Transforming My Life

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Returning Home to Yourself This Christmas

Christmes-Scene-Animated-christmas-16186036-640-480My house is a mess.  Only half of my Christmas shopping is done and I haven’t  baked any cookies yet.

And since my son got home this week from college, it seems like all we have done is watch a whole lot of tv (and for me, eat a whole lot of store bought cookies!).

This morning as I write this, I find myself feeling panicky, guilty even.  This isn’t what “it” is suppose to look like.  I better snap to!  Get out the Monopoly game!

These are the gremlin voices that tell me I am blowing it, my kids are going to grow up disappointed, what’s wrong with me and why am I not doing a better job?  I’m blowing Christmas!

Then there is another voice.  One I often ignore.  This voice whispers quietly to me, so softly I must take the time to slow down and listen.  This is the voice I long to hear, it is loving, kind, reassuring and compassionate.  It reminds me what is truly important this time of year.

It whispers words of peace and kindness to me.

This is the voice that accepts where others are at, rather than, asserting my will over them.

I am invited into the moment with whomever I am with.  My “to do” list is still there but it has lost it’s power over me.

I am reassured it will get done.  There is abundance rather than scarcity.

I love the words of Brené Brown around this very subject,

The holidays she likens to a holiday circus, where we are the ringmasters, where life can easily become pageantry if we allow it to.

“The best performers make it look balletic and effortless. Of course, there’s no such thing as an effortless holiday show. If you sneak a peek behind most people’s red velvet curtains at holiday time, you’ll often see houses brimming with anxiety, maxed-out credit cards, crying children, and marriages that make the cold war look warm and fuzzy.

I’m convinced that the only way out of this is by cancelling the show. Not canceling the holiday, but giving up the show.”(http://brenebrown.com/my-blog/)

I love this analogy.  Rather than the ringmaster, I picture myself as the lion.  The ringmaster has a whip and is yelling at me to perform.

This causes me pause….Why the lion, and who am I performing for?

My family?  My friends?  Others?  This makes me laugh.  Most of us are too busy performing in our own shows to even notice.

The lion is the victim – no wonder I can become so resentful this time of year.

Could I possibly be performing for a ringmaster of my own making?

Need I forget that a lion can swallow that ringmaster whole?

We are all the ringmasters of our own show.  And we can choose to put down the whip and go home.

Those performance based voices grow fainter as I choose to leave them behind.

When I do, I return home to myself.

Home is where there is acceptance, kindness and peace.  Self-compassion that radiates outward to others.

Home beckons me to come and be.  To sit awhile.  To invite others in where it is safe and warm.

Rather than rush off to the store to get one more present, can I possibly create one, not from a place of performance, but stillness and calm?

To be in the moment and enjoy it.

No rushing around.  No panic.  It’s okay if the shopping isn’t done.  It will get done.  I can ask for help if I need to.

This is the voice that reassures me that my family does not need me trying to control and force them to do the things that I think the “perfect” families do.

Monopoly would be nice.  I can ask for that.  And it’s okay if they don’t want to play, no worries.  I am open to other possibilities.

For today, I am going to make myself at home.  To bask in the warmth and abundance.

What will feel good to me today?  What makes Christmas meaningful to me?

Today I will choose what really matters.  I will be.  Connect.  Accept. And enjoy the moment.

Grace and Peace,

Sheryl

 

 

 

 


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The Greatest Gift We Can Give

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I just left a friend after pouring my heart out about doubts and insecurities with my own value and self-worth.   I am so grateful for her willingness to simply listen without criticism and judgment.  I didn’t need her to “fix it” or tell me how valuable I was.  I just needed a safe friend to hold space for me in a time of discouragement.  I needed to feel heard and understood.

 I believe this is the most loving gift I can give to others and to myself.   A listening ear and the freedom to express feelings is a priceless offering I want to give to my children, my husband, and to others.  This can be uncomfortable and unfamiliar when I find myself unwilling to accept my own feelings.  I often judge and condemn my feelings or pretend they are not there.  I need to remind myself that there is no right or wrong with feelings.  They are what they are. The gift I can give to myself is the courage to risk opening up and sharing those parts of myself that I want to hide when they are screaming to be heard.  I need grace and compassion from others when I am unable to give it to myself.  I don’t need to be criticized or shamed.  I can do a good enough job with that on my own.  I often just need to get clear around what I am feeling.  At times like these, my thoughts get all jumbled up and I feel like I make no sense.  In these moments I tend to catastrophize.  Sometimes I need to yell and cry.

I love how Brene Brown says it in her book, Daring Greatly, “Empathy is a strange and powerful thing.  There is no script.  There is no right way or wrong way to do it.  It’s simply listening, holding space, with-holding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of  ‘You’re not alone’.”

Empathy and understanding is what my family needs most from me.  They need to know I am a safe refuge for them to share themselves vulnerably.  Unfortunately, I have not always done a good job at this.  The more I am willing to be vulnerable with my deep flaws and accept and love myself, the easier it is to accept and love others.    The path of vulnerability is the place where I am learning to heal and find wholeness. When I love and speak truth to these parts of myself  I silence the Critic that lives inside of me.  If I can be a voice of love, acceptance and encouragement to my children when they are feeling ugly, messy and discouraged it will change the course of their lives.

Today when I left my friend, I had a huge weight lifted that was holding me down.  Life no longer feels all doom and gloom.  I am connected to myself again.  My thoughts are no longer all jumbled and I make sense.  Each day I am committed to loving and accepting myself for who I am because that is valuable and I am worth it.  You are too.

Love and Grace,

Sheryl


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The Hamster in Your Head

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We all have them!  Thinking patterns that spin around in our heads, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously.  They keep us stuck and limit our happiness whether we recognize them or not.    Usually, these “hamsters”  strike most often when we are feeling vulnerable and exposed.  We might come upon situations in our lives that trigger fear, uncertainty, and feelings of rejection.  It is comforting when a friend reminds me, “It sounds like that hamster is in your head today spinning on his wheel!”   Sometimes it’s nice to know I’m not the only one.

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  Human beings all struggle with thinking that keeps them from fulfilling their potential.  These distorted beliefs hold us back from being successful and connecting with others.  These thoughts attack all areas of our life, social situations, taking healthy risks, and stepping out of our comfort zone .  This sucks our joy and keeps us from deeper relationships.

Let’s identify a few of these limiting beliefs and see if you see yourself in any of these:

“If only I was better looking, thinner, made more money, then……(fill in the blank)

 I am not enough.

If you really knew who I was you wouldn’t like or accept me.

I am not smart enough.  I am not good enough.

I am not lovable because…..(fill in the blank)

This relationship will never get better.

It is no use trying.  Nothing will change.

We all suffer from mistaken beliefs.  If we are willing to have courage to identify them, face them and do the work that we need to do, we can transform the way we think, one day at a time.  As the saying goes, “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”  This is a process that we must commit to if we desire lasting change in our lives.

elephant-21 A Certified Life Coach can help you to begin to change your thinking.  Here are a few steps to get you started.

1.  Log your thoughts.  In order to change your thoughts you need to able to recognize what is limiting you.  Keep a journal of what you are thinking and feeling. Note what you think is holding you back, i.e. from reaching out, taking risks  or engaging with others.  What do you believe will happen?  What are you afraid of?

2. Write down a column of your beliefs and another column of new beliefs to replace the lies. Many of our thoughts have to do with what we heard growing up and are simply not true.  We have to work through what we were taught and learn to replace these thoughts with new beliefs.

3.  Modeling –  If you want to lose weight, join Weight Watchers, if you want to run a marathon, join a running group or find a running buddy.   If you want to grow your business,   find a mentor or friend with who has successfully taken this path. There are many business development groups to help you set goals and keep you accountable.

4.  Support- Get around others who will accept you and can speak truth into your life.  When I am feeling discouraged, I call supportive people in my growth group to remind me of  my capabilities, gifts and when I am thinking thoughts that are not true.  They help to lift me up and cheer me on when I feel like giving up.

5.  Have a growth mindset.  Be willing to step out of your comfort zone and make mistakes.  In order to grow you need to be willing to fail and keep on going.  The only way to grow is to be willing to get in the game and play!

Join me on the journey,

Sheryl