There Is No Shame

There is no need for shame

There Is No Shame In Reaching Out!

Shame and guilt, are two of the lowest energies that keep us stuck, and drag us down!

Shame and guilt keep us mired in terrible feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth.

If people were better able to overcome their feelings of shame, guilt and isolation, then they would hopefully be on their way to recovery and a new life.

But a lot of people struggle and suffer unnecessarily!

Staying stuck in our pain and suffering, too afraid to reach out and let others help us, we often cling to the only thing that we have: pride.

The Prison Of Pride

Pride is well seen and often highly valued in our modern society. It has this notion of self-reliance and independence about it. Holding our head up high in the face of a multitude of trials and tribulations, while inside of ourselves we may be crumbling and barely hanging on.

Far too many times we may have seen those around us, family members and friends, who looked like they were barely managing to keep it together, but when we asked them if they were okay or needed our help, they merely brushed us and everyone aside.

There is a very valid reason why it is said that:

Pride goeth before a fall

Perhaps later we come back and see that they have sunk even further, perhaps because of one of the following reasons:

  • They were not ready to see that they were not able to resolve their problems alone
  • They just didn’t want to face up to them (denial)
  • They waited too long. In the case of health issues, finances, or relationship problems.

The Antidote To Pride And Shame

There is a way out.

It does require something special before beginning however.

And that special something is: COURAGE

The Map Of Consciousness

According to David R. Hawkins, in his epic book Power Vs. Force, he suggests that there is a “Map of Consciousness”.

This map depicts ALL of the levels of consciousness that are possible for humanity, ranging from SHAME at the lowest level, just one level above DEATH, all the way to ENLIGHTENMENT!

Now I will be the first to admit, that Enlightenment is a pretty lofty goal to aim for! For most of us mere mortals, PEACE OF MIND, LOVE, and JOY would be more than enough.

So What’s Stopping Us?

Dawkins suggest that our present day modern society is caught at the level of PRIDE.

So what’s wrong with that?

We were taught that to have “pride” in oneself is a good thing, perhaps even a great thing.

However pride has a very nasty shadow side to it, and the flip side of pride is “SHAME“.

We as a society flip from Pride to Shame. And that is a very dangerous game to play with each other.

When we are up and feeling on  top of the world we may feel intense pride. But when we fall, possibly due to excessive pride or even boasting, we may experience devastating shame. And that shame may be compounded if it is public.

The Pride / Shame Dynamic In Everyday Life

To get an idea of the devastating effects of pride and shame in the world, one need not look much further than your local checkout counter at the grocery store and the latest scandal mag, or turn on the TV.

We call it “celebrity” status.

As a society we seem to love to place our heroes on pedestals, to worship and adore them, and to cast praises upon them.

But the moment they dare to show some form of humanity and fumble, look how quickly society not only knocks them off of those pedestals, but throws them down in a heap of shame!

Charlie Sheen comes to mind. And there are many innumerable examples of people who became stars and crashed down, or were torn down by their difficulties made public by an eager to profit media. Michael Jackson is another example. The list is long and painful. Pick a sport, pick a profession, pick any group that is regularly in the limelight, and we will see the dual mechanism of pride and shame at work.

Courage!

Courage is the way out of shame and guilt according to Dawkins.

Actually the way out is to “accept” one’s situation first. To dare to have the courage to see that things are not going the way we would like them to go. To see that the way that we are managing our life, our affairs, is less than what we would hope for.

And by the way, acceptance doesn’t mean that we have to like what we see. It means that we accept the “reality” of how things are. Once we stop fighting against reality, then an internal process begins. It is almost as if our internal mechanism were saying:

Okay, now that I have accepted this thing… now what???

The “now what” is what we embrace with courage!

The “now what” is the rest of our lives.

The “now what” is being ready and willing to do whatever it takes to get our life back on track!

It means not letting “pride” or the opinions of others stand in our way of getting our lives back on track. Where are those people going to be five years from now anyway?

It may even mean “surrending“. Realizing that even though we really badly want to get our lives back on track, it may also mean that we don’t know how to do it!

It may be in those moments that we are called to reach out. Perhaps to those people who cared and asked us if we were “okay”. To swallow our pride and reach out and “ask” for help.

Once we do get over our pride and reach out and ask for help that first time, we may then realize that it wasn’t as difficult, or bad, or shameful as we had thought it would be.

What could be far worse is staying stuck in our pride, and never reaching out for help, when the answers and the people may be right at hand, and perhaps more than willing to lend a helping hand.

And if we still need some convincing, perhaps when we get back up on our feet, we can help those who are less fortunate to get up as well!

One Final Thought: The Myth Of Independence?

All of us at some time or another like to think of ourselves as “independent” or “self-reliant”.

But really?

Are any of us really that independent or self-reliant?

When was the last time any one of us grew ALL of our food?

When did we take apart and completely reassemble our transmissions? Okay a few of you may have….

But when did we make the material to build our houses?

When did we fly our own personally made planes, from self-constructed airports, with jet fuel that we extracted and refined ourselves?…

I think you get the picture.

We all need one another. We can do so much more, and help each other to a much greater level of living by helping each other and being there for each other.

All we need do is step out of our collective shame, embrace the courage to want to live a life with less suffering, and possibly more meaning.

Have courage. Reach out. Help is just a call away!

 

Relationship Post-Valentine’s Now What?

Relationship Post Valentines

The Relationship Goes On, Or It Doesn’t!

Relationship recovery, relationship growth, or relationship endings!

These are likely to be the results that a lot of us are faced with after going through Valentine’s Day as a couple.

So here we are on the other side of Valentine’s Day. Hopefully most of us made it through.

Some of us will have made it through with our romantic relationships in tact.

Some will have even grown closer through celebrating Valentine’s Day with their sweetheart. A lot of you will have.

And some… unfortunately not so lucky.

But perhaps for those whose relationships did not survive Valentine’s Day, it may be a good thing, perhaps in time you may consider it a blessing as time does its healing work.

But for now…. things just may feel terrible… awful… and you may find yourself consumed with such thoughts as:

  • How could he / she have left me, or dumped me like that?
  • How could they have beat me to it?!
  • How could I have been so blind as to not see… X, Y, or Z, or XY and Z!!!
  • What was I thinking when I thought this could actually work?
  • Will this pain ever end?
  • And… will I ever love again?

Post Valentine’s Day breakups can be difficult.

Heck, breakups are difficult at any time of the year!

But they seem to be that much more difficult around Valentine’s Day, because of all of the romantic symbolism and high expectations that surround this holiday.

As in my previous post, Valentine’s: A Semi-Annual Call To Consciousness, I alluded to Valentine’s Day’s allure, and its great possibility for waking up previously slumbering relationships, and how unmet relationship difficulties can often come to a head.

Well, here we are on the other side… hopefully your relationship has survived and you were able to show that special loved one just how important they are to you, and hopefully you got a chance to see how important you are to them.

What If Your Relationship Ended?

But if that wasn’t the case, and your relationship was one of those that didn’t make it through, please don’t despair, take the time to grieve the loss of your love relationship.

Some of the following steps may come in handy to help you through this difficult time:

  • Take it easy with alcohol and other substances. You likely feel bad enough as it is. A clouded consciousness could make you do something you will regret. Substances like alcohol tend to give a short boost, but in the long term are depressants.
  • Treat yourself well. Feeling like you have just been dumped doesn’t mean that you also have to treat yourself badly. This is a time for self-love and acceptance. Just because someone didn’t find you to be a compatible match to them, doesn’t mean that you are flawed. You just weren’t for them. And when you find somebody you click with, you will be more than happy you took good care of yourself in this difficult time. Try things like eating well, getting enough sleep, exercise, being in the company of friends, family and supportive people.
  • Take the time to grieve your lost love relationship. Often not taking the time to properly grieve a recent breakup, and tumbling into another new relationship, can lead to problems as these unprocessed feelings start to crop up in your new relationship. You may think that just because your ex-partner has moved on really quickly into a new relationship, that they are fully healed and over your relationship, and that it meant nothing to them. But love is more of a marathon, and while it may look like they have dashed out of the gates, they may stumble and fall. Take the time to heal and be fully ready for when love comes knocking upon your door again. And it will. Just like it has in the past.
  • Learn from your past relationship. This may be difficult when we are so filled with hurt, and anger, and are caught up in blaming our ex-partner for what happened. The problem with blame, is that if we do succeed in making it ALL our ex-partner’s fault, then we have no other option but to assume the role of “victim”, and that things just happened to us. There can be no empowerment or long term good feelings in making oneself a victim. Chances are that the end of our relationships were more than about what one person did. It is usually a multi-causal chain of events that led to the end of the relationship. As the saying goes… “there is usually more than one side to a story.”
  • If you were the victim of abuse however, then please by all means seek professional help or guidance to help you heal from the traumatic experience that you have been through. With professional help you can reclaim your life and get stronger, and heal yourself from the toxic effects of abuse. Please bear in mind, abuse is not just physical, it can also be emotional.

In conclusion, if you’ve made it this far beyond Valentine’s Day, that’s a good sign. It shows your resilience and your willingness to go on, and to heal from your heartache. But remember, there is no need to go it alone.

Help is available to you from friends, family and professional support. Every one around you has likely gone through one heartbreak or another, or likely will in the future. Let people help you. There is no shame in feeling pain. And besides, you can always return the favour and be there for them later on, should they need a compassionate ear, or a shoulder to lean on.

If you are in need of help getting through a post-Valentine’s breakup, please do not hesitate to contact me or give me a call. It would be my pleasure to help you find yourself again, and to make a new start.

Spring is around the corner. It is a time for starting over.

Valentine’s: A Semi-Annual Call To Consciousness

Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day: Mmmmm or Yikes?

Valentine’s Day is often synonymous with romantic love. It is an opportunity to demonstrate how much our romantic partner means to us, and for them to show us how important we are to them.

That is if all is going well.

If things aren’t going well in our romantic relationships, then it may be a time that partners come to dread.

That is why I call Valentine’s Day: The Great Semi-Annual Call To Consciousness!

Because in our culture, there is almost no way to avoid all of the indications that Valentine’s Day is upon us.

It has come to be one of those retail holidays that happen almost like clockwork. You know, the day after Boxing Day, let’s haul out the red hearts and prepare people to shop for Valentine’s Day.

Okay, it is not quite that bad. But sometimes retailers tend to get a little overzealous with their advanced holiday preparations. Maybe it’s just me, but I can swear that this year I saw both Hallowe’en AND Christmas decorations in the same store at once.

But I digress… getting back to Valentine’s Day….

You Just Can’t Avoid It

And for this reason, I think this is why we tend to see a lot of relationship problems coming to the surface, if not exploding around Feb. 14th.

It seems like Christmas and Valentine’s Day are these two semi-annual calls to consciousness, that almost seem to force us to take stock of our lives, and to see where we are at, and often times consider how happy we are in our romantic relationships.

I think that a lot of romantic relationships may break up before Valentine’s Day, rather than have one or both partners pretend that the feelings are still there.

Some couples may decide to make token gestures, offering the Hallmark card and a small gift, just to avoid having to face up to long standing issues in the hopes of buying the peace. But in my opinion these gestures just cover up the problems that are there. But then again, maybe these small gestures keep the relationship together while we plan for a better time and place to address longstanding issues.

Either Consciously Or Unconsciously?

Either way, it is likely that these simmering issues are going to come to the surface one day in some way, maybe not how we would like to handle them.

For this reason, I would recommend making a plan to deliberately address those issues that are keeping you and your loved one apart, or not as close as you would like to be with each other.

Whether that plan be:

  • Asking them to sit down and talk
  • Writing them a letter or an email
  • Talking to them on the phone
  • Talking to a trusted friend or counsellor to sort out your end of things
  • Inviting your partner to see a counsellor to work on your combined issues

Whichever way you choose, I would recommend in-person if you are able to, choose other means if that is the best that you can do, but I highly recommend that you address the issues that are coming between you.

Issues don’t usually go away over time on their own. Some differences we can learn to live with. Others can be like grains of sand continuously eroding the romantic bonds of your relationship.

Amazingly, there is research that has been done that has concluded that when some couples divorced, either 20 or 30 years down the road, the issues that often led to the couple parting ways were often present in the beginning of the relationship!

Why not give each other the greatest gift that you can give and work on mending your relationship?

If you don’t like the idea of “working” on your relationship, you can call it “building” a more solid foundation for each other. Call it what you will, but maybe it is time to address those longstanding issues and get your relationship back to the place where it felt good.

Why settle for good? Maybe with some “work”, “building”, call it what you will, the two of you can get your relationship to GREAT!

I wish you all a very happy Valentine’s Day, and that you are able to approach each other with open hearts and minds.

This Valentine’s Day, let us:

  • Awaken more
  • Listen more
  • Speak from our hearts more
  • Laugh more
  • Feel joyful more
  • And last but not least, Love more!

If you would like some help in awakening, and addressing some of those longstanding issues in your romantic relationship, please give me a call and I will be happy to accompany you upon your journey.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

P.S. The name of the beautiful marble statue that is the picture for this post is called: Psyche Revived By Cupid’s Kiss. Maybe Valentine’s really is the time to rekindle love!

 

 

Jung On Relationships: A Mini-Primer

Relationships Jung

Relationships Have It: It’s All There

Relationships are probably one of biggest sources of problems, challenges, and opportunities that we come face to face with in our everyday lives.

Who’s bothering you?

Carl Jung

This rather amazing quote is attributed to Carl Jung. In my opinion, one of the greatest and deepest thinkers of early psychology, if not all of psychological history to date.

What I find so amazing about this quote, is that usually one can expect to be asked: “What’s bothering you?”, but in the great majority of cases, things usually turn to “Who” is bothering somebody!

It may not be the person directly, but it may be our inability to get along with them, or our inability to express ourselves clearly in their company. There is just something about our interactions with this one person, or group of people that has us stymied.

One of the major points that emerges is:

Relationships and our ability to successfully navigate them are a key element of a successful life.

At this point, I’d like to take a closer look at some of Carl Jung’s famous quotes on relationship. This will by no means be an exhaustive study, but perhaps it will wet your appetite to take a closer look into some of Jung’s writings.

Making Contact

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.

When we come together in close relationship over an extended period of time, it is nearly impossible not to feel the effects of the other person.

In a truly deep exchange of energies, our entire beings may become fundamentally and thoroughly transformed. So therefore, being careful whom we let close to us may have great consequences for not only our well-being, but for our inner transformation.

Projection

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves.

You may have heard it said, that anything that bothers us about someone else, is likely something that we ourselves have an issue with.

But, it is often a lot easier to point out the faults in others than to recognize them in ourselves.

Which brings up another couple of interesting Jung quotes on the same topic.

Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.

We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.

Projecting our darkness upon the other, or judging them may only serve to keep us caught in our own darkness.

Very likely if something has captured our attention in another, it is probably because it is hitting close to home.

This may be a great opportunity for self-exploration, and clarifying some of our inner darkness, by shedding light on those areas that set us off.

Or as Jung might say:

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.

But here may be where we really get tripped up in our personal relationships, and interactions with those closest to us:

There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotions.

And THIS is where relationships strike us the deepest.

They mirror back to us ALL of those places within us where we have unfinished business or work to do on ourselves.

Unfortunately, we often end up “shooting the messenger”, or getting angry at our romantic partner, or the other person for showing us what still lies dormant or unresolved within ourselves.

For this reason, I like to think that “relationships” offer us the greatest possibility for growth and self-transformation.

One could go off to the Himalayas, or Tibet and meditate in a cave for the next 10 years, only to come back and fall in love, or worse, meet up with one’s family!

Then we’d see how truly enlightened we had become!

Save the money, Save the time, the opportunities for enlightenment are right here under our noses in our relationships!

If you would like to explore some of your relationship challenges or difficulties, I would be more than happy to accompany you on your journey.

Namaste

 

Also, if you would like to dive deeper into the writings of Carl Jung. Here is a very good place to start.

The Portable Jung

 

 

So Much Loss in 2016

So Much Loss in 2016

Loss Seems To Be Everywhere

Loss of a loved one, or a family member, is never easy. Especially if that loss occurs under tragic circumstances.

Lately, we seem to be bombarded by stories of one famous or well known person after another, dying in the early part of 2016 so far. Whether it be David Bowie, Alan Rickman, or Glenn Frey. We seem to be struck every week by the passing of a major celebrity or personality.

Loss in the Financial World

It is hard to escape the losses that are being experienced in the world markets, whether it be on the global stock exchanges, or the price of oil, or the Canadian loonie.

The effect can leave us all reeling, and wondering where this is going, and when it is going to end.

It feels a bit like swimming. Except in this kind of swimming, it is like we have been thrown into the deep end, and are threading water like crazy trying to touch down to see if we can feel the bottom!

How far will this go? When will it end?

The familiar ways that we seemed to use to guide us, no longer seem to be working. As we read or listen to the daily news, we try and connect the dots, try to make some sense out of what is going on in the world.

For a lot of us those connections seem to be lacking. Our compasses are twirling around and around, hoping that they will stop spinning at some point.

This seems to be a period of great uncertainty and loss.

The trick may be: How to move forward despite great uncertainty, and not to fall prey to fear and panic, which will only make things even worse.

Losing What Is Most Precious

Financial markets may rise and tumble. In fact one might say that that is the very nature of financial markets. They have risen and fallen since before recorded time.

But what is MOST precious to us, and can not be replaced, are those we love.

This world can seem like a cruel place at times. Unlike the animals, and the pets that we keep by our sides, man alone seems to be the only creature that is aware of his or her mortality.

And what a blessing and a curse that is all in one!

By virtue of the fact that each and every one of us knows that we are only here for a finite time, no matter our delusions to the contrary by some, one would think that we would all get down to making the absolute most of our time here on this planet.

God knows we are able to conjure up a great sense of urgency, when we are on vacation on a sunny beach for a mere two weeks!

And despite this very notion of a finite existence, we seem to wile away our time and fritter it away, as opposed to making good use of it.

The trouble is, you think you have time.

Buddha

We all think that we have lots of time… until we don’t!

And we think that we have LOTS of time with those around us and those we love… until we don’t!

And this is the “curse” part about our existence and consciousness: knowing that we are finite beings living a finite existence.

And yet… somehow we manage to delude ourselves quite well.

  • Not doing or saying what we need to say to those we love
  • Not doing work that makes us come alive and fulfilled
  • Complaining, and hoping that by venting alone, our lives will somehow magically get better.
  • Dedicating the better parts of our lives and health towards making someone else’s dreams become reality, while we may content ourselves with little
  • Lacking the courage to try, thinking that it would be so horrible if we failed, yet not realizing how amazing and life-changing it could be if we succeeded

What All Of These Losses Are Telling Us

Last week it was David Bowie, a few days ago it was Glenn Frey, and yesterday it was a good friend of mine under tragic circumstances. As Ernest Hemingway so aptly suggested, “Ask not for whom the bell tolls,” as it tolls for all of us.

We are only here for but a short period of time. Let us not make the mistake of taking our eyes off of what is important: our loved ones and our health.

If you are willing to gamble with these finite treasures, be sure you know the price that you are willing to pay, as we only get this one chance to live.

Shine brightly!

Stress Busters #1 Finances

Stress Busters

Finances Causing You Stress?

Chances are, that like most people, your finances may be causing you to feel stress at this time of year.

By about this time, the credit card statements start rolling in, detailing how much we “saved” on those sales that just seemed too tempting to resist before Christmas.

If that wasn’t bad enough, we start to hear rumours about RRSP season coming up, and advertisements alerting us to “make sure we take FULL advantage” of our contribution ceilings.

When a lot of us are feeling like we are looking up from the financial basement that is the holidays, and maybe hoping if we are lucky, to scrape up enough money to get away for a sunny winter break, maxing out those RRSP contributions might as well be like winning the Powerball for a lot of us!

It can all add up to one thing: Financial Stress!

Who You Gonna Call? Stress Busters!!!

At this point, we have a few options we can follow:

  • Do nothing. Hope that things will miraculously right themselves (Powerball option)
  • Spend even more, and dig ourselves even deeper.
  • Become unconscious and numb ourselves out, and hope that things will be better by next Christmas.
  • Take a financial inventory and survey the damage. Yikes! As in consciously sneaking up on our financial position, and counting all the chips, marbles, beans, or lack thereof, whatever you choose to call it.
  • Return Christmas presents. NO! That probably won’t work. Besides, too late!
  • Make a budget. ARGHHH!!! Oh God! Not that! Anything but that! What else can we do? Please, there must be something!
  • Consult a financial adviser. Wait a second! Isn’t that like seeing someone whose job it is to professionally prepare a budget for you? I’m not having any of it, some may say. We love our freedom, err, debt, err, lack of ability to do what we want when we want, way too much to have someone we don’t even know tell us what we can, and can not spend!
  • Save?  OMG! This is getting worse, you might be thinking. At this point you might find yourself wondering, “Is it really true that you can’t cross the border with a Powerball ticket? Who do I know who lives in Washington state?”

What Next?

At this point, some might be thinking, there are no original ideas there!

It’s all been tried before.

Looking at how much I owe? And what I make?

Are you kidding me?

This is supposed to help me deal with stress, not depress me! 

Next thing I know, you are going to tell me to go ask for a raise! God forbid, that went out with the 90’s didn’t it?

Budgeting?

Didn’t we discuss this already?

Everybody knows that the price of things keep going up and up. And with the Canadian dollar nearly at record lows, some people are talking about paying $9 for cauliflower!

Why would I want to keep track of what I can barely afford right now, let alone when the price goes up higher?

And besides, I tried it 2 years ago, and it all went down the drain when I got back from Club Med and my American Express bill came in! That was the end of my great budget experiment.

Okay, so I am getting the impression that you are not much interested in the concept of budgeting?

NO! Next unpopular option please!

Savings?

I just knew you weren’t finished with that one yet. Had a feeling you might trot that one out again.

Do I have to really take the time to tell you again that I can’t even afford to make ends meet with what I have, let alone hear you are wanting me to put aside something, for a supposed rainy day?

This is the west coast! It’s practically ALWAYS a rainy day!

I need money every day. All of my money! All of the time! How can I possibly afford to save anything? This saving thing that you are so hopped up on can’t possibly work.

Is that all that you’ve got???

What If There Were Another Way?

What other way? What else is left?

Why don’t you just let me be, and let me sit and watch the Canucks teeter towards almost making the playoffs, and be done with this money stuff once and for all. It’s starting to stress me out!

Will you just hear me out for a second? I think I might actually have a financial stress buster for you. And besides, it’s not like you’re going to miss a goal by the Canucks or anything. Those went out about 3 years ago I think.

This better be good! You’ve got five more minutes. Ryan Miller just got hurt yet again, and they’re trying to fly up a goalie from Moose Jaw, so the game is delayed.

Pay Yourself First!

What the heck is that???

A lot of people don’t know what it means, but essentially what it is, is that….

Hey! Just get to it, the backup goalie is taking Uber from the airport.

Alright! Such impatience! Here goes…

The reason why you are likely poor, err, have more month left over than cash, is that you keep paying everybody, including the government before yourself!

Well, I have bills, and there are taxes to pay. Are you suggesting that I skip out on taxes and go to jail? Is that your financial stress buster plan???

Nooooo!  Not at all! What I am suggesting, is that you talk to a financial adviser, err, set aside some money, and plunk it down every pay, directly into an RRSP. That way, the money comes off of your pay directly. You won’t even miss it. And best of all, if you save, err, set aside money for your winter vacation, then you won’t have to worry about how you are going to  on holiday AND put money away for your RRSP!

And best of all… the more you set aside for your RRSP, the more money you will get back from your taxes. And then you can take that money and invest it, err, put it into savings, err, you get the idea right?

Yeah, yeah, I get it! Why didn’t you tell me about this “Pay Yourself First” stuff in the beginning? Why did you have to waste my time with all of that stuff about budgets, and savings, and investing? Yikes!

Oh, and there’s one other thing…

I’m seriously afraid of what that might be. Hurry up, make it quick! The backup goalie is finally in the net, and the Sedins have a streak going. Three consecutive games with shots on net.

Okay, here goes… if you follow this plan, err, do this thing called “Paying Yourself First”, every year for as long as you are working, and you invest it, err, give it to someone you trust who can make a lot more money for you, then chances are that you might be able to not only retire, but go live somewhere where all the traded Canucks players go.

Florida?

Right! I knew you were getting the hang of this!

Okay, so tell me about this… what was it, this stress buster plan of yours again. Somehow I get some money and I give it to some guy, and he arranges that I end up in Florida somehow, is that it?

Something like that. I’ll fill you in on a few of the finer details after the game. Three whole games with a shot on net you say? Amazing!

 

Note: For an alternative version, err, more professional rendition of the “Pay Yourself First” philosophy to money management, you may want to  consult David Bach’s bestselling books Start Late Finish Rich or The Automatic Millionaire.

 

 

Happy New Year’s Counselling?

Counselling

New Year’s Counselling?

The start of the new year brings hope for a fresh start. It is hardly the time that people like to think about, let alone consider counselling!

The sad part is, that while each new year does bring fresh hope, unfortunately it also brings with it the same problems that we had on December 31st.

Those problems seem to follow us around like our shadows.

Just because it is a new year, and we may feel full of hope, that hope can soon turn to despondency, unless we actually DO something different.

If We Keep Doing What We’re Doing….

The calendar may change, but chances are that we continue to do the same things that we have always done, and we will therefore logically get the same results.

It seems quite obvious when we look at it like this, but there is a HUGE difference between reading something, and actually seeing the patterns in our lives.

So… as we have so often heard, “if we keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting the same results” that is what we typically define as “insanity”.

Just REALIZING that we are doing the same thing over and over again, and stuck in the same patterns can be a great realization.

Doing Something Different!

Sometimes it may be helpful to get an outside perspective.

This is where counselling may be helpful. A counsellor can help provide an objective perspective, and help you to see connections and patterns that you may be missing.

The fact that we are hurting or feeling pain, is the signal that things aren’t working for us. We can often feel strongly motivated to work through our issues and find relief from pain.

But knowing where to look, can help cut down on the amount of pain and suffering that we need feel, and also help us get out of our “stuckness” much sooner.

For some, counselling may just be that edge that can help someone overcome their suffering and “stuckness”, and break through to a new level of well-being.

If you’d like help to break free from troubling patterns, please feel free to contact me to set up an appointment.

Happy New Year!

Ron

 

 

Communication Tip # 3: Being Interested!

Communication Enhancer: Be Authentically InterestedCommunication

One sure way to improve communication, and to ensure the right amount of energy, is to actually be authentically interested in what the other person has to say.

This may sound logical, or even unnecessary to say, but in a world where we routinely greet each other by asking?

Hello, how are you?

And we don’t usually mean it, or wait around for the other person to genuinely answer.

Actually being interested in, and demonstrated an interest in our conversation partner, may make a huge difference in enhancing the quality and satisfaction we get from our communication.

The Power of Story Revisited

In one of my earlier posts, please see the power of story here, I talked about the importance we give to others by listening to their stories. As well as the importance and respect they show us by listening to our stories.

Why Do We Tune Out?

Perhaps we tune out because:

  • We are only really interested in getting our point across
  • We are being inauthentic and pretending to listen
  • Poor attention span
  • We are multi-tasking (another version of this is “parallel processing”, the reason why computers can parallel process is because they have more than one processor!)
  • Something is more important to us than listening to the person that we are supposed to be listening to (insert cell phones, TV, video games, movies etc.. here)
  • We are being rude and disrespectful. Yes, we must allow for this one.

What Would Happen If We Were More Authentic?

Imagine if we were actually more authentic, and more present in our communication with people!

Now there’s a thought!

Imagine what would happen:

  • We might pay more attention
  • Our communication and level of interaction might go way up
  • We might follow the train of conversation better, and people might follow what we are saying more as well
  • Our level of satisfaction and fulfillment might go up
  • We might find ourselves reaching out and communicating more with each other
  • We might actually feel less lonely, and less in need of constant stimulation, and so called social media to replace authentic connection
  • We might even be able to excuse ourselves when we weren’t interested, or didn’t have the time to really listen carefully. And people might actually be more accepting of it because they sensed our true sincerity.

One Of The Best Things We Can Do For Someone

Is to give them the gift of our time!

In a world that is nearly obsessed with speed, efficiency and money, it is difficult to estimate the true healing potential of giving someone our undivided attention.

True communication begins with being present! As they say, 50% of success is just “showing up”. But let’s share the gift with body, mind, AND soul.

Giving one’s time and interest to someone, can truly show that one cares. Especially now, as we draw near to this holiday season.

So many people are lonely out there. Just stopping for a moment and listening, or even sharing a genuine “hello” and a smile can make all the difference in someone’s day, or even in ours!

When someone asks you how you are doing? Surprise them, stop, and very succinctly let them know! We don’t have to tell them our life story. But when you are done, return the favour, and ask THEM how THEY are doing!

As we lead up to this holiday season… hopefully we can all “show up”, be real, be authentic, and just enjoy the time, and slow down a little together.

Namaste

Note: For more in my continuing series on communication, please click here!

Empowered Makes A Difference

To Be Empowered, Or Not To Be Empowered?Getting Empowered

That is the question. And the answer to that question, can often make a HUGE difference in how we feel! When we are feeling empowered, it is as if all in our world is:

  • in tune
  • in line
  • things are functioning
  • and going well.

However, when we are not feeling empowered, or disempowered, things can tend to feel like they are:

  • not working
  • we may feel out of sorts
  • down
  • sad
  • at worst, depressed

All of these bad feelings because we are basically feeling like we lack the control or power to effect our life’s outcome.

Hence, a key component of the word “empowerment” and to feel “empowered”, is the word POWER.

When we feel like we are in our power, when we feel like we have the ability, the skill, and the means to have a positive effect on our lives. We tend to feel good, very good in fact, often with an accompanying greater sense of aliveness, and zest for life.

So What Goes Wrong?

What goes wrong indeed?

Why do we often times lose our sense of personal power?

I believe that we lose our sense of personal power when we give it over to someone or something.

Giving Away Our Power To Someone

In the case of someone, this would involve giving the power and control of our destiny over to another individual. And this may come in very subtle ways, such as:

  • not being happy unless our partner is happy
  • basing our happiness or self worth upon another’s achievements
  • feeling like we are completely responsible for whether things go well in a close personal relationship (in this case, this may be taking on too much responsibility)

The net effect, is that we base our personal happiness and well-being, upon someone whose behaviour we may have little or no control over. The net result is that we may feel miserable and powerless.

Example: A prime example of giving our power to another occurs when we base our happiness upon whether or not our partner is happy. And in return, we may hold them accountable for our own personal happiness.

What inevitably happens, is that any positive feelings in the relationship tend to be overshadowed by feelings of unhappiness, that we attribute the responsibility for onto our partners.

Not taking responsibility for our own happiness, is a formula for creating misery in our personal relationships I believe. While I do believe that our actions contribute to the overall climate of the couple. It might be best not to hold ourselves personally and fully responsible for our partner’s happiness. But we can help them to find their happiness, as they can hopefully help us to find ours.

Giving Away Our Power To Something

In this case, we are aligning our personal well-being with possibly an organization, such as an employer, or possibly some event, such as an environmental conference.

The ways in which we may give up our personal power, and therefore cause us to feel badly could be as follows:

  • If our company does well, then we can feel well
  • If our team wins, then we can feel good
  • If the representative or party that we want to win does, then we can feel happy
  • If a certain result, say in a meeting, or conference is attained, then we feel good

Example: Personally, I remember working for a major retail organization, and the boss would sometimes visit from headquarters. He would look at the previous day’s sales results on the screen. If they were down, we were all expected to feel down, the more down the better, as a way of showing that we cared or were dedicated.

Now a key point I ought to mention about this story, is that I worked in Finance in this company, not in Sales, nor in Marketing, and had virtually no control over what the previous day’s sales were! Suffice to say, it made me, and possibly a lot of us feel very disempowered. But it didn’t take very long to feign “grave concern” in front of the boss, and then to resume our regular financial analysis activities once he had moved on.

We soon realized, that making ourselves depressed over something we had little control over, nor could we change, was not worth getting depressed over. We focused on moving forward. Something we DID have control over!

In The End

Feeling empowered may come down to very clearly realizing what we have control over, what we don’t, knowing the difference, and being able to let go.

It strikes me that this conclusion resembles the serenity prayer in many ways.

Here it is again for your viewing pleasure.

Feel Empowered! Feel Good!

Serenity Prayer

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.

 

November Blues!

November Blues: November Rears Its HeadNovember Blues

I sometimes think, that people ought to celebrate making it all the way through to the end of November. The November Blues are for real!

At least here in  Canada, or in the Northern Hemisphere I would say to be precise.

There just seems to be something about the month of November, that makes it one of the most difficult months of the year for a lot of people it seems.

The Likely Culprits

Perhaps the reason why a lot of us seem to have a difficult time with the month of November, may be due to one of the following:

  • Lack of daylight / sunshine
  • Cold temperatures
  • Lack of exercise and fresh air due to shorter days
  • Lack of vitamin D, (see lack of sunshine above)
  • Less socializing due to poor mood / fatigue / weather
  • Generally feeling terrible, due to any or all of the above factors!

Is It Seasonal?

Absolutely! November seems to occur every year like clock work. Right around this time of year too.

All kidding aside, the November Blues seem to roll around and catch us unaware each and every year despite our best efforts.

Despite our telling ourselves, this year I am going to be prepared for it.

  • I know that the decreases in daylight hours are coming.
  • I know that I tend to feel lower in energy, and less motivated at this time of year
  • I know that I often have to push myself to go outside and do something, to get exercise
  • I even know… that I know ALL of this… and that I see it coming each and every year… and yet, somehow it seems to catch us by surprise.

 

What’s Really Going On?

As it turns out, there is some research out there that has been done.

A researcher by the name of Norman Rosenthal wrote a book called Winter Blues. Does this sound familiar? Does this sound a bit like these “November Blues” that I’ve been describing? It sure does to me!

Technically “November” is not a part of winter. It is still a part of the fall season. But I think for a lot of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, it may as well be winter. Because a lot of us are already hitting the minus degree temperatures already, and some have had quite a few inches of snow already.

Those of you in places like Winnipeg, Northern Ontario and Quebec, Northwest Territories, the Yukon, Northern BC, Nova Scotia, Edmonton… No need to raise your hand, we know your pain!

Well if all that minus degree weather and those “early” snow storms weren’t bad enough…. apparently the sun’s rays have been diminishing in strength, and the days have been getting shorter since around mid-August.

That’s right… Mid-August!

As we pull out our fingers and do the math… that’s right, the days have been getting shorter for over 3 months!!!

And we wonder why we feel so darn bad and awful waking up in the morning, and seem to have little energy throughout the day.

You guessed it… it’s the Winter / November Blues!

The Good News!

There’s good news?

Yes, there’s always good news. In a few short days, good luck willing, we will have all survived yet another November. I for one, will be more than happy to put another November behind me.

The trick is… okay, so I promised you good news, and there was some.

But the trick is, that a lot, if not most of us will forget that this November thing, more particularly this “November Blues” thing is set to roll around yet again next year.

In fact, it’s scheduled to roll around again at the very same time next year. It’s even on the calendar!

The reason I mention this, is because a lot of us will forget just how bad we are feeling right now. A lot of us will forget that…

Hey! Didn’t he just say, that some researcher guy determined that the sun’s rays started decreasing in mid-August?

Yup! In fact, I’d even recommend that when you get that brand new 2016 puppy calendar this year for Christmas… the one you are going to get instead of that brand new video game, or the latest season of Game of Thrones on DVD that you were hoping for…

Here’s what you do with it….

  • Unwrap it with wild abandon
  • Have a look in your eye like this is the most amazing gift ever!
  • Once you have unwrapped it and stare at it with absolute delight
  • Run quickly to a far room in the house and get yourself a bright marker
  • Quickly flip the pages of your new puppy calendar to the month of August
  • When you get there, let out a satisfied “Phew” (There it is August!)
  • Take that bright marker and circle “August 15th” 3 times!
  • Hold it up in front of you like you had just painted the Mona Lisa!
  • People will look at you like you are nuts!
  • They will ask you questions!
  • They will look at their gifts and wonder if they have been short-changed
  • Don’t answer their questions, just smile contentedly to yourself
  • You’ve just alerted yourself into the future, that this time is going to come around yet again, and that it starts in AUGUST! Mid-August to be exact!
  • And then, set your precious calendar down and casually walk away, and then ever so often watch as people can’t help but look at your new calendar and wonder what is so special about that puppy calendar?
  • And if you should have mercy upon them, you can just tell them that you just took the first key steps to warding off the November Blues!
  • Some will understand… most won’t… but the key is, that when mid-August rolls around next year, you will already be thinking about it, and more importantly, stocking up on Vitamin D  Costco style!

Please Note: This same valuable exercise, can be performed with any other calendar than the aforementioned 2016 puppy calendar. I just thought I would prepare you for the likely rendition.

Keep Your Spirits Up!

November is almost over. Keep your spirits up. We have almost vanquished the November Blues for another year!

That’s the good news. The other good news just down the road, is that the days will start to get longer again somewhere around December 21st.

But that means that there is still this thing called winter ahead of us. And that means paying attention to our moods and energy levels, and doing whatever we can to ensure good physical, mental and emotional health all winter long.

If you think that you may be someone who suffers from what is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), please see my further detailed post on my blog.

Otherwise, take good care of yourselves this winter, and feel free to share with me your own unique experiences with receiving calendars at Christmas time.

Puppies for the win!

Important Note: This is the part where I should tell you, that sometimes just taking extra Vitamin D, and taking good care of yourself may not be enough. If you find that you are having serious difficulties, and believe that you may be suffering from depression, please seek the help of a qualified counsellor or mental health professional. In extreme events, if you should feel suicidal urges or tendencies, please call 911, a suicide action line (available for Vancouver Island in the Resources section of this site), or take yourself immediately to the hospital.

Despite the light tone of this article, depression is very serious. Please reach out for the help that you need, and best of all, listen to the advice of those around you, who may notice changes in your behaviour or mood that you may not be aware of.

Be safe, and be well

Ron