Sunday, October 17, 2010

Life is a Gift, Open and Enjoy It

There is a bottle of perfume sitting on my dresser that I was given when I was ten years old! As you can tell I have pack rat tendencies! For me that pattern started as a young child. I could never bear to throw things away. There was more to it than not wanting to throw things away. I loved the feeling I had when I would receive something new, and would not want to spoil it by using it unless it was for something special. I would want to save it for a special occasion. A new dress would sit in the closet, until a special event to wear it. Perfume would sit on mydresser, not to be used for everyday, but for a special 'something'. This was a pattern in my life for many years.

Recently though I've realized that this is not the best perspective to live life. I don't want to be like that woman on the Titanic, who when was being lowered into the lifeboat said…"If I'd known this was going to happen I would have had that Chocolate Mousse dessert." This reflects a view of life that speaks a lie. It is a false belief that if I enjoy something now, I won't be able to look forward to anything good like that in the future. This belief steals the joy from living in the present, and also lies to me about what the future might hold. Often it takes sad or traumatic situation to cause a person to stop and take stock their life's perspective and lifestyle. For example, let me tell you how it happened for Ruth.

One day, out of the blue, Ruth got one of those devastating 'phone calls' that we all dread receiving. Her sister Jane had passed away unexpectedly. Ruth went over to the home to help her brother in law with the sad task of preparation for the funeral. They were in the bedroom deciding on clothes Jane would wear as she was laid to rest. He pulled out of the drawer some beautiful lingerie wrapped in tissue. Ruth gasped as she saw the astronomical cost on the price tag. "Jane bought this in Paris 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. I guess this is it." he said. It was exquisitely, handmade in silk, with a delicate cobweb of lace .As he slammed the drawer shut he said something that changed Ruth's life for ever. "Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion!

After the funeral, Ruth began to evaluate her life from a different perspective. She began to see life as something to be enjoyed not endured. Ruth started to make changes, although small at first, for Ruth they had great significance. She sat in the garden more and didn't worryabout the weeds. She wore expensive perfume on ordinary days, after all co workers and cashiers have noses that function just as well as party goers! She lit that candle that had been sitting as a centre piece on the dining room table collecting dust. She got that cracked window fixed, that she'd been meaning to do for years. She invited those friends round for dinner that she'd seen at the last sixteen weddings, and said we must get together.

Ruth determined that she would live each day as if it was her last. Now every morning when Ruth opens her eyes, she tells herself that this day is special. Every day, every breath, every minute of her life is truly a gift from God.
Your life perspective changes when you start living each day as if it was your last. You start to look at all the things that you want to accomplish in life and actually get started!! You stop watching everyone else doing it. Have the courage to start thinking "It's my turn now" and do what is in your heart.
Grandma Moses began a painting career at age seventy six. Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969 at age seventy one.
I recently met a lady in her eighties who, in the last two years, had been white-water rafting, and hiking in the Himalayas. She was excitedly planning her next trip!
Don't wait years, or until something traumatic happens to get your attention. Start now to reflect on your life's perspective and begin living without regrets.

I love this quote by Peter Sage, speaker and entrepreneur :

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow - What a Ride!"

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Grief & Loss

Have you ever lost someone close to you to death? We go through a grief process that was best described by Elizabeth Kublar-Ross in On Death and Dying. In it she talks about the five stages that people go through---denial and isolation; anger; bargaining; depression and finally acceptance. The dying, as well as those who love them, go through these stages although rarely at the same time and these stages are not predictable.

You may think you are in the anger phase, then jump to depression and then, back to denial again. There is no rhyme or reason---only what feels right for each individual at the time. No one can predict how long a phase will last. If you are grieving and some well-meaning person suggests that you shouldn't be feeling what you are feeling, kindly thank them for their concern but know that you are exactly where you need to be.

However, with grief, sometimes you will become aware of something not feeling right. You may think, "I should be over this by now" or "I don't like feeling this way." When you, yourself, recognize that it is time to move beyond where you are at, then trust that feeling as well.

I'd like to talk about grief from a Choice Theory perspective. This will probably take several posts to make sense of it all. I need to start with the Choice Theory expression that all behavior is purposeful since grief is really just a behavior in choice theory terms. Choice theory tells us that everything we do at any point in time is our best attempt to get something we want---some picture we have in our Quality World that will meet one or more of our needs in some way. Grief is no exception.

Once you understand that all behavior is purposeful and that grief is a person's best attempt to get something they want, then it becomes easier to know what to doabout it. What could we possibly be trying to get by grieving? Most people would say that there isn't a choice. When someone we love dies, we have to grieve. I say it is natural that we will miss the person's presence in our life but it isn't inevitable that we have to grieve, not in the way most people think of grieving.

The first thing I believe that we are trying to get with our grief is the person who died. When we grieve, it is our best attempt to keep that person alive, at least in our perceived world. We know they no longer exist in the physical world as we know it. However, if we continue to thinkabout them, pine for them, grieve their presence, then it keeps the thought of that person active in our perception and it feels better to us than the total void or absence of the other person.

Another possible advantage of grief is that it shows others just how much we cared for and loved the person who died. I'm not suggesting that people are being manipulative in their grief. What I am saying is that there is a side benefit to grief in that it shows others how much we cared. It also says, "See what a good ___________ I was." Fill in the blank with husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, mother, father, sister, brother, etc.

Grief is also instrumental in getting us the support we need from others during our time of bereavement. People do things for us that we would normally be expected to do ourselves. Again, please don't think that I am suggesting that a grieving person wakes up and "decides" to grieve so someone will stop by the house with a meal. None of this is conscious but I'm merely pointing out the potential advantages of grief.

Once we become totally conscious and aware of what our grief does and doesn't do for us, then comes the hard part. We need to make some decisionsabout how we want to live.

There are always at least three options in every situation and they can be framed up in terms of---leave it, change it or accept it. With death, you may wonder how someone is going to "leave it." Well, some possible ways would be major denial of the loss, suicide, drugs and/or alcohol abuse, or sinking deep into mental illness, among others.

When we get caught up in changing things, we may continue in our grief as our best attempt to get the person back. That might look like constant trips to the cemetery, frequent conversations with the deceased, refusing to believe he or she is truly gone, constantly talking about the one who's gone. There are many things we can do to attempt to change the reality of the loss.

If and when we come to accept it, we can experience some measure of peace and rejoin the living. A healthy step in this process is finding a way to somehow maintain that person's presence in our lives. Now, this is a very individual thing and you must be very careful not to judge the choices of the bereaved.

Most people saw Meet the Parents. In it, Robert DiNero's character kept the ashes of his mother in an urn on his mantle. Many people do this with the cremated remains of their loved ones. Others place some ashes in a necklace and wear it around their neck. Some will set up scholarship or memorials. When my husband died, his family and I created a wrestling scholarship fund for a local high school wrestler. When my friend lost her 8 year-old son, she had the Houston zoo name the frog exhibit after him!

There are all kinds of creative ways to maintain the person's presence. There is no wrong way. Whatever brings comfort to the bereaved should be supported by those around them. Remember that just because a person is choosing something that may be distasteful or wrong to you, doesn't make it wrong for that person.

When acceptance occurs, then the grieving person can begin to reassimilate back into their life and the lives of those around them but it won't happen overnight. We need patience and loving understanding for those coming back from grief.

Another possible choice is the person who doesn't appear to grieve at all. There may be many explanations for this behavior. The person may be very private and won't do his or her grieving where others can see. Another possibility is that the person is trying to be strong for everyone else. I know I wanted my children to KNOW that I was going to be OK. I didn't want them to believe that they had to take care of me. To some, it seemed that I wasn't grieving enough.

If you are grieving, or you are involved in the life of someone who is grieving, please don't judge yourself or them. Understand that all behavior is purposeful and the person is getting something out of what they are doing. When they become conscious that there is a choice, then they can make a conscious decisionabout which of the three choices they want to make. Once they know the direction they want to go in, they have to flesh out the details of their plan.

To Be A Champion Become A Child

Have you ever wondered what successful people have that makes them successful?

Ever wonder how those champion recruiters in your company manage, month after month, to get the most new recruits, the biggest bonuses, the largest paychecks?

Well let me tell you a secret. No one starts out as a Champion. Most of them started out like you and me.

So what is it that makes a Champion different from the rest?

Champions have an attitude, a mindset that sets them apart from the rest. But most of these qualities are not exceptional.

Indeed each and every one of us possesses these qualities when we start out in life. But somewhere along the way we tend to lose them and diminish our own potential.

To be a Champion, you must first become a Child! Let me explain:

1. Champions are Willing to Learn.

Children come into this world with an innate desire to learn, to understand the world around them.

They are like sponges observing and absorbing every fact, every reaction. Because they know that their very survival depends on it.

One of the most important, and oft-repeated, qualities we need to succeed in business is a willingness to learn - to be teachable.

To become a champion, you must be willing to educate yourself or be educated, to read about, learn and absorb all the things you need to know, even if they are completely new to you.

If you don't, you are doomed to failure from the start.

2. Champions are Willing to Act

Have you notice how children completely geared towards action? As soon as they learn a new skill, they want to put it into action.

Champions are the same. They put their newly learned skills to use, taking concrete steps to improve their performance, so they can take their business to the next level.

They know that they must act on what they have learned, even if they haven't perfected it. Which brings me to their next quality.

3. Champions are Not Afraid to Fail

Just as a child picks itself up again and again, every time it falls while taking its first steps, champions are not afraid to fall down or fail.

They know that failure is the best teacher. They learn from their mistakes and keep fine-tuning their methods till they succeed.

Champions have the courage to fall down and not be discouraged. They pick themselves up and keep trying.

4. Champions are Willing to Adapt

Darwin got it wrong.

Survival does not happen to the Fittest, but to the Most Adaptable.

As children, we adapt to long-term change relatively easily. We are more willing to accept situations and adapt our behaviour accordingly.

Unfortunately, as we grow older, we become more rigid in our thinking, unwilling to accept that there may be better ways of doing things.

In a changing business scenario, resistance to change makes us obsolete. We end up losing out to players with a better understanding of changing trends.

Champions are those who can adapt themselves and their business to changing trends.

5. Champions are Willing to Innovate

Children are extremely inventive beings. They come into this world with no preconceived notions of doing things. In their minds there are no limits to what they can do or how they can do it.

Champions apply these very principles to take their business to the top.

They not only learn from what has been done before. They find ways of doing it more efficiently, more cheaply, more successfully.

You don't have to be like a child in all respects to succeed. It's probably not even desirable.

But if your pre-conceived notions, fears and hesitation are preventing you from reaching your goals, try looking at the world through a child's eyes.

At best you will improve your chances of success, at worst you'll remain young at heart.

Don't Let the Out takes Take You Out

One of my favourite things I like to watch is the bloopers and outtakes that are shown of mistakes made during the making of a movie. Most DVD's have a section of outtakes to be viewed, and often they will set me off laughing, especially when you know what was supposed to happen.

In one sense it seems strange to laugh at other people's mistakes, and yet we all do it, and our enjoyment is not usually of malicious intent. We laugh because we can all relate and identify how much part of being human such bloopers are!

We all make mistakes, and have many bloopers and outtakes in a lifetime. Some of them may be funny like movie bloopers, a stupid mistake and we are able to laugh at our selves. Other outtakes in life, however, are not funny, and are neither unforeseen nor self imposed. I am referring to the tragic turns of events that happen in life that can turn our life and routine around in a moment. Accidents, disaster, the death of a loved one happen unexpectedly, and can profoundly affect our lives. These are outtakes we would prefer not to happen or even replayed in life. Some of life's outtakes have the potential to embarrass, humiliate, hurt, or disappoint us and also can stop our hopes and dreams for ever.

Times of crisis and tragedy can not be prevented, but how you handle these outtakes will affect the rest of your life. There is always a choice in any crisis. We can choose to grieve, but cling on to hope and move forward, or choose to cling onto the past and become stuck there. We cannot choose our circumstances, but we do have a choice how we respond to them. We can succumb or overcome, and our choice will determine our future. When we drive a car our focus is the road ahead; if we spend all our time looking in the rearview mirror failure is more or less inevitable! The same is true in life, we will fail, or at best remain at a standstill if we keep looking back and focusing on the events behind us, reliving the past.

A young African-American girl was born to unwed impoverished teenagers, in the racially charged backwoods of Mississippi in the middle of the twentieth century. She was abused by male relatives, and became pregnant at age fourteen. This girl did not seem to have many choices about her future and its potential to turn around towards success. However, this girl determined that these devastating outtakes of her life would not predetermine her future. Despite her circumstances this girl learned how to succeed by working hard, being true to herself and communicating with compassion and honesty.

This woman's success story may seem like a fairy tale, for Oprah Winfrey is now one of the most well known and influential women in the world. However Oprah would acknowledge that her tragic childhood experiences have helped her remain true to her commitment to persevere and aim for excellence.

Oprah Winfrey is well known for her TV show, O magazine and book club, but also for the way she had explicitly described her own battles with depression, her weight and her relationships. She has made many connections between her past struggles and poor choices to the 'aha' moments that motivated her to take those experiences and learn from them, ultimately bringing her to a place more success and respect. Oprah chose to overcome, not to succumb.

Oprah is one of numerous examples of people who overcame the outtakes of their life and did not allow the odds to intimidate them. Just as actors learn from their mistakes and use them to improve their performance, so can we use our outtakes to improve our lives.
Don't let your outtakes 'take you out'; use them to take you forward.

Healthy Grief, Unhealthy Grief

We all know that it is in one's highest good to grieve the loss of a relationship. Healthy grief releases feelings rather than allowing them to get stuck in the body. Healthy grief allows the griever to heal the loss and move on with life.

Yet grief is not always healing. Many of us have known people who were stuck in their grief, seemingly locked into the past and unable to move forward in their lives.

What is the difference between those who feel their grief and move on and those who get stuck in it? The difference lies in what they believe they have lost. When people believe they have lost their source of love, their grief will feel unending.

Gary had been in a three-year relationship with Samantha when Samantha decided to end the relationship. Gary was devastated. In this relationship, like in his past relationships, Gary was a taker – always trying to get love but unable to give love or share love. Samantha gave him a lot of love, but she often felt very lonely with him. Gary was devastated when she left because his source of love was gone. He was not grieving the loss of Samantha as a person he loved. He was grieving the loss of her love for him. He was grieving as a lost wounded child rather than as a loving adult.

As a result, Gary became stuck in his grief. He was stuck in feeling like a victim – stuck in "poor me." Gary had never done the inner work to develop an adult part of himself that could bring love to himself and share it with others. He felt lost, abandoned, and hurt. No matter how much he cried, no healing occurred. Because he was abandoning himself, he just continued to feel alone and despairing. Sometimes he was angry at Samantha for abandoning him and other times he was angry at himself for not being a better partner. He had many regrets that plagued him, and a constant inner refrain was, "If only I had……" "If only I had listened to her more, maybe she wouldn't have left." If only I had told her how beautiful she is, maybe she wouldn't have left."

Frank, on the other hand, was in deep grief over the death of his beloved wife, Beth. He had loved Beth with his whole heart and he missed her terribly. Yet Frank's grief was totally different than Gary's grief. Frank missed Beth's laugh. He missed her joy, her caring for people, her sense of wonder. He missed her as a person, and he missed being able to share his love with her. Frank had no regrets because he had not been a taker. He had loved Beth totally and was deeply grateful for the time he had with her. But Frank was actually fine. His grief came in waves, and he cried when it came. Then it washed through and he was fine again

Frank was fine because Beth had not been the source of his sense of self. Frank had a strong loving inner adult who was connected with a spiritual source of love and wisdom. This was his Source, not Beth. Frank was a person who took full responsibility for his own pain and joy. He had never made Beth responsible for his feelings or his wellbeing.
Because he had never abandoned himself, he could miss Beth and grieve for her without feeling abandoned, lost, victimized and alone.

Gary, on the other hand, was not fine, no matter how much sadness he released, because Samantha had been his Source of love, his Higher Power. He had handed to her the job of defining his sense of self, so when she left, all he could feel was abandoned. Gary had handed his Inner Child – his feeling self – to Samantha. He had made Samantha responsible for his feelings, so when she left, he felt like an abandoned child. His Source of love had gone away.

Because Frank knew how to love himself, he knew how to love others. Within a couple of years, Frank was in another loving relationship.

Gary found another relationship within six months of losing Samantha, and six months after that was again alone. Until Gary decides to learn to take responsibility for his own feelings and needs, he will likely continue to lose relationship after relationship, and continue to be stuck in feeling like a victim of the women in his life.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Child Victim to Survivor!

Child Victim to Survivor!

The innocence of a child, will not allow their mind to comprehend what terror is being put upon them during abuse. They can no more think killing their abuser than they can a fly. It worsens when the child knows the abuser, because they have a love and trust that is so innocent, they cannot mistrust. This is where the confusion is set deep into their psyche, causing them to have conflicts with feelings throughout their life. In place of learning love through hugs and smiles, they are taught love through sexual abuse and threats. They have already learnt that the world is not safe. Children quickly learn through instinct to remove their minds from their bodies. They also can manipulate their bodies to go numb in order to not feel any physical contact with the abuser. Abused children are also taught to mistrust any form of verbal love and appreciation.

The abuser will tell them things like, "Daddy loves you and wants to show you how much", or " I am teaching you what daddy's teach their daughters so that you will grow up and know how to be a good woman".

So much deception and lies from someone that a child holds dear to their heart. To doubt their abuser when it is their father, only makes them feel like a bad child. They know that their father wants them to love them and smile for them. This makes daddy happy. It is what every child is naturally driven to do. They thrive on their parents smiles and happy feelings. This is the exact thing that an abuser takes advantage of and also poisons through the abuse they inflict on the child.

The child will also think in two identities if the abuser is her father or her uncle. She will think simply in two parts. Good daddy, bad daddy. This helps her to keep her good daddy image safe, where he is suppose to be. The second daddy will be a figure in a bad dream, not real to her world at all. A child may turn to drawing pictures of her good daddy and bad daddy. Or write very obscure, negative, even offensive poems or stories. These are true signs and most certainly cries for help. Please do not ever underestimate the power of the pen. It will either be a cry for help from someone that cannot use words, or it could be the key to ones doors of healing.

When the abuser is a family member, this factor alone robs the child of what would be known as a safe nest. The child will never know what a healthy role model is. Nor will this child ever have the experience of innocent nurturing. Unless this child through years of growth, learns to identify with their abuser and confront the abuse, their healing will never begin. Without this inner healing and peace, one is likely to repeat this horrible act of abuse that they were lead to believe to be a common practice in parenting.

Victims have no choice but to survive. If they do not commit suicide, they learn to cope. I have mentioned in another article that some use drugs, alcohol, food, cutting ones self and even sex. These are common coping strategies. NO they are not good ones, but for most of the victims that choose that road, it's the better of the two evils.

Other victims choose to forget it ever happened, down play the abuse or rationalize it as if it were nothing more than a simple hug or touch. They even go as far as excusing their abusers actions or temper, saying the was drunk or too stressed out from working. Victims will even try to understand and feel sorrow for their abusers. Anything to not accuse them and have to deal with the confusion of the why's. Some even become so withdrawn into themselves, fearing that they may talk too much, or give a clue to someone about their nightmare. Then all their shame will be seen. So they choose silence instead of risk.

Denial is another way around facing the reality. But denial has a way of twisting around and returning with a vengeance. To not allow your pain to come up front so you can deal with it, only gives it more time to grow inside of you and get a stronger hold of your mind. Reality and fantasy will also get confused at this point. People will confuse your actions and words with mental illness. Then not only will you have your abuser to contend with, but now others will be trying to force you into another victim situation. Yes, you have done whatever it took to survive this horrible abuse, so now rise above it. It was nothing more than a cause and effect battle. A battle that you have over come!

I continue to show you patterns that are caused by neglecting yourself and allowing yourself to be totally absorbed by an action that was NEVER in your control. Now it is in your control. Now you can do somethingabout it. SO, what are you waiting for? FIGHT!!!! Fight like you are trying to save the life of someone dear to you. Fight like a master and use your power to say, "Go to hell". Scream this as loud as you can, "I see you, I hear you and I will not allow you to abuse me any longer!" You must feel the freedom that comes with this new fight that is awakening inside you. Once the fight is over, you will live a new life. A new book has just been written.

You are FREE! Free to Live, Love and Laugh!!


I am ready.

I am now.

I can.

I will.

-David Viscott


I accept what I am,


how I got here

-David Viscott

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tai Chi

The answer to this question lies in another question, "What are you looking for?"

If you are not happy with any area of your life today, then Tai Chi can help you.
I have been studying and teaching the tai chi Health Arts for over twenty years. During this time I have learnt that the answer to all questions lies within each of us.

The above may sound like a bold statement, yet it is based on facts handed down over the centuries. Because of the vast variety of benefits available to everyone who practises tai chi ,

many articles have been written on the subject. The majority of the articles shroud the understanding of the art of Tai Chi in mystery. Today, Western Medicine is acknowledging that Tai Chi can help many ailments and recently an article appeared in the national newspapers claiming that doctors agreed that Tai Chi worked but they couldn't explain how.

I would like to share with you my own understanding of Tai Chi which is taught purely for health and is based on the principles of Chinese Medicine.

Your own body's internal energy (Chi energy), plays a vital role in the quality of your health. Chi energy is with you from the day you are born until the day you die. A person with a highly developed Chi energy through practicing Tai Chi experiences very few illnesses. That is what we are all working towards.

Most of us understand how our blood flows through our body and have a basic understanding of how our organs work.

Did you know that a person with highly volatile emotions, often has stagnation in the liver and gallbladder? The stagnation I am talking about is the stagnation of your Chi energy. This is because the flow of your body's internal energy is not moving freely around your body and nourishing your organs properly. My late master used to say 'If you lose your temper or raise your voice you are ill.'

The movements of the Tai Chi Form start to work on the development of your internal energy (Chi) from your very first lesson.

Our movements are simple to perform and once learnt and practised regularly, the health benefits will last you a lifetime.

Our Tai Chi Chuan Form provides the foundations upon which all the other aspects of our arts are based. It is the starting point of training, for all those wishing to improve the quality of their health.

To progress in any area of your life, your mind needs to be calm. If you are tense ideas will not flow freely and you will find the act of daily living a strain.

Because we teach these traditional movements in a modern way, you will find that your mind becomes calm, as you learn the mechanics, your balance and co-ordination will also improve. This is because your mind is pleasantly occupied with the constant repetition of trying to perfect the simple movements

Another vital aspect of our Arts is correct breathing, yet most of us go through our lives without even giving it a second thought. When I was at school I was taught to breathe in and pull everything in. If we analyse what is actually happening to the lungs when you use this type of breathing you will find that only the upper part of the lungs are being used.

This allows toxins to form and build up in the lower part of the lungs. If you watch a baby breathing you will notice that there stomach appears to expand as they breathe in and contract as they breathe out, this type of breathing allows the whole of the lungs to be used correctly.

When your lungs are working correctly, this helps the rest of your body to work efficiently, your blood will flow freely and your body's natural energy (Chi) will move around your body; taking care of your inner well being.

You will also find that your mind is more alert and ideas flow easily to you, providing solutions to areas of your life which may be causing you strain. People who suffer from breath related ailments such as asthma have found great benefit from practising Tai Chi .

Because the movements of Tai Chi Chuan are gentle and practised without strain they are suitable for everyone. We encourage people to progress at their own pace.

Remember if you are feeling under pressure in any area of your life today, your mind, body and spirit are not in complete harmony.

The movements we teach work, they have helped many people suffering from ailments such as arthritis, asthma, back pain, cancer...

balance, circulation, knee problems, low fertility, heart problems, hip problems, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, insomnia, neck problems, M.E. M.S. shoulder problems, thyroid, stress and many more. These ailments will be covered in greater depth in future articles.

The subject of the Tai Chi is vast and the knowledge and information I have to share with you has already helped many people. I have many written testimonials from people who have already reaped the benefits of practising Tai Chi.