Finding Space for Self

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“Press ‘pause’ and reflect if you are living your best life” – Sommer Seitz, MA, LMHC

Each day it’s important to press “pause” and reflect if you are living your best life.  Most of us are living from a place of fear or auto-pilot that simply reacts to life from the information and patterns we gathered from past-experience, especially the painful ones as fear is 5x more likely to record in our brain for survival purposes. So how can you break this cycle of fearful, reactionary living? This is where mindful connection to self becomes essential.  Self as I am defining it here is that part of you that is curious, calm, confident, compassionate, courageous, creative, connected, and filled with clarity.  You can also identify with self by taking an inventory of to what degree you are living in a pain-free body.  Our bodies do indeed keep score with the painful experiences and mindsets we get stuck in, and my goal today is to give you a starting place to gather needed information to unlock this pain-body and move further into self.

There are more pathways to healing than I can count.  Honestly, healing is a personal journey for each of us, but there are some over-arching principles that I see applying to all in the healing process. Today I will address just two: acceptance and safety.

Acceptance is the first step in the healing process of finding and living in “self.” We cannot leave a place until we arrive at it. The pause I mentioned above allows you to simply gather information, or arrive at where you are in this moment. I challenge you to go inside and be internally focused in this practice, removing external distraction, and just notice with nonjudgmental compassion what sensations, feelings, and thoughts are coming up. This is a great time to just breathe and this allows the body to move into safety which we will discuss more in a moment. You will notice that there are common themes to your thoughts, maybe even like they take on a personality. I like to call these “parts” from the Internal Family Systems trauma model I use in therapy. These parts have a role to protect the wounds you hold from further injury, your body from further pain, and are usually operating out of fear and sense of overwhelm. Notice how tight you get in your body and the nature of the fears your mind is presenting. It’s like you are currently in danger, even if you look around and there is no immediate threat. These parts do things like shame us into always checking and performing, shut us down when feeling overwhelmed, and even help us avoid seeing and acknowledging what is going on inside us. They have great intentions, but this only keeps the wound they are protecting stuck and online, and most importantly these parts keep self from doing its most important job, to heal brokenness from past experience and connect us to our sources of strength.

That bring us to Safety. Once we have accepted where we are and what is going on in our mind and bodies you are ready to establish safety. You better believe that your protective parts will not take a step back from their roles unless they feel heard, understood, that you, self, will take the reins of meeting the need to feel safe.  This can be done in a variety of ways, but some of my favorites are journaling, art expression, maybe finding a song that speaks this your truth, and prayer/mediation. The important thing is that the medium you choose feels safe and nonjudgmental. When you are ready for unpacking this new understanding with an attachment-safe validating person who can stay neutral such as therapist or good friend can lead to even further healing. Some of your partners have this capacity and others get their own parts triggered when you explore with them so be aware of their current capacity. Some questions to ask your parts using the above mediums include: How are your trying to protect me (usually from overwhelm and further wounding), What are your protecting? (Can be a past hurtful experience or negative belief), What are you afraid of? As you create a safe space to explore these answers with compassion, you open the door for self to step forward and offer solutions to your mind, heart, and even directly to these parts that can unlock new ways of addressing your painful experience.

Believe it or not, you live in a self-healing body, and when you can accept and fully witness your painful story, desire to let it go, and then seek the necessary safety and healing source to unpack and unburden yourself, the miracle of healing occurs. I add my witness that this process works, and I have been fortunate enough to be the recipient, instrument, and witness of it many times. I look forward to sharing more ways you can personalize your healing process and tools to do so in coming posts this year!

Peaceful Surrender

Honestly, sharing the episode of Peaceful Surrender was such a privilege to experience. Being able to witness what surrender is from God was transformative. So often we are battling with ourselves…we are creating the war within.
What I have learned about surrendering to God’s will and timing is that when we are in alignment with that, we are also in alignment with ourselves…with our truth, purpose and passion.

This concept was new for me because I started to realize that I was truly in partnership with the great Creator. I think before I just assumed that God would take over and I’d be like a puppet on a string. That just didn’t feel good to me. As I learned about peaceful surrender, I truly saw how my true self and God’s will for me are actually one in the same. So yes, I was surrendering to God but in return He was extending the invitation for me to align with the highest divine version of myself.

I became so excited to follow God’s invitation as an active participant (co-creator) rather than feeling like a puppet on a string.

I also want to bring up the corrupt pattern of surrender on the earth. The world shows that when you finally are forced to surrender, you lose!  That’s a LIE! When you surrender in the way it was originally intended by God, surrender means you WIN!

I ask myself these three important questions when I am seeking to align my will (using agency) with God’s will:

  • What am I afraid of (fear being the root of pride, ego, doubt, judgement, etc.)?
  • What is out of balance within myself, within the relationship, or within the experience?
  • What did my soul want to learn from what is being created?

These questions end the war or battle going on and I’m free to open up with the power of knowledge and the understanding that there is a reason for my experiences. Once the war is over within me…I’m also ready to act on the promptings and instruction I receive.

Peaceful surrender is real and it’s the essence of who we really are. So, the final question always is…are you ready to step into your true divine self?

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/dangrant/episodes/2018-07-29T15_35_19-07_00

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Author Biography: Rachael Grant Dixon is from San Diego, CA. She has her Master’s degree from San Diego State University in Sport and Performance Psychology. She is a corporate trainer, podcaster, and seeker of truth. Rachael loves to connect with people from all walks of life and discover the unique attributes that bring people together.

When You’re Feeling Yanked Around…

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Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

There are some days (let’s be honest, some seasons) where I just feel yanked to the next thing from the moment I arise ‘til the time I hit the hay. Do you know that feeling? During these days, we may even get our mindfulness practice in still, but it feels like we’re robbed of the day-long calmness we were told we’d have. I must admit though, during those days my practice is more on the rushed side than the truly mindful.

Because I’ve been going through a season of these pulled, yanked, and rushed episodes, I decided to take some inspired advice I’d read on Sunday—to retire early and arise early “that body and mind may be invigorated” (Doctrine and Covenants 88: 124).

Have you ever thought to yourself during your yanked-days, “I think earliness is the answer”? Well, the promise of an invigorated body and mind was too sweet to pass up so I went for it. If this feels impossible, I actually found that it wasn’t as hard as I thought to get in an extra 15 minutes of earliness going to bed and getting up. It’s worth trying.

What I got today during those extra 15 minutes of mindfulness and prayer this morning was an unexpected lesson on my limited concept of time. It became a re-training of my mind in regards to the scarcity of time, and actually to the concept of scarcity at large. Here are some things I learned that I thought you may enjoy as well:

  • There is not a scarcity of time, energy, health, wealth or ability. There is only a learning curb that blocks us from understanding how to have plenty.
  • Rather than straining to get more of these items or that there’s just not enough of them to go around, we can have a sense of peace towards them as we shift our intent to use them as tools rather than as our pursuit.

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    Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash
  • It’s easier to see how this is the case if we think of them in the context of a game, like Mario for example. Time, wealth, and health are tools in the game, but not the end pursuit. We collect stars to speed us up in time, coins to unlock opportunities, and mushrooms to give us health. All the while, we’re moving forward not with the intent to just collect the tools, but to use those tools to accomplish our pursuit—reconnecting with our loved one, Princess Peach in this case.
  • When we live to collect the tools of time, energy, health, wealth, or ability, we’re not living out our purpose and thus we’ll always be met with scarcity and that yanked feeling. If instead we seek them as tools and live life using them as tools to fulfill our purpose, then we’re able to live more freely. Our attitudes can shift, for example, from thinking our family members drain our time, energy, or finances, to appreciating the connection we have with them and the unique perspectives family adds to life.

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    Photo by Ana Tavares on Unsplash

 

If you’ve been going through a yanked season lately, I hope this shift in perspective of using the tools of time, health, and wealth frees you from the constricted feeling scarcity can create. Use the 15 minutes of earliness to allow you space so you can have more creative energy to think of opportunities to collect more tools if you’d like, and reconnect with your purpose.

The Perfect Moment

Have you ever had a perfect moment? One where you think “I will remember this for the rest of my life!” I had one of those perfect moments while enjoying a rare one-on-one date with my fifteen year old son at Universal Studios amusement park this past weekend.  Let me preface this store by saying that I am quite afraid of heights and any rides that fall suddenly from tall heights, such as Dr. Doom at Universal Studios. So when my son asked me to ride his favorite ride, Dr. Doom, I was facing a battle between my fear and my desire to connect with my son.  At first, I gave into my anxiety and tried to convince my son to ride alone while I wait.  He wouldn’t have it and said, “Mom, I would rather stay with you.” Hearing those words helped me find the courage to face my fear and honor what I value most, relationship. I heard myself reply, “No, I am riding this ride and facing my fear with courage like you have so many times son.” In my heart I wondered if I really could.  I knew that I had asked him to do things he feared so many times and he had done them and grown for it. It was my turn to practice what I preach. My unforgettable moment was looking at his face after we dropped, went up to drop again, and we were all smiles and laughter.  Of course, it wasn’t as scary as I imagined it would be, and it ended up being my favorite ride all day.

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Why do I pick this experience for today’s post? Because it contains key elements that come into play at those pivotal moments that define who we become.  Do we choose to move forward with faith or do we choose to be hindered by fear? After all, perfect moments don’t just show up, but instead perfect moments are created one courageous step at a time.  Moreover, perfection is found in reality, not in imagined states in which we do not struggle.  You see, my nagging fear kept telling me to shrink from taking this new step, but I wanted to have a new experience with my son more, so I chose to override that fear with courage. It took all of my skills including: deep diagram breathing, affirmations that “you are really safe,” and even some healthy distraction like looking around and people watching, just to gradually take steps forward in line.  The moment of choice came, as it always does, and I had to choose to do the thing that most scares me.  I had to choose to loose control.  Yep, I used the “control” word. Isn’t that what we all fear, letting go of control of our perceived safety and instead choosing trust.  Everything I value in my life has required taking that step into the dark with trust and believing good things would come.

You see perfection for me isn’t a life without mistakes in which we never suffer, but one in which we fully live in the present and take full advantage of the gift we have to learn and grow. One thing I know for certain is “this too shall pass,” so seize the moment and really take full advantage of your ability to choose what you value now. Perfectionism, and the suffering that perfectionism brings, rejects the present as not being good enough and gets stuck in a cycle of dissatisfaction. We compare ourselves to others and a theoretical best. Reality will always fall short of our theoretical best. If you look at the origin of the word perfect, perfectus, meaning completed or done, you can see that your past is already perfect. Your past can’t be added to or changed, and is compete.  All you take from the past is what you learned so you can apply that to your present reality. One of my favorite ideas is this, “a perfectionist pursues perfection, a realist perceives it.” Your perfect moments are all around you, waiting to be seen and courageously embraced. Acceptance of our reality, and fully living in it is not surrender, it’s courage. As you embrace reality, rather than struggle against it, you can apply what you have learned and improve the next moment.

Back to the story at hand… ultimately, I decided I wanted to live without fear and see what came of it more than let it hold me back. It was my perfect moment because it represents the joy that comes from choosing relationship, trust, and courage, over pulling away, distrust, and fear. Remember, “this too shall pass,” and choose to fully embrace the ride of life and all it can teach you. Are you willing to ride up and embrace the fall?

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Book referenced – “Present Perfect: a mindfullness approach to letting go of perfectionism & the need for control,” by Pavel Somov, PH.D.

How to balance all the “spinning plates” in our lives

Ever feel like you’re spinning so many plates in your life, that at any moment they can all come crashing down? If so, you’re not alone! However, one thing’s for certain, you’re doing better than you may think.

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Some of the “plates” you’re spinning may represent the following:
  • Your faith
  • Your health
  • Relationship with your spouse
  • Relationship with Child #1
  • Relationship with Child #2
  • Relationship with Child #3
  • Relationship with Child #…..etc.
  • Relationship with your Mother
  • Relationship with your Father
  • Relationships with extended family
  • Friendships
  • Volunteering at your child’s school and/or in the community
  • Employment responsibilities
  • Employment/Job relationships
  • Home management
  • Children’s activities
  • Any other area in your life that you’re CONSTANTLY THINKING ABOUT

Just reading this list is exhausting! How do we keep up and meet all those needs?  One suggestion is simply the realization that we’re not alone.  Checking in for some quality time may provide insight, perspective, distraction, or a much needed laugh.  Instead of looking down in despair, look around.  You may be surprised by all the “back-stage” hands that are helping us with the show.  Despite our efforts, while some plates may stop spinning, the world certainly will not!

Here are a few ways to keep everything up in the air…

SPIN PLATES CLOSEST TO YOU FIRST

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Nothing is more distracting to all other areas of our lives then troubled relationships or family members at home.  It’s important to remember that the people closest to us should not receive our least amount of focus.  Unfortunately, this is often the case.  Balancing relationships in our homes require checking-in with one another, while checking-out with everything else.  A little quality time with some quality questions will go a long way: “Hey honey, how are things at work? How was school today kids? What was the best part of your day and what was the worst?”

Communicating with our loved ones will empower us to fulfill our other responsibilities without distraction or guilt.  Our family members are like fine china and everything else is a paper-plate.  One’s disposable, the other’s not.

SPINNING YOUR OWN PLATE

How have you been feeling lately?  Are you run down? Overwhelmed? Short-tempered? If so, perhaps the plate that needs the most attention right now, is your own.  Self-care is critical to our overall effectiveness.  When I began working on my business and launching this blog, I was exercising daily, reading scriptures daily, and feeling up to the challenge.  Fast forward a few weeks later and I was staying up too late, missing my morning work-outs, rushing scripture study, and feeling overwhelmed.  It took a while to realize that self-care was the ingredient I’d been missing.  Once back in the routine of healthy habits, the ideas began to flow and I felt mentally and physically capable of more things being thrown my way.

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SPINNING HOME PLATE

Our home is the place where we spend a lot of time. Home management involves things like:

  • Meal planning
  • Grocery shopping
  • Paying bills
  • Washing laundry
  • Folding laundry (this is the beast in our house)
  • Cleaning

Depending on your household, some of these are easier then others.  But considered all at once, and you may throw this plate out of a car window headed for “somewhere other then here.” Designating different days for different tasks will help with overall production and prevent you from doing it all at once. Utilize your family members in areas you can. It’s not only going to help you, it will help them have a realistic view of what it takes to be an adult. Not that adulting stinks, but it’s not all play. Scheduling activities for certain days can focus your efforts, while freeing up time for everything else.

YOUR BEST IS GOOD ENOUGH

We’re not perfect and sometimes those plates around us may fall.  The best things in our life take consistent time and check ins. Think about it, being healthy is not a single meal or exercise.  Healthy relationships aren’t built by a single experience, or one kind gesture.  It takes effort little by little. We will make it through whatever challenge comes our way as long as we remember to breathe, and enjoy those beautiful people that are placed in our lives.

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About the Author:

“Hello! My name is Maristella Webley and I am a mother of six small children.  I married my childhood sweeheart (who went on to become a firefighter), and together we are building a home of learning and fun.  I also own a small, thriving preschool with classes for 3-6 year olds.  I have a passion for early childhood and know the importance of the first five years!  Parents as first teachers is the motto I have structured my kindergarten readiness kits around.  I hope to empower parents to have an active role in their child’s life, especially when it comes to early education!”

http://littletimewitharhymeandreason.com