The Power of Empathy to Help You Relax Into and Heal Uncomfortable Feelings

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The Power of Empathy to Help You Relax Into and Heal Uncomfortable Feelings

The first memory my counselling client, Sandra, had of feeling fear was when she was 5 years old. She acutely remembers her father suddenly snapping at her in the kitchen. It was just him and her, alone, his big, overwhelming presence, those fiercely intense eyes. In recalling the incident, fear rises into her throat, constricting it, which was most likely what she experienced in the kitchen 32 years ago. The first memory my client, Adam, had of been anxious was when his mother became depressed due to the sudden loss of her beloved father. She quickly spiralled downward. Adam became scared and confused. He was losing his mother. As Adam shares this painful memory he notices his chest tightening and his breath becoming shallow. His […]

When You Re-Parent Yourself, You Re-Pattern Yourself ~ Holding Yourself in Times of Distress

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When You Re-Parent Yourself, You Re-Pattern Yourself ~ Holding Yourself in Times of Distress

Everyone gets anxious, some more than others. While many associate bouts of distress with “mental illness”, for me, it’s simpler to see these experiences as the wounded child within acting out. We all have a wounded child inside. She gets triggered. He worries and frets. She catastrophizes and gets sucked into obsession. Past pains are projected onto present moment situations, again and again. We get afraid. We aren’t broken, as I like to remind my counselling clients. Rather, we’re just re-living unresolved trauma and attachment pains from childhood. (Anxiety/distress also comes from shock trauma or pain incurred in relationships later in life, but I will simplify this article to developmental trauma.) Something is needed in those moments of distress. Certainly, it doesn’t help to judge […]

In Your Attempts to Be Positive Be Sure Not to Sacrifice Being Real ~ Feeling Your Way Into Freedom and Aliveness

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In Your Attempts to Be Positive Be Sure Not to Sacrifice Being Real ~ Feeling Your Way Into Freedom and Aliveness

“Perhaps if tearful little boys were comforted instead of shamed there wouldn’t be so many angry men struggling to express and empathize with emotions.” ~ Lelia Scholl Many of us have been taught that feelings such as anger, sadness and fear are “negative” or “bad”. The truth is, they are just feelings; they are an experience of energetic movement in the body; hence, e-motion—energy in motion. When we layer these feelings with the aforementioned limiting labels we deny our humanity and our capacity to be fully alive. Children demonstrate whole-heartedly, and often dramatically, how to feel fully. From anger, to sadness, to laughter, they quickly move through their emotions without inhibitions. They kick, scream, wail while pounding the floor, all followed by triumphant beams of […]

Nurturing Goodness in Children and Ourselves ~ The Indigenous Nature of Soul

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Nurturing Goodness in Children and Ourselves ~ The Indigenous Nature of Soul

Years ago, while in the final moments with a life coaching client, I said something I’d never said to anyone: “You are goodness.” I was surprised at the spontaneous words that poured from my mouth. It was as though something in the far reaches of my soul knew exactly the unique acknowledgement my client needed to hear. For, at that moment, this erudite man of determined reserve leaned forward and began to sob. How dearly he needed to be seen. How dearly had he longed to touch his forgotten goodness. There is goodness in each one of us. Goodness is our true nature. Yet, for many, if not most, we have forgotten it. Inculcated with false ideas of what it means to be a good, […]

Be Gentle On Yourself and Children. There is Another Way.

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Be Gentle On Yourself and Children. There is Another Way.

“Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength.” ~ Ralph W. Sockman I had to learn the hard way, ironically. Given where I came from and what I had to endure as a small child, and the rough edges of schooling and society I grew up in, it is only natural that gentleness would be considered a weakness, a way of being that in no way could serve and protect me. I’m not the only one. If raised in an environment of consistent gentle affection and care then this becomes how we understand love and life to be; it becomes our learned experience and it improves the likelihood that we recreate that experience in our future relationships, including our relationship […]

Relaxation and Trust are Two Sides of the Same Coin. Both Lead us Back to Love.

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Relaxation and Trust are Two Sides of the Same Coin. Both Lead us Back to Love.

It’s not easy to relax. The individualistic, hectic, consumerist Western world makes this so. There are bills to pay, mouths to feed, kids to shuffle, classes to attend and homes to clean. Our lives, as they say in Britain, are “chock-a-block”—cluttered, making quiet time for us a precious rarity. Looking closer, however, we can see that core to the issue is not busy schedules, but rather our inability to trust. Can we trust others to help us; to do the bookkeeping accurately, clean the kitchen, ensure the children have the proper food in their lunchbox? Perhaps our spouse and co-workers have let us down before making it difficult to trust them, and thus relax. Or maybe we still need them to do it our way […]

We Over-Educate Children Because We Over-Think and Are Afraid to Feel

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We Over-Educate Children Because We Over-Think and Are Afraid to Feel

There is enough research to clearly show that we are over-educating, over-pushing our children in school. But if you need extra evidence, here are two studies for you: “According to Daphna Bassok, an assistant professor of education and public policy at the University of Virginia, in 1998, 30% of teachers believed that children should learn to read while in kindergarten. In 2010, that figure was at 80%.” ~ Why are our kids so miserable? | Jenny Anderson, Quartz  “One major study of 700 preschool classrooms in 11 states found that only 15 percent showed evidence of effective interactions between teacher and child. Fifteen percent.” ~ The New Preschool Is Crushing Kids | Erika Christakis, The Atlantic If you need more research, please read Inspiring, Troubling […]

Yes, Trouble’s Brewing Out There, but Are You Playing, Living, Despite it All?

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Yes, Trouble’s Brewing Out There, but Are You Playing, Living, Despite it All?

There is a lot of turbulence in the world, and it is very easy to dwell on climate change, the US election, Brexit and more. Don’t turn a blind eye to it all, but do notice how much you are turning towards the doom and gloom versus what makes you come alive, here and now. For those on the healing journey, the “spiritual path” as some like to call it, you may be inclined to inner-work yourselves to death, endlessly processing the fine far away corners of your psyche. And for all of us, we may find it easy to focus more on bleakness than beauty, folly than fun, problems than possibilities and play. Yes this is somewhat dichotomous, I’m aware, for there can be […]

Leading from Truth, Not Obligation ~ Finding Clarity in the Body

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Leading from Truth, Not Obligation ~ Finding Clarity in the Body

“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” ~ Lao Tzu The weight of obligation can be a real burden sometimes, especially when there are two opposing “shoulds” pulling at us simultaneously. The temptation may be to work out the dilemma with our mind by analyzing details, weighing pros and cons, evaluating collective impact, etc. Yet doing so may only lead us further into a schizophrenic state of confusion and stress. Thinking may only lead to more thinking and indecisiveness. Hence, the saying, analysis paralysis. A client of mine was recently in such a quandary. Her uncle had just passed away, and she so desperately wanted to drive south (12 hours) to support her grief-stricken father. And, of course, she wanted to attend […]

Choosing Heart and Life Amongst the Busyness of Things

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Choosing Heart and Life Amongst the Busyness of Things

“The cities, the roads, the countryside, the people I meet—they all begin to blur. I tell myself I am searching for something. But more and more, it feels like I am wandering, waiting for something to happen to me, something that will change everything, something that my whole life has been leading up to.” ~ Khaled Hosseini—And the Mountains Echoed Her voice spoke with urgency. A pressing need to accomplish a number of tasks and build new ventures prompted this coaching client to hire me. During our initial session, she shared with such a clip that it was hard to truly feel and thus hear her. The buzz of words was like a lightening storm surrounding and protecting something that felt like a quiet, deep agenda […]