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  • That Crazy Gratitude

    It’s Thanksgiving. Yes, a time on the calendar we can depend on. A time that reminds us that we are still here living our lives, even if everything feels topsy turvy, stressful or downright scary at times. We are all looking for some peace, a bit of joy, a way to feel into this new normal while folks are waiting to get back to normal.

    It’s hard to say what back to normal will look like but what we can say is how amazingly resilient we humans are. Imagine being able to find simple things, people, products, even time, to be grateful for. Gratitude is the way forward. I was blown away when I restarted my gratitude mornings how much each day became lighter. How positive I could be in the face of frightening or disappointing news. How centered I could become by simply recognizing the beauty of a flower, a kind gesture, a great meal, a dear friend.

    Here are some tips to find the spark of gratitude in your life:

      1. Wake up and say “I am grateful for my new day” a sentence filled with possibility.
      2. If you are in a relationship, notice that person’s presence as a gift in your life. It’s easy to notice the annoyances but what do they bring to your life?
      3. Notice where you are putting your attention. If there is a situation that is bothersome, or troubling find the good in it and find a way to take action to change the rest. (One step at a time if it’s a big one)
      4. Declare your intention for having a great day.
      5. Thank someone in your life or in your day, for something.
      6. Give! Tell someone you care, give a compliment, send flowers, be love and you will feel grateful you made someone else’s day.
      7. Make a list of 3 things you are grateful for each morning and notice the bounty you may have missed.
      8. Thank a good friend or special family member for being in your life.

     

    Happiest Thanksgiving to all.  May you spend it in a way that brings you peace and joy.

    With love,

    Liz

    Whose Voice Is It Anyway?

    I was so lucky when my friend Dave said “Who says you’re not good enough?!?”

    That was many years ago. Needless to say, our conversation blew my mind. He was actually asking who I was listening to in my head and questioning whether it was really my voice!
    I had never thought it wasn’t my voice. After all, it was in my head.

    I had been complaining about a work situation, my social life, etc. But really my situation was fine. It was how I was feeling about it, and what I was believing about both the situation and myself that was the problem. “Not good enough.” “Not Good Enough.” “NOT GOOD ENOUGH!”

    Those words—in their varying intensities at various moments—were affecting my life. Those words… not good enough… created other unhelpful thoughts as well. I would struggle with something I knew I was fully capable of doing but feeling I couldn’t do. I would express doubt and need good friends to help me see myself accurately, or I would give myself a good talking to so that I could proceed.

    What a struggle! Where did this contradiction come from?

    It was so exciting to imagine—and then recognize—that what I believed was my own internal voice was actually one that I co-opted from teachers, parents, or disheartening situations. The self-criticism came from messages I received growing up.

    Why is it easier to hold on to the negative messages than the positive?

    My experience as a psychotherapist and coach is that we tend to feel the impact of negative messages more deeply because they often catch us off guard or conflict with our self-perception. Unconsciously, we internalize these negative inputs more than we should.

    That was what I had been doing. That self-talk had become a habit and a belief system. It was so incredibly freeing to realize that I could evaluate each of those questionable thoughts.

    First, I became curious about when and where I had heard that message. Then I began to evaluate and decide whether I agreed with the message.

    That gave me the agency to choose! Did I believe it? Was the thought really true? Did the negative message evolve over time? Was it a real representation of the real me? If not, I wasn’t born with it. Did I want that message to be mine?

    Mostly, that negative talk is not true. It comes from hurt, unkind words, and moments when we have not been at our best. If you aren’t happy with some of the self-talk/self-doubt/self-critical messages that you are experiencing, try to be a detective and begin choosing which messages to listen to. Sometimes it helps to talk to a good friend, or a professional (like a life coach or a therapist) to sort it out if you get stuck.

    Bottom line: The time has come to choose. Choose to allow you to be you – fully and freely -without restriction!

    Have a comment or a question? I would love to hear your thoughts!

    In the meantime, choose you!

    Liz

    It’s Election Day Let’s Stay Centered

    I get a lot of emails. I delete a lot of emails, but this morning I woke up super early. Since I don’t usually wake up at 4am, I felt like something important was needed. So, first thing, I meditated with the intention of being a participant in creating balance in myself, humanity and our beautiful planet.

    I opened my email and there was a newsletter from Nick Ortner’s The Tapping Solution. I didn’t delete.

    He spoke about the fact that some percentage of the US population will be disappointed, once the tally is eventually in on who the next United States president will be.

    Along with using our one vote to assist in the evolution of our country, he spoke about the fact that we have  only one vote for ourselves as well. He shared an uplifting video about how to have clarity on what you want to manifest in your life and for the greater good. I was interested in what inspired him  and I am sharing the link below in case you are too.

    How we go forward with elation or disappointment depends on us.

    We can stay centered if we are careful about where we put our attention.

    I love testing this out. If I am feeling stressed or focused on something worrisome, when I put my attention on what I actually can do instead of what I don’t have control over I feel better. Even feeling down can be shifted if we decide to focus on what we are grateful for…even just one thing. It could be as simple as a tree outside the window.

    Staying present in the moment, breathing deeply, meditating or using a meditation APP, getting outside for a walk, are all great ways to get centered and feel uplifted.

    But sometimes it’s really hard to shift the way we feel. Especially if it’s on the negative side.

    I have found tapping to be super helpful in shifting perspective in the moment and in the long term if you make it part of your routine. Melanie Moore in the UK who specializes in EFT-Tapping has shared several videos to guide people through tough times. These can be a resource to handle emotions that come up during these unpredictable times.

    So, after you vote, feel proud to have made your voice heard!

    And then feed your soul with an inspirational video of your choice.

    See what inspires Nick Ortner by clicking here.

    He also offers Tapping 101 in case you’ve never tapped before, click here to access Tapping 101.

    Tap along with Melanie Moore:

    Click here on feeling worried or desperate.

    Click here on feeling isolated (COVID related).

    Click here on creating a great day.

    With love,
    Liz

    COVID Loneliness-An Unexpected Challenge

    Loneliness during COVID-19 has become an unexpected challenge for many. Even if loneliness was never previously a concern  for people surrounded by friends and family, or  for people who have lived alone for years without discomfort, it seems to be one now.

    I’ve been speaking with clients, friends, and family and have even experienced it myself. There is a difference between simple aloneness and COVID-19 loneliness.

    What is this about? Why is it different?

    Some say it is the unknown. The uncertainty about when things will get back to normal can cause feelings of disconnection. Some say it’s about how they personally are handling the experience. For example, some have said they simply feel left out because they’re being more cautious. Some report they haven’t reached out enough and that’s why they’re alone more than they want to be.

    The feeling of loneliness is difficult because often it can seem like nothing really helps — or only helps for a bit. For example, talking with a friend is uplifting in the moment but the relief doesn’t always last.

    What tends to have a longer loneliness-reducing effect are activities like taking a walk outside, which can truly shift our mood if we take in our surroundings and breathe in the fresh air; or working on a forward-moving project like de-cluttering, which shifts us into an active state, which is super helpful, because it gets us doing rather than moping.

    What’s also different about COVID-19 loneliness is that there’s not only a sense of separation, but actual separation — and that real separation from others can really amp up feelings of loneliness.

    Groups that used to get together in person may still do so but more infrequently on Zoom, and, given what is required to go out into the world, many people now simply find it easier to stay in.

    In short, it’s the complexity of sustaining contact with others, combined with the fact that it’s so difficult to be spontaneous and spur-of-the-moment, that makes COVID-19 loneliness so different.

    Here are a few tips that may help you or someone you know feel more connected:

    1. Respect for how people are managing their safety during COVID-19 is a top priority but communication is the key. So, don’t assume what someone else’s COVID-19 contact rules are and rule them out of an invitation to a group get-together. Check it out with them. Their rules may have changed, or they may have found a way to feel safe and still participate that is mutually respectful of you and your other guests.
    2. If you tend to invite-only couples or only singles to certain get-togethers, consider mixing it up. Your single friends may appreciate an evening or afternoon invite during this time even if everyone else is coupled up, and couples may enjoy a break from the couples-only get-togethers they are likely typically invited to attend.
    3. Don’t assume that all your friends or relations are doing fine because you haven’t heard from them. Reach out. Find out what they are up to. Maybe they’ve discovered some fun COVID-19 safe activity, or maybe they could really benefit from a conversation pick-me-up right now.
    4. Send friends, family members, and/or associates you haven’t reached out to for a while something that lets them know you’re thinking about them — getting flowers, an ecard, or even a voice memo can literally make someone’s day and keep them uplifted for longer than you might imagine.
    5. Invite your friends and perhaps their whole family out for a hike, paddle, or other active outings. Creating shared memories through these types of experiences feeds our connective tissue.
    6. If you’re feeling isolated, get involved in safe volunteer activities or with community action groups. The added benefit is the consistency of contact with others these types of opportunities naturally provide.



    Giving of ourselves is the most enriching way to feel we are part of a greater whole. And you never know- you might just change someone’s life.

    Remembering How to Fight and Win

    I was struck by the speech Queen Elizabeth made a few days ago to her country about this time we are living through: The COVID-19 war.

    She said, “I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge…and those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any. That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humored resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterize this country.”

    Toward the end of her speech she spoke about the world coming together and doing what can be done to defeat this common enemy, knowing that we succeeded in accomplishing this because we all joined in a global effort.

    She also said, ““We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return…We will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”

    You can access the video of her full speech and a New York Times article by clicking here.

    Much has been said in our country about bravery, about fear, about people moving past fear to do their jobs. Our heroic hospital and healthcare workers showing us what a sense of duty to something greater than ourselves actually means today.

    Stoicism and solidarity.

    Unless or until we are in the thick of it, solidarity can seem quite quiet and even private. It is only when people are clapping or cheering for the helpers at a certain time every day that it becomes a shared experience of hope.

    This is important because while news reports give us important information, headlines also trigger anxiety and it helps to remember you are not standing alone: neighbor in support of neighbor, family member in support of family member, communities in support of businesses and businesses in support of community.

    Right now, we are in fact, finding togetherness even when alone.

    I love the Queen’s speech because it recalled an earlier time when people were expected to use their self-discipline to reach a collective goal or to overcome a hardship. Back then we recognized the importance of our interdependence. Our survival depended on it.

    My mother-in-law was a Londoner who came of age during WWII. There was no ego in doing what had to be done but there was pride in the doing.

    She, as did many people of her generation, found herself in the thick of the unspeakable. Doing what she could to assist or survive.

    For them, it was bombs or persecution. The enemy was quite loud and visible. For us, it is more silent and at times illusive, but we do know what it is.

    We need to be sure that we use our wits, think of each other as well as ourselves, find the light at the end of the tunnel and, like the people of an earlier generation, never give up hope.

    In short, we must build the muscles we need to thrive in an ever-changing world. This means not becoming our own enemy. Not submitting to apocalyptic thinking.

    It is we who will decide what our world will look like going forward. It is we who will decide what kind of family, community, country we want to participate in.

    While for a time we will be physically alone, we have the ability like never before to maintain connection and to make these decisions together.

    It’s not that these ideas or ideals related to our collective power are new. But what is being highlighted now is that we must use those muscles–our collective strength–wholeheartedly and differently.

    It can be as simple as having a good attitude rather than one of complaint. Taking our fears and turning them into courage to face another minute, hour, day, in uncertain and, at times, life threatening circumstances.

    Now is the time to draw on the strength that has always been there, ready and waiting to be called into action.

    Our creativity–our ability to think outside the box–will keep us focused on doing the best we can to make sure our businesses, jobs and relationships thrive. And choosing heart-opening ways to solve differences will help us succeed.

    It will all make us more productive and stronger when this crisis is over.

    We are seeing now that we have a readiness to do things differently and the capacity required for creating new solutions. There is always an answer when we believe in ourselves and in our collaborators.

    In fact, belief in self and in our family members, friends, fellow workers and communities has always been the exact ingredients needed for accomplishing our most treasured dreams.

    The Queen was correct: this virus and the weaknesses it has created or exposed, such as leadership, the economy, the environment and more, will be fixed globally. But only if we understand the lesson we’re being presented with; only if we come to truly understand and embrace working together.

    This was only the fifth time in her 68-year reign that the Queen addressed her nation other than at Christmas. She reminded us that we are made of stronger stuff.

    Let’s take heed. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we can get to it–but only together.


    Source and to purchase:  Coronavirus Collective: Messages of Love, Light and Hope
    by Jeffrey Holst, JIllian Sidoti, et al. | May 2, 2020

    Please check out the other authors and topics on Amazon.

    100% of the proceeds will be donated to a selection of charitable organizations that together are helping to feed the hungry, provide fresh water to the impoverished, protect the innocent from the devastating effects of human trafficking, and spread their message of hope and light to the world.