More Beautiful for Having Been Broken & Being Seduced By Our Own Storylines

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of mending broken objects using gold or silver epoxy. The Japanese believe that when something has suffered damage and has history, it becomes more beautiful. 

Kintsukuroi

I’ll never forget the first time one of my twin daughters had her heart broken. She was all of 16 and completely devastated. I remember her face as she curled up in my bed, in physical pain, her head in the pillow and eyes swollen with tears, hand on her heart, she said, “Now I know WHY they call this a broken heart,” “It actually feels BROKEN in my body.” Shattered like glass.

Adapt

After someone breaks up with us, we can feel very, very lonely.  Abandoned, rejected, thrown away. What are we do to with this deep seated pain?

I am studying Pema Chodron’s Heart Advice For When Things Fall Apart.

Usually we regard loneliness as an enemy. Heartache is not something we choose to invite in. It’s restless and pregnant and hot with the desire to escape and find something or someone to keep us company. When we can rest in the middle, we begin to have a nonthreatening relationship with loneliness, a relaxing and cooling loneliness that completely turns our usual fearful patterns upside down. 

to-open-deeply-as-genuine-spiritual-life-requires-we-need-tremendous-courage-and-strength-a-kind-of-quote-1

 

An inspiring tale of self-discovery, I have read The Alchemist.

heart

Next on my reading list. . . .

The Middle Way & The Manual for The Warrior of The Light

Paul Warrior

In Omnia Paratus – Ready for All Things – Self-Awareness & Other Life Advice My Mother Never Told Me

I strongly believe it is everyone’s responsibility to create a firm daily devotion to committing oneself to life long learning and the continual development of waking up with honest self-awareness.

without-self-awareness-we-are-as-babies-in-the-cradles-quote-1

This morning I was thinking about some of the teachings of spiritual catalyst, Teal Swan, specifically her guidance about the importance of having an emotional wake up call.

“Our emotional selves are children. And they never grow up. We just learn how to parent our emotional selves better.”

emotional intelligence

 

Yes my parents gave me good guidance, but they couldn’t possibly have told me everything. Here are a few lessons I am learning along the way . . .

  • This moment, right here, right now is the only one you have. Feel it, see it, taste it, hear it and take it all in. Be here now.  The book by Ram Dass

81FH9rfylgL

  • Hold sacred an unconditional, nonjudgmental relationship with reality as it is right now.
  • omnia mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis All things change, and we change with them.  Adapt every day.
  • Trust your basic wisdom.
  • Everything takes time. It’s okay to live life on your time. You don’t have to run with the herd.
  • Watch how you talk to yourself. Realize when you are too self-critical. Stop the pattern. Break the loop.

first step

  • Do not worry about how others look at you, what they are thinking or whether you fit in.  Being “normal” will get you nowhere.
  • When all else fails, be kind.
  • Again, try to be gentle and soft with yourself and with others.
  • Stop pressuring yourself. Rushing anything simply ruins it. Slooooooowwwww down.

in-this-twentieth-century-to-stop-rushing-around-to-sit-quietly-on-the-grass-to-switch-off-the-quote-1

  • There is rarely ever anything to be nervous about.  Face what you think makes you weary.  Get curious about that.
  • Remember you are a miracle. Nothing short of a miracle.
  • Time is precious. There is none to waste.

clock-animated-gif-9

  • You have what it takes to try anything you want. There are many options, choices and directions you can go.  Experiment with your life.
  • You are dying with every single breath. Appreciate every single moment. Even the most annoying ones.
  • At any given moment, everything is always as it should be. Acceptance brings serenity.

acceptance

  • You can not control everything.
  • You must control the way you respond to others.
  • Get to know what triggers your strongest emotions. There’s the work that needs to be done.

hurt

  • At any given moment, you will know the right thing to do.
  • Be thoughtful about everything, even if others are not.
  • You don’t have to be larger than life, famous or popular. You simply have to play your part in this wonderful life to the best of your ability, every day.
  • Do something ridiculously fun every single day.
  • Whatever action you take, whatever word you say, make sure it decreases pain in the world.
  • People may disappoint you if they aren’t working on themselves. Forgive yourself for being impatient with them. For they no not what they do.
  • Anger and resentment are poison and will manifest into physical ailments. Let go everyday. If you feel yourself getting overly heated and enraged, step away for awhile. Retreat, think, respond.

aristotle

  • Your emotions are important for they tell you what to do. Yes, some of them are signals, but they are here to guide you, not take over your day and life.
  • Some emotions are false, yes they are you, trying to protect you, but don’t fall prey to every single one, over reacting to situations is usually related to an over sensitivity to past trauma. The problem arises when you start to react in a bigger way than justified. Read: How to Stop Overreacting.
  • Stop making up doom and gloom stories about what might happen in the future. Not everything is going to be a disaster.
  • When in doubt about what to do, do something good. Good for you, good for others.
  • Open up your heart, be real, be vulnerable. Life is not meant to be lived in the safe zone.
  • The painful moments are the lessons. Move through your problems by facing them for they will tell you a lot about yourself.  What haunts you must be addressed. Release your tendency to run away, to seek pleasure before pain.

haunted

  • Have an unconditional, loving relationship with the world. There is no escape, no exit. There are lessons to be learned every day. Everyone you encounter is your teacher. Pay attention.  Pema Chodron.

I would love to know what lessons you learned on your own. Share below in the comments.

 

 

 

Critical Life Lessons from Watching My Parents Die

They’re not dead yet, but they aren’t living either, although they were once a fantastic dynamic duo, living quite a wonderful life, they are now in a highly emotional state trying to navigate a fiercely complex and shifting terrain that is filled with unknowns.

Now at 76 my mom has stage four lung cancer and even though she will start a new FDA-approved targeted therapy in less than a week, she is very scared, angry and confused. It is a part of the acceptance process, I guess and I hope it will pass.

Dad claims he can take care of her and will not accept any help in their home. It’s causing everyone in the family senseless, needless pain and worry, but it’s even more difficult not to help them. It is a twisted form of enabling and the situation changes daily. How do you know when you’re enabling an elderly loved one as opposed to actually helping them out with something they need?

Life Lessons Learned from The Dying Thus Far

  1. Be Open & Responsive to Change

darwin.jpgBoth of my parents are stubbornly holding on to old ways and traditions that no longer serve them and probably never served anyone well. They are trying so hard to hold on to their independence as they shut out the world around them. They refuse any help at all while making life harder for everyone, including themselves. Their behavior has affected not only their lives but all of us who care for them as they insist on struggling terribly through their days. Their lack of flexibility and adaptability is actually driving their decline even faster than if they chose to open their minds to new ways of staying as safe, secure and healthy as possible.

2. The Trouble is, You Think You have Time

time

Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got. ~Art Buchwald

What you do with the time you have now, while you are actually able to live is most important. More important than savings, work or taking care of daily activities of living. Do not hesitate for one instance to do, try and execute everything you have ever dreamed of – for you have no time. Forgive and let go of the past, tell someone what they mean to you and  celebrate each and every miracle of breath that you take. Gratitude for what you have right here and right now is everything. Do more with your life while you have it to live. Do not take this lightly. This is the most crucial lesson.

3. Know Your Limitations, So You Can Move Forward 

struggle

My parents won’t accept their current weaknesses – fading health and loss of memory, which is causing them even more harm and possibly big trouble for others. How many times does it take getting lost while driving, or losing your cell phone, checkbook, wallet and keys before you realize that your memory isn’t what it was? Only when we honestly examine ourselves and accept our current limitations can we improve or find the tools, people or plan to help us work around the obstacles we face. If we don’t accept that we have a problem, than how can we fix it? 

4. It Takes a Measured Amount of Expectation & Acceptance to Survive

overwhelms

Yes I see how refusing to accept the aging process can be helpful- expecting more from yourself and those around you can actually keep you going, but your approach is what matters most. Feeling overwhelmed and then reacting never produces a good outcome.

Life is always walking up to us and saying, “Come on in, the living’s fine,” and what do we do? Back off and take its picture. ~Russell Baker

My mother really surprised me when she said that she didn’t think the oncologist or the cancer center was really doing anything for her condition. In her mind, they are epically failing.  How about 18 extended months of living? Mom is actually expecting a cure from the second deadliest disease in the world. It’s phenomenal. There is a measured amount of acceptance that is necessary in order to strike a deal with reality.

5. Plan Your Aging & Dying Process Before it Happens

by-failing-to-prepare-you-are-preparing-to-fail

It is our duty to plan our death. I am not taking about a living will, health care proxy or deciding on cremation versus a below the ground burial. I am talking about how you plan to age. How open you will be to the natural process of slowing down? Reverse engineering your life so that when you get to the point that you need help from others, you will accept it. Knowing when it’s time to let go of past behavior and activities, giving up your favorite things like driving. It is critical to understand the type of attitude you will have as you enter a new season of your life.

Just as we plan our career, marriage, children and even vacations, we need to be more thoughtful of how we leave this earth.

6. The Reality of Dying is Largely Negotiable

Just like anything else, we can rethink how we plan to age and die.

If you stress-test the boundaries and experiment with the “impossibles,” of dying, you’ll quickly discover that most limitations are a fragile collection of socially-reinforced rules you can choose to break at any time.

Social rule systems are used to examine all levels of human interaction. They provide more than potential constraints on action possibilities. Read more about social rules and the patterning of action here.

Who made these social rules about aging and dying and why do we think we need to obey them?

Increased longevity paired with aging baby boomers means that our older population is growing at record speed – a phenomenon in developed countries from the UK to Japan. According to Professor David Clark, a researcher in end-of-life care at the University of Glasgow: “We’re seeing what we regard as a massive global issue. There’s a huge wave of dying, death and bereavement.” At the moment about one million people die each week around the world; within 40 years, that number is expected to double.

I held a moment in my hand, brilliant as a star, fragile as a flower, a tiny sliver of one hour. I dropped it carelessly, Ah! I didn’t know, I held opportunity. ~Hazel Lee

 

People redesigning the experience of death

Making decisions about serious illness is not an easy task and they are not made alone. Watch Nick Jehlen  of Common Practice explain his design approach to facing the elephant in the room, the talk about death and these new products, services and dying submissions to Designing Death.

amaranthine

 

Nine Ways to Strengthen Your Mind

This post ponders the idea of turning sour feelings. a.k.a. – a shitty state-of-mind – – into persevering resoluteness.

I am thinking about the alchemy of emotions. Turning fear into fascination; frustration into fortitude, pain into power and anxiety into assurance.

It’s about turning my life around. Drilling deep into my psyche to pull through life with courage and conviction.

What I believe to be True

When we do things thoughtfully we have a better chance at transforming for the better.

Think about it. . .How numb have we made ourselves to our heart felt emotions?

alert-quotes-y96s

When we are thoughtful we consider more possibilities. New ways of doing the same old things. Even the possibility of doing things differently. Disregarding old habits. Doing less of the busy and more of the productive. Challenging the status quo. Removing the habitual actions we have done in the past that no longer serves us well today.

Octopus.jpg

New decisions lead us to a new destiny. A better, more balanced life.

Beware of Bad Decisions

Unfortunately, even smart people make bad decisions when they are in a lousy state of mind.

brain

Good decisions come from clearing the head and pondering the problems. Becoming curious about why we are so dissatisfied with our lives.

What needs to change about our thinking?

14457dd2d464c02de05f70adcc140155

 

Real change, sustainable change comes from deliberate choices. What new choices can we make today?

 

change

Problems are reversible when we get to the root of the cause.

decide

I want to change. . . .

Feeling Rushed & Overwhelmed

I despise the feeling of racing through my day. Moving so fast, juggling so much, attempting to “get it all done”. That rushed and over whelmed feeling leaves me discouraged and disappointed.

The Solution

Realistically predict the amount of time something will take me to do and add 60 minutes to that as a cushion. Build in some thinking time. Breathable time. Note to self: Realize life is a process, not just a checklist. It’s my pace, my life. If I can, I will always do it on and in my own time. 

Slow down, stay as organized as I can, surf the waves instead of fighting the tide, so that I get the work done and not drown in a sea of distraction. No matter who is pushing me to move faster.

wave-2

Feeling Tired & Exhausted

Serving others, really helping those you care for  is our true purpose. I believe it is the most important thing we can be doing. To be of service. However, becoming a slave (persona non-grata) to everyone’s whim is simply enabling and demeaning to myself.

Solution

I choose to review every request for help I get today. I will no longer run myself into the ground for anyone or anything. I will take breaks throughout the day. I am not a puppet, I pull my own strings. Oh, and I rest at the end of the day. Sometimes in between projects too.

ballet

Feeling Insecure & Helpless

One of my best traits is that I am always learning something new, discovering new ways to do my job, developing more skills and increasing my worth. One of the worst things I do is say I can do something before I have mastered the skill. Yup, I do that and it is wrong. This lets people down. I over promise and under deliver.

Solution

I will never overestimate my talent or skills again. I will practice and become better, while only taking on paid projects that I know I can manage and execute.  I will be very careful to accept money for something I am still learning. I commit to asking plenty of questions and never saying I understand something, until I truly do.

5-hang_mind

Feeling So, So Scattered

I am the dive right in type and I believe this is a good character trait to have, but I must learn to evaluate the waters before I jump in to the next project or relationship.

Solution

I promise to consider the possibility that I might not have the time to add anything else on my plate. I must have a plan before I attack. I must really look at what needs to be accomplished and not blindly beginning doing the task at hand.

progress

Feeling Frighteningly Frustrated

Why do I rush? Who is pushing me to move any faster? Is it the warped sense of time that this global interactivity thrusts upon us? Must everything be done in an instant?

Solution

Hell to the hasty and heedless. No more rushing. It is time to calm my heart’s dark waters.  I will take pauses, collect from deep thoughts and breathe deeply through it all. Especially the most difficult projects.

wave

Feeling Like a Victim

Okay, I will own it. When I am in a lousy state I tend to repel those around me. I bark at people. I speak to them like they are inferior. This in turn has them on the defensive and they return the favor. They bark back.  It becomes one big ugly dog fight.

Solution

I promise to stop taking on the world. Not everything is my problem to solve. I speak my truth more assertively and clearly without dictating or treating others unkindly. Sure I point out the elephant in the room but without embarrassing anyone. I will remember, it pays to be more patient.

finger

Feeling Super Guilty

Us alpha types, we just like to stay ambitious. We have so much to do – to accomplish. Then soon come the distractions once again. The texts, tweets, Facebook messages and phone calls. The favors asked.  In an endless loop of “I don’t have time for this!” I begin to feel guilty. I get confused about doing the right thing vs doing the “what I want to do thing.” Oh I hate disappointing others.

Solution

I leave room for interruptions. I prioritize helping those that I know need me. I question how important their requests might be. I help by empowering, not by doing it for them. I understand my responsibilities with each role I have in life. Mom, marketer, wife, daughter, writer, creator, friend – while giving my 100% imperfect effort to each role.

sucessful_people_quote

Feeling Scammed

You know, I am a bigger believer in that we know who we should and should not get involved with – but we continue to make the same mistakes over and over. We give people second and third chances. We continue to pick the worst friends, business partners, clients. People that let us down.

Solution

I hold my standards higher. I listen to my instinct the first time around and I promise to be realistic about the people I am getting involved with.

always-do

 

Feeling Sad and Down

Luckily my regression to the mean is happy. Not happy in a ceremonious and demonstrative way, but in a satisfied way. I am not a high maintenance human. I require little to keep me satiated. However, sometimes, when I feel a pity party coming on, I can go places dark.

Solution

Move more and laugh more, while getting out of my own way. I make a thoughtful decision to have more fun with problems.

einsteincreativityisintelligencehavingfun

stairs

 

 

 

Leaving a Legacy of Love

Somewhere along stumbling to happiness and following our passion it’s easy to miss the true purpose of our existence. So wrapped up in achieving personal success, whatever we think that looks and feels like for us, we forget about the memorable mark our day-to-day behavior leaves on others. We get caught up in the bigger picture, the ultimate”legacy” we want to leave, placing the focus on our desires instead of others.

Making a True & Measurable Impact

Sure we talk about making an impact on the world, but the world is composed of millions and millions of people.  To be aware of the impact we have on each other with every single encounter is the start. From this second to the next; that last moment until now, every look, every sigh, stare, word, jab, smile, frown, punch, hug. . . .even the thoughts we are thinking that we do not dare to share, our truest purpose is to become awake to how are we making each other feel.  That feeling we leave behind is what matters most.

Did you lift them up? Show appreciation? Make them feel important?

wl27b-maya-angelou-quotes-people-never-forget-how-you-made-them-feel

It’s how we make each other feel.  It’s the after effect, the residual emotion left from our words, our touch, listening to our friend, partner, parent, child, acquaintance, that truly matters mot. The bigger legacy of love is built on these day-to-day opportunities to make someone feel important and appreciated.  Did we leave them feeling loved?

Leaving a legacy begins with our behavior and everyone has the opportunity to leave a legacy.  It starts right in front of us, every second of the day. A chance to leave a legacy of love.

But people are so frustrating, so anxious, so hard-headed.

Try Reasoning instead of Rage.

It can begin with reasoning with those that are hurting. Reasoning communicates a message of respect. Respect is a building block to better relationships.

Recognizing the Good in All.

Praising another’s good behavior will reinforce even better behavior. When our good actions are praised we internalize it as part of our identities, and understand that even though we may have done things that weren’t kind in the past, we are able to change. Praise opens up the relationship to a higher standard.

Leaving a Legacy of Love Starts with Flipping the Script

Creating a new narrative about the way you want to leave your legacy. Sure you may build the next Facebook, Uber or Airbnb, perhaps you will find cures for diseases unknown but in between the chaotic moments of hustle and grind, how did you make everyone feel?

gift.jpg

Listen to Flip the Script from NPR’s Invisibilia

How therapists use the concept of non-complementarity behavior to help you make your own relationships better. Are you arguing with others? Angry? Upset? How do you flip the script? It starts by doing the opposite of what your natural instinct is, and in this way transforms a situation. Usually when someone is hostile to us, we are hostile right back. The psychological term is “complementarity.” But then in rare cases someone manages to be warm, and what happens as a result can be surprising.