Archives for category: personal

Dawn lights on a canvas of freshly raked sand.
The first colored grains spill from my hand and settle into place.
Wind of desire, wave of passion
Create movement of life,
Patterns, colors, design of the day.
Playful creation of beauty and wonder yet no thing,
Loose, light, bright delight
In shifting sands
To be raked clean, clear
For the new dawn.

The sight of a rainbow brings joy,
A smile to the onlooker’s face. Like magic,
Gracious clouds project these reminder rainbows
Of the beauty manifold in light.
This light is a constant,
Hidden in plain sight.

We need but the eyes to see. Just as
Light all around us — light in us
Burning bright is oft hidden.
Rediscover your light.
Share the joy of your rainbow.
Be your own personal prism.

Shine.

You are like no one I’ve ever known,
Yet so much like me and everyone I’ve known.

Getting back to me through growth and change;
Loving you, loving me for the willingness to flow.

Led by faith.
Guided by feeling.
Striving to know.
Just surrender and grow.

At the end of May 2014, I joined in the celebration of a milestone for a group of people, who were all strangers to me. Not only were the people unknown to me, but the group and what they did was new to me, as well. Since then, I have come to get to know some of the people and the work of the group. In retrospect, I can say this was a big part of the unfolding of a new chapter in my life, a wonderful new journey—a journey to me—for which I am so grateful.

My new journey actually started at the beginning of May with the move to Florida and the start of my studies in Acupuncture/Oriental Medicine. I sensed immediately that I’d stepped into new territory, yet it felt so familiar, so much like home. It began to unfold slowly, but by mid-June, the pace had picked up; I was on a rocking rollercoaster ride. But I am getting ahead of myself.

On that evening, I was greeted by so many kind and interesting people. Almost everyone greeted me with a hug. “We hug here,” was the simple explanation as I was, again, folded into someone’s arms. I felt forced to comply. The hugs were mostly authentic, so that made it more bearable. Some people could sense my hesitation, and either backed off a little or leaned in even more. Thinking about it now makes me laugh. I was the test subject, bringing out each person’s personality. And, at the same time, I was very aware of my own.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love hugs. So what was bothering me? I didn’t know these people. Perfect strangers were pressing me to their chest, stepping into my private space. Within the embrace, I was pulling back as far as possible without being [completely] rude. That resulted in the leaning hug—you know, keeping as much of your body away from the point of the hug as possible—and it also meant that my internal wall went up. My message: “OK, you can take my body, but you can’t get to me in here.” Once I had a glass of wine in my hand, and some in my bloodstream, I was again, on more solid footing. I had let go a bit, and, besides, the majority of the greetings had already taken place… I was in my meet-n-greet groove.

At times, it was a bit surreal; the group shared some mysterious tight bond, and talked in code. I was an outsider. The word “cult” did certainly cross my mind. Yet some of the people were definitely interesting.

Fast-forward to today: I long for hugs and give them readily. I am honored to have a couple people from that evening in my life; I value them greatly. I have stepped into myself.

The hug has become my pick-me-up, my energy boost, my connection to others and myself. It is a moment to plug in and feel peace. Through this journey and my evolving, the hug has become my symbol for connection, for embracing myself and who I am. I welcome and embrace the hug. Actively connecting to others and myself, seeking more. Embracing. Being open. Learning. Accepting. Growing.

 

Some learning from this week:

Using the memory of being supported and safe, floating in the ocean’s embrace, I am learning to embrace the ease of the flow in my life and my deserving nature. The ocean teaches me to relax and surrender into it; struggle and resistance will cause me to sink. One cannot grab onto a handful of water. However, a calm, strong stroke with an open hand gives buoyancy and propels. Yes, the waves can be powerful, but I can learn to react appropriately. The wave taken head-on will most likely win—or, at least, cost me a lot of energy; I can either relax and ride it, or dive down and let it pass overhead.

Learn. Accept. Grow. Repeat.

 

Since moving to Florida, I have been on a whirlwind ride of discovery and growth. Mostly it feels as if I have just shed old, worn out skin, or thrown off a layer of armor that is no longer needed. I’m still peeling off layers. Some of the shiny new, fresh skin is peeking through, glowing bright. That’s me, stretching toward the light, reaching out to give you a hug.

 

Embrace the Now.
Embrace the Feminine.
Embrace the Flail.
Embrace the Passion.
Embrace the Power.
Embrace the Lesson.
Embrace the Love.
Embrace Life.

 

The communication model shows us the flow of messages and feedback. To be considered is also the context and culture of the sender and the receiver. Additionally, we always contend with noise.

Noise can be internal, such as lack of attention. It can be external, like the loud honking of a horn or the sight of an attractive person walking past. Noise can also be semantic. Yes, even though we may  both be using the English language, we cannot rely on a 100% agreement as to meanings.

I want to touch on internal noise today. Sometimes it takes the form of self-talk.

Self-talk can be negative or positive.

Very often we don’t even realize we are engaging in negative self-talk. It becomes a reflex. We are confronted with a situation and seemingly directly feel the resulting emotion. Sandwiched in between the situation and the emotion, however, is our belief in the form of self-talk that filters the situation for us and based upon which we (often unintentionally) create our reaction.

Our belief about the situation and its consequences for us acts as a filter, a framework or roadmap for our behaviors and feelings.

For example, your girlfriend tells you that she wants to end the relationship. Depending on your belief/self-talk you could react in several ways.

  1. Perhaps you believe, “Whew, what a relief. Now I don’t have to break up with her.” This would result in a positive emotional consequence.
  2. Or you believe, “I wish she would change her mind. This is not what I want, but I know I will be ok. I will miss her, but my life will go on. I can be happy without her and will probably find another girlfriend some day.” The result would be calm, neither happy, nor upset.
  3. If you believe, “No, she cannot break up with me. I cannot live without her; I am nothing without her.” Your resulting emotional consequence will be upset.

Since we “think” our belief so instantaneously, we don’t usually hear our negative self-talk, but we sure do feel the consequences! That makes it difficult to change.

So the first step is awareness.

First, it is important to understand and even alter your language around being upset. So, “she upset me” is not accurate. You upset yourself. Remember, it is what you think about the situation that upset you.

Second, it is necessary to understand the underlying assumptions that cause your beliefs. Stop and ask yourself about it. Why would such-and-such be good or bad? What is it that you think about it?
Become aware of your own beliefs.

Next time we’ll discuss the necessary steps toward changing negative self-talk.

At times I feel like Lilia from Last Night in Montreal, skating through life, not immersing myself. In the past five years, I’ve been in constant change. I feel as if I’m not finding friends, I’m also not as certain about myself sometimes, do I know myself anymore?

With the passing of time, one does gain an understanding of oneself. You can usually not help but spend time with yourself! (We’ll leave potential perception-altering chemicals out of it for now.) As you go through life, act and interact, experience new situations, and perhaps even reflect and actively grow, you are able to paint a picture of yourself. Over time, you get to know yourself. And if you spend time with others, they get to know you.

To build a relationship (friendship or intimate), this time is necessary. This is something for which we truly do not have the time to hurry it along! Only the test of time will build a strong foundation.

In the dating world, especially, we feel rushed to make a choice. Between work and errands, we barely have enough time to squeeze in time for friends or hobbies. In speed dating rounds, we learn to follow our first impressions to weed out the “chaff”. These impressions are formed by our experiences. So, if we notice something about a potential date that is similar to that person from last year that was so annoying… we’ve already drawn our conclusion. Perhaps it was a sound decision. Perhaps we really had no chemistry with that person. Perhaps, though, that one something came with such a different package that it is fine after all. We’ll never know, though.

Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not advocating that we spend loads of time getting to know everyone and their uncle! And there will also be persons, with whom it is best not to spend any time. But maybe there is a way to focus less on getting that boy-/girlfriend, and more on getting to know someone as a person. Hey, it might even be a little less intimidating and nerve-wracking to talk to someone with no direct agenda other than to communicate, get to know him/her and also oneself better.

In our society it is very easy to be constantly on the go, meeting new people, experiencing new adventures. This is viewed as positive. I certainly do enjoy it. But what is the priority? New and shiny all the time or the comfort and strength one has with strong relationships?

If you are not in a relationship and are seeking one, yes, I understand, you do not want to wait, at least not too long. My advice would be to focus on “just” meeting and getting to know people (yes, you do need to be active), do things you enjoy, learn and grow, focus on being the best you, you can be as a person, and the rest will fall into place. In this case, I believe, a watched pot never boils.

So, put the pot on the stove, turn the flame up and ___________ (fill in the blank: dance, read, paint, do yoga, sing…!)

To be aware of a single shortcoming in oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in someone else. ~H.H. the Dalai Lama 

According to http://dictionary.reference.com analysis is the tracing of things to their source; the separation of an intellectual or material whole into its constituent parts for individual study, and the study of such constituent parts and their interrelationships in making up a whole.

The Medieval Latin and Greek roots mean to undo, to loosen.

Criticism is the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything; censure; faultfinding; disapproval expressed by pointing out faults or shortcomings.

The origins can be found in the Greek meaning to judge, to decide.

 The two terms are similar in that they break something down to then review the parts. The big difference is the intention of this review. An analysis is more neutral or even positive. It is done so that a person can better understand a situation and work toward a solution. It emphasizes responding and taking responsibility.

Criticism is more negative. It can only be made somewhat more positive when the disclaimer “constructive” is placed before it. Even so, it paints a picture of unequal authority and expertise in which the person at the receiving end is at a disadvantage and is being lessened. Whereas an analysis separates a subject into its elements to puzzle together a solution, criticism pokes holes and tears apart the matter and leaves it at that. It is a statement of right and wrong.

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. ~Anaïs Nin

When we criticize, from whose perspective are we doing so? Do we know the process that led up to the situation? Do we know the perspective that underlies it?

Upon hearing of a person’s actions, have you ever jumped to a condemning conclusion thereof, only to backpedal when new information is introduced that completes the picture and makes the action seem logical to you? This situation is illustrated in the tale in which the farmer, who find his chickens dead, shoots his faithful dog, who has blood smeared all over his muzzle, believing the dog to be the culprit. Following the trail of blood, however, he becomes full of remorse when he finds a fox, killed by his now dead dog.

Who do you tend to criticize and for what?

What is the goal of criticism? How does it make you feel to criticize? How does it make you feel to receive criticism?

If criticism imposes our ideas of right and wrong on a situation, passes judgment on a person, do we feel stronger by criticizing? Are we passing judgment on ourselves, too? When we are criticized we feel personally attacked, become defensive and want to justify our actions. Additionally, we feel estranged from the person, who criticizes. Criticism can hurt and isolate people.

Often by analyzing our own behavior honestly, we find that we have acted or would act in a similar manner as a person we have criticized. Whenever we perceive faults in others, the challenge is to become aware of our own shortcomings and work toward improvement. 

Please list a situation or action you recently criticized. 

  • Step into that person’s shoes. How could you justify this action?
  • What information could be added that would justify this action in your mind?

 

By analyzing we take action to understand a situation and create solutions and appropriate responses. Through analysis we loosen the grip of a situation by studying the parts and their interrelation; we break things down into manageable pieces and can thus more easily gain an overview.

Analysis empowers us to face a situation, and allows us to see what information we need to better understand it. This might include information about our own or others’ perspectives, which in turn might help to unearth an Underlying Automatic Commitment, pointing the way toward action and the steps that can be taken.

When we focus on analysis without judgment or blame, we can zero in on the issue. It gives us freedom and can be a way to build relationships with people by respecting them and better understanding their motives. In order to do this, we must be aware of our focus and intention. If we are passing judgment or attacking a person, we can be mindful of our own perspective. When we pass judgment, we also narrow our own range of motion.

If you notice that you are criticizing, what can you do?

What does this criticism bring you?

 

When you meet someone better than yourself, turn your thoughts to becoming his equal. When you meet someone not as good as you are, look within and examine your own self. ~Confucius

Sarina Hrubesch
Take 2 Coaching

On Wednesday, in my Cross Cultural Coaching class we discussed the idea of culture. Yesterday we discussed Truth and Fraud.

Both Beate and I seemed to have done a lot of reflecting on the subject of culture and cultural differences. She, a german woman living in Singapore, and I have both experienced being submersed in a different geographic culture.

The more we progressed with the discussion, however, the more we noticed that there is so much diversity in each cultural group we tried to grasp: nations, states, gender, etc. It boiled down to each person is her own culture.

What opportunities does dealing with and being open to diversity present?
We have the opportunity of discovering new possibilities of living according to our own culture, true to ourselves – living our own truth.

In these many groups that are elements of our lives, our identities, and our cultures, to which we belong outside of our one-person-culture are many ingrained ideas, norms, guidelines by which we judge ourselves and others, and which influence our behavior. These groups may be our family, our friends, our Saturday afternoon sport group, our work colleagues, or more broadly our age group, our gender, our nation.

It is necessary to be aware of these influences to understand and to deal with them. When we understand where our ideas and values come from, we can then decide if they are constructive to us in living according to our own culture, our own truth.

Be true to yourself–become aware, seek to understand, only then is it possible to define and move toward our own truth.

How has this society become so addicted to instant fixes? 

Is it because we as a nation have been so successful at innovation, being able to solve problems by analyzing them, pooling our resources, brainstorming, and working under deadline pressure?  It seems to me that we are proud of this history; I know that I often react and think the same way in my life.  It stems from a sense of confidence, I tell myself.  Why worry today about things that may occur in the future, when it happens, we can deal with it. 

The analysis that is done can be based on personal experience, or can be based on the scientific method.  A hypothesis is formulated and then tested.  It is imperative that one identify the contributing factors and test the effect that each factor has on the situation.  (This is obviously a gross simplification of the scientific method, but I think you will agree with the gist.) 

The study I heard about this morning involved asthmatic children and the behaviors of their families that contribute to a lower risk of ending up in the ER.  The factor identified as playing a key role => dinner.  It all made wonderful sense to me. 
If a family engages in regular dinnertime activity, with assigned roles, such as setting the table, and the meal has a defined beginning and end, and if the family members authentically care about what transpired in each other’s day, then the asthmatic child was, so to speak, healthier. 

I like that word, authentic.
What kind of families engage in regular dinners?  What kind of families show that they authentically care about one another?  Are they the same as those, who do not?  What factors contribute to exhibiting this behavior?  Are these families just more functional to begin with? 
Will other families be able to produce the same result without being as functional, just by implementing a dinnertime tradition?
What does that mean to be a functional family? 

Ok.  I’ll stop, but do you understand my point?  Does it help us to believe that we can identify a single factor or behavior that “causes” a desired state, and by scheduling in that factor in our calendar, we can achieve the desired results? 
Another example are the healthful benefits of Resveratrol from red wine.  This substance has been found to extend life, prevent cancer, enhance athletic performance, act as an antiviral substance, etc.  Wow!  This is perhaps the reason that the French, who drink red wine regularly, have a lower incidence of heart disease. 

It was determined, however, that to produce the analog results in humans (yes, the studies were done on mice), it would be necessary to drink 50 bottle of wine to get the equivalent amount of Resveratrol.  Not to worry, a pill was introduced.  But alas, the findings were not positive.  What went wrong? 

Could it be that we are focusing on the wrong framework?  Do the contributing factors, which are identifiable, really have the same effect alone, as they do in combination?  Aren’t we continually also finding that, either, we just have not been able to measure or identify ALL contributing factors, or we see how elements only in combination have the desired effect?  By dividing out the single factors, we have not conquered the problem, but have squelched the synergy. 

Perhaps Resveratrol does have these wonderful effects, but very likely the lifestyle and attitude of living in and celebrating the moment goes even further.  Who is able to sit down with friends/family, eat dinner, converse, sip a glass of wine, and just be in the moment?  Doesn’t this require, at least for that timeframe, the ability to put other things aside? Often this is a forum, in which to mull over problems, seek advise, or just the act of verbalizing thoughts helps one to better see the solution.  Doesn’t it help, just knowing someone authentically cares enough to listen?  Doesn’t hearing about other’s issues and trying to help them, put your own matters into perspective? Isn’t it a wonderful feeling caring about and loving others?
Is only the Resveratrol at work? 

Does feeling light and heat on our skin have the same effect as being outside, feeling the warm sun, the breeze on your skin, hearing the activity (or lack thereof), seeing the smiles on other faces?  Does taking a pill have the same effect as savoring a glass of red wine with most of our senses – visual, olfactory, and taste?  Does it satisfy in the same way?  Or does it leave a gap? 

We strive toward more health and happiness. Are we not willing to receive it? Why then are we afraid to face the challenge of living a life filled with Authenticity and Enjoyment?

It may be necessary to first become aware of how you really are living. Understand what kind of behavior patterns you fall into. You must make the commitment to want to live a better life and take action. Is it worth it to you? This change will require only that you be honest with yourself, be authentic, and enjoy.

Changing patterns of behavior is not easy, but it is possible. To make a long-lasting change, one must make a long-lasting commitment. You deserve it.  Find support. Get started now with small things.

Let’s try to focus on the small things that make life wonderful. Be grateful that we have these things and can enjoy them. Focus on the positive things we have. Know we have the ability to master our life. Authentically appreciate the love and support we have from our friends and family. And be much healthier and satisfied in the process.