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)

Deathiversaries


It’s odd how we count the days/months and then years after someone passes over to the other side. I think the passage of time leaves little tick marks that dig deep into our hearts to remind us that although it still hurts like hell…we’re still here.

Life on earth goes on without them.

We endure the absence of these loved ones in our daily live and if you’re like me, their presence is never far away. Even as the years pass by, our missed people still linger in our thoughts and dance in and out of memories like sun beams across the floor.

It’s year three since Brian left us and as much as I’d like to say it hurts less, it simply doesn’t. It does, however, grow into a smoother transition and although I had my share of tears, I smiled, as well.

I sat in the morning sun with my favourite tarot cards and asked him, out loud, if he’d guide me to pull out the card that I wanted. This would prove to me that he was really there. I was emotional and didn’t trust (as usual). It took a few tries between salty tears to hear him properly and after dropping the deck a few time, I was successful.

Finally, I stayed still  long enough, and calmed my heart, to hear his voice.

“Use your right hand,” he gently said. “That’s it…take a deep breath and carefully choose with your heart. Take your time; I’m here.”

(He’s ridiculously patient with me.)

I slid out one card with eyes shut tight. Flipping it over, I smiled while launching a fresh volley of rain from my half-lidded eyes.

The Love Card.

It’s the one I always wish for when I feel him near. If I try too hard, I fail. This time, I didn’t and showered him with my gratitude. It was a wonderful start to a sad day.

I miss him, still.

Money and Happiness Are Not Synonymous


When we picture money in our lives (especially a windfall) we feel all giddy about what we can get for ourselves, what adventures we can afford and all of the potential GOOD we can do with it.

So it stands to reason that having money = happiness, right?

No. In fact, although money is an essential means of existence and to ‘not’ have it can and does cause unhappiness…it’s not money in itself that creates happiness or negates it.

Let’s be clear. Money is nothing but a medium of ‘exchange’ …and most of it isn’t even tangible, anymore, it’s digital. So we have a digital form of energy that is a medium of exchange for goods and services.

Think about it. What’s the history of money, anyway? While no one is completely certain, we do know that around 5000 BC, people were exchanging pieces of metal for goods and services. At around 700 BC, the Lydians (an Iron Age kingdom of western Asia Minor) were using coins.

Before that, we bartered and traded: you give me 10 apples and I’ll give you 2 bags of rice. If I didn’t need the apples but wanted meat, instead, I took those apples to someone who was ‘selling’ meat and traded the apples for some of that.

So, were we all unhappy prior to using money?? NO! Of course not.

That said, our planet, today, is completely obsessed with it.  That is because most believe that money also = power. To some degree, it does…but that would really depend on how you measure power and what it means to you.

Are you powerful if you are in control of your own life and are able to manifest your own happiness without the aid of anyone but yourself? Are you powerful if you allow yourself to do what you LOVE and be who you really are rather than conform?

Or, are you powerful because you have a lot of money?

These are great questions and I don’t think I can address them in just one blog post!

That said, we all have our own truth and if you believe that you can’t be powerful without money, I tell you to look at people such as: Gandi, Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama.

“But!” you yell… “Look at all those rich and powerful people …!” as you go along to list a bunch of people WITH money AND power and suggest that this is truly the magical formula.

Yet…are they happy people? I could argue that and I suspect some of them truly are. It doesn’t mean that they are happy because they have lots of money.

Was Gandi happy? I’m going to say that he was.

The thing is – money is not happiness and happiness is not money. They can be found together or apart – kinda like chocolate and peanut butter; some find them delicious together while others (maybe you’re allergic to peanuts) find it devastating.

So there you go. You CAN be happy with or without money. It’s not a necessary ingredient as happiness is really an individual and exclusive thing and it is not a byproduct of having ‘stuff’ or having certain people in your life. I know people who have taken their lives because they didn’t have that one person with them, anymore, but when I asked if they were ‘happy’ when this person was with them….they said ‘no’, ultimately not.

You and only you are responsible for your happiness and no amount of cash, beautiful people or other outside influences will create happiness within YOU.

They can be influential and they can contribute but ultimately it’s up to your own conscious being to decide whether or not you will be or are, ultimately, happy.

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.

il_340x270.1168428404_5c4f