Posts Tagged ‘Stress’

Meditation

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

When I used to think of meditation, I was absolutely convinced it was totally beyond me. After all, I believed that meditation required a quiet, calm, very disciplined mind. Let me be very honest here, not one of those adjectives would be used to describe my noisy, active sometimes scattered mind.

Imagine how relieved and excited I was when I learned that meditation comes in many varieties, there is no ‘one size fits all’. This led me to re-think the entire meaning and to discern just what meditation is for me.

When I asked myself a couple of questions, it really became quite clear.

* What allows me to become so absorbed that I am both energized and deeply relaxed at the same time?

* How do I feel after engaging in this  activity?

That’s it; there really were only two questions for me. Remember that busy mind I mentioned earlier, well the simple fact is that two questions were quite enough. I was off and running with this idea that I could be a Master Meditator. By the way, there’s no need to look it up, I made up that term. ūüôā

I asked myself, what absorbs, relaxes and energizes me? Gardening, being in or on the water, walking my dog. To name a few. How do I feel after any of these activities? I feel refreshed, relaxed and just plain good. I get lost in these activities, loose all sense of time and often have little or no interest in what is happening around me. This my friends is meditation.

These activities allowed my mind to rest, and that is very therapeutic. However, I have found that other forms of meditation serve me in other ways. Listening to guided meditation relaxes me anytime I listen to it. If I’m having a stressful day, I often will simply put on a guided meditation and let it run in the background. Whether I am deliberately focusing on the meditation or not, I notice that my stress level begins to dissipate.

In December of 2010 my 23 year old son took his own life. To say that suicide is traumatic is perhaps one of the greatest understatements of all time. The stress was pretty much off the charts. One of the ways my body and minds responds to stress is insomnia. This has been an issue on and off for me for many years when stressful situations would occur in my life.

I admit that it took quite a while for me to remember after losing my son that I had tools at hand to help myself. However, when I did remember and when I was able to begin using the tools of meditation, I began feeling better. Not fixed, not healed, certainly not over it. But better. And that mattered a great deal.

It’s only been a bit over a year since losing Mike and I readily admit that I frequently need to remind myself that meditation is helpful for me. Sometimes it’s simply too much for me to get out and walk the dog or participate in one of the activities that usually brings on the calm, restful state. However, for me listening to guided meditations helps tremendously. Particularly when I am experiencing insomnia. I use either an mp3 player with headphones or a simple cd player to allow the meditation to play. Sometimes I try to concentrate on the words, other times I simply trust that the meditation will guide me to a relaxed state and a gentle sleep usually follows. If I’m having a particularly difficult time with sleep, I usually put the meditation on repeat and let it play.

Our mind, our body and our spirit all need rest and calm if they are to serve us well. Meditation facilitates this rest, healing and rejuvenation. The more one practices, the easier and more effective it is in bringing on that healing rest. However, rest assured that the benefits are there for the casual user and beginner as well.

I strongly encourage meditation for anyone. Particularly for someone who is experiencing illness, trauma or stress, meditation can make all the difference.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

One of my favorite experiences is to listen to guided meditations while drifting off to sleep.

Hypnosis – Pregnancy and Childbirth

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

I remember a couple of hundred years ago, when I was moving through pregnancy; we attended a couple of childbirth classes where they told us to find something to focus on during childbirth. We were told that if we focused on our chosen object that the entire experience would be much easier. I don’t remember being told why it would be easier, or perhaps I just wasn’t listening. That is entirely possible. Oh yeah, I also remember learning that we should not make our partner or spouse our focal point. Good news for John as he figured I focus on him enough while screaming and yelling on a normal basis, not what he wanted during the stress of welcoming our baby. ūüôā

You are probably aware that pregnancy and childbirth are completely natural occurrences. Yet I distinctly remember the horror stories beginning as soon as I told anyone that I was pregnant. Oh my goodness! I learned that I would be incredibly uncomfortable for the entire time. Morning sickness would be horrible. I was told again and again that by the time that baby put in an appearance I would be incredibly grateful to have this experience over. Really? And then there were the scary stories about childbirth itself. I won’t even go into some of the horrific stories that were shared with me about giving birth. I remember thinking that I just didn’t believe it had to be that way. I hoped to have more than one child and if the entire experience was that horrific, then even child #1 was going to have a lot of making up to mama in the years after birth.

From some of the things I heard and read it sounded as though this process was really the most outlandish, complicated and unreasonably painful idea ever. In fact, I couldn’t believe that the human race had continued if indeed this was the way pregnancy and childbirth were fated to proceed.

The truth is that I had pretty easy pregnancies. I went through childbirth 3 times, each one very different, but each resulting in a strong, healthy baby boy. I felt good during pregnancy. Yes, I experienced morning sickness; in fact it lasted most of my pregnancy each time. But as silly as this sounds, it really didn’t bother me that much. Other than that, I felt strong and very healthy. Almost like this was a normal, human experience.

Same thing goes for childbirth and recovery. Oh never doubt that I tell my boys precisely how long each delivery took, but it was not nearly as horrible or painful as I had been led to expect, and recovery was a breeze for me.

Pregnancy is a normal, human experience. Your body will change to accommodate the baby, but you don’t need to suffer while these changes occur. Morning sickness is mostly a result of hormonal changes that your body is going through, again for the baby. Well, like all chemical changes that occur in our body, this is controlled by our mind. There’s some really good news here. Hypnosis can help. Hypnosis is a natural, easy way to deal with morning sickness and other discomforts generally associated with pregnancy. Working with a hypnotist is a terrific way to release the feelings of nausea and truly enjoy your pregnancy. After all, this is the time when you are getting excited about welcoming a new little one into your family. Because hypnosis is simply enhanced focus and concentration, it is completely, entirely, absolutely natural.

You experience hypnosis on a regular basis, whether or not you are aware. When you are so engrossed in that new book that you don’t hear anyone in the room until they tap you on the shoulder, you’re experiencing a trance. Now come back down from the ceiling and let’s explore a little bit more.

Anyone can have a good hypnotic experience. And the good news is that the more frequently you deliberately go into trance, the better you are at allowing beneficial changes to occur for you. Be assured that as your  hypnotist I cannot make you do anything against your will. You will still be who you are, but hypnosis allows you to the opportunity to make some changes that allow you to live a happier, healthier life. Like moving through or simply not experiencing morning sickness. Now I say that is an easier way to move through pregnancy.

Of course hypnosis can address other pregnancy related issues. In fact, you name it and we can talk about it. To your benefit.

Childbirth. Are you ready for it? Let’s face it, no matter how much you are now enjoying this pregnancy, at some point that little one has got to come out. And despite the horror stories that abound, the truth is that childbirth is also a completely natural occurrence. It is entirely possible to have a fairly comfortable delivery. Again, hypnosis is a wonderful alternative to receiving drugs which can have a multitude of side effects. Now let me be clear, I would never say not to listen to your doctor, that would be foolish. What I’m saying is that if you use hypnosis, you may not need any sort of medications for pain relief during delivery. This may also save your spouse or partner from having crushed hand syndrome which my hubby insists was the result of my drug free deliveries. But I digress…

Now, it’s important that I point out that it’s not reasonable to find yourself in labor and then decide to use hypnosis to get through this process. You really need to begin either before or during pregnancy. This will allow you to physically, mentally and emotionally prepare for the process. Be assured that when you are prepared, you will know just what to do with that focal point and it will come naturally to you. Just like this entire experience.

Hypnosis is simply one more tool that you can use to move through your pregnancy feeling better. It can help alleviate morning sickness, aches and pains that may occur as your body is stretching to accommodate Little One. Hypnosis can relieve insomnia that often accompanies pregnancy as well as a myriad of other discomforts. Planning for your delivery using hypnosis is a very healthy choice. It is an excellent way to minimize discomfort and distress for Mom and as everybody knows, if Mama is happy, everyone else is happy as well.

Namaste,

Sandy

http://www.sandywalden.com/hypnosis/

 

 

Reiki – Learning Reiki for Your Own Self-Care

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Someone asked me the other day why she should consider learning Reiki. After all, she has no intention of offering the powerful energy modality professionally.

Holy cats! Clearly I had some explaining to do!

Learning Reiki level one is the very first step for someone who wants to be able to offer Reiki to others professionally. However, Reiki is first and foremost an excellent form of self-care. Because of this, when I teach Reiki level one, Reiki level two or Reiki at the master level, I always encourage others to give themselves Reiki as often as possible. It’s all part of taking good care of themselves.

Reiki, which is pronounced ray-kee, is defined as Universal Life Force Energy. This healing energy allows us to release negativity and to bring our own energy back into balance. This balance that Reiki offers is what allows us to heal, relax and re-energize.

Many believe that it is being out of balance that allows us to experience dis-harmony or dis-ease. Reiki allows that subtle shift which restores balance to our chakras and to our very lives.

All of this is very gentle. While most consider Reiki a hands on modality, it is in fact just as effective from a distance. After all, energy is not limited to space or time. For this reason, while it’s easy and comfortable for me to offer Reiki to my dog or to my husband when I’m at home, and of course it’s my privilege to offer to clients in my office. It’s just as easy and beneficial for me to send to my son living in Texas, another who lives across town and even to my son who has died. Reiki is energy, it follows intention.

Reiki is part of my own self-care. It makes sense to offer myself balance and release. I can only hope to assist others if I’m taking good care of myself. While I may make this a quiet time that I spend by myself, it’s just as effective to give myself Reiki while I read a book, watch television or even take a bath.

What results can you expect from frequent Reiki session? I wish I could tell you precisely what to expect, but it’s simply not for me to know what is for your highest and best good. I do know that since I’ve been giving myself Reiki on a regular basis I have been able to stop taking blood pressure medication completely. Nothing else in my life explains the change. I have not changed eating or exercise habits. In fact, many might expect that my blood pressure would have become more of an issue, especially in recent months with personal stress. The reverse is true. Of course I have continued to monitor my blood pressure; I have it taken frequently and continue to keep in touch with my doctor. He is pleased and offers no other explanation for this change.

Reiki is a wonderful addition to your daily regimen. It is complementary to any medical treatment that you are receiving. Reiki will never interfere with any medications or have any sort of side effects. It’s important to remind anyone who is receiving Reiki to continue with any medical treatment they are receiving. Reiki is not a replacement or an alternative to excellent medical care. Instead, Reiki is a complement, that’s a very important distinction.

Why learn and become attuned to Reiki level one? So that you can begin offering yourself balance and healing. Reiki offers you excellent self-care. When you are taking excellent care of yourself, you are in a much stronger position to care for those you love.

I offer Reiki level one and Reiki level two each month. Master classes are scheduled upon request. When you are ready to take that first step to begin living your best life, give me a call. You will be most welcome in my Reiki class.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

 

 

Reduce Stress With Hypnotism

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Are you stressed? Perhaps it would make more sense to ask, do you know anyone who isn’t stressed? Sadly, more and more people experience unhealthy stress.

There are¬†excellent options for dealing with everyday stress. ¬†Exercise immediately comes to mind. Meditation and Reiki of course are other powerful methods to calm the mind and allow the body to relax at the same time. Both are incredibly effective and as you well know, I’m a huge fan.

Reiki has changed my life and I’m incredibly grateful. Likewise regular meditation has made some changes that I did not expect, but which I’m very grateful to now be experiencing. However, there are of course other alternatives.

Almost everyone who comes to me to experience hypnosis brings up stress in their lives.  Work stress, stress from school and of course this time of year many people experience incredible stress from dealing with the holidays. Hypnosis can and does help.

While in the hypnotic trance, you sub-conscious and your hypnotist have a little chat. Your conscious mind may be fully aware of the conversation or it may be relaxing to the extent that it has simply handed things over to the sub-conscious for a while. Be assured, that everything your hypnotist says to you, you will be able to remember if that is what you choose. While experiencing hypnosis, you will not go to sleep. The hypnotic trance is instead a state of heightened focus. So, rather than sleeping you are more aware of what your hypnotist is saying to you than at any time. This intense focus on the hypnotist and the suggestions that you are being given is why hypnosis is so effective.

While experiencing hypnosis your hypnotist will give you suggestions. Rest assured these suggestions will work for you only if they resonate with you. For instance, I am absolutely not interested in becoming a lion-tamer. Nope, not me, not for any reason. In fact, I’m opposed to the entire practice for ethical reasons. Because I am so adamantly opposed, believing that the practice is cruel and unethical, my hypnotist would never be able to successfully give me a suggestion to be a lion-tamer.

However, I am not at all opposed to taking a nice walk with my canine companion, Indy. So, if my hypnotist were to give me a suggestion to take a 30 minute walk with my buddy every day, knowing that that activity is enhancing my physical health and allowing me to release stress at the same time, than¬†by golly, that’s just what I would do.

The suggestions would be more¬†detailed and full than that representation, but it’s important to note how very effective they are. If the person being hypnotized wants the suggestions to be effective. The power, the control is always, always, always with the person being hypnotized, never with the hypnotist. ¬†

So, can you reduce your stress with hypnotism? Yes, you can and I highly recommend doing so if you are not having success managing stress on your own. Hypnotism can help you.

This week, I wish you a stress-free seven days of peace, calm and holiday joy. And if you’re feeling stressed, just give me a jingle and we can talk.

Namaste,

Sandy

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Crossing Guard, Life Coach

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

The other day I was on my way to work, a short jaunt from Milwaukee to New Berlin. For some reason I took a slightly different route than was typical for me.¬† I’m so glad that I did.

As I approached the middle school I noticed that the crossing guard that is usually there was in fact not there today. Instead there was a man I had never seen before. I swear this man simply exuded happiness and joy. It was in his entire being, his simple presence almost shouted in a most cheerful way ‘Happy, Joy, Fun’. Interesting. He wasn’t doing anything all that different than what many crossing guards do; it was the look on his face I think that made the difference.

This gentleman was using both arms to wave to folks driving by. Not in a frenzied, lunatic way that you might imagine as I say he was waving with both arms. Nope, he was simply sending a smile and a greeting to everyone. This man was offering his love to each and every person who happened to be lucky enough to pass him by.

As a life coach I encourage each person I work with to think thoughts that make them happy, to offer a smile even when they don’t quite feel like it. I ask my life coaching clients to make a deliberate effort to offer peace to the world through their body language, their words and their energy. This man had all of this down pat and it made my day better to simply see him.

Such a simple wonderful gift. You and I can offer this gift to others as we go through our day as well. It makes a powerful difference to the way I feel if I muster a small smile when I’m feeling glum. I feel just a tad bit better. Hmmm, that’s worth taking a step further. It turns out that offering a smile and a kind word feels even better to me and when I receive a kind word and smile from someone else I remember it for hours and hours. These are such simple, small steps. Practically no effort at all! But it feels so very good.

When I offer a smile and a kind word, I feel better and so does the person I shared with. The life coach in me says that it’s very important to keep this lovely energy going, keep spreading it around. I like to encourage my life coaching clients and even many of my Reiki clients to do a bit of homework. I ask them to make it a point to catch themselves when they want to offer a word that is less than kind, when they begin to think a negative thought or get irritated at something that is happening in their world. At that moment, I ask them to make a deliberate offering of peace and love to the situation or people involved. If they can’t quite muster love, I ask them to offer peace and calm. This homework is to continue for a full week.

When we chat about this deliberate offering of peace,  I hear how the clients became more and more aware of their thoughts. As the week went on they more easily noticed their tone of voice, how they held their body and they became very aware of the words they were speaking. This awareness led them to making deliberate choices. They began to ask themselves if offering the words they were going to say would help or hinder the situation and then spoke accordingly. My coaching clients tell me that they find themselves less stressed, feeling better and being more patient with others. Nice, very nice.

All of this is what this wonderful crossing guard does for me each time I see him. He puts me in mind of the cheerful flowers that bloom in my yard. I now find myself deliberately taking that route so that I have the opportunity to share a cheerful smile and a wave in the morning. It feels pretty darned good. This wonderful man is acting as a life coach and I very much appreciate the continuing lesson. Thank you sir.

Namaste,                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Sandy

In Reiki the Only Absolute is No Absolutes

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

The first time I experienced Reiki it changed my life. Sounds a bit dramatic doesn’t it? Well, for me it was just that. I had been experiencing severe shoulder pain for quite some time. I vividly remember being on that Reiki table and as the hour neared ending I was getting very concerned, actually I was preparing to be angry. You see, at that time lying still for a period of time usually ended with me being in quite a lot of pain. I had gone through two shoulder surgeries which resulted in my shoulder operating properly but left me with chronic pain. Visits to my doctor had led me to believe that I would simply need to live with this pain, nothing else could be done.

The pain was not all that had let me to seek Reiki. At the time I was experiencing stress from several fronts and really was not being successful in releasing that stress on my own. My son Jeff advised, implored, nagged and generally badgered me to try Reiki as it had helped him with stress. Finally, I caved and went to check this out for myself. And if I admit the truth, I wanted to have a reason to ask Jeff to be quiet. ūüôā

During our pre-session chat I asked questions, I wanted to know just what Reiki was going to do for me. The practitioner that I was visiting was very patient. She explained that Reiki is Universal Life Force Energy and that it would assist me to release negativity which no longer served my highest good. She went on to explain that this would assist me to heal on whatever level I was ready. Despite my many questions, or more accurately I might say that despite my badgering her to tell me precisely what to expect, she simply smiled and told me that my experience would be unique for me. She could not and would not tell me absolutely what to expect. Okay, I decided to give it a whirl.

That first experience was unlike anything I had ever encountered. As I relaxed, my mind quieted, bit by bit. I felt myself becoming calmer and I thoroughly enjoyed the downtime. However, as I said above, as the session neared its end I found myself becoming a bit nervous about the pain I knew I would experience when I got off of the table. The shoulder pain I continually experienced was worse when I was still for an extended period of time. I fully expected to be in quite a lot of pain when I got up from the table. Imagine my surprise when instead of being in pain, I felt better than I had in quite some time. What happened? What was this Reiki that I could feel so much better? Had Reiki achieved this miracle? Would Reiki accomplish this calming affect each time I went for a session?

So many questions filled my mind and I asked each and every one of them after this first session. What the Reiki Master who was my practitioner told me, quietly and gently was that Reiki had allowed me to calm and relax and I was healing to the extent that I was ready. While I accepted that response, it didn’t feel concrete enough to me. So I persisted. I began reading books, visiting websites and questioning anyone and everyone I knew who either offered Reiki or had gone for sessions.

Eventually I came to accept what I had been told after my first experience. No matter what the level of the Reiki practitioner, from Reiki level one to Reiki master, the Reiki which flows is offered to the recipient by the practitioner, but the level of healing is up to the recipient. There are absolutely no absolutes when discussing Reiki.

There have been times when I have been profoundly moved while receiving Reiki, tears of emotional release have flowed. Other times I have wanted to giggle I have felt such joy. Deep relaxation is not unusual, nor is it an odd event for my mind to flit from one topic to another. The only constant is that I now know, Reiki is flowing from practitioner to recipient and it is entirely up to the recipient to use in the manner which serves their highest good.

Mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. Reiki works on all levels, but it’s not for me to say to what degree at any given time. The intelligent energy of Reiki works on the level which we are prepared to accept. I find it exciting and reassuring that I do not know just what will happen. For me the trust is everything.

I know that Reiki only works for the highest good. I know that Reiki works on the level that the recipient is ready to accept. I know that Reiki is complementary with all medical treatments, that it can never do harm. What will that look like to me or to you? I can’t say for sure. That’s why once again I offer, when working with Reiki there are absolutely no absolutes.

I encourage you to experience Reiki for yourself. The experience may simply offer you an opportunity to relax and recharge…or it may change your life.

Namaste,
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

Let Your Emotions be Your Guide

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

DSCF0533They had an argument. In fact she said it was pretty much a knock-down, drag-out fight, loud and ugly it left them both hurt and feeling cut-off from one another for the next 24 hours. Pretty unusual for them because they generally get along very well. Here’s where it gets interesting. She told me that she knew the day before that a real argument was coming with him, she could feel it.

As both a life coach and a Reiki practitioner, I strongly believe and work with my clients to understand the law of attraction. Quite simply that means that what we put our attention on, what we think about, what we expect, what we ‘know’ is going to happen will in fact come into our experience.

When we talked about this unfortunate argument she shared her thoughts the day before that an argument was about to happen. So, we talked about ways it could have been avoided. Oh, not the discussion. The subject they covered probably should have been addressed, but it could have been handled in their normal loving manner, quickly and easily.

We began with her thoughts and feelings the day prior to the fight. She was feeling great and was on top of the world. When she spoke with her husband he was not as supportive as she would have liked him to be and she was very disappointed. She noted how she felt and although she didn’t take the time to think about it at that very moment, she later realized that she had a few options. She could have reached for a slightly better feeling, possibly frustration as this would have begun the process of lessening her feeling bad. Instead, she became angry, which moved her to a feeling that made her feel even worse.

She held onto that anger all evening and by morning she had moved further on the emotional scale. Unfortunately, she hadn’t moved to a better feeling but instead to a worse feeling, insecurity and guilt. In short, she was pretty much primed for that fight. She knew it was coming and she was bringing it on, not altogether unconsciously.

As we chatted, we talked about the emotional scale. It’s a tool that I find invaluable as a life coach, working with Reiki clients and of course in my everyday life. An awareness of how we feel is truly a very practical and easy guide and it helps us to take our lives in the direction that we truly want to move.

She talked about how her disappointment, anger and insecurity had brought about the argument, then she moved onto ways it could have been a useful and productive discussion. As she talked through the event she began re-framing thoughts and comments in a manner which made her feel a bit better. Progress! This continued, the more she thought and discussed the more she repeatedly found ways to make small, incremental movement up the emotional scale. She was feeling better and better. She was able to re-frame the comments she heard as well as the comments she had made. In this way she was able to forgive both herself and her husband as she realized that there is always more than one way to say and look at every situation.

We chatted a few days later. She had been very deliberately paying attention to her gut, how she felt as well as to her thoughts, were they negative or positive. When her feelings or thoughts were not pleasant she was taking the time to reach for that ever so slightly better feeling or thought. She was very excited with the progress that she was seeing. She noticed that when she was putting her attention on what she wanted rather than what she didn’t want that she was getting much more satisfying results.

Of course I will continue to coach her to make this awareness of how she feels and what she is thinking a natural part of her life. It will become easier and easier.

For any of us, as we see positive results, we are encouraged to do more of what is bringing about those results. Success leads to success. Fabulous!

For today, I encourage you to really pay attention to how you are feeling during the day. When you make decisions or say something, how do you feel? What are you thinking? Become aware and reach for a better feeling and I feel very sure you will have a better day.

Warmly,
Sandy

Ear Flapping

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

DSC01051Duke is our foster dog. A big, sweet boxer he was adopted by our son Jeff and they set off to live happily together in Los Angeles. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Duke is simply not a hustle and bustle sort of guy. L.A. stressed him to bits, so Jeff made arrangements for him to go to Texas to live with our eldest son Bill and his lovely wife Felicia. Unfortunately, they are not able to welcome him into their home for a few months yet, so Duke has come to brighten up our lives for a few months. Sounded like a plan.

So, Duke arrived in Milwaukee to the absolute delight of our permanent resident boxer, Indy. They got along from day one and Duke has began settling in. Then we started to really get to know him. While Duke is good-natured and sweet, communicating was something of a problem. He had no signal that it was time to go outside, he would just wait until one of us opened the door and follow us outside. Okay as far as it went, but we were worried that he was not having all of his needs met.

Then one morning, at the very silly time of around 5 am I heard this odd sound. It sounded as though someone was slapping a leather chamois, very, very quickly and it was happening right by my head. Huh? Well, I have gotten used to opening my eyes every morning to the sweet expression of Duke staring at me with his golden eyes. This morning he wasn’t staring at me. He was flipping his head from side to side with amazing speed and it was creating this very loud flapping sound. It actually made me laugh because it was so strange and loud. So I got out of bed. The moment my feet hit the floor, Duke took off at a run. He needed to go outside and he had just found the way to tell me! Good boy Duke!

Now I was tickled that Duke had learned to communicate this very basic need to me. My hope is that the Reiki he is getting every day, along with simply getting to know him better and encouraging his trust is helping him to feel confident expressing himself in new ways. At least new ways for him. The life coach in me is tickled beyond belief by this bit of progress. Communication can take time, it can be a tricky process and it’s one of the things that I work on with most life coaching clients on an ongoing basis.

The progress continues. Duke has now decided that ear flapping worked so well to signal the need to go outside first thing in the morning, it now also means that he is starving and needs food immediately please. Okay, Duke, okay. I get it. ha ha

Duke only uses this signal first thing in the morning. He prefers around 5am or so. I’m going to continue to coach him by responding to his request in a positive manner. Hopefully as time goes on we will be able to understand each other at other times. There’s no doubt in my mind that Duke is communicating with me, telling me when he wants outside, when he wants his ears scratched, etc. While I’m picking up some of these signals, I’m not understanding all of them, yet.

We’ll continue to work together, my new buddy Duke and me. He’s a very good student, watching Indy and our interaction all of the time. Clearly he has his own style of communication and it’s my intention to understand him a bit better each day.

Really, this same event is unfolding in our lives on a regular basis. The dynamics of our relationships change and our way of communicating evolves. What worked yesterday may not work today. What works for one person may not work for another. I believe the key is continually keeping a positive attitude, making it clear that there is an intention to understand and communicate. Be aware of what our facial expression, body posture and tone of voice are saying to our companions. These are all direct forms of communication and we are using them constantly.

As for me and Duke, I’m sort of hoping that he’ll decide he likes to sleep in, something around 5:30 or 6 would be swell. But at the moment, I’m not going to do anything to discourage our new understanding. He’s a sweet boy and I’m very happy that we are beginning to understand one another.

I wish you a fabulous day of clear communication with everyone in your life.

Warmly,
Sandy

Another Lesson from Indiana

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Indy and DukeI’ve written here about my buddy Indiana before. He’s the charming, good looking, friendly and ever so clever boxer dog who lives with my husband and me. Indy will be five years old in just a few weeks, so he’s now officially a middle-aged gentleman in the boxer world. All my life I’ve had the privilege of living with dogs and they have always had so much to teach me. Indy is no exception.

Recently our son Jeff who lives in Los Angeles decided he really wanted a dog to keep him company. He’s been raised with boxers and really missed Indy, so he adopted a boxer that he named Duke. Duke is a big, beautiful boy, friendly and very mellow, somewhere between 1 and 2 years old. The rescue wasn’t sure of his age as they had no idea where he originally came from. This dog seemed perfect to live with Jeff and so they went home together.

They bonded instantly and became best buddies. The problem is that Duke couldn’t get over the noise and constant activity of LA. The poor guy actually started loosing his hair. After consulting a behaviorist, veterinarian and trainer who each independently told Jeff that Duke was clearly not going to adjust to being an urban dog, Jeff decided to re home his buddy. So, he made arrangements for Duke to go to Texas to live with his elder brother Bill and his wife Felicia. The only problem is that they could not take him for 3 months and Duke clearly could not stay in LA, his stress level was just escalating.

Road trip! Duke and Jeff made their way across the USA to Milwaukee. Duke is going to hang with us until Bill and Felicia are able to take him home in a few months. All of this is well and good, we were pretty sure Indy would be happy to have a friend for a few months as he’s always done well with doggy company. But Duke has little or no experience with other dogs, so we really didn’t know how this would go.

I should have known that I could trust the dogs, particularly Indy to handle the situation perfectly. From the moment Duke walked into the yard, Indy reined in his normally exuberant behavior, walked over to Duke and in their silent language invited his new pal to stroll through the yard with him and look it all over. Duke was only slightly hesitant. Indy was calm and patient, luring him when Duke was shy and playing a bit now and then when Duke showed a bit more interest.

This has been going on for a few days now. I’ve been walking them together each day so that Duke is more comfortable with me when Jeff leaves and to of course reinforce his training and give them both needed exercise. The life coach in me is pleased and somewhat surprised to see that the doggy training continues between the two of them regardless of what I do. They walk on opposite sides of me, but Duke is still watching Indy and taking all of his cues from him. In the house they are also learning about one another. Indy continues to lure his new friend into the occasional game of chase or tug, exhibiting patience that I did not for a moment expect from him. Meal time is interesting as well. Duke is a big boy; a bit underweight and not filled out yet. As such he eats considerably more than Indiana. They get separate bowls and when Duke is finished he invariably heads over to Indy’s bowl. He will gently and politely put his face near the bowl. If Indy is done he will back off and let Duke finish the food. If Indy is not done he simply pushes Duke away with a short growl that says ‘not now buddy’ and Duke quietly goes about his business.

I refer to the coaching lessons that they are both teaching me; because it strikes me that they are teaching me every moment that I watch them together. Indiana is a terrific life coach to Duke. He is patient but he also clearly has expectations. He will lure or invite Duke to do certain things, if Duke accepts they work on it together, like playing with a tug toy, a totally new experience for Duke. If Duke refuses, Indy simply walks away without taking it at all personally. He simply tries something else a bit later. What a great life coach! Indy offers, suggests, provokes just a little bit. Then he waits to see the results. If they are pleasing he lures and asks for a bit more. If the results are not successful, he tries something else. Have I mentioned that I think my Indy is a bit of a genius? lol

Both dogs are of course receiving Reiki everyday. It’s simply part of the daily routine around here. I strongly believe that Reiki is much of the reason that Indy has made such an amazing physical recovery from his stroke a few months ago. I can only imagine how it has helped him mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Of course I want Duke to enjoy the same benefits as much as possible. He’s a very special dog and deserves to know the love and benefits of people who care about him very much. Reiki is part of that experience while he’s involved with this family.

Once again, I’d like to thank the animals in my life for the simple yet profound lessons that they teach me again and again. They keep the lessons easy and straightforward. That’s greatly appreciated and I will keep applying these lessons learned while I work with my own holistic life coaching clients.

This week I encourage you to take a bit of time. Observe the animals in your life. Maybe they’re your pets, or even the squirrels and birds in the yard. It doesn’t take long to realize they are all teaching us and if we pay attention we can learn an awful lot.

Warmly,
Sandy