Monday, March 30, 2009

Just Following Buck and Ben

A wise woman once counseled me that doing a job, getting somewhere or just getting through tough times means following Buck and Ben. And who are Buck and Ben, I demanded in my eight-year-old skepticism? Why this is Buck, she replied lifting her right foot and here's Ben she stated as she raised her left foot.

That's what it's all about, one step at a time. Just follow the single steps you must take to keep moving forward. It's staying still that prevents our moving out of our problems. However, if we reframe that word "problems" and identify them at "challenges" we don't get overwhelmed with the thought of obstacles with which we are surrounded.

So we're back to getting through today or this new week or simply remembering that each step we take is a step forward for resolving the challenges this day presents.

Keep breathing.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Choose your Battles or more on lemons into lemonade

There are so many issues about which anyone can put energy and emotion into that I recommend we are careful when we decide to allow anger to make decisions for us.

If an individual with whom I have business and/or professional contact is unhappy with me, my choice is to respond with similar intensity or to agree that the issue should be resolved and look for peace rather than conflict.

Sometimes the other person will follow my lead and find points on which we can agree and sometimes the other person is not ready to resolve the conflict. I am willing to wait until there is a better time for us to find a solution but occasionally that choice is not acceptable to the other person. In that case I return to my suggestion to make lemonade out of lemons.

I will keep my distance and attempt to solve the problem without additional disagreement. Sometimes that solution requires letting the other person leave my life and sometimes if means that we find a solution when he or she is ready to propose a compromise that meets both our needs.

Making lemons into lemonade requires that I use my wise mind and remember I always have a choice to take whatever steps will create a peaceful environment.


Cleaning is Great Therapy!

It's something that doesn't get done and when you've lived with the stack of newspapers or the dog fur on the carpet for a while, it's easy for forget that the dog fur and the papers aren't part of the decor.

The roar of the vacuum startled me as I pushed it across the floor and the dog began his attack on the machine. The amazing experience was that the carpet actually looked bright and clean as the dust and dog fur were sucked into the machine.

The satisfaction of seeing a room with a cleared floor and furniture without the black dog hair was real. What a nice feeling to have a house that supported my need for quiet and calm.

Breathe. Cleaning is only one of many steps you can take to remind yourself that you are in control of you.

More later.

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's not about having the most

It used to be that success was about having the biggest or the most or earning the highest . . . Today it's about making lemonade out of lemons.

If your bills are paid and the dog or cat don't need an emergency visit to the vet you are doing fine. If the mortgage is current and your electricity and phone are still on, you're in good shape. Who'd have thought just a few months ago people would be looking at 101 ways to fix pasta? Hey, I happen to really like pasta, so there.

All the uncertainty today makes it hard to get down to the basics of what we really have and how we must stay right here in the present moment. Sometimes these worries get so overwhelming that we forget what really matters is having a place to take a hot shower, a nice cup of good soup and a warm place to sleep.

When you can remember the real value in your life isn't going to come from that beautiful vehicle or that weekend in Jamaica or the newest pair of Manolos. . . the significant possessions in your life are not those items you can't sell today but your good health or that person who is truly with you during these chaotic times.

You worked very hard and got this far. You must give yourself credit for what you have achieved and know that it is the same skill that brought you to this point in your life that will make it possible to move through these next weeks. You have a choice lemons or lemonade!

What to do when the therapist is away

I was supposed to be away this week. The phone didn't stop ringing. The e-mails kept coming and I was here. There were not classes to teach nor clients to see and I still had calls from people at the office and I was at both USC and UCLA this week.

Everyone needs a break. It's really important to get away from the texting, the phone and the e-mail. It's very easy for me to remind everyone else, my students, my clients to take a break but what about me? Finally, I did it. Yesterday I got an amazing massage that lasted for even more than the hour and a half I had scheduled. And today - no phones only the sounds of the birds cheered by this beautiful day.

Listen to yourself. You usually have the answer to how to take care of yourself if you take the time to really hear what you need. That information comes from that place within yourself called wise mind. You actually do know what you need. The hard part comes from being willing to take the steps you recommend to yourself.

Follow your wise mind. Breathe. Take a break. That break can be something as simple as looking out the window at the bright sunshine and listening to the sounds. Lay on your back on the floor, with your bottom next to the wall and your legs up the wall. Breathe.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

What to do before the Therapist Arrives

Well, it's still happening and here you are! Hanging in there and tolerating all the scary uncertainty. First, Chocolate! It's sort of the vitamin essential to these annoying times. Next: BREATHE!

Yes, something as simple as just taking a deep breath can make a real difference. I don't know how to fix the financial pain we are all experiencing, but I do know several tricks that make it possible to get through today and maybe even most of tomorrow.

The first skill is simply breathing, softly, naturally and gently. Stay present. Listen to the sound of your breathing. DO NOT LISTEN TO YOUR WORRIES. Every time a worry crosses the screen, turn back to your breath. Worrying does not change the events with which we must all deal today, but listening to your breathe can make it easier to simply be present at this moment.

More later.

Keep gently breathing.