During this challenging time, I have worked with so many clients who have been triggered into a feeling of powerlessness. I am concerned that it is causing them to lose motivation and even more alarming lose hope. Here are some ways you can take back your power and start working toward the new normal we all have to get used to. It is time to feel empowered and hopeful.
Taking action in small ways builds self confidence and begins to build your “I can” muscle. Jack Canfield taught me this important principle and tool. Start by identifying small ways to tackle some of the messes or in-completes in your life. Brainstorm about things you are tolerating. It can be about health, finance, personal, or professional. It could be clean out your garage, fix a broken cupboard, put that stack of pictures in an album, fix a sprinkler, clean out your email box, or maybe it is dealing with a technology issue. Think about a relationship or maybe something physical. Walk through your home and make a list of things that irritate you. Do you have a junk drawer or a refrigerator that needs to be cleaned out? Write everything down in the “what is irritating me” column on the handout below.
Then fill out the next column by asking “how can I fix it?” This doesn’t mean you have to start fixing it. Just start writing what it would take to fix it. Maybe you thought of a relationship item you are tolerating. Fixing it might be apologizing or bringing up a difficult topic to discuss with someone. In the last column ask “is there someone who could help fix it?” Maybe this would require a trade with someone in your home or asking for assistance from a professional. Finally, put a date on each item of when you will complete it.
Having irritations takes away our mental capacity for focusing on our goals. It robs us of putting our attention and capability on the things we want to achieve in life. By allowing them to build up physically or in our subconscious it will eventually lead to overwhelm and a feeling of hopelessness. Now is the time for us to keep our eye on what is most important and what we truly want to create. Set a goal to take care of at least a few things on your irritations list each month, make a to do list based on your handout and don’t be afraid to ask for help!
We all need help sometimes. Why do you think Olympic and professional athletes have coaches? Having someone you trust to give you an objective and honest point of view while working to help you stay accountable for achieving your goals and dreams is critical to your success and growth. We all need help and support when we make the courageous decision to push ourselves into the discomfort of growth and creating a better version of ourselves. If you are stuck or so overwhelmed you don’t know where to start I would love to help you take that next step and ultimately achieve your goal.
Finally having balance is important and that means making time to play. Brainstorm a list of things you enjoy. Pick one thing on the list to do everyday. It can be as simple as dancing to a happy song or as complicated as planning and making a spot for a new garden. It is a great time to play! Commit to actively doing something you love everyday. Some of my favorites are: soaking in a bubble bath, meditating with a fragrant candle, coloring, making digital photo albums, writing, gardening, singing, crocheting, hiking, fishing, swinging, watching birds, playing with my dog Ellie, baking, art journaling, playing games, …. There are so many things we can do to bring us peace and joy.
Keeping a balance is essential. By doing these three things everyday,
- Take action toward cleaning up a mess or irritation
- Do something challenging to move you toward your goals
- Take time to play
You will begin to feel empowered and hopeful about your future. You have got this!
I will just start by saying I couldn’t think of a good picture for meditation. But pictures of my adorable puppy Ellie watching me create this blog makes me feel peace, joy, and blessed.
I have been wanting to blog about meditation for quite a while and during a time like this, meditation becomes even more important. This meditation uses EcoMeditation to help calm the body, slow the heart rate, and get in a deep relaxed state. This form of meditation was created by Dawson Church. The below recording is great to use for setting an intention for your day or for pondering to find answers for a pressing concern.
If you have tried to meditate before and just haven’t felt successful at it, EcoMeditation is for you. Dawson Church developed this form of meditation using 7 physical relaxation exercises that send signals of safety to the brain and body. It has been shown to reduce cortisol which helps build our immune system, and creates a significant amplitude of theta and delta, the brain waves characteristic of healing and creativity, and very low amplitudes of beta, the frequency of stress and anxiety.
If you are interested in the script to record the meditation in your own voice please message me and I will send it to you. Enjoy!
Yesterday was my goodbye retirement lunch at 3M. The team gave me a bracelet and a dragonfly necklace. I was so touched! How fitting! Dragonflies are a symbol of transformation and change. As I move into full time coaching as a resiliency and transformation coach, I am a bit melancholy. I have so many memories of great leaders, not so great leaders, really good and even magical times, yet some extremely challenging and tough times. I have spent the last 35 years in information technology and software engineering. I truly love it!
Now it is time to take those lessons and apply them to the next chapter in my life. As passionate as I have been about innovation, improving healthcare, & using technology, I am more passionate about people, and bringing wellness to the world through alternative medicine, behavioral health, energy psychology, and integrated care. I am convinced we can only improve our physical health by focusing on our spiritual and emotional health.
My love for data, learning, science, business & process improvement served me well in my career at 3M Health Information Systems and now I plan to use that foundation while coaching and working toward my doctorate. I am finally listening to that nagging voice begging me to do more.
My heart is filled with gratitude as I look back on the last 20 years with 3M. I have met some brilliant and amazing people I am proud to call friends. I have also met some difficult and challenging people I now consider gifts in my growth and progression. Most, I consider family.
Through long work days, significant regulatory events, building and launching new products, using natural language processing (NLP) to auto suggest codes, managing teams all over the U. S., traveling so much, I once had to freeze breast milk and ship overnight to my six month old baby, it has been quite a ride. Through births, graduation’s and divorce, my 3M family was there supporting me in my growth and development as a leader but more importantly as a person. So how very fitting to be given a dragonfly. It not only symbolizes change and transformation but also adaptability, self realization and renewal.
Here’s to new beginnings, new ideas, and going after dreams. Here’s to moving from natural language processing to neural linguistic programming (NLP), moving from recognizing revenue to recognizing self worth, moving from left brained activity to leveraging creativity and intuition.
“Realizing your true potential in a way that also benefits other people, is the ultimate expression of the power of the dragonfly” -Author Unknown
Thank You 3M Family, you will be missed!
2019 had a rough start. While I had started to make many changes and things were starting to look up, I was still feeling the deep sorrow of so much loss. I received counsel after counsel and many blessings encouraging me to be patient, yet my soul was seeking to accelerate my healing and I was beginning to wonder if the sorrow would ever go away.
“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of our heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” – Rumi
Finally the sorrow began to shake from my heart and while I was in Rome new leaves began to grow. Each happy memory gradually replaced my sorrow and once again I began to feel joy. As, Sam graduated from high school, I found out I am going to be a grandma again, I met amazing women and entrepreneurs, I built new friendships, I started my coaching business, I was accepted into the doctoral program at ASU, and I reached my 20 year anniversary at 3M and announced my retirement, the new roots grew.
Of course, along with the highlights there are always a few low-lights. But, each happy event, new experience, new friendship, created a new memory for me to draw on as I moved forward. My coaches and therapist guided me to awareness. As I learned to observe my thoughts, the feelings they created and the actions I took, I learned to manage my thoughts more effectively. Eventually the joy came, growing deep roots, and the new leaves sprouted in the boughs of my heart. The counsel I received, changed from one of patience to one of faith and trust in the Lord. The more I let go of the timing for outcomes the greater my peace and joy grew.
Recently, I heard a story about a young boy who wanted to ride a carousel but was afraid to pick one of the horses that moved up and down. His grandma convinced him that it would be OK and she would hold onto him. So he agreed to sit on a horse that moved up and down. As the carousel took off and the horse gently started moving, Grandma stood by tightly holding on to the boy. About halfway through the ride the little boy turned to his grandma and said “I don’t feel safe, but I am”. I think that is what having faith and trust in the lord is all about. As we push ourselves to grow sometimes it doesn’t feel safe. Yet………. I am.
My word for 2019 was “POSITIVITY”. It was positivity that moved me to a place of immense gratitude. These last few weeks of the year my heart has felt swollen and sometimes so large I thought it would burst. I have felt such deep gratitude for so many blessings and it has brought me tremendous peace and joy.
I am so excited for this year and the new challenges I will face. Never before has my course seemed so uncertain and I am sure there will be many times that I don’t feel safe. Yet this year is 2020. The year of clear vision. What I am clear about is, I am moving in the right direction, I am safe, and my heart is filled with unimaginable peace and joy. I plan to fully embrace this carousel ride, trusting in the Lord, knowing that he has my back, and far better things will continue to come.
My word for 2020 is “INSPIRE”. Come with me on this journey. Let’s inspire each other to achieve our dreams and live a life full of passion and joy.
As I look back on life and some of the painful things I endured, I have often wondered how it is possible that I could be as happy and thriving as I am now. Margaret Lynch, one of my mentors, helps explain this with three definitions of self.
1. Self-esteem which is the belief that one has value or self worth.
2. Self-confidence which is trust in one’s abilities, qualities, & judgement. Self confidence is broken into two parts: inner confidence and earned confidence.
3. Self-efficacy which is the belief that one has the ability to initiate and sustain a desired behavior.
My childhood experiences resulted in me having very low self worth. I compensated for my lack of self and inner confidence, with earned confidence. I spent many, many hours reading self help books, going to training, and earning degrees, as a desperate attempt to build my confidence. But the problem with lacking inner confidence is no matter how much you learn, earn, achieve, or try to be perfect, it does not increase. Sometimes those things can tone down the inner critic or self-doubt but it lies dormant and can be provoked when something big comes up. So while I had a good amount of earned confidence by doing things for others, earning degrees, and building my career, my inner confidence and self esteem remained low. Or said another way I didn’t feel worthwhile unless I was giving or doing for others.
I spent many years in that state. As I approached 50 I was struggling with the recognition my marriage was failing, I was reading and searching for answers. Everyone I talked to and everything I read, would say “you need to work on yourself first and then the relationship will work out”. Silly, silly me! I translated that to, “I need to do more and give more!” That isn’t what “work on yourself” means!! Let me say it again!! Working on yourself doesn’t mean doing more things or giving more of yourself. It does mean, digging deep and coming to learn and know your self worth to the depths of your very core.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
For me this required a lot of healing from past traumas and investing more in, not my temporal growth, but my spiritual growth. Building my relationship with God, reconnecting with the Holy Spirit, building faith, and learning to love myself was what I needed to restore and work on. So back to my original question. How am I able to thrive after going through so much pain? First, all that giving and doing served me well for many years. I was able to raise 3 remarkable children, develop an immense love for learning, and build a lucrative career. It gave me knowledge to draw from when I needed it most. It helped me find the tools and resources I needed when things felt like they were falling apart.
As I look back on those years, where things began to unravel, I recognize how my low self-esteem played a big part in the unraveling. While I had been working so hard to be happy, I was living in constant fear of doing the wrong thing or making someone unhappy with me. I conned myself into believing I had control of how others felt about me and I was constantly pandering for love and validation, while sacrificing my own physical and emotional needs. But there was still that constant inner voice nagging at me, saying” you are meant for more”, “you deserve better”. So the second thing that allows me to thrive is I learned to trust that inner voice. That voice pulled me toward energy Psychology and tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Energy psychology accelerated my healing, along with traditional therapy and spiritual development through prayer and scripture.
Third is once you have a stronger base of self esteem and inner confidence then you are more equipped to apply what you learn to changing habits and developing new behaviors. Now, I am embracing these new opportunities and starting to reinvest in my physical and emotional well-being. Each success reinforces & strengthens my self-efficacy.
That is not to say I don’t have plenty of triggers or more healing to do. In fact as I push myself to grow and pioneer new ways of relating and connecting with the world, I probably have more times of discomfort. Yet I also feel so much more inner peace and true joy. Now I have a deep enough foundation to take a step back,when something comes up, and say, “oh, there that is, a trigger, telling me I have something to work on, something to be curious about and learn from.” Now I recognize it as a gift, an opportunity to heal and grow. One of my mantras is “I will remember my pain and use it as a force for good in the world”. Seeing past hurts as gifts is so incredibly empowering. Once you heal, you don’t re-experience the pain, you simply remember it.
“A memory without the emotional charge is wisdom” – Dr. Joe Dispenza
There are many who play it safe and go through life in such a way that they never have to address those past traumas or build that inner confidence or true self-esteem. But I want you to know you were meant for more. Below is a link to one of my videos I created for an online summit. I am sharing it with you in hopes of helping you to find more ways to be TRIUMPHANT in achieving your life’s mission and start thinking about what you want to achieve in 2020. I am also offering up to three free EFT sessions through the month of December to help you reduce stress and remove roadblocks getting in the way of you achieving your dreams. It is as easy as scheduling a time using the link to schedule coaching services.
I am filled with gratitude at this time of thanksgiving and the first week of advent where the theme is hope. There was a time when I had lost all hope but I want you to know there is so much to feel hopeful about and it starts with you and your potential. I urge you to be courageous and reach for more, more joy, more peace, more happiness. Finding ways to live up to your full potential can be fun & so rewarding. Be courageous & invest in yourself so you can THRIVE and live your life wholly!! Watch Video
When I first started on this journey of growth and healing, people would say “you need to take care of yourself”. Honestly, I had little to no idea what that actually meant. At that time, my self care consisted of regular exercise, good nutrition, and getting my nails and hair done. The last two of these seemed indulgent and I would often feel guilty about spending time getting these done. These were all good things, but I was really hurting at this time and what little self confidence I had was destroyed. I was feeling very alone and needed to find ways to soothe and nurture myself. Gradually I started down the self care and nurturing road out of self preservation. First, I started doing things to take better care of my emotional well being like seeing a therapist, doing energy healing work, reconnecting with friends and family. These things saved my life and put me on a better path.
Next, I had to start taking better care of my physical well being. The top things I focused on were:
- Regular massages
- Taking vitamins
- Epsom Salt Baths
- More sleep
All of these things made a big difference and I really started to feel better physically. Yet this still wasn’t all I needed to really nurture and care for myself. So again I bumped it up a notch by doing two more critical things.
- I developed and committed to a daily and weekly routine. I use an acronym (SOW PEACE) to help ensure I my give self care the attention and focus I deserve.
- S – Scripture study daily
- O – Optimize my exercise at least 5 times a week
- W – Write in my journal at least 3 time a week
- P – Pray (every morning)
- E – EFT (tapping) every day on limiting beliefs
- A – Affirmations everyday (every morning)
- C – Clear negative energy daily
- E – Eco Meditate (every morning)
Each of these items, their benefit, and value, deserve a blog post on their own. I will write about each one in more detail in future posts. But, for this post it is enough to say, if I consistently focus on this acronym and maintain a morning and weekly routine, I feel happier and more peaceful. Your list will be different but the key is, identify those things that help you thrive and then make sure you start your day, end your day, and consistently invest in yourself and your well being on a routine basis.
2. The second and final thing I have done is really learn to love my body. I have always hated my body; I’m too fat, too sore, my legs are too short, my arms are too big… I am guessing you may know the drill. I have started to really learn how to nurture myself and love myself. Recently, I even added True Love Skin Care products to my routine. True Love Skin Care products are made with all natural ingredients and were a great way to bump up my nurturing. I use the Mineral Soak for foot soaks, Mimi’s mud for a facial mask and detox, Glow for facials, Professional Grade for my extra rough skin, Feminine Balm for area I chafe, and Deep Rub for my aching legs and knees. I love all of their products. So much so, I decided I had better start selling it as an independent true love skin care maven. If you are interested, you can find out more about these products by using this link: True Love Skin Care or contacting me. For promotions and success stories go to promotion code.
A product that has the words “true love” in the name must be good for me! As I learned more about the founders and the products, I realized they are the epitome of True Love. Here is a link giving more information on the products’ ingredients. True Love Skin Care Ingredients
As I rub the nourishing balm or deep rub in I use affirmations from Louise Hay’s Love Your Body. Some of my favorite affirmations are “I love my skin. My individuality is safe, the past is forgiven and forgotten. I am free and safe in this moment. My skin is youthful and smooth on every part of my body. I choose the thoughts that create joy and peace for myself. I love to caress my skin. My cells have eternal use. My skin is the mantle that protects and nurtures the temple I live in. I love and appreciate my beautiful skin and body.”
I hope each of you are able to truly give yourselves the care, love, and nurturing you deserve.
“To love yourself right now just as you are, is to give yourself heaven. Don’t wait until you die. If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now.” – Alan Cohen
I went to Rome in February. It was a major step for me, since it was the first time I had taken a vacation, for more than 10 days, in 15 years. It was also the very first time I would be taking a vacation alone. I loved every minute of this trip. It represented the passage to a new way of being for me and I discovered some empowering insights I want to share.
I’ve always wanted to see Rome and when they started to advertise tours to see the Rome temple open house for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, it made the idea even more enticing. So, I booked it! It was several months in advance. I thought it would be a good way to celebrate my independence and welcome the next chapter of my life. Little did I know I would still be far from independent nor how long it would actually take me to get to a solid place in my healing journey.
Insight 1 – Deserving and Living in the Now
I struggled for weeks before the trip trying to rationalize whether I was deserving of the trip and feeling fearful something or someone would get in the way and I wouldn’t be able to go. The week before the trip the anxiety was so intense I was trying every tool in my emotional toolbox to reduce the worry and focus on all the last minute loose ends I needed to tie up at home and work. Even when I finally boarded the plane I couldn’t shake the feeling of unease. It took me a couple of days before I was able to completely relax and fully enjoy my trip.
I have been existing in a state of hyper-vigilance most of my life. Constantly searching for warning signals from other people’s actions, behaviors, and emotions. I learned this as a child to keep me safe and try to prevent people from getting angry with me. This type of tuning in to everything and everyone around me, means I mostly function from a very anxious and stressful state. Getting away from my normal surroundings and my work computer allowed me to sit back and truly enjoy the people and scenery in the moment. I also think being alone really helped with this because, it is too automatic for me to slip into a hyper-vigilant state and focus on people pleasing, when I am with friends or family. It was one of those rare times when I didn’t have to worry about sacrificing my own needs and desires to please others and could just relish every minute. Times like these help me really connect to who I am, what I value, and what I love in life. Being in that state is when I fully recognized I deserved to be on this trip and have this experience.
Insight 2 – Pondering my Faith
The first few days were spent on land in Italy. It was a whirlwind tour of Carrara, Pisa, Florence, Vatican City, and the Rome Temple. Seeing the stark contrast of the elegant simplicity in the Rome temple and the grand magnificence of St. Peter’s Basilica on back to back days was a profound illustration of the differences in religions. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint’s Temple and visitor’s center, focused on Christ’s ministry and resurrection. The Basilica is steeped in great works of ancient history, honoring popes, saints, and Christ’s crucifixion. Both were so awesome and inspiring to see first hand.
As I compared these two amazing Faiths and looked at them from this surface level view it caused me to ponder what felt right for me. I felt a huge amount of peace and gratitude for the temple, the teachings of Christ, the gift of repentance, the tremendous sacrifice He made for us, and knowing Christ’s resurrection is a pillar of my Faith.
Insight 3 – The Importance of Recovery and Recreation
On the fourth day of the trip we boarded the cruise and set off to explore the Mediterranean. We had crammed a lot in to those first few days and I was tired. It was the first time I had ever been on a cruise and I wanted to explore the boat. We sailed all night and docked in Savona, Italy. While I wanted to go on an excursion, I was tired from all the walking the three days before. I decided it was time for a little self care, relaxation, and recovery. I scheduled a massage, explored the ship, and enjoyed the spa’s hot tub and sauna.
The recovery time allowed me to be well rested for the rest of the cruise. I had renewed enthusiasm for new experiences and fun. It is easy to put self care and recovery time aside thinking if we just keep pushing and working we will experience more or become even better at whatever it is we are working toward. But it doesn’t work that way. This goes back to one of the principles taught by Stephen Covey in the 7 Habits. Taking time out to sharpen the saw (invest in self) allows us to be more productive and accomplish our goals faster.
It reminded me of earlier in the year when I was traveling for work, spending 12-16 hour days at the office, managing the emotional strain of separating from my husband, and training for a triathlon. I was pushing myself hard and just kept training, thinking the exercise was good for me and would give me more energy and make me healthier. By the time I got to the triathlon I was extremely anxious, not because I hadn’t trained hard but because I was feeling exhausted and depleted. It ended up being the slowest triathlon I ever competed in. Ultimately, a month later, I ended up having to take a leave from work because I was so depleted, I could barely function. It was a huge lesson for me. While in Rome, I was glad I knew better than to push myself. I recognized the necessity of taking time for recovery so I could really enjoy the rest of the trip.
Insight 4 – New Friends and Fun
The tour was mostly married couples. There were a few who had come with a friend or a sibling. I was the only one traveling alone. This did come with benefits. I got to pile all my junk in the seat next to me. 🙂 I was able to sit and visit with the tourist guides on a few occasions and loved getting to hear about their lives in Rome and get to know them better. It also caused me to reach out and get to know the others on the trip. I am quite introverted so it was good for me and I made some great friends!
Taking this trip was pivotal to my process of healing and growth. I have filled my memory bank with amazing moments, happy times, and good people. As I continue on my journey of learning to feel safe, being authentic and exhibiting confidence, I will draw on many memorable moments in Rome and along the Mediterranean. They will be there to replenish me during the rough spots and fortify my grateful heart as I celebrate good times and look forward to many more to come.
“In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.” – Gordon B. Hinckley
Looking forward to sharing more insights in Part 2.
I have always been a planner. I love to plan! But I had lost some of my optimism the last few years and planning has seemed more like a plea or desperate fight for survival rather than my usual fun activity.
This year planning has been an all time new experience! So many variables in my life have changed. For the first time, in maybe ever, I found myself creating a plan without worrying about who I needed to please but focused on what my true heart’s desire is. At first, it felt uncomfortable and I really struggled with it. I usually dedicate the week between Christmas and New Years for this activity but I was struggling. I mulled things over, pondered, questioned, brainstormed, mind mapped, prayed, and followed a great podcast series on The Brendon Show called #transformationweek. Eventually, I figured it out! 🙂
2018 In Summary
I started my review by summarizing the previous year. Last year I tried something new. At the end of every week I assigned a happiness score.
It was nice to see, as I moved to the end of the year, my scores were trending up. The other thing I noticed was my lows didn’t go as low and my recovery from a low was faster. My theme word I had selected for 2018 was AUTHENTICITY. I have heard, the more consistent you are in following your core values and being your authentic self, you feel less stress and anxiety. I liked seeing that as I worked hard to be more authentic my scores improved, even with the challenges and losses that hit me during the year. I truly feel my word choice was inspired and helped me navigate some of the most challenging experiences of my life. Some of these experiences have dramatically shifted my views on my career, my life, and what’s important. Take achievement for example. I have always been achievement oriented and still am but my motivation or “come from” has evolved over the years.
- As a child, achieving things was a means of trying to ensure I was valued, safe and loved.
- As a young adult, achieving things was a means to prove to the world I turned out okay in spite of my circumstances.
- As a wife and mother, achievement was focused on getting my husband’s love and approval.
- In the last several years, as my kids grew up and my marriage was shaky, I began to lose hope. Desperate for validation and not getting my needs met, I grew cynical about achievement and started to view it as a superficial and self gratifying endeavor.
- Today, I have shifted to a new place. I am back to loving and seeing the value of achievement. But my motivation or my “come from” is vastly different. Achievement is focused on pushing me to be my best, not for accolades or to please others, but to grow, to be my authentic self and strive to fulfill my purpose and God’s plan for me.
2019 Plan for Achievement
This new phase of life and shift in my belief system didn’t come easy. I had to break the deeply entrenched idea that my worth is solely based on what I do for others. It has been a gripping belief system that honestly letting go of was one of the most frightening things I have done in life so far.
2019 means living life in a way I never have before. My word for 2019 is POSITIVITY. I will tackle each hard thing with hope and light, and continue to find positive ways to build healthy relationships with my Heavenly Father, myself, my family, my friends and my associates. Every day I will gently alter a bad habit or limiting belief to empower me and serve others, not to prove my worth or get my sense of value, but to truly become my best self as a child of God working to accomplish what I was sent here to do. I have a renewed foundation of strength and courage. I am excited to try, to achieve, to dream BIG, and to put my authentic self out in the world. I will become better, stronger, healthier, kinder, and wiser. I will be an influence for good in a loving and positive way working toward my dreams and life’s purpose. Bring on 2019!
Advent is the beginning of the Christmas season. I love this Christmas carol and how it speaks of “the thrill of hope” the world experienced when Christ was born. Being faced with all kinds of changes this Christmas season, it has been really important for me to focus on the true meaning of Christmas and all the amazing blessings this brings. I have spent some extra time reading and learning about Christ, how we celebrate, and the meaning of Christmas. Every week of Advent traditionally has a theme. The first week’s theme is Hope. Over the past several years my hope slowly started to disintegrate until finally a few years ago I hit the bottom and had lost all hope. During that time I turned to my Savior and Heavenly Father for help.
While I have been very spiritual all of my life, I had slowly isolated myself from Christ, Heavenly Father, friends and family. I was consumed with my kids, my husband and my career and honestly was barely able to keep these things afloat. As my life made a turn for the worse I turned to my Heavenly Father and began praying frequently and fervently for guidance. This was the start of a four year journey back to my roots, rebuilding my testimony in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and re-establishing a close relationship with Christ.
Reflecting on this during the first week of advent and studying and praying about hope I came to the understanding that rekindling my hope consists of four things:
H = Healing
O = Open Heart
P = Prayer
E = Eternal View
As I first started to study the scriptures and learn more about the Atonement, faith, and forgiveness, I began to really struggle with some questions. What does turn the other cheek, or forsake thyself to server others, or be Christlike, really mean. This is when I became convinced that it isn’t enough to know and understand the Atonement, or to have faith. I think knowing these things is very similar to knowing how to eat right and exercise to lose weight. We all know the right things to do but that is not all there is to it. My faith grew every day and I could easily see how the Atonement and Christ’s pure love applied to people I loved and cared about. But I had trouble applying it to myself. I had to focus on healing past trauma and learn how to build self confidence and love of self. This was the only way to help me change behaviors that were causing me to get in my own way.
In one of my favorite conference talks Do We Trust Him? Hard is Good by Elder Stanley G. Ellis he asks “Do we have the faith to trust His promises regarding tithing that with 90 percent of our increase plus the Lord’s help, we are better off than with 100 percent on our own? Do we have sufficient faith to trust that He will visit us in our afflictions (see Mosiah 24:14), that He will contend with those that contend with us (see Isaiah 49:25; 2 Nephi 6:17), and that He will consecrate our afflictions for our gain? (see 2 Nephi 2:2).” I wasn’t able to have this kind of trust and faith in God’s promises until I was able to restore my trust and love of self and rebuild my relationship with Christ and Heavenly Father.
Past trauma’s exist for all of us. For some they can be truly debilitating. For most of us they get in the way and surface as limiting beliefs that hold us back from realizing our full potential or having and building healthy relationships. For all of us they impact our ability to feel hope at one time or another. The more we invest in our own healing the more connected we become to our inner strength and the hope of Christ.
As I began to trust God I opened my heart to really focus on forgiveness but also to really listen to the promptings and guidance of the Holy Ghost. Forgiveness was easy for me. I am not one to hold a grudge or retaliate against someone. What was hard for me was recognizing that forgiveness didn’t include automatically giving trust or respect.
These are earned and not automatic with forgiving. While forgiveness releases anger and any ill will toward someone, it doesn’t mean you approve of their behavior or will continue to subject yourself to it. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you don’t need boundaries. In fact it is the opposite, it means you open your heart to loving and caring, that you have genuine empathy, and you respect others’ boundaries as well as your own. It doesn’t mean you take on someone else’s burdens or take on their suffering.
Forgiveness frees up space to allow more positive things into our lives. Opening your heart is an amazing gift that allows you to love and respect all of God’s children, to listen and seek to understand their needs, and do your best to provide them with service and unconditional love, while at the same time honoring their boundaries and yours. Keeping an open heart and staying in tune with the Holy Ghost to receive guidance, gives us direction and sets us free to feel hope.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” – John 8:32
Prayer is our communication tool to keep the channels with our Heavenly Father open. I know our Heavenly Father listens and answers our prayers. Praying helps us build a relationship with our Father in Heaven. He has also given us the gift of receiving priesthood blessings. In a few of the blessings I have received, in past months, I have been blessed with patience.
There is no question I need this extra attention and focus on patience. As I have invested more in my relationship with my Heavenly Father and continue to ask for his guidance and direction, I have become more at peace with knowing answers may not come in the form and timing I would like them to. This requires greater emotional IQ and an ability to sit back and recognize emotions are indicators. It is important to feel our way through them and pray for help in knowing what they are telling us and how to navigate our way.
I pray more often now and for guidance on things I would have never even considered before. For example, I have always been a planner and list maker but for some reason it never occurred to me to make my list and then sit quietly in prayer and ask for guidance on my priorities and if I am focusing on the right things in any given day. It seems silly to me now that praying about this hadn’t occurred to me before. When in the past I often felt anxious and stressed about accomplishing the things on my list, now I feel calm and at ease, knowing I have my Heavenly Father’s guidance and support to accomplish the things I need to.
“It came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened” – Luke 3:21
I truly love my relationship with my Heavenly Father and the connection prayer offers me. It is a sacred moment when the heavens are opened to me and I feel His love. My faith in Him gives me hope.
Lastly, having an eternal view gives us hope. It has only recently occurred to me that there are some who struggle with believing they have a purpose in life. I have always felt I had a purpose. I honestly thought it was a natural inclination we are all born with. Where I lost hope was when my actions were taking me away from my purpose.
While shifting my focus from immediate wants and desires can be challenging, I have found when I invest my efforts in learning and developing those things that last eternally I have a greater sense of hope. Nurturing my spiritual needs and satisfying that hunger within regardless of what is going on around me, keeps me grounded and full of hope.
“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:18
So while I continue on this journey it feels good to honestly say my hope has been restored, I am full of optimism, joy, and happiness. I am excited to see what my future holds and am back to truly enjoying the journey with all of its twists, turns, ups and downs. The downs don’t frighten me anymore, I allow them to teach me.
Now I know my Heavenly Father was sending me a wake up call because he had bigger plans for me. It wasn’t until I understood the value of boundaries and the importance of knowing joy and happiness don’t depend on what is going on outside of me but is derived from within and my connection to Heavenly Father. Knowing this allowed me to build trust in myself and trust that Heavenly Father’s promises also applied to me.
In an Ensign article entitled You Are Royalty, by Kathy Kipp Clayton she states “We have God’s spiritual DNA coursing through our veins. We are His sons and daughters and His heirs. Swat away any deceiving messages, beliefs, or habits that cause you to cower in the corners of your life. Don’t let them nip at your heels and make you feel fearful or hurt. Rise to the level of your eternal stature. You are royalty.” I love that eternal view. As I think about this and all the blessings Christ’s birth has brought us, I am filled with gratitude and peace which is the focus for the second week of advent.
Much Love, Kim
I celebrated my birthday last week. Birthdays have always been important to me. I don’t connect them to getting older or aging. For me, they are a celebration of life and our existence here on earth. Celebrating became even more important as each of my children were born and I experienced the euphoria of bringing a little life into the world, whom God entrusted me to nurture, teach, guide and most importantly love. It has always been essential, to me, to make sure my kids knew how blessed I am they are a part of my life.
My birthday is on Halloween. I love that it is always a celebration day. I have always enjoyed having my birthday on Halloween. I consider my own birthday to be a time of reflection. I check in with myself and ask how am I doing on my goals for the year, am I where I expected to be at this time and what is better or worse than what I expected. I reflect on what I can do different or adjust, in order to achieve my goals, and what do I need to let go of, have faith and turn over to a higher power. Having those questions in mind this birthday was unique for me. At 54, I am faced with being way off from where I thought I would be and having to really redefine myself, my life and my relationships.
So this birthday came with many highs and lows. Navigating my way through the separation and impending divorce caused me to be in a bit of a fragile place. The day started out awesome. I had already had a couple of early celebration dinners with my kids and family. I was receiving texts and posts of birthday wishes. Gifts were left on my front porch and back door. I had a lovely lunch with two of my awesome friends. It was a great celebration.
I marvel at how quickly the day turned, as night came and several seemingly insignificant things occurred that triggered me into the depths of despair. That is the thing about trauma triggers they can sometimes appear out of nowhere. Even with all of the healing work I have done over the last few years I still run into a trigger now and then that throws me back into the past and reliving a painful event. For the last few years I have worked on many triggers and thankfully these come fewer and farther between. Things that used to trigger me don’t any longer. But when I feel vulnerable and am not practicing the regular self care I need to, I can get hit and go down hard.
One of my favorite things to do for fun is art journal. I am not an artist but I like taking a concept, a belief, an event or something important to me and adding a page in my art journal to represent it. Below is my course correct page.
I made the background for this page a map, because this is my guide to follow when I get stressed, triggered, or run off course. At the bottom of the page are the things I need to do on a regular basis to help me stay the course so I don’t need to course correct as often. As was the case on my Birthday I had been very busy during the days leading up to that day and had slipped on doing many of the key items listed at the bottom.
The course correct starts at the top right where it says “mess up” and following the arrows and shapes works me through helpful tools to get back on track. Each of these items deserves a blog post all their own. It starts with repenting, then moves to reaffirming, then using a couple of NLP (Neural Linguistic Programming) cues, then tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), then deep breathing with my hand over my heart and my tongue relaxed, then ask four questions (Byron Katie’s “The Work”), then walk away, and lastly there is a more personal and private tip under the globe if I lift the butterfly’s wing. The nice thing about the course correct is it is a cycle I can repeat as often as needed. Many of the techniques are quick, easy, and help reduce harmful beliefs or triggers on a long term and even permanent basis.
Thankfully, I had some loving friends and family and a good course correction plan to help me out on my birthday. I thought this was important to blog about because it is good, when you are going through hard things, to have a course correction plan. It is also OK to need and use a course correction plan when necessary. Update your plan as you grow and learn about new things. I recently learned about a new app called Mind Warrior that I have started using.
As I continue to work my way through challenging times, I marvel at the gifts, the growth, and the blessings that come my way. I am looking forward to the coming year and new challenges and learning in store.
I will talk more about each of these tools in future blogs and in the mean time try art journaling, and creating a correction plan of your own. 🙂
I have spent some time de-cluttering this summer. At one point I decided to tackle one of the most challenging areas, I stepped into the garage and started looking around trying to figure out where to start. It wasn’t long before I grew overwhelmed and sad. I also grew angry. How could I have allowed such a mess? Admittedly, I began feeling sorry for myself and thinking I just cant do this! I pulled my wagon up to the door and told myself “Snap out of it. Just start with throwing away one wagon full at a time.” I filled my wagon and as I pulled it through my patio. I was struck by the contrast of the beauty in my small herb garden area just on the other side of the wall from that humongous mess. I thought what a great analogy for life. So often we have areas that need work and other areas that are going great. Whether it is in our physical, emotional, or spiritual lives we more than likely have some cleaning up to do somewhere.
For me I had some emotional messes that required my attention. For many years I thought I could overcome some of these messy areas of my emotional life by looking away and focusing only on the positive. I spent my efforts investing in building a life by only focusing on happiness, joy, paying attention to the good, and staying positive.
I lived many years with the belief that time heals all wounds, until the last few years when I hit some extremely challenging circumstances. During this time the messes from my past had built up and they became roadblocks preventing me from overcoming my challenges. Many of these old beliefs about myself, life, and others had perhaps served me at the time. Now they were getting in my way. So going back to the analogy, I was no longer able to shut the doors of the garage and park my cars outside, sit on my lovely patio just on the other side, pretending things were fine.
Focusing on the positive is often a good thing. But, it was time for me to be more courageous and begin the process of healing past traumas and pains one wagon full at a time. Like it or not I was going to have to clean out the garage. This type of emotional cleansing is hard and takes a lot of work. Because our physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies are so tightly integrated this has profoundly impacted my entire being. I believe it has helped me build a closer relationship to my Heavenly Father. It has also helped me improve my physical health. Clearing out the trash through healing has opened up space in my heart for greater love, confidence, joy and true peace.
Shawn Achor, who wrote the book The Happiness Advantage, says happiness is “the joy one feels striving for one’s potential.” I love this definition because it means we can be going through really painful things but still experiencing joy if we are moving toward our full potential. Many can go through life never investing in clearing out the garbage. But, in order for me to reach my full potential I had to invest in cleaning out the filth to increase my capacity for growth. I had to face those limiting beliefs holding me back.
This is the journey I have embarked on. As I said, it is hard and uncomfortable. Elder Stanley G. Ellis gave a talk in the October 2017 conference entitled “Do We Trust Him? Hard Is Good”. He reminds us that “Regardless of the issue, hard can be good for those who will move forward with faith and trust the lord and His plan.” As I have taken a step back and looked at each trauma or pain I have come to realize Heavenly Father continues to hand me the same lesson again and again until I truly learn and act on the learning. As I learn I have come to see the gift in every hardship. As I have enlisted the help of my Heavenly Father to take action and began to trust Him and myself, I have began to grow a greater capacity to forgive, to love others, to live authentically and to feel joy in striving toward my full potential. As I share parts of my healing journey and the tools and techniques I used, it is my hearts deepest desire to help others to grow, thrive, feel joy, and move toward their full potential.
Today is my 35th wedding anniversary and I thought it was a good time to take a step back and reflect on my 35 years and moving into the next phase of Life. I am so blessed and thankful for my life and the amazing gifts and lessons it has brought me. I don’t have any regrets. I’m deeply grateful for a 35 year marriage and the life lessons it taught me. I had the luxury of bringing three amazing children into the world, who all have unique and amazing gifts and talents. I have many happy memories. It was a marriage of great times and rough times. In the really tough times of the last few years, I tried to build something new but couldn’t. I had my eyes opened to who I was, how I had been treated and what I was enabling. As sometimes you have to do, I hit rock bottom and had to really begin being truthful with myself. I changed in that experience and can’t ever go back to a place less enlightened. So I am moving forward. I have grieved the loss of many beliefs and concepts like having an ideal marriage, or a marriage until death do us part, or a best friend, or a true partnership.
Through it all my persistent investment in trying so hard to be recognized and worthy of love resulted in: possibly reading way too many self help books 😂, running 5 marathons, and completing 3 triathlon sprints. I landed a great job with a great company, a six figure income, a master’s degree, and lots of things and assets. Some may say I earned success. But I never earned the golden ticket of true peace and happiness. I was often stressed and full of anxiety, until I finally took a step back and created some distance to truly discover me.
Over the course of the last few years, I re-established my relationship with my Heavenly Father and learned of His love. I rebuilt a deep and meaningful understanding of the atonement and the sacrifice my Brother, the Lord Jesus Christ made for me. Now I know peace & love don’t come from the action and words of others. They come from within and through my divinity and the connection to the Divine love of my Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and The Holy Ghost.
I now know that putting my needs aside on a regular and consistent basis allows people to take advantage and can end in depletion, poor physical and emotional health, and eventually having nothing left to give. ( I learned this particular lesson way too many times at home and at work. 😀)
I know that the desire to please others and keep the peace at all costs, can end in losing your authentic self and your voice no longer being heard.
I have learned that free agency is for everyone, and as much as I wanted to believe my actions can make others give me the results I desire, it is not true.
I learned it is not my job to protect the ones I love from pain and be a safety net when they act irresponsibly or make bad choices, that is Satan’s plan not free agency.
I have learned my job is to be loving and kind to myself and others. My job is to love, guide and direct my children, keep them safe, cared for and yet, still allow them to have free agency, to build faith and resilience on their own by going through hard things and making their own decisions.
I learned it is my job to establish and enforce my own boundaries and to respect others’ boundaries.
I learned it is my job to love people unconditionally. Unconditional love is a divine right of being sons and daughters of Heavenly Father. It is my job to allow people to be who they are but I don’t have to like or love their behavior, and trusting people is not unconditional.
So I move on to the next chapter of my life with gratitude and a greater sense of peace and happiness, with a willingness to be courageous and do hard things, like speak up for myself and my needs. I know it is OK to make mistakes and it doesn’t make me unlovable. I will not pander for the love and acceptance of others by pleasing them at the cost of sacrificing self. I will learn to lovingly accept, others will disagree with me and it doesn’t diminish my value or my self worth.
I’m forging ahead. Learning to be my authentic self and build healthy relationships that support mutual growth, happiness, laughter, health and love. Knowing there will be hard times and disagreements that will make me stronger and build my faith and resilience.
While some say I tried too hard and stayed too long, others say I didn’t try hard enough or stay long enough. I know my truth. I know I am doing what is right for me right now.
I will be forever thankful for the last 35 Years, the loving family, and intrinsic gifts and lessons it provided to support the next part of my life. As my patriarchal blessing says “there is work for you to do. You have much to give, much talent, and will be an influence for good throughout your life.”
It is my time. Time to heal, time to move forward, time to give back, time to support my children in loving and different ways, time to be an example to my beautiful granddaughter of courage, strength, and living life to the fullest with authenticity and joy, and time to help others who need love, self confidence and support.
This is the place I will blog my journey.