Journaling Can Be Helpful

Journaling is healingI have to be honest with you, I hate writing. And I used to really hate journaling. But when you go to counseling, your therapist usually wants you to journal because journaling helps you sort things out.

Writing  is like breathing, it is a way of absorbing an experience. It’s one of the most profound ways to express our self in life and it is a great window into ourselves. Sometimes you just feel antsy. You know something bothers you but you just can’t pin point it. Writing it down can help you figure it out.

At least there is no right or wrong way to begin, you just start jotting down your insights or feelings. Write anytime you feel like it. You can write down random thoughts or observations about yourself. You can keep track of your dreams if you want to. You can write about some of the emotions that are coming up for you at that time, maybe anger or sadness; happiness or hope.

You could also start by exploring your memories, personal image, sensitive times, or maybe you could start with your daily thoughts.

He are a few prompts and story lines you could use to get started:

I want change________  in my life.

I am afraid of________

I want to give up___________________ in my life.

I am afraid of change because ________

I am unhappy because _______

I wish my life was________________

I am sad  today because _______

I am so happy today because _____

Once you catch on the thoughts and emotions will begin to flow more freely and when they do you’ll feel more empowered. You’ll know yourself more. And you’ll begin to have a better understanding of what makes you tick.

What I found is “seeing is believing”. I realized I was much more honest with myself when I wrote it down, and I could go back and re-read it and change my thoughts or my belief about something or someone.

Don’t be afraid to write your feelings down. It’s one of the best things you can do to take care of yourself.

Forget Regret

Erase RegretHow many times have you carried around a burden from a mistake you might have made years ago? As if it is not enough that the world seems to beat you up, you beat yourself up too.

That’s regret!

It’s important that you move past those perceived mistakes by looking at the situation with an objective mind. What was it you think you could have done in that situation? How would you have acted differently? Is it guilt that still drives you? Or do you truly think you would have turned out differently?

Hindsight is 20/20, right? It is always easier, knowing what you know now, to second guess how you would have handled things differently, but when you were in that situation, you may have had no way of knowing what the outcome would be. You need to really look at the situation and see what your real responsibility was. Most of the time, there really wasn’t anything you could have done to change the outcome of that moment.

So once you recognize the burden, how do you release it? You can start with some simple affirmations:

I am always safe taking chances, moving forward.

I love the opportunity to take chances to move forward in my life.

It is safe for me to move forward and take risks.

It is easy to take one step forward at a time.

I can move through this with grace and ease. The Universe always gives me what I need at the time.

Forgiving yourself is the first step to forgetting regret and making the change to become a healthier you.

There is No Love Without Trust

TrustTrust is letting go of any need for a specific outcome or way in which something needs to happen. It means allowing things to just flow and watching them unfold naturally. When you begin to open up to your own personal spirituality you are constantly being asked to TRUST.

The hardest thing you are going to do is to let go of your old way of thinking and believing. You’re going to be asked to TRUST in a new way of thinking with good thoughts, kind thoughts, and forgiving thoughts – towards yourself and others. But especially yourself. And as you do this things will start to get better.

Just TRUST.

You’re going to be asked to believe in the Universe, God, the Divine, or your higher deity and trust they are helping you and leading the way. When you trust, you’ll feel better and life will flow much easier. Things can be joyful as long as you Trust.

You’re going to be asked to trust down to your deepest core being and then some.  This is how you start the process of self-help. Self-love. And Personal Growth. You can choose to go as far as you like, or you can stop at any time. But honestly, you may find that you feel so good and life is working so nicely that you get the point and you don’t want to stop, TRUST me.

I teach people how to open up and TRUST. I like to help them on their path and when they get the hang of it I send them out into the world to find themselves and walk their path. Everyone has one, TRUST me.

TRUST your inner self, listen to your own guidance. TRUST yourself to follow your right path.

One Step at a Time

Rocks on a Hawaiian BeachWhen it comes to personal growth, you have three options: take a step forward, take a step back, or stay in the present moment.

One of the easiest traps to fall into when you first begin therapy is to get stuck on what it’s going to be like in the future when things have changed. But when my clients get upset and angry about how long it takes to work on themselves and feel better, I tell them it takes “one step at a time.”  You wouldn’t start kindergarten and expect to be promoted to fifth grade at the end of the year. It takes time, patience and staying in the present moment as much as you can. Thinking about your future and not paying attention to your present moment is not going to get you anywhere!

Once you’ve taken that trip to the future to see what you think life will be like, come back to the present moment and set it into motion by making a plan. But you can’t just think about it, you have to take daily steps to do it. But you also have to be aware of those daily steps to make it stick.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I often have clients that say to me “This is hard work. I don’t want to get better; I was doing just fine doing what I was doing,” or “I fixed the problem I am okay now; I don’t need to work on me anymore.”

That is like deciding to just keep wearing the same shoes you wore in third grade, even though your feet have grown since then. You can’t go back again after you have begun to change your thoughts, your perspective, and your life. You’ll always feel unhappy and out of sorts. Just like wearing those tiny shoes.

Once you get started and you are serious about change, learning to stay in the present moment and taking each day as it comes with your new tools becomes so much easier. It’s okay to take baby steps. Life has its’ moments when things aren’t so great, but if you take one step at a time and practice what you’ve learned in therapy it is so much more fun!

Setting Your Intention

Setting your intentionI hate New Year’s Resolutions.

I think they’re just a stupid way to set yourself up for failure. So instead of setting goals for the year I like to set intentions. I think it’s a more spiritual approach to self-help and personal growth. So, I’d like to share three intentions I set for myself this year:

1) First and foremost I intend to practice what I preach more often. I am a teacher and I feel it is important as a teacher of spiritual practices to walk my talk. If I tell someone to practice forgiveness, then I need to work on my forgiveness of others. It sounds easy, but it is not. If I ask someone to try to open their heart or be kinder, I also practice opening my heart. My belief as a teacher is that I should be willing to listen to my own advice. It helps me to remember this stuff isn’t easy.

2) My second intention is to give back to the community in some small way, whether it is to help out at the humane society, volunteer to help or collect for a food bank or gather odds and ends to give to the local thrift store for charity. But I have to be honest, I really like doing this so it is an easy intention.

3) My most enjoyable intention is to make people smile more. The other day I was at Home Depot and as I was about to cross to the other side of the aisle an employee came walking down the aisle in the opposite direction waving two flags back and forth. Right behind him was a guy driving one of their little forklifts with a huge package of goods. They were moving it from one place to the next. As they passed me I said out loud, “I love a parade” and both of the guys – who were not happy with what they were doing – let out with a big laugh and smiled. That is when I set this intention.

What intentions have you set for yourself this year? I’d like to hear some of them in the comments section below.

Find Your Joy

Find joy everydayJoy. It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot this time of year. But what is joy? Is it a feeling? A state of being? An action?

I thinks it’s all of the above.

Joy doesn’t just come around once a year. And it’s not something that can only be found by being creative, (which is what I’m afraid most people will have you believe, for example, “find your joy by doing what you love,” “create something and find the joy in it,” etc.)

Joy is the light feeling you feel in your heart, head, stomach, and all of the limbs in your body. This feeling can occur while observing the natural beauty surrounding you or while playing with your dog. You can find it while doing something you enjoy, whether that’s gardening, cooking, golfing, or wood-working.

But it’s also a mind-set. Being “in your joy” means being connected to the positive universal flow. It’s what happens when you open your heart and allow all of these positive experiences to flow through you. By concentrating on the good things and pushing the negative thought aside, you create more space for joy.

So here’s the real gift of the season: it’s easier to find this joy during the holidays because we’re ALL encouraged, (and given permission,) to believe in magic, sentimentality, wonder, and love. It’s certainly a lot safer for us to express these feelings when we know we’re not alone or going to be judged.

Take advantage of the wonderful gift the Universe is providing this time of year and practice finding your joy in everyday tasks and experiences. Look for it while you shop, stand in line at the post office, while you’re shoveling snow, listening to Christmas carols, or baking cookies. There are so many great opportunities this time of year – don’t miss them!

Acknowledge the gift and take advantage of the collective consciousness that is encouraging you to feel joy. Dance! Sing out loud! Be silly! All of these actions are expressions of joy. Don’t forget to take a moment to savor the feeling as it moves through your mind and body.

Then, be joyful! Not just this time of year, but do your best to find that feeling year-round. I think you’ll be amazed at how enjoyable your life can really be once you know what it feels like and it’s that much easier to tap into.

Paddling Against the Current

Standup paddleboarderWhen you change your life’s pattern for the good, it can feel like you are moving against everyone else. That’s because you are adjusting to new patterns, new ways of thinking, maybe even different ways of dressing, eating, or speaking and not everyone is moving in the same new direction as you.

You might find it harder to express your ideas or thoughts because those around you who used to understand you, no longer do. They may give you a hard time, or get frustrated because they can’t fathom why you would want to change. Like paddling against the current, you may feel like you’re not getting anywhere.

Don’t worry. This is just a temporary state and as you as you adjust to the new pattern, things will begin to fall into place. It’s sort of like moving the furniture around in a room. At first it looks like a jumbled mess, but then you move the couch, vacuum under the rug, put the books back on the bookshelves, and buy new pillows for the couch. Before you know it, you have a new living room. Even though no one else could understand why you were rearranging a perfectly fine living room, you knew things needed to change so you did it!

Making life changes is sort of like that. And once it’s been changed, there’s no going back to the way the furniture was before you switched it around. Old patterns, habits, and sometimes even friends, no longer fit into your life.

It’s okay. Change is good and personal growth, moving forward on our path is the ultimate goal in life – even if it is an upstream struggle.

So don’t listen to that little voice in your head that’s says to go back……Listen to your heart. It will always help you move forward.