There are benefits of expressing gratitude as a daily practice. Specifically, scientists have been able to verify that practicing gratitude on a daily basis positively impacts well-being and has a lasting effect.
How can you use gratitude to live a brighter life?
Do you write in a journal? Whether you own a journal or not, we want you to write a note of gratitude to yourselves: “What is it that you are most grateful for about yourself?” Once you’ve written this out, what feelings come up for you? Did you find it harder to write one for yourself, as oppose to writing one for someone else?
If you are feeling a bit bold today, why don’t you pick up your smart phone right now and text a message to someone you have NOT been in touch for in awhile, and tell them something you are grateful for about THEM. We’d love to hear the response you get from them, AND how it made you feel?
If you are needing more tools to help get you motivated to live a brighter life, please let us help you. Our Live A Brighter Life online workshop series is completely FREE, and it can be anonymous if you need to attend privately. It’s worth every minute! Isn’t it time to THRIVE is life, and not just SURVIVE?
Join us this summer for our 6-week Live A Brighter Life Online weekly workshop series starting Thursday, June 30th. It’s that easy. Click here for all of the details and a way to sign up.
We will feel shame in our bodies before our conscious minds do.
In our Live A Brighter Life curriculum we teach a workshop called, “Letting Go.” It’s purpose is to teach you tools about letting go of shame, guilt, humiliation, and embarrassment. But first, we need to teach you how to recognize shame. One way to do this is using our bodies to identify shame.
If we recognize our physical responses, we can begin to identify and release our feelings, and limit the powerlessness that we feel when we are ashamed. In other words, recognizing shame is an important tool for regaining our power.
How do you experience shame?
Answer these questions:
I physically feel shame in/on my ___________________________.
It feels like_____________________________________________.
I know I’m ashamed when I feel___________________________.
If I could taste shame, it would taste like ____________________.
If I could smell shame, it would smell like____________________.
If I could touch shame, it would feel like_____________________.
Think about some physical reactions, which may include:
Wave of heat in the faces and chest
For most of us, recognizing and understanding our shame triggers is the same as revealing our vulnerabilities. We see our vulnerabilities as a weakness. Ironically, not acknowledging our vulnerabilities makes us weak and more vulnerable.
By denying your vulnerability you are also denying yourself compassion, protection, and the very ability to overcome
When someone is acknowledging her vulnerability, she is courageous, not weak.
Our Live A Brighter Life online workshop series is completely FREE, and it can be anonymous if you need to attend privately. It’s worth every minute! Isn’t it time to THRIVE is life, and not just SURVIVE?
Join us this summer for our 6-week Live A Brighter Life Online weekly workshop series starting Thursday, June 30th. It’s that easy. Click here for all of the details and a way to sign up.
I do not recall exactly when I discovered Rum Raisin Ice Cream. I think it was when I was living in New Jersey as a new bride and my husband brought it home from the store. I believe he said, “Taste this,” and he fed me a spoon of this nectar and I must have screamed and yelped, because he looked scared! (My brand of extroversion tends to be loud. I am often over the top in my enthusiasm and I tend to scare people).
So all these years of “sweet married life” later, my hubby will bring me rum raisin ice cream and I still squeal! Often times if we happen upon an ice cream store, he will ask for it on my behalf, while I am reading the favors on the wall.
I LOVE rum raisin ice cream. I also love RUM CAKE! I grew up on rum cake in Trinidad and whenever I think of the glorious cakes my mom used to make, I smile. My brother makes a great rum cake and this is what he gives me for Christmas every year.
Imagine MY absolute delight when I walked into “Neuhaus Company” the other day and saw that they had RUM CAKE ICE CREAM! (Yep! I squealed, in the store, on Madison Avenue, in Manhattan!). My extroversion is always ready to show its enthusiasm.
I was thinking… “Maybe it has raisins it in also!” So I asked for a taste. The sweet young man took a plastic spoon, smiled at me, reached into the appropriate bin and scooped out a HUGE taste. He ceremoniously reached over the tall counter and gave me the spoon. My eyes never left the bulging scoop of ice team balancing precariously on the edge of the tiny spoon. I carefully took it from his fingers and put it in my mouth as I closed my eyes….
And I ran to the trash and spat it out!
It was awful.
I did not like Rum Cake Ice cream at all!
I did not like it on a spoon. I would not like it on the moon.
I cannot tell you how much I disliked that ice cream.
I thanked the young man and bought some chocolates, which I loved, and ate one to get the taste of the rum Cake ice cream out of my mouth. Then as I walked down Madison into the cold and blustery day, I knew I had the makings of a blog post.
So here goes …..
Let us suppose that you meet a great looking guy and he is everything you wished for, and he seems to feel the same way about you. He made you feel safe, secure, protected, loved and cherished. You were all warm and fuzzy inside as you pondered a life with this man.
Then one day, as you two are having a lovely day, out of the clear BLUE …. He hits you, or verbally berates you, and you are stunned!
You look at him and he seems the same, his features are the same, his voice sounds the same but the flavor of human coming out of his mouth is horrible, distasteful and nasty, and you need to escape.
Let’s say you DO leave. You were strong enough to leave. A few days pass and he calls to apologize and gives some very sound reason for his nasty behavior, and you go back to him.
That is like me going back to the trash and picking up that nasty rum cake ice cream and eating it because I have told myself that I like rum cake, AND I love rum raisin ice cream ….. So I SHOULD love RUM CAKE ice cream. I force myself to swallow that distasteful ice cream because of some strange reasoning that I make up in my head.
Let me be clear. I know that a person is more important than ice cream. I also know that YOU are too special and lovely to accept nasty behaviors from ANY person. If you were abused as a child and you think that love looks like abuse, think again.
WATCH my TEDxTalk here:
As an adult you have the power to set boundaries that you could not set as a child.
Set your boundaries. They will protect you. When you have clear and clean boundaries, you will know in a flash what is and is not good for you. Try it.
Love and light.
(P.S. Did you like my TEDxTalk? Please share it with your friends and family. Let’s start spreading the word to live in peace within our four walls at home. http://bit.ly/1SMK1NZ)
Recently, I was attending a meeting with some pretty influential folks. I was only a guest and I was so happy to be included.
During the course of the meeting as the participants went around the table offering solutions to the issues at hand, I noticed there was one woman who absolutely refused to answer questions directly. She giggled and acted coy (dipping her chin and batting her eyes), and would not give a straight answer to some very simple questions.
The questions were as simple as, “Do you want lunch?” She would dip her head and make a surprise face as if to say, “Who me, want lunch?…. giggle, giggle!” And, still would not say “Yes” or “No.” The person asking the questions was getting quite frustrated with the way it was going.
This behavior really bothered me and I had to think long and hard about why I was so bothered.
Everyone has their own way of decision-making. Some people need lots of thinking time while others can jump right in. This was not a meeting that required thinking time. It really was a quick get together of many partners to decide how an event would go. It really was a series of yes and no questions that needed to be asked and answered so that people could know what to expect and how to prepare.
I decided I was frustrated because the woman who was being indecisive was holding up all the rest of us. Everyone was staring at her for ONE simple answer.
The more people stared, the more coy she became.
She did not stand in her power. She acted like she had no power, or even like she never heard of the word power. She had no agency. She wanted others to read her mind, or infer from her behaviors what her response would be.
It was really frustrating.
The next time you are involved with a group trying to decide something, ask yourself if you are standing in your power.
Are you bringing all the parts of yourself to the meeting?
Are you there to make it easy for your other team members or to complicate things? Are you holding back information that is crucial to the team for one reason or another?
This meeting is still fresh in my mind and I can still feel the frustration. It was just ONE person acting like this who was holding up the whole show.
Don’t be “that” person.
Be the person who wants to be part of an effective team. Life is so much better with people who show up to make things easier and smoother. We have enough obstacles in our lives that we cannot control, so let us control the way we behave, and show up to participate in helpful ways.
Indrani recently posted a story on her Facebook page that launched an interesting conversation and dialog about what Indrani witnessed between a mother and her little girl at the airport. Here is the story:
At the Gate at LaGuardia.
“A little girl 7 or 8 is trying to get her moms attention. The mother is SO into her phone and she rebuffs the child at every turn.
The child tries to kiss her arm and the mom moves the arm.
The child squirms and asks a question… the woman barks,‘stop squirming!’… never looking up from the phone.
The grandma says, ‘honey don’t bother your mom.’
The girl looks really sad.
I look at the girl and I lean down so I can make eye contact and say, ‘hey I have some coloring pages and I am going to let you tear a few out, and I will give you some of my color pencils, too.’
The mom looks up. She says, ‘oh, she has coloring.’
I ignore the mom. I am focused on the child.
I give her my coloring book and tell her to tear as many as she wants out.
I show her the pencils and she shows me hers.
She starts to tear out the pages she likes, and the mom says, ‘Be careful.’
I say, ‘It’s only paper, if it tears get another.’
Now the mom is off the phone and talking to the kid. All I did was break the damn ‘phone trance.’
Here is some of the dialog that transpired on Indrani’s post:
Facebook friend: “It can be helpful. It’s also good to remember that sometimes, because of the way our culture has broken down, the mom may be at the end of 3 days of overwhelm, of nothing but kid, and is just needing a few minutes to zone out. She may also be trying to communicate with someone on the other end of their journey. Or…
I’ve stopped judging parents when I see them in a few moments of “imperfect parenting” because, hey, we don’t know the background.”
Facebook friend: “As Mark mentions, judging may be off-the-mark, however you certainly offered love in the form of attention, paper & pencils. Bravo, Indrani. You illuminate our world with examples of love in action.”
Facebook friend: “Fair point, Mark. But I’d hope a parent with a child that age would have raised the child so that a simple, “Honey, I need a couple minutes to do this” would suffice with a suggestion to do something in the kid’s travel pack of activities. The mom moving her arm really struck me when I read that. I’m trying to think of how I would have internalized that when I was that age, if my mother did that to me. Sometimes, seemingly innocuous in-the-moment gestures have long-lasting impacts.”
Facebook friend: “I agree that it’s important to not judge totally on what you see. Some kids crave attention when mom is on the phone- even if they have discussed it ahead of time, they can be a pest. It is not always easy to be a perfect parent- I remember when I used to judge screaming kids in grocery stores- until I had my own. But good for you for helping at that moment.”
Facebook friend: “Thank you for modeling a positive focus on the child Indrani.
Because I’ve seen these kinds of posts from you before, it helped me shift from judging a mother to “how can I add something positive for her child?” when I saw a frustrated mom in an imperfect parenting moment.
The time came when the girl was fingering the silver chain on my purse, which was sitting on the table in a coffee shop. I’d noticed she had sparkly silver shoes on, and said “Oh I really like your shoes! And they match my purse!” She got a big smile and I felt I’d given her a positive boost.
As others have said, we don’t know the background and how many meltdowns that woman may have handled beautifully in the last 24 hours. Or that maybe she was recovering from the flu. Or has a sick elderly parent. Or has worked 60 hours that week.”
There are more comments, so if you’re interested in the entire dialog, click on this link:http://bit.ly/236GVvx
Are you a parent of small children? Or have you witnessed a parent do this with their child? What are your thoughts on the self-care of parents, and how we can improve our relationship with our young children in this new age of technology?
Indrani wrote the blog below. While you’re reading her story, think about how you are attempting to smile through all of the chaos going on in the world right now. Are you speaking up when you hear the hatred, discrimination, and abuse that is happening in presidential campaign right now? Do you have a trusted person to confide in … someone who is aligned with your values and understands your sorrow over the latest terrorist bombing in Brussels?
In the United States, we have entered into an era of transformation, divisiveness, and uncertainty. The intense energy that is surrounding us in our country is affecting us every day. We are affected by what we see and read from our friends on Facebook and social media. We are overhearing conversations about politics…. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hilary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders in the restaurants, grocery stores, and parties. We are seeing people suffer from terrorists’ bombings on CNN.
What is making your heart ache about our world? Are you smiling through it? Indrani talks about how you can speak your truth, cry if you need to, and that being taught to smile through pain is a bunch of crap!
Here is Indrani ….
“There is a song by Nat King Cole that says, “Smile though your heart is aching.” While I love the song, I no longer believe the message.
I think we need to delve into why our heart is breaking and allow a cry if that’s what’s needed and then smile as we plan a strategy to live more fully and to get away from negatively charged people and situations.
I believe that we had been sold a bunch of crap when we were being taught to smile through pain even torment.
It is this cultural brainwashing of not speaking up when things are bad or trying to keep up appearances that nothing is wrong, that gets us into lots of emotional quagmires.
We need to have trusted people in whom we can confide.
We need to tell our stories to safe people and we need to hear ourselves speak the pain out loud. Not in a way that looks like verbal vomit, but in a way that looks like true release.
Often times, just by allowing ourselves to speak the pain can ease the strangle hold that the pain seems to have.
We must, however, be careful with whom we offer our vulnerabilities. Showing someone how vulnerable you are is a gift to them and to you. You need to be sure that people can respect the gift you give.
I hope you can find true confidants and can be a true confidant to someone in need.”
Love and light,
What are you doing to speak your truth? How are you managing your heartache these days? We’d love to hear some stories from all of you. Maybe your story can help others. Share your story below, or on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/indranislight/. You can also Tweet Indrani at @indranis_light.
Some of you are wondering what our Caregiver Project is all about. Well, let’s start by defining the word, “Caregiver.” There are a few variations of the definition, but this is the one that best fits our mission:
“Relatives, friends, or professionals who provide a wide range of paid, or unpaid care to dependent relatives, friends and/or people needing physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual support. Caregiving is the action of providing care to these individuals.”
Caregiving can include:
Emotional and social support (e.g. visiting, transportation, talking about emotions)
Finding and accessing services (e.g. housing, medical supports)
Behavioral support (e.g. communicating effectively, managing challenging behaviors)
Financial help (e.g. financial support, managing finances)
Practical assistance with basic activities of daily living (e.g. housekeeping, shopping, meal preparation)
Personal care (e.g. help with monitoring medication, bathing)
Physical help (e.g. assistance with movement, supervision, direct medical care)
Overarching all of these activities, caregiving is the assumption of responsibility for providing care, along with the concern, worry and emotional involvement this entails.
Why is ILF involved with the Caregivers at women’s shelters?
Early last year, the founder of ILF, Indrani Goradia, began talking with the staff of shelter facilities who were caring for victims of violence. They began sharing their concerns for the high turnover rate of staff within their organizations, and the burnout that naturally happens due to the nature of this work.
Indrani quickly went into action. She knew if we were losing these passionate people who work with victims of violence, we could lose the shelters, or cut the number of women, men, and children who need be housed. Now, how could ILF help? We can train and educate the shelter staff (the Caregivers) how to keep from burning out.
What we teach the Caregivers?
Our trainers are teaching the caregivers about different tools they can use for self-care, and lead a more balanced life.
We educate caregivers on how to recognize their own triggers of shame, guilt, and humiliation that effect their work and personal lives.
We help them improve their personal boundaries, and how to say “No” to things that compromise their well-being.
And we remind them that they matter, that they are loved, and that they are “seen,” for the work they do.
Where can we teach the Caregiver Project?
We can send our trainers to anywhere in the United States, and some areas of Canada.
We teach in women’s shelters and organizations that directly have contact with victims of violence.
We are currently training ILF trainers all over the world to help us reach the caregivers in other countries.
How much does the training cost?
We offer the Caregiver Training at NO COST to the shelter or organization. We do, however, rely on donations to fund the 2-day training class. The training requires two certified ILF trainers, and the cost for travel, transportation, food, supplies, and pay for the entire training is approximately $5,000.00.
How can you help us with the Caregiver Project?
You can SPREAD THE WORD! Use social media, email, or mention us at a party or event. (facebook.com/indranislight Twitter: @indranis_light)
You can BECOME AN ILF TRAINER! We will be offering the Train-the-Trainer Course every year to certify trainers to teach our ILF curriculum to their own communities and shelters.
You can DONATE! Here is where you can donate ANY AMOUNT to help our Caregiver Project, or any other area of our mission to end domestic violence.
We need your feedback.
What do you think of the project?
Is this something you would love to support?
How would you like to support us?
What more could we do?
If you have already supported our mission in any way, we want to extend our deepest gratitude. If you would like to do more, or maybe you haven’t taken the step to support us yet, please reach out to our Director of Education and Training, Amy Dier, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will be more than happy to talk with you about your options.
The look of love
The look of fear
The look of contempt
Those looks you hate?
It may not be their fault.
It may be because of the choices you made, the choices WE made as parents of these incredible children we have been given.
As a child, sustaining repeated and persistent abuse, I had a significant thought…
Why did you have me?
This took many other word forms such as:
Why did you have a child?
Why did you have another child?
I am not blaming the way children turn out on their caregivers; I am reminding caregivers to make better choices so that we can say that we tried our very best when our children have the “looks” that are “cringeworthy.”
In Part I of this blog series, I left off with how Indrani Goradia, and the work of Brené Brown changed my life and launched me into the world as an activist. Who knew I could be an activist? Did I really know what it meant to be an “activist.” So first, let’s define the word, “activist.”
An activist is a person who campaigns for some kind of social change. When you participate in a march protesting the closing of a neighborhood library, you’re an activist. Someone who’s actively involved in a protest or a political or social cause can be called an activist.
I don’t know about you, but this is a strong word for me that holds a lot of power and responsibility in the world. I was scared and felt vulnerable to even admit that this word was calling me. Who am I to be an activist? What can Ioffer the world that can help hundreds, thousands, or even millions of women around the globe. Or, who am I, to help just ONE woman? Well, here are the answers to my questions…. I am worthy, I am loved, and I matter.
Do something for me right now. It’s a very quick exercise. Say out loud, “I am worthy, I am loved, and I matter.”
What feeling, or feelings came up for you when you said those words? I can share with you that I was barely able to get those words out of my mouth, and I definitely felt uncomfortable, and incapable of loving myself. I asked myself, “Where in the hell did this come from?” I love people, I love to serve, I love to take care of others, so why didn’t I give a damn about myself?
This is where Indrani Goradia entered my life in September of 2013. I was at Andrea J. Lee’s, Wealthy Thought Leader Conference in Baltimore, MD ….. and Indrani appeared on the big screen with a personal video message for all of us who were seeking to help end gender based violence. Now, due to my training and experience as a police officer, it was difficult to get me physically or emotionally excited about things. I was good at keeping my feelings hidden, and I certainly didn’t cry unless I absolutely had to. But when I saw Indrani’s face, heard the passion in her voice, and listened to the “call to action,” my heart started to beat rapidly …. I had that fluttering feeling in my chest, and my hands started to sweat. I tried to hold back the tears welling up in my eyes, but they began to stream down my cheeks. It was then I knew Indrani’s Light Foundation was in my future … I just didn’t know when, or how.
Fast forwarding to 2014, I decided to listen to my inner warrior and become involved with ILF. I signed up and participated in the Live-A-Brighter-Life teleconference class that spring. I was so impacted by the curriculum that I was the first person to sign up for the 2014 Train-the-Trainer Course in Austin, TX. I became a certified ILF Trainer, and started teaching the workshops to my own community in Portland, OR.
In the Live-A-Brighter-Life curriculum, Indrani includes the work of Dr. Brené Brown. This is where everything shifted for me around my guilt, humiliation, and embarrassment with being a rape survivor, a victim of discrimination, and my bankruptcy. THERE it was all along! “SHAME.” I realized before I could be an activist to end violence against women in the world, I had to practice the four elements of shame resilience that Indrani teaches in her Live-A-Brighter-Life workshop. Brené Brown tells us we need to:
Recognize our shame and understand its triggers
Practice critical awareness
Reach out and connect with people, and own your story
And speak about your shame, while asking people what you need from them
Are you asking yourself how YOU can start practicing these things, and begin the journey of healing? Well maybe the “Readers Digest” version of my life story can help you put a plan together and start your work as an activist for women.
Part 3 of this guest blog series is on its way. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear from you and the feelings that came up for you while you were reading this blog. There is no shame or judgment here. You can begin your journey of healing right now.
Welcome to Episode #21 of the Live a Brighter Life Podcast!
In this episode of the Live a Brighter Life Podcast, Indrani is featured as the 2015 Keynote speaker for Population Services International’s “Make It Stop” Campaign in Trinidad. She was accompanied by Actress/Singer, Mandy Moore, as they promoted a groundbreaking campaign to stop violence against women.
In this podcast, Indrani speaks about:
How we can morph our stories into something that will move the world to a better place.
The POWER of one.
How Indrani did not realize she had been abused as a child until she had her own child.
Violence against women is a pandemic, and does NOT discriminate.
How does this podcast resonate with you? Are you ready to help us END domestic violence? Remember the POWER of ONE!
Please share on Twitter @Indranis_light #MakeItStop #brightlife
Donate to Indrani’s Light Foundation
Your donation will be used towards eradicating gender violence, training community leaders and sharing behaviour-change tools with people who are ready to leave violence behind and create a brighter, more peaceful world.