Posts Tagged ‘Relationship’

A Life Well Lived

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

He completed his earthly journey 5 years ago. But this isn’t about his death, this is about the life that he lived so very well. 

My dad, or as you may have known him, Art Raith entered the world in November of 1942. I’ve heard an awful lot of stories of his exploits as he was growing up, mostly good, always enthusiastic. I think if I had to use one word to describe him, that might be it. My dad had enthusiasm about just about everything.

Many memories have been surfacing recently, mostly silly or fun times. Like when he would come home from work with a fist full of kites early March. Determined that whether or not there was snow on the ground, March was the time of year for flying kites. So, he would put them together, my mom could always be counted on to find fabric to make the perfect tail. Then we would all head over to the neighborhood park to get these things in the air. So funny to watch this big man run across the grass holding on to the kite while yelling to one of us to ‘give it more line!’. Oh my gosh, it was fabulous! Inevitably at least one kite would wind up in a tree, but that too was part of the fun.

Remembering him setting up a bale of hay in the basement when we got bows and arrows for Christmas, so that we wouldn’t have to go outside in the cold right away. Watching him with my own boys years later. Oh my gosh, it made me crazy sometimes! My boys could come in the house carrying a partially eaten sandwich and their Grandpa would simply pretend there was nothing in their hand. He would begin asking the if their mom had fed the anything that day, or would they like for him to make them something special? You can guess what their enthusiastic response was each time.

We argued just like all families. He scolded or yelled, and boy, he knew the most impressive curse words. He controlled the television, sports were on endlessly. We talked about books, he was always interested in what each of us was thinking, doing, planning and he was more than happy to share his opinions. He loved to cook and was amazing. I bet all of us have a favorite or two. I easily recall the endlessly long games of Monopoly… what I wouldn’t give to play another game today. The long hours spent in the yard, doing nothing at all. Long and short, we all knew that we were loved. Without question.You knew you were loved.

So today, my heart is full. Gratitude and love have filled in all of the corners. And I’m remembering Pop. The picture that most often comes to mind for me is the one that I have shared. I swear he looks like a 6’1″ leprechaun. Pretty much perfect.

Today, I’m hoping that you take a few moments to think about someone you love, whether they are still with you on this planet or in spirit. Feel that love, go ahead and share it.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

 

 

Forgive and Forget – I Don’t Think So!

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

I’m all for the forgiving part, but as for the forgetting – not so much. Let’s walk through this just a little bit and I think you’ll understand my point.

When I forgive a hurt or a wound of some sort, I do it to release myself from further anguish. I forgive for myself, not for anyone else. For me it is often a very deliberate choice. I may decide that I’m tired of being angry, irritated, depressed and defensive. In other words, I’m tired of feeling crummy! When I’ve had my fill of feeding those emotions which I do not enjoy one little bit, I am ready to begin thinking about forgiveness. I know that when I do forgive, that I will be able to release those feelings that are dragging me down and that I’ll experience relief. That relief is healing.

So, I decide that I want to forgive so that I can feel better. The person I’m forgiving may or may not know about my decision and my feelings. Remember, this really is all about me. I want to feel better, so I forgive. I believe that when my energy changes to become lighter and more loving that the offender so to speak, benefits as well, whether they realize it or not. But primarily I am taking this step to forgive someone or something so that I feel better. Me, me, me!  This is taking good care of me and I deserve to feel good just because I am me, a child of God. Whew, that feels better.

The process of forgiving is simple for me and no, that doesn’t mean that it is always easy. But sometimes it is easy and that’s okay too. In fact, it totally rocks. Forgiveness is sometimes a very deliberate process, other times it simply happens a little at a time with little thought or deliberation. Either way it unfolds just about the same – for me. It begins with a decision that I want to feel relief, that I’m ready to stop feeding the pain, irritation and anger, all of that crummy stuff we talked about earlier. That leads me to begin looking for a blessing in the incident. Strange as that may seem, I believe that everything has a lesson and if I can find a lesson I can see it as a blessing. That allows me to begin releasing my pain and embracing the relief. Sort of like a balloon that is not popped, but has a slow leak, as I embrace the blessing I feel the pain ebb. Aaaaaah, that feels really good, and so forgiveness begins.

Now, about this forgetting stuff. That is a whole other kettle of fish my friend. After all, if each experience is a lesson of sorts, how is it helpful for me to completely and entirely forget about it? Makes no sense to me, because once I’ve experienced a specific wound I’m generally pretty much okay with not having another just like it. I’m hopeful that I learn not to put myself in such a situation again and if I forget all about the incident it seems that I’m much more likely to be hurt again and again and again. Now of course, you do what is right for you. As for me, I prefer to learn and move on.

From personal relationships to global tragedies this line of thinking works for me. No matter how small or how large. If we forget what brought about atrocities than we are likely to repeat the experience. If a friend has hurt me, I want to forgive that hurt so that I can move on feeling good, not being eaten up with anger or other general icki-ness. Whether or not I renew that friendship is another thing entirely. If it’s a friendship that I want to continue, I have the ability to learn and decide if it is to my own benefit to put myself in this situation again. The wound may have been unintentional, what can I learn from this? How can I move forward in a healthier manner? Perhaps the relationship has run its course. Forgiveness allows me to bless the time that was spent together and still release the relationship feeling good. But, and this is a great big but – I don’t want to forget the lessons learned.

There are tools that I use to support myself in this process. I find that Reiki not only balances my energy but Reiki also enhances my general sense of well being; of course. The flow of Reiki makes it much easier for me to move through these steps. Okay, let’s be very honest here, the Reiki just feels so darned good that I welcome it at any time. Coaching helps too, no doubt about it. Whether I work with another life coach, coach myself through the situation or remind myself of the steps that I use when I work with my life coaching clients. One step at a time, using the appropriate tool for that situation. Hypnosis is also really helpful to me as I work through my own issues. Dovetailing and very nicely complementing  the Reiki and life coaching. You see the life coaching allows me to become aware of what I prefer. The Reiki assists me in releasing negativity that is not serving me well. The hypnosis speaks to my sub-conscious, that incredibly cute but amazingly stubborn 4 year old that lives in my brain. Hypnosis speaks to her and reminds me that I don’t have to do anything that I don’t want to do. Because hypnosis speaks to my thriving subconscious it supports my choice,offering the reinforcement that it is not only okay but my choice to move in this direction. Now all of these tools have not always been available to me, and of course I was able to forgive then as well. But I’ve got to say, I find that having hypnosis,  Reiki and life coaching all in my little tool box assists me in the process. What works for you?

Forgive and forget if it feels right to you. As for me, I’m a project that is still in the works, still in the process of development. I’m still working on forgiving some people and events, but it’s coming along nicely and that offers me lovely relief. As for forgetting, I’m okay with the remembering. After all, once the pain is released the person, incident or event simply becomes a bit of history. Something I have learned from, something that has blessed me. And that makes it all worthwhile.

For this week, I wonder if you are ready to begin forgiving someone or something from your own life. How would it feel to release some of that pain or anger and welcome a bit of relief? It’s up to you of course, but I encourage you to give it a try. C’mon, you can do it. I know you can! When you’re ready.

Namaste,

Sandy

Why on Christmas?

Friday, December 25th, 2009

First of all, if you celebrate Christmas I would like to wish you a most magnificent day! However, for a variety of reasons not everyone does celebrate Christmas, what does that say about them and how are they treated?

I happen to be a Christian so for me Christmas is a no-brainer celebration. After all, as a Christian my faith tells me that this is the day to celebrate the birth of our savior. In honor of that amazing fact, we as Christians gather together to sing praises to our God, we often exchange presents and offer good cheer to those we meet. So far, so good. I have many friends who are not Christian, no problem. I wish them a most blessed day on religious holidays that I know are important to them and they return the heartfelt wish on the days important to me. And then there are my friends who are agnostic or even atheist, no problem. Many of them celebrate the day in a totally secular manner, again that seems to be considered¬¨‚Ć acceptable to most people, Santa Claus visits, egg-nog is enjoyed and the world continues to spin to everyone’s satisfaction.

Enter Jeff. One of my favorite sons, Jeff¬¨‚Ć was raised Catholic,¬¨‚Ć however he has decided that’s simply not his belief system. He doesn’t rain on anyone else’s parade; he doesn’t disparage our celebration he simply doesn’t ‘do’ Christmas himself. It’s interesting what sort of conversations and interesting comments take place when he mentions this fact to others. Apparently this actually aggravates some people, my question is why? It seems that the common thought is that he is somehow a living, breathing, unreformed Ebenezer Scrooge because he doesn’t buy or expect presents or put up a tree. Huh? While I have no problem with folks celebrating in any way they choose it seems to me that we should be just as tolerant of someone who simply chooses not to celebrate.

I’ve heard some pretty disparaging comments about this and I don’t get it. Jeff¬¨‚Ć frequently asks simple but thought provoking questions, such as why so many people pretend to like one another this time of year, but can’t tolerate one another next week. Why do they spend money buying presents for these people if they don’t truly care for them? Why are people expected to overspend to show they care about one another even if they cannot afford to spend money?¬¨‚Ć Do any of those things have to do with the birth of Christ? From what I understand Jeff considers this sad and more than a bit hypocritical, I tend to agree. So, there are very unkind comments about him being unfriendly, stingy or even uncaring. While I don’t know the situation regarding every person who chooses not to celebrate Christmas I happen to know this is not the fact with this young man.

Jeff is always thoughtful about the feelings of others. If he is in town for Christmas or Easter he even attends mass with his Dad and me, not for himself, but because he knows it makes us feel good. I consider that very thoughtful. He’s absolutely not cheap or unwilling to spend on others; he is very generous without any special occasion in mind, because that’s just who Jeff is and the way he likes to treat people. More to the point Jeff and others I know who do not celebrate this particular holiday tend to treat people pretty much the same, day in or day out. Willing to know strangers before they judge them, loyal to friends and pretty firm in their stand regarding those they dislike. Now that seems very fair to me.

It seems that Jeff had a few things to say about this himself, you can read his thoughts if you visit Walden Ponder. http://www.waldenponder.com/2009/12/christmas-comes-every-year

Today I am celebrating Christmas with the members of our family who are in town. We will eat, open presents and enjoy being together all in the name of celebrating the birth of Christ. I’ve got to say that I appreciate Jeff and others who don’t celebrate for the gentle reminder they offer. I will try to keep his position in mind all year long, hopefully it will be a good reminder for me to keep in contact with those I care about, offer my love and generosity throughout the year and not only on particular days. I have to believe that is the best way I can honor my own Christian beliefs and respect the beliefs of others at the same time.

For those of you who celebrate, I wish you all the most wonderful blessings of this marvelous day. For those who don’t celebrate, I still wish you all the blessings of this marvelous day. Gosh that feels good.

Warmly,

Sandy

Life Changes

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

We’re dating. By ‘we’ I mean my husband of 27 years and of course me. John decided a few months ago that he wanted to make some major changes. I had no idea what was in store for us.

John has always been incredibly conservative. Watching every penny, worrying about every event, predicting all possible outcomes and then sort of holding his breath to see if his predictions would come true. These qualities may sound dull as you read them, but the truth is that they’ve made him a terrific husband and devoted father. We’ve always known that John had all eventualities covered. The boys and I have always felt entirely secure regarding finances and knew that John was totally and completely devoted to us all.

Apparently John has now decided to do a 180! The man is changing right before my eyes, and it’s not only surprising it’s a ton of fun.

He came home one day and told me that we were signed up for ballroom dancing lessons. Okay…sounds like fun to me. Then he told me the date of the first class. It was actually last Friday when I was co-hosting a retreat. No worries, he went by himself. Anyone who knows my husband knows that this was totally and completely out of character. He’s always been quiet and reserved. Apparently, he’s getting over it. He went to the class on his own, danced by himself and asked the very pretty young woman who is one of the instructors to dance with him. John spent all of the days between that first class and last week doing the rumba around the house. I suspect he held off somewhat at the firehouse as I didn’t get any calls. But it’s been terrific watching him have so much fun.

He’s signed us up for cheese tasting classes, checking the movie listings and even planned a cruise for January. Why do I tell you all of this? Because I have to tell someone! Alright, that’s part of it, I am incredibly proud of the way he is embracing change. But most of all, it’s to point out that we can make any changes that we truly want, at any time in our lives.

First of all, we have to want to change. We don’t have to know exactly what we want our lives to look like, but an idea certainly helps. For instance, John didn’t know that he was going to become someone who wanted to go places as frequently as he now does. He’s always been a homebody. But, he did decide that it was time to embrace a more light-hearted approach to life. He made the decision that he would find ways to get out from time to time with his amazing wife (that’s me) and that he would enjoy what life offers, knowing and trusting that his hard work and diligence has laid a good foundation. He’s not become frivolous by any means, but he is having more fun than ever.

How can this happen?¬¨‚Ć First and foremost John knew he wanted his life to start looking a bit different. He was tired of worrying. Tired of pinching pennies. So, he worked with a holistic life coach and Reiki master (yoo hoo, me again) to develop some practical and easy methods. He started re-framing his comments and statements to be more positive. Instead of focusing on events in his life or in the news that were upsetting or negative, he acknowledged them, discussed them with his life coach or others, but then he worked on letting them go if there was no way for him to change them. That’s huge! His personality is such that it was important for him to talk about things that bother him, that’s fine. But now, he tries not to end on a negative note. Instead he tries to see a lesson or a potential positive outcome.

Another of the things John has done is to stop berating himself for mistakes made in the past. After all, what’s done is done. We can look at the past, we can learn from it, but we have absolutely no ability to change it. I’m proud of him for beginning to accept that the past is done and to forgive mistakes made by himself and others. Again, a big step.

Probably the biggest change in John is that he is focusing on the¬¨‚Ć amazing life he has led and intends to go on living. He frequently brings up the fun we had raising our three sons. He speaks with pride about their accomplishments, no matter how small. Reminiscing about camping trips and time spent being active in Boy Scouts. He’s excited when he talks about them visiting us or a vacation to see any of them. In short, this man has become hopeful and silly excited about his future. Hooray!

I often speak to my clients, whether Reiki clients or coaching clients about re-framing their speech to see a positive viewpoint. It truly changes the way we feel and think. Affirmations are a powerful tool that we can use as well. Writing and talking to ourselves about the positive changes we are bringing about in our own lives. These things are sometimes overlooked or forgotten because they are so very simple. But they work. It’s pretty much that simple.

So, I’d like to applaud John for the life changes he’s made. I know it hasn’t been all that easy for him. He’s a 52 year old man who had a pretty firm pattern set in his life. But he’s making changes and from all the signs he’s enjoying them incredibly, just as he deserves.

Just one small positive change this week could improve your entire life. Go ahead, give it a try. I can’t wait to hear all about the positive life changes you are making.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go practice my fox-trot and rumba steps so that John doesn’t go off dancing into the sunset without me.

Warmly,

Sandy


John has always been incredibly conservative. Watching every penny, worrying about every event, predicting all possible outcomes and then sort of holding his breath to see if his predictions would come true. These qualities may sound dull as you read them, but the truth is that they’ve made him a terrific husband and devoted father. We’ve always known that John had all eventualities covered. The boys and I have always felt entirely secrue regarding finances and knew that John was totally and completely devoted to us all.

Apparently John has now decided to do a 180! The man is changing right before my eyes, it’s not only surprising, it’s a ton of fun.

What did you Expect?

Monday, November 16th, 2009

IMG00061My co-host and wonderful new friend, Melissa Heisler and I welcomed a group of five (5) women for our Relax and Recharge Retreat this past weekend.

We had talked about  our hopes and plans for the retreat and created an outline to guide us as well as letting the participants know what to expect. That plan pretty much flew right out the window, and it was to the benefit of all of us.

Everyone came for their own reason and of course those reasons and personal stories will remain confidential. What I found most interesting though was that all of the participants had desires and intentions in common, even if they were not aware of these desires and intentions went they registered for the event.

The weekend seemed to fly. Bonds were quickly and firmly established. Some ladies slept in, getting some much needed and well earned rest. Others spent those early hours in quiet talk. We walked for miles while we shared precious stories, sometimes all of us together, other times one on one. There was opportunity for Psych-K and Reiki and we all participated in guided meditation, taking our own private journeys in our mind while listening to our souls. We even spent some time creating our own vision boards. And do these ladies have vision! Each vision board was of course very different from the others. Another step toward creating the future that each is bringing about in her own life.

We ate well, nurturing our bodies while we nurtured our souls. It was a weekend of discovery and remembering. Recalling the laughter and pure joy of youth and simple pleasures.  Life coaching went on almost constantly, and some of it was even offered by the coaches; Melissa and me. The support and positive suggestions offered by each of these women to one another was heartwarming and genuine. They were positive, supportive and kind, most of all they were right on point, time and again.  Tears flowed, but there was also laughter. So much joy, I can hear it even now.

Can you bend spoons? Me too!  But Melissa shared this skill in a whole new way. Instead of using force to bend the spoon, she taught how to make the spoon pliable and easy to bend by using your heart and mind. Love that! And yes, it worked.  I was smart enough to buy some extra spoons from the accommodating diner down the road or I suspect I would be looking for new spoons for my lake home even now. They bent easily and it was just so cool to see the looks of amazement and happiness of the faces of the amazing ladies. They were always powerful but now they realized it in a whole new way. Very exciting stuff!

While it was our original plan to include Reiki, Psych-K, meditation, life coaching, etc., we soon realized that the schedule was not important at all. The days and nights unfolded perfectly. It’s pretty tough to ask for more than that.

I’m grateful to each of these women for sharing and participating. I’m also grateful to them for reminding me of a powerful lesson. I had certain expectations and plans when Melissa and I were putting all of this together. And while I still believe it’s important to have expectations and plans, I was gently and wonderfully reminded that it’s very important to let go of expectations when something much better comes along.

I wish you a week where your expectations are not only met but exceeded in surprising and most fabulous ways.

Warmly,

Sandy

Are You Comfortable with Your Role in Life?

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

DSC01073IMG00029Once again, an animal in my life is making me think outside of the box. Thanks Duke.

I’ve written about Duke before. He is a most handsome, good-natured boxer. A big dog who is living with us temporarily. Originally Duke was adopted by our son Jeff in LA. Jeff grew up with boxers and really wanted one of these loving dogs to live with him. Long story short, he adopted Duke and quickly bonded. However, Duke was far too stressed to be able to stay in LA. This urban environment that Jeff loved and thrived in was overwhelming and even unhealthy for Duke. So, Jeff made arrangements for Duke to go live with his elder brother Bill and his wife Felicia in Texas. This was in June and circumstances would not allow Bill and Felicia to have Duke live with them until mid-September. Jeff knew that Duke was suffering in LA so he drove the devoted dog to Milwaukee to stay with us in the interim.

Indy, our boxer welcomed Duke immediately and the two began to teach this life coach of very important lessons. Duke was incredibly stressed when he arrived, so while he was trying to adjust to yet another move and a new family I offered him Reiki on a regular basis. It didn’t take long for Duke to bond to me. Unfortunately, it was a nervous bond. Separation anxiety was clearly still a huge issue for this boy.

One evening while speaking on the phone to Jeff we were discussing Duke again, of course. I was concerned because it’s clear that Duke’s anxiety levels rise and fall despite the calm environment that we endeavor to provide. I know that the Reiki is helping him, but I still was concerned about incidents here and there. During our chat, Jeff once again brought up the behaviorist that he had consulted in LA. It turns out that this behaviorist felt that Duke was suffering from confusion about his role in the family. He thought he was the ‘alpha’ dog and was trying desperately to fill that role even though it was very clear that he didn’t want that role at all.

Suddenly so much began to make sense, the alpha dog in a pack has an awesome amount of responsibility. Remember to Duke, Indy, John and I were his pack as we are the family he is living with. If this theory is correct, Duke feels that he needs to provide food for us, it is his responsibility to protect us and to lead wherever we go. His role in life is to be the leader. Holy cats! No wonder the poor boy is stressed!

Now, I’ve lived with boxers for most of my adult life. They are a powerful, energetic, intelligent breed and they absolutely delight in being active members of the family. As I’m not a terribly large woman, I’ve always known that I needed to work with these wonderful animals to gain their cooperation and trust as we all live together. Brute force sure wasn’t going to work and when we had small children it was simply not a physical possibility anyway. Because of this, I’ve always worked with my dogs to understand our relationship to one another, establishing a comfortable hierarchy and working to maintain it. I won’t pretend that I never made mistakes, I’ve made plenty and I’ve tried hard to learn from them. Here was an opportunity to learn a bit more.

It’s our guess that Duke is somewhere between 2 and 3 years old. I can’t undo his history but I can hope to provide a better future for him. So, I got hold of the Jan Fennell book ‘The Dog Listener’ and began reading it again. I appreciate and value her methods. She is always gentle but firm with dogs. She writes of simple methods which communicate in dog language. Letting the animals know what is expected and offering praise when those expectations are met. Hey! Ms. Fennell is a life coach for dogs! I had used this book to teach me several years ago and I remember well that Indy was for quite some time the most well behaved dog I had ever known. With chagrin, I realized that I had let many of these simple patterns change, with the result that Indy felt his role in the family or pack change. He has become more barky and his cooperation with house guests is not as reliable as it had been in the past. Uh oh. And I was responsible.

Well, if a coaching client came to me with this dilemma I wouldn’t spend time berating the lapse, what good would that do? Instead I think it’s important to acknowledge that a change has taken place, recognize the reason for that change if at all possible and find a way to get back on course. So I decided to listen to my own coaching. I immediately began to institute the simple bonding techniques taught in Ms. Fennell’s book. Very easy methods brought immediate change. Within less than a day, I saw both dogs calm. They are being asked quietly to sit and wait to be released before they go in or out of the door. Easy, they both know the rule, I’m simply asking them to cooperate and they are. I eat a small morsel which comes from the counter next to their feed dishes before they are fed, without talking or looking at either of the dogs. They are asked to sit before I put their bowls down. Again, they wait for a very brief time before I release them to eat. When the somewhat inevitable barking starts, I go into the room where the boys are, thank them quietly for the announcement and then simply stand between them and whatever they are barking at. Within a few seconds they quiet and we then walk into another room together.

They are learning that their roles are shifting. They are not responsible for the feeding, protecting or leading of this family. That responsibility belongs to the humans in this family. As a result, Duke is noticeably calmer. I know he’s not ‘fixed’, there is much to do in the future and it will be very important for him to be with a family that is dedicated to maintaining their roles. A family that has time to spend with Duke playing, training and exercising. He will likely always be susceptible to separation anxiety so it is important that he be with people who are dedicated to making his life as stress-free as possible. A regular routine, someone home quite a lot, etc.

How does this translate to people? I bet you thought I would never get to this point, didn’t you? Well, it’s very simple really. It’s my belief that we sometimes ask ourselves to fill a role that simply does not feel right for us. When we do this it’s a bit like trying to fit that square peg into the round hole, you might be able to force it eventually, but it’s not a good fit overall. In the family, we need to know what our responsibilities are; this helps the relationship with the other family members to be more pleasant and rewarding. When children know what parents expect of them and the parents are consistent, pleasant and firm, children are more likely to understand their role, what is expected and precisely what sort of response they will receive from their parents. The roles are clear and it makes it easier for everyone to understand their role.

In the workplace, we need to know who is in charge, what our job responsibilities are and just what is expected of us. When we fulfill that role satisfactorily, we are rewarded. The satisfaction of a job well done, respect and appreciation of our professional superiors and peers, and of course a paycheck.

Now this is of course an incredible simplification. Animals and people are much more complicated than this short article could ever describe. Still, we have to start somewhere. I like to start at the beginning, it’s easier for me. This means a few basics. Self-care; I will continue to take care of myself well so that I am more likely to be in the frame of mind to be fair and friendly to the humans and animals in my life. This includes Reiki, exercise, etc. I think of the simple methods that I am using with the dogs as life coaching for them and myself. It helps me to remember that it’s important that we all remain positive, calm and appreciative for positive results.

This week I encourage you to think about the role that you have taken on, is it a good fit? If not, what can you shift in your life so that you are more comfortable? When we are comfortable, we tend to be much happier. When we are happier, we bring about better results, which makes us more comfortable. And so we move forward, learning, enjoying and evolving a bit everyday.

Warmly,
Sandy

Life Coaching Basics

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Life coaching is not about therapy, consulting, counseling, or advice. It is basically a process that addresses business successes, personal projects, transitions and general conditions among others especially in the client’s personal life and profession by putting efforts on the current situation, discovering the barriers, challenges and selecting the course of action in order to make life be how you would like it to be.

Life coaching involves the coach and the client and the relationship between the two of them, giving all the power to the client. It is believed that one knows the answers to every single question or problem he or she may be facing in his or her life, though the answers maybe hidden or concealed. As a life coach, my skills revolve around knowing the right questions to ask a client, being equipped with helpful tools and techniques that empower you to get to the answers that you already have within yourself.

One may ask, why work with a life coach? What each and every person dreams of is success, achievement, happiness and joy. Working with a life coach assists the clients to uncover their own blocks so that they are better able to manifest and allow the life they truly want to live.

As a holistic life coach, I assist an individuals in identifying and setting the goals that he or she really wants without basing them on others interests. My role as coach is to assist clients in clarifying their personal values in order to attain something better when it comes to setting the goals. Remember that when the goals are based on the things that the client value most, they become more naturally motivated.

As your life coach, I’m with you for every step. As a client you will learn to forgive your past mistakes and see them instead as valuable lessons. We are going to work together to focus on your very best self.

For this week, I wish you focus and balance in your life. Please feel free to send me an email or give me a call for your free life coaching consultation.

Warmly,
Sandy

The Shack

Monday, August 17th, 2009

I read a wonderful book the other day. It had been recommended and even loaned to me by one of my favorite life coaching clients. ‘The Shack’ by Wm. Paul Young spoke to me on many levels.

As a life coach I encourage clients to acknowledge and appreciate their faith, if they do indeed believe in a higher power. This book tells the true story of a man who lived through a brutal childhood. Later he married and had children, settling into a wonderful if somewhat ordinary life. God as he knew him was pretty unavailable and not someone he felt that he could count on. Tragically this man experienced a horror that is every parent’s nightmare. Sometime later, this man is invited up to a place referred simply as the shack. During his time at the shack his life changed forever.

I’m not going to tell you too much more because I do not believe I can do the story justice.

Reading this book helped me to deal with many questions. Maybe predictably, it prompted many more questions as well. Most of all it reminded me of the connection I feel with my God and reminded me that it doesn’t have to be all that complicated. It’s really pretty straight forward, a relationship of love and trust. Beginning, middle and end.

Why do I feel the need to share this with you? Because I think we all need something that we believe in and depend upon. For me this is my faith. Life coaching and Reiki have both helped me to become much clearer about my faith. Each has helped me to eliminate some of the junk that I always associated with faith. For me this process has been simple yet incredibly profound.

I encourage both life coaching and Reiki clients to take a bit of time each day to meditate. Time to simply be. When I do this it helps me to clear my mind and open my heart to ideas, thoughts and feelings. Sometimes these thoughts and feelings are new to me. Often they are old thoughts or emotions that I had sort of shelved in the past. Now when I give them a bit of time, they are more easily dealt with, as I simply ponder them from a detached point of view. I’m not consistent about meditating every day at a certain time or place, but I expect to get better about it with time. I know that it has served me well and I absolutely appreciate that fact.

For today I hope that you are able to take a few minutes to spend all by yourself in peace and quiet. Not thinking, just being. I hope that this will help you to find a bit of peace and guidance.

For a very good read which just may change your life, I strongly recommend reading ‘The Shack’. I know I’ll be buying several copies and keeping them on my lending bookshelf. This book is too important not to share, which is why I just shared with you.

Warmly,
Sandy

Peace at Last

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

DSCF0525My father died on Friday, December 29, 2006. It was much more painful than I expected.

My father and mother divorced when I was very young. My mom soon married again to the man who raised me, the man I have always considered and referred to me as my dad.

I was raised to respect and care about my father. While I grew up in Wisconsin he lived and worked in Louisiana. Generally I saw him once a year, though sometimes it was less often. He made regular phone calls while I was growing up and I’m sure he did the best he could to build a relationship. But as you might expect it was never as close as I somehow thought it should be and always hoped it would become.

I grew up, married and had a family of my own. My father continued to call fairly regularly and to visit when he would be in the area. As he had been raised in northern Wisconsin he made visits to the Milwaukee area most years.

This was always a tough relationship, looking back I think it was tough for both of us. There’s no doubt that I could have and should have tried harder on my end. I always thought that he could have and probably should have tried more as well. Sadly, when I think about it now, I realize that I had no idea how to bring about the relationship I desired or if I even knew what I wanted. I always just sort of felt that there was something missing. Frankly, I don’t know even now if he was satisfied with the way things were either, or if he thought there should be more as well.

My father’s two younger brothers died a few years before him. After their deaths I had the strong feeling that he was much more aware of his mortality. He definitely made more of an effort to connect with me and my grown children than he ever had before. He spent a few weeks at a time in Wisconsin and made much more of an effort to connect. While I appreciated this effort, and we had some very good times, the truth is that it was often very strained. Still it was progress.

The phone call came in September of 2006. My father told me that he had terminal cancer. I knew it was now or never. We kept in touch much more frequently and I drove down to Louisiana to spend a few weeks with him. I’m so glad that I did. Still, in the manner of people who have full hearts but do not feel comfortable expressing their emotions to one another, we left much unsaid.

When I learned of his death I thought that I would be able to close that particular chapter of my life. We had cared about one another, but truly not known each other as well as we probably could have. I really believed that it would be a matter of shedding some quiet tears and saying goodbye. Wrong.

What I found out was that I cared much more deeply than I knew. I relived and experienced feelings of loss and grief from my childhood on. I thought about the experiences that we had missed out on, the fact that he hadn’t attended my wedding and had never held any of my children when they were babies. I had to acknowledge the anger and resentment that I had felt at never feeling like I was a priority in his life. I had to acknowledge these feelings and allow myself to truly feel them before I was able to let them go. Of course that meant that I also had to acknowledge my feelings of shame and guilt, I had to honestly take ownership of my part in this relationship. The finger pointing and blame game was not acceptable anymore. It was important to acknowledge and apologize for not making my feelings clear to him while he was still here.

Reiki helped me so much as I went through this process. After I went through the blame and anger I was finally able to acknowledge that someplace deep inside I had always known that my father really did love me very deeply. He simply did not demonstrate it in the manner I had somehow expected. Receiving Reiki on a regular basis and practicing life coaching skills helped me to move into a place of love and forgiveness, for both of us. To be honest, it took an awful lot of thinking about him, praying and meditating to be sure that he was aware now in the afterlife that I had always had very deep affection for him as well. Eventually, I was able to come to a place of peace.

So, here I am. More than two and a half years later I am now able to think about my father and smile. The bitterness, anger and hurt needed to be allowed, acknowledged and finally released. Now there are the feelings of forgiveness and acceptance for both of us. There is acknowledgment that few people live storybook lives where emotions and feelings are demonstrated to the expectation and satisfaction of all involved. Most of us feel that others should say or do things in a different manner to be most effective, but emotions and feelings are complicated and the should of, could of is irrelevant in the end. That’s just life.

I have no doubt that some of these feelings will resurface from time to time. Occasions of one sort or another may make me think about the way things actually happened or the way I wish they had been. But now they are much easier for me to deal with. I realize that while we both had our shortcomings, we actually did the very best that we could at the time. I have no way of knowing what was in his mind or heart in the past, but I am sure and always have been sure that he only wanted the best for me. That makes memories and resurfacing emotions much easier to allow, and to move through with love, forgiveness and blessings.

For me, it’s very important to remember that my memory is selective at best. My thoughts and emotions at the moment have always colored my memories and they always will. I can’t change the past, so I choose to appreciate and be grateful for the lessons I have learned. I choose to live in the moment. At the moment I choose to feel good. I choose to forgive myself and others. I choose to love. I choose peace at last.

I wish you a day of forgiving and allowing yourself to be forgiven. I wish you a day of love and blessings. I wish you a day of peace.

Warmly,
Sandy

Frustration

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

DSCF0524The theory is that as a holistic life coach and Reiki master, I won’t experience frustration. Yeah, right.

There is a situation with someone in my family that could easily drive me nuts. The particulars are not really all that important. Regarding most issues, I only add my thoughts if they are solicited. This is really a hard and fast rule regarding my children, especially since they are all grown and have every right to make their own decisions. When I keep my opinion to myself until it’s actually asked for, they give it more weight, take it more seriously and actually ask for it quite often.

So, why am I having such a hard time keeping my yap shut this time? This person is simply dragging his feet, refusing to act on a matter that could affect his finances for the rest of his life, and not in a good way. It’s not that he doesn’t have options, he does and they are readily available. He’s simply not taking any action.

If I were my own life coaching client how would I handle this as my coach? Well, I’d probably start by asking a few direct questions.

Q – What is it that you think you can resolve by constantly bringing up this
situation.
A – I would like to motivate him to take positive steps toward resolving this
situation.
Q – Do you have the ability to change the outcome of this situation?
A – No
Q – Is it your responsibility to handle this situation?
A – No
Q – Have you expressed your concern in a calm, rational manner to the person
involved?
A – Yes
Q – What is likely to be the affect on your relationship if you keep bringing this
up this subject?
A – He will stop asking for my advice regarding other situations.
Q – In general, is he responsible? Does he handle his finances and other ‘grown up’
responsibilities well?
A – Yes, he’s generally very responsible.

That last one just wrapped up the question and answer session done for me. The fact is that he is a generally responsible young man, and even if he weren’t, my forcing my opinion on him will not assist him to learn more responsibility.

The truth is that I am the one bringing on my own frustration. I have explored options with him, shown him the benefits and the drawbacks, now it’s up to him to make the decision that is right for him.

I truly have no way of knowing what is in his mind and heart. And it’s none of my business even if I did. It’s time to trust, back off and relax. Sometimes we need to allow others to make mistakes on their own. If he makes a mistake regarding this situation it will be something that he has to deal with, but it may well prevent him from making a much larger mistake in the future.

So, having worked through this, I feel the frustration melting away. I will trust him to make the right decision for his highest good. I have asked him if he minds my sending Reiki to him to help him to make the decision that will serve him the best and then let it go. He’s agreed and I feel as though I am doing what I can to assist him without interfering.

Truly, that’s the only option I have anyway.

My wish for you is that you are able to take positive action steps to change situations that are yours to change. And that you are able to relinquish those that were never yours to begin with.

Warmly,
Sandy