I Choose Peace

A client shared the following story during session last week and I want to share it with you. It’s about a friend of hers–let’s name him George.

George was recently divorced, living alone in an apartment in downtown Indianapolis. He awakened on Christmas morning feeling unloved and lonely.  True to tradition, however, he spent Christmas morning with his kids at his parents’ home engaging in the routines they had enjoyed for years.

Tradition abandoned him that afternoon when he customarily would have accompanied his family to his in-laws’ home. This year, his kids would leave to go with their mother while he traveled back to his apartment–alone.

Rejected, he made the decision to bundle up and face the frigid Indiana wind. He walked toward Massachusetts Avenue peering around each corner, normally alive with cars and people. Empty streets. Gray sky. He thought to himself, what a pathetic reject I am. Alone on Christmas Day while everyone else is with their family and friends. He walked, allowing himself to acknowledge the sadness. The eerie stillness of the usually bustling street was unnerving.

As he walked, snow began to fall and he was gently awakened by a sense of peace. A sudden awareness that the silence–the lack of cars and people–was actually a gift. He was able to smile, to pull his hood around him and experience the shelter against the gust. He saw the Christmas lights and neon signs in juxtaposition to the gray sky. I have a choice, he thought. I can wallow in my sadness and rejection, or I can claim this peace.

He walked another few blocks, energized, and toward a red neon sign, OPEN and walked into the neighborhood bar. He ordered an enormous plate of nachos and his favorite beer.

“So, what are you up to this afternoon?” the bartender asked as he set the feast on the bar in front of his lone patron.

“Well, after I enjoy these nachos and beer, I’m walking back to my apartment and I’m going to watch my favorite movies for the rest of the afternoon. Treat myself to a movie day. I’m going to  choose Peace.”

So many of my clients face special challenges during the Holiday Season. Recently, I’ve spent hours with clients processing the emotional onslaught brought on by loss and change. Or, for some, the added stress of extra time spent with family. Each of us faces his or her own set of challenges that the holidays magnify.

This year, I send for you a wish for the will to let go of perfection and any expectations thereof. The ability to accept others as they are. The gift of kindness to yourself. The gift of Inner Peace.

 May there be Peace on Earth.
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” ~Dalai Lama

In Like a Lion; Out Like a Lamb

Sometimes it seems as if the grip of winter will never let go. Every venture out-of-doors requires bundling up–again. Coat, hat, scarf, gloves, boots. Ice on the sidewalks–again. Shoveling snow–again. The waiting-room carpet is a dirty disaster–again. Cars are filthy and cry for maintenance–again. Taxes are due–again. Hassle. Hassle. Hassle.

The gray skies of winter exacerbate Seasonal Affective Disorder for many of my clients. We long for sunshine.

But then February, the shortest month of the year, becomes history. Time “springs forward.” The days lengthen and the birds desperately attempt to sing spring into existence. Crocuses are sprouting up through the snow. We have hope.

This week I invite you to join me in a pleasant, final sigh regarding the hassles of winter, and an important look back to the goals or resolutions we made in January. Remember those?

Too cold to walk or run outside? Too icy to go to the gym? Haven’t quite gotten around to sprucing up your resume’? Slipped back into the fast food habit? The flu derailed your routine?  Have our New Year’s goals suffered the February Fizzle? I’ve noticed recently the gym has been a little less crowded.

Not to worry! The first day of spring is less than two weeks in coming. And this is a prefect time to revisit our goals, resolutions, and commitments for 2015. Be our own best friend and give ourselves a break. Take a Mulligan. A do-over. Start fresh. Isn’t that what Spring is all about?

They know Spring is coming:

crocuses+in+snow.pngLeírás Male Eastern Bluebird from below.jpgcardinal in winterEarly Spring beautiful WallpaperBirds black capped chickadee in the snowpurple-crocuses-in-the-snow-sharon-talson.jpg#snow%20crocus%20900x636Robin red breast

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.” ~Doug Larson

“An optimist is the human personification of spring.” ~Susan J. Bissonette

A Week in the Life . . .

What would it look like if we were somehow granted the opportunity to peek into the daily life of a person who is practicing self-love–successfully acting as his/her own best friend? At the risk of repetition, the study of a person engaged in self-love would reveal a person claiming the time and resources to live within the guidelines of my balanced life parameters: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social needs.  The topic of six consecutive posts in this blog, beginning with “McTherapy” back in October.

Let’s make a comparison between the list of “Best Friend” qualities (in black ink) and the areas of self-care involved in a balanced life (in blue ink). But remember, this time, we are working under the assumption that the best friend is within. We are functioning as our own best friend.

Best Friend

  • Shares similar interests–We open our hearts, mind, and calendar to activities that we truly love, feed our soul. What did you do as a child where you completely lost track of time? We never grow out of the need to do what we love. Enjoy!
  • Listens–We tune in to our inner voice as intently as a dear friend would attend to every detail of a long story we tell him/her. We will hear messages regarding our road to balance needs.
  • Trustworthy confidant–There is no better pathway to trust than to feel assured that we are taking care of our bodies, minds, and spirits.
  • Honest–Just as we require honesty from a best friend, an honest look inward is a cornerstone of a balanced life.
  • Encourages during difficult times, as well as those of success and prosperity–Accepting our trials and successes feeds mental and emotional health.
  • Dreams with me–pushes me toward my dreams–Our dreams may fall within any or all of the five balanced life areas and often we need only allowance or sometimes a nudge to fulfill.
  • Calls me on my sh@#–Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual health may originate with an honest chat in the mirror. Sometimes we need only say, “Really? You going here again?”
  • Fun–laughs with me–When we take ourselves too seriously, forgetting to laugh with, and at ourselves, we become seriously out of balance!

Balanced Life

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Spiritual
  • Social

Truly, acting as our own best friend may depend upon taking steps toward living a balanced life.  At times we require only baby steps, at others, huge leaps.  We plan and adjust, according to the demands of life. We don’t require perfection–let ourselves off the hook sometimes, forgive. Mostly, we encourage and talk kindly, just as we would expect from a best friend.

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” ~Lucille Ball

February 23rd, 2015|Balanced Life, Happiness, Individual Therapy, Life Lessons, self-love|