Great Reads!

Why we should invite our enemies for tea

Katie Hendrix Great Reads! Comments Off on Why we should invite our enemies for tea

Today I made a new friend, nothing remarkable in that, except for the fact that we started this day as complete strangers, if not enemies ,who hold totally opposing beliefs on a topic we both feel very strongly about. Prior to today our only point of connection had been that she had taken the trouble to google me in order to get my contact info and send me a message you could broadly characterize as a piece of hate mail.

There is something very unnerving about the element of surprise in opening an email from a name you don’t recognize and discovering that someone whom you have no idea exists has put a lot of thought and energy into delivering a scathing attack of a very personal nature. After I got over my initial shock, anger, defensiveness and no small degree of outrage about her assumptions, conclusions and false accusations, I put my hurt pride aside and began to wonder about this woman and why she felt so strongly that she had decided to write all that to me. She had referred to having developed her viewpoint over many years and I found myself wondering about her and what experiences she has had. Whilst I had no illusions that I might change her point of view (with regard to either the topic or me) I thought that it could be really helpful and informative to understand the situation from a different perspective and that she might have information that could be important to know.

So I sent a reply…   click here to read more!


The Power of Word

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Words have pword-power-1ower: they can harm and wound; they can uplift and inspire. Most of us give little thought to the words we use in our daily life. Yet, people make assumptions about us both consciously and unconsciously based upon our choice of words. Setting aside the vocabulary of hate, most words can be described as benign or neutral. Nevertheless, I invite you, specifically the women and girls reading this post, to be very careful when you use these words:

SORRY – There are many times when apologizing is appropriate and required: a thoughtless comment spoken in haste; stepping on someone’s foot; breaking someone’s family heirloom and many more circumstances. And yet, women often apologize when someone bumps into them. How often have you hear a woman, perhaps it’s you, apologize when asking for service in a restaurant or store? In business do you begin a prospecting phone call by apologizing for calling “at a bad time?” Apologies have a time and a place. A simple “I’m sorry,” without qualification, can be as powerful as “I love you.” Apologizing reflexively and unnecessarily broadcasts insecurity and doubt and minimizes your message. A very savvy business coach I know uses a Sorry Jar instead of a Swear Jar. Whenever one of her clients apologizes unnecessarily she is fined $5. Her clients unlearn this habit pretty quickly. How much will it cost you?

JUST – A perfectly good word, “I caught the train just in time,” “the movie times were just updated.” Now, how do these sentences sound, “I’m just a stay-at- home Mom,” “I just have a home based business?” Now just has become the minimizer, the derogatory accent you have added to your words and the image they convey. If you don’t value your actions, your proposal, your idea, why should anyone else? Don’t be a minimizer, believe in yourself and make sure your words reflect that belief.

LITTLE – A wonderfully used word as in “I’d like a little more coffee, please,” “the right shoe is a little too loose,” Now read this sentence: “I’ve created a little flyer for my workshop.” Really? Is it smaller than 81/2 by 11? “My daughter graduated and I hosted a little party with all her favorite home-cooked foods. We had about 75 people.” Really? You shopped, cleaned and cooked for 75 people and that was a little party? I’ve made my point. Women especially are trained from a very early age to be modest and humble and to avoid bragging. There are many reasons a man gets promoted over a woman. Humility is rarely one of them. Men routinely share their successes and accomplishments and they most definitely do not describe them as little. When you do share your success are you sabotaging the accomplishment by making it appear small and non-threatening? Changing any unconscious habit starts with awareness. Ask a friend to help you out. Maybe change the way you use these words one at a time. With a little effort you won’t just be accomplished, you will be unapologetically successful without any reason to be sorry.

Viviane Kaneff, President Woman Within Eastern USA


TBD

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I have to admit that the control freak inside of me hates the term “tbd” with a blind, purple passion. I don’t want anything that is as yet “to be determined.” I want it secure, nailed down, locked 583tight. Something to depend on. I realize that this insecurity comes from a chaotic and violent childhood where consistency and order seemed like a heaven just beyond my grasp. My best and highest self also realizes that this rigidity and need for control no longer serves me, and often hinders my enjoyment of this adventure called “life.”

Why does a future that as yet is to be determined scare us so much? If you are like me, life has handed you more than a few bumps and bruises—lots of pain, some regret, a dash of bona fide grief, 3 drops of pure visceral rage, and occasionally moments of deep and abiding joy that are rawer and more painful than all the other ingredients. Yes, if you are like me you have that concoction brewing in your life. The last six days have found me flat on my back, lying on ice, staring up at my ceiling, praying for my debilitating lower back pain to go away. I had a lot of time to think about TBD and other such ephemera. Between the boredom, loneliness, discouragement, and muscle relaxers, one can get pretty philosophic. At first I thought it all came down to fear. What if my back never gets any better? What if I am stuck here forever? Who will take care of me when I can’t take care of myself? These questions did not put me in a good place. Pain makes faith hard.

Then I realized—it all comes down to choice. When we are afraid of the future, it is because we have experienced pain and trauma in the past, and we project that past into our future. It’s not a pretty picture. I don’t know what yours looks like, but mine looks like The Scream by Edvard Munch! This thinking doesn’t come from my best and highest self. It comes from my amygdala—the part of the brain where pictures are stored. The part responsible for initiating the stress response when past pictures are activated by the present. The primitive, reptilian part of my brain. The part where PTSD lives in millions of survivors around the globe. All humans have that reptilian brain in common. BUT…the choice is mine whether to project those pictures onto an undetermined as yet future, or to use my highest and holiest self to project and create what I want my future to look like.

Every cell in our bodies is stamped with the image of God—and God is first and foremost a creator. I can create whatever future I can envision if I tap into the higher part of my brain and refuse to cave in to the fear of the past. It isn’t easy, but it is simple. When the pictures come, and I feel the fear, and my breathing gets shallow, and my brain tells my adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenaline, and I feel that shot of adrenaline that makes me nauseated; I stop. I see the picture. I tell myself out loud that the past doesn’t equal the future. I tap into faith, and I breathe deeply and slowly. I replace the scary pictures with peaceful, fruitful, joyful pictures. My future is NOT my past. It is yet to be determined. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay. It’s great.

 

This article was written by Dori Abbott, one of our Woman Within Eastern USA members.


WHAT TO DO WHEN MEDITATING AND MANTRAS DON’T WORK

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pexels-photo-768x510

About a month ago, I felt like I was drowning in a pool of emotional chaos. Fear, worry and anxiety were surrounding me on all sides, holding me hostage. I was breaking out in spontaneous crying episodes, not knowing what to do.

I say this to be totally transparent, to share that even the best of us have our moments…those moments that take us by surprise, when we feel lost, alone and scared.

For almost a month straight I felt physically and emotionally exhausted. My digestion was a mess, my sleep was compromised and it seemed that no matter how much I meditated, I couldn’t shake the discomfort.

I knew what was underlying all of this although I didn’t know quite why.

There is a lot of transition and change happening in my life at the moment, a lot of huge decisions that I had to make in terms of my business, living location and relationships – and with that a lot that could go “wrong.”

The fear of making the wrong decision and not knowing whether to trust my intuition and my heart was overwhelming.

I wasn’t feeling confident in myself or my choices. I wasn’t receiving the signs from the Universe that I usually did. Something just wasn’t right.

I was meditating, saying positive affirmations, getting out into nature and exercising – pretty much doing everything I recommend to my clients when they feel this same way.

But nothing was working.

Finally, I decided to reach out for support. I just knew I couldn’t figure this out on my own anymore.

In talking to a few of my closest friends, I realized why I wasn’t able to shake the fear and anxiety that was paralyzing me.

#1 – I was trying to maintain control over everything – which is impossible.

#2 – I wasn’t allowing myself to really feel into the emotions I was feeling. I was simply trying to make them go away instead of looking at them in the face and understanding why they were there in the first place.

#3 – I was trusting fear instead of trusting myself.

Through these meaningful conversations I was able to look at and understand my fears, let go of the need to know every single detail of how the future was going to unfold and give myself permission to trust my heart.

And almost instantly, I felt a huge release in my entire body and soul.

I realized that the discomfort I was feeling was my spirit asking me to stop playing small and trust that I could play big. I just needed to trust myself and my heart and surrender to the Universe fully, instead of trusting the voice of doubt that guided me for years.

When I woke up the next morning, I got a flood of inspiration around my business. I could finally see the signs from the Universe about decisions I was making in other areas of my life and I felt a sense of peace that I was so grateful to finally experience again.

Here are a few of the important points that came up for me during this process that I wanted to share with you incase you’re needing some insight into your discomfort…

LOOK AT THE FEAR, DON’T AVOID IT…

This may sound counterproductive, but when we try to stuff down uncomfortable emotions, the root cause of them still remains. Yes, massages and a funny movie might serve as temporary distractions, but the underlying thoughts and beliefs giving rise to the fear still exists and will come up again. When fear arises, take a deep breath, feel into your body, ask yourself why it’s there and where the beliefs are coming from. How are these beliefs serving you? What would happen if you chose an opposite belief? Maybe even write out a new positive belief. Take a deep breath in, flooding your body with this new energy and take a long exhale out seeing the fear and old beliefs leaving.

IF YOU’RE NOT PREPARED TO FAIL, YOU’LL NEVER SUCCEED…

Every single person that has ever achieved something great has surely failed along the path to getting there, but the only reason they succeeded is because they were prepared to do that. Most of us have this crazy idea that success is a one-stop shop and we try to be in control of every aspect of our journey because of this. But on the pathway to success, you must accept that you will stumble and fall along the way. It’s often through our suffering, mistakes and failures that we learn our biggest lessons and gain the wisdom to become the person we are truly capable of being.

NEVER MAKE A DECISION FROM A PLACE OF FEAR…

One of my good friends gave me a good dose of tough love and reminded me of this point, “Never make a decision from a place of fear.” Fear is the work of the Ego, that part of you that makes you doubt and second guess yourself. Although it may seem like your worst enemy, your Ego is simply trying to protect you from getting hurt and in Ego-land that means staying where you are. But if you continue to operate from this standpoint, you’ll never experience your true potential and the amazing experiences that are waiting on the other side of that fear. When I took a moment to think about the decisions in front of me, I could clearly see which ones would have been from fear. This allowed me to know what direction to go instead.

STAY PRESENT AND FOCUS ONLY ON THE NEXT STEP…

What was really overwhelming me was that I was thinking of everything that could go wrong. I was going way into the future and playing out worst-case scenarios over and over again. This is usually where fear and anxiety come from – the future. So the solution? Stay present. Look at what is going on in front of you now. Is there anything to fear in this moment? Most likely not. When you realize that, then simply focus on the next little step you need to take in the direction of your goal, instead of every single step and every single potential disaster. This will allow you to continue moving forward instead of being frozen by fear.

TRUST YOUR HEART…

Not what’s “realistic.” On paper, many of the decisions I made after releasing much of my fear would seem crazy, irresponsible and even straight up irrational to many. The truth is, I lived most of my life trying to do what was “right,” instead of listening to what I wanted. There is no guarantee that you won’t get your heart broken, you won’t lose money or that things will go as you planned if you lead with your intuition. But I do believe that there is always a reason why your heart is leading you somewhere and I do believe that it’s always for your highest good. You are on this earth to do magnificent things, but that can only be done when you trust yourself.

GET CURIOUS…

There is no such thing as fearless. However, we don’t have to fall victim to fear and anxiety every single time it comes knocking at our door. A great mindset shift to practice when you feel overwhelmed by fear and everything that could go wrong is to get curious about what you might discover along the way. Bring back that childlike curiosity that allowed you to experience the world from a place of excitement and wonder. Who knows what amazing discoveries you may find if you once again trust yourself, are willing to fall and are relentless to rise up again!

 

 

Tina Paymaster is a Holistic Health Coach who helps women heal their relationship to food and their body in a way that is empowering and enjoyable. Click here to access Tina’s latest FREE guide, Craving Freedom: 5 Ways To Conquer Your Cravings And Feel Free Again!

Shine

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Shine

 

Do You know who You are?

 

You are my healer, my teacher, beautiful divine expression

You have touched me, loved me

Pumped new life into my once depleted heart

From the depths of a dreary darkness I was rescued

You cupped your caring hands around the dull flicker of my fading Light

Nursing a flame too delicate to burn alone

 

When I could not breathe, You became my breath

When I could not see, You became my vision

When I could not mother my children, You parented

You became my very wings while You helped me mend their brokenness

 

There are times now when I radiate

My heart a brilliant sun warming all that surrounds me

There are moments when I swell with a certain knowing

Smiling at the wonder of true inner peace

There are endless days when I soar 

Full winged, fearless and free

When I realize the transformation 

I cannot contain my tears

 

Sometimes that gargoyle of doubt escorts me

Sometimes I fail to believe

 When the inner peace begins to wane

The heaviness drags me down

But when I tremble

Reaching out for the tenderness of God

There You are

As I stoke my soul’s desire with Your healing remedy

Igniting once again the spirit of flight

I burn with gratitude for Your love

 
Don’t You know who We are?

 

We are Beings of Light and Light We shall remain

With every act of kindness 

With every loving thought

Rays of hope and healing ripple out 

Uplifting and illuminating worlds

 

Surely it is enough to remember who We are

 And allow Our true Selves to 

Shine, Shine, Shine

This poem was written by member Jana Duffy.  It is from her upcoming book of poetry, Shine.


What’s Wrong with Flirting?

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Nothing. And everything. Well, let me back up and explain myself. I used to be a world class flirt. I lived for male attention, and was never happier than when I could get a steady supply of this emotional drug. Then I grew up a bit, went through a butt-load of hard times, worked out most all my “daddy issues,” woke up, became conscious, remembered who I was, and whose I was, got centered and focused—1-1MyNI4XKY-hZ3B3wzoG_KAbasically the heroine’s journey of developing into a fierce and noble warrior woman who is constantly “on mission.” I love my life. And I know my weaknesses.

Most men don’t interest me, but there are a few that still rock my socks. One in particular is a client of mine. He literally makes me weak in the knees. I get off-center, unfocused, and stupid when I am in his presence. So I had to get quiet and figure out what the heck was going on with me and this situation! Then it came to me. Flirting is an attempt to steal my power; and when I realize that, I am not as susceptible to it.

If you went to the mall and someone came up and put his hand into your purse to take your wallet, chances are you wouldn’t flash him a smile—all big teeth and bright eyes! Hopefully you would smack the crap out of him, or run away, or some other sensible action. But when others try to steal our power covertly by offering extra attention, compliments, flattery, seduction, and/or validation through giving attention, money, or power, we often fall for it; at least I do; ummm.. or did. Now I see it for what it really is: a way to knock me off my center and make me disconnected from my own personal, exquisite energy and source. It makes me vulnerable and reliant on that person’s attention as an external source of energy.

So for me, my flirting days are over. And my days of allowing others to flirt with me (even one gorgeous client) are over too. I have worked too long and too hard to become neutral in the face of criticism AND in the face of flattery to let some vampire steal my balance, my source of love, my energy, and my focus. How about you?


Finding Our Way Home

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homeRecently I went through a bit of trauma. My husband who had neither been to a doctor, nor even had a cold for thirty years was diagnosed with liver cancer. Within a few days they had him in surgery, removing a large part of his liver, and assuring us that he would be able to recover at home after five days in the hospital. Eight weeks and multiple trips to death’s doorstep later, he finally came home—weak, thin, confused, and dependent on me. Needless to say, it has been a long winter.

Each night when I would leave the hospital and drive through the dark and icy streets, I would feel comforted by the thought of going home—that is until I remembered that home wasn’t the same all by myself. There was no hot dinner in the crock-pot, and no one to talk to. This got me thinking about finding our way home, and what home really means. We often feel “lost” in this world. We forget how connected we really are. We believe the lie that we are alone, and consequently we suffer. What exactly is home? And how can we find our way there when we feel lost in the fog of trauma and loss?

Home is the present moment. When we stay conscious, don’t numb ourselves out with alcohol, drugs, sex, or television; we find that we can be at home anywhere, right in this present moment. There is beauty and joy all around us—comforts and love; but we need to be present and still enough to see and feel them. Home happens when we slow down and look around and within.

Home is the realization that no matter how we feel, we truly are connected to both the Divine and to others. Feel that tug of wondering how an old friend is getting along? That is connection. Chances are, she is thinking of you too. Feel the tug of loneliness? That is the Divine calling you to look past this material world and receive universal love and support—to be a part of something bigger than yourself and your present circumstance. Feel a sudden surge of joy, grace, and personal power? Someone, somewhere is probably praying for you or sending positive energy your way.

Home is the most basic energy of life—Love. Scientists have proved that we as humans are wired to love; but we are taught to fear. Love and fear are opposites, and when we give in to fear, we are not living in the power of Love. “Perfect love casts out all fear.” So says the apostle John. When we find ourselves feeling lost, afraid, and alone—disoriented by unexpected grief and trauma, we can always find our way home by being still, breathing deeply, re-establishing our connection with Divine Love. In this way we can transcend the lie of being lost. You are not lost, dear one; you are merely on your way home.


Saying Grace

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I grew up saying “grace” over my food. In fact, we weren’t really allowed to start eating until we had expressed thanks for what were about to receive. I don’t always do that now. For one thing, I carry with me a constant sense of awe and gratitude for every “good” thing and most of the “bad” things in my life. For another thing, I’m forgetful, lazy, and distracted at times; so sometimes I forget to say grace when I eat.

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I was thinking about grace on Halloween. As I walked my grandson around the neighborhood in his iron man costume, I had lots of time to think. Trudge, trudge, thinking deep thoughts…lather, rinse, repeat. After 10 minutes, I was carrying the sweaty headpiece of his costume, then his gloves, and his power watch. I assumed with this trajectory he would be naked if we kept trick or treating long enough. I noticed that no matter how ratchet any of the kids looked, all they had to do was show up and they got candy, and they got the same amount, with a smile. Grace.

The neighbors didn’t always recognize the mask, the character he was portraying, or even who he was, or who he belonged to. What they did see was the beautiful, innocent, loving child’s heart that showed up in his wondrous and currently toothless grin as he shouted, “Trick or Treat!” They laughed, smiled, and delighted in his very presence; no strings attached. Grace.

I’d like to start a new movement. We all know that Christmas is a state of mind that started with Grace, but ended up as a competition, but that is another story for another time. Let’s make Halloween a year-long state of mind where everyone we encounter, no matter how ratchet, how annoying, how lost, blind, ignorant, rude, or whatever gets the same amount of “candy” that everyone else does. That’s the grace I want to say every day this year. I want to love without strings attached; with no regard for who they are or who they belong to or how they are dressed or undressed. I want to give because I see the innocent, loving child they once were, and still are deep inside, underneath a mountain of pain and self-induced suffering. I want to make every day Halloween, even if it shocks my Puritan ancestors. Today I want to say Grace.

This article was written by Dori Abbott, one of our Woman Within Eastern USA members.


The Call to be Present – Even when those around you aren’t…

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Trio-of-BuddhasYou know how it is.  You wake up in the morning feeling grateful and alive. Smells, sights, sounds are all intense and very real. You set your intention to make this day count in the big scheme of things—to enjoy it; to seize it; “CARPE DIEM!” you shout at the beautiful woman in the mirror. Then it happens. You encounter other human beings. They aren’t happy, and they aren’t seizing anything but your joy. They may be grumpy, self-centered, vibrating at a low level of energy, complaining; and frankly raining on your parade. What do you do?

Most of us fall into roles we have played before; roles we saw as children; roles that are not in alignment with our highest good. We try to fix the problem. We become immediately codependent—caring more about that person’s state of mind than they care themselves. We tease, cajole, and encourage; trying desperately to raise that person’s awareness or energy level to match our own. It almost always fails. Why?

First of all, if we believe that happiness is a choice, then obviously that person is choosing to be unhappy—to focus on what’s wrong with the world instead of what’s right. Secondly you can’t raise another person’s vibrational energy level. That is something only they can do. And lastly you have just traded being present in the situation exactly how it is for the picture in your head of how it should be.

Many spiritual traditions address presence, joy, and contentment. The one I am familiar with is the teachings of Jesus who told his followers that if they would turn over those pictures in their minds (actually their “bellies” or “viscera”), that he would replace them with deep joy, constantly flowing from within like an artesian well that is not dependent on outside pumping. It just flows.

So today, let’s stop focusing on the grumpy adolescents, and the husband going through “manopause,” and the coworkers who are bored with their own lives; and let’s truly be alive by being present. Because after all, death is absence—and the opposite of death is not life; but presence. Showing up for the nitty gritty of life just as it is; and seizing the day with overflowing joy! Carpe Diem!

 

This article was written by Dori Abbott, one of our Woman Within Eastern USA members.


Are you a Conservative? Or a Liberal?

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You already have your “hackles” up, don’t soul_pathyou? Relax. I’m not going to talk about politics. I’m going to talk about soul stuff—specifically about the stages of maturity that are necessary if we wish to bless the world, not only with our lives, but also with our deaths.

The first level of basic human maturity is the struggle to get our lives together. This is generally accomplished by channeling our energies through discipline. This task is by nature “conservative.” We seek out and learn proper teaching so we can have a healthy vision. We submit to rules of behavior that help us achieve that vision. We may say we don’t like rules, but we follow rules all the time in order to get what we want. Simple things like turning in our paperwork on time at the job; or keeping an infant on a schedule so she won’t be cranky in the afternoons; or making sure we exercise enough to keep ourselves relatively fit and healthy.

But once this stage is achieved, there is a new challenge—a new call to liberality. The task now is to give our lives away by investing in others. As we grow in this, the circle of recipients grows wider, and our investment goes deeper. We become mentors to many. If we have lived most of our years on earth without achieving this transition from “conservative” to “liberal,” then our soul growth may be stunted. Often, those who should be learning and “conserving” give away all that they are and all that they know. Just as often, those who should be blessing, mentoring, and giving away their wisdom hold on to it because they are too busy, tired, or “over it” to make the effort.

Ultimately one of our tasks as humans is to move with grace and dignity to the great unknown, death; where all that we have conserved is let go of; and all that we have liberally given away (invested) remains. We enter the cosmic embrace and the ineffable mystery of God, hopefully having blessed many on this earth with love, wisdom, shared joy, and deep human connection. So in our soul journey, we don’t pick and choose whether to be conservative or liberal—we must be both.


What Do We Do About Pain?

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The following article was written by Dori Abbott, one of our Woman Within Eastern USA members.

iStock_000012625418Small_0Many of us experience chronic pain from various diseases and conditions. Even the perfectly healthy can experience pain from time to time. The older I get, the more I shy away from pain. I frankly just don’t want the hassle of it. I know I don’t have that many more days left, and I don’t want to spend any of them in miserable pain.

But I digress…The pain I really want to talk about can’t be handled with an aspirin or a prescription. It’s that searing, soul-sucking, cosmic pain that philosophers call “angst.” It’s basically the unbearable anguish of the human condition. The frustration that comes from the gap between where we are in life (spiritually, physically, economically, emotionally, socially, whatever) and where we think we should be.

When we are young, that frustration is sporadic—we may have fits of melancholy or depression because; well, we basically suck at something. But as we get older, there is a danger that angst can turn to cynicism. Cynics are nothing more than bankrupt idealists. They have stopped believing that they can close the gap between where life is and where they want it to be. The worst cynics become dream stealers, because they not only don’t believe that they can achieve the life they want, but they don’t want you to believe it either. These people can be toxic.

So how do we get up every day and face our angst? How do we reconcile the frustration about that gap between where we are and where we want to be? In short, how do we deal with the pain of life in a productive way without letting it make us cynical? First of all we need abolish the myth that success means the absence of pain. Pain is a fact of life—in fact it is a gift. It is both unavoidable and totally redeemable! Pain is not something to be avoided, but something to be confronted. If we believe the myth that pain is “bad,” then our hearts will seize up each time we feel the slightest hint of rejection, or loneliness, or failure, or poverty, or want, or hunger…see where I’m going with this? The list could go on and on, so basically our hearts will stay seized up all the time!

The second step in this process is to consciously acknowledge the truth that pain is nothing more than a mirror. It shows us who we are, what we’re made of, and why we’re here. It doesn’t change any of those things; it just reflects them back to us so we can examine them. So knowing these things will make the pain go away? Hells to the no. But it may save you from becoming cynical. It may give you the ability to get up each and every day with joy and courage to face whatever pain comes to you. Some of you reading this are old enough to remember the song by Helen Reddy known as the fighting anthem of the feminist movement (I am Woman). One line in that song says, “Oh yes, I am wise, but it’s wisdom born of pain…” She was right, you know. There is a wisdom that comes to us when we don’t avoid pain—when we face it square on and let it wash over us, and realize that we got through it, and we are still here! Aho! And Hoorah!


Technology and Community

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The following article was written by Dori Abbott, one of our Woman Within Eastern USA members.  

We live in a “global village” thanks to modern technology. A few short years ago we had to rush to the bank to cash our paychecks while the bank was still open. Not only that, we had to talk to an actual human being and ask for help in doing that. If we wanted a book to read, we went to the library where we talked to a librarian, or we went to a local bookstore and purchased one. In my lifetime I have experienced movies when they were present only in theaters for a limited time, then able to be rented at video stores for a limited time (with steep fees for late returns), then sent to my mailbox and able to be kept until I wanted another one shipped, and now streamed any time day or night instantaneously as often as I like, and for as long as I desire! Unbelievable! I can see video footage taken on a cell phone from a war torn country like Syria and know what is going on first hand without ever leaving my home! Unbelievable! If I get bored at work I can watch eagles hatching in an aerie in Oregon!

tumblr_inline_nj5ikha03Z1t2d0vj But does that make us a village? The definition of a village is a place of community. And community denotes shared interests, common beliefs, standards, and traditions. It also denotes give and take, encouragement, support, and accountability. For centuries that is how we defined ourselves—by our communities. We were Christian, Jewish, Atheist, Southern, small town or urban; East coast, West coast, athletes, or Amish—whatever we were there were parameters defining what was good, better, and best. There were traditions, foods, celebrations, holidays, styles of clothing, and ways of doing things passed down from the elders to the younger members of the community. Much was taught; but more was absorbed.
Thanks to our dependence on technology, that sense of local community is rapidly fading, no matter how often or how loudly we say the words, “global village.” When I buy a book online at two in the morning, I am not sharing any interests or traditions with anyone. I interact with no one. When I take a picture of my paycheck with my smartphone and deposit it electronically, I am not talking to or interacting with another living being. I stream movies without having to exchange money or pleasantries with anyone. Even when I “connect” with my friends on social media, I am not really connecting with them. I am seeing what they want me to see about their lives, and I am sharing only those things that make me look good.
In consciousness work, we often decry that sense of community (“tribe”) as provincial, parochial, biased, racist, or unconscious. And indeed that can be true. But it is not the whole truth. Humans were made for community, and without it we can get lost and lonely. Loneliness has reached crisis status, and is being reported as a “modern plague” where young people have no human to look to for guidance and support during times of crises. The Mental Health Foundation reports that loneliness is at epidemic proportions in the generation of 18 to 34 year olds. They also state that loneliness is linked to increased stress, depression, anxiety, paranoia, addiction, and cognitive decline. All humans need empathetic listeners, warmth, and human touch. We won’t find that in a chat room. We find it in community where there is give and take as well as accountability to others.
“The world is changing, and we need to change with it,” you may say. But ask yourself this: “At what price does that change come?” With all the changes in how we relate; or don’t relate to others, is it possible that we are changing our very identity as humans? Some experts believe so. A recent article in The Daily Mail explores the idea that because of technology, we as humans are having an “identity crisis” that goes right to the heart of humanity, affecting how we view ourselves, interact with others, decide what makes us happy, and ultimately determines our ability to reach our full potential as human beings. The author is a researcher at Oxford University who has seen the “rewiring” of the human brain not figuratively, but literally at a microcellular level with the constant use of technology. He states that today’s technology is creating a marked shift in the way we think, the way we act, and the way we feel.
One area we are changing is in the “give and take” that is thick and vibrant in a true community, but lacking in the global community. In community when we want something from another, we ask politely, not sure if it will be given to us. We offer up a barter, a bargain, or just go belly up and admit our ignorance—but there is no demanding past the age of toddlerhood. In the technological community we demand, we seek, we get; but we don’t give back. We want to know—What is the fastest route home? Why do I have pain in my abdomen? How do I bake a loaf of bread or thread a needle? We demand and we get instantaneously. That is not a recipe for a fully developed human being. In any thriving community like that of Woman Within, there is give and take, a time to talk and a time to listen, a time to encourage and a time to be encouraged.
There is also accountability. This is another area in which humans are changing because of constant technology use. There is an old Latin phrase, Esse Quam Videri, which means “To be rather than to seem to be.” This was first written by Cicero in his essay On Friendship. His point was that many want to be seen as having virtue; but few want to actually be virtuous. Roman virtues were character qualities such as dignity, hospitality, self-control, humor, tenacity, frugality, etc. Things we could all agree are good qualities for humans to possess. In the Woman Within community we build each other up and hold each other accountable. If a woman says she desires to be more honest, we may call her on dishonest words or actions. If she says that she desires more dignity, we elders can teach her self-containment when necessary. This is the beauty and necessity of community—the give and take, the accountability, the support and encouragement—indeed all the ingredients that are necessary for humans to become (or remain) human.
Am I saying that all technology is bad? Or that we should shut it all down? Of course not. But look around you as you go about your daily life today. Did you physically touch another human, or did another human touch you? Did you look in the eyes of someone waiting on you? Or did you barely glance at them while on your cell phone? Did they look in your eyes? Did you take the time to be present while waiting in line; noticing the pain and joy of other humans standing right next to you? Or were those cat videos on Facebook just too darn cute to put down? We are only a global community if we are engaged, encouraging, and accountable to others in that community, so let’s put down our phones, unplug for a while, touch and be touched, look into someone’s eyes today, really see them, and just be human!


Saying NO…Option, or Obligation?

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The following article was written by Dori Abbott, one of our Woman Within Eastern USA members.

Saying no to a family member, child, parent, teacher, neighbor, boss, customer, or coworker is usually uncomfortable. Most of us are addicted to YES and allergic to NO! And no matter how many times others remind us that we are doing too much, we just can’t seem to get our heads around it being okay to say NO. Some of that is from upbringing, social conditioning, being female, or just the gravity of being human. Bottom line is that it doesn’t matter why we feel compelled to say YES even when we know darn well we are pushing ourselves beyond our reasonable limits; what matters is that we re-learn some concepts about YES and NO.

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First we should address the “it’s okay to say NO” theory. Just chuck that one out the window and replace it with, “It is my obligation to say NO most of the time. Why? Because saying YES compromises our ability to make our highest contribution. If we are conscious and know our life mission, then any time we say YES to something that is peripheral or tangential (not the main thing), then we are compromising our ability to be on mission in this world. Even if it is just for an hour, or a day, or a week. If you found out today that you were going to die this evening, you would (hopefully) not waste even a minute doing tasks for someone else that didn’t align with your highest spiritual mission on earth. And if you lived this way each and every day, you would say NO a lot more often to a lot more projects and a lot more people.

Second we should address the myth that saying YES benefits others. It doesn’t, so chuck that one out the window as well….most of the time. Once in a while there is truly a struggling person in need. One that can’t do for herself, and needs a boost to carry on her mission in life. That’s a YES situation provided it doesn’t take you off your mission. But most of the things others ask us to do are things that they can do for themselves. I was a high school teacher for many years, and I learned that the first “law of teaching” was: Never do for someone what they can do for themselves. I had to remind myself of that law every, single day. Even today as I was writing this article I was asked by my grown daughter to write out my grandson’s birthday invitations because my handwriting is better than hers. I love my daughter and I adore my grandson; but I am on mission today, and that mission doesn’t include addressing invitations for someone who is capable of doing it herself, no matter how flattering it may be to a messy left-hander like me who worked her whole childhood to have beautiful handwriting (another waste of time, but that is another topic for another day).

Lastly we should address the myth that others won’t like or respect us if we say NO to them. Chuck this one out the window as well. The fact is that that the perversity of human nature makes us want what we cannot have. So when others see our YES as a precious and rare commodity, they will respect it more. Further, they will respect that we are focused, disciplined, and passionate about our mission here on earth. NO is not an option. It is our responsibility and obligation most of the time. Let’s go practice saying it.


Becoming Comfortable With Entanglement

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The following article was written by Dori Abbott, one of our Woman Within Eastern USA members.

From the dawn of civilization philosophers, poets, dreamers and lovers have asked the same questions: Where did I come from? Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? And where will I go after this life? The answers to these questions form our basic worldview. Even if we have never asked these questions ourselves out loud, our worldview has been shaped by those who came before us. It behooves us therefore to exam where we got our notions, sometimes; and to challenge those notions that no longer serve us.

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One notion we should challenge is an idea that came out of the 18th Century Enlightenment; that is that freedom and happiness means having the most choices we can in life. Yep, that wasn’t an original American idea; though it is one of the unspoken foundations of our American experience. After all, isn’t that what they meant by “pursuit of happiness?” Yes, and it doesn’t serve us anymore. Why? Because real life and passion comes from engaging the difficulties of life—not choosing to avoid them by escaping through another “choice.”

How many of us have left relationships when they got difficult; only to jump into the next relationship carrying all the baggage we carried into the first one; and then some? How many of us have jumped from house to house, or job to job, career to career; only to find out we still weren’t happy? How many of us have “jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire?” Probably most of us have done this more than once. Why do we do this? Because we are under the influence of that worldview that says, choice equals freedom and happiness.

Now granted, I for one would not like to have only one color to choose from, or only one style, or only one type of food to eat; but that’s not what we’re talking about. We are talking about our basic human craving for a challenge. The warrior in each of us that wants to engage in meaningful and worthy conflict—something that matters and gets us up in the morning! We are surrounded with these obstacles every day, but often we try to avoid them with easy living—instant everything, painless everything, and relationships that don’t have any conflict or friction. We don’t realize that like the heroine in the Wizard of Oz, we already have everything we need to make us fulfilled and happy: to wit, our everyday struggles!

Yeah, but that is boring. I don’t want to manage my meager finances, chronic illness, my partner who is a recovering alcoholic, my rapidly aging body, or my adult kids who still need me more than I desire to be needed. I would rather go deep sea diving at the barrier reef and worry about a barracuda attack, or jump out of an airplane and worry that my chute won’t open; anything but deal with the uncomfortable conflict and struggle that comes with managing my already existent, difficult, and amazingly wonderful life.

Much of what makes our lives and the world around us interesting is eliminated by our belief (and subsequent actions) that freedom equals the maximum number of choices. So as not to offend any other American’s right to choice, we have to make everything bland, meaningless, inoffensive, and without conflict. So next time you want a different house that provides you the “luxury” of not hearing what happens down the hall, much less down the block; or you want a different car that provides you the “luxury” of not actually experiencing the road you travel on; or you want a different group of friends who don’t disagree on politics and religion, or you want anything that offers luxury but in reality takes away the core grappling with reality that makes life real, rich, and royal, remember this:

Conflict is the heart of every good story. Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Man, Good vs. Evil, Truth vs. Hypocrisy—without these overarching themes of conflict, we would have no story to tell. And truth be told, without the mundane conflicts of our everyday lives, we lose the joy and passion of being the heroines of our own stories.

 

 


10 Things to Quit (and Do) to Be a Queen

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Christina Smith is a passionate Certified Health Coach creating space for ‘stuck women’ to find a life that sets them afire. Christina offers personal coaching and online programs including the free 21 Day Wholeful Living Challenge [http://wholefulliving.com/21challenge/] for a mind, body and spirit reboot in just 3 weeks.  She did her Weekend at Appel Farm, NJ in 2011 and currently resides in Hellertown, PA.

 

“I feel like a queen.”

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What does that phrase mean to you?

To me, it means having abundance in my life and freedom from scarcity. The ability to do anything gracefully, live authentically and be loved. It means following my intuition to find what is “right” or “just.”

A pretty good way to live, in my humble opinion.

When I asked other women what it means to them to feel like a queen, I got these replies:

Blessed and a blessing, honored, admired, respected, serving, empowered, powerful, grace, loved, abundant, cherished, celebrated, supported, seen, heard, accepted, grateful, beloved, connected, compassionate, confident, strong boundaries, self-assured, purposeful, sacred…and many other powerful feeling words.

What if I told you—anyone can live like a queen?

It’s true. I mean, you still may not get invited to actual “royal family” game nights, but you can still feel like the royalty you are or want to be. (Let’s face it, actual “queenship” includes boring events with stuffy people—not my dream.)

I want the royal daydream feelings, don’t you? I want to feel confident, powerful, loved, respected and adored. What does “feel like a queen” mean to you? Really think about it. Once you have those feelings identified, achieving them is up to you. You can choose it right now.

Yes, I said it—feeling like a queen is a choice.

Each of us make thousands of choices every day—many we may not even be aware we are making. Everything we do comes from choice. If we want to feel powerful, graceful, respected and celebrated, then we have to make the choice to be courageous, seen, strong and loving—over and over.

Here’s the key to achieving your royal daydream: if you want something you’ve never had, you need to do things in a way you never did before.

It means giving up the things that are blocking the way (or keeping us “safe”) for the things we really desire.

Here are the top ten sacrifices to become the sovereign in your life:

  1. Quit being a victim.

Royalty cannot be powerful, supportive and compassionate and play the victim. Blaming others—saying “I can’t” and waiting for someone else to fix things—is not the picture of royalty. We can either choose to be an empowered queen or a victim—it isn’t possible to be both.

To-do: Take responsibility for your own actions and life. Focus on action and possibilities, not fault or retribution. Think about where in your life you believe others are holding you back or preventing something you want from life. How can you take responsibility of removing the block yourself? How can you clear your own way to get what you want?

  1. Quit being a martyr.

The sovereign makes decisions, and creates opportunities for others to be self-sufficient, without adding the actual tasks on her to-do list. She does not fix or resolve every wish or desire of others, because her time, energy and health are valuable. She creates her boundaries. The queen is not a doormat for others to place their dirty laundry on. She is a priceless partner.

To-do: Make boundaries around your time. You’ll want to enjoy being queen. There is no enjoyment for an exhausted martyr. Have a backbone, put your foot down and protect your energy and time.

…Continue reading on Elephant Journal.com


How to Soften the Blow of a No (And Still Be Taken Seriously)

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The following post was written by Deborah Grayson Riegel from Talk Support.  Talk Support helps busy professionals make big presentations and have tricky conversations with less stress and more success, especially when time is tight and stakes are high. Whether it is a business presentation, an important negotiation, or just polishing up your communication skills, our workshops and coaching can help you, your team or organization reach those important goals.

TalkSupport: Don’t Be Left Speechless

How to Soften the Blow of a No (And Still Be Taken Seriously)

At some point in your life, you learned that “no means no.” If you had parents or are a parent (that’s just about all of us, right?), you’ve heard or uttered this phrase at least once: “No…because I said so!” And surely you’ve been privy to the idea that “‘no’ is a complete sentence.

If we’re going to be grammatically nitpicky, “no” actually isn’t a complete sentence, but it can feel like a life sentence to the teenager we’ve told can’t go out on a Saturday night, or to the direct report who won’t be getting a raise, or to the interviewee who didn’t get the job. “No” feels rejecting and like a door slamming closed. And while the no may be “just business,” it tends to feel deeply personal.

That makes saying no hard for both parties. The person who was told no may feel sad, mad, frustrated, resentful, anxious, embarrassed and more, and the person who had to deliver the news may feel any or all of those emotions, too. These feelings are hard to manage in personal relationships, tricky to manage in professional relationships, and can mean the death of a client or customer relationship. What’s surprising is how hard saying no is for Americans, where our culture supports direct communication. In fact, in my work coaching non-native English speakers in communication and presentation skills for the Western market, I often find that convincing someone from an indirect culture (such as China’s) to say no is an odyssey as long and winding as the Great Wall.

But whether we’re naturally direct (and damn proud!) or likely to take a more circuitous approach, we all could use a strategy for those times when saying no is what’s called for, but damaging the relationship isn’t. And while you can’t control the other person’s reaction to the no, you can control how much consideration and respect you put into your delivery.

Here’s a three-step script for you to adapt: (click to continue reading…)

 

 


 

Deborah Grayson Riegel, MSW, PCC, CEO & Chief Communication Coach, is an internationally recognized expert in presentation and interpersonal communication skills, and has coached and trained teams and professionals from: American Express; Dell; IBM; Monster Worldwide, Nokia, Novartis, NASDAQ, Pfizer, Toyota and the United States Army. Deborah is a visiting Professor of Executive Communications at the Beijing International MBA (BiMBA) Program of Peking University, China, where she trains and coaches international business leaders from multinational corporations in the art and science of presentation skills, business writing, and executive presence for a growing global marketplace. Deborah is a Lecturer of Management Communication at Wharton.

Get more info on Talk Support here


Are You a Fan?

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As women we tend to practice the dreaded P word: perfectionism. Silently, we berate ourselves for every little thing we did that does not measure up to our impossible standards. The wonderful blog post below touches on this and other valuable lessons. Soak it in. Please.

nets image

A couple of weeks ago (and by a strange turn of events) I found myself at a Brooklyn Nets basketball game at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NY.  My husband is a Nets fan, and on this cold, snowy day we invited some friends to go with us and drove to Brooklyn!

Now I am not really a sports fan of any kind.  But of all the sports I like basketball the most because it is fast paced and it is reminiscent of a childhood game I played growing up in the UK.  At the time we saw the game, the Nets had been on a losing streak and were expected to lose this game as well.

Being at the stadium, I was able to get into the feel of the game, players and crowd in a way that I could not have at home.  About three quarters of the way through the game, I found myself cheering for the players.  I even heard myself saying the chants that the motivators were encouraging us to say (“Dee-Fense!!!”).  Quite honestly, I couldn’t quite recognize myself!!  I remember turning to my husband and saying “Who am I? I am acting like a sports fan!”

As interesting as this all is, it is not the big ‘aha’ I received that inspired this post.  As I watched, I understood that all the players on the floor made ridiculous amounts of money each year – yet they continually failed.  Failed to catch a ball, make a shot or even make a free throw.  Call me crazy, but if someone is getting paid $23 million, it is reasonable to expect the ball will go in most of the time.  They are picked because they are the best.  They practice ALL the time and yet… ?more than half of the time they miss.

The fans, on the other hand, relentlessly cheer them on, and are encouraging and hopeful no matter what!!!!

It made me realize – what if we all had our own fan base?  If that every time we failed someone around us just cheered us on even more and believed in our ability to succeed.  The concept was quite staggering actually.  I thought I would have to try it out.

The very next day I was given the opportunity. My husband spilled something and I saw how he was getting upset at himself. So I started cheering him on telling him that it was no big deal and that it’s all good.  He started laughing….

How would your life be different, if you had the people in your life supporting you no matter what and building you up at every opportunity especially when you failed?  It is quite hard to imagine right?

So I invite you to accept the challenge to be supportive of the people in your life, as fans support their teams… Unconditionally! I believe that the impact you will have on them and, in turn yourself, will blow you away…  Are you in?

Happy April!!

With Love,

Deborah


accepting the call (again)

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Today the world magically shifted back to technicolor after a tragically black-and-white phase. I suppose really it was a gray phase, rarely even becoming alive enough to show the darks and lights of the world. Mush, mud, puddles of murky tears formed on every surface in my home. The past few weeks have revolved mostly around two activities: crying and numbing. When I cried it was the ugly, snotty, soul-wrenching tears. Each time, when I couldn’t take it any longer I began the words. I used angrily dispensed logic to peel away the hurt. I used desperately formed arguments designed to keep me from my feeling my soul’s anguish. After the anger burned a hole into my heart I turned to the tv and comfort food to numb the fresh wound… this frantic struggle gripped me completely. I haven’t felt clear for over six months. I haven’t really felt anything for six months actually.

Why would I have stayed so long in a place so devoid of feeling? I was busy rejecting life. HARD. I was painfully pushing myself to accept a smaller life, to leave behind my calling. Anyone who reads my work will find this perplexing…have we travelled back in time? Didn’t I just write about finally hearing the call last year? In fact, just exactly one year ago? HA! Yes, you’ve got me. I did accept my call to depth psychology- with joyous rapture in fact! And then, well, life.

I jumped in with both feet last year. More importantly, my whole heart engaged, I worked harder and dove deeper than I ever had before. I was challenged, nourished and kindled. From what I have read, I felt the presence of my daimon. Hillman would say that the acorn of my soul had found fertile ground. Then the demons arrived…distrust, fear, comparison… these were the first to arrive. I had expected these though, and at first I was able to stay the course. So the demons invited in my greatest downfall, my deep sense of unworthiness. In the children’s story The Never Ending Story, the hero could only pass through the great gates to continue his quest by truly feeling his own worth. By this past summer, I could no longer do that. My demons brought me to my literal knees, in tears, doubtful of my own soul’s worth, every day.

I couldn’t see the demons during my battle with them. I saw a million practical reasons why attending to my dream of a PhD was wasteful. I watched carefully as my mind constructed beautiful arguments, exquisitely crafted, so wonderfully circular and resilient that no one could break through them. These arguments made no allowance for a thinking person to proceed down this path of folly. I watched this happen and I built solid walls around my heart so that the weak spot in my argument could never be touched. If the walls contained me from the joys of Pacifica maybe the demons of rationality could win. They fortified those walls.

Today, my best friend found the way to save my life. He heard me say that I would never allow my child to turn his back on the gift he brought to this life. In an act of courageous love, my lovely friend turned that argument on me.

This morning my heart broke open when my friend told me that my soul deserves to be in this world and that he was no longer going to aid and abet my demons. With tears in his eyes he asked me what I would say if it was my child and not myself who felt so drawn to depth psychology that she could trace it backwards through the years to her earliest memories. He asked me to feel the true pain of watching someone reject their daimon, their passion, their soul’s purpose.

My heart broke open. The flood of emotion was blissful calm, like a tide of warm water washing into an empty nautilus. My heart said yes, my soul said yes, and finally my voice said yes out loud. I found myself holding a paintbrush at the canvas within minutes, my smile feels at home on my face again, I feel the trepidation of saying yes mixed into the utter joy of my soul, who has finally felt heard.

I am enough, I choose joy.

Joli Hamilton

Reposted with Permission from http://conscious-chaos.ghost.io/2015/03/02/accepting-the-call-again/


Are You a Drama Junkie?

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drama junkie

I have a confession… I used to be a drama junkie!  I would seemingly thrive on going from one dramatic moment to another.  Whether it was getting divorced, a family disagreement, or even the fact that I was on the first flight into London after the bomb threat there.  I had mastered the art of turning every event into a dramatic moment – all that was missing was the theme music in the background!  I am not saying that each event didn’t merit some attention and action.  But, in retrospect, most of them did not need to be blown up as much as they were.

Living in the Northeast, I have been inundated with snow storm drama since late last week!  And when I say drama, I mean DRAMA!!!!

Instead of presenting facts, the media went on and on about the “storm of the century,” making everyone nervous about something that turned out to be overblown (so to speak…).   Once the media went nuts, then Facebook took over – threads of blizzard protocols were posted, people started worrying about the strangest, remotest things.  Everyone bought bread and milk, leaving stores bare.  Drama, DRAMA, DRAMA!!!

Eventually it became almost like an addiction.  No conversation happened with the mention of snow.  The more talk of snow, the more you worried about snow, and what would happen. And finally even I became nervous!!!  Would we lose power for thirteen days like we did during Hurricane Sandy????

In my drama junkie days, the adrenal rush was almost like a drug.  I needed more and more drama to get that feeling!

However, after a particularly bad period of extreme drama (and I mean extreme), I made a decision that I was done with living like this.  I was exhausted and did not want to attract one more episode that provoked a dramatic response.  So, I made a decision to give it up.  Yup, totally.  I no longer wanted to be the person that people called because I always had a dramatic story to tell – to the point that keeping up with my life was like watching a soap opera.  I wanted space to breathe and to not always be in reaction mode.

I was really clear about how I wanted to change my life, so I clearly stated that I was over it.  Just like a junkie giving up smoking or another bad habit. I was DONE!!

So as I watched the storm of the century drama unfolding over the past week, I suddenly realized, that we have, as a nation, become drama junkies!!!

drama addiction

Realizing you are a drama junkie is hard because we have allowed it to become “normal”.  However, choosing to stay this way creates internal stress and often leads to bad habits such as unconscious eating, etc.  Here are some indicators that you are a drama junkie:

  1. You constantly listen to the news over and over to hear the same story, waiting for subtle shifts and updates.
  2. You call your friends/family and tell them how bad things are, resulting in them worrying too.
  3. Is it easier for you to share the bad stuff instead of the good stuff? Think about it…. No one says – it is going to be the most beautiful day tomorrow, let me help you plan something really awesome to do. But, instead, we are happy to call and discuss the rain, snow, heat, etc. ad nauseum…
  4. You find it much easier to complain about something that your spouse did wrong rather than say something nice about what he/she did right. And you find yourself complaining about the same thing over and over and over…..?
  5. You find yourself getting worked up about things you cannot control, often obsessing about it.
  6. You spend too much time on social media where you have all your worries validated.

To give up being a drama junkie, I had to look at how I responded to events in order to change the way I dealt with things that happened.  After all, “things” were not going to stop happening. The only thing that COULD change was how I dealt with it!

I remember seeing a sign on a store window that said, “Bad planning on your part, does not constitute an emergency on mine.”  I took this to heart.

  1. I literally stopped watching the news and anything that was trying to induce fear (the more the media hyped an event, the more I worked to block it out). Think about it – the media generates ratings through amplifying the drama. Would anyone care if they said it was a normal winter storm? But STORMAGEDDON drives ratings and eyeballs!!!
  2. I stopped talking about everything that wasn’t working in my life with everyone who would listen. The more you talk about something, the more mental bandwidth it gets, the more you think about it, and, yes, the more drama that surrounds it!
  3. Every time I started to worry about something that was out of my control, I consciously started to think about something else. Amazingly enough, my focus changed.
  4. I avoided having protracted conversations with people who liked to complain about the drama in their lives. I noticed that after such interactions, I was viscerally drained. I chose to no longer let that happen – and the contagious aspects of drama lessened in my life.
  5. I found positive, like-minded people who wanted the same thing and we gave each other permission to point out when we were sliding back into drama mode.

I put these steps into place and after about four months, I started to feel strange. At some point I realized that my old friend “drama” had left my life.  Instead, it was quiet and peaceful.  At first, I didn’t know what to do without drama.  At times I wanted that adrenal rush again. But, luckily, I stayed firm and I am happy to say that almost six years later drama and I don’t meet very often (we do have an occasional reunion – I am human, after all).  However, I know that for me to have my life, my way, I cannot let drama stay around too long.

I saw drama briefly over the snow obsessions this week.  I felt myself pulled into her web… And, then I remembered that I could choose to invite her into my life again or not.  It was up to me.

And it is up to you… If you find that life is too stressful, and you want to have a different experience, please reach out to me.

It’s so much more fun over here in the sunny land with little or no drama.  Give it a try….

With love,

Deborah

 

Reposted with Permission from http://deborahshimer.com/are-you-a-drama-junkie/