Monthly Archives: January 2008
(published in Hedra News)
I’ve reached my fourth decade on the Universe this year. I believe this is a significant turning point, a place where each one of us turns a new corner, beginning a new era of existence. And at this time, some poignant questions tend to rise to the surface. I know there is a piece of me a bit disappointed in myself, my lack of fame and fortune. This is probably the little girl who dreamed of being a Champion at something by this time.
So, I followed my own coaching advice and pulled out my journal and favorite pen. I wrote down the same profound questions I place before clients who are a bit disappointed with where they’ve currently ended up in life. The first query is usually the most challenging and rewarding. Maybe part of this challenge is getting your mind open and your pen moving.
If you could take away one year from your life, or even just one event that negatively impacted you, what would it be?
As I started to ponder this with each challenging year and/or event, there were too many significant positive outcomes, major rewards and pay-offs in personal growth and spiritual development that grew from the painful experience. Or even from the experience I’m not too proud of and wish I would’ve handled a bit differently. To take away any one event would be to alter the course of the life I’ve grown into. I couldn’t unravel how any one change could possibly lead to a series of events that would be better than who I’ve become and what I have in my life right now. This leads us right into the next question, when reflecting on one’s life purpose.
Can you find significance in your trials?
I believe this is the key to hope and overcoming any obstacle. In his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Viktor Frankl talks about the survivors of Auschwitz, himself included, the most horrific of all Concentration Camps during World War II. He was a young doctor, specializing in psychology from Vienna when he was thrust in the environment of the Nazi Death Camps. He lost his mother, father and wife to the camps. Yet, he carried with him two things, his manuscript (until it was later discovered and destroyed) and the hope that he would be reunited with his family. The hope of completing his life-long dream and seeing his family kept him going through the atrocities of Auschwitz. While in the camp, he contracted Typhoid fever and to keep awake, he reconstructed his manuscript on stolen pieces of paper. As he observed slight men survive and stronger men perish in the concentration camps, he noted the one common denominator of those who survived. Hope. Those who believed they had family waiting for them or something more to live for tended to overcome. While those, though stronger and healthier in size and stature, who knew their loved ones had perished, soon gave up the fight. All of us have trials to endure, obstacles and mountains in our paths. The question is, can you find significance in your trials and can you keep hope that there is something better on the other side? Keeping your faith not only allows you to endure the hard stuff life throws your way, but, it also helps you survive without bitterness. There isn’t always deep meaning in life experiences, but, you can find the lesson FOR YOU. What I mean by this is that in the anguish of life’s darkest moments, we often learn more about ourselves. Sometimes this is our will to survive because of our dedication to our children or a deep desire of accomplishment. Sometimes we find our true character, maybe we did, after all, contain “grace under fire”. Or we may discover our true value system and uncover the base of integrity and our belief system.
Did you look for the lesson? If so, what did you discover about yourself?
The thing is your obstacles and challenges can work FOR you. We’ve all heard, reluctantly, how the tough things in life can make you stronger. But, if I had you take a moment and make a list of the moments and events in your life that truly defined and shaped your character, I bet at least half of them would be the challenges. Make meaning of your life experiences without regret, but, instead with reflection.
How did your obstacles work FOR you?
And finally, after finishing “The Call” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, I began to ask clients her question.
What is the one word in which you are here for?
In her book, she elaborates on discovering the ONE WORD in which to live. Instead of trying to see your word, open up to the possibility of all the places in your life your one word has been calling to you. Look at your failures, not just your strengths, to discover your word. Fill in the following sentences with your one word (mine is in parenthesis);
How can I ___________ (rest)? What must be surrendered for me to ___________ (rest)?
“Living your word does not cause suffering, not living your word does.” Oriah Mountain Dreamer.By uncovering your one word, your list of experiences and events will now look like a series of stepping stones on your life path, leading you to the exact place you need to be; right here, right now.
Rebecca Evans is an author, Transformational Speaker and Certified Empowerment Coach. Her books, The Art of Self Discovery and Inner Fitness for Empowerment are available at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnobles.com. To contact Rebecca for an event or order products, go to www.inner-element.com. -End-
(Published in Hedra News)
Stress is listed as the leading cause of many health problems. It can weaken your immune system, leaving you susceptible to illness. It can also impact your nervous system, contributing to headaches, chronic fatigue and migraines. The problem with stress is that it eventually affects each of us at some time in our lives. We know we cannot avoid stress, therefore we must learn to manage stress.We have all heard the typical advice from our doctors when we complete our physical and tell them how tired and overwhelmed we feel:
1. Get some rest.
2. Eat healthy
4. Do some Yoga
5. Learn to relax
Great advice, but challenging to accomplish in an already over-loaded schedule.
I even recall a family member who suffered with severely high blood pressure after delivery of her son, sharing with me her methods to teach herself patience, an attempt to lower the stress in her life and ultimately, lower her blood pressure. She was a type AAA personality and her life was full of structure and routine. She forced herself into “Scenarios Needing Patience” on purpose. She chose the longest line at the check out and tried to hum while noticing items in other’s baskets. She took the long way home and stopped at the yellow lights. She made bank deposits at lunch time and avoided Fast Food. It looked as though life took her longer to get through, but honestly, at the end of each week, she still accomplished close to the same amount of tasks as she did with her previous rushed method. And, to me, her training program worked. She is the most patient person one could ever hope to encounter.I honestly tried her training program and it almost killed me. I’m not the most patient person one would encounter and I’m fine with that. I did, in the process of learning to manage stress in my life, uncover a new solution for me that I would like to share.
I needed a plan that stayed with me; provide learning opportunities without driving or a bank teller. And the only plan that kept rising to the surface was one that included ONLY me in it.
I will be with myself for the rest of my life.
Why not create a place inside of me that is my safe haven? Before I could create a harmonious environment inside of me, I needed to make some changes in my life about my perspective of self. Here is the five-step process I used to create an Inner Sanctuary, a haven to nurture my life in:
1. Accept Myself. My sanctuary needs to be a place of self-love. Criticism is no longer acceptable behavior in my mind. Negative remarks about myself will get me placed in a time out.
2. Quiet Time. I need to carve time out of my schedule to spend with ME. I need time to get to know myself and explore my thoughts. I use this time to meditate, read scripture or journal. One thing is certain; you cannot create a sanctuary in a strange and unfamiliar place.
3. Triggers. A trigger is a reminder to oneself. My trigger is a ring I wear that has the birthstones of my three children. When I start to feel stressed or overwhelmed, I look at my ring and reminds me to slow down and go within.
4. Use Your Sanctuary. So how do you use your sanctuary once you arrive? The choice is yours, after all, this is your place, decorate it as you will. Once I slow down and focus on me I make a short check list to help me evaluate that which is overwhelming me.
· What am I feeling?
· Am I physically responding? (rapid heart beat, shortness of breath, heated face)
· Why am I responding this way?
· What can I do about it?Once I evaluate the situation, I can explore in my own way, the answers I need to resolve and untangle the strain of the moment. Now in a fight or flight situation, I ask that you rely on your instincts, don’t slow down. But your Inner Sanctuary asks for you to rely on your instincts too. To listen to your heart. I often use my sanctuary during Yoga or a run as well. The beautiful thing about your own sanctuary? It is always with you and it is rent free!
Rebecca Evans is an Author, Certified Empowerment Coach and Motivational Speaker. You can order her workbooks and journals at www.amazon.com or in local bookstores. To contact her: www.inner-element.com.