brought about large life change, change I know I would not otherwise have made. The challenges have been the impetus for action, new ways of doing, thinking, behaving, and believing… All of which unfolded working hand-in-hand with others. We all played a part in the unfolding of increased wellness… without them, without my soul family, I would not be where I am today.  You know who you are, Thank You!

 

 

 

 

Never Broken, She Persisted

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Centered

I am a vivid dreamer, able to fill dream journals with pages and pages of dreams, many about myself, sometimes about others, and still other dream stories are about the country or world events.  When I have a particular dilemma or question about life, I will write it in my dream journal and wait for an answer.

Recently without prompting or questions, I dreamt that I was working with a team of people creating life experiences for a woman.  The events were meant to challenge her in every way, experience after experience, one after another, sometimes more than one occurring on top of another.  Layer after layer, one upon another, complex and highly intense. Each experience meant to peel and pull, to break away the characteristics of the woman… Until she was clean… Until she was clear and transparent… Ready to begin again.

The woman was never broken, instead she persisted.  She allowed and accepted.  She went through the experiences one after another, layer upon layer from the beginning to the now. Throughout the peeling and pulling breaking down process she came to be free… Free from the burdens each experience had brought forth in memories.

Now, she appeared before us all like calm waters, crystal-clear and accepting… Childlike in that she was now a vessel for what newness would begin. As I rose from the dream feeling indifferent, I thought it was just a dream about a woman.  But it wasn’t about just a woman.  I realized it was me.  I am this woman.  I am naked, clean, soul stripped bare, transparent, empty and calm, ready for the new beginnings that lay ahead.

Yes, I am — Let it begin.

We’re In This Together

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Forest Light

How fortunate we are to have the ability to ask for guidance and receive answers. I’ve been working with a new process that involves observing symbols that rise to the forefront of mind while sitting in meditation. The practice includes recording each of the symbols received, describing them in writing, along with any important insights received. In one very revealing meditation, I started choosing symbols from previous dreams and meditations pulling from what I knew and felt comfortable with, then immediately realized it didn’t feel right. I had to let go of the old and let something else surface. It was there, I could feel it waiting. Within moments of letting go, a forest scene appeared.

I had been here before years ago in meditation, a wooded area with a stream rushing nearby, this scene was my symbol. A meditative event was my symbol, something completely unexpected. I’ve always had an object or shape, sometimes a sound. The scene unfolded,  translucent body kneeling on the forest floor, shining in the speckled sunlight streaming through the trees, she… I was vulnerable, sensitive, loving. Now, we blended, existing in duality physical and spiritual, we sat feeling the events of past and present, even those that may unfold. And in those moments there was instant realization that we embraced all experience. Those that are considered positive, as well as those that are considered negative. Experience wrapped around us layer upon layer and the message? Experience builds strength and courage. We grow not only in human character but in Spiritual character as well.

During this meditation I felt acceptance of all that has been, that which is now occurring and all of that which may unfold. I, as both spiritual and physical, was embraced by an all-encompassing Love and knew that all is as it should be, no matter how it may appear. We dear reader are provided an opportunity to experience in every way, with physical senses, with emotion and feeling, with freedom, intellect and creativity of thought. This means experiencing all that comes along with living on the Earth as human. This is our workshop for the Spirit. This is our place to develop richness and strength of character. The meditative experience provided clear understanding that I have come to be who I am as a result of each sensed moment, emotion, feeling and thought. Each interaction and event that occurs over the course of a day, week, month, over the course of a lifetime is meant to provide us with love, joy, pain, sadness, with laughter, with conflicts or fear… immersed in diverse richness we experience Life.

Collectively as components of Spirit, we share these strengths. Embrace Life fully, hold yourself and others in compassion as we move through each experience, because we are all in this together! Spiritual beings living a physical existence, we are called to uplift, support, and walk with each other on these adventures. When your colleague stumbles, is fearful, in pain, needs your hand, take it. When you are troubled, suffering, feel alone, reach out! And share joys as well, celebrate milestones, rejoice when there are successes, join together and shout, “We are more than what is seen, we are more than this!”

“May the stream of my love, in all its depth and fullness, flow unceasingly from me to thee. May no winds of impatience blow upon its waters, may no ripple of unkindness mar its surface, may no storm of hostility disturb its depths, and may no sediment  of deception choke its course. Rather, may the joy I share with you be unrestrained, may my sorrow with you know no bitterness, and may the streams of both our lovings be absorbed in the never-ending ocean of God’s grace.”                                                       ~ Rev. Dr. Noel Frederick McInnis

And All Is Well

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earth-angel-josephine-wall

Earth Angel by Josephine Wall

 

A member of the community I work for passed away last week. It’s a small community where each member has known the other for years and years… Close-knit and interwoven, there is a hole now where she once was. Ever faithful, loving and kind, she is missed by all.

Living consciously as both Spirit and physical being, I know with conviction that only her body is gone. She lives on, a being unique in character who now flows as one with Spirit, God, all-encompassing Love. My intuitive and clairaudient gifts kicked in the morning she died.  I was hanging laundry and sensed she had passed. I wondered if I should call my colleagues. I didn’t, instead I left to run errands. Jumping out of the car at the store I felt her with me and an encompassing, exuberant joy, “Tell them I am pain-free and happy,” I heard inwardly.  No way, I thought back to her. I’m emotionally involved in this. I’m not saying a word. With inner speak I said, “I’ll tell you what, if you really have something you’d like me to pass on, provide a dream, something someone will get and understand.”

That evening I saw a movie with a friend, cleaned up the kitchen and hit the pillows early. And yes, my request was provided. In the dream, I found myself hovering over the chapel where the wake and funeral were taking place for the woman who had died. In flowing energy form, I was with the woman who had died and a group of others who were accompanying us. There was no time so all seemed to be happening at once, the preparations, wake and funeral, a very odd concept when not in the dream or meditative state.

The wake was beautiful and wonderfully attended and the funeral very nicely done. Everything ran very smoothly. As we observed there were thoughts exchanged, speech was not necessary, “You see all is well,”  I was told. Then, I was instructed to let someone in particular know that she needn’t be anxious to get the wake and funeral details done immediately, that she should complete the other things needing attention first and then get to the business of the wake and funeral. Because you see, “it was all going to be fine anyway so what was the use of worrying, why bother fretting over it?”

I lingered with the group for what seemed like a long time and was shown other events that would unfold over the next short period of time. And drat! Those are the pieces I wanted to remember and couldn’t. I brought back only the most vivid of  images and knew I had to pass on the message. I sent a quick text to the intended party and went about getting the work day started. Once I arrived at the office and was settled in, I checked e-mail and sure enough, there was a notice letting us know she had passed away the morning of the previous day.

Like everyone else I am sad she’s no longer with us, but I know with every ounce of my being that she lives on. What stays with me most from the time in the dream state with these loving souls are the moments of great joy and the desire to reassure the living that “all is well and not to fret.”   My spiritual experiences and life journey have brought me to this dual existence where physical and spiritual energy operate simultaneously.  I feel blessed and fortunate to have been provided with such gifts. What dear reader would help you to know that we are more than this?”

“We are participants in a vast communion of being, and if we open ourselves to its guidance, we can learn anew how to live in this great and gracious community of truth.” ~ Parker Palmer