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Breaking the Habit

Thursday, July 14, 2011

When we honestly ask which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand.”
— Henri J.M. Nouwen

The Helping Tic

Are you a compulsive helper?
How does one stop trying to save others, stop being a martyr and start taking care of one's self?

I don't know about you but it seems that I have inherited CHT (chronic helping tic) from my mother. My youngest sister might have a touch of it, too. Honestly, so do at least half the women I know.

But over the course of my 50 years, I've learned the hard way that my gratuitous guidance—no matter how well intentioned—could just possibly be misconstrued as, well, a tad annoying. I've also learned that when my assistance wasn't met with the response I anticipated—at least a small thank-you note—it hurt.

So, several years back I decided that the time had come to cure my CHT—not by helping less, but by becoming more mindfully helpful. I will train myself to think before offering aid, and to provide it only when people really want it.

I devised a challenge: For 30 days, unless I was asked directly (or witnessed someone in need or CPR), I will keep my helpfulness to myself.

On day one, I woke to a text message from a friend whose life falls apart on a semi-regular basis: "My life is falling apart. Again."
Normally I would have called an emergency life-reassembly meeting at a Tim Horton's of her choosing. But I stopped, right there my fingers posed in mid air over my cell and told myself " Wait a minute. You know this really wasn't an emergency.

Real emergencies aren't conveyed via text message. And because my friend's calamities are usually existentially exaggerated in nature—a general sense of ennui, a crisis of faith, a sudden rash of cynicism about free will—there's rarely anything I can do to solve them anyway.

Still, I couldn't help thinking that if she didn't need my help, she wouldn't have texted. I felt my CHT flaring up.

So I tried something new. Instead of helping, I sought help.
Now, whenever I get the urge to help, I should ask myself, If I never receive credit or thanks for this favor, do I still want to grant it?

I confessed to myself that what I really wanted, deep down, was to hear my friend tell me, "I knew you'd say the perfect thing."

Feeling sheepish, I snapped out of the fantasy and texted my friend: "I'm so sorry to hear that. I hope things get better for you soon. xoxo." Then I spent the morning worrying that I was a pitiless porcupine.

Later that day, another friend e-mailed to share the news that the poetry press she'd launched had just gotten its first media attention. My immediate impulse was not to wish her many happy returns, but to shoot her a list of all the other media outlets she should contact. I was halfway through my list before I realized what I was doing. I deleted and started over.

"Congratulations!" I wrote. "I'm so proud of you!"

The prospect of composing a comprehensive public relations plan on the spot had made me so jittery, my pulse was racing. But the sense of calm that followed my decision to write a more appropriate e-mail got me through another 24 hours CHT-free.

By the third week, my helping behavior had become less automatic.

The few favors I did along the way were carefully chosen:

this was the right kind of helping. "It's important to learn the difference between helping out and butting in," she says. "Butting in is often a product of the giver's sense of righteousness or insecurity, and it is neither wanted nor appreciated by the receiver. Helping out is a gift that comes from the heart."

And that was what I wanted—to be driven by my heart, not my emotions. My month of restraint had allowed me to make that shift.

The experiment also paid off in other, unexpected ways.

One night after yoga class, I got into a conversation with my teacher and learned that she was single. I was dying to play Cupid, but I held my tongue. The next day, she sent me an e-mail, asking me to keep her in mind for setups. Now that she'd reached out to me, setting her up would mean doing a favor that she'd requested, as opposed to embarking on a self-appointed mission. I wouldn't feel the usual pressure to prove myself because I had never claimed that I would find her the perfect man in the first place; I had merely agreed to try. I liked the prospect of low-stress helping.

A few weeks after the end of my 30-day trial, my friend of the existential crises called, crying. Love was masochistic, she said. I listened to her list of romantic troubles. I didn't tell her what to do, or even ask leading questions. I didn't fan the flames by mirroring her outrage. I made just enough noise to let her know I was there. And I realized that in the absence of suggesting, solving, and fixing, my listening skills had greatly improved. After ten minutes, my friend took a deep breath and exhaled. "Thank you," she said. "You made me feel so much better."

And so it goes Now instead of "jumping the gun" solely using my emotions to help those who in actuality need to help themselves, are quite capable of helping themselves I've learned to be more the listener and only "step up to the plate" when asked. Still feel the need to help, but doing it more as a life coach is far better than "meddling" Who'd a thunk it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JEWELIRINA 7/14/2011 11:07AM

  I can completely relate to this

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Releasing Negativity

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Having a pity party for yourself is alright as long as you learn from it and dont dwell in it for long periods of time.

We all have days when the bad things seem to outweigh the good ones and we begin to think that life isnt fair. You get stuck in traffic, which makes you late for an important meeting, and then your car gets towed. You might ask yourself, Why me? Events like this one can test anyones ability to be grateful and feel optimistic. If you have a tendency to feel sorry for yourself, and many of us do, things usually progress to the next stage: the pity party. You begin to feel like the innocent victim of a dismal fate because you are seeing your life through inaccurate lenses. Most of the thoughts that run through your mind at times like these are not helpful, and they mainly serve to increase your indignation and feelings of powerlessness. What these feelings and thoughts dont do is change your circumstances or make you feel better.

When you have a terrible day, there should definitely be a time and place to have your feelings so you can process them. Its important not to pretend that you are fine with things when you arent. Its also important, however, to notice when youre having a pity party. Its a good idea to set a time limit in which to fully express your emotions and not feel guilty, ashamed, or judge yourself. Having a friend witness you during this process can be helpful. You may also want to write about your feelings. When your time is up, let go of the negativity you just expressed. You can declare your intention to your friend. If youve written down your feelings, you can burn the piece of paper or throw it in the recycling bin.

Try not to dwell on unpleasant experiences and do everything you can to avoid holding on to negative emotions. When you indulge in self-pity, you only make a bad day worse. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, release the notion that you are a victim, and notice the good that exists in your life.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SNOWMAIDEN 7/13/2011 3:43PM

    I have private pity parties - no one else is invited. As far as other people are concerned, I'm fine. I wallow with a coffee; I try to work out what happened but eventually get bored by my moaning and then determined to make the day go the way I want it to - scrub anything that doesn't move, exercise - anything to make me feel that I've achieved something.
(Sometimes I think the universe may seem to be giving you a bad day but perhaps if we hadn't have got caught in traffic, at the next junction, we might have met another car which jumped the lights...)

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Changes in Health mean changes all 'round

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

because of the Arthritis in my knees and back am going to have to make a few changes in my exercise routine. more strengthening exercises for the muscles. Am going into Stettler Friday to do my grocery shopping, pick up a new power supply for my Wii, and look at an exercise bar that attaches to a door jam.

My sister in law`s friend from Calgary brought his with him last week and showed me how it works.

Just make sure you take care of yourself; back and knees cause now I know all about it. Mine according to the x-ray report definitely have Arthritis. The right worse than the left. So I`ve now ordered my Organic Extra virgin Coconut oil to take 2 tbsps a day.

Coconut oil is an edible oil that has been consumed in the tropics for thousands of years. Studies on native diets high in coconut consumption show that these populations are generally in good health, and do not suffer from many of the modern diseases of western nations. It offers outstanding health benefits to almost all areas of wellness, from immune function to weight loss, cardiovascular health and hair quality.

Coconut oil was once prevalent in western countries like Canada and the United States as well. With a long shelf life and a melting point of 76 degrees, it was a favorite in the baking industry. There are however two different kinds of coconut oil: regular and extra virgin. Extra virgin coconut oil possesses a coconut taste while regular coconut oil has virtually no taste.

The vast majority of the fats and oils we eat, whether they are saturated or unsaturated or come from an animal or a plant, are composed of long-chain triglycerides. Coconut oil is unique because it is composed predominately of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which, for the most part, give it its unique character and healing properties.

Listed below are a few of the many benefits of coconut oil.

Has a long shelf life slow to oxidize and therefore resistant to rancidity
Ideal for medium to high heat cooking
Excellent dairy-free alternative to butter or shortening
Contains no harmful trans fatty acids
Excellent source of lauric acid to support healthy immune function
Lauric acid provides anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal support
Lauric acid supports treatment of herpes complex virus
Excellent source of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), which helps the body to efficiently metabolize fat (increases metabolism)
MCTs are not stored as fat, but is readily converted to energy (boosts energy)
Protects and moisturizes the skin use as a lotion
Improves nutrient absorption
Reduces the risk of cancer and other degenerative conditions
Excellent as a massage oil
Helps in treating various skin problems such as psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections
Reduces the risk of heart disease
Helps prevent premature aging and wrinkling of the skin
Promotes weight loss
Protects the liver
Supports healthy thyroid function
Assists in the treatment of yeast infections (Candida)
Improves Chrohns, IBS, and other digestive disorders
Helps prevent osteoporosis
Helps control diabetes
Increases hair health

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANGIEN9 7/13/2011 10:16AM

    Wow! I did not know the benefits of Coconut is t he fat content?? Thanks for the informative blog!! Angie

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As Right as Rain

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yesterday was a day from "somebody else's life" LOL
At least that's the way I felt because it certainly wasn't a typical day in the life of MOI. Something or someone else decided to inhabit my body and cause me to be something I'm normally NOT; inactive!
But all is back to being right in my world. The hardened lump I found turned out to be a swollen gland caused by an infection elsewhere for which my Doctor prescribed a mild Cortisone cream to apply twice daily for 7-10 days or until the infection is cleared up and the inflammation reduced. . The aches and pains in my knees are from nothing more than Arthritis. Nothing immoral illegal or life threatening. I'll live to see another day LOL
So everything is back to normal around here. What was really nice yesterday was DH pitched in and tidied up the kitchen after dinner. So I wasn't faced with a sink full of dirty dishes this morning! Bless his heart!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TJBLEEKER 7/12/2011 9:38PM

    That's good news! A huge relief for you.

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SNOWMAIDEN 7/12/2011 2:00PM

    Oh sometimes "normal" is fabulous! This is fantastic news! In fact - that's quite made my day!!!!

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Working through The Veil of Noise

Monday, July 11, 2011

Distracting yourself with noise may numb the senses so that you don't have to deal with issues but it doesn't solve or eliminate them.

Our lives are typically filled with noise. There are the noises from the outside world that we cannot control, and there are the noises we allow into our lives. These noises, from seemingly innocuous sources ie. television and radio, can actually help us drowned out uncomfortable situations thoughts and emotions in order to avoid dealing with them. However, using noise as a distraction actually hurts and hinders more than it helps because you are only numbing yourself to what may be internallycharging to the surface for you to acknowledge and heal. Distracting yourself with background noises or any kind of noise; even psychological, can also prevent you from finding closure to issues that only remain to haunt you.

Noise as only a distraction that can affect us in many ways. It can help us stay numb to emotions that you dont want to feel, allow you to avoid dealing with problems, distract you from having to think, and make it easier for you to forget reality. Drowning out the thoughts and emotions you find uncomfortable or overwhelming can complicate your issues because it allows them to fester. By tuning out noise and relishing silence, you create the space to experience and express what you are hiding. It is only then that self-exploration can begin in earnest and you can stare down frightening issues. In silence, it becomes easier to let your strongest feelings come forth, deal with them, and find new ways of resolving your problems.

When you go within without the veil of noise to shield you from yourself, youll be able to figure out what you need to heal. Embracing silence and introspection allows you to work through your thoughts and emotions and transmute them. Free of the need for noise, you can accept your pain, anger, and frustration as they come up and turn them into opportunities to evolve.

What noise are you using to cloak and veil something in your life that you would be better off without

I have two or three issues I could be making noise over and denying that they exist but I`m choosing to face them head on today.
One last night just as I was going to bed I found an abnormality beneath my left breast; hard and sore to the touch. It could be absolutely nothing which it probably is but rather than deny it`s existence I`m going into the doctor`s office for a 2:30 appointment to have it checked out.
One thing I`m not fearing it nor am I not assuming the worst.
With what my body has been doing lately it could just be apart of it; a side effect.
The other thing is this damn leg of mine it won`t stop aching and it`s a deep tissue ache I need a good deep tissue massage. I had x-rays taken last week so I will also inquire after them today. In the meantime I am sitting with my legs up keeping it elevated and well rested until my 2:30 appointment.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SNOWMAIDEN 7/12/2011 1:54PM

    Good for you for getting it sorted straight away. I truly hope all is fine

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IKKIMIKKI 7/12/2011 12:34PM

  Love the insight! Thanks for sharing and good job on your positive attitude.

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FREETHEGODDESS 7/12/2011 12:27PM

    I agree. We distract ourselves too much with tv, radio, cell phones, video games, shopping, alcohol and food. All of it numbs us to our real feelings. It is nice to just relax in peace and quiet and just "be". Thanks for reminding me that I don't need the tv on for noise while I do chores. Also, I hope you are okay. Keep us posted on your doctor visit. Best Wishes to you!

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TJBLEEKER 7/12/2011 9:41AM

    Good attitude - keep us posted!

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    Hope its nothing Serious....All the best....Stay strong!!!! emoticon

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