Your Weekly Meditation: What We Can’t Control Can Teach Us

What we can’t control can teach us.

On some level, we can’t help it. We are human, and we are programmed with an innate primitive brain function called “fight or flight” that is continually roving out ahead of us, seeking for signs of doom and disaster. Luckily, however, our brains have evolved quite a bit over the millennia, so now we can see how we are biologically programmed, and work around areas where we know we have a knee-jerk tendency to panic or overreact. Actually, this is how we’ve evolved – by learning to do this. So now that we know this, we can keep learning. We can choose not to engage with knee-jerk “fight or flight” responses, taking a few deep breaths instead, walking around the block if we need to, giving ourselves time to remember that we now have choices. Now, we can choose to respond to the unexpected in ways that are more in alignment with how we want to see and live life. 

This week I resolve to: Give myself some time to respond when life hands me a helping of the unexpected. I can breathe, I can wait, I can say to others, “I’ll get back with you after I have given this issue some thought.”

 

Your Weekly Meditation: Life is Like a Bowl of Jello

Life is like a bowl of jello.

Taking Forrest Gump’s famous chocolate analogy a step further, life as it is most closely resembles a bowl of jello. We are constantly trying to steady our footing, hunting around for solid ground. But the moment we find it, it shifts again. Rather than continuing to struggle to change how life is, the beneficial approach here is to relax into the experience of walking on jello, learning to laugh softly at life’s jiggles and wiggles and bumps, and maybe even enjoying the excitement of never knowing what will happen next!

This week I resolve to: Reconnect to the pure joy I had as a small child, when I could spend hours chasing those jiggly jello cubes around the bowl, anticipating the moment I might finally catch one and – gulp!

 

Your Weekly Meditation: Connection is Critical

Connection is critical.

When we think of connection, what often comes to mind is a busy career or social schedule, engaging in hobbies or volunteer work with others, finding a romantic partner, starting a family, and other types of social-focused activities or experiences. But the connection we are truly seeking in life can happen anytime, whether we are in the crowd or all alone. When we remember that we are all in this life together, when we remind ourselves that we all experience joy, sorrow, pain, loneliness, and hope, we connect to the shared experience of being human, and we can no longer justify hiding in isolation, or believing that nobody around us could understand what we are going through.

NOTE: Interestingly, when we do this regularly, we also often find that our self-esteem and satisfaction with our life just as it is improves as well!

This week I resolve to: Spend a few moments each morning connecting within myself to the shared experience of being human that is going on within and all around me, and reminding myself of that unbreakable connection.

Your Weekly Meditation: Rest In What Is

Rest in what is.

When we really stop to breathe in the moment, rarely will we discover that our world is actually falling apart, regardless of what we may have been telling ourselves. Rather, it is just a moment in time, followed by another and then another, and for each of those simple, single moments, we truly are okay. We can get through anything when we remember to come back to our breath and rest in what is. We can also more fully enjoy life’s good times in this way.

This week I resolve to: Stop, breathe, and simply rest for a moment when I find myself feeling wound up, stressed, out of myself, out of control, or otherwise ill at ease in my own skin, in the midst of living my own life.

Your Say Yes to Life Weekly Motivator: Who the “Beautiful People” Are

The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.

The woman who wrote this, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, was one of the foremost medical researchers into the end of life stages. By the time she penned this quote, she had known pain and suffering both in her own life and through the countless lives her work touched as she struggled to make sense of what the dying need from the living in their final months, days, and breaths.

She was a doctor, a healer, a teacher, a researcher, and most of all a friend to those who were striving to embark upon their final transition with dignity, support, and grace.

She knew about beauty, because she lived it, lived with it, lived immersed throughout the course of her career in the essential precious fleetingness that is human life. Through her work she became quite literally steeped in the beauty of courage that is awakened within us in those first moments when we realize that yes, death really will happen to us too.

Dr. Kubler-Ross witnessed firsthand how we do rise to our own occasion, when the unthinkable thinks of us and comes to call. We do surprise ourselves with how strong, how resilient, how peaceful, how resourceful, how courageous, and yes, how beautiful, we truly are. We do amaze ourselves by how well and easily we can find gratitude for the unavoidable, peace amidst the painful, and acceptance even in the face of loss or regret.

We do look defeat, suffering, loss, and the unutterable depths that death invites right in the eye, and relatively fearlessly proceed through the Five Stages of Grief – denial, anger, bargaining, grief, and regret – not necessarily because we want to (although some of us do) but rather because we must, because that is what being human demands of us.

Dr. Kubler-Ross witnessed this, time and again, as she diligently researched and recorded the grief process that families go through during the final stages of life. She learned about beauty – true human beauty – not from the airbrushed pages of a high gloss, high fashion magazine, but from those from whom physical beauty had long since departed, leaving behind mottled hands, rattled breaths, bedpans, and dedicated caretakers who rearranged their entire lives to bring comfort and companionship to a loved one’s final days.

In every moment one of her dying patients took another labored breath, Dr. Kubler-Ross found another piece in the missing puzzle that is life. We live because we can, because we are able, because life is not just what we do but who we are, and because it is in our moments of most intense suffering when we can finally catch glimpses of our own remarkable beauty, which is the same beauty that all human beings share, and the very same beauty that gives us the willingness and the courage to wake up and try yet again.

The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.

How would your life – your experience of being you – change if you were to reframe your assessment of your own beauty in these terms?

Where have you known defeat, suffering, loss, unimaginable depths, and have exerted such superhuman courage to survive them that you are still amazed you had it in you?

Where have you experienced a seemingly endless series of insistent “I can’t’s” in your life, followed by the most unbelievable experience of “I can”?

In what ways have you survived the unsurvivable, be it the loss of a loved one, the break-up of a relationship, a job suddenly ending, a natural disaster, a mental or physical illness, an occurrence where, when you first learned of the tragedy, you thought, “I will never recover from this” – and yet here you are, still standing?

Are you….perhaps…..beautiful?

If you told your story, not knowing it was yours, would you be inspired, listening?

If you are struggling to process or progress through a painful loss or a period of suffering or questioning in your life, Southlake Counseling can help. Our compassionate, highly trained staff has more than two decades of experience with supporting people just like you through to seek a higher level of wellness, self-care, and vision for all the richness your life can hold. If you or someone you love needs support to say “no” to unresolved suffering and “yes” to a rekindled desire to live in the presence of your own wise beauty, we invite you to contact us at www.southlakecounseling.com.

Be Well,

Kimberly

 
 

Your Weekly Meditation: It is Okay To Feel Afraid

It is okay to feel afraid.

We often expect ourselves to leap towards every new goal or undone item on our to-do list with confident enthusiasm. But how often have we actually ever made any kind of change or progress while feeling this way? Most of the time, for most human beings, we feel some fear, some trepidation, some inner dissension, some reluctance, or some resistance to trying something new.  To expect any more of ourselves is both unrealistic and unkind, and to refuse ourselves the right to take action until our feelings improves is even more so.

This week I resolve to: Accept that feeling fear or resistance is a normal human response to taking on new challenges, and encourage myself when I notice my fear and refuse to let it stop me from moving forward.

Your Weekly Meditation: What Comes Down Eventually Goes Back Up

We don’t often consider the “coming down” parts of life from this perspective. But with thoughtful reflection and a willingness to connect to our life as it truly is, we become humble and honest enough to recognize that even when we go down, we don’t stay down. Eventually, somehow, in a miraculous or mundane way, we eventually make our way back up again. We can count on it. For those of us who seek spiritual solace, we can have faith in this as the way of things. For the rest of us, we can simply notice the truth of it.

This week I resolve to: Allow myself to have hope even on the darkest days. I WILL survive this. I WILL thrive, live, laugh, love, feel grateful for my life-as-me again. I can count on it.

Your Weekly Meditation: Fathers Matter

Fathers matter.

Whether our relationship with our own father was close or distant, the impact a father has in the life of a daughter is undeniable. And when we begin a family of our own, whether we share duties of child-rearing with a partner or shoulder the responsibility of both mother and father alone, our experience with our father goes with us. It serves us well to employ what Marianne Williamson, author of a “Return to Love,” terms “selective remembering” – “a conscious decision to focus on love and let the rest go.”

This week I resolve to: Celebrate what I learned from my own father, employing the timeless wisdom of “selective remembering” to pass along love and leave the rest behind.

Your Weekly Meditation: Being a Work-in-Progress is Underrated

Being a work-in-progress is underrated.

Mother Teresa struggled with depression for most of her life and ministry, often wondering whether God even existed. Princess Diana struggled with an eating disorder even as she visited families suffering from AIDS. There are many more stories where those came from – of imperfectly great human beings reaching beyond their own insecurities, inadequacies, and limitations to stay connected and offer what they could to participate in the world we all share. You are the same. We are all the same. In little and small ways, as we live our work-in-progress lives, hurt is healed, anxiety eased, hope rekindled, and progress made.

This week I resolve to: appreciate myself for the work-in-progress that I am.

Your Weekly Meditation: Hard Work is Not a Substitute for Grace

Hard work is not a substitute for grace.

We live in a very industrious, hard working world. We do work so hard! Sometimes we work so hard that we forget to cut ourselves any slack at all. Hard work is not a substitute for grace. Grace is the small still voice inside of us that quietly observes, “You are so tired right now. Why don’t you take a rest.” Grace is the gentle unseen arms that move to hug us – right before we push them away, saying “But I haven’t achieved enough yet today to relax or receive.” Grace is that moment when we look up and spontaneously ask ourselves, “Does this task REALLY matter to me?”, even if we do not give ourselves the gift of waiting long enough to hear our own answer.

This week I resolve to: pay attention not just to my outer to-do list, but to the inner direction that guides me subtly but unerringly towards my heart’s true priorities.