Survivor 2 Warrior: Part 3


Happy 4th of July, Everyone!

I know today is tough for a lot of people and as the day goes on it’ll get tougher. I’m living proof that yes, you can get your life back, start feeling normal and amazing. Relationships can get better, stronger, and the journey can be without being controlled by the triggers, hooks, pain, frustration, and anger (see attached info-graphic below).

Keep your questions and comments coming – I’m totally jazzed at the excitement and outreach of people connecting; completely honored and blessed to serve everyone – post your comments and questions at the end of this video, blog, twitter feed and again, I’ll be answering all questions in the next email and video and sharing with everyone – thanks a bunch!

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Practical Mindfulness Tips for a Happy Thanksgiving!

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The holidays.  Just the thought brings up a lot of feelings and emotions. As I write this post, I’m thinking about the person and people who are getting ready for today’s family gathering.  You know, the big family Thanksgiving feast that offers more than just food.  It’s the “dance” of relationships, interactions, the memories of past that haunt, and even can plague a person’s mind.  Yup. I’m thinking of you.  Maybe you’re already experiencing stress just thinking of today’s family gathering which is hours away.  Will sister Sue tease you about your weight/job/etc., or will Uncle Joe make “that” comment which causes your stomach to cramp because his comments are so incompatible with your values and beliefs…but that’s Uncle Joe, right?

Some people say these types of family dynamics are what makes family – family.  I disagree.  These types of dynamics lack responsibility, accountability, and perpetuate a continuation of inherited patterns of dysfunction all which lead to stress and unhappiness.

So, what can we do?  How can people prepare for today’s family gathering and still have a Happy Thanksgiving?

Some practical mindfulness (that means real-time awareness…stuff you can use/do anywhere, anytime…no need to “schedule” to breathe..btw, you’re breathing right now) tips for a Happy Thanksgiving.

1. Be Mindful – Being mindful begins with being aware; knowing your hooks and triggers (aka buttons pushed – what are they? Who knows them?  Who’s really good at pushing them?). Also, be 100% responsible for you and make the best decisions for yourself. Know that the word “best” varies from person to person and here I’m talking to you, not mom, dad, Sue, Uncle Joe – but you.  Being mindful starts with the self; meaning yourself.  It’s internal and then extended outwardly.  So, be mindful, 100% responsible for your thoughts/actions, and make the best decisions for yourself.

2. Decisions – Decisions, decisions, decisions. How do we make the right decision? What if we make the wrong decision? First, not making a decision is really making a decision; it’s a decision of denial. So, make a decision; any decision…just make one. Secondly, fear is our worst enemy.  Fear causes people to worry and paralyzes people into an infinite loop of “what if” and “should.” Find comfort in realizing that making a decision is a first step in being responsible – which is one of the best gifts to yourself and your family.  Arm yourself with making a commitment to yourself before the family gathering. Yes, a commitment to yourself.  For example, how much time are you willing stay at the event – 3 hours, 4 hours?  Make a commitment, set a limit, and stick to it! The sticking to it is a huge part of the decision of a commitment to yourself. Lastly, prepare for decisions during the event – decide now (not when you get there) how you want to respond to Sister Sue and Uncle Joe. Keep in mind that a response does not necessarily mean a verbal response, what it means is what do you want to do and how do you want to behave in situations that can for example push your buttons.  Know now.  Prepare now. Do then.

3. Choices – Choices come in two basic forms: Negative and Positive. For family gatherings, negative choices would include doing the dance with Uncle Joe and Sister Sue by returning the fuel and pushing their buttons, or participating in gossip and drama.  Engaging in these types of choices is fairly obvious as they’ll often be stressful, draining, and toxic.  On the other hand, positive choices such as hanging out with people who you truly enjoy their company and playing with the kids are uplifting and reduce stress.

4. Happiness – Isn’t this what we are try to achieve, feel, and be when getting together with family; especially during Thanksgiving? While gratitude brings joy and thankfulness brings appreciation, we often need to remind ourselves – to be mindful –  to be aware – and to allow ourselves (yes, allow ourselves) to be happy. We can do this by reflecting on what we are grateful for, who we are thankful for in our lives, and by counting our blessings.  We all have blessings. Be mindful, aware, thankful, and grateful for those blessings.  These will lead to joy and happiness!

Thank you for reading my blog.  Thank you for allowing me to serve you.  I’m humbled to do this work and grateful for the many people who’ve shared what this work had done for them.  Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! Share your comments, postings, let me know how this worked for you!

Mindfulness, Parenting, and Rewards: What We Can Learn from Young George Washington

In today’s world, it seems like everyone gets a reward.  Kids get rewarded for just showing up.  Heck, attend any kid’s birthday party and even the guests receive a gift.  I’ve done this myself…those outrageous goodie bags – when did that start, anyhow?

Back to rewards. As parents, what do we reward?  Do we reward our kids being honest or for telling a lie?  When asking kids a question, and they tell us the truth, what’s our reaction and response? Do we yell and scold them for telling the truth or encourage kids to lie just so they don’t get into trouble?

When kids are scolded and criticized for telling the truth they are more than likely to tell a lie the next time.  Why?  Because if kids aren’t caught telling a lie, then there’s 50/50 chance of not being scolded and criticized. Not getting caught resulting in not getting scolded, criticized, and “in trouble” is worth the risk.

What are the parental messages to a child?  They are mixed.  Tell the truth and get punished. OR tell a lie and get away with it…that means no punishment.  However, tell a lie and get caught telling a lie, and then get punished.  These last two support a 50/50 chance of not getting punished.

When you were a child, which did you do? What did your parents reward? What did we learn from our parents?  If you were your kid, what would you do…tell  a lie or be honest? (now be  honest).

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Let’s look at this another way.  A mindful way.  Using practical mindfulness.  What can we learn about rewards and mindful parenting from President George Washington? Plenty!  What would happen if a parent was mindful about rewards….being in the present moment, as things unfold, aware of their reactions, responses, rewards…and yes, what they’re teaching their kids (and future generations too).  What if we were mindful about what to rewarded…and decided to reward a child for telling the truth?  This does not mean accept what was done or what’s being inquired as okay, but rather reward for telling the truth and be mindful of how we communicate and share with our child in that very moment.

Let’s learn from good ole’ George Washington who when asked by his father if he chopped down the cherry tree replied, “Father, I cannot tell a lie. I did cut it with my little hatchet.” Did George’s father yell or scorn at little George?  No, he did not.  Instead, (as legend says) George’s father opened his arms, hugged, and held George saying, “My son, that you should not be afraid to tell the truth is more to me than a thousand trees!” George Washington’s father was angry about his prized tree being chopped down but rewarded George for telling the truth. George told the truth and got rewarded.  George’s dad responded mindfully; he responded to what was important to him and also taught young George a lesson about courage, honesty, bravery, compassion, relationships, and love.

If we were in George’s dad’s shoes….what would we have done?  What have we done?  What do we and have we taught our children about rewards?  About honesty?

Communicating and sharing dissatisfaction of an event can be done using practical mindfulness with our word choices, awareness of tone and inflection, facial expressions, and body language. In as much, at the same time a parent can be mindful and be like George’s father and reward their child for telling the truth, being brave and having courage to tell the truth, and feeling safe to tell the truth.

So, the next time your child does something and you ask them, “Did you do this?” be mindful of what you are supporting to reward: honesty or a lie?  Do you open your arms and praise for honesty or scorn with criticism and punishment?

Be aware that these suggestions will be new for you and your kids to experience.  Give them a try.  See what happens.  Their reaction and response might be very telling, surprising, and open up an entire new way that the family can relate to rewards.

We welcome your comments – share with us your thoughts and if you’ve tried our practical mindfulness tips designed to use anywhere, anytime, anyplace.