A better response to anger?

“Not”!! Was my immediate reaction when I saw a sign that read “The only answer to anger is silence”.

Hmmm… It is perhaps an answer but I would propose it is most certainly not the answer, nor is it the best, in my (not so humble) opinion.

When I mentioned the sign to my 17 year old son, his response was that silence may just cover up your own anger, which I thought was rather insightful.

Often when a person is angry, it is a response to a more uncomfortable feeling, fear or shame perhaps. When this energy is met with silence it is like a car hitting a brick wall at 60 miles per hour; it may stop but it won’t be pretty.

Recently I have been experimenting with compassion, for myself and for every person I meet. Some of my practices:

  • Look people in the eye, smile and wish them peace and joy (in your head or aloud).
  • Find ways to be of service – hold open the door, let another car into traffic, allow someone who looks rushed ahead of you in the queue.
  • Pick a person (or a group) you judge harshly, learn more about them and then pray (or whatever your version of prayer is) for them. (This is the BIG one…be ready for your heart and your world to shift dramatically!!)

Compassion is transforming my life and how I am in the world, which cannot help but change my interaction with others. Love dislodges fear, acceptance replaces disconnect and life feels abundant.

In response to the sign I saw today – “Compassion is a wonderful answer to anger”.

Namaste.

Perfectionist gets (yet another) lesson!!

I knew that making a commitment to blog daily would present challenges. Find a topic, make the time etc…

I had conveniently forgotten that I am a perfectionist and I will often let a post sit for days while I wordsmith it. The total time may only be 30-45 minutes but I like my words to simmer slowly, like a good soup or mulled wine.

Not sure why it is so hard to write and push the publish button in that same 30 minutes. I mean, seriously, if 100 people read this I will be surprised (and secretly thrilled!!)

Another opportunity to grow and step into my “brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous” self (Post). Thank you universe … I am getting better at appreciating these lessons as they happen rather than simply in hindsight.

Namaste.

Making the Commitment

I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. The first book I asked for as a child was My Golden Dictionary (LINK) and I loved it until I upgraded at age 10 to My Little Oxford Dictionary (which I still own)!! I wrote and published my first article in The Evening Herald when I was fifteen. I have written and deleted dozens of articles, started and not finished more than ten novels/books, composed and thrown out too many poems.

I am in the process of starting a writing business and it is scary and nerve-wracking – who am I to call myself a writer?

The simple answer is – a writer is a person who writes. So I am going to be a person who writes…starting today.

A few years ago I committed to a 500-Days-of-Yoga practice and blogged about it; this experience transformed my yoga practice, my self-confidence and my life.

Today I commit to blogging on this page daily through the end of the year (2014). Who knows what might happen in 107 days.

See you tomorrow.

Namaste,

Car maintenance and body maintenance

Many of us take better care of our cars than we do our bodies and that’s madness when you think about it. It is pretty much guaranteed that I (and you) will buy another car at some time in the future. I will not, however, be able to buy myself a new body (bionic technology being what it isn’t!!) I’ve known this for sometime but had a blinding flash of insight (see recent post) which recently led me to make some dramatic changes in how I have been treating my body.

Two weeks ago, I cut out all added sugars (including honey, maple syrup, agave etc….). It’s amazing where you will find added sugars – in the sliced turkey at the deli counter, for heaven’s sake!! I have become a much better label reader.  Occasionally I have a craving but can usually side step it with a cuppa or some nuts.

water

I also stopped drinking alcohol. Now my dinner drink is sparkling water in a wine glass and I am not missing the real thing. (Full disclosure: I had a glass of wine last night after spending the day in the ER with my beloved and his newly broken elbow.)

Another dietary change I made was to cut out grains as much as possible and avoid wheat completely. I miss the ease of toast and a boiled egg for breakfast and my tongue misses its mid-afternoon snack of cereal but my body is feeling lighter and healthier for having fewer grains traveling through.

Physical health is the place to start (for the body and for your car) but there are other aspects to taking care of both. For your car, you have insurance, registration, maybe a toll pass etc… and for my body I knew I needed to address two other areas – mental and emotional.

I started a new writing course which has forced me to study, read specific articles and engage my brain in a way I have avoided for quite some time. It has been interesting and invigorating and I feel new possibilities bubbling around the edges of my life.

Many of the things I enjoy are solo pursuits and I tend to avoid group activities; habits which lead to isolation and depression. We joined the gym near our new home and I have been going to group classes, meeting new people, initiating conversations and generally putting myself out there. It will take time but I know it will reap untold benefit (kinda like the regular oil change!!)

Not sure if any of this can be of any help to you as you figure your way to abundance but I hope so. We all know what we need to do but fuck it, it’s hard to make change. Maybe the idea of treating your body as well as you treat your car will help you make the shifts your body craves.

Namaste.

 

Do you have IDD? (Intention Deficit Disorder)

IDD – Intention Deficit Disorder… I heard this expression yesterday from Dr Michael Beckwith and I thought it was a perfect way to head into a new week and prepare for a new month.

Do you suffer from IDD? Do you have the abundance you want and deserve in your life? Are you deeply happy? Can you feel the free flow of love, grace, joy, peace and abundance on a daily basis?

If your answer to any of these questions is “No”, it might be time to look at your intentions and realign them to better reflect the life you want.

My current intention, when I wake each morning, is to use every opportunity to appreciate my health and my strong body. I have been dealing with lots of pain issues and it is easy to get caught up in that. Instead, I have committed to noticing the many wonderful aspects of health I enjoy. I still do what needs to be done (physical therapy, yoga, supportive exercises, ice, heat etc…) but my focus is on gratitude and appreciation.

Some examples of intentions that might work for you (choose one for a week or more):

  • Today I will not complain (about weather, traffic, the kids, work, anything at all)
  • Today I will not judge another person
  • Today I will smile as often as possible
  • Today I will notice my breath moving through my body

Try it for a week, a month, or a lifetime, and watch the abundance flow freely in your world.

If you have an intention you would like to share, please post it in the comments.

Namaste.

The Ugly Side of Depression

The most challenging aspect of depression is never knowing when it might show up. There you are, sitting in your abundant world, enjoying your many blessings and all of a sudden your life is crashed; depression pops in with its party dress on, ready to take over

I have been absent from this blog in recent weeks (months) because, well, because…

As someone who has dealt with depression for 30+ years, I am still taken aback that I do not recognize it immediately and put into action the many tools I have discovered work for me. But I don’t and that is okay.

I wanted to share some of my tools in the hopes they can offer some respite and light during the dark days.

  • Get outside: I walk in rain or shine because I know this works for me. I prefer to walk a trail or somewhere quiet but neighborhood streets will work in a pinch. About half the time I walk in silence, the other half I listen to one of my spiritual teachers.
  • Stress relief: For me this translates to yoga, for you it may be Tai Chi, meditation, swimming. Anything you see as your practice works. Once I step onto my mat and into my body, I feel more present, more aware of who I am.
  • Gratitude journal: I mentioned this a few months ago and it bears repeating here. Every night before I go to bed, I write 5 things from my day. It can be tough to do this in the darkest days and that’s when I write something like “grateful for food” “grateful for house”.
  • Do the list: When things were really bad I had a list of 10 things posted in my bathroom, for example – brush teeth, shower, eat an apple, and my goal was to do 3 of them a day. It helped keep my head above water.
  • Reach out: This is probably the hardest step for many of us who deal with depression. The best place to start is your doctor but a good friend or family member can be a step.

My prayer today is that it’s 5am and the party is over; depression is going home to sleep off another hangover.

Namaste.

To hell with it…let’s open the Chianti

Returning home is hard when you no longer have a home. After more than 8 months on the road we are back in the Seattle area, trying to figure out what we will do from here.

We sold our house and have been fortunate to rent it back for a short time; at least we don’t have to sleep in tents for a while. It has allowed us the space we needed both physically and emotionally to finish our travels, take a breath and ask the big questions.

  • Who have we become over the past 9 months? None of the three of us is the same person who left here last July/August. For Tom and me, this means overwhelming gratitude that B has grown into the young man we always knew existed. Tom and I have also changed, though perhaps not quite so dramatically. IN many ways we are more flexible, in others, less so. For example, the idea of compromising to live a life we do not want is anathema.
  • Where do we want to live, for now? How I wish one of us had a place we longed to live. I miss Dublin but am not sure I long to live there. I love new experiences and am open to almost every foreign city I hear mentioned. While I do not want to continue travelling the way we have been, I am very ready to try another city, country, continent for a few years. Tom is less a wanderlust than I; he likes the idea of a home but as soon as that thought is out of his mouth he brings up a job in Belgium or some other interesting place. Brendan is by far the most decisive – he wants to play rugby, on a good team. Anything else is gravy!! When we threw out the idea of Belgium his second question was if real Belgian waffles are better than those he has tasted in America!!
  • What kind of work do we want to do? Brendan’s only job for now is to finish high school and that can be done in myriad ways all over the world, much to his dismay!! I am also decided on this; I want to write. This too can be done in myriad ways all over the world. Unfortunately, Tom cannot answer the job question so definitively.

Big decisions are always difficult, too many huge decisions have left me suffering with decision paralysis; and so I find myself spinning in circles, unsure what is next. Thankfully we don’t need to decide today; instead I walked the dog, Tom rode his bike, and B ran. Sometimes (actually, always!!) life happens in the small experiences, the teeny-tiny decisions. And for now I choose to indulge my love of food and cook dinner, and of course, have a glass of Chianti.

Namaste.