Fixing is not our job

Fixing is not our job. Wow! This hit home with me. As I read this, I thought back to different relationships, both friendships and romantic relationships, and realized how many times I had tried to fix someone or ended up parenting them. I often felt that I needed to fix them because they were broke in some form or fashion. This ranged from people who were abused as children up to grown men who still clung to their mothers. We need to remind ourselves that fixing is not our job.

Why do we do this? What causes us to feel like we need to fix or are responsible for others? Do we do this so that we don’t have to look at ourselves and see our broken pieces? Do we not know how to fix us if we are broken? Is it the mother instinct that we are born with?

What would happen if we took all of the energy we spend on fixing others, and used it to make a better version of ourselves?

Father’s Day

Yesterday was Father’s Day, and like so many people I went to visit my dad. I hadn’t visited him in a long time, but the place was just as it was last time I was there. I sat down across from him and a thousand memories flooded my mind. Memories from my childhood until my adulthood.

I let him about my upcoming surgery and confused that I was nervous. I talked about Logan’s, his oldest grandson, little girl and her turning 1. I mentioned to him that I had just gotten Tyler’s, his second grandson, invitation to his wedding. I laughed and told daddy that I couldn’t believe that tiny baby that I helped name was getting married in August. I let him about Kameron, my son, and how he seems to love his new job working on small engines. All he talks about is chainsaws now. I told him that Kasen, who is the youngest grandson, and how he will be starting middle school this fall. My baby is growing up.

All of my words were met with silence from my dad. He never committed, smiled, or laughed. Headstones never do.

I go to my dad’s grave to visit him and I sit at the foot of his grave. I look at his headstone as I would look into his eyes if he were there. The conversation is always one sided. There aren’t any cookouts to celebrate his day, no crazy cards given to him, or dad jokes. Just my voice drifting away on the wind and an ache in my heart.

I miss my dad. Our relationship was tense, we weren’t that close, and Lord knows he had his faults, but I still miss him. If your dad is still alive, go see him, tell him that you love him, talk to him. One day he will be gone and like me, you will only be able to talk to a headstone.

My Daddy!

Why Women Cry

A little boy asked his mother, “Why are you crying?” “Because I’m a woman,” she told him.

“I don’t understand,” he said. His Mom just hugged him and said, “And you never will.”

Later the little boy asked his father, “Why does mother seem to cry for no reason?”

“All women cry for no reason,” was all his dad could say.

The little boy grew up and became a man, still wondering why women cry.

Finally he put in a call to God. When God got on the phone, he asked, “God, why do women cry so easily?”

God said, “When I made the woman she had to be special.

I made her shoulders strong enough to carry the weight of the world,

yet gentle enough to give comfort.

I gave her an inner strength to endure childbirth and the rejection that many times comes from her children.

I gave her a hardness that allows her to keep going when everyone else gives up, and take care of her family through sickness and fatigue without complaining.

I gave her the sensitivity to love her children under any and all circumstances, even when her child has hurt her very badly.

I gave her strength to carry her husband through his faults and fashioned her from his rib to protect his heart.

I gave her wisdom to know that a good husband never hurts his wife, but sometimes tests her strengths and her resolve to stand beside him unfalteringly.

And finally, I gave her a tear to shed. This is hers exclusively to use whenever it is needed.”

“You see my son,” said God, “the beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair.

The beauty of a woman must be seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart – the place where love resides.”

Author: Unknown

What to Read?

By Kim Loggins-Saine

Are you an avid reader like me? If so, the question of what to read next is a nagging question. I decided to make an attempt of putting together a list of what to read. Wish me luck!

If you want to understand how trauma and its resulting stress harms us through physiological changes to body and brain, then I suggest The Body Keeps the Score. It is written by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.

https://www.amazon.com/Body-Keeps-Score-Healing-Trauma/dp/0143127748

If you want to have a better understanding of grief, I suggest The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise. It is written by Martín Prechtel. https://www.amazon.com/Smell-Rain-Dust-Grief-Praise/dp/1583949399

If you want to learn more about your true self, I suggest Parts Work. It is written by Tom Holmes, PhD. You can also read Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model by Richard C. Schwartz, PhD.

https://www.amazon.com/Parts-Work-Illustrated-Guide-Inner/dp/0979889715https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Internal-Family-Systems-Model/dp/0972148000

If you want to learn more about our self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy, then The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, is what I would recommend. https://www.amazon.com/Four-Agreements-Practical-Personal-Freedom-ebook/dp/B005BRS8Z6 or https://www.miguelruiz.com/the-four-agreements

I you are curious about how different blood types effect how we should eat, then Eat Right for Your Type, by Dr. Peter J.D’Adamo, is a great place to start. https://www.amazon.com/Right-Your-Type-Peter-DAdamo/dp/0061441848

If you enjoy thriller/suspense type of books, I suggest reading books by Iris Johansen or booking by Elizabeth Lowell

http://www.irisjohansen.com/booksh

ttps://www.elizabethlowell.com/

If you enjoy a sweet romance novel, Then my pick would be Catherine Anderson. Some of her books also feature people with disabilities and how they strive. These are my favorite books!

https://www.catherineanderson.com/

Since there are so many wonderful books are there, I am sure that I will be adding to this list as time goes by.

I’m Just Tired

I’m just tired was the answer that my friend gave me the other day when I was talking to her. She had a different tone in her voice, so I asked her what was wrong. “I’m just tired” she said. For some reason, her answer wasn’t good enough for me. So I asked her, what did that mean? She looked at me for a moment and gave me a weak smile and said “you know what that means”. I her that I didn’t know what she meant by it. Was she tired because she didn’t sleep well? Was she tired because she was getting sick? Was it a mental or physical tired?

What Does I’m Tired Really Mean

Yes, there are times when I’m tired, means, dang I need a nap! I didn’t get any sleep last night. But many times the answer is much deeper than that. My friend, was tired from emotional turmoil that her siblings are putting her through. She is in a battle everyday with them. They are relentless. She feels like she is in a losing battle and she wants to throw in the towel. She is done! But she doesn’t throw in the towel, because she is fighting for all of the right reasons. She’s simply tired of the drama, battle, and the emotional fatigue.

Sometimes I’m tired, means that a person is overwhelmed. Other times it can mean that the person is in sensory overload and needs time to be alone. Often times when I say that I’m tired, I really mean that I am mentally worn out because my thoughts take me down a rabbit hole or I spiral. I can’t turn off my brain or my negative self talk. I think about a problem and then another problem pops in my head and then another and then another. This is what I call my spiral.

So the next time someone tells you that they are tired, find out why. Lead a listening ear and maybe you can help them.

https://thoughtcatalog.com/sarah-schuster/2017/04/what-i-really-mean-when-i-say-im-tired/

In Case No One Told You Today.

I came across “in case no one told you today” on my FaceBook. It spoke to me. I think that as women we spend so much time building up our children, friends, and family that we forget to build ourselves up. I think that our family and friends forget that we need to be built up too. We need to hear that we matter, we are loved, and that we are valuable. The two that really spoke to me are ” You are stronger than you think” and “you are important no matter what lies you were told.”

When it comes to lie that we are told, they come from so many different places, and we are so use to them that we don’t even realize we are being lied to. The voices in our heads, those negative thoughts, are most often lies. The media lies to us. Movies and TV lies to us, we are not suppose to be model thin or be a size 2. We are women. Our bodies have carried and birthed children. We have worked hard and played hard. We’ve had surgeries and stitches. We have scars. We’ve had inward battles, and we have won.

At the end of the day, I am a strong women that has value. I was meant for this time and I was not a mistake. I am loved beyond measure and I am beautiful just the way I am.

We are women, hear us ROAR!

The Power of Water

This picture is so powerful to me! It leaves me in awe. Each person who sees this picture can take away something different. You can read it, and believe that the power of water at the top of the picture is talking about drinking water and it’s power and purpose for your body.

When I see it, I focus on the man. his fist are clenched and he is looking at the wheelchair as if he has beaten it. It looks as if he is daring the chair to challenge him at that moment. He has the look of a fighter. He knows that in this moment he is victorious.

Obedience Training

Nina, our office pup has been busy with her obedience training. Tiffany Hilton, the owner of, Golden Leash Pet Services, https://www.goldenleashpetservices.com/ has been coming to our office and working with us and Nina for the last few weeks. Tiffany is amazing with her (and us). When Nina seems to be getting tired or is losing interest Tiffany allows Nina to take a “brain break” and then we start again. Nina is a quick learner and wants to please us all.

Tiffany and Nina working on stay.

If you are looking for someone to help train your pup (and you), I recommend Tiffany. She gives you the tools that you and your pup need to be successful.

I Have Outgrown Many Things.

by Chanda Kaushik

I have outgrown many things.
I have outgrown relatives who gladly offer criticism, but not support.
I have outgrown my need to meet family’s unrealistic expectations of me.
I have outgrown girls who wear masks and secretly rejoice at my mistakes.
I have outgrown shrinking myself for those who are intimidated by my intelligence and outspoken nature both.


I have outgrown friends who cannot celebrate my accomplishments.
I have outgrown people who conveniently disappear whenever life gets a little dark.
I have outgrown those who take pleasure in gossiping and spreading negativity.
I have outgrown dull, meaningless conversations that feel forced.
I have outgrown those who don’t take a stand against ignorance and injustice.
I have outgrown trying to please everyone.


I have outgrown society constantly telling me I’m not beautiful, smart, or worthy enough to achieve anything.
I have outgrown my tendency to fill my mind with self doubt and insecurity decades ago.
I have outgrown trying to find reasons not to love my humble self.
I have outgrown anything and anyone that does not enrich the essence of my soul.
I have outgrown many things and I’ve never felt freer.

Reminder

This poem is a reminder to me that it is ok to change and outgrow people and situations that either hold me back or refuse to let me shine. Like the author, I feel like I have outgrown friends that tend to not care about me, only call when they need something, or can’t be happy for me when something good happens. I also have outgrown being the little girl that listened to the criticism of her family for choosing her own way. I no longer take part in conversations that are forced. I am trying to enrich my spirit. I am trying to be a better version of myself and because of that, I have no need for people who do not want me to succeed.

It’s ok to outgrown others. We have permission to do it. We have permission to change.

https://skyehelps.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1268&action=edit

National Rescue Dog Day

Today is National Rescue Dog Day. In a prior post I wrote about about how dogs help us and our mental health. https://skyehelps.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1117&action=edit I can’t image what my life would be without my rescue baby. Nor do I remember life without her.

Abbee, our sweet girl!

Abbee changed our family. She brought unconditional love with her. She always seems to know if me or one of the boys is down and needs her love. She minds and always wants to please us. We rescued Abbee from The Lumpkin County Animal Shelter when she was just a few months old. She is now 10. Even for her age, she is still very active. She loves to run and chase her ball and the squirrels. She sleeps on her dog pillow at night and usually has a cat snuggled up to her.

https://www.lumpkincounty.gov/164/Animal-Shelter and https://www.tlchs.org/ are the two humane societies that we have in Lumpkin county. If you are looking to add to your family by getting a dog or cat I hope you are considering a rescue. Rescues cost a lot less they buying a dog from a breeder. The rescues also will be spayed or neutered. I know that the Lumpkin County Animal Shelter also chips the pet prior to you leaving. Go check them out on their websites or in person. I mean, after all, today is National Rescue Dog Day.

Rejecting someone’s energy.

Can you reject someone’s energy? Yes, you can.

I love this one! Have you ever had someone near you that makes your anxiety kick in? You don’t know what it is, but there is something about that person that makes you anxious and you want to get away from them? Your body is rejecting their energy. This is your body letting you know that there is something about that person’s energy that yours does not like. Listen to your body! Your spirit, gut, or whatever you want to call it will pick up on things before your brain does. https://skyehelps.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1223&action=edit This link will take you to a prior post that I wrote about listening to your gut feelings. If you have the time, I would encourage you to read it, if you want more information on listening to your gut and rejecting others negative energy.

This link list signs that you shouldn’t ignore when it comes to listening to your body. https://lonerwolf.com/gut-instincts/

Christopher Robin

“You’re braver than you believe and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Christopher Robin

These are amazing and powerful words for our children to hear. Often times we hear our children saying things such as I’m not smart or I’m dumb. They may feel weak and fearful. It is our job as parents to make sure that we tell them daily that they are smart, brave, strong, and most importantly loved.

Children and PTSD

Just like adults, children can suffer from PTSD. The symptoms may look a little different in children, but it’s still PTSD.

First off, what is PTSD? PTSD is Posttraumatic stress disorder. This can occur after a very traumatic event. In prior history we associated PTSD with soldiers who had faced battle. Now we understand that it can affect anyone.

What can Cause PTSD in Children

  • Bad accidents, such as car wreck
  • Invasive medical procedures, especially for children younger than age 6
  • Animal bites
  • Natural disasters, such as floods or earthquakes
  • Manmade tragedies, such as bombings
  • Violent personal attacks, such as a mugging, rape, torture, or kidnapping
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual abuse
  • Witnessing the death of a loved one
  • Emotional abuse or bullying
  • Neglect

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD in Children

  • Have problems sleeping
  • Have nightmares
  • Feel depressed or grouchy
  • Not understand why they are crying
  • Change in eating habits
  • Feel nervous, jittery, or alert and watchful (on guard)
  • Lose interest in things they used to enjoy. They may seem detached or numb and are not responsive.
  • Have trouble feeling affectionate
  • Be more aggressive than before, even violent
  • Stay away from certain places or situations that bring back memories
  • Have flashbacks. These can be images, sounds, smells, or feelings. The child may believe the event is happening again.
  • Lose touch with reality
  • They may cling to the person that they feel safe with
  • Reenact an event for seconds or hours or, in rare cases, days
  • Have problems in school
  • Have trouble focusing
  • Worry about dying at a young age
  • Act younger than their age, such as thumb-sucking or bedwetting
  • Have physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches
  • Sometimes PTSD in children can look like ADHD

What to do as a Parent

If you notice these changes in your child and they persist, talk to their doctor. Get your child into counseling and keep every appointment. Listen to your child when they want to talk about what happened. You have to admit that the event happened and acknowledge it for your child. Let the child’s school counselor know what happened so they can check in on your child. Talk to their doctor about medications that could help your child. Take it seriously! Don’t just pass it off as nothing. Understand that your child may need you more. They may cling to you because you are their safety net.

https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/ptsd.html

https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=post-traumatic-stress-disorder-in-children-90-P02579

Mama Bear

I am a mama bear. Don’t mess with my kiddos!

If you were to ask me who or what I am, one of the first things that I will say is, I am a mom. I wanted to be a mom since I was a little girl and being a mom is my favorite thing. It is my most prestige title. I can’t image not being a mom now.

I have two boys. My oldest is 22 and my baby is 12. When it comes to my boys, I am the mama bear! I am protective of my cubs, regardless of their ages. With all of that said, if you mess with my boys, be prepared to get my wrath, anger, and sting.

Yesterday a counselor at my son’s elementary school stepped over the line. Earlier in the day she and I had discussed my son, a medication that he is on, and an issue that he was having. She encouraged me to call his pediatrician and inquire about changing the dosage of his medication.

Without going into a lot of details, my son already sees a counselor for PTSD and anxiety due to a traumatic event that he went through a couple of years ago. My son had seen her on Monday. (this with the school counselor happened on Tuesday). His private counselor knows his whole story and about his medication. https://www.aetna.com/health-guide/kids-anxiety-whats-normal-seek-help.html

Mama bear claws

So yesterday afternoon, I get a call from my son’s pediatrician’s nurse. Come to find out that the school counselor went behind my back and called my son’s doctor! She apparently told them, or left them a message, on what she thought we needed to do. Ironically she did not give them the whole story. And there recommendation was ridiculous! Especially since they didn’t have all of the information. My blood pressure went through the roof!

When I got off of the phone with the nurse, I called the school counselor. Luckily for her, she didn’t answer her line. I did leave her a voicemail. I told her that she had stepped over the line. That I was his mother and I could and would do what I needed to do for my child. I didn’t need her calling his doctor. I told her that she had undermined me and that I didn’t appreciate her doing this behind my back. Am I sure that her intent was good, but she crossed a line.

Now the question is, will she call me back, or will she avoid me.

https://skyehelps.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1373&action=edit

Your Song

What’s your song?

Have you ever heard a song and the lyrics of that song expressed exactly how you were feeling? The lyrics of the song might be the very words that you needed to hear. At that moment you crave that song and those words. They give you strength, courage, hope, or faith. The song may, may you cry tears that you need to shed. Music has a way to get to the very core of our being.

My story for today

This week has been a really tough week for me. If you have read any of my blogs from earlier this week, you will know that this week marks the 25 anniversary of my father’s death. https://skyehelps.com/he-took-his-own-life/ I have also been worrying about one of my best friends and I got some news that left me feeling disappointed.

All of this really took a toll on me. I went to bed feeling beaten and I woke up this morning feeling defeated. I felt like I wasn’t good enough and that maybe in this one area of my life I should give up and move on.

When I turned on my music this morning the songs shuffled to my song. My Fight Song. Hearing this song reminded me that I shouldn’t give up. It reminded me that I am powerful, I can make a difference, and I am definitely enough! Hear are the lyrics to Fight Song and a link to the video. I hope that they inspire you to fight today.

Fight Song Lyrics

Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

And all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

Losing friends and I’m chasing sleep
Everybody’s worried about me
In too deep
Say I’m in too deep (in too deep)
And it’s been two years I miss my home
But there’s a fire burning in my bones
Still believe
Yeah, I still believe

And all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

A lot of fight left in me

Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong (I’ll be strong)
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.

Know I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo1VInw-SKc

Dandelions

 Children everywhere rush to pick dandelions, so that they can close their eyes, make a wish, and blow the seeds into the air. (And so do some adults). I still make wishes on dandelions. Doing this reminds me of my childhood and always make me smile. Blowing and wishing on dandelions is something that my children do now and they always bring one to me so that I can make a wish.

In addition to granting wishes, many people believe that dandelion seeds will carry your thoughts and dreams to loved ones when you blow them into the air.

I love this thought. I love the idea that dandelions can carry my thoughts to loved ones that are waiting for me on the other side. It like sending them my love through the air and up to Heaven.

The Dandelion means:

Healing from emotional pain and physical injury alike. Intelligence, especially in an emotional and spiritual sense. The warmth and power of the rising sun. Surviving through all challenges and difficulties.

The meaning of dandelions hits home with me. My sister and I just got matching dandelion tattoos in memory of our dad who died by suicide 25 years ago. We both had a lot of emotional pain from his death that we had to work through. The fact that the dandelion represents surviving through challenges, reminds me that we made it through his death together. It made our bond stronger and brought us closer.

I always see the wishes and never the weeds.

https://www.mofga.org/resources/weeds/ten-things-you-might-not-know-about-dandelions/

Take my own advice

Last night I had to take my own advice. Let me explain what happened. Yesterday I wrote a blog / post about my dad taking his own life. It was a difficult piece to write. I cried as I wrote it and when I read it out loud. Writing it brought up a lot of memories, both good and bad.

My husband is always telling me that I don’t open up and talk to him and that I need to tell him what’s going on in my head. So last night I thought that I would read him what I had written about my daddy and it would give him an insight to where my head had been lately.

So I got my computer out, sat up straight (because I needed the courage), and read him what I had written. I had to stop a couple of times because my voice was breaking and I was choking back tears, but I finally made it through. When I was finished reading it, my husband said, “Cool” and rolled over and went to sleep.

I’m not sure what I was really excepting or what reaction I thought I would get. Maybe an I’m sorry baby, or I remember that day too. Something to acknowledge my feelings and me opening up and being vulnerable. I can tell you that “Cool” wasn’t it!

I was taken back by his words and actions. He is the one always asking me to share and opening up. When I did, I felt like he rejected me, didn’t care about my feelings, and didn’t even listen to me. Doubt crept in. My self-worth dropped. I had been vulnerable, and felt like I had been slapped in the face. I thought to myself, this is why I don’t open up. This is why I don’t talk about what’s going on in my mind.

After a few hours, I was still feeling the humiliation from it. Then I realized what I was doing to myself and decided to take my own advice. First off I told myself that what I wrote was powerful, important, and meaningful. I told myself that it could help someone, someday. I said that what my husband had done, was on him, not on me. I hadn’t done anything wrong and I was proud of myself for writing it. (positive self talk) I realized that I couldn’t control his reaction or his action, but I could control mine. (control what you can).

I got up and did the superhero pose. I just stood there and took in the power that I felt. I let the pose take away the negative vibes and replace them with positive vibes. I even said da da da!!

I will never have all of the answers and I will always be a work in progress. I’m ok with that. The good news is, I am learning and I am using what I’m learning in a positive way. https://skyehelps.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1210&action=edit

He took his own life

25 years. That’s how long it has been since my dad took his own life. Yesterday was the anniversary of his death. The anger and anguish are still with, me even after all of this time. The questions that I had then, are the same questions that I have now, but there are no answers. There is only silence.

I remember the evening that I got the phone call about my dad. I was at the Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga with some friends. My mom paged me, so I went back to my car to call her back on my bag phone. (This was before everyone had cell phones). The first thing that she asked me was who was with me. I told her and she wanted to talk to the friend that was right beside me. I asked her what was wrong? She asked me several times to let her speak to someone else and I told her no, she had to tell me what was going on.

The next few sentences changed my life. She said, “it’s your dad. He shot himself.” I asked her if he was ok and she said, “No baby, he’s not.” I remember screaming and crying. I remember getting in the car to go home and talking to my mom on the phone all the way home. I remember the empty and sick feeling I had. I thought I was going to throw-up. I couldn’t breathe. I thought I might die because of the pain and shock my body was going through.

The rest of the night and following days were a blur. I remember sitting at the funeral home with my sister, aunts and uncles to make arrangements. I remember saying that I wanted to see my dad and everyone trying to talk me out of it. My sister stood up for me and told everyone to let me, it was something that I had to do. I was going to do it regardless.

The night of visitation I got to go back to a room and see my dad for the last time. Other than a bruise on his cheek, he looked like he was sleeping peacefully. The funeral director wouldn’t let me stay long with him. So every time I got the chance I would sneak out of the visitation room and go back to the room where my dad was. I got caught more than once being in the room with him. I spent that time talking to him, asking him questions that he was never going to answer, and stoking his hair. I didn’t know how to say good bye when I didn’t understand anything.

I don’t know if my dad couldn’t take the loss of his mother, she died just a few week before, or if he couldn’t deal with his dad being terminal with cancer. Maybe he was just tired and fed up with this world. I still ask why weren’t my sister and I enough? Why didn’t he love us more? Did he even think about us prior to his decision? Did he think that we would be better off without him? I wonder what lies the devil was whispering in his ear. I wonder what demons he was fighting. I wonder if he had been planning this all along or if it was a quick, snap decision that he made.

I think about everything that he has missed. He wasn’t there when I got married. He has four amazing grandsons who would have adored him and he has a great granddaughter who just turned a year old. He has missed Christmas’ and Thanksgivings. He has missed graduations and birthdays. He has missed those just because days that are filled with laughter.

I think about the impact that it had on me and my self-worth. There was a period of time when I felt that if my own father didn’t love me, how could anyone else love me. I felt that I wasn’t worthy of love. I felt like I was the problem and that I was bad for people. I felt like a failure. I cut myself off from others. I didn’t want to ever get close to anyone or love anyone because it just led to pain. And for years I didn’t let anyone in. I closed myself off from feeling to deeply for anyone, other than the people that were already in my circle. Sadly, I didn’t realize what a injustice I was doing to myself.

I now realize that whatever it was, my dad had some reason for doing what he did. It breaks my heart that he felt that was the only way out, but I have excepted it. I realize that we were enough and that the battle he was fighting won. I realize that it wasn’t us, but the lies of the demons he was battling. I know that he loved us and I believe that he knew we loved him too.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Self-esteem

I think that all of us struggle with our self-esteem and self-worth. As women we spend so much time comparing ourselves to others and talking negative to ourselves that we lose sight of who we really are.

So I decided to make a list of ways to improve your self-esteem and self-worth.

Hero Pose

This is one of my favorites! The first time I saw anyone do this, was Amelia on Grey’s Anatomy. She was about to go into a very difficult surgery and she did it to boost your confidence. Now I will do this pose when I need a boost. I also have encouraged my son to do it when he needs a confidence boost. It’s empowering.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/strike-a-pose-the-super-hero-pose-for-greater-power_b_59a05026e4b0cb7715bfd507

Stop the negative self talk

Before you say it to yourself, think, would you say it to your best friend or spouse? It is really true? We have got to stop talking down to ourselves. Let’s face it, we talk to ourselves more than anyone else does. We have to tell ourselves the truth of our worth and value. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/self-esteem/art-20045374

Control What You Can

Wow! This is a big one for me. I want to be in control and I hate being out of control. So controlling what I can and letting go of what I can’t control is still a work in progress for me. Here’s an example, my sister and I decided to get matching tattoos for the 25th anniversary of our father’s death. We are half sisters, so we don’t have that same mother. I was afraid to tell my mom I was getting the tattoo because of how she feels about tattoos and my dad. So when I told her, I told her why we were going to get them, the meaning behind them, and why I felt that it was something that we should do. That was all I could control. I couldn’t control her response and I wasn’t going to argue with her. I also wasn’t going to let anything she said change my mind. Knowing what I could control helped me with the conversation and the end result. https://au.reachout.com/articles/how-acceptance-can-help-you-cope-with-things-out-of-your-control

Celebrate the Small Things

Give yourself a pat on the back for the small things that you do or accomplish! Tell yourself “good job” or “way to go” when you get something done. You can even dance to celebrate it! Ya’ll I do this when I clean house! I tell myself what a good job I did and how great the place looks. All the while I’m dancing around. I may look crazy, but it makes me feel good about myself. http://www.femestella.com/10-little-ways-to-boost-your-confidence/

Do What Makes You Happy

Stop trying to please everyone else around you and do what makes you happy. Trying to please others is exhausting. Half the time you can’t please them anyway. Be yourself and do what makes you happy. People that love you and want the best for you will be happy for you. When I started doing what made me happy, life got better. I was able to be myself. And that was a gift in and of itself. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tame-your-terrible-office-tyrant/201811/can-happiness-lead-confidence

Repeat Positives

If you can tell yourself negative things and believe them, then you can tell yourself positive things until your believe them. Yes, I know, this is easier said than done. Look in the mirror, or not, if you aren’t there yet, and tell yourself positive things. I am a good mother. I’m a fantastic friend. I deserve this job, promotion, etc. Every time a negative thought enters your mind, try to think of two positives. This is not an easy one for me. I have talked negative to myself for my whole life and that habit is hard to break. But I still try. And after a while you will start to believe the positive things that you are saying, even if you didn’t in the beginning. https://thriveglobal.com/stories/50-self-esteem-affirmations-repeat-them-daily-to-build-self-worth/

Things to help you relax

Things to help you relax

I can be uptight.  I get weighed down by my own thoughts and responsibilities.  I need things to help me relax.  So I decided to share a few things that work for me. Enjoy!

Breathing

Sounds simple, right?  I take deep breaths with my eyes closed and release it slowly.  I also listen to my breathing as I do this exercise.  And I do this for as long as it takes for me to feel relaxed. 

https://www.allinahealth.org/healthysetgo/thrive/breathe-in-and-breathe-out-the-calming-effects-of-deep-breathing

Soaking in a warm bath or taking a long shower

Water relaxes me.  I don’t have to be in the water, I can just see it. One of the things that I do is soak in a warm bath, with bubbles or bath salts and the lights off.  (I have a night light I will turn on if I need to).  Usually when I’m in the bath everyone else leaves me alone.  If I need to relax and my shoulders and neck are holding all of the tension I will take a long shower.  I will just stand under the water and let it flow over me.  I will stay in until the water gets cold or I feel like I’m relaxed.

  https://www.verywellmind.com/relieve-stress-with-a-bath-meditation-3144781

Yoga

I know that yoga may not be for everyone, but everyone should at least give it a try.  Yoga relaxes me.  I focus on breathing and listening to my body.  The movements are slow and the music is relaxing. (added bonus).  It also allows me to see what my body can do. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/yoga-for-anxiety-and-depression

Listen to soothing music

The key here, for me, is the soothing part.  I need music that is calming.  I also listen to different CD’s that are natural sounds.  My favorite one right now is thunderstorms.  I even go to sleep at night listening to it.

Write or keep a journal

I love to read and write so this one is a no brainer for me.  I will write poems, write my feelings, and even letters that I will never mail. These letters have been to people I have lost and to people that have hurt me. Sometimes I write and then shred it up. But getting whatever is eating at me out, helps, and I feel better afterwards. https://www.verywellmind.com/journaling-a-great-tool-for-coping-with-anxiety-3144672

Take a walk

When I need to relax sometimes I go for a walk.  I clear my head.  I listen to the sounds around me. I even run sometimes.  Sometimes it relaxes me and sometimes it just wears me out. Either way, my mind and body are in a different place than when I started.   https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/30/well/move/an-awe-walk-might-do-wonders-for-your-well-being.html

Get a massage

I love to get a massage!  Oh my goodness, an hour with someone working on my muscles and getting the tension out of them relaxes me to the point I could fall asleep.   https://sageblossommassage.com/5-ways-massage-makes-you-feel-better/

Sing out loud and dance like nobody’s watching

I will turn on my favorite song(s) and sing as loud as I can.  I dance around and hope no one is watching, but if they are, they can join in.  Usually these are upbeat songs and they help me relax and refocus.  Plus I laugh at myself and laughter is the best medicine.

Laugh

Hey I just said that laughter was the best medicine. Did you think it wouldn’t make the list?  Find something to laugh about or laugh at yourself.  Even if you fake it in the beginning.   https://experiencelife.lifetime.life/article/8-ways-to-laugh-more/

Play with your pet

Oftentimes my dog can sense when I need her.  She will jump up in my lap and give me kisses while I pet her.  Petting her and the warmth of her body next to mine relaxes me for some reason.  Maybe it’s because she loves me and doesn’t want anything else from me but love. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/mood-boosting-power-of-dogs.htm

Scream

Sometimes I just have to scream!  I hold so much in or over think so many things sometimes screaming helps.  I guess it takes the energy that I put into over thinking and puts it into the scream.  Afterwards, I feel better.

I am sure that there are many other ways that I relax, but these are my top few.  I hope that they help you.

Mighty Oak

Mighty Oak

 Kathy J Parenteau  More By Kathy J Parenteau

Stand tall, oh mighty oak, for all the world to see.
Your strength and undying beauty forever amazes me.
Though storm clouds hover above you,
Your branches span the sky
In search of the radiant sunlight you
Count on to survive.
When the winds are high and restless and
You lose a limb or two,
It only makes you stronger.
We could learn so much from you.
Though generations have come and gone
And brought about such change,
Quietly you’ve watched them all,
Yet still remained the same.
I only pray God gives to me
The strength he’s given you
To face each day with hope,
Whether skies are black or blue.
Life on earth is truly a gift.
Every moment we must treasure.
It’s the simple things we take for granted
That become our ultimate pleasures.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com

Pain Ends

Pain Ends

By Katy A. Brown More By Katy A. Brown

Breathe in the fresh air,
Put your mind at ease.
Let down your hair,
Let it flow in the breeze.

Let your eyes wander
To all the beauty to be seen.
If those toxic thoughts you still do ponder,
Then let out a scream.

Scream until the pain is gone,
Until you no longer feel afraid.
Open your eyes to a new dawn,
Let the darkness fade.

No longer compare yourself
Or your flaws to others’ perfections.
Take the negativity off the shelf.
Focus on your direction.

Pick the sadness up off the floor,
Sweep it into the wind.
Close the door on self-hatred.
Never let it back in.

For the lies it would often tell you,
You will no longer agree.
Happiness and love are what you should hold onto.
They are whom you should give the key.

Pay no attention to the toxic thoughts,
Listen to those who adore everything you are.
Overthinking was what you once were taught,
But now those thoughts you put in a jar.

Focus on your goals,
Never lose your fight.
It’s time to open new scrolls.
Everything will be all right.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com

Be You

Be you. I have spent so much of my time and energy trying to be what others expected me to be. I would hide myself because of the expectations that were placed on me. I sacrificed my happiness to make others happy. I have given up some of my dreams because others told me they were a waste of my time or that they were stupid.

I don’t know if I made others happy or not. I do know that I wasn’t happy. Living up to expectations was exhausting. Giving up my dreams was heartbreaking. I ended up being who people thought I should be, and not being me.

It wasn’t until I gave up trying to please others and stopped trying to be who they wanted me to be before I found freedom. I found myself.

Toxic Family Members

Most of us know how to avoid toxic people, but what about toxic family members? How do we avoid the people that we have to be around? First, we need to look at and identify their behaviors.

Behaviors of Toxic Family Members.

  • They want Control. They expect you to make the decision(s) that they want you to make, not your own. They put you down or belittle you if you don’t. 
  • They Micromanage everything in your lives. They need to have a say and control over every aspect of your life.
  • They make Threats. They may tell you things will be taken away or refused unless you do things a certain way. Their way. Your views and feelings are not taken into account, only theirs.
  • They constantly Criticize. They criticize your life, your views, your friends, opinions, religious beliefs, dress code, and career choices.
  • They Gaslight. They turn things they have said around, to make you feel like you are the problem and you have misunderstood/ confused things.
  • They Blame. It is always you. You are the reason something isn’t good; you are the problem and you are causing the toxic family member to feel bad.
  • They Dismiss your feelings. You are not given a voice, a choice or a second thought.
  • They Neglect. They do not take care of a minor if unwell; They do not provide proper food and emotional support. They do not take any interest in you.
  • They abuse you Emotionally . They use the silent treatment, laughing/making fun of an individual, verbal abuse, and mind games.
  • They Lie. They tell lies to cover up things said and done, or to manipulate you. https://natashaadamo.com/toxic-family-members/

Feelings That They Make Us Feel.

I’m not good enough.

I’m a failure.

I messed up again.

They aren’t proud of me.

I need to do better.

I need to be better.

I’m not important.

They May Not Know.

There are times when the family member does not know that they are being toxic. In their own way they are trying to help you. If it’s a parent, sometimes they want you to do as they want you to do because they don’t want you making the same mistake(s) that they made. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/heres-how-to-deal-with-toxic-family-members

I was an adult with children of my own before I realized that a family member in my life was toxic. I never felt like what I did was good enough. I always felt that I fell short. I didn’t feel like they were proud of me, because every time I accomplished something, I was told “it’s about time” or “I thought you already had done that.” Every time I tried to share something good, I ended up feeling awful.

Once I realized it, I focused on why. Why did this person always do this to me? Why did I allow it to happen? I believe that it came down to their own insecurities, jealousy, and up bringing. Realizing the why, helped me to navigate. I also had a talk with them about how I felt and what they did to me. They didn’t even realize what they were doing.

Now I am selective about what I tell this person. I have made boundaries that I keep in place. I also understand that often times what they say is more directed at themselves than at me. I try to use reflective listening with them, and let them know that I understand where they are coming from, but I have to do things my way.

Doctors that we need!

Here is a list of the 7 doctors that we need in our lives.

I love this list! it was posted on sun-gazing.com I gave this list a good bit of thought before I added it to the blog. I realized that all seven of these things make me feel so much better. They help with depression, anxiety, weight, and my overall being. http://www.facebook.com/sungazing

Think about it, don’t you feel better, happier, and less stressed when you are out in the fresh air and sunshine? I enjoy walking, so I get the exercise, sunshine, and fresh air all at once.

I read a book years ago, Eat Right For Your Blood Type, https://dadamo.com/. When I follow the diet that is right for my blood type, I feel amazing! It’s crazy, but there is a difference. I have more energy and feel less sluggish.

We have heard all of our lives that laughter is the best medicine. And it is!! So laugh today. Get outside in the sun and breath in the fresh air. Walk your dog. Drink some water. Eat how you know that you should and get the rest that you need.

Have a wonderful day!

I just need me time.

I just need me time. Just 5 minutes alone would be wonderful. The day was stressful. The bills are due and money is low. The dog puked, again and the male cat marked his territory on pictures on my grandfather that just passed away. I need just a few moments to calm down, regroup, and breath.

But the dogs are barking and wanting to go outside. The husband needs to talk about his day and the stress of his job. The youngest is wanting to know what’s for supper and the oldest one is wanting to talk about his girlfriend and moving out. On top of all of that the phone is ringing and my best friend is crying.

I want to scream!, What about me? Can I not have just a moment to myself? There is only one of me and so many of you! I feel like a juggler who has to many balls in the air and they are all falling.

Am I alone? Does anyone else ever feel this way? I love my family and my life, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed because everyone needs me at the same time. Years ago I would let this get to me and I would end up ill with everyone and everyone would end up with their feelings hurt or mad.

How did I change?

So I changed my way of thinking. I realized that I have been away all day and that they all love me and need my attention. I realized that this is a blessing and I end up smiling in the chaos. I give them my attention for however long they need it. As a result, I am able to have a little time for me. I have come to understand that I am the foundation of my family. They need me. They need me to listen to them. Once I started looking at it from this angle, I realized that I am blessed to have a family who loves to be with me.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-introverts-corner/201406/what-say-when-you-need-some-alone-time

Women

I love the meaning behind this. In many ways it explains the heart of a women perfectly. Whatever we are given, we will make it greater. Whether it is love, compassion, a house, or a hard time. Women will go out of their way to make more of what we are given.

Anxiety and Depression

https://beatingtrauma.com/

I would have to say that this is the most accurate description of anxiety and depression that I have seen. Often times you are so tired. It’s more of an emotional tiredness than a physical tiredness. You want to be productive, but either fear of failure or the tiredness stops you. It’s wanting to be with your family and friends, but the thought of being around people makes your anxiety go up and you start to feel overwhelmed. You want to be alone, because it feels safe and you want to feel loved. It’s wanting to close yourself off from everything and everyone and needing a hug from the ones that you love.

People who have never dealt with anxiety and depression don’t understand the constant battle.

It didn’t happen for a reason

Source https://www.facebook.com/theadversitywithin/

Often times people will tell us that “it happened for a reason” to try to make us feel better. However, sometimes it just pisses us off. When a loved one dies, it happening for a reason, does not make the grief any easier. It belittles our feelings and our grief. The greatest love is also the greatest grief. Share that with someone and let them express their love/grief for the one that they lost.

Good Grief! The pain of loving our children

Clair adopted Jane as a baby. Clair never had any other children and relished pouring all her mothering into Jane. Clair did everything “right;” sent Jane to all the best schools, fed her all the healthy foods, exposed her to all the right people, and provided her with all the love and care she possibly could.

Even so, Clair never felt fully connected to Jane. Jane seemed odd and distant. Clair got Jane the best psychological care she could find and continued to raise Jane with all the love in her heart.

Jane found alcohol in her early adulthood and plunged head first into a life of substances. She married a few times and had a few kids. She smoked weed and drank alcohol everyday. Jane blamed Clair for her problems while refusing help that Clair offered.

Clair came to me originally because she didn’t want to feel the pain caused by her relationship with Jane. We worked through finding Clair’s intent and only taking responsibility for that. We practiced Clair speaking her truth with conviction while keeping her intent at the center of her mind.

Clair became proficient at recognizing the difference between what she can control and what she can’t. Clair realized that she cannot control how her daughter hears or responds to the love and care that she offers. She recognized that she cannot make her daughter feel better.

Shortly after learning and practicing this skill, her daughter was driving drunk and had a terrible accident. Jane had a brain injury and broken bones and had to learn to swallow, speak, and walk again. After 6 weeks in the ICU and a grueling decision about whether or not to take Jane off life support, Jane’s doctors took her off some of her medications and Jane began to improve.

Clair took Jane home from the hospital, and as mothers do, Clair reorganized her entire life around caring for Jane. Jane still wanted nothing to do with Clair and refused any help that Clair offered, unless it was cash money. After only two weeks of being home, Jane left and went back to an abusive boyfriend, drinking, and smoking; leaving Clair to pick up the pieces of her broken heart.

We love our children like no one else in our lives. If you never have children, this kind of love is impossible to fathom. We don’t even know it exists until we have a child of our own. Parental love is unconditional and it doesn’t exist anywhere else. Unfortunately our children don’t always love us unconditionally. And that imbalance can be extremely painful.

The pain the Clair would feel when thinking about Jane was emotional and physical. Clair’s body would react to her grief by clenching her throat and stomach. Her breath would catch and her shoulders would seize. Sometimes it felt as though the love she felt for her daughter was strong enough to kill her. Sometimes, in the dark moments, she even wished she would die.

We are at the beginning of this new wave of grief that Clair is experiencing. She will need time to talk about it and sort through the different parts of herself: the part that is angry, the part that is sad, the part that is resentful, and the part that will always, without question or reservation, love Jane unconditionally.

We will get through this together and Clair will feel less heart ache as she works through her grief. It’s good grief because the love we feel is worth all the pain.

Gut Instinct

What is Gut Instinct?

Gut instinct is defined as:  gut instinct or intuition, is your immediate understanding of something; there’s no need to think it over or get another opinion—you just know. Your intuition arises as a feeling within your body that only you experience. … Because of this, trusting your intuition is the ultimate act of trusting yourself.

But is there a difference in our gut instinct and our intuition? To me, gut instinct is more of our bodies way of telling us something. Our primal wisdom or voice. Our intuition, to me, is more of a connection in our mind or a spiritual wisdom or voice.

Pay Attention to your Gut Feelings!

I believe in paying attention to your gut feeling. Here is one of my stories when I listened to my gut and I was glad I did.

Years ago when I was about 18 or 19 me and my friends hung out in Gainesville on Friday and Saturday nights. This particular night a car went up the road passed the parking lot we were all hanging out in. (Bare in mind this is where every teenager was at that time. We were cruising!) I looked at my boyfriend and I said “we have got to get out of here. That car is going to come back and they have a gun. It’s my gut feelings again.” Luckily, my boyfriend knew how I was with my gut feelings and didn’t ask questions. We jumped into his car and were at the top of the driveway when sure enough the same car drove by on the same side of the street that we were all on and fired a few shots. No one was hurt.

What Feelings to Listen to.

1 – I am in danger or someone else is in danger. When you “feel” that you are in danger or someone else is in danger, listen to your body. Your primal voice is telling you something. Your body knows something that your mind doesn’t yet.

2 – This is not the right choice for me. Sometimes you don’t know why something is wrong for you, you just feel it. Listen, and take time. If it is the wrong choice you will be glad. If for some reason it is the right choice then it will come back around to you.

3 – I need help. This one, to me, can be a wide range of ways that we need help. This can be when you feel like you are in danger, when you are sick, or when you feel that you need help and need to talk to a therapist. There are times when we simply feel that something is off with our bodies, and we need to seek help.

This link https://lonerwolf.com/gut-instincts/ has a list of 7 gut feelings that should not be ignored.

Be Kind to Yourself!

Remember to be nice to yourself. Why do we tell ourselves “junk” that we would never say to someone else? Talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend, child, or loved one. Build yourself up just like you build them up.

PTSD

There is a difference between general anxiety and anxiety from PTSD.

https://www.facebook.com/cptsdandme

I think the key word here is REMEMBERING. When we remember what happened, we also relive it.

National Find A Rainbow Day

April 3rd is National Find A Rainbow Day. https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/find-a-rainbow-day/

Why do we have a day for Rainbows?

The objective of this day was to bring out the awareness of the colors and above all the world is full of beauty and colors. This is the idea behind a day devoted to rainbows, because you can‘t help smiling when you see the bright, cheery bands of color.

What are Rainbows?

 Rainbows Are Optical Illusions. Similar to a mirage, a rainbow is formed when light rays bend, creating an effect that is visible, but not able to be touched or approached. For rainbows, light is reflected and refracted through water droplets, separating white light into the seven colors of the spectrum.

What do Rainbows mean?

Many cultures believe that rainbows are a symbol of hope, promise, encouragement, good fortune, and new beginnings. For some reason we see rainbows as a “sign” that they have been looking for. Sometimes they see it as a sign for a change (new beginning). Some people believe that a rainbow is a loved one saying hello or smiling down on them.

https://paranormal.lovetoknow.com/about-paranormal/spiritual-meaning-rainbow

To me, rainbows are the promise after the storm. After a storm in my life, or a long, hard struggle, I often see a rainbow. It fills me with hope that better days are coming my way. They fill me with encouragement, that I am a survivor. Rainbows remind me of God’s promises and love.

When I see a rainbow I feel loved. I get a sense of warmth and I always smile. I don’t feel lonely when I see a rainbow and I often find myself saying hello to someone that is no longer here with me.

What do you believe rainbows mean? How do they make you feel inside? Do they make you smile? Let’s go out and find a Rainbow Today!

Seeking Therapy

Remember seeking therapy means that you are working on you! You are working on being the best version of yourself.

https://www.facebook.com/cptsdandme/

There are times when all of us need to work through something. Sometimes we just need to work on ourselves. There is no shame in talking to a therapist. It doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you, it just means that you are a work in progress. But, hey aren’t we all!

Check out SkyeHelps facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/skyehelps

Spring – Rebirth – Growth – Changing Me!

I love Spring!  My allergies hate it.  But there is something magical about seeing mother earth wake up and the plants, trees, and flowers being reborn.  There is something enchanting about watching the honey bees dance and birds playing and singing in the trees. 

Spring, to me, is all about rebirth and growth.  I do not make New Year’s Resolutions, I tend to make my changes (to me) in the Spring. This is when my heart is full.  Changes do not have to be big, I don’t plan on losing 20 pounds before bathing suit season.  No, my changes are small and heartfelt.  My changes are changes for me, about me, and better me.

A few of my changes.

Here are some changes that I am trying and doing that I would love to share with you.

1 – I have fallen in love with yoga!  I can have an hour of quiet time, learning my body, stretching my body, and focusing on me.  I get to re-center myself. https://www.facebook.com/yogaroad.withblair/

2 – With warm weather, I am walking the trails, roads, and parks again!  Fresh air fills my lungs, birds sing to me.  I can think and sort out problems.  This is when I can make a plan. I also get to meet people and pet amazing dogs. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/georgia/lake-zwerner-aka-yahoola-creek-reservoir–2

3 – Teas!  I know this one may sound a little crazy, but I have discovered hot teas and cold teas.  (I’m used to Lipton sweet tea)  I am loving our little tea shop by our office.  I have tried four different teas now (without sugar or sweetener) and they are better than my sweet tea.  https://www.myvintagegypsyteas.com/

4 – New skincare treatment.  Yup, today I went and updated my skincare routine and got new products.  Sadly, in 2020 I did not take care of me or my skin.  Right now I have a healthy glow and I feel beautiful.  

5 – I cleaned out my closet!  I got rid of clothes that I do not like, that do not fit, and that I have not worn in a year or more.  Why do I keep that shirt thinking I’ll wear it one day when I haven’t worn it in a year? That thing has got to go!

6 –   I am taking the advice of prior posts! Yup, I am taking my own advice.  I am protecting my energy.  There are calls that I am not answering.  I am telling people what I want and need. ( they can’t read my mind).  I am following my dreams even when others want to rain on them and discourage me. I am taking time to be alone.

7 – I am learning and practicing positive self talk. (More on this later).  I am paying attention to my thoughts and when I realize that I am using negative self talk, I acknowledge it, and change it.  https://cynthiakane.com/how-to-communicate-like-a-buddhist/

8 – Letting go of guilt.  Wow, this is a hard one to do.  But, I feel guilty about things that I literally have no control over and had/have nothing to do with.  I am changing and I won’t allow myself to feel guilty with my positive changes if that means leaving someone who is toxic behind.  (Before I would feel guilty for not being friends with someone even when I knew that they were toxic for me).

7 Common Expressions of Self-Talk

Overreaction

1 – Overreaction – is negative self- talk such as “Everything is wrong” or “everything is awful” According to Cynthia Kane the catchphrases with overreaction are “Everything is….. Every time I….. This is the wrong thing……”

I thought about when I use overreaction negative self-talk. Mine usually is directed towards my eating habits and exercising habits. One great example was just the other day, for the past few weeks I had been really focusing on what I was putting into my body. I was eating better and was cutting out the sweet tea. Then BAM I ate the large peanut butter cookie with fudge drizzle from the sandwich and bakery shop. After I ate the cookie the voice in my head said “well stupid, you just ruined everything that you worked for the last few weeks.

In reality, that one cookie didn’t undo EVERYTHING I had been working on. It was a setback. Or, maybe I deserved that one cookie! The next meal I was on track again.

Personalization

2 – Personalization – is the negative self-talk taking responsibility for everything or the situation at hand. According to Cynthia Kane the catchphrases with personalization are “It’s my fault that… I’m responsible for…”

I feel like as a wife, mother, and employee, I use this negative self-talk a lot. I use it on large and small scales, anything from being late to family arguments. One that came to my mind was my oldest son missing an appointment. I told myself that it was all my fault that he missed it because I didn’t call and remind him an hour or so before. I felt bad all day and I owned that responsibility.

When I step back and look at the situation I know that it was not my fault. First off my son is an adult. Secondly, it was on the family calendar. Third, I reminded him of it the week before, the day before, and sent him a text that morning.

Absolute Language

3 – Absolute language– is the negative self-talk when we allow ourselves to take a description and make it apart of who we are. According to Cynthia Kane the catchphrases with personalization are “I am… I am not…”

I think we have all said to ourselves, “I’m not good enough” or I am fat.” Others that I say are “I am ugly” “I am dumb” “I’m not enough.” We need to look at it and express it to ourselves in different ways. I am not dumb, but sometimes I simply do not have the answer. I can however, look it up and find it.

Assumption

4 – Assumption – is the negative self- talk when we assume that we know what someone else is thinking and it is a negative thoughts in regards to us. According to Cynthia Kane the catchphrases with personalization are “They think… They feel… They did this/that because.

Holy cow!! Man I am GREAT at assuming. My husband and I have really had to work on assumptions in our marriage. (and we have had to learn how to talk to each other.) Just yesterday my husband woke up grumpy (he works nights). He was quiet, reserved, gave short answers. So my assumptions went wild. He is mad at me. I have done something wrong. He doesn’t want to be here. I forgot something. What did I say?

When I finally asked him what was wrong, he told me that he had gotten to bed late and was tired. His back was also hurting him and had been hurting him all day.

Expectation

5 – Expectation – is the negative self-talk when we don’t look at what we have achieved only at the higher expectation that we set. According to Cynthia Kane the catchphrases with personalization are “This isn’t how I wanted it… I am supposed to be… This isn’t how its supposed to be…”

I use my oldest son as an example on this one. He is 22, works a full time job, pays his bills, has a lovely girlfriend, great friends, and he still lives at home. He doesn’t look at all he has accomplished already, but he says I’m supposed to be out on my own by now. I shouldn’t be living at home. We have to stop him and make him look at what he has and what he has done. He has many years to live out of his own, but he can take advantage of being at home and saving money so he can move out down the road.

Comparison

6 – Comparison – is the negative self-talk that we don’t measure up. According to Cynthia Kane the catchphrases with personalization are “I wish I could be… Their life looks better than mine…They have way more that I do…They always look so put together.”

I experienced this one yesterday. I went to see a friend who sells skincare products. She is beautiful, young, energetic, and always put together. She looks like she wakes up and can be on the cover of a magazine. Oh and she is amazingly sweet!! It is very easy for me to compare myself (in a negative way) to her. I am not as young, energetic, or beautiful. And most days I am far from put together. So I can feel inadequate to her.

As we were talking and laughing she admitted that she was a little jealous of me because I have great skin. She went on to say that she wished she had skin like mine. Image my surprise when the one I compared myself to was comparing herself to me.

Regret

7 – Regret – is the negative self-talk is simply beating ourselves up over things we did or didn’t do in our past. According to Cynthia Kane the catchphrases with personalization are “I never should have done… That will haunt me for the rest of my life… If that had never happened, I would be…”

One of my biggest regrets is not finishing college when I was just out of high school. I have said, “If you stayed in school, you would not be broke now.” (which by the way has regret and expectations.) Paying for my Master’s as an adult is difficult, but when I think about who I was and who I am now, I realize that I am on the right path now. Back then I don’t think that I would have made the right choice in my education and career.

Where to find it

If you want more information on how to silence your negative self-talk and exercises to practice, click on the link below. The book that I am currently reading and learning from is Talk to Yourself Like A Buddhist.

https://cynthiakane.com/how-to-communicate-like-a-buddhist/

Spring!!

Since the Daffodils are in full bloom, I thought this was a good Poem to start the day. I hope everyone wears their crown today.

THE DAFFODILS

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, 1770 – 1850

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. https://openoregon.pressbooks.pub/poetry/chapter/1-poems-about-spring-renewal-rebirth/

Permission Granted.

I love this! It reminds me to protect ME. This gives me permission to do things that would normally make me feel guilty. At times we all need permission to NOT do certain things that are not good for us at that moment.

Things That You Don’t Need to Feel Guilty About

I LOVE this list!!! I think that one that was left off is taking time for yourself.

I know as a parent and wife, I use to feel guilty about taking time for just me, and only me. I felt like taking time for myself was selfish, but I realized that I needed me time so that I could be a better mother and a better wife.

We Are All Like a Tree.

Our branches:

Like the branches on a tree, our paths, choices, rights, wrongs, decisions, our own negative thoughts about ourselves and mistakes spread out over our lives.  They can cast shadows over us or they can allow the sun to shine in.  But these are things that we can change, like a branch, we can cut them off.  We can change our path or our decisions. We can remove people or cut them out of our lives or allow negative people to stay in and cast shadows over us.

Our trunk: 

Like the trunk of a tree our bodies absorb whatever we allow to enter them.  Positive or negative, good or bad.  We can “feed” it healthy thoughts and feelings or we can “feed” it junk and crap and negative thoughts about ourselves.  But, in the end, we can still “cut down” or change the trunk of our tree.  We can even go as far as to dig up the stump if we cut our tree down.

Our Roots:

Oh but the roots – our true selves!  That’s where the magic is in our tree.  You can’t change or remove all of those roots or our true self.  Think about the root system of a tree, the roots can go for yards and yards. You can’t dig all of the roots up, you just try to cut through them.  Your roots, that’s your true self, that’s who you really are.  The loving person, the compassionate person, the responsible person, the honest person, the nurturing person.  This is the person who cries in Old Yeller, the same person who feels empathy for others and the person (roots / true self) that the world can’t change.  

So embrace your inner tree.  Cut off branches that weigh you down. Get rid of the branches that don’t let the sun in.  Feed your trunk positive self-talk, healthy thoughts and feelings.  Feed your body all the good stuff.  Let your roots run wild!

 https://blog.tentree.com/10-life-lessons-you-can-learn-from-trees/

Mindfulness in Minutes

What is mindfulness? We hear so much about it, but do you know what it is? Mindfulness is a type of meditation.

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. https://www.mindful.org/what-is-mindfulness/

It allows you to focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment.

Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.

Mindfulness can be achieved in just a few minutes. You do not need an hour to meditate. In the book Mindfulness On The Go, author Padraig O’Morain gives wonderful ideas on how to practice mindfulness in just moments and they fit into your busy life. https://www.padraigomorain.com/mindfulness-on-the-go-book/

Some of the benefits of mindfulness are:

– it lowers stress

– it lowers anxiety

– it can lower the risk of depression

– it allows you to handle anger in a different way

– it allows you to handle resentment in a different way

– it allows to you accept things that you can not change

– it can boost your creativity

One exercise that I personally like to do with my son, he just turned 12, when he is feeling overwhelmed and anxious is what I call the rule of 5. He has to close his eyes and tell me 5 things that he can hear while taking deep breaths. He has to tell me things that he smells (this is usually less than 5) and he has to tell me 5 things that he can feel.

Usually the conversation goes something like, “I hear the car passing on the road, the neighbors dog barking, the bird singing, the air/heat just turned on, and my breathing. I smell the simmering pot, I feel my clothes, I feel the air on my skin, I feel the cats fur, I feel my breathing, I feel the blanket…..

By the end of the exercise he is calmer. He is more relaxed. This is just mindfulness. It brings him back to a center and then we can talk about what was going on to cause him the stress in the beginning.

Check out Padriag O’Morain on Twitter talking about mindfulness. https://twitter.com/PadraigOMorain?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

Inspiration of the Day

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover. — Mark Twain

Trauma, Yoga, and Healing

Therapeutic yoga supports your journey of  healing from trauma, depression, anxiety, grief, pain, stress, and other obstacles the we all face in life.   Therapeutic yoga teaches us how to listen to your body and what it is trying to tell you.  You will also learn how to connect your mind,  body, and spirit. https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Body_Keeps_the_Score/vHnZCwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=0 In chapter 16 of book The Body Keeps The Score the author, http://Bessel van Den Kolk, MD talks about learning how to inhabit your body with yoga. One of the lines in this chapter that struck a cord with me was:

“Yoga is about looking inward instead of outward and listening to my body, and a lot of my survival has been geared around never doing those things. ”

Yoga is a powerful way to learn and apply Mindfulness. Research shows that yoga helps us reconnect our minds with our bodies and get “unstuck” from patterns of anxiety, depression, traumatic memory, or behavioral disorder. Yoga is an Accessible Practice. Everyone can practice yoga, no matter how old or young, mobile or limited, flexible or stiff, active or sedentary. Therapeutic yoga focuses on specific and individual needs. You can do it, no matter where you are starting from. If you’re looking for a way to deepen your recovery, or simply improve your quality of life, yoga is a gentle and effective method. 

If you are interested in more information on  Yoga classes that supports your journey of healing from life’s hardest stuff: trauma, anxiety, depression, grief, pain, etc. link on the link provided. https://www.facebook.com/yogaroad.withblair/ Blair can offer you information on her classes and her teaches techniques. (She is Amazing ya’ll!)

Random acts of kindness.

When I am having a bad day performing random acts of kindness puts me in a better mood.  It honestly makes me feel better and even makes me smile.  So today’s blog is ideas that you can use for random acts of kindness.  The best part, some of them won’t cost you a dime.

  1. The simplest act of kindness is to SMILE at someone.  Smiles are contagious. You smile at someone and they smile back.  
  2. Hold the door open for someone.
  3. Let someone with a few items go in front of you at the store. 
  4. Give out sincere compliments to people.
  5. Buy someone else’s coffee.
  6. Buy the person’s breakfast behind you in the drive thru line. 
  7. Donate your gently used clothes and toys.
  8. Leave money in a gumball machine for children.
  9. Send someone a card in the mail.
  10. Send someone a gift for no reason.
  11. Leave a large tip for a server who was amazing.
  12. Donate dog/cat food, toys, blankets, or towels to the animal shelter.
  13. Volunteer at the animal shelter.
  14. Leave a sweet note in your child’s or spouse’s lunch.
  15. Put money in someone else’s meter.
  16. Give yourself a compliment.
  17. Plant a tree or flowers.
  18. Volunteer to read to children.
  19. Sing at a nursing home. 
  20. Visit an eldery person in your neighborhood.
  21. Cook dinner for a sick friend or a new mother.
  22. Buy people’s ice cream on a summer day. 
  23. If you own a business, have a bowl of water for dogs that people are walking.
  24. Tell someone a joke.
  25. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
  26. Learn CPR.
  27. Help someone who is struggling with their grocery bags.
  28. Buy a gift card and hand it to someone on your way out of the coffee shop.
  29. Leave a coupon next to that item in the grocery store.
  30. Hold the elevator door for someone. 
  31. Send someone flowers, just because.
  32. Mow your neighbors lawn.
  33. Give up your seat on the bus or subway.
  34. Buy from mom and pop stores or buy local.
  35. Leave a positive note inside a library book when you return it. 
  36. Give someone a hug.
  37. If you see someone taking pictures of their family, offer to take one with them in it for them.
  38. Say Thank you and mean it. 
  39. Praise someone in front of their boss or co-workers.
  40. Tell the manager about wonderful service given by a waiter or waitress. 
  41. Donate blood.
  42. Paint rocks with messages and leave them lying about the park for people to find.
  43. Rescue an animal from the shelter. 
  44. Go to a free concert and leave the performer(s) a generous tip. 
  45. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
  46. Have a cookout for the neighborhood.
  47. Pay for dessert for the table next to you.
  48. Donate your books to the library. 
  49. Help someone cross the street.
  50. Wave at your neighbors.

National Hug Your Dog Day

March 10th  is National Hug Your Dog Day.

This is National Hug Your Dog Day!!!  Ok, I don’t know about you, but I don’t need a special day to hug on my fur baby.  I hug and love on them all the time!

 Let’s look at the mental health (and physical health) benefits to having a dog. 

Research supports that being around dogs (and cats) puts you in a better mood and offers stress relief.  They cut down on anxiety and depression. 

The actual act of petting a dog can lower your blood pressure. 

Oftentimes, we are more active because of our 4 legged friends.  We find ourselves out for walks, maybe even a jog.  Even if we just take our pooch to the dog park, we are getting vitamin D from the sun and that boosts our moods. 

When we are out in public with our dog, it increases our social interaction.  People are going to smile and we are going to smile back.  People are going to stop and ask to pet your dog and strike up a conversation with you.  In fact, if you walk your dog around the same time daily and in the same area, you are bound to run into the same people. 

Dogs offer us unconditional love and companionship.  They love to greet us when we come home and lavish us with love and affection. They cuddle with us and keep our deepest secrets.  They even warn us of people we should stay away from.  My dog has even been known to wipe away my tears.  

My dogs are my best friends! 

So Hug your Dog Today!

EMDR

EMDR 

EMDR is Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.  It is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  EMDR therapy requires you to briefly focus on the trauma/event/memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation.  The stimulation is usually side to side eye movement, but it can also be hand tapping. 

With EMDR you are not hypnotized.  You are in control the whole time.  You are first asked to focus on the memory and a negative belief associated with it. Then you follow your providers finger.  You then work towards a positive belief associated with the memory and work your way, away from the negative belief.

The question is, does it work?  YES!!!!!  I was sceptic the first time I ever had an EMDR session.  I didn’t understand how it worked and had my doubts that it would work on me.  It worked! 

Here is my story…..

I was 15 when my uncle committed suicide.   Prior to his suicide, his last words to me were spoken in anger, maybe even rage.  The uncle that I loved and adored, broke my heart.  Then before we could make up, he took his own life.  I had so much guilt.  I felt that I was to blame.  I felt ashamed.  I felt unworthy. I even felt that my family blamed me in some ways.  That was so much for a 15-year-old to carry.  The pain would overwhelm me at times.  When I thought of my uncle, hate and anger surfaced. I felt cold inside. 

For 30 years I carried all those negative feelings with me. I would beat myself up. Can you image how all those negative feelings affected my life and my relationships with others? I never realized that at 15 I had no control over what a 38-year-old man did. 

I ended up seeing Skye at SkyeHelps. I was seeking guidance on how to help my son through a traumatic event that he had recently been through.  In one of my sessions the whole story of my uncle spilled out. At that time, I agreed to EMDR.  If it worked, awesome, if it didn’t, I wasn’t out anything.

When we started, I focused on my uncle and his death. The negative belief was it was all my fault. The positive belief was that he loved me. When I was asked where I felt it, I felt it in my heart.  It was crushing.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  I was crying so hard that I could not follow her finger, she tapped my legs for the side to side movement.  I honestly don’t know how long we checked in to see where I was on a scale of 1-7.  I have no idea how long it took for me to get to zero.  What I do know is the end results.

When we were done and I thought of my uncle, I felt warmth.  I felt love.  I smiled.  I felt like he was hugging my and I was happy.  I had no guilt.  I knew that I wasn’t to blame for his actions.  I knew that my family did not blame me.  I had no shame.  All I had was love and warmth. 

30 years of negative feelings are completely gone.  30 years of blaming myself for something that I had no control over, is gone.  If EMDR can do that for me, it can you it for you.

What do you have to lose? Nothing.  What do you have to gain? Everything.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Therapy.

When I was first asked to write about how to get the most out of therapy, I thought that this was way out of my league. Yes, I have been in therapy and I knew what worked for me, but to tell other people what worked, that was another thing. Then I sat back and I thought about it. What if what I thought just made sense, opened someone else’s eyes and helped them during their sessions? So I decided to give it a go.

The first way to get the most out of therapy is to SHOW UP! Yes, we all have days where we don’t want to go. We don’t want to face our issues, our fears, our failures, or ourselves, but that’s what therapy is all about. Therapy will not work if you don’t show up. I have found that the days that I don’t want to go are often a break through day. These are the days that my emotions are running high and I need the outlet. I may not want to talk, but I NEED to talk.

The second way to get the most out of therapy is to communicate with your therapist. Be open. Be honest. They can’t help you if you hold anything back from them. Say whatever you feel. Don’t censor yourself due to fear of being judged. Don’t hold back emotions. Be willing and able to show your emotions. If you feel like you need to cry, cry. It’s ok. If you’re mad, then be mad. The goal is to work through whatever is causing the emotion. Let your therapist know what you need or why you are there. Let them know what you want to talk about. Let them know what’s on your mind. I know this is hard, I’ve been there. I’ve held back and not been open and I only cheated myself. When I open up I get so much out of the session.

The third way to get the most out of therapy is to do the work outside of our sessions. Make a conscious effort to practice what you learned in your session when you are not in a session. If you learned how to change your thinking from negative self talk to positive self talk during your session, then pay attention when you fall back into negative self talk. Think about what you learned and apply it. If your therapist gives you homework, do the homework. It may seem silly, but it is to help you and reinforce what you talked about during your session.

Another thing that is helpful to get the most out of therapy is keeping a journal. Write about how you feel, what you’re doing, what changes you have made, and the progress that you have made. This is a great tool for when you are having a bad day, you can look back and see how far you have already come.

I also recommend setting goals with your therapist. Set small goals, this way you can achieve them in a shorter time. Set long term goals so you have something to focus on. These goals can be something like planning an outing with a friend, having less negative self talk, or whatever you want them to be.

Remember when you are in a therapy session it is your time. It’s all about you for that session. You can make the most of it. You can open up. You can face those demons and fears. This is your time! Embrace it!