Taking Back Your Power


Recently, someone close to me lost their job for the 2nd time in just under a year and a half. As you can imagine, this is devastating, and he feels like he is a complete failure; his self-worth stock suddenly took a nose dive and there he was, just another worthless piece of garbage tossed to the side of the curb. All of the hard work he’d put in, 60+ hour weeks, not taking vacation and doing everything that he could to be all that was asked of him, now meant nothing.

To make matters worse, he didn’t see it coming. The circumstances didn’t make sense. Just a few months, prior, he’d had his one-year review, and all was well, in fact, he got a nice raise! There were no indicators that something had gone awry. It was shocking, and the reasons given didn’t add up.

This is just one example of having our power taken away.

When we are let go from our jobs, whatever the reason, there is a deflation of positive energy and an inflation of negative energy such as anxiety; you’ve just been tossed into a black hole of: WTF just happened?! Suddenly our livelihood is in jeopardy, our sense of self and worthiness is now in question.  Worse, we often feel we’ve let those that depend on us, down.

Negative emotions will surround someone who’s power is yanked from them, no matter what the circumstance. In this case, this person was powerLESS to do anything about it. There are huge waves of grief, anger, confusion that they’re riding on. There is depression, sadness, (there is a difference) guilt and denial. All of these are completely normal.

At some point, there will eventually be acceptance and ultimately surrender. The damage is done but soon, the healing will begin.

When someone or a circumstance takes your power, the most important thing to remember is: You can and will get it back. The fastest way to do this is to stop denying all of the uncomfortable emotions that bubble up and first, acknowledge them, and then work with and through them.

Denial gets you nowhere. Shoving your pain away is like trying to constantly keep a massive beachball, underwater. The damn thing keeps popping up and smacking you in the face and the farther you push the ball under, the more energy it creates so that when it pops up, it has a greater force and intensity. As well, there are usually several beachballs at once, each a different colour with a different emotion attached to it.

When this happens, stop shoving them down, pick one up and look at it. What do you see? Is it guilt? Let’s work through that. Remember you’re not alone, you’ve got people who care about you and will listen. You’ll need to express yourself, talk about why you’re feeling guilty. Reach out to your partner or friend, family or clergy – whomever you can. If you’re feeling there is no one, there are numbers you can call to talk to someone at no charge. There is no judgment. Here is a number you can text or call 24/7 1-877-870-4673.

The same is true for all of the beachballs/emotions. You’ll be angry, so BE ANGRY!! You have every right to be! BE sad, it’s good to cry and cleanse. Take responsibility for what you did or didn’t do but don’t accept blame for something that had nothing to do with you.

BE. Be kind to yourself, take it gently through the first few days. You can and will get back up on that horse. Little by little, you’ll feel you’re back in the driver’s seat. Take action and take stalk of everything that you DO have. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak; it makes you human – just like the rest of us.

Many will tell you that the “why’s” don’t matter and you should just let it go. I disagree. When you’ve gotten your power back and feel you’re ready to move on, you’ll realize that the outcome would have been the same, no matter what. But, in the moment, when it’s fresh, you’ll want to understand what happened and I’m going to say most of the time, the situation won’t make sense.

Knowing what went wrong will bring you a little peace. However, I caution you; you may never fully know. You’ll want to hash it out, ad nauseam, and that’s okay. Remember, express yourself. Talk about it, write about it, get it out and into the open so it’s not stuck, inside, and all bottled up. You’re liable to burst like a soda pop on an automatic paint mixer, if you don’t let yourself vent and explore the situation from every angle.

Once you’ve reasoned things out and realize you’re not such a terrible person (assuming you actually didn’t do something terrible) you’ll feel better, increasing your energy and voila, you’re starting to get back into your own Power.

When someone or a situation takes you out of your power, it can feel like you’ve lost part of yourself. Know it’s not forever and it takes a little time and self-care to get it back.

Strong and powerful as super hero . Mixed media

Taking Care


It’s been a while since I’ve had the energy to write a blog post and I thought the reasons why (anxiety/stress/fear/grief) would be a good topic, and how we need to look after ourselves during difficult times.

Maybe you’re one of those people; you know, that person whom everyone else relies upon. The Dependable One. Is this sounding familiar? You are that individual that people turn to when times are tough. Maybe someone has lost a family member, or your neighbour was in an accident and they need your help. Perhaps you have a good friend whose life is full of frustration, and they need someone to really hear and see them. That someone just happens to be YOU.

The thing is, you’re probably going through your own stuff. Maybe you have people in your life that you care about that have addictions. Perhaps there’s an ill family member or your job is dragging you down. It could be a number of issues and situations that cause feelings such as anxiety/stress/fear/grief, or even, anger/depression/hopelessness. All you need to do is pick one.

Thus, along with being there for everyone else, you are dealing with your own shit, too.

This can be difficult because you may not be the kind of person who feels comfortable reaching out for help, for yourself. You may not post about all of your ‘stuff’ on social media. In fact, you could be really quiet about what’s going on in your own life, only sharing with a select few…so not many really know that you’re suffering, too.

During these times, self-care is imperative. Let’s call it emotional health rather than mental health. I don’t really like the term coined by science: mental health as opposed to physical health, because it implies that our brain is separate from our physical bodies. It is not. However, our emotions/feelings are intangible results of situations and, ultimately, our experiences.

We could get into quite the lengthy debate over whether our experiences are stored in our brain, our heart, or our soul. I think all are true. That said, we can’t exactly examine an emotion, touch it, feel it, measure it, in the same we can a physical body part. It’s an invisible energy/force that has a ripple-effect on everything.

So, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of my point. During stressful times where there are elements beyond your control that cause upset, one needs to slow it down and take a little care of both our physical body and emotional wellbeing.

Yet, so few take the time to do this. We’re all caught up in a race to some finish line (possibly death) and not many make time to simply BE STILL and allow emotions to settle down, so we can better serve ourselves. If we can’t serve ourselves, we certainly can’t serve others.

How many times have you heard this phrase uttered by breathless, stressed-out and angry people when told to slow down: “I’ll slow down/sleep when I’m dead!”

People, I have news for you; life doesn’t end when your body is dead and there is no slowing down or sleeping in the Afterlife. But, that’s another blog post so let’s carry on with the presenting theme of this one.

Are you still with me?

Make. Time. For. Your. Self. That is all that is required. Whether it’s meditation, physical exercise, reading a good book or simply going for a walk, in nature – all of it will help you cope.

Take care of your feelings. Let’s dig a little deeper into that sentence.

Caring for your feelings. This would indicate that you have to acknowledge that you’re having some that are causing you problems, in the first place. Then, you have to figure out which one/s they are, and finally why/what is the underlying cause AND (last but not least), care about them.

Drilling down and taking a deep dive into ourselves can be a bit foreboding but once you’ve identified what’s happening, you can move forward with a plan to create a better environment for you to heal and, ultimately, feel better.

Does that make sense?

There are tons of posts about self-care, out there, and I don’t want to get into self-indulgence because this isn’t what I’m writing about. More to the point, I’m writing about holding space for yourself before you hold space for someone else. If we’re not at our best with our own body and spirit, we can’t be our best for someone else’s.

It’s okay to say: No.

Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person. It’s simply respecting your own space and creating boundaries. There will be times when you’re overloaded while dealing with your own personal life, that you simply can’t deal with another’s. That’s okay. No one will blame you and if they do, that’s their issue. Let them go; you don’t want these types of people in your life, anyway. They’re draining, and they’ll suck the life out of you.

Creating boundaries doesn’t make you selfish. You’re not a narcissist if you’re giving yourself some consideration, once in a while, instead of always putting everyone else, first.

It doesn’t mean you have to give a play-by-play on Facebook about how/what you’re doing for your self-care. In fact, during this time, I recommend that you stay away from things like Social Media, entirely. There’s a lot of BS on there that we can get all caught up in and let me tell you: things are not always what they seem.

So, what are you going to do to take care of your emotional health? When are you going to start putting up a few boundaries and say no, once in a while, to allow yourself to move through your own stuff?

At what point will you discover you’ve got so little energy that it’s time to S L O W down and make room for some healing?

I’d say the time is now. In this very moment. Just do it. Start the process and watch yourself become a better, healthier/stronger, you.

You can do it. I believe in YOU. xoAnxiety concept word cloud background

Succeeding Through Failure


Think of the last time you failed at something. I’m going to bet you can recall it in great detail. In fact, I know you play the entire scenario in your mind, over and over; a mini movie that you pause at certain intervals to capture and digest all of the littlest details.

We analyse our failures with incredible precision to see how/why we didn’t make better choices. We do a lot of: If onlys and what ifs.

  • If only I didn’t do that, this other thing wouldn’t have happened.

  • If only I did do that thing, the event/relationship/solution/insert-anything-here, would have gone better.

  • What if I had been there/what if I hadn’t shown up…that thing wouldn’t have gone as badly.

What if, instead of looking at past events as failures, we decided to view the offending incident as a valuable opportunity to grow and move into a different life direction, one that serves us better? How about taking on a broader scope of understanding and exiting with the experience as something that brought you to a higher place thus realizing that your failure was actually a planned success.

Let’s take a deeper dive into that: planned success. Every big experience that changes us in some way is actually designed to help us succeed. What we see as failures is really a path of events to show us we have alternatives and that we can act on them if we so choose to do so.

Have you ever found yourself repeating the same mistake over and over? Maybe you’re drawn to a certain personality type in your love life and the relationship always ends up in a big disaster. From the inside you can perceive yourself as always failing. From the outside, there is a much bigger message. And that is: this personality type has lessons for you and until you learn them, you will be repeating the same sequence throughout your life.

Your repetitious theme could be something as simple as self-respect or restraint. Only you will recognize the pattern that you’ve created. Maybe your mother was controlling so you have always dated controlling women. Can you see where I’m going with this?

Once we can recognize the pattern, we can break it. Once it’s broken, we can heal and move forward. This is success. If you can take away something of value from your past failures, this is success. If you can learn and grow; move a painful incident into greater awareness – then you’ve succeeded.

Instill your success in everything, even if you think you’ve failed. You haven’t; you’re just learning how not to do something or learned that you can do it better or differently to yield more favourable results.

There is always a better/different path waiting for you if you choose to take it. Don’t be afraid to mess things up because through this you’ll reveal your greatest triumphs.

Motivational and inspirational life quotes - Failure is success in progress.jpg Blurry background (1)

Becoming


Over the past decade or so (probably a bit longer) I’ve been obsessed with personal growth. I decided long ago that I wanted to be the best possible ‘me’ that I could during my stint on Earth.

I do believe that you can reinvent yourself every new day and every moment, you can choose whom you want to be. Before you think I’m standing on a soapbox, pointing to my halo – I’m very, very far from Sainthood.

That said, if we are conscious of who we are and who we want to become, we can work towards becoming better. That being: kinder, gentler, more humane and understanding, giving, loving and forgiving.

You get the point.

For the first time in many years, I’m feeling very secure in my life; I have a loving partner, two adorable pets, lots of friends, a lovely home and a pretty secure job. Yet…I look at all of that and ask: what does it mean? Does this automatically equal happiness? What IS happiness and does having all-of-the-above guarantee it?

Absolutely not.

Whenever I express to my Guides that I want to heal people they retort: Heal yourself, first. When I say I want to be helpful to society, I get: help yourself, first.

It is, as always, good advice. If you can’t make yourself better, the one person you know best….how can you help anyone else?

They make a good point.

So that’s what I do. I do the work on myself, first. And I keep on doing it because there is always room for improvement.

I’m working on being the best me that I can be. I’m be-coming; coming into my human being with all of my soul self and it’s a lifetime process.

But while I’m healing and helping myself, I can certainly help others. It’s recognizing that we are always a work in progress, forgiving ourselves for our past mistakes, missed opportunities and those other things we’re so-not-proud-of.

So, how are you healing yourself? How are you working on becoming who you were meant to be and how can I help you with that?

carrie@thehealingcorner.ca                                                                www.thehealingcorner.cablog post

Working Through Anxiety


I have it and always have. I remember getting migraines as a child brought on by anxiety when my parents were screaming at each other nearly every weekend. I’d complain that my head hurt (it really did) and was taken to the eye doctor, the regular doctor and various specialists. I had all sorts of tests done and in the end my parents were told that I ‘just wanted attention’ and was making it all up.

This was the 1970’s; no one thought to look into the social dynamics of my dysfunctional family and ask questions and if they had I wouldn’t have said a word, anyway, for fear of being beaten within an inch of my life. One of my father’s favourite threats was: “I’m gonna knock your teeth out!” English not being his first language, it came out: “teet” rather than “teeth”. I’ve never forgotten that and he’s been dead 28-years.

That was my childhood. As I got older, anxiety lead to panic attacks but surprisingly not until I was an adult. I didn’t have them often but when I did, it was full blown I-think-I’m-having-a-heart-attack episodes. If you’ve ever experienced a panic attack, you’ll know what I mean: difficulty breathing and catching your breath, pain in your chest, shaking, sweating and feelings of utter chaos. Your heart races and your mind keeps up; they end up doing endless 100-meter laps with your thoughts in tow until you’re able to release it and start to calm down.

It doesn’t last forever, but when you’re in the thick of it, it seems you’re either going to pass out, whither and die on the spot, or explode.

Although it’s been a few years since I had a heart-racing panic-attack (the last time was when Brian took his life) I’ve had other anxiety-related issues: lack of sleep, terrible dreams, worry to the point of being ridiculous and being very irritable.

So what’s the magic formula? How does one cope with the escalating madness in the world – both in your own and on the outside where you have little to no control? How do you handle stress from work, family – demands upon your time, illnesses, finances and then contend with our Southern neighbours worst mass murder in their history?

If you’re sensitive like me, and are prone to anxiousness, it’s no easy feat.

You may find that people around you tell you to: calm down/get over it/take it easy/relax etc. None of these help, by the way, but there are a few things you can do for yourself.

  1. Breathe. Concentrating on just breathing keeps you grounded in the moment and helps calm you in the gentlest way.
  2. Take a walk in nature. The energy of plants and water is incredibly calming and healing. Make sure you are by yourself and with no distractions and simply ‘be’ with the beauty. The forests, oceans, fields, rivers and lakes have amazing healing energy. You’ll understand better when you immerse yourself in it.
  3. Pets and animals. If you have a pet or two, spend some time with Fluffy. Animals are very psychic and pick up on our emotions. You may have noticed that when you’re feeling down or anxious, the family pet seems to gravitate towards you with extra cuddles and affection. This isn’t a coincidence. Their energy will always help make you feel better. There’s a reason why trained animals are used as helpers. There are psychiatric service dogs, comfort pets and companion animals. All make a huge difference.

Lastly, there is professional help. Counsellors, Coaches, Psychologists and Psychiatrists are trained to help you maneuver through your anxiety with a variety of tools.

Take care of yourself and be gentle. You matter and there are people out there who ‘get it’ and understand what you’re feeling.

Young woman suffering from a severe depression/anxiety (color to

 

 

Cancer


Today I learned that my mother has it. And it’s not the first time she was told she had breast cancer, but the previous time…her doctor spoke out of turn before he had the results back. He was wrong. Then, she was fine.

It was about 14-years ago and I remember panicking. I turned down a job, packed up all my stuff in another Province, left my boyfriend and came back to British Columbia, tout de suite. But this time… this time, it’s real.

I’ve had one parent leave this world because of it, already, and I’ve had my best friend beat it in the bravest and humblest of ways.

Mom’s prognosis is really good which I’m eternally grateful for but there’s that conniving little voice whispering in my ear: “Yeah, but…she is 81, Carrie, and it’s spread to some of her lymph nodes; if I were you, I’d be very worried. I think you should let this flood your brain with ‘what if’s’, panic (at least a little) and make sure you get even less sleep than you do because that’s the right thing to do. If you don’t, you’re a bad child.”

Yup, that little voice is an asshole, for sure.

Part of me wants to give in but a larger part of me says: No. It will be what it will be and as it should be. It’s not my call and all the worrying panicking and lost sleep in the world isn’t going to change the outcome.

So I’ll let her be strong (she likes to call herself a Pit Bull with lipstick). I’ll let her lead the way in how she wants to be treated and helped. I’ll probably call more and such but I’m not going to treat her as if she’s going to drop dead, tomorrow; she’d be super angry if I did. I’ll say it again: Pit Bull wearing pink choral-shaded lipstick. She never sets foot outside without it. Seriously, you do not want to piss this woman off.

If I were my own Coach, I’d ask myself how I’m feeling about all of this. I’d ask how I planned to move through my days with this new information and I’d ask how I was going to take care of myself so that I can make sure I’m there for her 1000%.

It’s an interesting place to be – holding space for myself and flip-flopping back and forth until something makes sense and I balance myself out.

Despite all of my spirituality and coaching ability, we are only human, after all. I’ve long ago prepared myself for her eventual move into the afterlife – we all will get there, but it’s not wanting anyone to suffer if this is what turns out to be her exit plan. My father suffered a LOT. I don’t wish that on anyone.

That said, all could be well and she could carry on being the tough old lady she is for many years to come.

It’s not for me to know at this point.

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Why Aren’t We Teaching Children How to Manager Their Minds?


I’m taking an online introductory course in Counselling and I’m currently reading a book called: The Skilled Helper. It’s interesting. I’ve barely started and already I’ve noticed that there is something very important and fundamentally missing in our Western system: we do not teach our young how to manage their mental health. At least, not on a large scale.

We show them how to take care of their bodies through eating well and exercising. We teach them to read, write and problem solve with equations. Sometimes we send them to Church and teach them about religion and morals, but….what about how to handle a crisis? How about teaching our kids about how their emotions work and that it’s okay to talk about them? What happened to focusing on alternative ways to handle situations, emotionally?

This is why we have Coaches and Counsellers! It’s not about telling someone what to do and how to handle their life but helping them discover and identify unused resources and opportunities that they already have, such as: How to cope during an emergency, how to deal with life’s stresses, how to handle emotional pain/anger/death/grief etc.

Do they even talk about this in school? How about at home? I’m not a parent and I can tell you that when I went to school (a LONG time ago) it was never covered off, not even remotely.

Now, I did a little research and it looks like in the British Columbia, curriculum under Physical Health, this subject is touched upon, briefly. So, I’m encouraged but from what I’ve read, it’s certainly not extensive. Big topics such as: sexual identity, bullying, emotional and physical changes during puberty and managing problems related to mental health are all in there. That’s great! This is 100% better than when I was a kid, but what about the nuts and bolts of everyday life? What about how we always tell boys not to cry and to suck it up? And how media encourages girls to look ‘western’ pretty (thin/sculpted features/large breasts…you get what I’m saying. Most of them do not look like that; I didn’t and sure don’t, now. What about female role models? Has that changed much? By looking at the books with key female roles, not so much.

My 22-year old niece worshipped Barbie from 2-years old until around 8 or 9-years old. What are we telling our kids who grow up thinking Barbie is what a woman is  supposed to look like?

Our world is SO fast-paced and intellectually engaging for our young. We give them high-tech electronics practically at birth but do we ever sit down and talk about what it’s like to be sad or mad?  Or, what this growing emotional being thinks about all of that? Think about it. Emotions RUN our lives. If you believe differently, just look at the news and then come back and tell me how it made you FEEL.

I’m just saying, folks, we need to change our entire strategy. What good is having a degree in neural science, having a perfect body, being wildly successful in your career if you’re not happy on the inside?

Now, I know a few AMAZing parents who nurture their children wisely and by the time they are teenagers, I’m willing to bet they will be highly sensitive, functional and intelligent beings capable of making very good decisions. That’s not the norm, though.

So what is the answer? How do we prepare the next generation so they can help fix this world? Who is responsible? Parents? Teachers?

Everyone. What’s who. Without a group effort, this paradigm shift will not take place any time soon.

sad depressed lonely adolescent teen boy