Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘life changes’

Change … Bring It On!

The only consistent thing we have in life is change. For those people who find change intimidating or uncomfortable hold on … you are in for the ride of your life! This ride is not one where you give the vendor a ticket and can choose to get off at a certain time. No… this is a non stop experience so we can either learn to accept, adapt and go with it or …well there really isn’t any other option other than stagnation. I’ll take change any time over that alternative!

Time goes by quickly and change has become so rapid that adapting our mental outlook to see the positives involved in change has become a true survival skill. Whether we are changing schools, jobs, houses or even relationships, at first there is a period of discomfort. Things are different – better maybe – but still different and that takes greater emotional energy from us. If you feel that you are already tapped out of energy it is time for an attitude adjustment. Trust me on this, looking at change from the perspective of growth makes all the difference.

We all have fond memories and connections to certain things in our lives. When those things change, momentarily we are thrown off our game. So what do we do with this discomfort? We can begin to take stock with gratefulness at all of the wonderful memories we have and realize they will always remain with us. Next we can look to the source of the latest change in our lives and determine how this latest change will help us grow as a person. Change may not be easy but don’t we eventually appreciate those things that force us out of our comfort zone? Well maybe not at first, of course. We don’t go around with a sign on our backs that says ‘Change…bring it on!’ Yet we become wiser, more seasoned travelers when we face change with eyes straight at it and our minds determined to make it work. It may take every once of what we have to move forward but is so worth it in the long run.

Now comes the hardest part – wrapping our hearts around the change. We may feel an actual loss inside us when life gives us a major change to contend with along the way. The stages of loss do exist and it is not uncommon to experience them even with a change that you have purposely chosen. It may be confusing and you might wonder to yourself, ‘What’s wrong with me? I chose this change and now I am worried or uncomfortable.’ Well, congratulations it just means that you are human after all! You may feel a loss of security, or comfort because you remember all of the good times associated with what once was in your life. You may even be reluctant to make the change thinking that nothing will ever take the place of what was … and guess what … you’re right. Nothing will ever be the same as what was but it will be different and eventually even better if you take a deep breath and believe that you can handle anything that life throws at you. You have evidence that you have done so in the past and you will do so again. If you wonder why your heart is not totally wrapped around the new and different I would suggest that it means your heart was in what was and that is a call for celebration. You gave a piece of your heart to what was and that’s a great thing. The amazing thing is that the capacity of our hearts to grow is never ending and it will embrace the new change overtime. Be gentle with yourself. Allow the sadness because it is real. Just remember not to allow yourself to remain stuck in the grief for a long period of time because you will be treading water not moving forward. Have faith in yourself and remember that as one door closes another one opens. Get ready to walk through it, head held high because you earned it!

You will look back in a couple of years and realize that life really is better in a host of ways now you have experienced the change. You will feel stronger, wiser and more self confident because you lived through another life challenge and lived to tell the tale.

Have a great few days!

Handling Transitions in Life

Linda Ellis wrote an incredible poem entitled, ‘The Dash.’ It talks about the moments between our birth and death and refers to them as the dash. The dash represents how we spend our life. When you think about it the dash – our life experiences – are each absolutely one of a kind. They are the genuine articles that cannot be replicated by anyone. When you think further about what constitutes our dash it is made up of times of transitions in our lives. Our families, careers, homes, just life in general, is really a matter of learning how to accept and embrace these transitions.

Even though our lives are unique, there are predictable patterns when it comes to our transitions since they represent change. Think about the definition of change, ‘to make the form, nature, content, or future course of something different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone.’ No matter how much we try to embrace the idea of change it can still be daunting. That’s why it is called change! Yet, how many of us would want to see our lives static, doing the same thing day after day for the rest of our lives. To help embrace the changes in our lives there are a few steps to consider when we are facing major life transitions that can help us hold on and carry on through the sometimes murky waters of the as yet unknown.

We can expect to feel anxious even a bit depressed at least momentarily when we are facing a major life change. At first we may feel confused, puzzled even. We thought we couldn’t wait for this major transition in our lives and yet, gulp…all of a sudden there it is staring us in the face and we may think to ourselves. ‘I don’t know if I’m ready, or this is happening too fast…’ Our emotions are on overdrive as we try to analyze what to do next. We think to ourselves, ‘I need a plan.’ Indeed we do need a plan …in time…just not quite yet. We are in that famous place that the brilliant Dr. Seuss called, ‘The Waiting Place.’ For those of us who have tried to live by the sacred pact of always having a Plan A, B and even C, this is a trying and frustrating place to be in emotionally. We know it’s time to close up shop on the old but we are not quite ready to embrace with abandon the new. Instead we stew, fret and worry.

If you are in the proximity of ‘The Waiting Place’ you will surely know it. What may have been funny in the past – is not particularly so right now. You may be a bit touchy with others. You may even find yourself forgetting things you have always remembered and become even more uptight over it. Why do these things happen? Simply because you have allowed your mind to become caught up with the fear of the unknown. The ‘what ifs’ take over and you are caught up with worry. Just remember the saying, ‘99% of what we worry about never comes to pass’ because it is true!

The good news is that you are EXACTLY in the right frame of mind, at the right juncture of your life and facing a major life transition ahead and are a bit overwhelmed. Good for you! It means that the life you were living was worthwhile and you made significant contributions to making this world a better place. Giving up or letting go of what was and embracing what is yet to be is not for the faint hearted. Yet…there is magic in change, undiscovered treasures in starting something new and beautiful horizons yet to experience….when you are ready. When will I be ready you might ask? Oh, trust me on this, you’ll know the signs even though the future might still look a bit uncertain. There it is – you can feel the beginning of a smile way back in the recesses of your mind that you are nearly ready to expand your life and challenge yourself by facing something new. Intuitively, you know everything will work out. You know you can do it. You just needed that time in ‘The Waiting Place’ to mentally and emotionally pack your bags.

When we visualize our life as a book, each chapter uniquely written by us, we can see that we are simply finishing one chapter and are getting ready to move on to the next. We begin to get our breath again as we exhale with a new found courage knowing the next chapter will, indeed, be a great one. It takes time, courage and belief in ourselves to embrace the transitions in our lives. It is also good to remember that others have managed the transitions in their lives and are still alive and doing well. Often, talking with others who have experienced major life transitions and have a new purpose in their life can give us just the extra shot of confidence we need to remember, “All is as it should be.”

Have a great few days!

Choosing Happiness!

This is the second blog on the topic of how small changes in our thinking can make huge impacts in our lives. In goal setting we know that there are two different types of motivation – constructive and restrictive. The understanding of the difference between the two are significant and can be life changing.

The definition of constructive motivation is deciding to CHOOSE to see the opportunity in a situation. Even with events in our lives that challenge us using constructive motivation we decide to handle them in a more positive manner. Think of the saying, when life gives you lemons, make lemon aid. This is a perfect example of constructive motivation. It allows us to bring a more energized mindset to any chore or event. Life is not easy or for the faint of heart. Why make it harder on ourselves? Constructive motivation colors our world with vibrancy and is energizing not only to us but to those around us.

Restrictive motivation, on the other hand, is easily identified because the person usually starts by saying, ‘I HAVE TO …’ or ‘so and so is MAKING or EXPECTING me to …’ What they are saying is that what they need to do or are expected to do is not really of their choosing and consequently they psychologically resent it and see it as a demand. When you think about it the only two things we have to do in life is die and pay taxes. We don’t have to work at a particular job, live in a particular environment or maintain certain friends because we can change those things if we are unhappy with them. If our job is too stressful we can start looking for a different one that better suits us. If our bills are too high and causing us stress we can change our spending habits. People who use restrictive motivation often enjoy the attention received by playing the role of victim by being the person who is constantly overwhelmed by the demands of others. Their attitude speaks volumes. Slowly but surely they have fewer and fewer friends because their negative energy zaps others. Over time, people choose not to be around them. It just takes too much out of us to hear their latest version of what is not working in their lives. It can be exhaustive just thinking about them.

If we want to feel more in charge of our lives we can do so by consciously thinking in terms or ‘want or choose to do something’ rather than ‘have to’ do something. It takes practice but over time the results are worth it. Reading this you may think the difference of thinking in terms of ‘choosing’ rather than ‘having’ to is merely semantics but it is so much more. The difference is truly immense because in reality it is all about energy – positive or negative. Just think about how you feel when someone tells you to do something compared to when someone asks you to do something. You may still do the task but when asked you feel you have a choice and do it more willingly. When being told to do something you may still do it, of course, but you bring to the table a subtle but natural resentment to the task just as we did when we were kids and our parents told us to do this or that – remember how you felt? Not so good right? Then why would we do the same thing constantly to ourselves?

Our tomorrows stretch out ahead of us just as a blank canvas to an artist. What colors, attitude and motivation we choose to bring to the experience determines whether we bring our total self to the experience with gratitude for the opportunity to live another day and make a difference or not.

The amazing and wonderful thing about life is that we have the exclusive choice to use constructive motivation to cause us to feel deeper and accomplish more by recognizing the gift of being here on this planet to learn our lessons. It is totally in our power to choose our mindset and with it the life we choose to live.That is an awesome opportunity!

Have a great few days!

Verbalizing your Feelings

Every once in a while I read something that just touches my heart and seems to beg to be shared. Finding a trusted family member or friend to talk to can lightened your load and make tomorrow a little easier. The following has been written by Devorah Zolotarev a gifted poet. I have taken the liberty to shorten it by not repeating all of the stanzas. The message in her writing remains intact – the importance of trusting yourself and others enough to verbalize your true feelings.

If I would let myself tell you
Where I’ve come and gone
How far I have run
Where I now stand
You could tell me you understand

If I would let myself tell you
About my hidden, darkened fears
My struggles through the years
My joy of breaking through
Then maybe you could help me
Continue what I do

If I would let myself tell you
Of the battles in my heart
What shatters me apart
How fragile I can be
Then maybe you could help me
Escape and just be free

If I would let myself tell you
Why I struggle with each word
How I’m scared of being heard
That I wish I could let go
Then maybe you could help me
Because then you would know

If I would let myself tell you
Than all this could disappear
Then you’d see me crystal clear
Then at least my tears would flow
Just maybe, maybe now
I’ll allow you to know

Have a great few days!

Unlocking Your Potential

To learn to live in unconditional love is the reason we are experiencing life in this incarnation. To achieve this type of love we need to be able to truly accept, understand and appreciate ourselves and others. When you think about it, that’s a tall order. It means not only being totally comfortable in our own skin but to allow others to be comfortable in theirs as well. How is this possible to achieve? When we accept that we all have more in common than we may first think, it opens up our thinking.

1. We are all motivated by acceptance and love
2. We all experience fear from time to time.
3. We have all chosen this lifetime to live through our unique life challenges.
4. Most importantly, we share the same source of our existence.

When we accept these commonalities, it allows us to see ourselves and others through different lenses. It may take an entire lifetime to realize that learning to love yourself and others in a nonjudgmental way is the most important thing we can do. That’s okay. It is a huge lesson.

What opinions do you have about your life experiences to date? We have all lived through tough times and life altering experiences, many in fact, that took our breath away with the pain. Trust me on this one, no one goes through life unscathed.

The question is can we regroup and as the lyrics of the song go, ‘pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.’ Or are we in the blame game, angry that life happened to us when we weren’t expecting it. Anger, blame and fear are debilitating and the direct opposite of unconditional love.

Challenge yourself to examine a life altering experience that appeared so unfair to find the lesson in it. It will necessitate that you stop thinking about the ‘what if’ or ‘why me’ and analyze it from the perspective of what was the most difficult thing to accept from it. There is the lesson, staring you right in the face. Every experience offers us a chance to grow from it as we embrace ourselves and others with unconditional love and faith in tomorrow.

Everything happens for a reason – a purpose. If you find yourself in a negative mindset at first, thinking ‘why me’ just give yourself a little time for the rawness of the hurt to pass. You are a spiritual being, true, but you have both the gift and burden of living this spirituality in a human form with human emotions. Just don’t let yourself get stuck. Talk to a friend, family member or counselor to help yourself regain your footing. Think to yourself, ‘I know there was a purpose for … and I will seek to understand and learn from it.

Unconditional love is the way to unlock our true potential. After all, our thoughts truly are our keys to life. Positive thoughts open doors and negative thoughts close them. We are each on our own individual path to knowing a higher truth and embracing unconditional love. When we believe this, it lets us take a deep breath and ‘allow’ the experiences to help us become better human beings. We then remember with gratitude “All is as it should be.”

Have a great few days!

Do You Have Faith in Tomorrow?

Watching bits and pieces of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebration this weekend, I was moved to see the thousands of well-
wishers demonstrating such pride in their queen and country. The queen’s background is fascinating. When she was 14 and England was being bombed, she made a radio broadcast to the children of England stating, “In the end all will be well for God will care for us and give us victory and peace.” At 26 years of age she became Queen. She was no longer free to be a person in her own right but had to become all things to all people. She started weekly meetings with Winston Churchill and has continued the practice with every prime minister since that time. In addition to being the mother of four children she had a 24/7 job. As she witnessed divorces, separations, and deaths in her immediate family she just had to keep going. She adapted to the changes and losses in her life regardless of how difficult they may have been. She has the same human emotions that we all have as a mother, sister, daughter and wife and yet her 24/7 job, for the rest of her life, continues. There is no such thing as retirement for a queen – until death. In a televised address she called the celebration “a humbling experience.” Well done!

Luckily, we have not had to deal with the 24/7 expectancies in our lives that she has shouldered. We have had time to live our own lives, raise our families and even take time out for grief, when needed, without the mantel of expectancies hanging over our heads. I wondered to myself, how many of us can say that, like the queen, we have truly adapted – made changes for the positive – as our lives and our worlds have become more challenging. Do we look at our own lives optimistically, knowing that everything will work out as it is supposed to, or do we become bogged down in our lives wondering when ‘it’ will pass. The ‘it’ is called life. It won’t pass until we do, when our lessons are learned.

To remain optimistic requires that we believe in something bigger than ourselves. It has been said that, “One either has faith in God/Universal Energy or faith in our fears.” Whenever you begin to worry just think about that for a moment. Fear comes in so many forms and can paralyze us. When we lose someone it is natural to go through a period of mourning and fear. After all, life has suddenly changed –
oftentimes – without warning. As I discussed in my book, Just Behind the Door, the future can feel so uncertain after we experience a loss that we may need to seek the help of others to keep ourselves moving forward.

If we all work at fearing less and loving ourselves and others more the world will be a better place. It starts and ends with us. Take time to examine your own life. Don’t you find that 99% of what you worry about (fear) never happens. Yet many of us continue to waste the precious time we have on this earth worrying. We choose fear rather than belief. I don’t think it matters what name you give the power greater than yourself, it only matters that we realize that there is such a power and we are ALL a part of it. Like Queen Elizabeth II, let us give and receive love, have faith in our future and make the world a little better off when we leave it.