The last two months of the year usually finds us in a frantic state of shopping, decorating, cooking and travelling, so is it any wonder we are more stressed than cheerful. Having so many "to do" lists, we are wound up and too exhausted to enjoy that which normally makes us happy, as in cherished traditions and intimate family gatherings. There is an underlying expectation at this time of the year, that everybody is supposed to be cheerful, and to some degree caught up in the frenetic activity. The external pressure of being 'merry' creates an unrealistic goal for many of us.
Self Help Articles
Life if full of transitions and as this one goes; summer into autumn may not be a highly dramatic Neiman Marcus moment. It may be a more practical down to earth restocking of our shelves and inner selves. What is important here is the attitude you bring to the restocking. If you do it mindfully this seasonal transition provides an opportunity to live life in a more meaningful way with eyes wide open. If we are not mindful summer can merge into autumn finding us picking up the pace of school, games, hunting, parties etc in an automatic headless, unfulfilling way.
"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud." - Emile Zola
Most of us start our lives at a passionate 360* of authenticity, expressing what we feel in the moment. We cry when we are hurt or slighted, laugh and enjoy simple pleasures as we whirl through our day. What happened to our young and passionate selves along the way?
Fear tends to make us feel helpless, and out of control. Often the fear of change is attached to a core belief we absorbed about the world when we were small and truly helpless. We were dependent on significant others, who may not have been there for us, for one reason or another. As a result our needs for protection, safety and validation were not filled and at that time there was nothing we could do about it. From such experiences we absorb beliefs such as nobody is there for us, the world is not safe, we are helpless, and there is nothing we can do about it.
(Some tools to get beyond the struggle)
An English poet John Milton said the mind can create for us our own personal heaven or hell. I know from personal and professional experience that we can use the mind as a terrible weapon against ourselves, or find in it a loyal ally. Because we do not control the mind, most of us allow it to control us with it tending to swing back and forth, if not exactly heaven or hell, a lot of time is spent in purgatory. We have in our life story, experiences of the mind being the ally and the sabotager.
The mind is often merciless especially when it feels threatened by being alone and lonely. Have you ever tried to step out of a knowingly dysfunctional relationship to hear your ego chatter on about the reasons you should stay. At least I have somebody to go out to dinner with on Friday or Saturday night. I could call him if I need him. Could you really? Anytime?
I am often amazed that a woman who has been beaten will not or cannot leave the batterer. Leaving would be the most instinctual and self protective thing to do. In my clinical practice I’ve heard women make excuses for the batterer and talk about the times when it is really good between them. Usually such times are referred to as the making up, honeymoon period. From where I sit, this is a lull that lasts roughly six weeks between episodes. When the beating stops there is overwhelming relief, and often a powerful high. He is attentive, contrite and “very very good”. He has the power
Just like the iceberg is 10% visible and 90% under water so it is with the conscious mind and subconscious mind. Most of us go through life about 10% in charge of what we are doing. The vast unknown our subconscious is a rich underworld of shadows, beliefs, fears, anger; the sum total of every thing that has happened to us from birth, the whole catastrophe. Guess then who is really running your life. You got it, the parts your ignore, despise, reject or project.
Since change is the only constant in our lives, why is it so frightening to choose to change? Often it is thrust upon us and we didn’t see it coming. It may come in a way that cuts us off at the knees, such as having life, as we know it obliterated, like a tornado or hurricane. Somehow when such happens, time and time again we observe people having the courage and determination to reach down into their reservoir of resilience to deal with catastrophe. Where did all their courage, fearlessness, faith, determination come from, we ask ourselves. How were they able to do it?
Passion is not a quality that some people are born with but not others. To be passionate is as natural as breathing, as being alive, the source of who you are. And Yet...when was the last time you let that part of you out to play. Watch a child play and you see passion in action. They know the secret of living each moment with attention and wonder. As adults we tend to experience a guarded participation in our feelings that leaves us lukewarm toward much of our world. If you have turned into a bored and passionless grown up, it may be time to let the child your once were be your teac