Be in the Flow – Follow Your Path!

Archive for August, 2011

Live a Little – Every Day

Live a Little – Every Day

You never know what life brings your way next. Enjoy it while you can. Live a little – EVERY day.

What Are You Waiting For?

My Mom was a young girl in Germany during World War II. Her family rented a small apartment right by a major target of frequent allied bombings. Day and night bombings. After coming out of the bomb shelter you never knew who of your friends and family were still alive and whose home and possessions survived the bombings. If there was a direct hit on a bomb shelter, chances were good that no one inside survived. And most important to continued survival, you immediately needed to know, who had a well with a hand pump that still pumped water out of the ground.

At some point, children in these highly targeted areas were sent into the countryside to live in youth hostels with teachers and chaperones. Conditions and food were meager and my mother, who was eleven years old at the time, was separated from her family. At one point she received a package from her mother, a special treat. In it was a piece of home-baked cake and an orange. Such luxury! How her mother was able to secure those items and get them shipped to her daughter – no one will ever know. My mother cherished those two items beyond measure. Despite being hungry all the time, she just couldn’t bring herself to eat them. Eventually the orange rotted and the bugs got the piece of cake. On top of it all, my mother got a thorough beating when her “wastefulness” was discovered. My mother is over 80 years old now and she still beats herself up over being such a stupid girl and wasting that food. She may never understand or be able to forgive herself.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

What is it that you have been saving or postponing for some future time that may never come?

• How about that special item of clothing that when you finally have a reason to wear it, it no longer fits.

• How about that special china or silverware that you accumulated after your wedding but only use a couple of times each year (or not at all).

• How about that special treat that you stuck in the back of your freezer and promptly forgot.

• How about money spent on a hobby that you will make time for “as soon as …”

• How about that special trip or dream vacation that you have been putting off for years.

• How about that exercise equipment that you will start to use “when ….”

We probably all have things that we are saving “for a special occasion”, things that we consider so special that they need to be saved.

During a recent power outage that lasted long enough for me to question whether anything in my freezer was still safe to eat I took stock. There was a bag of giant shrimp, probably bought as a special treat several years ago. There was that turkey that never made it onto our Thanksgiving dinner table. There was some steak, badly freezer burned and now melted, purchase date about 5 years ago.

After throwing it all out I vowed to buy special treats and eat them, not save them.

I also unpacked some fancy china that had been in a box much too long.

What will you stop saving and start using, eating, enjoying, make time for – starting NOW?

Taking it Farther:

1. Take a look around. Check your closets, your cabinets, your freezer, your basement or attic or any storage areas you may have.
2. What can you enjoy that you are currently saving?
3. Vow to enjoy life a little more each day.

• If you have a special treat in your freezer declare a special day in the next two weeks and eat it. Even better, invite friends or family to share it with you.
• If you have a special clothing item, plan an outing where you can wear it within the next month.
• If you have special china, declare one day each month (or each week) as special china day, make a meal and create a festive atmosphere to enjoy it.
• If you have a hobby you have been neglecting, set aside a few hours once each week to spend time with it.
• If you have exercise equipment you have been saving, decide if it is something you enjoy doing, would enjoy doing alone or with others. Then carve out time, create a group or get rid of it and get something that you would like instead.
• If you have always wanted to take a trip, start planning it. Research your destination, what you would want to do, how long you would want to be there, how much it will cost, who you would like to go with. Then create a savings account just for that purpose and plan how much money you will contribute to it on a regular basis until you have enough to go. If time is the issue, start to figure out what all needs to be done so you can be gone for that amount of time. Plan it as if you are really going to go — because you are!

Contact me:

If you would like to improve the quality of your life, figure out what you truly want in life, and help you clear the obstacles in your way, call me. For many people coaching can make the difference between what you have now and the life you could have. Live the life you choose. Achieve your goals. Be happy. Lead a balanced life. Call Edith at 847.913.3900 now.

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Sink or Swim? Swim no Matter What!

Sink or Swim? Swim no Matter What!

Sometimes life hands you so many lemons you run out of sugar to make lemonade. My sincere apologies to my readers for missing a week of my weekly newsletter. I recommit to publishing these articles weekly — no matter what!

So this article is about resolve: committing to what is most important to you; committing to your goals and dreams; resolve to keep going when the going gets tough; resolve to take big strides when you are able to and tiny steps when the going gets tough. This is about the story of the “Tortoise and the Hare”: steady persistence wins the race, yet what most people don’t talk about is that both the tortoise and the hare cross the finish line. Whether you are more like a tortoise or more like a hare, keep the finish line (your goal) clearly in mind.

Story: Live to Tell

My daughter developed a great deal of interest in the Holocaust as a young child. As a result I read with her and talked with her about many books on the subject. For younger children the book “The Number on my Grandfather’s Arm” by David Adler is an excellent and sensitive introduction to the topic.

One of the things that struck me is how these people, who survived incredible atrocities, could keep their will to live. I wonder if I would have been willing to live through that. For that matter, how can any prisoner of war, who is being tortured, survive without their spirit and will to live being broken? What makes the difference between those who survive and those who don’t?

Those who survived had an incredible will to live. After reading and hearing many books and stories by Holocaust survivors one of the patterns emerged for me, “Live to Tell”. Some of those who survived felt that no one would believe the atrocities unless enough of them survived to tell about it. Their mantra became, “Live to Tell” so justice would be brought and something like this would never be allowed to happen again. Elie Wiesel, a well known survivor and Nobel Prize winner says, “…to remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all…”.

Jakow Trachtenberg, an engineer and also a Holocaust survivor, realized that if he wanted to stay alive, he had to take his mind off the hopeless conditions around him. He decided to focus on developing methods to quickly perform multiplication and division in his head. After his survival he formed the Mathematical Institute in Switzerland.

Many of the survivors had an indestructible will to live. That will went beyond their own life and included a greater good: whether to insure that the atrocities were documented and analyzed so something like this could be prevented in the future, or someone creating a system to help students struggling with math learn a simple system to help them excel.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

How do you tap into your indestructible will?
Start by asking: What are you good at? Which of your gifts, talents, or expertise do you love to share? How can that make a difference in someone’s life?

In my blog post (TipsToaMoreFulfillingLife) on April 15, 2011 I wrote about how my friend Fran learned to swim. It gives me great satisfaction to know that I helped her overcome her fear of the water and helped her be a swimmer for life.

Just like teaching swimming, I love to help others overcome the obstacles in their life and see them blossom into the people they want to become. That’s why I’m a coach. That’s why I write these articles. That’s what keeps me going when I get handed more lemons than I know what to do with.

You, too, can learn to access this core of who you are and what makes you great, or what keeps you going when you feel like giving up. There are people counting on you for something that only you can give. You are unique and special, whether you give courage by the trials you have overcome or because you have a special gift to share. The world needs what you have to give. There is no one else quite like you, with your unique gifts, experiences and perspectives. YOU MATTER!

Taking it Farther:

In the chapter on “Intention” Barbara Stanny writes in her book “Secrets of Six-Figure Women” that these successful women had various reasons for wanting to be successful but they also had an intention of making money. Yet the intention wasn’t enough. They also had to learn why they didn’t want to make money; what was holding them back.

1. Figure out what you want. Strip away what you think other people want for you. Strip away what you think you should want. Make sure what you think you want is really what YOU want.
2. Figure out why you don’t want what you say you want. What stops you? Why do you waver? Who sabotages your success? Who or what do you blame for your lack of success?
3. If you’re not making the progress you want on your own, come coach with me. Some things in life are not meant to be done alone. Success requires a team. As one of my mentors says, “Success is a team sport”.

Contact me:

If you would like to improve the quality of your life, figure out what you truly want in life, and help you clear the obstacles in your way, call me. For many people coaching can make the difference between what you have now and the life you could have. Live the life you choose. Achieve your goals. Be happy. Lead a balanced life. Call Edith at 847.913.3900 now.

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

If you are not getting enough sleep you probably don’t even realize it.

“Small amounts of sleep loss (eg, 1 hour per night over many nights) have subtle cognitive costs, which appear to go unrecognized by the individual experiencing the sleep loss. More severe restriction of sleep for a week leads to profound cognitive deficits similar to those seen in some stroke patients, which also appear to go unrecognized by the individual.” (From the website http://www.medscape.com and the research of David Thorne)

In the video game “Zeitgeist”, a character suffering from sleep deprivation, then fatigue, then exhaustion, suffers increasingly severe penalties (can’t do spells, less strength and dexterity). In the game the penalties for sleep deprivation are obvious. If we could invent an easy to use “thermometer” for measuring sleep deprivation, and a chart of penalties at each degree of sleep deprivation, may be then we would take our own need for sleep more seriously.

Story: Sleeplessness and Diabetes

“Short-term sleep deprivation has been implicated in contributing to obesity as well as glycemia dysregulation contributing to poor control of type II diabetes.” (From the website http://www.medscape.com)

For as long as I have known my father, he has had trouble sleeping. Nothing ever seemed to help for very long. As an adult he developed diabetes. He felt it was one of a series of complications of his condition.
After my daughter was born, I took her with me on a visit to my father. Because of the diabetes he had been blind for some time and had lost all sensation in his hands. Yet he wanted to see his grandchild. So he came up with an idea. On a bright sunny day we went outside and while my Dad was facing into the sun, I held my daughter up in the bright light. He could tell just enough of a difference between the sun and her shadow to “see” his first grandchild.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

There is more and more research confirming that not enough sleep is bad for us. Yet we pride ourselves on being able to do all-nighters. With on-line games, TV and the Internet we can have things to do and people to interact with any time of day or night. The temptations are hard to resist and our lack of awareness of the consequences on our health make it even less compelling to change.

If you know you are not getting enough sleep, or you feel that you have issues falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up after only a few hours of sleep, consider getting help. Find out if a medical condition prevents you from getting the sleep your body needs.

Taking it Farther:

Stress is one of the causes of sleeplessness. Forcing ourselves to sleep less because we have too much to do is one of the reasons we develop poor sleep habits. Learning to respond to stressors with equanimity, learning to prioritize, letting go of time wasters such as procrastination can help as well. Strengthening your boundaries and being able to say “no” to requests by others is an important skill in managing your time and stress. Unless there is a medical condition that prevents you from sleeping or sleeping enough, reducing stress and improving time management skills can be an important option to improving the quality of your life, health, and sleep.

Contact me:

If you would like to improve the quality of your life and learn to reduce stress and time pressure, call me to learn how coaching can help. Live the life you choose. Achieve your goals. Be happy. Lead a balanced life. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

Do You Have Co-dependent Traits? How That Matters

Do You Have Co-dependent Traits? How That Matters

The level of independence and inter-dependence you have achieved so far may directly affect your happiness and success in the world.

Do we all have co-dependent traits? As children we grow up depending on adult care-takers. Being dependent is what we know best. As we grow up we may become co-dependent. We may fight against dependence by becoming fiercely independent. That can be very lonely. Don’t stop there. The next step in the evolution towards healthy relationships is inter-dependence. My belief is that inter-dependence is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, where healthy and happy relationships exist.

If you struggle with relationships, you are not alone. All humans start out being dependent. In fact other mammals and birds do too. At some point they have to learn to become independent. We even say when our children leave home that the parents are “empty nesters”. There are other living creatures, fish for example, which are born independent and on their own from birth.

Let’s take a look at some traits in each of the dependence categories:

1. DEPENDENCE: one who relies on another
In their books, Dr Cloud and Dr Townsend talk about three types of dependence of adult children on their parents:
• As a source of things they need
• As a guardian to protect them from the world and their own immaturity
• As a manager to oversee that they get everything done responsibly
In this type of relationship individuals cannot function or survive apart from one another. The parent may be fostering the dependence for their own co-dependent needs.
2. CO-DEPENDENCE: a psychologically unhealthy relationship in which one person perpetuates another’s addiction or harmful behavior.
• Need to be needed by people they can rescue
• Will do anything to avoid feeling abandoned
• Avoid asserting themselves
• Poor communication skills (avoid confronting and resolving issues)
• Chronic anger
• Problems with boundaries
• Dishonesty
• Trying to make a relationship work with someone who isn’t interested
• Feeling like they are “the strong one” and superior – to combat their own low self-esteem
These patterns of behavior are often learned and passed on from one generation to the next. A family with an addicted person (alcoholic, dry-drunk, drug addict, workaholic, …) may replicate similar behavior patterns in the next generation.
3. INDEPENDENCE: self governing
• Free from control by others
• Self reliant, not looking for support (financial or other care) from others
• Not looking to others for one’s opinions or guidance on conduct
• Financially independent – not having to work for others for a living
• Freedom of choice
4. INTER-DEPENDENCE: combines independence with devotion to a larger group (like family or community) or cooperation on a common goal.
• A dynamic of being mutually and physically responsible to, and sharing a common set of principles with others.
• All participants are emotionally, economically, ecologically and/or morally self-reliant while at the same time responsible to each other.
Interdependent relationships are those that depend on two or more cooperative autonomous participants.

Story: From Financial Dependence to Helping Others

“A person who is an under earner is unequivocally co-dependent” says Barbara Stanny in her book “Secrets of Six-Figure Women”. Ms Stanny is the daughter of Richard Bloch, co-founder of H&R Block, a tax preparation and personal finance company. She tells her story of always having plenty of money when she grew up. According to her, she had a large trust fund and her Dad didn’t teach her about money – because she’d never have to worry about it. When Barbara got married she turned the management of her trust fund over to her husband. Only much too late did she find out that her husband had a gambling problem and she found herself penniless and in debt, owing over a million dollars in back taxes.

Her Dad was unwilling to rescue her, so she had to learn how to earn and manage money. She now teaches what she has learned to others.

Why Create Inter-dependent Relationships?

Issues with money are one of the places where your relationship challenges show up. Another is whether you feel safe in your relationships to bring up difficult issues, be heard, and move towards resolution. Secrecy and too much independence, or enmeshment and too little independence are both problematic. Moving towards healthy inter-dependence provides much satisfaction in relationships.

Healthy inter-dependent relationships have as a foundation that each person is ok the way they are and is willing to grow. It involves being honest and kind and addressing and resolving issues that arise.

Finding people with whom you can create healthy inter-dependent relationships requires the ability to be discerning, being able to see self and others clearly, to go into relationships with eyes wide open. As we heal childhood wounds (you don’t have to have had severe childhood difficulties to have wounds), we can see ourselves more and more clearly – without the distortion filter of wounds. “Wound distortion filters” allow ourselves to be victimized by others and therefore limit our ability to trust ourselves. That is because each filter covers something that we can’t reconcile and therefore we have created a blind spot.

In “Family Dynamics of Recovery”, Peggy Ferguson, PhD. states that “Healthy interaction with others involves a change from being responsible for others, to being responsible to them.” Another way of saying that we are accountable to one another.

Dependent people want to be taken care of. Independent people want to do it all themselves. Co-dependent people trust those who are untrustworthy, depend on undependable people, love people who are unavailable; they keep repeating the cycle of being a victim. Inter-dependent people choose their relationships wisely and find themselves developing healthy mutually satisfying relationships. They have a commitment to the relationship and see the need for positive changes to grow and prosper in their relationships. There is respect, intimacy, deep connection, good boundaries, and healthy communication.

Contact me:

If you would like to improve the quality of your relationships and heal some of your challenges, call me to learn how coaching can help. Live the life you choose. Achieve your goals. Be happy. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

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