Seriously

I am thinking today on the topic of taking things seriously. I tend to do more of that in my role as a counselor than I would like at times, but feel it is necessary to be fully present for people at work. I feel this seriousness spills over into the rest of my roles in life and I tend to take myself way to seriously, most of the time. How do I learn to turn on my lighthearted switch more often? Well, I think it starts with checking in with my thoughts throughout the day. Asking myself, am I taking myself to seriously? Am I taking this interaction to seriously? Am I letting my apt to stew get the best of my time and energy right now? If I can answer no to any one of these questions it is time to shake the thought and move on. For some of us that takes a lot of practice and attention to begin to get better at letting things go. You may need to sing the Frozen tune in your head several times each day, I still do. Some of being mindful is getting caught up in observing all of these thoughts and details, and there are so many of them in a day. A filtering of consciousness seems to go hand in hand with living out each moment. I HOPE that I can be more aware of the symbiotic nature of my thoughts and actions and how I need to let it go more often then not. I will learn to take things less seriously. After all, someone once said, “With great power comes great electricity bill.”

kermit
thank you, oneheartconnection.com

Simple things

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope. Winston Churchill
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/w/winston_churchill.html
So, if all great things are simple, simple things must be great. I would love to read Winston Churchill’s autobiography. I watched my boys play outside today in their little pool and we splurged and got a slip and slide. What a joy to watch my little guys have hours of fun with a slide and pool. At one point they were sharks, yay shark week! So we are fully submerged into summer and it seems to be going at a break neck pace. Soon it will be the end of summer and the little guys will be starting kindergarten. How bitter sweet. So I HOPE to enjoy as many of those little,simple and joyful moments as I can while my kids are still small. As stressful as it can get with having kids at young ages it is also flying by and I know I will blink and they will all be grown. I want to work on cherishing every moment and doing as many things as we can together while they are young and still soaking this world up like a sponge. Oh, to be a carefree little kid again.I have a lot of fun still trying to be one as often as possible. It does get me into a little trouble from time to time but there is a reason I will always be a child of God. Always learning and always making mistakes while growing in His love, every moment. This summer I HOPE that everyone will give their adult self a rest, hang their seriousnes up for a second, and let their childside out to enjoy the simple things.

Laugh

“Only laughing has no language, no religion. It sounds the same from people throughout the world.”- Rahul Singh. It is the universal sound that you hear wherever you go and it is distinguishable no matter who does it. The great unifier is laughter. I HOPE to work on laughing at least once every day. I’m pretty sure I already do but it would be nice to have a laugh-fit to track the amount of times you laugh in a day. Talk about improving your happiness and life. I HOPE that the world decides to laugh a little more often and love one another a lot more often.

laughter
photo courtesy 3.bp.blogspot.com, thank you!

Care

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin. I have recently been training in some new departments in psych services. It has been challenging and exciting. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to learn from such knowledgeable people. I have found that working in psychiatry the common thread of concern is that we often miss the opportunity to empower people to use the tools they already have. So many people come into the hospital with a great understanding of what works for them when things are going well. They tend to forget these things when things start to go wrong. When people are in crisis it tends to be a waste of time to try and tell them how to deal with things. This information could be compared to the teacher speaking in the Peanuts cartoon, “whah, whah, whah, whah, whah” Now, can you tell me what you took from that information? It is the education while in the hospital that is so important for patients in crisis. The opportunity to teach people new tools and skills they can use to help themselves when they head back to their lives at home. They need to be involved in their treatment planning and many different modes of teaching need to be used to reach the most people. It goes back to the story in the bible about giving a man a fish versus teaching him to fish. So often in our culture, we hand out the fish, the band aid, and forget to teach people how to sustain themselves for the road ahead called life. Education should not be a band aid, it should be interactive and involve those getting the education. I HOPE that our culture can make the shift to more interactive learning styles that encourage people to engage in learning new skills, that empower their understanding and application skills for the future. I will continue to advocate for teaching rather than telling and I HOPE you will do the same.

Family

“Never ignore a person who loves you, cares for you, and misses you, because one day, you might wake up and realize, you lost the moon while counting the stars.” Our family arrived yesterday and we are having fun. Michaels parents live in St. Louis, so we do not get to see them as much as we would like. When we do it is like Christmas time for the kids. We love our family. I am often struck by how when people are in crisis they are unable to see the people who love and care about them. It is as if they do lose track of the moon while counting the stars. Some magical blinders come over people when they are in crisis. I see this often in the hospital setting. It is like a disconnect happens when we are struggling. In the time we need people the most we are unable to see the people who love and care for us and would do anything to help us. This is not always the case with some peoples relationships with family but most of the time our emotions cloud our judgement and we are unable to see the love around us nor accept it. So, how do we change this? How do we open ourselves up to be loved and cared for? We have to give up control and that can be difficult when often times when we are in crisis we are trying to hold on to any shred of control we still have out of fear. I HOPE that if I ever need help I let go of control so that I can be loved and cared for by my family. Love will get us through anything life could throw our way.

Declutter

I am in the midst of cleaning and decluttering before my in-laws get here. It is always amazing to me the amount of useless clutter we accumulate around our home. I come across items that are many years old and think to myself, why? I think it is because I do appreciate and care about many of the things I collect on special trips or that people have given me. They hold sentimental value but I have learned that sentimental or not they end up fighting for precious real estate in our cozy little home. I often think to myself, “If I hold on to all of this then will I be able to find my children in a few years?” “Declutter the mess in your home and your heart. Don’t let your past crowd out your future.” Dr Thelma Bryant-Davis. I think she summed it up perfectly. If you are not allowing yourself to get rid of things from time to time it really can hinder your future growth. We all change constantly and that cute little knickknack you bought to decorate your home 15 years ago may not really go with your design choices today. This is a great chance to practice living in the now and assessing your relationship to your things. If they become someone else’s treasure at Goodwill will you be any less you? You will still be you without that old favorite jacket you never wear anymore. I HOPE that in my decluttering process I can be mindful of how I am still me without my stuff. After all,it is the time and love that I share with my family that is more valuable than any of our things could ever be.

Fathers day bliss

Happy Fathers day to all the Dad’s who called in sick to stay home with the sick kid so mom could work. Happy Fathers day to the Dad’s who gave Mom a nap when she was exhausted. Happy Fathers day to all of the Dad’s who take verbal abuse from their 10 year old going on 30 year old daughters. Happy Fathers day to all the Dad’s who cook, launder, mop, take, pick-up, cheer-up and encourage. Happy Fathers day to the Dad’s who spend time, sacrifice, save, love, listen and guide. I feel extra proud that this wonderful holiday was founded in my home town of Spokane, Washington. In 1910, the first Fathers day celebration was held in Spokane WA, at the YMCA, by Sanora Smart Dodd and it was not until 1972 that president Richard Nixon finally signed it into law and honored it as a national holiday. I intend to spoil my husband all day long. He is a spectacular father to our children and an extraordinary father figure to so many more kids as a teacher and uncle. We are so blessed and lucky to have such a wonderful man in our life. Michael, I HOPE you enjoy your Fathers day bliss. A working definition of fathering might be this: fathering is the act of guiding a child to behave in ways that lead to the child’s becoming a secure child in full, thus increasing his or her chances of being happy and fruitful as a young adult. Clyde Edgerton
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/clydeedger628152.html?src=t_dad. Thank you all you Dad’s out there for all you do.

Surface

We only see things on the surface when that remains our focus. Our true selves are like icebergs with such a small portion of ourselves on the surface for others to see . We often only judge one another on what we see on the surface, on the outside but the inside is where the truth about who we are resides. I am filled with love for so many yet distractions on the surface in life limit my attention to all the people I love. I wish that I could stay in close contact with all of my friends and family but the worldly day to day makes it nearly impossible to talk to everyone I would like to daily, or even weekly. I could end up with little time for my immediate family, my job or myself. This has been the social problem throughout time leading to all of our current social media tools but It will never be a complete solution. It is therefore the time we spend together with those we love that we need to relish and appreciate much more. If I know that I am only able to have brief interactions a handful of times a year with a few of my friends then I am going to try to work on making those times more meaningful, loving and appreciated. We have this one life and I get a little nervous thinking about all the distracting things on the surface that keep me from giving my full attention to others. I HOPE to ignore more of the surface distraction and really try to be aware of others true selves. I am still working on getting to know my own. If we all lived our lives less distracted by all the things on the surface would we be kinder to one another? Would we appreciate each other a little more? I would like to think so. I would like to think that it is the worldly distractions of style, race, belief, size, gender, etc, that keep us from seeing our true connection to each other. The surface view can be a beautiful one but it can also be very destructive if that is all you are wrapped up in focusing on. It is what’s on the surface that divides and what is truth underneath that unites us. “When the music changes so does the dance.”-African Proverb. Luckily when our focus changes so does our perception of ourselves and others. If we remain focused on the surface we may miss the beauty beneath.

Paddle boarding

I went out to my sisters lake cabin with the boys today and had the great opportunity to try out the paddle board. It was terrifying and exciting all at once. I think I would have had more courage had it been warmer weather and warmer water. I was on my way home and was reminded of the horrible events in Florida recently. It is hard to imagine why people can be so cruel. We are all human yet still so divided. It is hard for me to understand what someone would have to believe in or think to carry out such senseless harm towards others. I recently read Alice Walker’s, (The Cushion in the Road: Meditation and wandering as the whole world awakens to being in harms way), and in it she talks a good deal on terrorism. I would imagine from her own history she was able to understand the senseless pain that people have inflicted upon other people for centuries. One of her quotes came to mind when thinking about the recent events in Orlando. “When the ax came into the forest the trees said the handle is one of us.” ― Alice Walker This made me think of how destructive we can become towards our own human kind. How this man was the axe in the woods with so many unsuspecting living trees. I am not sure if in such a fog of division the axe could be truly alive anymore. He had been severed from living growing trees many years prior and was only a piece of who he may have been before the evil choked him out. Still recognized as one of us but harboring a deep hatred toward his own human kind. It deeply saddens me and brings me toward prayer. It reminds me that we don’t always understand things that happen in this earthly world. It also reminds me that the war between good and evil goes on in all of us. I HOPE to continue to feed the good and trust in God’s promises. He kept me afloat today on that paddle board and his light has the unworldly power to illuminate the crap out of this horrible evil that took place in Florida. No one will ever be rewarded for harming anyone or anything life and love do not work that way.

Stubborn

Stubborn, me? “There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” ― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice. Thank you Jane Austen for speaking my sentiments perfectly. My stubbornness at times has a mind of its own. Perhaps that is it’s hidden relationship to my ego. Speaking of ego, I was thinking about ego the other day and how (Eeyore), the beloved Winnie the pooh character, may represent our negative scripted ego. His name even sounds like ego. Just thought that was an interesting coincidence. His character does not seem shakable, yet he is always negative and often has a rain cloud following him overhead. Stubborn for sure. I tend to think that stubbornness does serve a great purpose in life, but much of the time my stubbornness is more stuck in ego then I would like. I am trying to be more aware of this and adjust my behavioral sails accordingly. When it is clear that our thoughts and emotions precede any behaviors we may display, life becomes much more enjoyable and more manageable. I believe we have much more control over ourselves then we give ourselves credit for. We are so consumed with everything happening the way we want around us in our environment but we don’t have control over that. We do have control over our own actions and reactions to everything. I believe there are cases where this is not possible, for example in severe mental disorders when our brains are vulnerable to degeneration or trauma. It would not be fair to expect an individual with dementia, schizophrenia or any head injury to have much control over their actions in relation to their thoughts and emotions. Although, at times they still have the ability to work on flexing this awareness muscle to try and strengthen their ability to manage. It takes courage and stubbornness to really want to develop our awareness, no matter who we are. I HOPE that you allow yourself the chance to be stubborn and stand up for what you truly believe in, just make sure to check your ego(eeyore) at the door.