Desiderata poem – so beautiful and full of meaning!

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Every time I go one of my friend’s house I admire a wall hanging that he has of the full Desiderata’s poem written by Max Ehrmann.  There is a lot of value in these words and I think they speak for themselves.  I encourage you to read the poem when you have a moment to reflect fully on each sentence.  Enjoy!

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

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Part 2: What Gets in the Way of Living Your Truth?

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Once you orient to your truth, which encompasses goals, relationships, self-respect (values), there may be some barriers to living your truth.  Barriers include Circumstances, Absence of Skills, Perfectionism/Fear of Vulnerability, People Pleasing, Avoidance, Cognitive Distortions, Expectations, Habits, Pathology (self or others), or Attachment Disruptions/Traumas.

Circumstances can include relational losses, financial difficulties, lack of resources, and environmental restrictions.  Solution: Work within your limitations rather than completely give up. 

Absence of Skills is such things as not having knowledge as it relates to regulating emotions, setting goals, ingredients to healthy relationships, assertiveness skills.  Solution: Opening yourself up, and finding opportunities, for learning.

Perfectionism/Fear of Vulnerability Perfectionism is different from healthy striving.  We are driven to do more – and be more – for fear of being judged (by self and others).  The result is we are driven to overachieve, or paralysis and we do nothing.  Solution: Develop a plan and build mastery/confidence one step at a time.

People Pleasing is when we put other’s needs ahead of own to avoid judgement or conflict. Solution: Dr  Brené Brown’s mantra “Chose discomfort over resentment”.  Be true to yourself so you aren’t resentful and do it in a way (if possible) that minimizes damage to the relationship.

Avoidance is when we are numbing out, escaping, or simply avoiding because making changes is too difficult.  Solution: Behaviour Activation to face what you are avoiding by simply doing what you know you are supposed to be doing.  I know, easier said than done, but it works!

Cognitive Distortions includes “all or nothing thinking”, “jumping to conclusions”, “emotional reasoning”, “catastrophizing” –basically our thinking has run amuck.  Solution: Cognitive restructuring to create realistic awareness and self-talk from a “Wise Mind” perspective.

Expectations versus reality is as it sounds and the greater the gap, the more distressed and out of balance we become.  Solution: Change expectations, or reality, or both

Habits are something that we repetitively do without awareness.  What we continue to practice is what we manifest.  Solution: Create new healthy habits, which will initially require effort but after a period of time will become second nature.

Pathology is when we, or someone in our life, have a non-treated mental illness, addiction or personality disorder then intrapsychic and interpersonal chaos is guaranteed to exist.  Solution: Insight into the disorder, diagnosis, boundary setting, and treatment.

Attachment Disruptions and other Traumas create emotional injuries (stuck points/hot spots) we carry with us because the trauma changes our world view, belief systems, brain wiring, and the trauma settles into our body.  Solution: Psychological treatment is proven to help change brain neuroplasticity through insights, and encouraging environmental and behavioural changes.  Therapy also helps clear the trauma from your body reducing anxiety and depressive symptoms.

Fill in Your Blank _____________ Because we are all unique beings, we each have our own barriers to living our truth.  What is yours?

“What’s Your Truth? Live Your Truth: Part 1

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“What’s Your Truth? Live Your Truth” was the topic of my presentation at the May 3 Well-Within Chiropractic Mind-Blown event specific for Well-Within Women.  Also on stage were Dr. Joan Rosenberg, psychologist from Los Angeles who spoke about Emotional Mastery, and Dr. Celina Spence, Chiropractor and organizer, who spoke about the Mind Body connection.  It was a high energy day with an equally high energy audience.  The message from all three of us was about the importance of getting to know yourself and how to navigate the rocky terrain of life without losing yourself. My talk began with identifying needs within and orienting using Mindfulness skills to three areas of effectiveness to enhance functioning.  These are adapted from Dr. Masha Linehan’s Dialectical Behavior Therapy modules on Core Mindfulness and Interpersonal Effectiveness.  Here is a post that reviews the Core Mindfulness skills http://jeannettekennedy.com/2013/12/01/dbt-path-to-wise-mind/  These skills are then applied to assessing your health in the areas of Objective Effectiveness, Relationship Effectiveness, and Self-Respect Effectiveness.

I would suggest starting with Self-Respect assessment.  What are your values and beliefs?  Is it health, wealth, simplicity, learning, fairness, growth, solitude, companionship?  When you know your values and beliefs it helps you prioritize demands in your life.  Second is the objective assessment.  What are your goals?  Immediate, short-term, long-term?  Finally is the area of Relationship Effectiveness and includes all relational interactions.  Are those relationships healthy and if not what needs to change?  Next you need to ask: How do the areas of objectives and relationships line up with your self-respect?  Is there potential conflict between them and how do you make adjustments without losing your self-respect? Are there competing values that I need to be aware of (e.g. solitude and companionship)?  Moment by moment we need to be assessing these areas and making adjustments accordingly.  Rigid but Flexible is the key, think of a backbone…oooohhh…Dr. Celina will like this analogy…the backbone is a rigid structure, but bends according the demands placed on it – internal and external.  Keeping in alignment will increase efficiency.  The three areas of efficiency are like your backbone and we need to bend without breaking.  Asking yourself “What’s My Truth?” is like your chiropractic adjustment keeping you aligned.

Here is an example of how this works.  Self-respect focus is the value of friendship.  The objective is to find an activity to do with my friend, let’s call her Linda. Wink Wink.  :)   The key is to find an activity that maintains the relationship without damaging it.  Sooo, my friend Linda LOVES shopping, and I, on the other hand despise shopping.  (Note: She was the perfect person to call to help outfit me for the event.  As well, thanks to the staff at Lou Lou Clothing and Accessories on Prince Street in Truro, NS for their help!)  Alternatively, while we both like outdoor activities, I tend to push the envelope and when I suggest a little hike, Linda knows that this is much more daunting than how I innocently present it and likely will be a 10km rough terrain hike – all uphill!  So our goal is to settle on something more suitable so we are not avoiding each other, thus causing damage to the relationship.  Dinner out tends to be a safe terrain for the two of us so we can meet all three of our needs.  Well, there is one downfall to that as it tends to conflict with the value of health because it usually involves potato skins and chicken fingers.  But sometimes we need to compromise one value for the sake of another.

Rather than being stuck in autopilot or at the whim of whichever direction the wind decides to blow you, I encourage you to tune into yourself to be the captain of your life and direct your sails accordingly.

Part 2 will focus on the things that get in the way to Living Your Truth.

Settling In To The Change

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We did it!  We finished the majority of the office with only minutes to spare before my first client walked through the doors Monday afternoon.  Honestly, it felt like I was on a television show trying to meet the deadline before the host yells “Move That Bus!”  We worked all weekend putting together the furniture and trying to finish the trim work (and realized we needed more so that is on the agenda for this weekend).  On Monday the tools and saws were still in the room, along with sawdust.  My family scrambled to help me get everything ready: moving the tools out, vacuuming, mopping, and putting the furniture in its proper place, literally with minutes to spare!

Client response has been great about the new location, which is a huge relief.  I am grateful for their support.  Feedback included:  “The space has more warmth” and “It is a very relaxing environment”.  The transition was intended to make life more organized and less complicated without compromising the therapeutic milieu (environment) and therapeutic alliance.

Along with some finishing touches with the trim work this weekend, moving all my books into one place will help with getting more organized – and lessen the clutter in my living space.  As mentioned in my previous post, changes are unsettling; however, as time passes the unsettled feeling turns into contentment.  As well as contentment, I feel deep gratitude that is hard to put into words but the feeling is incredible!  I am especially thankful for the support from my husband and daughter; support in the decision to have a home based office and help making it happen.

There are many components that aid in making positive changes in your life.  First, there is the decision.  Then there is determination and taking the steps toward something new, allowing yourself to be vulnerable in the changes.  Finally, support from others makes these transitions much easier.  It is important to note that this final step can be complicated.  I often advise new clients that making changes can actually put a strain on relationships, because, more often than not, those in our lives will resist the changes.  To mitigate this, enlist those who are advocates for your betterment, and, most importantly, trust yourself!

Changes and Transitions

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Making changes in our lives can be exciting; however, can also cause us anxiety as we move from the familiar.  Even if that familiar is something negative (but that is a whole different topic).  I have been reflecting on the disruption of change as I make the move to relocate my office.  Don’t get me wrong, I am excited about all of the possibilities and benefits; including the yearnings to work on writing a book, which I am anticipating will be easier with a home based office.  Despite that, there is a sense of sadness – a grief reaction to the loss of the old.  As I packed my belongings, I reflected on how thrilled I had been when I had moved into the office in downtown Stewiacke September 1, 2011, and felt sad about leaving.

I am not leaving something negative; in fact, I am leaving something positive.  I looked around the office and experienced deep gratitude for being able to sublet the office from Nova Forest Alliance.  In addition to providing the space, Terry and Wanda were always so kind, welcoming, and helpful.  I would make calls requesting that they turn up the heat so I would have a nice warm office when I arrived, and on occasion had to request that they leave a note on my door that I was running late due to traffic.  I don’t suppose that they will continue to do this for me.  Okay, maybe not.  My sincere thanks to both of them.  I also had the pleasure of getting to know Sonja, owner of Focus Massage and Yoga Studio, when she moved into the building; developing a new friendship in the process.  These reflections generate sentimental emotions!

We are creatures of habit, and it is not easy to make changes.  We remain in our “comfort zone” to prevent disruptions in our lives.  Keeping the status quo can be limiting, and sometimes detrimental.  If I had not relocated from Truro in 2011, then I would not have experienced the above mentioned blessings.  So, I encourage people to consider if there is something in their lives that they might want to push outside their comfort zone – even if only by an inch.  That nudge, an incremental change, could actually change your whole life direction!  I’m curious as to the new blessings that will emerge and manifest with this recent change.

“The 3 C’s of life: choices, chances and changes. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.”

Time To Come Out Of Hibernation

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One of my New Year resolutions was to publish monthly posts rather than weekly.  Well….here we are six weeks later.  How did that happen?  I have been so busy with other areas of my life that time has escaped me.  I must say, I have missed writing!

One of the things that has distracted me has been the exciting invitation to be a guest speaker at the Well Within Women event being held May 3, 2014, at the Marigold Cultural Centre in Truro, NS.

Dr. Celina’s efficient and amazing Office Manager, Monique Barley, contacted me the end of January to see if I would be interested in speaking at the May event.  I said “yes”, as three months notice was much more doable than 24 hours notice.  Wink Wink.  For those who were at the January event, Dr. Celina was challenged with a few unexpected glitches, and Monique called to see if I could fill in at that time (on very, VERY short notice).  Considering I had just made a resolution to reduce stress in my life, I was true to myself and gave my regrets, declining the offer.

Since there was some remorse about declining the offer, I must say I was super excited to be asked to speak at the May event.  I queried who the other speakers would be, and Monique casually mentioned that, along with Dr. Celina, another Psychologist would be talking about self-esteem.  I was curious as to, specifically, what the other speaker would be talking about; wanting to make sure that I was not overlapping in content. Monique suggested I contact Dr. Celina to get a few more details. 

So, I did just that- I sent an e-mail asking Dr. Celina for a bit more information.   Her response was,  “Dr Joan Rosenberg from LA is the other speaker.  Her topic is emotional mastery and female self esteem.”

My self talk was “Well, let’s just Google Dr. Joan Rosenberg.”  (Google does have a lot of good information if you can discern what is reputable.)  As I read her bio, my distress level increased – A LOT!  I quickly (and frantically) contacted one of my best friends, Anne-Marie, citing that “she (Dr. Rosenberg) has been seen on CNN’s American Morning show, OWN, and PBS stations nationally”.  My inadequacies were certainly activated!!!  My friend helped calm me down to stay on track, reminding me of the knowledge that I have to offer.

At this point I am very excited to share some of my training and knowledge to those in attendance; as well as, eager to see Dr. Joan Rosenberg’s presentation on her Emotional Mastery model.  This really is an amazing opportunity and I hope that everyone takes advantage of the information that is being provided.

Where Will You Be in 2019?

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After an enjoyable evening ringing in the New Year with friends, my husband and I contemplated resolutions for the coming year.  We both agreed that being better people is what we are striving for, and we each identified different means to reach that goal.  In addition to the standing resolution to eat better, get more active, I would like this year to be about minimizing and simplifying.  With all of the renovations we have been doing, our basement looks like an episode of Hoarders – it is time to clear some things out.  I have been too invested in my work and not enough with my daughter – she needs me.  I will cut down to writing posts once a month rather than once a week as it is interfering with my sleep on weekends – as I start to rouse, my mind begins to formulate what I will write about and I get out of bed so I do not lose my thoughts.  I will do more yoga for both my physical being and my mental need for mindfulness.  I will be generous in my love in a selfless way to enhance my husband’s (and others that I love) spiritual growth – this is inspired by my re-reading The Road Less Travelled by Scott Peck.

While I have scoffed at resolutions at different points in my life, I have come to realize the value of the same.  Yes, we may keep repeating similar resolutions year after year, but consider what our lives would be like if we did not.  By making a resolution we are re-orienting to what is important to us, and challenging ourselves to grow (or shrink after all the holiday indulgences).  Growing as a human being is what this journey of life is all about.

By pausing to consider what our resolutions are, we are developing introspection about our values, relationships, and goals.  We are investing in ourselves and what we have to offer the world.  Having personal insight may be challenging at times, but so worth the investment.  At times we need to bump up against some difficulties to help us realize we are not on the right path; not living our best life.  I do a lot of reading, not only for the benefit of adding to what I can offer clients, but for my own growth.  Despite that, I have had a number of personal challenges near the end 2013.  While difficult, I (eventually) work toward embracing the opportunity that these challenges provide.  As Scott Peck says, “Life is difficult”, and it really is meant to be or we remain underdeveloped.

As a final note and jumping to a different perspective of reflecting on New Year resolutions, I suggested last night that we create a time capsule today to open in five years.  When I consider the changes in my life this past five years (mind blowing actually), I think it would be interesting to see the aspects in our lives that we further enhance and the areas that are completely different.  I encourage others to create a time capsule as well.  Wrap the contents up in a box with a reminder of “Do not open until 2019″ and store it with your Christmas decorations.

Happy New Year Everyone!