Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat!

What you have been reading here, and being asked to do recently, is hard work! The hard work of becoming a person who loves and cares enough about themselves to stand up for what they need, even if that means standing up to their own thoughts.

Last week we talked about throwing a fit and letting go of anger. This week I want to talk about how to be kind to yourself and give yourself a treat for all your hard work. Today is Halloween, and I would like to suggest that today you call a moratorium on walking through fire, on tricking yourself in any way, and instead taking the day to relax and breathe.

This can be as hard for some people, as it is to be overwhelmed with things to do. So start with something you know you can do. That might mean something as simple as relaxing for 10 minutes while you take a break from work. For others, (I know you are out there!) who are good at gifting themselves with self care, go full out. If you are working today, can you take an hour and get a massage, or a manicure, or go for a walk in the park. Can you call some friends and do something relaxing with them tonight. For me, I am such a kid at heart, that I am taking the afternoon off and going to the local pumpkin patch with my grandkids. We will enjoy the corn maze, drink hot apple cider, launch some pumpkins and go for a hay rid. We will undoubtedly laugh a lot, eat something bad for us, and generally act like kids.

So, you have been working hard! The next step is to be willing to recognize that, and give yourself time to breath, and relax. What will you do? What do you deserve? How can you love yourself, by treating you today?



Thursday, October 23, 2008

Maybe It's Time to Throw a Fit!

I was talking with another coach and they mentioned that they had just threw a huge tantrum and it was a great way to get rid of unwanted emotions. Often when we are trying to walk through fire the emotion that comes up is not always sadness or grief, it is anger and frustration.
What better way to get past this than to let it out! Now I am not suggesting you immediately throw yourself on the floor and kick and scream (particularly if you are surrounded by co-workers or your family). What I am suggesting is that you have a private tantrum.
One of the ways I like to do this, is to get out paper and pen and just write a letter to whatever or whomever is really @#%$ing me off, and write down everything I would say to them if I could do it without repercussions. I don't send these letters, I often burn them afterward to enhance the walking through fire feeling. If you are more visual than that, a picture of your fit is another way to go. Imagine yourself with a paintbrush and bold colors like red and purple and painting all your emotions onto the paper. This is a glorious way to release!
For me, physical fits can be a great release. I used to have a wood stove in my house, and every weekend I would go out to my wood pile, pick up my splitting mall and chop all my frustrations away. Now I attend a workout class that includes martial arts, and it is amazing how some good punching and kicking can take my anger away. Any form of good physical exercise can be used to relieve anger. If you live near a beach, throwing rocks until you release all those pent up emotions is another good tool.
So my suggestion for this week is to have a tantrum. Pitch a fit. Release your anger about whatever is going through your life right now. Make sure that you don't do this in a way that harms another person or thing, because then you'll just have more things to work through!
I'd love to hear ideas for releasing your emotions that are creative and satisfying. Email me with any you have.
Take care,

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fire Building Material

In my last post, I talked about being willing to walk into fire. This week, I want to talk a little more about what you will be using as fuel for this fire.

As we grow and change in our lives we find that there are a lot of twists and turns along the way. We may change our partners, careers, homes, bodies, and many other things as we get to wherever we are today. When we find ourselves making these big changes, especially ones where we feel pain, (think lost relationship here), we don't always wait until we have resolved all of our feelings of pain, or anger, or sadness, before we move on down the road.

What happens then, is that these feelings get buried deep inside us, and we use a variety of ways of not dealing with them. So to be able to walk through fire we need to take these out of their storage place, look at them, and feel them. So here is a simple way to begin finding fuel for your fire.

  • Go back through your life and write down anyone you are angry with or sad about, or that you feel you have unfinished business with. These might be your parents, your exes, your bosses, maybe even your children. Just make a list of all these people.

  • The next step is to look at each individual situation and write down how you are feeling about it. An example for me would be my ex partner. I left him when I was making a big change in my life and I didn't give him a chance to be a part of that change. Right now I feel sorry that I did that, sad that I wasn't able to be more open at the time, and regretful that he was hurt by my behavior.

  • The next step is to sit with those feelings for as long as it takes to feel them. In my case, it doesn't take long, I have done this before and although there is still some sadness, it isn't a big issue today. For some big issues, it may take a while to feel all the feelings. Be willing to devote a small amount of time each day to do this, until you feel them all.

  • Once you have done that, you need to ask yourself, "Is there any action I need to take to finish grieving or dealing with this person?" In my case, what I would like to do is talk with my ex partner about this, and let him know that I am sorry for what I did. I have not been able to locate him, and so I can do this symbolically. How do I do that? I can write him a letter and express my amends to him that way. I can then put the letter away, or burn it and then I need to let go of it.

  • When there are things that need to be done to finish your grieving or deal with the pain, then do them. Do whatever it is until you feel that you are done with this person. You may not ever totally feel clean about everyone, but this is a good start.

  • In her book Steering by Starlight, Martha Beck offers what she calls a simple prayer to end things with. This is when I would use that prayer. It is, "Thanks, I quit." What a great way to let go once you have worked through an issue and came out the other side of the fire!

So, my hope is that you will start that list today. Just write as many people on the list, and stop when you feel you are done for now. Then pick it back up tomorrow, and keep doing this until you have navigated your own personal ring of fire.