Jun 152016
 

When I got up this morning it was still dark. Something wasn’t quite right, so I trundled off to urgent care to get checked. Long story short? Today turned into a #selfcare fest of epic proportions. Not the fun kind, the “put on your big girl panties and get this stuff taken care of” kind.

Did I plan to spend my day like this? Hell no.  Absolutely not. And weird symptoms have a funny way of kicking me right square in the procrastinator. I’m fine… just more than a little bit finished with shuttling from place to place and to watch people check my insurance card.

I’m taking a break to post this before returning to our regularly scheduled self-care programming. Yoga class is calling.

 

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“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”– Lucille Ball

“Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”– Louise L. Hay

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ~ Maya Angelou

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“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”― Audre Lorde

“Every sacred soul has a sacred body.”― Lailah Gifty Akita

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I had to use some ninja-level self-care skills to write and publish  The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head. It’s a little book full of big ideas about how — and why — you can learn to love “that voice.”   The Inner Critic Advantage is now available on Amazon.

 

 June 15, 2016  Posted by  13 Responses »
Jun 012016
 

Around DP June 07 231

When I last worked as a long-term consultant to a women’s inpatient facility for addiction treatment, I occasionally had the opportunity to use events at the facility to create unusual therapeutic experiences for patients. (I just consider it “good treatment” but I guess that’s why they needed a consultant, right?)

The place was sprucing up for a large event that would bring an influx of family members, alumni, and referents to the grounds. The staffer who had decided to help patients with a garden was “no longer available,” so I got to take a group of patient-volunteers to rehab the garden.

We tromped out to the part of the property the administration was calling “the garden,” and, once there, realized that “rehabbing the garden” was an overly-optimistic plan. First, we were going to have to find the garden. Then it was going to need some radical surgery.

The ladies savored simple pleasures: getting dirty outdoors combined with the opportunity to be in the sun for longer than a 20-minute break proved to be powerful medicine. The conversation quickly turned to fear of doing it “wrong,” along with memories of gardens past.

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Brand new sober ladies, working together on a project started to heal, right out loud. The newest member of the team hadn’t used drugs in about three days; the eldest had almost two months. They dropped the con games and tough girl attitudes as we stripped away old leaves and revealed the tender spring growth. They talked. Sometimes to themselves, sometimes to each other, sometimes to me.

“The weeds are like my addiction, my old habits, and my resentments. If I don’t get rid of them, they’ll kill me just like all this old stuff will kill the flowers. And that’s how I like to think about sobriety. I hear it’s awesome.”

“I went to 12-step meetings a long time ago. Is this what they meant when they said ‘put down the weapons and pick up the tools? I’ve  struggled with the spiritual thing, but here we are, on our knees with a group of drunks. G.O.D., right?”

“Some of them are very beautiful, they’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s not their fault. They just don’t fit. Like some of us and the things that happened when we were drinking and drugging.”

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“Weeds are like painful thoughts and bad memories; if I don’t leave them behind I could use them as an excuse to pick up drugs again.”

“I’m pulling out all the awful things the batterer used to say to keep me in my place. I’m not going to carry those around anymore. They have to go.”

They talked as much or as little as they wanted. We chopped and dropped the debris in neat piles where the elements would turn it into compost. When we returned to institutional life, the patients’ garden, formerly abandoned and overrun with weeds, was free to grow and prosper. What had almost killed it now fed its roots, making them stronger and healthier.

Just like the former inmates who set it free.

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The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head  is a little book full of big ideas about how — and why — you can learn to love “that voice in your head.”   The Inner Critic Advantage is now available on Amazon and, if you buy the paperback, you get the ebook for free.

 June 1, 2016  Posted by  19 Responses »
May 242016
 

 

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How many of us approached parenting with all the love in a plan like this?

We know for sure that OUR children will never feel “apart” from other family members. They will always understand how very wanted they are and this will create a closeness unlike  other families we know. They will be happy because we understand them so well.  Their basic needs will be so well-provided for that they’ll be able to direct their energies toward passions like sports, the arts and, of course, their educations.  They will excel. And, of course, this overflow of love will inspire them so much they will gladly share their prized possessions with their siblings….

That optimism is a wonderful thing and reflects the almost overpowering unconditional love that parents can feel.  It’s a love that motivates us in ways that are hard to understand. It makes us want to do the impossible. It can also be a little scary and make any one of us a touch crazy.

We hover and helicopter and try to control every interaction in our children’s days.  It’s almost as if we have come to  believe that discomfort equals disability and that letting our kids learn from trial and error (their own — NOT ours) will bring about permanent injury or harm. Fantasy and reality don’t quite match up.

This morning I heard a woman speaking about one of her most embarrassing moments. Unfortunately for her? It was televised. (Yes, fellow introverts, my skin is crawling and I’ve got giant butterflies in my gut just from imagining typing that.) The speaker was one of those remarkable, outgoing, super sales-y direct sales people who used the story to explain the role of failure in her life. Her embarrassing, unprepared-for-TV-moment never, ever came around again. In fact, it taught her to treat many other moments as if she were about to be beamed onto millions of screens all around the world. Good lesson, no?

 

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What does this have to do with loving your kids? Reality isn’t always pretty and it’s probably pretty darned close to perfect. Relax.

Think about the things you know for sure.  How easily did your own big lessons come to you? If you’re anything like me (and this morning’s speaker), I’ll guess at least a few of those important life lessons came as a result of a big belly flop off of life’s high diving board. Splat! Unfortunately, lots of life’s best lessons come to us that way.

To grow as parents we are required to grow as people —  the lessons we model through the way we live our lives carry much more weight than the ones we try to create with rules, words or even our well-intended fantasies.

It’s painful to watch kids struggle, but let’s be realistic.  Can we love them enough to put our own feelings aside? To let our kids be kids? Can we trust that our love — in all of its’ messy imperfection — is perfect enough?

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Today I am a “Love Ambassador” for my online friend, Intuitive Psychologist, Dr. Debra Reble and her newest book. We’re celebrating the release of Being Love: How Loving Yourself Creates Ripples of Transformation in Your Relationships and the World just released by Inspired Living Publishing.  Order your copy today and receive over 50 gifts from Debra and her community.  www.BeingLoveBook.com

 

 May 24, 2016  Posted by  10 Responses »
May 202016
 

Last week I was back on my old home turf for a family reunion. Everyone showed up and everything was wonderful. Lots of laughs. Good food. Walking for miles. Perfect weather. Great seats…. and the Red Sox won. And, in a few hours, dear friends arrive for the weekend. No surprise that I’m thinking about happiness, is it?

I pulled a couple of favorite quotes to share with you and would love it if you share some of your favorites in the comments.

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Happiness can exist only in acceptance. – George Orwell

I am a kind of paranoid in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.  – J. D. Salinger

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Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.  – Eleanor Roosevelt

Whoever is happy will make others happy too. He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery. –  Anne Frank

The really happy person is the one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour. –  Anonymous

 

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If you want others to be happy, practice compassion; if you want to be happy, practice compassion! – Mary Stewbeck

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Writing  The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head  made me very happy. It’s a little book full of big ideas about how — and why — you can learn to love “that voice.”   The Inner Critic Advantage is now available on Amazon. I hope reading it makes you as happy as writing it made me.

 May 20, 2016  Posted by  No Responses »