For “Giving” Thanksgiving

What if we approached for-giveness just as we altruistically do in being for “world peace” or supporting “animal rights”? Can we be for “giving”? It’s not being for “taking” or for “avoiding”, but making it our cause to give

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Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash

something good. The initial thought about forgiveness is usually that it’s something we’re doing externally. But the deeper, more healing type of forgiveness starts with giving ourselves some love, understanding, and comfort. Then we have the capacity to share it with those around us.Sometimes during the holidays, we’re overextending ourselves in giving externally. Just like forgiveness must start internally, so does giving. In Whole Women Link, we talk a lot about mindfulness and balance. This season is a special time to exercise some of these habits we’ve already discussed so we can more fully enjoy our celebration with our loved ones.

As we consider being for “giving”, we want to apply this practically, so let’s talk about applying it this season with food. I can’t think of a more self-giving practice we do daily than eating. Let’s remember to give ourselves good things. We can go in with a plan before our get-togethers, remembering the healing and freedom we’re wanting to give ourselves. When going to a party, I always bring a bag of pumpkin or sunflower seeds with a piece of fruit because I know what I want to give: health to myself and happy bonding experiences with my friends and family. By doing this, I know I won’t go hungry and I can still enjoy the foods others have brought. If there are sweets I’m craving, I remember I’ve got my apple and I’m there to savor my time with friends. If it’s one of those times where your mother or grandma is saying, “Won’t you please try a piece?” I can accept a bite-sized portion, truly savor it, authentically thank her, and go back to my seeds or fruit after.

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

I share this with my patients and help them remember their big vision of enjoying vitality of health. When we focus on giving food to ourselves to reach our full measure, there’s no guilt or shame. Instead, we’re creating habits of true nourishment. We can also give ourselves some grace when things don’t go as planned, and try again.

Holiday Invitation:

  1. Each get together, let’s remember what we really want to enjoy in the moment and long-term, like happy bonding and vibrant health.
  2. Then check in with ourselves after and see how we were able to balance those goals, cherishing those happy moments and memories.
  3. If tweaks need to be made, then we can be for “giving” that to ourselves during our next party with a more well-defined plan.
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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Let’s celebrate the holidays together, so share with us your ideas of how you’ve balanced this for “giving” pattern in the past or what your plans are this year. We’d love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to reply to this post. Have a happy, for “giving” Thanksgiving!

Morning Rituals: The Sunscreen of Boundaries

Do you have a story that ever began with, “and then I realized I forgot the sunscreen”? As a swimmer growing up, I remember this feeling when I saw myself in the mirror after swim meets. I think the best descriptor would be a cotton-candy colored raccoon, with pink covering my face except for the stark white rings around my eyes and white band across my forehead.

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Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

A morning routine can have a similar impact on our day as remembering or forgetting to pack the sunscreen. Imagine planning a sunny beach day trip, arriving, automatically applying your sunscreen, and then being able to fulfill all the fun activities you’d hoped to. On the other hand, a day with forgotten sunscreen may seem just fine, but when you get home to shower and finally feel the burn, it sinks in how impactful that one early choice could have been. Just like we can remember to pack the sunscreen next time, we can remember to make early morning choices that will impact our day for the better.

 

When we start our day off with choosing healthy routines, it tends to set the tone for the rest of the day. Below are 4 morning rituals to set a boundary for and enjoy a more fulfilled day. I’ve also included a great takeaway tool to help you feel more organized and enabled to apply these routines daily.

  1. Start with being inspired. Read or listen to something that enlightens you. This can be as easy as a positive quote or a 30-minute-study from a spiritual text like the Scriptures or a moving author like Wayne Dyer. It’s vital to start with wise reminders and truths to anchor yourself in through the ups and downs of the day.
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    Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

    Harmonize your thoughts. It’s best to start with an inspiring read, then delve into meditation or prayer because you can now consciously internalize those lessons. You can ponder a question you’ve been considering, seek for inspired support, express gratitude, or just work on creating mental boundaries for your thoughts to be intentional. It can be time used to apply some of this month’s mindfulness suggestions. Begin to gently let go of negativity and embrace strengthening beliefs.

  3. Create your day. I love how the creation story shows how God started each day with a plan. One day was light day. He said it and dedicated Himself to it until He completed His vision for that day. If we go forward with a clear vision in mind, writing down what we want to accomplish in doable actions, we’re much more likely to achieve it and feel “it is good” at the close of the day. If you write your day’s plan the night before, it’s even better. Researcher, Brian Tracy, explains that your energies focus on accomplishing those actions through the night, and you’re better prepared to achieve them the next day.
  4. Break fast. Start with drinking water that isn’t cold. This stimulates bowel motility so you can eliminate and feel lighter starting off. Then eat real, hearty foods. We’ll cover this more in detail another time, but examples include green smoothies, turkey bacon, (unprocessed) oatmeal with added seeds and fruit, or a variety of egg combinations. The more the food resembles the form it came out of the earth rather than sugary cereals with look-alike four-leaf clovers, the more sustained you’ll feel through the day.

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 7.53.22 PMYour takeaway tool!

Here’s a wonderful app to help you set goals and organize your day. I’ve been amazed that I can jot down my to-do lists, and it’s automatically populated into my iCalendar. It’s really helping my husband and I to enjoy life more just because we have more defined order and vision. The bonus is that it’s free!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/goal-setting-brian-tracy-life/id901800555?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Weekly Challenge:

If you want to look back on your day with joy rather than feeling burned, pack your sunscreen by trying these out:

  1. Create a time boundary to implement 1 new item to your morning rituals: be inspired, harmonize your thoughts, create your day, or break fast.
  2. Set a goal to make the 1 new item a habit this week, and work towards having each become part of your morning routine. You’ll likely need at least 30 minutes to effectively implement all of them. I believe you can do it as you grow in setting healthy boundaries for yourself.
  3. Share! You are a whole woman and the world needs you to link your wholeness to those around you. You can either share with us a great routine you enjoy each morning, or share with others what you’ve learned so they can pack their sunscreen and enjoy their days more too.

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    Photo by Leo Rivas-Micoud on Unsplash

Internal Boundaries: Key to Balance & Freedom

This year I turn 40. Like many hitting midlife, I have been reflecting on what l have learned so far and have yet to learn. I’d like to share with you one truth I have learned, “I am not a victim!”.  Although I cannot control the things that I face on a day-to-day basis, and you can bet at times I’ve tried, I can control how I respond and that is where my true power lies.

The late Dr. Viktor Frankl was a Holocaust Survivor, suffering some of the most inhuman treatment in history, and yet he rose to teach others a powerful process to find deep purpose and meaning in life and a simple truth that we all have the ability to choose our internal response to difficult circumstances. He wrote, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.” While nearly all boundaries can be broken by forces outside of us, there is one boundary that is uniquely ours, our internal boundary! I would like to begin my discussion here as all other boundaries flow from it.

Having an internal boundary is essential to personal balance and a joyful life. We often feel shame and anger when this boundary is being violated.  This is the first clue to us that an internal boundary needs our attention.

Some choose to return the darkness with more darkness both toward themselves and others. This violates our internal boundary and increases suffering. Imagine a space within you where your personal light is held. This space needs an inlet for light and an outlet to expel darkness that is foreign to our true nature. Sadly, when we have been injured we often flip this process in reverse and take in negative influence (darkness) and block the light that is trying to get in.

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When discussing internal boundaries, I often picture a balance like the attached picture with love for self and love for others on either side. When feelings of anger and shame start to well up inside of us, it is important to mindfully look inside and see if our balance, which is personal to each of us, has been disrupted.  Two opposites, love for others and love for oneself, are meant to serve as guideposts.  We should not live at either of these extremes, but find a balance between them.  We have the power to restore balance by choosing to add weight to the side of that internal balance that is lacking attention.

For example, although serving others is a worthwhile practice, we must use that sense of internal balance to notice when serving others has gained too much weight in our lives, and attention to our own self is lacking. We will need to use that internal power that Frankl discussed to choose to set a boundary for how we respond to our emotions, thoughts, and circumstances in a way that balances honor for both ourselves and those around us. The mindful practice of stillness discussed in a previous post is key to owning our emotions, learning from them and then choosing to act in a way that restores balance. We can stop, breathe, reflect, and then choose healthy internal boundaries that honor our highest values and restore a joyful balance to our lives.

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Weekly Challenge: Setting Healthy Internal Boundarievs

Use the following process to assist in setting at least one healthy internal boundary this week:

  1. Identify when you are feeling either anger or shame
  2. Use the mindfulness skill: Stop, Breathe, reflect and choose.
  3. Visualize the picture of a balance in your mind
  4. Mindfully place a “Yes” in the area of the balance in your thoughts that is of greatest value and lacking on the scale
  5. Set an Internal Boundary so you can rebalance

 

Remember the following:

  • When I say “yes” to one thing I am in turn saying “No” to something else”
  • Balance is personal and the power to choose it lies in each of us
  • We are not victims and we can choose to love, serve, and live in ways that increase joy and freedom no matter our circumstance