Spiritual Baby Steps

"Doing" spirituality in the real world

Archive for the tag “overwhelm”

Practicing Self Compassion…

There is a reason they call it a “practice”!!!

I may have mentioned before that I am participating in Leo Babauta’s Sea Change Program, where ever month there is a small behavior change that you commit to incorporating into your life. For the month of May, this tiny habit that we are attempting to incorporate is self compassion. Seems like an easy enough endeavor… but I’m here to tell ya… it’s trickier than you might at first imagine!

What I’ve noticed is that, despite my initial compassionate, loving words to myself, I immediately follow said compassion with a smidge of negative chatter that is like adding a “yeah, but” to my attempts at self-healing. I yelled (spoke sternly is probably more accurate, but it might as well have been yelling with the tone and the eye rolling that accompanied) at my son the entire drive to school this morning. I was very irritated because he made me re-tie his shoes 3 times due to the laces not being the correct amount of “tight.” I was explaining (do you like how I’ve relabeled the yelling to explaining now?!) how he needs to take responsibility for being on time to school and that, at the ripe old age of 9, he really shouldn’t need me to be tying his shoes… let alone insisting that I retie his shoes numerous times in one morning.

When I finally dropped him at school, he slammed the door and never looked back. I can only imagine what was going through his head. I’m pretty sure it was not along the lines of, “thank goodness I have such a great Mom who helps me understand the error of my ways.” In the great irony of a good day, I realize that the very thing I told my son he needed to do, which was to take responsibility for himself (from my viewpoint, this meant getting out the door on time), he was actually doing (from his viewpoint, making sure that his shoes were tied in a way that worked for him). Funny… that whole irony thing.

Anyway… back to self compassion. After a bit of verbal self-abuse, I did manage to remember the habit for the month. I congratulated myself for having the presence of mind to remember that beating myself up over the events of the morning was not actually going to rewrite the events of the morning for the better. Instead, I took a moment to acknowledge how difficult it is to be a Mom who is trying to balance consciousness and reality! I am, in fact, very thankful for this month’s sea change habit of self compassion. I think it is an easily overlooked habit that can have the potential to hugely impact our lives for the better. After spending numerous moments today offering myself compassion, I have to say that it feels pretty good to be loved… even if, and maybe especially if, it is by my very own self.

Wishing you gobs of love and self compassion!    ~Rashel

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What’s Your Story?

We all have stories. Stories are what we believe to be true and what we tell others about our lives. Rumi says… “Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” I find it interesting that he does not say, “unfold your own story,” or even, “unfold your own truth,” but “unfold your own myth.”

I was listening to an NPR podcast the other day and they were interviewing Tony Robbins. He mentioned something about stories that really struck me. He revealed that he was beaten as a child. Apparently he shared that truth with some kids when he was doing a talk in order that they might relate to him… to understand that even if you have a troubled youth, you can still turn your life around. The point he was making on the podcast was that he had consciously chosen not to perpetuate that story… that he worked hard to create a new story that he had shared with the world. Until that time, and only for the very specific purpose of relating to those kids, he had chosen not to share that story of himself and his life and to share and communicate a new story… one of empowerment and strength rather than victim hood and struggle.

Sometimes I think we get very caught up in what’s “true.” Reality, if you will. But what that realization illuminated for me is that we can choose to focus on other parts of our lives that are just as true and real without perpetuating the parts of our story that do not foster our own growth and development as a human being. Now, I am not advocating for a life of lies. I am not implying that everyone should wake up tomorrow pretending that their past is non-existent and acting as if the sky is green. I’m simply saying that we all have choices. Choice about what to share… what to focus on.. what to pay attention to on a daily basis. In any given day, there are as many, if not more, positive occurrences as negative… so why in the world do we feel so inclined, when asked how we’re doing, to list the 2-5 things that have gone wrong in the day? I know it’s not just me who does this because I walk around hearing of everyone’s issues on a regular basis. I’m not complaining, mind you… I’m just recognizing that we are very much hard-wired to focus on our negative story instead of perpetuating the positive aspects of our day and lives. I’d say we can’t help it… but that might be seen as taking on a bit of victim mentality, no?

What is your story? How do you feel when you tell your story? Does your story focus on the amazing, wonderful events that have shaped your life… or does you get caught up in the negative, difficult details? Do share your story!

Love and light!  ~Rashel

Brand New Day

After blogging pretty much every week for over a year, I just stopped. I’m not sure it was on purpose. I just got busy and skipped a week. And then the next week was really busy, too… and pretty soon, it had been a month. And then two. And then… well, you get the picture! It’s been 4 months since my last blog post. It feels like an eternity. I’ve been seriously wanting and meaning to blog again for the past month or so… but a funny thing happened. All of a sudden I shifted into all or nothing thinking and couldn’t keep myself from getting overwhelmed at the thought of blogging every week again. Apparently, if I’m going to blog, it needs to be every week!

So anyway… here I am. I have to admit on some level it’s a bit of a forced activity. When you’re blogging every week there’s a bit of a rhythm that ensues. Not so much has happened in a week that you can’t narrow it down into a topic of choice. With 4 months… it’s a bit daunting. On one hand, there’s a lot I could write about. And on the other hand, I kinda want to say there’s been this major transformational experience… I mean, it’s been 4 months for cryin’ out loud!  Surely the Universe gets a kick out of our ego-centric naiveté!

I’ve decided to keep this post short and sweet. Partly because there is a part of me that wants it to be perfect… the big comeback post (with that transformational epiphany we talked about earlier!) and partly because of a new concept I’m trying to embrace, which I’ll talk more about in future posts (how’s that for a teaser?!).  In the meantime, remember that today is a brand new day! Carpe Diem…

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

How Much is Too Much?

I thought about quitting the blog this week. I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed lately and to top it off, I got a cold that started last Thursday and hasn’t quite subsided yet. It’s made me even more exhausted than usual. Of course, my body’s cry for rest did not slow me down… I continued to work, teach a class at my kids’ school, attend a training, facilitate a group event, attend my son’s hockey game, visit my friend and, just for fun, allow my kids to both have play dates at our house… at the same time! And by the way, the dishes and laundry weren’t doing themselves.

You can bet I was feeling appreciative yesterday when my husband offered to do the grocery shopping! We made dinner and then I went to bed… it was 8pm. As I drove to work today I thought about all of my commitments. I realized that much of the “extra” activity in my life is of my own choosing. I love to write.  I enjoy blogging. I get a lot of satisfaction from teaching others and connecting with people.  Part of me can’t imagine not doing all of the things that I do… and another part of me is just plain exhausted and wants to put on the brakes. How do you know how much is too much? And once you’ve realized that maybe you’ve tipped the scales just a bit much… how do you know where to nip and tuck?

Do I give up the art class? I’m really enjoying it, but the reality is that I’m not an inspiring artist and it does mean one night a week I miss out on the family scene. Do I stop blogging? I would definitely miss the outlet, but more than that, I would miss the people I run into who comment on how much they enjoy my posts. In fact, the nudge to continue writing tonight came in the form of a text message. I was at work today and a friend of mine sent a text message asking the name of my blog… she had read it once and really wanted to read more. When it comes to personal fulfillment, it really doesn’t get much better than that! Should I put my endeavors to write a book on hold? It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’ve actually started the process… I have actual drafts… it seems a shame to stop now!

I could go on… and on.. but you get where I’m going with this, right? I want to do it all… Is that wrong? I didn’t think so… until I started reading a book called Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Now I’m wondering if there isn’t more to all this business than meets the eye. According to Brene, the obsession with constantly being busy shields us from vulnerability. It’s a way of keeping yourself from feeling… from slowing down… from deciding what’s important enough to devote your time to. Hmmmm…. maybe. I certainly don’t do too well at resting (if you’ve forgotten, refer to intro paragraph!). What would it mean to say No… to cut back on commitments… to allow some space in my world? The fact that I can’t quite imagine it makes me wonder if there isn’t something to this!

How do you find balance? Where do you land on the business spectrum? Please… share!  Here’s to another week!!  ~Rashel

Simple… but not easy

 I heard the phrase, simple but not easy, quite a few years ago. I can’t remember exactly what the circumstances were at the time… but I can tell you that I’ve considered that phrase so many times since. For the last few years, I’ve been reading the blog Zen Habits by Leo Babauta. He also has a blog on minimalism, which is really interesting. In both cases, there are often times when I think about how much happier my life might be if I were to simplify. If I could learn to minimize… slow down… commit to less… enjoy more… breathe deeper, longer, and more consciously. These are very simple acts… and yet… somehow so elusive.

Upon further reflection, I realize that the elusiveness comes from the difficulty in implementation. Minimizing means throwing things away. Things I like. Things that might have sentimental value. Things I think I might need some day. Or, on the other hand, not buying things in the first place. Things I like. Things that are calling my name! Slowing down means not everything gets done. Committing less means letting people down. It means saying no, for crying out loud!

So, how do we make these simple acts easier to do? Well… I definitely can’t say I have this down! Lately I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed, cluttered and chaotic. I’ve recently been reminded of an approach to behavior change that rings true… slow but steady wins the race. Leo Babauta has a program he calls “Sea Change” where he leads participants through one dedicated change each month. You spend the entire month committed to gradually building up the habit of that one change. BJ Fogg, a behavior change researcher, contends that pairing a behavior change with an engrained habit can produce great results. You might try committing to 5 minutes of exercise every morning after brushing your teeth. Now, you might think 5 minutes is not enough time to really see the benefits of exercise. The argument is that committing to do it, using the teeth brushing as a trigger, and following through… even if it is only 5 minutes… is the best start you can make toward change. Eventually, maybe even right away, you will exercise for more than 5 minutes. But for now, it is the art of commitment and follow through that you are branding into your conscious habit.

Given my current state of overwhelm, I’m not going to attempt anything so lofty as exercise… 5 minutes or not! I’ve decided that breathing deeper, longer and more consciously is a beautiful act that I would like to practice more. I’ve already been trying to do it more lately and it feels good. It offers a taste of joy. My plan is to use the tactic above to make it easier. Every morning when I first get into the shower, I’m going to take a long deep breath. If the moment strikes me, I may take two. But the committment is one long, deep, conscious breath. Stepping into the shower is the habitual act that is already in place, that I do every morning. Maybe I’ll put a sticky note on the shower door to help me remember.

Now, before I finish, I’ll let you in on a little secret. In all honesty, this committment seems small. It seems almost irrelevant. It seems to dwindle in comparison to the big goals of losing weight, exercising more, committing to less, slowing down… and the list goes on. But here’s the interesting part… I get really overwhelmed when I think about those lofty goals. Here’s what I know about taking one deep breath when I step into the shower tomorrow… I can do it! And I think that’s part of the equation we’re looking for… a very high confidence level that I can make this happen. SO… I’m committing to one very small act… and I invite you to do the same. Be sure to let me know how it goes.

Love and laughter to you!  ~Rashel

Tapping… it’s just cool!

This week I want to tell you about a very cool technique called tapping. It’s also referred to as EFT and probably other names I’m less familiar with. The thing I really like about tapping is that it’s simple, it’s easy, and it’s effective. Basically, the tapping process stimulates certain key points along pathways in the body called meridians. As you tap the pressure points, you also talk through what is bothering you and in the process, you release the blocked energy and the negative feelings.

When I first learned about tapping, it made sense to me. I’ve always been a fan of acupressure (Thanks, Mom!) I’ve used acupressure points over the years to get rid of headaches and other pain in my body. I also believe that when we repress emotions, they get trapped in our body and cause all kinds of negative side effects. So I immediately bought the idea that you could stimulate acupressure points to increase energy flow and release trapped emotions. I’ll admit that when I first tried it, I did feel a little akward. The acupressure I’d used all my life did not entail talking! I dabbled with tapping off and on for a while… which consisted of checking out video’s on youtube that demonstrated the EFT/tapping technique and walking through some of the various scripts. My interest was piqued… but I wasn’t sold.

Then I stumbled across an event that changed the way I thought about tapping. The Tapping World Summit. There are 10 days of recorded interviews with Tapping experts who walk you through various tapping scripts. It’s a pretty cool way to not just read about, but really experience, what tapping is all about. Each day’s recording are available for 24 hours. 10 days x 2 interviews per day equals a lot of calls! But even if you just listen to a few of them, it’s free and awesome – and you really can’t beat that! What I experienced when I was listening to the tapping calls was a sense of lightness and calm. It made me realize how powerful the process can be.

I use EFT/tapping on my kids quite a bit. It’s great stuff and both of my kids ask for it now when they’re not feeling great or they can’t fall asleep. Kids tend to be great subjects because they don’t have all the baggage of what will “work” and what won’t! We have so many great tools at our disposal these days. If this tapping business resonates with you, I encourage you to check out the Tapping World Summit at www.tappingworldsummit.com. I’m going to try to take the time over the next 10 days to listen to as many interviews as I can. I’ll be doing my best to balance work, family and spirituatl growth – it’s quite an act! Actually, one of tonight’s presentations is titled, “Overcoming Overwhelm for a Life of Success.” Yes, please!

Love and laughter!  ~Rashel

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