Month: April 2016

How to Show Love

r12Why don’t you turn the tide? Instead of expecting to receive something, be the first one to give. Nothing can compare to the feeling of joy and contentment once you see a person brimming with happiness after he or she receives your gift.

Humans nowadays are too attached to material possessions that they eventually forget to see the real beauty of life. The riches we acquired here on earth are something we cannot bring with us when we die. It is the laughter, the memories we have with each other that makes our existence worthwhile. It is quite saddening that we put too much weight on things that don’t even matter.

We fail to realize the value of things that money can’t buy.

Give to those people that which you wish to receive. Don’t wait for them to give you something before you can actually show them your love. The Law of Cause and Effect tells us that anything that you send out into the universe will come back to you. You may not know it but you will soon get back the effort that you put out.

Once you give, you get.

If you want to receive love, you have to give love. You can’t just continue to take and take. Your selfishness will get you nowhere. Plant great things and you shall harvest what you deserve. It’s a cycle. One scenario is when you start being mean towards a person and depending on the gravity of your action, pretty soon that person will also be quite rude to you. If we only learn to start the cycle with kindness, for sure we would’ve achieved world peace by now.

Start with goodness.

Nothing goes wrong when you start doing something with goodness. If your loved one can’t give you flowers on Valentine’s Day, be the one to give. Initiate the loving gesture. Besides, the web makes it so much easier for us to grab alluring bouquets through online flowers. Lower down your ego, being the first one to give doesn’t make you the lesser person.

Be true and be you.

Do not be a hypocrite and create an illusion that you can afford to give something that you know is beyond your means. You will only slowly destroy yourself in the process. You can never give something that you don’t have. Learn to settle with what you are and give what you can. Be honest with yourself. A gift no matter how big or small will be appreciated as long as it genuinely came from you – the real you.

Life Is a Journey, Not a Destination

r111I truly believe that life is a journey and not a destination. The goal in life is not to rush to the finish line, but to enjoy every step of the journey as much as possible along the way. Nothing makes this sentiment more clear than when you lose a loved one. I know this because I just loss one of my favorite uncles who always seemed to live life out loud. He was so full of life and laughter. You always knew when he walked into the room because he had such a grand presence. Ironically, he was also the one in the family who assumed the role of notifying family members when there were grave illnesses and deaths of other family members and longtime friends. Sometimes he would call to announce deaths of others who had such a distant and/or non-existent relationship with you that you would have to ask, “Who”? Then he would go through the lineage year by year; person by person, until you finally said, “Oh yeah, I remember – that is so sad to hear of their passing”. Sometimes what I would really be thinking is, “Um, I really have no idea who you are talking about”. But, in any case, I would express my condolences all the same.

Although my uncle was a very religious man, he seemed in many ways to be intrigued by death. I am not sure if this was based on the time he spent in the military, or what. But, anyone over 50 was considered old by his standards and was subject to the grim reaper knocking at their door at any moment. Anyone older than that just needed to be thankful as they were simply living on borrowed time; according to my uncle’s ideology, anyway. By the way, I loved my uncle dearly yet I have never shared his preoccupation with death or his rigid views on the relationship between age and death. It’s a good thing he was always up for a good debate. My viewpoint on the correlation between age and death, I would tell him, was predicated on the fact that we all know of little ones who have had very short lives here on earth as well as knowing elders who have lived well beyond a century! My uncle and I even debated this very subject during the funeral of his dad, my grandad, who lived to be over 90 years of age. And his mother, my great-grandmother, I reminded my uncle, was over 100 years old when she passed.

My uncle would humor me by listening to my side of the debate, but in all the years I have known him, he has never changed his opinion. Even though I did not agree with him on many things such as this, I have always had respect for people who have strong opinions and are not afraid to voice them; even if it may not be a mainstream point of view. That was one of the many things I loved about my uncle. He had many opinions that were clearly not mainstream. If you knew him; you would always know where he stood on issues. I do, however, believe that he and I both agreed on at least one point concerning life which is that our time here on earth is very precious. That is why it is so important to live life to the fullest and enjoy the journey each and every day. I remember the last time I saw my uncle. It was an invaluable experience that I would not trade for any monetary or material value.

Speaking of such, on the day that I went to see my uncle in the hospital, I actually had a prior engagement planned. My friend and I had already made plans to hop on the train and do a day trip to one of the outlet malls to shop for handbags. We had been talking about this day trip for months and finally made arrangements to go. At the very last moment, in the midst of planning the last minor details for the trip, I received a phone call from my mom who informed me that my uncle, her brother, was in serious condition in the hospital. I could hear the fear in my mom’s voice which confirmed to me that not going to the hospital to visit my uncle that day was simply not an option.

I am sure my friend could not believe that I was cancelling our shopping trip. We both knew we were foregoing what most likely would have been a blast because when she and I get together, we tell jokes, poke fun at each other, and constantly laugh about the minutest things. Everyone should have a friend like this. Every now and then, we have serious conversations. But for the most part, she and I just seem to find humor in many different situations. It’s like being friends with Jay Leno or Eddie Murphy – she’s that funny, but without the cursing! Once we were out having lunch during the work week and an elderly gentleman came over to our table after he finished lunch and playing chess with his friend. Obviously retired, he said he and his buddy have been playing chess for years. He said he just had to come over to our table before he left and comment about how he got such a kick out of listening to our non-stop chatter and laughter. That’s the kind of fun my friend and I always have whenever we get together – the laughter is contagious!.

However, I knew going to visit my uncle was going to be my priority that day of our trip. When I got to the hospital and saw my uncle, the look of surprise and sheer joy that came over his face when he saw my mom and I was priceless. I will never forget the way he threw his head back in laughter just for the simple fact that he was happy to see us. My uncle has always had such a strong presence and a bigger than life personality. Seeing a glimpse of that as he lay in his hospital bed was a memory that I will cherish forever. On the flip side, for just one brief moment, I looked at him in that hospital bed and for the first time I felt his vulnerability. I saw for one fleeting instant a sign from him that he had accepted the fact that he was seriously ill. I tried to play down his comment to me when I leaned down to kiss him on the forehead and asked him how he was doing. He responded, “Oh, your uncle is just too old”. Like I said before, my uncle has talked about aging ever since I can remember. But, it was the way he said it that time which made it seem like he was succumbing to his illness. I tried to dismiss what he said – but deep down, I felt he really meant it. My uncle has always been the strong, prayerful warrior who would visit the sick and shut in and give them hope. Now, as he laid in that hospital bed – even with his bible laying across his chest and reading glasses nearby, I felt he was now that person who was in need of prayer and encouragement.

After we greeted each other, I immediately poured my uncle an obligatory glass of ice water. Not just water, it had to be ice water. This gesture was my “job” which my uncle had assigned to me when I was a little girl. This tradition was part joke which we always laughed about each time we saw each other and it was also part of what sealed our connection as uncle and niece. I took my “job” of getting him a glass of ice water very seriously. I am pretty sure there were times he wasn’t even thirsty, but it was our tradition and he would always drink the obligatory glass of ice water no matter what. So after the traditional pouring and drinking of the ice water, all the childhood stories and reminiscing began between him and my mom. This was one of their traditions each time they got together. They proceeded in telling the same funny childhood stories about growing up in the country which they said they would not have traded for anything in the world.

My mom and uncle laughed and then laughed some more as they retold the “milk-‘n-bread” AKA the “milkybread” story which I may have heard over a dozen times (or two) over the years. But it has always been just as funny each time I hear them tell the story of how all their siblings would gather around a pan of fresh out of the oven cornbread doused with buttermilk. They all readied themselves with their spoons in hand waiting to dive into the delicious feast; each one vying for their favorite section of the bread pan. My uncle, being one of the oldest and biggest, always got his favorite section as well as his fair share of the pan of bread. My mom, the ultimate negotiator/diplomat, always seemed to have gotten her favorite corner piece, as well. I almost feel like I was there with them, back in time, as I watched my mom and uncle’s eyes light up as they relived their “milkybread” story through tears of joy and laughter. Of course, they also had to tell the story of when my mom was a majorette and my uncle was the drummer in their school band. As the story goes, they would ride back home on the school bus. My uncle, being the prankster that he was even back then, hid behind one of the seats in the back of the bus. He did not resurface until after he heard his cue which must have been music to his ears listening to my mom shouting at the top of her lungs to the bus driver in sheer panic to, “Stop the bus, my brother is missing!” Only then would my uncle pop up from hiding after hearing her shrilled command to the bus driver. They laughed and laughed as if it had just happened yesterday. The story-telling would not be complete without them re-telling the story of the snakes. They talked about swimming down by the creek near their house and then noticing there were snakes swimming in the creek with them. Listen, it does not matter that the size of the snakes gets bigger and bigger each time the story is retold. The point is sharing in the joy between my mom and uncle as they laugh while telling their childhood stories. To this day, however, because of the snake story I cannot put on a pair of boots without first smashing down the entire bottom half and shaking it out rigorously, just in case a snake is hiding in there.

Well, the story-telling has ended and I cannot believe that my uncle is gone now. I try to find comfort in remembering that he is now in a much better place; even better than his childhood memories that brought him so much happiness. He is in a familiar place that he prepared himself for his whole life to spend into eternity. Fortunately, his boisterous laughter and memories will live on forever in my heart and in the hearts of everyone who was lucky enough to have known him. I am so glad that I made the choice to go with my mom to visit my uncle that day in the hospital. Although I had no idea that would be the last time I would see my uncle, the memory of his laughter and storytelling are forever embedded in my memory.

Oh, by the way, and on a lighter note – my friend ended up going shopping at the outlet without me that day. She sent a text that evening and asked me how my uncle was doing. At the time, he was actually doing better which I explained to her. Shortly thereafter he had even been released from the hospital. She said she was happy to hear that he was doing well. After all the pleasantries and well wishes were extended, she then texted me a picture of the brand new Kate Spade briefcase that she bought during the shopping trip. You know the briefcase, the one I had my eye on for months! She’s got a lot of explaining to do. She didn’t stop there. About a week later, we were in a joint meeting at work and she had the nerve to place the huge, and admittedly gorgeous, briefcase right in the middle of the table across from me. I think she was trying to be cute – or spiteful; take your pick. I could literally smell the new leather aroma from across the table! Of course, no one else in the meeting knew she was taunting me, so I just had to chuckle to myself and keep it movin’.

3 Ways to Move on From Toxic Relationships

r141. Hear the part of you that is crazy, repetitive and destructive

Half the time we live in agony because we are fearful of facing our doo-doo and think somehow if we avoid it – it will go away – it won’t.

When you accept your mess without trying to push it away, you allow an opportunity for your fears, hurt and anxiety to be released and released for good.

MOST of the suffering you may experience when you break up are the voices in your head telling you – you did this wrong, your ex did that wrong and that somehow you created this hot mess of a bad relationship. Some of those thoughts cycle in a horrible destructive way: “I wasn’t attractive the way he wanted”, I wasn’t young enough”, “I’m not making enough money”… I’m sure you have a long list that goes on and around in circles.

When you hear these thoughts in your mind, the common practice is to ‘focus on positive thoughts’ and push away your negative thoughts. However, that does not work with a break-up because you are so hurt and the hurt is stronger than any positive thoughts you may try to focus on.

You can always focus on the better future you want, but you won’t get over the relationship if you run away from the bad feelings you have in your body and emotional brain.

These bad feelings need to be felt, experienced and released.

Telling yourself to stop focusing on them and to think of something else – is not going to make them go away and only keeps repeating the cycle of negative thoughts and feelings.

2. Turn to a higher power to break the cycle of your negative emotions.

There’s only about a 5 to 10% success for AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) program.

Meaning only 1 out of 15 people who go through the program actually stop drinking. That’s a really LOW success rate considering how popular the AA program is.

So WHY do people keep coming back to AA?

One of the core principles of AA is that they believe in a higher power that has the person’s best interests at heart that champions their success. So even if you “fail” when on the program, there is someone besides you who has got your back. They call it god, on they call on a friend, their sponsor, whatever and whoever it takes, to not rely on the person doing the program by themselves.

Do not rely on you ALONE to make your way out of your mess. You need to call on a higher power or connection to love to take you out or your habits of poor self talk and lack of love.

God has become a dirty word in our modern culture. And that’s because we are sick of religion’s version of god and in desperate search of a personal, loving and transformational version of a higher power.

Your emotional brain is set to destruct when you’ve been in a toxic relationship.

You’ve loved, you’ve been hurt and your emotional brain, your nervous system and your body is living in fear because you have stored up your hurt and you’re like a wounded animal just waiting for someone to strike.

If you have left your relationship and you’re still carrying that hurt or fear (or both – they are always entangled) then you’re going to react from that emotional brain.

The emotional brain is a thousand times more powerful (and older) than any other part of your brain.

It’s important to be able to interrupt the emotional brain with a power that is more powerful than it. And if you try to use your rational-logical brain – it simply isn’t powerful enough.

What has been proven to break the power of the emotional brain, is a feeling of love, comfort, safety and connection to something more powerful than you. That feeling of pure love that you can connect to and you can call it whatever works for you: ‘god’, greater consciousness, a faith in a love that you knew when you were young with a loved one or a character you love from a movie or story. It just has to be the best version of love you can imagine and connect to.

Anything that makes you FEEL connected to a love that is BIGGER than you is necessary to support your emotional brain to begin to feel safe – so you can unlock the negative cycle of hurt and fear that your brain has got itself trapped or ‘hard-wired’ in.

3. Release your hurt in a healthy and empowered way.

The most important way to release your past is in a way that you feel powerful as you are doing that – like a champion who has worked hard and achieved a great reward.

The main reason most people avoid facing hurt in a relationship is they are scared of being a mess or coming across to others like they can’t control their feelings and themselves.

Why is AA only 5 to 10% successful? Why do people go back to drinking if it got them into trouble in the first place?

When you get to a part of you that is hurt, it’s natural to be scared and go to your old habits and ‘soothers’ that took away your fear of the hurt or your fear of not knowing what to do.

One of the reasons you attract the “wrong guy” in a relationship, is because you are being challenged to actually see what parts of you that you are scared to see!

But instead, you blame the “wrong guy” for triggering these deep dark negative cycles of feeling. And then you say, I did something wrong and that’s why I attracted the ‘wrong’ guy.

You’re missing the point.

You’re actually being shown a part of yourself that is desperately wanting to learn HOW to LOVE but you never had the opportunity to learn HOW to LOVE.

When you grow up and you get hurt, no-one teaches you how to be open to hurt or not be fearful of the hurt or to say sorry or to look for someone to help you!

Most of the time, the hurt gets ignored, pushed under the carpet and life continues. Meanwhile, your emotional brain is remembering the hurt and creating the feeling that goes into your nervous system and emotional memory that relationships are not safe for you to express your emotions and hurt is something better to avoid or ignore.

The empowering part of learning HOW TO LOVE when you are hurt is the only healthy way to heal that hurt completely so it can go.

And you can feel a champion when you learn how to feel your hurt and how to ask for help or love.

I have worked with clients who have had decades (or a lifetime!) where they avoided their hurt and fear, but when they learn that it is possible to create a space of love – with you own version of a “higher power” – the shift is immense. Like somehow, they had this secret hero and champion for what they wanted in love and all they need do was connect to the feeling that it’s OK to be hurt, vulnerable and there is an incredible strength in that authenticity and no-one can hurt when they own that.

The biggest joy I have had working with clients is watching them learn their unique and individual way of how to give themselves the space of love required to end the destructive cycle of thoughts and heal the hurt that stopped them from allowing love into their body again.

The negative cycle gets replaced by a different love of who you are that you might not have known before or you may have had glimpses of and with the sessions and practical exercises, they gets to see how powerful they can be.

The sessions open up that space of love within you and your body, so that you don’t have to think about your feelings and you get to experience love that is permanent, and that lasts in your body. That experience of love in the body and the nervous system actually rewires the negative cycle in the emotional brain, until the clients can connect to their own joy, and the power of their unique personal love story.

I’ve been quoted as saying “the most important love story of all is yours”.

Until you claim the way you want to love yourself, by being and feeling and experiencing that love in your body, you can’t really experience the love you desire.

Do Some People Only Know Who They Are When They Are Rescuing Others

r9When one generally ignores their own needs and focuses on other people’s needs, they can be described as someone who rescues others. As a result of this, it is going to be normal for them to neglect their own life.

Out of Balance

It could be said that while it is good thing that one doesn’t ignore other people’s needs, there is no reason for them to ignore their own needs. The ideal will be for them to be for others and to be there for themselves.

When one doesn’t experience life in this way, they are going to be used to running on empty, so to speak. Ultimately, they will give far more than they receive, and this will lead to a tiring existence.

A New Beginning

However, although experiencing life in this way is not going to be in one’s best interest, it doesn’t mean that they will be able to simply change their life. For one thing, they could believe that this is just how life is and that they haven’t got a choice in the matter.

Along with this, there is likely to be the kind of feedback that they get from other people, and this could cause them to believe that they are doing the ‘right’ thing. The approval that they get from others will then make their life easier.

Pain

There can then be times when they feel good, and times when they wonder what is going on with their life. The feedback that they get from others will allow them to disconnect from how they feel from time to time.

But as the pain within them won’t simply disappear; there could be times when they end up behaving differently. The people around them could then come to the conclusion that their behaviour is out character, but this won’t be the complete truth.

Anger

What this is likely to show is that they have allowed themselves to acknowledge how they feel, and as they rarely do this, it is to be expected that there will be moments when they explode. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that they will end up changing their behaviour, as they could soon return to how they were before.

This is likely to come down to the fact that they will feel guilty and ashamed after they have expressed how they feel. So in order to make themselves feel better, they could end up doing what they usually do.

A Common Occurrence

If people rarely tried to rescue others in today’s world, then it would be easier of one to realise that they don’t need to experience life in this way. But as this is something that so many people do, there is less chance of this taking place.

One could come across people who are used to be rescued, or they could be in the same position as they are. Through being around these types of people, there is going to be no reason for one to reflect on their own behaviour.

An Analogy

This is then going to be similar to what happens when one has been in a room for a while that has a certain smell; they will soon get used to it and it will no longer register. But if someone else was to come into the room, they would notice it straight away.

When it relates to being rescued or rescuing others, this kind of behaviour is only going to stand out when someone doesn’t experience life in this way. Yet if one generally rescues others, they are unlikely to spend much time around people who don’t experience life as they do.

Selfish

And even if they were to come across someone who didn’t neglect their own needs, they could see them as being someone who only thinks about themselves. They could then come to the conclusion that the other person needs to change.

In their eyes, there could be two options: either one ignores their own needs, or they ignore other people’s needs. This is then going to be something that is black and white, and there won’t be another option.

A New Outlook

If one was to get to the point where they had had enough of overlooking their own needs, it could cause them to look for answers. Part of them could be no longer willing to experience life in this way.

Even so, this doesn’t mean that part of them won’t want to hold onto how their life has been for so long. They could begin to wonder who they will be if they were to change their behaviour.

An Identity

One way of looking at this would to be to say that this is to be expected as they have experienced life in this way for so long; however, there is also the chance that they have always been this way. It is then not just how their life has been during their adult years; it is how it has been since the beginning of their life.

If they have always put other people’s needs before their own, this is likely to be a sign that they had to fulfil their caregiver needs during their childhood years. This would have meant that their needs were ignored, and it wouldn’t have been possible for them to develop a sense of self.

An Act

Instead, they would have had no choice but to develop a false-self and this would have been something that allowed them to survive. This would have also set them up to feel ashamed of their own needs.

So if one was to let go of this act and to no longer rescue others, they are likely to end up feeling empty, and as though they no longer have a purpose. But if they were to stay with this emptiness and to see what is underneath, they are likely to end up getting in touch with how they felt all those years ago.

Awareness

In order for one to create an identity where they no longer need to rescue others, it is going to be important for them to embrace their true-self. This can take place through working through the pain that is within them and for their true nature to be affirmed, among other things.