My daughter Emily and I were discussing fear yesterday. She is at the age where anxiety begins to run rampant through a child’s mind. She imagines ‘the worst’ things possible occurring to her loved ones. She needs reassurances that I cannot give her - that nothing bad is going to happen. We live in a time where ‘bad’ things do happen. And people get sick, people have accidents, and young people die before their time. How can I reassure my kids that nothing bad is going to occur to any of us? I can’t.
But what I can do is give her the tools she needs to deal with anxiety and fearfulness when they occur. We talked about what to do when she begins feeling anxious and having scary thoughts. I told her to recognize the fear and even address it: “Hello fear. You’re here again.” And then go through a mental checklist of things that worry her: a family member having an accident, someone becoming ill, one of the dogs getting hurt, etc. She will then recognize that each thing has not occurred today and that everything is well in her world. Once she realizes that things are okay, she should imagine herself putting the fear somewhere - on a shelf or in a container of some sort.
She can address her fears later if they materialize; but, I think that by recognizing the anxiety, addressing it, sorting it out and then realizing it has no power, she can allow herself to relax a little and not worry so much. This works for adults too. I do it all the time.
Fear can be overwhelming and create havoc in our lives if we let it. It is important to learn that fear cannot hurt us. But it can indeed cause an emotional paralysis of sorts.
Recognize fear for what it is and deal with it before it gets you in its grips. Then banish it: be gone - you have no power here!
And start living again.
I’m pretty sure it was Albert Einstein who defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results”. While I know this is 100% true, I still find myself doing just that. I find myself trying to twist and bend certain relationships into something other than they really are, even when I know they aren’t working for me.
There are certain individuals who cross my path quite often and I can’t seem to throw in the towel and keep my resolve to avoid them at all costs. I keep trying harder and harder to force the relationships to work and they aren’t even romantic ones! I keep trying, even when I know that they never worked in the past and even when I’m pretty sure that they’ll never work in the future. Still, I keep hoping upon hope that these few folks will begin to treat me differently. And I keep handing them ample opportunities to trample on me in the process.
Do I allow this because I truly want to see the good in people no matter what? Am I naïve in thinking that nobody is just downright rude and mean-spirited? Is it me???
I remember an old quote that goes something like “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me” but what about the sixth, seventh or tenth time I get fooled? At what point do I have to admit defeat and realize that, no matter what I do, some people are toxic for me and I should try my best to avoid them? Am I crazy to keep trying? Am I nuts to give people another inch on the rope that may, perhaps, ultimately hang ME? Is it insanity that keeps me hanging on or is fear of letting go? What will happen if I change and say “enough”?
Sometimes, the only thing to do is accept people for who they truly are and surrender. And remember the words to the old song “The Gambler” and "know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run.”
Take a minute and evaluate who you are letting in your life. Let your intuition guide you and when people show you over and over again who they are - believe them! And walk - or run - away from the toxic ones. Sometimes your life depends on it! Your sanity certainly does.
What would you do if you had the opportunity to change the world? Would you believe you could? Or would you shrug and think “not me, no way” because that’s too much work?
I was thinking about the possibilities of changing the world on my way home tonight. It’s overwhelming and impossible to change the entire world, but what if you do small things that change just one person’s world? What if you did random acts of kindness that could ease the burden of an elderly neighbor or someone who has been unemployed for quite some time? What if, instead of buying lunch for yourself every day this week, you took that fifty dollars and bought a ton of spaghetti noodles and Ragu and donated it to your local food bank? (Note to Richmonders - the CVFB needs food bad. One facebook friend reported that they don’t even have enough to stock the shelves right now!)
Could you change someone’s world by offering to help with a small child while a stressed out single-mom takes a few hours for herself? Would that change her world? I’m thinking “yes”! What if you took the time to stop a manager at Martins or Krogers to point out the exemplary service that you received from an outstanding employee? I’m pretty sure that would change that employee’s world - even if it were just for an hour or so while they basked in the knowledge that their work was appreciated.
If, just for today, you did something selfless for no other reason than to just be kind to another - it would definitely change that person’s world. And who knows - maybe they would pay it forward and we could start a revolution!
I’m having a difficult time reading Eat Pray Love. I get about halfway through Italy and I can’t seem to go any further. I think I’ve stalled for two reasons. One, I cannot relate to the author at all. As a freelance writer with no kids, she has the ability to just up and leave for a period of several months or years or whatever. Most people in my circle cannot upend their lives and pick up and relocate. Most dream of doing so but then reality sets in. People have jobs, run businesses, have children or animals, and have other commitments that require them to stay put. I myself have a full-time career at a not-for-profit organization and a part-time freelance career. I volunteer at my church teaching 7th and 8th graders Religious Education on Sundays. I serve on the social justice committee as well. I am a member of an advisory board at MCV, I have two rescue dogs that I couldn’t leave to fend for themselves and oh, yes - I have two daughters who need me. All. The. Time.
The second reason is that I don’t think I need a geographic cure to help me find peace and meaning within my life. I'm a firm believer that wherever you go, there you'll be! It's important for me to always be on a journey of self-discovery no matter where I am.
I like that I am able to do yoga at the local Y and meditate in my bedroom and that I do it because it makes me feel good. I love that I can go to Whole Foods for new and interesting cuisine. I love knowing that, any minute now, I might be going to my job, shopping at the mall or entering a restaurant and meet that perfect guy - the one God has created just for me. And nothing is better than walking into my church on the North Side every single Sunday morning and feel like I’m coming home.
I am happy for the author that she found her authentic self through her travels but I like the fact that I can eat, pray and hopefully love right in my own city. I can do it and still go to my job every day. I can do it and still care for my children in the home that I love with my family nearby and the dogs in the back yard. I believe you can find inner-peace and authenticity wherever you are when you put your mind to it.
Yes, I know that there are places out there that are quite magical. Dr. Seuss summed it up quite nicely:
Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
But, right now, where I am in my life, I’d still rather find my inner-self, inner-peace and yes, even my inner-bitch, in my own home. Where I belong. Without having to travel great distances to do so. Because, to borrow another quote, “if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with”.
Ain’t it the truth?
My children have been away from home this week. The break has given me lots of time to think about the fact that they’re able to leave home for periods of time without me and that means they’re growing up. Since life as a single mom often (always) involves thinking about their needs such as chauffeuring, school functions, sporting and dance events, plays, meal planning and medications especially for my Type 1 diabetic, that when I don’t need to do those things, I feel a little bit lost.
I was talking to a friend about this situation and she informed me that she has two ‘visions’. One is the vision where she sees herself, a single mom too, raising her kids and spending time together. Her vision includes where they will vacation, how things should be in school, and what they’ll do this weekend. But her other ‘vision’ includes what her life will look like when her kids grow up - where she’ll live, how she will support herself, etc.
I realize that in a few short years, I won’t be chained to a mortgage or even a city - I’ll be free to follow my own dreams.
I think my friend is wise. Most folks plan financially for the future. They buy insurance and invest in their 401K. But it’s also important to invest some creative energy in what the future is going to look like for you when you’re kids move away. Perhaps it will be you alone or you and a spouse or significant other, but it is important that you not allow that ‘empty nest’ day to arrive without some sort of plan.
Write down your dreams for the future. Don’t think “I’m going to be too old to do…” There is no expiration date on us when our kids move out!!! Look at Betty White - a hit show and now a line of clothing…and she’s 88 years old!
Dare to dream and dream big. Draw pictures of what you want your life to look like or cut pages out of a magazine if you are artistically impaired. Keep it nearby and look at it often. When the time comes, live the life of your dreams - you’ve worked hard. You’ve earned it.
I have a new favorite reality show (besides the Real Housewives of NYC - yes, I admit it!) But since they are off for the summer, I was clicking looking for something entertaining to watch on television around last week when I had a sinus infection and didn’t feel much like working. And I’m glad I did. I tuned into a show called Losing It with Jillian starring Jillian Michaels.
The show consists of families who have let themselves go physically, mentally, etc. Their homes are pretty much disasters and they have aged beyond their years. Jillian comes in and, in just a matter of days gets these families up and moving and they reveal their healthier physical selves at the end of the show.
Now, Jillian cannot come to everyone’s house but honestly I think we all have an amazing life coach right inside of us just waiting to coach and coax us into better beings. I love hearing that voice in my head that I “can” spend another ten minutes cleaning when I want to throw in the towel. I love hearing that voice in my head that prompts me to turn up the treadmill speed when I think I can’t do one more inch. I love hearing that voice in my head encouraging healthy meals instead of takeout, spending more time reading than watching TV (sorry Jillian) and getting outside with the dogs instead of facebookin’.
It’s important to be our own champions and advocates, to tell ourselves we can do it and then believe it. If we don’t do this for ourselves, nobody - not Jillian or anybody else - is going to do it for us. We have to have faith in ourselves and be our own source of encouragement. Take a minute and make the commitment to excel today and cheer for yourself along the way. Have faith in yourself and believe and marvel at the miracles that occur along the way!
It’s difficult for me to trust the process…or anything for that matter. Trust is an issue that I have to work on constantly and sometimes just holding on and believing that things will work out is all that is required. Acceptance is also another troublesome issue for me. Learning to accept that things are happening the way they are supposed to is something that I know inherently; yet every time I am faced with a problem, I have to go through a kicking and screaming process before accepting it.
For example, I have a financial plan implemented and I am determined to stick to it. When things go awry, inhibiting that plan, I tend to panic. That’s my plan and I am determined that it is going to work out! So on Sunday when my heat pump compressor broke for the second time in nine months, I went a bit bananas and not because I live in Virginia and the temperature is hovering at 100 degrees. Why, then? Because my financial plan does not involve purchasing a new heat pump nor does it include purchasing a new compressor when I just bought one last year. Yet my frustration got the better of me as I considered having to write a big check for a repair or an even bigger check for a new unit. “It’s not fair” I lamented to a friend via telephone (nobody wants to come here when there is no AC!)
Yet even though it is not fair, it simply “is”. I need to accept that this is occurring and my freaking out will not help one bit. On facebook the next morning, a friend was lamenting a troubling situation. One of her friends commented on her status by saying “my mom always said that it is a sin to worry. Trust God with everything.” WOW! That is just what I needed to hear. I need to accept that this thing will get fixed when it is supposed to and that my financial plan might have God ROFL, He probably has an ever better plan for me. I need to trust that I will receive exactly what I need when I am supposed to. I am not saying that I should be irresponsible and not have a plan, but to expect that everything will go according to that plan is laughable. Things go crazy sometimes and, while it is not fair, it is reality. Accept the situation and trust the process and then let it go. Things will get better and this too shall pass.
Ps - The folks at Dominion Heating and Air Conditioning diagnosed the problem and it wasn’t even the compressor - just a small part that took about 30 minutes to fix, the service was awesome and the price was muy reasonable! See? Things are already getting better!
I love talking with other people, hearing about their beliefs and seeing their attitude reflect through their words. It’s disheartening to me when I hear someone talk as though they have no hope. I remember back when Circuit City was a sinking ship. People would lament their job situation and I’d ask them “are you looking for another job?” So many of those folks would respond “oh, no! I’ll never make the money I make here”. Huh? Of course you won’t make good money - you just put it out in the universe than you don’t believe you could.
I would try to get them to take back their words because I really believe that we have to act “as if” we are going to make the money we deserve or we are going to meet the mate created to be our partner. We are going to have the house of our dreams, the perfect job, our children will thrive and we will be content. But first we have to believe that will happen. We have to trust that the universe will give us exactly what we need and that we can attract all things good!
I have a friend who was going through a divorce and had an upcoming court appointment. She wrote on a piece of paper everything that she wanted to receive - financially, visitation-wise, everything. She put the paper under her pillow. The court date arrived and guess what - she received all she requested…and then some! You’ve surely read stories about people who wrote a list of things they wanted in a significant other and shortly thereafter met the person with everything quality on that list.
Take a minute to have faith and believe that you will receive all the blessings the universe has in store just waiting for you. The bible tells us that Jesus says “ask and you shall receive” - so ASK! What’s stopping you from saying the words that will bring you wonderful things? And if everything goes a bit awry, trust that this is the plan and that things will work out. Sit back and sigh with relief knowing that “every little thing is gonna be alright” because it will turn out exactly as it is supposed to.
Things have been intense and hectic around here as you can probably imagine from reading my earlier blog posts. My daughter is feeling much better but it is hard to relax when you’re always watching for high or low blood sugar because this can be devastating to a diabetic.
You want the best life possible for your child but then an illness, disease or chronic condition enters the picture and you find yourself hovering over them. Then you want to leave them alone so they can become the person they were meant to be without you controlling the show! It’s a precarious balance! You have states of fear, worry, hope, prayer, losing faith, believing, and wishing and sometimes this becomes a little overwhelming.
When life’s problems seem insurmountable, I have to remember to take a moment to feed my soul. You should too! You don’t have to make this into a major production. As a matter of fact, I blogged about just this last year. http://www.sueayers.com/3/post/2009/05/feed-your-soul.html Just find something that makes you exceptionally happy - art, exercise, spending time with someone else, going to a special place and then just do it. Feeding your soul will give you a semblance of balance when things that you can’t control spiral.
I’d forgotten that - I just needed to look back to where I was last year to remember!
All of us know at least one difficult person. Perhaps it is someone in your neighborhood whose loud music grates on your nerves nightly. Or maybe it’s a family member, a colleague or a parent on the soccer team. Whoever the difficult person is in your life, trust me - the ill feelings you have are hurting you more than them.
Recently, in a discussion with a trusted friend, a difficult situation I was facing became the topic. My friend suggested I pray for this person. Ummm…no - was my first thought. It’s tough to pray for someone who we don’t like or someone with whom we’ve had - let’s say - issues! Praying for them means they’ll get good stuff - not something we want them to get, right?
But after considering my friend’s wisdom, I came to the conclusion that, if I prayed for this difficult person, I would be the one reaping the benefits. Perhaps she would too, but the bottom line is - when there is something wrong, there is something wrong with me and I know for a fact that prayer will help that ‘something’ every time.
If you’re not a religious person, then just send good messages into the universe. Author Michelle Devon calls it “good juju”; others call it Karma. Whatever you believe, just find something bigger than you and put the word out: You want good stuff for your enemy. No grudges, no ill-will, don’t ask for a house to fall on them from out of the sky. You simply request blessings and leave it at that. God, the universe, the Great Spirit - they will all hear you and answer. Just do your part - the right thing - and let faith take care of the rest.