Saturday, August 29, 2009

Don't Be Affraid!

Let’s talk a little more about emotions. Do you see them as something to fear and avoid, or experience and enjoy? Do you view emotions as positive or negative? Do you allow yourself to fully experience all of your emotions, or do you pick and choose which ones are acceptable?

It’s natural to want to gravitate toward emotions that feel good such as joy or happiness, but does that mean that the “less than desirable” emotions such as anger or sadness don’t serve a purpose and should be avoided at all costs? No! Emotions are what make us alive and allow us to connect with the world and ourselves. Our full range of emotions serve a purpose and can teach us a great deal about ourselves. Before we can learn what is beneath our emotions, though, we have to sit with them long enough to find out what is at the core of their existence. And the only way we will likely sit with them is if we learn to not fear them. Emotions are designed to be felt not feared.

For many of us the thought of sitting with our emotions of sadness or anger is too scary, and so we seek means to distract ourselves (and not always in a healthy way). All too often we cut ourselves off from the emotions we perceive as less than desirable, which means we are cutting ourselves off from a crucial part of our life experience and knowledge about ourselves that could lead to a major shift in personal growth.

So, before you react the next time you feel sad or angry just give it a try—sit with your emotions—still your mind, and listen to what the truth is behind them. Look inward and reflect. What are your emotions covering up? Loneliness, hurt, fear, insecurity, pain, feelings of being unworthy, weakness, vulnerability? Connect this concept with what we talked about last week. The emotions you feel, although it may seem on the surface that they are about others, are often really about you.

I wish you a wonderful week of emotional exploration!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pride in Ownership: Emotional Empowerment

What is your take on emotions? How do you define the concept? What types of emotions are there? Do you own your emotions? If not, then who owns them?

Emotions are feelings that arise from our thoughts and beliefs, and can be felt physiologically and expressed behaviorally. All too often we give credit to or blame others for our emotions, but the fact of the matter is we are the creator and owner of our emotions. For example, we might believe that someone else is responsible for our happiness or anger. You can confirm whether or not you believe this by paying attention to the comments you make: “He makes me so happy, “or “She made me really mad.” The truth is it’s your thoughts and beliefs about his behaviors or her actions that creates the emotions you feel.

Emotions generate from within, which means they are yours. Many of us need to practice being the proud owner of our emotions. When we take pride in ownership we become empowered and sit comfortably in the driver’s seat of our own life. What are the actions steps involved in owning our emotions, you ask? First, a shift in consciousness (be aware of where you are placing responsibility for your emotions), and then begin speaking a different tune: “I felt so happy when I received the flowers you sent,” or “I felt hurt and angry when you didn’t introduce me to your boss.” What are some other ways you can practice owning your emotions?

Maybe we’ll talk more about this topic next week. Until then, have a fun week of getting in touch with and owning your emotions!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's All About You

Pay close attention to what’s going on when you conjure up ideas about how others perceive you. The truth is you don’t know what others are thinking, so when you take it upon yourself to “assign” what you believe others are thinking about you it’s actually a pretty good indication of what YOU think about YOU.

Personal growth entails getting to know yourself on a deeper level. It’s imperative that you gain clarity on how you perceive yourself, and one way of doing that is to identify your pattern of speculating what others are thinking about you. Do you generally think that others perceive you in a positive or negative manner, or as superior or inferior? How you perceive yourself is the foundation from which all of your interactions unfold.

Spend some time this week investing in your personal growth. Search deeply for the truth about how you perceive yourself as it may be hidden far beneath the surface. If you find the truth is less than desirable then know this…you are carrying around beliefs that are not serving you or those around you. Take action by challenging those beliefs.

Lots of love,

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Up Side of Overwhelmed

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your “to do” list? If you haven’t I beg you to share your secret, if you have, read on. I’m in that boat right now...lots to do…way too much to do. Time is ticking away, and as you know from the Art of Procrastination blog (July 25, 2009), procrastination is no longer an option for me. As a matter of fact, it’s the very thing that got me in this predicament to begin with!

I spent hours on end working on just a couple of the many projects that needed to get done, and although I felt some relief that I was actively engaged in working toward my goals instead of on a new way to procrastinate, I still felt discontented. It seemed that every time I made some progress I remembered something else that needed to get done that wasn’t on my list. At the end of the day, I decided I’d feel better if I organized my thoughts by writing out yet another Mac Daddy to do list to include the old and new stuff to be done. The embarrassing truth is if I spent even half the time actually doing what’s on my lists as I do writing them I’d probably have a whole lot more checked off at the end of the day!

As I reached the bottom of the page of my “I’ll feel better once I write it all down AGAIN” list I could feel my anxiety heighten. That’s when it occurred to me...there has to be an up side to feeling overwhelmed! I mean, it has to serve some purpose, right? Truth be told, it definitely offers some sort of pay off otherwise feeling overwhelmed wouldn’t be such a common destination for so many of us. So, in an attempt to check off “write Saturday’s blog” from my list, I decided to ponder the up side of being overwhelmed. Here’s what I came up with:

--In a weird way it makes me feel alive
--It makes me feel like a busy and important person doing her part in the world
--It helps me to notice the things that I need to work on to minimize feeling overwhelmed
--I become focused, motivated, and productive
--I get the opportunity to practice my prioritization skills
--And most importantly, I get to practice my stress management skills

Who knew being overwhelmed could offer so many opportunities for growth?! What positive spin can you make of being overwhelmed?

Here’s to a week of embracing the up side of overwhelmed!

Best wishes,

Saturday, August 1, 2009

How Do You Define Spirituality?

Recently, I was asked by someone to define my spirituality. I thought it was an excellent question, and realized that although I consider myself to be a very spiritual person I never really sat down and thought about how I defined it! If you consider yourself to be a spiritual person I highly encourage you to take some time and really delve into what spirituality means to you. Let me share what came up for me as I pondered this question.

I believe in God, but do not practice a particular religious denomination. My spirituality is something that I feel from the inside that emanates outward. It’s what makes me feel internally and eternally connected with something greater than myself. And even though I feel this Source is much larger than my human existence, I feel completely one with it...I'm not separate from it. The "it" that I speak of is God or what I more commonly refer to as the Universe. I’ve found that when I refer to God as the Universe I tend to get a more expansive perspective of what God is (notice I didn’t say “who”). The Universe is everywhere and encompasses everything and everyone, which to me is where God resides—everywhere, in everything, and everyone.

I used to view God as a figure (an entity or non-human person), but that belief actually made me feel much less connected to my spirituality because the figure was external to and removed from me (He resided in heaven and watched over the world from above). What I believe to be true at this point in my journey, and what resonates with my soul, is that spirituality is about my spirit, and my spirit is the energy within me that is connected to all that is...the Universe/God. This, to me, is the meaning of the phrase: We are all one.

How do YOU define spirituality? I’d love to hear what resonates with your soul. Please feel free to share your thoughts.