Archive for October, 2009

Please Don’t Should on Me!

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Do you ever have well intentioned friends or family telling you precisely how you ‘should’ do something? Or tell you after the fact what you ‘should’ have done during a particular situation? Well, I’m working to put a stop to it.

I think I’m going to have some small cards printed up, they will say ‘Please Don’t Should On Me’. I intend to hand one of these cards to anyone who feels that they know just how I need to handle any particular situation. Of course these people always know better than I possibly could.

I’m guilty of it as well, no doubt about it. Sometimes when a friend is telling me about a situation that is happening or they are anticipating, I feel that they will greatly benefit from me sharing my point of view. Sometimes that’s not enough and I actually go over the edge and tell them they should do such and such. The nerve!

It’s not my business to tell anyone how they should handle any situation. If asked, and I repeat, if asked, I believe it’s fine to offer suggestions. How much better to simply be a person who offers support and allows my friend or family member to work it out on their own. I know it’s not a novel idea, but it takes a bit of practice to actually remember this and put it into action. By the way, let’s consider this your holistic life coaching reminder for the day. We all have the answers within us, sometimes we just need to find a way to discover what those answers are.

So, next time we’re chatting I’ll be happy to hear your point of view, answer your questions and appreciate your suggestions. But I will truly appreciate it if you don’t should on me and I will make every effort not to should on you. Maybe I’ll get a few extra cards printed up and share them, together we can eliminate quite a lot of shoulding.

Wishing you a should-free week, filled with love and support from family and friends.

Warmly,
Sandy

Apple Mystery

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

I don’t cook or bake very often anymore, my husband John likes to do it and he’s really very good at it as well. Hooray for me!

Today I decided that I should do a bit of baking. It’s a lovely autumn day, the rain has finally stopped, the dog has been walked and John is outside chopping wood for the fireplace. It seems like the only thing left to do is bake, so I decided to make an apple slab cake. Yummy.

I meandered off to the kitchen, found a recipe and started working on the apples. John came into the kitchen and we chatted a bit, disturbing my rhythm a little, but I didn’t get too far off track. After all, this is one of the things I used to be able to make without a recipe, so I went back to work.

As I got a bit farther along, I realized I didn’t have one or 2 key ingredients. So, I looked at 2 or 3 other recipes. John came in offering suggestions and thoughts before I finally chased him away for good. In the end I wound up making something that I’m going to call apple mystery. I have no idea what this is going to taste like, in fact I’m not even sure what it will look like. But I’m a bit excited to find out.

As I was finishing cleaning up the mess I made while making my apple mystery it occurred to me that this is just what my life is like, and I suspect it’s a bit like yours. So the holistic life coach that lives inside of me decided I needed to share this epiphany with you.

We make plans for where we are going or how we are going to spend our life. But stuff happens, we find out that the plans need to be changed or that we may have to operate without a plan at all. Our lives are an apple mystery.

The fun part of this is that we never know just what today or tomorrow are going to look like. We may have a pretty good idea what we expect but if a few ingredients change, it can all change in a moment.

Is there a lesson here? Sure, but I doubt very much that it’s new to either of us. Go ahead, make plans, set goals and live your life. But when changes occur, when your plans are altered without warning, roll with it as much as possible. Enjoy the apple mystery.

Warmly,
Sandy

Changes

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

DSCF0535Optimistic. Happy. Excited. Those are some of the words I would use if asked how I feel about life these days. I realize that there are big changes going on everywhere. Many people are losing their jobs and we are told many times a day that times are tough. We are in a crisis. Things have not been this dire in years. But that’s just not the way I feel.

I find myself turning off the television and radio and simply ignoring most of the newspaper. It’s not that I’m hiding my head in the sand to avoid reality, it’s just that I’m selective about which reality I want to immerse myself in. The truth is that I’m happy and healthy and so are most of the people that I know. Some have lost their jobs and yes, many have tightened their belts and had to make substantial changes in their lifestyles. What does that mean? It simply means change. Change is neither good nor bad on it’s own, but it does offer options to us.

It seems that many large businesses are closing or paring down. At the same time, many small businesses are healthier than ever.

Many of the people I know, friends and clients are entrepreneurs, others work for small businesses. Most of these people acknowledge that the way they do business has changed substantially, but most of them are enjoying abundance and prosperity at a level that is not being described in the media. Why? Because scary is more dramatic, it sells better. The truth is that I’m not likely to watch the news if I think the announcer is only going to talk about the fact that the businesses operated just fine today. All the children showed up on time, healthy and happy for school and all is generally A-okay all over town.

We get excited, all worked up about bad news. It motivates us to get out there and save someone or something. That’s great! Now let’s get just as excited about the good news.

I have to say that life is changing for me, personally and professionally. Particularly this time of year I find that I really enjoy the changes. I deliberately make changes in the house from rearranging items to changing colors. It elevates my mood and helps me to get ready for the holiday season and colder weather.

What can you do to learn to flow with the inevitable changes that life brings? I suggest a few things. First and foremost I encourage you to simply turn off negative messages whenever possible. That may mean only listening to the television or radio news long enough to hear about the weather and sports. Better yet, why not read a newspaper and select which articles you want to read. That way you have control of what messages you are receiving and when. If you find yourself surrounded by negative people, either change the subject or simply excuse yourself as soon as possible.  Refuse to add to  the conversation when gossip starts.

Another of my favorite tools is color. Most of us react very strongly to color whether we realize it or not. Wear colors that make you feel happy. Surround yourself with these colors if at all possible. I don’t mean that you have to refurnish entire rooms, adding pillows, candles or even flowers can bring in colors which have a dramatic affect on your mood.

Music is another powerful tonic to gloomy days. Most of us have a favorite song or CD, listening to it always puts us in a good mood, so put it on whenever you have the opportunity.

Of course I add Reiki, it always helps me to regain my focus and balance and to relieve the stress in my life.

Making a list of the things I’m grateful for, the blessings in my life, reminds me that while my life may be unfolding in a way that was not originally part of my plans, I always have much to be grateful. This always helps my mood.

It’s important to be sure to use good self-care when going through stressful change. It can help to balance the emotions and of course¬¨‚Ć things like eating right and exercising not only keep you healthy, but make you stronger in mind and body to handle whatever is happening, hopefully in a more positive manner. The holistic life coach in me just couldn’t wrap this up without getting in a plug for self-care.

Change is inevitable. Some changes will be tougher to get through, but I know we will do better if we stick together and work together to make the outcome positive for all. In short the outcome is not pre-destined, we have options. Arm yourself with a few tools for tough situations and know how to lighten up your tough days. We can and will get through these changes and more will come. Exciting isn’t it?

Wishing you a fabulous week of changes.

Warmly,

Sandy

Smile to Feel Better

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

DSC01050One of my favorite movies is Mary Poppins, I’ve watched it countless times and I always tried to get my kids to watch it with me while they were growing up. Of that entire movie, my favorite scene, hands down is the scene where Uncle Albert is floating around near the ceiling laughing. You see his laughter has literally lifted him up! As the main characters watch him, they begin laughing, it’s so contagious that very soon they are all hanging out near the ceiling, telling awful jokes and having a jolly time. It makes me smile and begin laughing even to think about it. Of course the song they sign is ‘I love to laugh’.

I’ve got to agree! I love to laugh, it make me feel fabulous. Sometimes I swear that my mind is absolutely determined to make me smile no matter where I try to take it. For example, the other day I was participating in a group meditation. The atmosphere was quiet and peaceful. The woman who was leading the meditation had a calm, soothing voice. I was expecting an ‘ohmmmm’ experience. Didn’t happen. Instead I had a really tough time repressing outright laughter. I kept seeing cartoon characters, speeding along, hopping and even poking out from the trees. It was absolutely delightful! I’ve never had so much fun during a meditation, I could hardly wait for the next time.

While it’s true that I smile, giggle, chuckle or even belly laugh when I’m happy, I also try to do one or more of those things when I’m not happy. Invariably it lifts me up, somewhat like Uncle Albert. It seems that I simply cannot stay depressed, angry or horribly sad if I smile just a little bit.

I’m not trying to say that a smile will take me from a wrenching sob to euphoria, but it will help me to feel incrementally better when I’m ready to make that first shift. If I need to express that sadness or grief than I stay away from old Abbott and Costello movies or Donald Duck cartoons. They change my mood very quickly.

So, what does this have to do with Reiki or holistic life coaching? Actually it goes directly to something I chat with each and every Reiki or coaching client about, and we do it during every single Reiki or coaching appointment. It goes right to self-care.

I am responsible for taking the best care of me. No one else can ensure that I eat right, exercise enough or de-stress so that the top of my head doesn’t come off. That’s my job. I’m the only person who knows when I need to have some quiet time, take a nap or visit friends. I expect my husband to respect what I tell him I need, but it’s my job to take care of me first.

Part of taking the best care of me is getting Reiki on a regular basis, speaking to other life coaches supports me as well. But everyday I need to laugh. It’s an absolute necessity for me. If I’m feeling low it lifts me up, if I already feel good, it helps me to feel terrific.

I raised my boys with the message that no matter how low they felt, a smile would make them feel better. In fact, I do recall that there is actual research that supports that theory. Love that!

So, for this week, I encourage you to give it a whirl. What have you got to lose but the blues? My favorite thought when I’m trying to muster a grin? I think of a sweet four year old child, trying to tell a knock-knock joke. Invariably they burst out laughing before they deliver the punch line. Just thinking of their gales of laughter always brings a smile to my face as well. Go ahead, give it a try. I bet you’re smiling already.

Warmly,

Sandy

Perfect, Just Perfect

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

There’s a book I’ve been reading for over a year. It’s less than 300 pages, which means it should be a book that I have easily read in a weekend. Not so much. I keep beginning the book over and over again. Several times it has hit me right between the eyes, or more accurately, it has hit the mark of my heart. I’m working on it again and this time I’m making much more progress.

The title is ‘Radical Forgiveness’ by Colin C. Tipping. The basic concept is that everything that happens in life is perfect. From opening my eyes in the morning to experiencing something that I might consider a tragedy is perfect on a soul level. This offers me great comfort at the same time that it challenges me tremendously.

I’ve decided that the reason I am drawn to this book again and again is that I believe it to be a most simple and profound truth. I’ve been sharing this idea with more of my Reiki and life coaching clients and I realize that many others share this belief on at least some level.

It’s a concept that is sometimes pretty tough to wrap my head around. After all it’s much easier for me to simply slip into anger, frustration or blame when something happens that is not in my plans. When I stepped into something nasty the other day while picking tomatoes from the garden it was easy to see that there was a simple lesson for me. I could have avoided the situation by putting on shoes and next time that’s what I did. But what is perfect about someone being brutalized or worse? I’m not sure that I can answer that in a way that makes sense to me or to you. I believe that there is always a soul lesson for all who are involved. Learning what that lesson is and seeing the value is something that I am still working on, but I believe that it’s there and that it’s real.

I have a feeling this is going to be a long, possibly life long process for me. I have to admit that I’m both challenged and excited about this prospect. I’m excited to share this journey with my Reiki and life coaching clients as well as family, friends and colleagues. This is far too exciting to keep to myself!

So, I’m going to keep working on it. I encourage you to either pick up the book for yourself, or to at least spend a bit of time thinking about the concept. As for me, I find great comfort in the idea that there is someone I call God guiding me, sending teachers to me and offering me the lessons that my soul is requesting on a continual basis.

Wishing you a wonderful week, knowing that it will be perfect in whatever manner it unfolds.

Warmly,
Sandy