How Do You Stop A Crazed Gunman?

Monday, 17. December 2012 18:28 | Author:

This weekend, as I mourned the horrendous loss of life in the Connecticut school shooting along with the rest of the country, I asked myself this question many times, “How do you stop a crazed gunman?” Sadly, the answer seems to be, you probably can’t.  By the time he is holding the gun, the time to stop him or her, has passed.  But that answer doesn’t satisfy my heart and so I continue to seek a response, a course of action so that I may begin to heal my grief with hope.

I believe that while we may not be able to stop a crazed gunman, we may be able to help the child that might otherwise become that gunman.  Inside all of us is a child, a child who may have been bullied, who may have had problems, been traumatized, or who may have been overlooked and passed over and passed along in our system.

Somehow, we have got to take better care of our children, and perhaps that starts by taking better care of ourselves.  Perhaps we need to take an extra moment out of our day to be kinder to ourselves, and then to others.  Perhaps we should stop and help, even when it would be much easier on us and on our hectic schedules to keep on going.

Perhaps I can take a moment to notice and acknowledge the challenges facing another human being.  I can smile.  I can say please and thank you.  I can greet another person with kindness and acknowledge our shared humanity, whether it is a homeless person, the cleaner at the gym or the assistant at my office.   I can take time to call and check on an elderly friend and lend an empathetic ear.

I think I’m a decent person, and yet, I know I can be better.  I can find ways to voice my opposition to injustice I can open my heart not just to my family, but also to the family of man.  I can stop asking, “What’s wrong with this world? And start asking, “What’s right with this world, and how can I be a part of it? “

I can question myself when I feel jealousy, resentment, fear or hatred.  I can get help to understand those feelings, and in turn, help others, especially our children, to understand their feelings – and to cope with them. I can find ways to heal myself, through prayer, yoga, meditation, nonviolent communication and community.  I can reach out.  I may not be able to save the world, but I can be more loving every day, to myself and to others.

I owe it to those innocent children in Connecticut to not just wonder how such horror can occur, but also to wonder what might we do collectively, and individually to change the things in our world that don’t support  the mentally ill, and the children who are suffering from trauma and other kinds of wounds.  Maybe that includes better gun control, maybe that includes locking down our schools, but I also believe it means helping people to love themselves – and each other more. How can we support each other so that we can be well in body, mind and spirit?  How do we work toward loving inclusion, embrace and assist those who are less fortunate or different from ourselves?

How do I become an instrument of good works and positive change?

We may not have all the answers, but I believe that if we keep asking the right questions and seek to live with love, respect, kindness and make wellness a priority over video games as babysitters, more possessions, climbing the corporate ladder and a million other distractions that keep us from putting our children and our souls first, then we can and will change the world.   It is my only hope.

Category:Self Actualization, Spirituality, Wellness | Comments (2)

On Gratitude

Wednesday, 21. November 2012 14:37 | Author:

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

William Arthur Ward

 

Happy Thanksgiving!  For more on the benefits of gratitude, visit http://www.theprojectcoach.com/blog/bid/80456/Is-Gratitude-Good-for-You

Category:Creativity & Fun Stuff, Spirituality | Comment (0)

Why Suffer?

Thursday, 15. November 2012 15:00 | Author:

What is suffering?  Simply put, it’s not accepting the truth.  When you fight with reality, you create resistance and the energy it requires  is painfully unproductive.  Some examples:

Is suffering necessary?

  • You no longer love your lover but you stay with that person and pretend that everything is okay.
  • Your lover no longer loves you and you hope that if you are really good, sexy, well behaved (fill in the blank____)   that your lover will love you again.
  • Your arm has been amputated and you try to do the same old things in the same old way.

I’m not saying that you can’t grieve your losses or that it‘s easy.   It’s sad when something we want or that we treasure changes.  I’m going through a divorce, and although I know it is my right path, it hurts to face reality, and there is grief. But I find that simply longing for the past, coddling  the loss or even making wild ass strategic plans to force someone else to change,  doesn’t usually  get me back to where I wish I could be.  So go ahead and feel your sadness, feel your grief, and then, when you’re ready, can you allow that small, but brilliant voice inside you to say,  “This is my new reality – what now?”

I am not saying that its fun to “cowboy up” or that it doesn’t hurt like hell.  What I am saying is that the longer you live in denial of your reality, you prolong your suffering.  Once you say to yourself, “I no longer have two arms, so what can I do with one arm and two legs,” – or, “I can no longer stay in this relationship, so what relationships do I want to create now?” – the faster you can get back into alignment with what is possible and right for you.  Once you reclaim your ability to make choices that nourish you and heal you, suffering begins to shrink.

Denial is okay too.  Sometimes it is the best we can do.  If denial is what you need to take care of yourself, accept it, know it, embrace it and forgive yourself. But please don’t betray your heart forever.  If you do, you may lose your soul, and that is a big price to pay for the cold comfort of numbness.

Suffering is a choice.  What choices are you making?

Category:Self Actualization, Wellness | Comment (0)

Better Healing by Looking Inside and Out

Sunday, 14. October 2012 14:10 | Author:

Physical spaces in our lives can stress us, make us sick, or help us be well.

Science is now proving what we have known intuitively for centuries – that beautiful surroundings and “places of peace” aid healing. Maybe that’s one explanation of why so many of us are willing to pay more for a hotel room with a beautiful view.

According to immunologist Esther Sternberg, Research Director at the University of Arizona in Tucson, a living being is constantly repairing itself against a variety of different insults in its environment at a molecular, a cellular, and an emotional level.  Therefore, we simply cannot underestimate our environment when it comes to the impact it has on our well-being and our stress level.  When individuals who need to heal are placed in environments that don’t trigger a stress response, they are likely to release positive, anti-pain molecules and dopamine molecules that allow their bodies to heal more effectively.

The good news for you and I, is that means we can affect our wellness by managing our internal and external spaces. Since most of us are healing all the time, perhaps from a jagged day at work, bad traffic, illness, depression, whatever – we can’t afford to overlook creating a place of peace in our lives – internally and externally. The excellent news is that people like Sternberg are working with architects to build better wellness into our hospitals, workplaces, and homes so daily healing can be easier for all of us.

At an “On Being” radio interview, Sternberg spoke about her new book, Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being.  She cited a well-controlled hospital study in which the single variable that differed between patients was a view out the window.  The study found that the patients with a view of a grove of trees left the hospital a day sooner (on average), needed less pain medication, and had fewer negative nurse’s notes than patients who had a view of a brick wall.

Sternberg makes it clear that she’s not advising anyone to cancel chemotherapy and to escape to a desert island for his or her recovery.  Rather, she advocates that you aid your healing process by managing your environment and using mindful modalities, like meditation, yoga and prayer to help amplify pathways in the brain that are proven to help the immune system do its job of healing.

Sternberg talks about finding your “place of peace”, both inside and out.  She intimates what that means is slowing down – by either forgetting or not worrying about time. In daily living, we’re so conscious of time, it’s hard to strip that preoccupation away.  Activities like walking slowly, using a Buddhist prayer wheel or drum, or visiting a meditation garden can help you to slow down and notice the beauty around you.

Sternberg commented “…the most important point that I came to in my own journey in writing this book is that we really can create places of peace not only in our real world, in our physical environment that surrounds us, but in our own mind’s eye. And those kinds of places of peace are portable. In many different traditions, like the Buddhist tradition or in virtually all religious traditions, you close your eyes and you visualize something. That’s a way of carrying these environments, these healing places, within you. It’s wonderful if you can go to them, but if you can’t, you can bring them to yourself.”

Now that Sternberg’s reminded us how important our surroundings (internal and external) are, I hope you will take some time to invest in yourself and your living space. Rid yourself of clutter, but also honor objects of beauty and meaning, and add music, color and light. I hope you will allow yourself a few precious moments of quiet mindfulness each day; even five minutes can make a difference. My hunch is you’ll feel better for it.

Check out the full interview here: http://www.onbeing.org/program/science-healing-places/4856

 

Category:Wellness | Comment (0)

The Power of Words

Friday, 7. September 2012 16:46 | Author:

Our thoughts and our words have tremendous power.  Consider this quote from freethechildren.org:

“Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.”

For more on using words to change your destiny, visit my blog at http://www.theprojectcoach.com/blog/bid/78493/How-Words-Can-Change-Your-Destiny  and check out this great little video about word power. If you can’t see it, click here: http://youtu.be/jOMMFx1NZt0

Category:Wellness | Comment (0)

On Love

Thursday, 2. August 2012 16:15 | Author:

I recently learned about the poetry of Hafiz.   Here is one of my favorites from his book The Gift:

“Even
After
All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,

“You owe me.”

Look
What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.”

حافظ, The Gift

May you too experience the blessing of a love that lights up the world.

Category:Creativity & Fun Stuff | Comment (0)

Enjoy the Journey?

Friday, 20. July 2012 11:55 | Author:

Painting by Artist and Yogi, Renata Loree

A little poster at my local yoga studio reads, “Don’t forget to enjoy the journey.”

I scowl.  Exactly what does that mean? Aren’t there some days when everything just sucks? With that, I enter class and mindfully flow my way through the poses.  My breath sweeps over the ragged edges of my thoughts like a wave – polishing, rounding and softening them.

HELLO!  Time to awaken to the good.  I am in this amazing class –forgetting how lucky I am to be here and to have access to this practice.  A new perspective:  I am focusing so much on the challenges that I am taking the good things for granted!  Although I spend many of my days battling incompetent and seemingly uncaring service providers, I overlook the gift of my intelligence and forbearance to do so.  And yes, my car, my bike, and my washer broke down in the same week, but gosh, I was able to get them fixed.  Yes, I am rearranging the details of my life.  And while it is time consuming and disorienting, I chose this path.   I am deeply grateful to have had the freedom to make that choice.

I also know that when difficult things happen that are not my choice, I still have the ability to choose how I deal with them.  In retrospect, I find it’s adversity that makes me stronger, wiser or takes me to the next place I need to be. When all else is amiss, I also find comfort and joy in the friends who stand by me during the hard times and who never fail to cajole me to laughter, even when the going gets tough.

That little poster turned out to be a wise reminder that when we focus only on the things that are negative and the things that aren’t getting done, it’s easy to forget to appreciate and enjoy all the things that are right in our world.   So next time you’re flummoxed, try taking stock of what is right for you:  a gorgeous sky, the air, your abilities, your pet, your loved ones.   Perhaps most importantly, remember that things are always changing.  Thankfully, every new moment brings new possibility.

Category:Self Actualization, Wellness | Comment (0)

Opening New Doors

Friday, 13. July 2012 12:37 | Author:

“There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors.” 

Quote by Jim Morrison, American Poet and Singer, member of the band, The Doors.

Hello friends! I hope you have been enjoying your summer.  I’ve been spending my time opening and closing doors, and arranging furniture in the rooms in between. The process has been challenging, enlightening and consuming.

Check out my latest Project U. blog, if you want to read a little more about transformation…

Back soon!

Catherine

Category:Creativity & Fun Stuff, Wellness | Comment (0)

Home for Your Soul

Thursday, 7. June 2012 23:16 | Author:

The state of your home is thought to be a reflection of your soul.  Is it any wonder then, that moving is stressful and disorienting even when you are going somewhere wonderful?   In some ways, sorting, cleaning, purging, reorganizing, packing and unpacking are like calisthenics for the soul.  These activities force you to shake things up, to rid yourself of unnecessary flab that may be weighing you down. So perhaps, a move now and then, (or at least a good spring-cleaning) may be beneficial, though strenuous, for the soul.

As I dug deeply into twenty years of accumulated possessions in preparation for a recent move to a smaller home, I had to make some hard decisions about what to keep and what to shed. It was difficult to part with some things that I no longer use – and I had to ask myself why I was clinging to them.     If the answer was that these items brought me joy or made my life more beautiful, I kept them.  If they did not, I realized that keeping them would prevent me from adding new things to my surroundings that could bring me more joy and beauty.  It wasn’t completely comfortable to let them go, but it was necessary, so I did.

Now as I walk into my new cozy abode, I feel lighter and shinier.  My hope for you is that you too find a way to make more space in your home (and your soul) for those things that bring you joy.

Category:Self Actualization, Wellness | Comments (2)

I Hope You Dance

Friday, 18. May 2012 16:20 | Author:

 

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we should dance.

Author Unknown

Category:Creativity & Fun Stuff, Wellness | Comment (0)