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Holistic Health & Wellness Coach

Do you Hear Through Your History?

 Kids-upset-at-each-otherRecently, while working with a teenage client, she shared a text conversation that was pertinent to the event she was processing.  As she read her part of the text conversation aloud, she used a calm, soft voice and displayed a sincere demeanor.  While reading the other person’s texts in the conversation, her voice was filled with attitude and her demeanor was condescending and rude.  I found it intriguing how she was using voice inflections and intonations as well as other non-verbals to communicate in a conversation that clearly has none of those as options.  When I questioned her about it, she was startled.  She didn’t realize she was doing it at first.  As we discussed it, she stated, “But that’s how she talks to me when she’s mad”.  The text conversation did not indicate that the other was annoyed or angry.  In further exploration, we discovered she was assuming how the other would be speaking.

     In my practice I always recommend conversations around deep or serious topics occur in person or by phone (if you cannot do it in person).  In person, you can see, sense and experience the conversation and leave nothing to interpretation.  You can ask clarifying questions.  You have the full focus and attention of the person you are communicating with (yes….insist on it!)  And it makes it more difficult for you, the listener, to hear the other through your own history.
     Hearing through your history limits the brilliance of the other’s message to you.  It means you are filtering their words through what you surmise they mean.  When we “think” we know what they mean we are guessing which means we are hearing through our history and not hearing clearly.  The brilliance (and yes I mean, the excellence of or the magnificence of their message) is lost on you.  You miss it because you are hearing from your own experiences and beliefs.
     The text conversation my client shared was a fabulous example.   Because she was hearing through her history, she was missing that her friend was actually sharing her desire to return to the friendship they once shared.  Her friend was literally opening herself up, being vulnerable, and hoping to reconnect.  My young client was wishing for the same.  However, her past hurts had accumulated to such a degree she was hearing only complaints and attacks.  She couldn’t hear the vulnerability and hope her friend was expressing.  I asked her if I could read the messages out loud to her with a different perspective.  She allowed me.  When I was finished… she cried.  We read the same words…. one was heard through her history.  The other was heard from an open heart.
     Hear with an open heart and you will hear love and compassion.  Hear through your history and you will hear…… your history!
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Passion or Politics

political yin yang
As each election year approaches, I am fascinated to witness the changes in personality of so many people.  Some people seem kind and thoughtful and even generous until someone with different political views joins the discussion.  Some people with differing political views go out of their way to make fun of or put down the other side.  Half of the country has hateful names for Republicans and half of the country has hateful names for Democrats.  And often, those same people, when not talking politics, say they want peace, hamony and all good things.  But if you truly want peace and harmony, how do you get there by bashing another for their political preferences?  How is it okay to demean, dehumanize and demoralize another human being in one breath and then talk about how peace and harmony should reign in another. There is no commonality between the two.
We can’t get to “good” when we keep focusing on the negative the politicians do and forget that WE – the people – are the ones who can make the difference.  Not by pointing fingers but by coming together with a positive focus and then, we the people, make it happen.  We have become a nation that tolerates it’s ignorance, indifference, insensitivity and it’s inertia!  We spend our time pointing fingers at who is responsible for what.  We have lost our focus and what is best for us as a nation.  We’ve let the politicians decide our best interests as fed by the many lobbyists who wine and dine them.
We have the opportunity to join forces as the people of our nation have in the past.  We can turn off the reality shows, and the celebrity news, and turn on our passion for what’s right for our great nation.  We can join together and focus our energy to improve our food supply; improve the health of our people; and restore our faith in our country.  But we will never get there wasting our time, energy and efforts, bashing the other political party, pointing fingers and placing blame.  I believe, we can best move forward by stepping past the political differences and looking beyond how we got here.  And bring our nation together to create a better future for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.
What great things about our country and it’s people are you passionate about?  What are you willing to speak up for?  What are you willing to do to improve our great nation?  And let’s get to it!
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Is Your “Vehicle” in balance?

Lions chasing car with flat tireMost Americans take better care of their cars than they do of their physical body.  We fuel our car with the right fuel.  We monitor the fluid levels and perform regular oil changes.  We keep the tires inflated within the limits suggested.  We know we must do these things in order to keep the car performing / functioning properly.

Now, think of your body as a vehicle.  The four tires represent our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.  When our tires are out of balance, we feel unsafe, out of control, and unable to maintain our own direction.  Over inflated or under inflated, the imbalance is noticed and our ability to maintain our path is compromised.  It is the same when the four aspects of self are out of balance.  If we are physically fit but block our emotions, we are out of balance.  If we are overworking our mental aspects as well as overtaxing our physical body, we are so out of balance we are headed for an illness which forces us to rest.  Those who are focused on vanity and material things are typically out of balance with their spirituality.  Each aspect of our well-being is necessary for us to maintain balance and forward momentum.  Each tire is critical to the balance of the vehicle.  The loss of one tire, or the loss of energy in one aspect, may leave us sitting on the side of the road.
In my practice I see the lessons of balance as being the most common life lesson.  Balancing between work and play; seriousness and fun; hoarding and squandering; generosity and greed; compassion and indifference.  When we seek to find balance, like a vehicle,  we are more stable and we move forward with ease of flow.  We operate more consistently.  We find compassion more easily.  And we give and receive love more freely and openly.
How are you keeping your life in balance?  Do you recognize the four aspects of well-being (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) as being equally important?  Or do you spend more time and energy focused on one aspect and ignore the others.  What activities do you perform to keep your vehicle running easily, effortlessly, and in balance?  I’d like to hear your thoughts…..
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Beautiful Aunt Bonnie

12488_10152613160828833_5857682271535379778_nToday my Aunt Bonnie passed over.  She was one of my favorite people.  Why?  Because she was one of those people would had “it all” but was always able to “keep it real”.  She would share her experiences about all the countries she’d visited as if she was talking about going to a movie.  She had no false sense of self.  She put on no airs.  And she was a great grounding agent for anyone who did.  She knew what was important was how we love and serve each other.   She lived a great life and had already shared with her family that she was ready to let go.

I had this vision of her this morning.  She was surrounded by her family here on earth as her soul ascended.  She was greeted by her Spirit family as she arrived in the Spiritual realm.  I saw her parents, her sister, my father, and all her beloved Boston Terriers who have been her companions for all the years I’ve known her.  They were all there to greet her and she was so happy and felt such immense love and peace.  As she looked back at her family, she knew they would be fine as they continue on without her presence on earth.  I was awed at her sense of peace and joy at being back in her Spiritual home.  It was a beautiful vision and it allowed me to stop grieving and instead be filled with joy for her.

I have spent a lot of time today reflecting on the many years I’ve known Aunt Bonnie and Uncle George and the many stories we have of our families sharing events and celebrations. There are so many stories.  All of them make me smile as I remember.  I’ve also reflected on the memories of my father and how I miss his presence.  He and Aunt Bonnie shared a special fondness for each other.  They got along  very well and considered themselves a part of a special clan known as “MTB’s” aka, Married to Bogumills (my mother’s siblings).  They, along with the other MTB”s, were a hoot when gathered together.  It was as if they had an understanding like no other because of their connection to the Bogumill family.

My Dad had a very difficult childhood.  He and his siblings have shared some childhood stories that made me weepy.  However, for as many years as I can remember,  Dad would say, “If I died today, I’d die a happy man”.  It always made me smile.  It usually came after a special event, or a family discussion, or just a quiet evening with his grandchildren.  He seemed to purposefully want to point out that he was pleased.  Dad’s statement confirmed for us that he was happy with his life and how it was progressing.  He seldom ever looked back at his childhood.  He stayed present and he was grateful for his life.   Later, when he became ill, he reminded us that each of us will die from this lifetime and be returned back to Spirit.  One day, while just he and I were chatting, he reminded me of how often he had said, “If I died today, I’d die a happy man.”  He wanted to make sure I knew he still meant it.  I believe Aunt Bonnie would have shared the same sentiment about her life.  She seemed so happy and grateful and thankful.  And I believe she died a happy human.

If you died today, would you die a happy human?  Take just a moment to reflect upon your life and life purpose.  Have you yet made a positive impact on this planet?  Did you participate in something helpful or healing to others? Do you know your life purpose?  Can you truly say this has been a life well lived?  If not, what are you going to change…..  and when?

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Been Squeezed Lately

 

Squeeze_Orange-When an orange is squeezed, it’s juice comes out. Regardless of what squeezed it – the juice is based on the fruit itself. If it’s sour, the juice is sour. If it’s sweet, the juice is sweet. And if it’s rotten, the juice is rotten. Regardless of what squeezed it!   

People are the same. What comes out when squeezed is what’s waiting inside. The difference is, people blame what squeezed them for how they respond. They justify their reaction to the squeeze by saying it is because of the squeeze.
Several years ago, Survivor participant Jerri Manthey, spoke about her time on Survivor.  She remarked that no one could truly be themselves in the stress of that situation.  I remember commenting to her through the TV, ” Actually, Jerri, It is your truest, deepest self that is exposed under pressure!”
In my nursing career, I have had the pleasure of working over 20 years in ER, ICU, home care and Hospice.  I have witnessed thousands, of people in very stressful situations.  I’ve seen many people explode after very little provocation.  And I’ve seen hundreds of people gracefully walk through what seems like insurmountable stresses.   What makes the difference?  It’s not what stressed them.  Nope!  It’s what’s inside them that comes out under pressure.  It’s not what squeezed them that produced the reaction.  It’s that they got squeezed.
Driving is a perfect example.  An incident occurs, i.e. someone cuts in front of you.  You know nothing about them.  You haven’t a clue what their day/week/life is like.  They know nothing about you. Yet, suddenly you are engaged in a battle where both of you are determined to win. There is shouting and cursing and….  Ahhh…. there it is… the anger built up inside from something far greater than today’s driving experience comes boiling up, and WOW.  And both sides will blame the other for their own reaction.
Simply put, it’s never about what squeezed you that causes your reaction.  Remember how Nelson Mandela spoke about his years in prison.  Or what John McCain shared about his years as a POW?  They are amazing examples of being squeezed beyond what most humans could endure.  Yet, they responded with grace and courage, peace and encouragement.
It’s what is already inside you that comes out when squeezed.  How do you respond when squeezed?  Maybe it’s time to explore those reactions.

 

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Movies Often Bring Brilliant Messages

Hollywood has, for many decades, been the bringer of movies with a story line filled with entertainment, while carrying a hidden, but poignant message.  For those who resonate with the message buried deep within the scenery, costumes, and music, the information can be simple or it can be life altering.  

Though I seldom go to the movie theatre, I recently saw “Saving Mr. Banks”.  Seeing the previews, I understood the move to be about bringing Mary Poppins to life through Disney.  Yes, that would be the general theme of the movie.  However, expertly disguised within that story line is yet a deeper and far more brilliant message for viewers.  How Mary Poppins came to be written!

Everyone has a story!  Hidden deep within the psyche of every human being is a story line that impacts their thoughts, feelings, and decisions, as well as their actions and reactions.  You will notice this connection as you view the movie.  You notice this dynamic with every person you meet, if you choose. 

After suffering a loss in my young life, I remember feeling surprised how others didn’t see my grief.  But, how would they know?  It’s a quick life lesson, isn’t it?  My grief, my sadness, my lack of focus… they were only mine.  I was, at times, lost in my grief.  Several times I found myself staring off into space, lost in thought, only to find another person trying to get my attention.  When I finally acknowledged, I could see their annoyance.  Unless I announced my grief, they could only presume my distraction.  I learned!  I learned everyone has a story. I may never know the reasoning behind someones actions or reactions, but I do know, with certainty, they have a story line that runs deep within.  

I could name many movies with brilliant messages hidden within the story.  But my message today is not about the movies themselves.  I could tell you the brilliance buried within “Saving Mr. Banks”.  But that is not my message today.  Instead it is about finding compassion for others.  Especially for those who’s actions seem out of balance.  Although we do not have to know their story – knowing they have one helps us to be empathetic, patient, understanding.  And maybe, just maybe, we can offer a loving gesture like Ralph did (go see the movie) and be the pivotal point in someone’s life journey.

 radiating heart

 

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