How has a dog improved your place of being?

autism, health & wellness, meditation, mindfulness, psychotherapy, Social Trends, thoughts for living, Uncategorized

dog thoughts

This May it will be four years since we “rescued” Pepper Moo from the Hobbs (NM) Animal Shelter. Truth be told, she has rescued us. Over the years, Pepper has offered us  countless hours of comfort and support. Ostensibly, I agreed to a dog because I had read the research about the many benefits canines offer to people with autism and other disabilities.
When my mother was alive, Pepper, in fact, did rescue her. She had fallen one day and the rest of us were in another part of the house. Pepper with her keen hearing, heard my mother calling for help and she barked and barked until my husband, Mike, investigated. Even though my mother used a wheelchair, she was fairly independent and so many times in the evening, she retired to her room and the rest of us retired to ours. Had Pepper not been on the lookout, my mother might have suffered far more severe consequences than a broken nose that night.
Pepper is on 24-hour duty. When it’s bedtime, Pepper without prompting goes into my son’s room and lays at the foot or on his bed guarding him from nightmares and other anxiety provoking stimulations, such as midnight thunderstorms or distant emergency sirens.
But, mostly, she has rescued me. When my mother died, I saved my grief for the early mornings or afternoons when I was in solitude, except for Pepper. And today was no different.
As a member of Planet Earth and in my current vocation, I am a survivor and witness of grief and loss, respectively. Sometimes, my heart needs a companion while tears cleanse me so I can trudge a little further with others. Pepper has been my loyal companion and I thank God for sending her.
New Microsoft Publisher Document (2)
Advertisements

Remember to BREATHE

health & wellness, meditation, mindfulness, Social Trends, thoughts for living, Uncategorized

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7

Has your life knocked the breath out of you? No wonder, as multi-tasking has been tagged as the the working person’s holy grail when it comes to getting it done.

But for all of the star treatment multi-tasking has garnered over the years, efficiency experts are now learning that focusing on one task at a time is more productive than simultaneously attempting to complete many things.

If you find yourself distracted and scattered throughout the day, spending a few minutes paying attention to your breathing can bring back your focus.

According to integrative health physician Andrew Weil, M.D., “practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.”

Breathing by its very nature is a singular activity. Try exhaling and inhaling at the same time. As a foundation to a mindfulness way of life, breathing is the cornerstone.
Here are some tips for beginning a mindful breathing practice:

1. In the beginning, just breathe and pay attention to your breath without any inclination to adjust its depth or length.
2. If feeling anxious, take time to breathe deep into your belly. This breath intention will help dissipate feelings of anxiety.
3. Alternate breaths by covering one nostril and taking one inhale and exhale with one nostril and then switching. This technique will bring more attention to the air that passes through your sinus.
4. Say a phrase that helps you focus on your breathing, such as “breathe in faith, breathe out fear.”

Many books, cds, and dvds are available from a variety of sources for personal use to learn how to improve your breathing technique. Local community groups, such as mental health groups or hospitals, may offer in-person classes.

At its breakneck speed, life takes our breath away. Taking a few minutes each day to catch it, will allow us to be living beings again.

Seeing and the big “F” word: forgiveness

forgiveness, health & wellness, Journaling, meditation, thoughts for living, Uncategorized

You know the feeling. You had a disagreement with another person and in your mind you forgave. You were able to forgive them because you ended your relationship with them.  But did you really forgive them or did you just forget them?

 The answer to that question will be revealed next time you unexpectedly run into them in a location you weren’t prepared for, such as your local grocery store. If your heart jumps and your stomach feels anxious, then the energy of the conflict hasn’t subsided and, frankly, you focused on the forgetting but not the forgiving.

So what do you do when you come across THAT person? Here are some options, only one of them recommended.

1. Turn around and pretend you didn’t see them.

2. Ram your shopping cart into the back of their legs and pretend you didn’t see them.

3. Walk by them as if they were invisible and pretend you didn’t see them, or

4. See them.

As uncomfortable as it is, facing THAT person is a response coming from a stance of self empowerment. Responding as a whipped puppy with your tail between your legs will only add to the dynamic belief you were on the losing end of the conflict. Instead, take a deep breath, open your eyes, both in your head and heart, and see the person in front of you. What you discover might surprise you about them and yourself.

Now, for the awkward moment. Does seeing them include speaking? Maybe. But certainly on your terms and not theirs. You can say hello, or nod your head and give a small smile (but not the smirk smile) and keep walking. If they initiate a conversation, such as, “how are you?” say, “I’m great!” and keep on walking.

So the moment has passed and you SAW them, what do you do next to FORGIVE them?

Here are some steps that may help you with the process of forgiveness.

1. Write the person a letter stating exactly what they did that hurt you. Journaling can be a therapeutic process which can help you “read your own mind.” Journaling does not have to be limited to words. Incorporating art or other visual elements are as effective in processing your feelings. (Do not send THAT person the letter, but it might help to read it to another supportive person who can keep a confidence.)

2. Pray and meditate on the concept of forgiveness. Sometimes, we aren’t ready to pray for THAT person, but we can start the process by quieting the thoughts that racket around like they are on a handball court by focusing on the theme of forgiveness.

3. When you are ready to move to the next stage, pray for good things for yourself and THAT person. This action is empowering because it gives you control. When you start, you don’t have to be sincere, but over time you may find yourself believing that both of you deserve the gift of a life filled with blessings.

4. Understand that the role of forgiveness isn’t to change THAT person as change may never happen to your expectations and demands, but it is there to heal you and give you a better quality of life.

Forgiveness is a voluntary choice with a process and while forgetting may be a component of it, that, in and of itself, isn’t an indication of healing. If a chance encounter with someone with whom you have had a dispute has rattled your psyche’s bones, then it may be time for you to say “Oh, Forgiveness” so the next time you encounter them you can “See” them.

gods-compassion

 

What to do when you’re not getting it

addiction, health & wellness, meditation, mindfulness, thoughts for living, Uncategorized

patrick__i_don__t_get_it__by_legolasgimli-d4xjxq4

Ever have one of those periods when you have a desire to be better than you are but you seem to be missing a key piece of the instructions and you just can’t seem to get it?

You know you’ve done the work: journaling, talking to trusted people, going to church or support groups. But you’re just not getting it.  And from your point of view it feels like it’s getting worse.

Then, the next thing you know, your mood, mind, and heart are flipped over in the ditch in the journey known as life.

In relationships affected by addiction, it’s common to crash. You keep moving toward them and their addiction moves them away. It’s easy—and dangerous—to be tripped up on the invisible ice that builds from being powerless over another’s life threatening compulsion.

Then, when we find ourselves in the ditch, we’re tempted to spin our wheels because at least that is doing something. Instead of moving us forward, though, it digs us in deeper. It’s frustrating, discouraging and daunting.

So, what to do? Where’s the tow truck? Call Triple A. acceptanceAwareness. Acceptance. Action.

When your efforts to improve yourself seem to be getting you nowhere or you keep slipping back into old patterns despite your good intentions to stop, then the best thing you can do is sit there and do nothing.

Wait. What?

Yes. As counter as that is to this create a to-do list, fill in your planner, complete a bullet journal culture, when it comes to relationships affected by the illness of addiction, sometimes the best thing to do is wait.

And meditate.

So, what’s happening while you’re meditating? Many, many powerful things are occurring.

  • You will grow in awareness of yourself and how you have been affected by others’ actions.
  • You will process what is happening and not what you want it to be.
  • You can dig through your glove box and make sure you have proof of insurance and registration in case the police arrive before the tow truck.

And, then, once all your things are in order, then you will be prepared to move on.

Resentments will stop building and disappear.

Love and compassion for the person affected by an illness will begin to grow.

Addiction takes up a lot of room in a family’s life and sometimes members need their space from others to heal.

And, that’s okay. While you’re waiting for the Triple A tow truck to get you out of the ditch, you can use the time to look at life from a different perspective and rid yourself of things that are tripping you up.

After all, that’s what ditches are for.

For more information about addiction, visit www.thebeingplace.net

Don’t trip over the finish line

health & wellness, meditation, mindfulness, thoughts for living, Uncategorized
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12: 1
finishline
Don’t trip over the finish line. That’s an expression I share with people who are so close to achieving their goal. That’s the expression I’m using for myself in these last few weeks of completing my supervised hours towards independent license.
Many distractions have been hollering from the sidelines in my endeavor, which I  accept (some days reluctantly and some days enthusiastically) as my calling for this time in my life. It has been tempting to throw in the towel and pick up the pieces from my former vocation. But as a new mentor has cautioned me, we can’t go back, we can only keep moving forward. So, I keep with the plans my Employer (aka as Higher Power) has laid out for me this day. Being all powerful, God is supplying me with all my needs. Apparently, some of my needs have been to learn how to persevere through unpredictable circumstances at work and in my personal life. And in an ironic way, I recognize if life was predictable, then many of us wouldn’t have a calling.
Today, my focus is on what I can contribute to the stream of life in a positive way and detach myself from the negativity others may try to project onto me. And when someone throws something into my lane, I will step over it and keep going.
 

Time tripping and the power of now

health & wellness, meditation, mindfulness, thoughts for living, Uncategorized

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”
Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment   

The only moment which can be relied upon is the current one. Beyond this, everything is up for grabs. To be comfortable with the emptiness of the unknown is challenging and improbable to me. Yet, do I have another choice? My thinking wants me to believe I do.  I can and do fill up my time thinking about the future. Yet this is nothing because my thoughts can’t occupy the space of the future, they can only occupy right now.

Understanding this offers me freedom from the illusion of control based on my thinking. If I can remember, it’s a blessing to discover there’s power in my powerlessness over what comes after now.

new-microsoft-publisher-document-6