Stepping Away & Taking a Break
Hello there. After taking some time away from the blog, I am back!!! It’s hard to believe that it’s been about 2 years since I wrote a new post.
I try to follow my own advice as much as possible and knew I needed to step back for multiple reasons. The old self care, rediscovering one’s self and what you truly want from life.
When you recognize the need for a break, take one. It’s good for the soul, clarity, reorganize, rest, creativity and health among other things.
For me, I needed to figure what directions to move forward, what I want to tackle and in what order. Those who know me, know that I’m big on thinking out of the box, multitasking and creativity. Which can be on overload at times. Plus throw ADHD in the mix, you have me.
I took advantage of the time to take some online classes regarding blogging, marketing and self employment, which helped me with getting unstuck and experiment with some ideas. I’ve been getting on a schedule of posts for other social media sites and expanding those, which I had not previously been giving a lot of attention. I’ve become brave with doing some short Tip of the Day videos and having fun with those, stretching my horizons. Have you stretched your horizons lately?
Part of the time, I devoted to my Etsy shop, LunagaiaKnits, since it hadn’t gotten a lot of attention after I started this blog. It was feeling neglected and is back on track.
Oh yeah, anyone still daydream? I took time to do this as well to sort out my goals. If you haven’t done this recently work it back into your life. It’s amazing the effects it can have on you, your perspective becomes clearer and your goals feel more doable. You feel like a kid again, full of energy and the creativity just flows.
Probably the biggest aspect in all of this is discussions my husband and I have been having about retirement. Such as when our exist strategy from our jobs with the State of California will be and what this stage of life will look like. It’s good to have goals and know they are achievable no matter what obstacles will come our way.
I know I’m somewhat rambling but I feel creative, energized and enthusiastic no matter what is going on around me. Direction is back in my life. It’s easier than you think.
One of my biggest thrills in life is helping others figure out their goals and how to make them happen. If you’re stuck, overwhelmed or just someone to bounce ideas off contact me.
What color are your glasses?
When you look at the world, yourself or others, do you know what color your glasses are for each person and situation? Are you a perpetual “Rose Colored” person? Or do you have different colors you wear for each situation or person? What color are the glasses that you perceive yourself? How comfortable with these perceptions are you?
There truly are no right or wrong answers to these questions. It’s more about perception, attitudes, beliefs, experiences and self esteem. Along with the width of our blinders we wear as well. We all have them, it’s part of the uniqueness that makes us human and understanding our glasses and blinders can help each of us understand ourselves, the world around us and how to change what we desire to improve.
I’ll admit what irks me personally is the extremes of those with rose colored glasses and those who live with extreme dark glasses. I can more broadly say it is extremes of all kinds. I live both professional and personally in a world of grey glasses which means, being black or white are not concepts or lifestyles I believe in or practice. I do have my own boundaries and lines I won’t cross, but generally see the world and myself as open opportunities and possibilities.
When I work with clients, I often encourage them for both growth purposes and self awareness to explore and find out where they are on this scale. Most important, is when we put on those glasses and look in the mirror, who stares back? Do you see a confident, intelligent person with many gifts and talents or someone else? To take this concept further, ask yourself, why do you see this particular person? However you see yourself, it is important to understand why you have this viewpoint.
Such as, is this self perception based on what others say and have told you in your life or what you truly believe is you. How do you feel about what you see? If you aren’t happy with this version of yourself, how can you change it and move forward? Even further how open and willingly are you to going on the path of self improvement?
These can be difficult questions and thoughts to explore and ask oneself. Often we don’t like the answers we can find, but brave souls can venture where others fear to go. I ask myself these questions when I feel challenges, aren’t happy with a situation I’m facing or just know it’s time for some self evaluation.
These are also useful tools for learning and truly understanding how we self sabotage ourselves when we are working on both growth and maintaining stability in all aspects of one’s life. All of us have moments, times when our lives become upside down or we catch ourselves slipping into old negativity habits, and this self check can help us keep from sliding into a rut.
In the beginning of this post, I asked broad questions about both self perception of yourself, others and the world around you. I purposely narrowed the scope to how you see yourself, since understanding yourself is the key to understanding your world as a whole and yourselves within it. In self exploration, we take apart the pieces of one’s life, starting with ourselves and then using this to help shape and understand all the pieces of our lives.
Making improvements isn’t always easy and at times the process can be difficult, but if we truly want change, it’s worth it.
Here We Go
I’ve talked about this for a handful of years of doing a blog and life coaching, it’s about time I actually did it. I’m always giving advice to clients and friends about “Don’t just say, do. What’s the worst that can happen?”, so I should just take the plunge myself. Which is a good topic for post #1.
All of us have fear, it’s part of what makes us human, a core aspect that has been around since the beginning of time. For the most part fear is neither good nor bad, only how we handle it that’s the deciding factor . So, how do you handle fear? Is fear in control of your life or are you in charge?
For myself, fear has/is a mixed bag, both encouraging me to challenge and move forward, along with questioning my sanity. Whether following my heart to move from Fresno to Carmel- having never been there before or going back to college in my Late 30’s, going to school/working/single parenting full time. Scary stuff but so much growth in the process. What I never would have learned or accomplished if I had listened to my fear.
So, this blog & life coaching is the start down a new path. Something I have talked about for yrs and am finally setting in motion.so, join me on this journey and hopefully it will a learning experience for us all.
All content is copyright and property of lunagaia.org and Laura Metheney 2016.
Happy Holidays or not?????
Yup, the American holiday season is creeping up on us so, I thought I would get this post up before all of us are waist high in the season. Where has this year gone? My paternal grandmother used to always tell me the older you get the faster time flies. Her theory which I believe, is that as we age, time seems to go faster since more of it is behind us than ahead of us.
Another reason for this post, is a conversation I had with a client a few days ago, regarding this issue. My client shared with me that she had noticed in both her support group and herself, the everyone was feeling down in the dumps, depressed and extremely emotional. she further stated that she was especially feeling emotional & raw, plus she had just realized that morning that November had arrived.
I agree with her, that for many Americans the time frame between the beginning of November and the first part of January is rough on many levels. Studies and my own experiences both professionally and personally show this to be true as well.
Contary to the holidays movies, most Americans don’t have that ideal/Hollywood fantasy life to begin with, much less so when the holidays roll around. Along with the pressure to be the perfect host/hostess, attend every event, keep that happy face/persona and enjoy every moment is a lot to expect of anyone. I’m tired already, how about you?
For those who are struggling with mental or physical issues, financial or family issues the holidays add extra stressors. Besides the increase in depression during the holidays, is the occurrence of holiday fatigue and it isn’t just with children, adults often have this as well. We can recognize holiday fatigue in kids as easily upset, extra crying/tantrums and just not being themselves. Actually, it’s not that much different in adults, we have just been taught how to mask it. But should we just mask it, fake it till the holidays are over or acknowledge these issues?
I’ve always held to the belief that if you need a break, plan to have some space & time to yourself, to both regroup and rest. There’s nothing wrong with doing this and remembering to take care of yourself. I discuss the importance of self care in my blog post, “Where are you on your list?” While self care is important all year round, it is especially important during stressful times in our lives including the holidays.
Also, think about how many & which holiday events & activities are important to you. Do you really need to accept every invite that you are invited? I know it may be tough to turn down some of them, but for our own mental and physical health it may be something to consider. Think of alternative plans & activities, including staying at home in your pjs. Down time can be considered an alternative plan or activity.
A prior boss who I worked for about 20 yrs ago, used to rotate holidays. For example, she & her husband would spend Thanksgiving one year with family and the next year by themselves and do a similar rotation with other holidays. They would even rotate the year they were participating in a holiday with family, hosting duties as well. Sometimes we forget the host/hostess might need a break as well.
Even rotating which events and activities that you attend every year, can also be both a great stress reliever and make the holiday season more relaxed & enjoyable. For example maybe attend Joe’s party this year, skip Susie’s & next year host to give both Jo & Susie a much needed break. The following year you might feel more up to attending both or attend Susie’s event. I’ve known those who do the hosting can easily get caught up in wishing to please everyone & invite one and all to the event. Tho, they are secretly hoping, not everyone shows. I’ll admit that I have done this myself. I think we all have from time to time.
A favorite way to spend the holidays for me is to travel. I LOVE going on vacation during holidays breaks such as Thanksgiving or X-mas. My family often used to this when I was a child & it could be quite fun. It can definitely be an alternative way to enjoy the holidays without the pressures of the holidays.
Depite the pressures and stress of the holidays, now is the time to start thinking about how you want to spend the season. Since my husband & I did lots of entertaining during the holidays last year, we are planning a low key and much needed relaxing season this year. Feel free to share your ideas and thoughts.
One question you should never ask your kids.
Since the holiday season has started, I felt it was time for this post. Hopefully, this is more of a generational question that is working it’s way out of our society I hope, but in case it isn’t, no time like the present!
This is an occasional issue that my clients & friends in their mid-forties and up will mention, I’ve rarely heard it from younger people, that dreaded question that gets asked by parents, especially moms.
“I am/was a good parent, right?” How many people just cringed reading these words? I know I did, just writing them.
For many of us, answering that question involves one of three responses:
1. Lie- since telling the truth, would drag up more issues and hurt feelings than you or the person asking the question honestly want to deal with and the possible questions that may follow.
2. Tell the truth-if you are lucky you had/have good parents and being honest can be a positive outcome for both of you.
3. Avoid answering the question-which can be a safe alternative if you don’t want to lie and the truth may not always set you free.
Yes, I have had to deal with that question about ten years ago with my own mom and when she asked, it caught me off guard. My relationship with my parents has always been rocky, we aren’t close and never will have that type of relationship. What caught me off guard wasn’ t necessarily the question itself but a conversation I had with one of my clients earlier that week. Our conversation was about this very same question and how to deal with handling your answer and response.
The previous weekend my client had a visit with their mom and out of the blue, the question was asked. Never close to their mother, the awkwardness of both the question and how to answer, along with the whole uncomfortableness of the situation, had unsettled my client. Being embarrassed, they hesitated to answer and then stated, ” yes, you were a good mom.”
As the client told me about the incident, they further stated that they were bothered by the whole encounter, since they lied but also knew their mom couldn’t handle the truth and didn’t want to deal with the hurt feelings and fallout from their siblings if the truth had been stated.
Another issue that had my client uncomfortable, was the why this question would ever be asked in the first place? Which is a very good question. My only answers were that mom’s self esteem was lacking/still not a reason to ASK this question or/and possibly playing the guilt trip game (see my prior post “Guilt is not an emotion”).
The lies that we sometimes tell to spare family whether we are close to them or not is always a slippery slope. Do I tell the truth to get it off my chest? Do I lie to spare myself & the person asking the question an answer that probably isn’t pretty? Along with the fallout from others when it is found out what was said, no matter how you choose to answer this question. Or do I choose to refuse to answer the question, a third choice that is as valid as the first two options.
The other issue that this brings to the forefront is the question itself. Healthy self esteem is based on your own perception of self and should never defined by others in your life. Least all, putting that burden on your children, no matter their age & seeking validation where it shouldn’t be sought.
Healthy self esteem is based on a belief in oneself. Positive kudos from others is icing on the cake. But we should never go seeking it out from friends, families and others. It’s a difficult and often an unfair position that we put others in and once put in that spot it can change relationships forever. You may get lucky and get a positive response, but there are never any guarantees. I often tell people, if you ask a question, you must be prepared for the answer no matter what you will hear and be willing to accept what is said.
So, how did I respond to my mom? I was very shocked and angered by the question, to say the least. I stood there for a moment, with a shocked look on my face and walked away. Some issues are best left alone and for me that ship had sailed many decades ago. People might say I took the cowards way out, but some conversations are just not worth having or revisiting.
Aging is the true test of life
I was having a conversation with some friends over the past few weeks regarding the topic of aging. Yeah, all of us are in our 50’s and we were talking about how our bodies had and are changing since we reached this decade. Along with how we had more aches and pains, grey in our hair, wrinkles and other fun changes. In this particular group of friends, aging is not an issue, all of us have a good attitude about age and the aging process. Generally all of us aren’t concerned about the wrinkles, skin that is beginning to sag and age spots that are beginning to pop up. We see them as a badge of honor, a declaration as women and humans with the attitude that what you see is what you get.
True, all of us have and know people in our lives who aren’t handling aging as well and hung up on being that media/societal induced ideal model of being female. None of us are into plastic surgery, Botox or other artificial enhancement to look younger.
Yes, I have highlights in my hair, partly by choice and fun. My hair went through a radical change around age 25, after I gave birth to my daughter. Prior to this point in my life, I had straight medium blonde brownish hair. Around age 25, it turned a dark brown and became curly. Loved the curls, but wasn’t crazy about the mousy, washed out look that my complexion had against the darker hair. I lived with it for a few years and woke up one morning with dreaded grey hair that a 20 something girl isn’t happy about at all. Yes, that is my vanity talking and it is healthy to have some vanity points, it helps with one’s self esteem. As long as the vanity is not the focal point of your life.
After all, what do each of us see staring back when we look in the mirror? What do you tell yourself, when you see this stranger or friend looking at you? Is it happiness, acceptance, no feeling or would you rather just turn away and not see who is there? If your answers fall in the range of no feelings, negative feelings or not looking, why?
Often I have discovered in my 57 yrs, it’s less about the physical body and appearance but more about our inner self. Such as why we aren’t happy with in our lives. Is it our relationships, work, friends, family or ourselves? Do you feel that something is missing?
In regards to relationships in any aspects of life, figuring out what you want or need from any and all relationships is something that needs to be established. Which includes what buttons are being pushed and what boundaries may need to be set. This includes being a people pleaser, even they need to set up boundaries. Which can include dumping and divorcing some people from your life. None of that is easy by any means, but can help you feel better about yourself and your outlook on life when you look in the mirror.
Another relationship is the one with yourself. It is probably the hardest to have and maintain for most of us. What is presented to the world is usually not the internal struggle of finding ourselves and hanging on to that self throughout our lifetime. Many have that battle all their lives and it is never clear to themselves whether they are winning, barely hanging on, or continually losing grip. Even the most confident among us, struggle from time to time with this issue. Their secret is they have developed enough confidence, self understanding and experience to not fear the doubt. They embrace it, even when they don’t want to and often see these moments as periods of growth and self evaluation.
That’s the beauty of aging is hopefully learning to be comfortable with yourself, learning to embrace yourself and even love yourself inside and out. How is your journey going?
Yes, it’s that time of year for your mental, emotional health and growth, to clean the cobwebs and take out thrash that has bogging you down and holding you back. After all, it is hard to move forward if the weight and rented space of negative and unproductive aspects of your life are blockades. Just like spring cleaning your closets and garage, evaluating what is important and needs to be kept in you life and mind, clears both room and energy to be happier, more focused, healthier relationships and able to reach your goals.
My goal for myself is to try and due this at least twice a year, with the optimum goal of being every season. There are years, where I accomplish my every season goal, but am equally satisfied if I reach just twice a year. This will also vary depending upon your life and what is going on. Some years and seasons are more cluttered than others.
I encourage my clients to do this at least once, but hopefully twice a year. It’s amazing what lingers in our mind and life, often items and issues that serve no purpose other than to hold us back. Like that worn out pair of shoes that are comfy but need to be tossed, it’s not always easy but well worth it. Believe it or not, we can become attached to the negative space fillers that can fill our head just like the items no longer needed in our home.
A question that we must ask ourselves, each time we clean is “what are we afraid of if we take this item or issue and toss it out?”
The answer is simple, it is our fear, fear of the unknown, fear of what to do in my head and my life if these items and issues are removed. Just like the early stages of recovery with any addiction, suddenly the time fillers are gone. What do I do now?Obviously, if something is useful, truly important or serves a positive purpose , as with your physical house you should hang on to it.
One of the easiest ways to declutter your mind is to use the tried and true method of the pros and cons list. I always encourage people to grab that pen or pencil, along with a piece of paper and get started. I know in the electronic age, I’m asking you to do this the old fashioned way. But there’s a simple reason for this method. We humans are sensory by nature and studies support that tactile learning helps us in many more ways than one can imagine.
What is tactile learning? It is using if not all, as many as possible of our 5 senses in learning, gathering information and making decisions. Using the pen and paper method, allows whatever issue or decision to go from just being in your head to being real to your other senses. It’s almost magical in a way. The shear ability of writing, drawing or any other method of being able to access it with more than your mind makes it more alive. All of our senses have memory, we have nerve/muscle, touch, sight, hearing and smell all learning and remembering. Writing it down on paper engages the mind, muscles/nerves for writing, sense of touch with the pen and paper and sight for looking at the written words. If you read it out loud to yourself you’ve just added hearing/speaking. By making it real, it is often harder to ignore than just being able to push it aside in one’s mind.
So, now that I’ve done the spring cleaning of my life and mind, now what? That’s actually up to you, though for myself, I often write up a list of goals, dreams, ideas and thoughts. I encourage my clients to do the same. I go through my list throughout the year or season, which as life is ever evolving and alter and change whatever needs or I feel is still important to me. After all, this is a list, your list and not a contract.
Let me know if you use this, how it works or doesn’t work for you.
Compliments are gifts
When you work in the helping occupations, there are those clients you meet with, who give you lots of material for future work with other clients. Along with fodder for your blog. Today, I had one of those clients.
This particular client has a lot of self esteem issues and many of our meetings are centered around improving her self esteem, not verbally/mentally beating herself up and learning to take praise and compliments. Each of these topics are blog posts or at least a chapter in a book by themselves, at the very least. Despite all the progress she’s made, as with all of us, old habits are hard to die and when one least expects it, they can came roaring back into the center of one’s life.
Compliments and learning to accept them can be a difficult task to master for many people. It’s been my experience over the decades, both personally and professionally, that it is much harder for women to master than men. Which, one would think in the 21st century, we would be further along with this skill set than we are and it’s not only in American Society. Since I live in the USA, I can only approach this issue from my own societies perspectives and beliefs.
Why do I refer to it as a habit and a skill set? There’s actually a simple answer. These 2 areas are extremely interlinked and often work together to raise and improve how we view ourselves and our physical, mental and emotional health. Having a positive view of our self worth and esteem can improve all aspects of our lives. You can also use it to be more productive, find your direction and easier to pursue your goals.
Today, I decided to take this different tactic with my client and asked her to view “compliments as a gift.” She looked surprised and curious, when I responded to her questioning herself regarding, “why do I struggle with accepting and believing compliments?” I further explained that compliments are nothing but a verbal gift and as with all gifts you should accept them graciously. Obviously, if there’s no sincerity in this gift as with all gifts, one should be weary, but most folks are quite sincere with their compliments.
I learned about this definition of compliments many years ago at a training I attended and loved it. I see a lot of truth regarding this issue in my work with others, along with being a people watcher. It’s always amazed me how people react to a compliment, no matter what the reason for the compliment. Which can range from the recipient being embarrassed and uncomfortable to those who are comfortable and pleased with it.
The trainer stated in this training that “ a gift is a gift. We generally don’t respond to a physical present when it is handed to us the same way, think about why that is? Think about why we perceive a verbal gift any different? There’s truly no difference. If you are worthy of someone putting a gift in your hands, why do we often deflect one stated to us?”
I do have an answer and observation as to why people struggle with compliments, especially American women. Our society, even in the 21st century still gives females mixed messages. Though, that is changing for the positive, despite the tug a war that still goes on. It’s all around us, the media, families, schools all tell us, you’re not good enough, everything about you needs repair or change, you’ll never be good enough ….. that last one always makes me ask “good enough for what or who?” It’s up there with that magical and mystical “they.” The they who are in charge, say so and make decisions.
I, myself have always enjoyed giving compliments and I like receiving them as well. I made it goal of mine many years to give at least one compliment, if not more a day. These have to be sincere and genuine, otherwise it’s not real. Whether it be friend, family, coworker or stranger I don’t hesitate to spread them.
How do you handle compliments? If you struggle with them, do you know why? Would you like to be more comfortable with accepting them? Contact me for assistance.