Can I tell you a secret?
Well, after I tell you, it’s no longer a secret! Here it is…I AM SICK of saying the same thing.
The ONLY thing that remains crucial to the health and welfare of the world and that is END VIOLENCE to WOMEN and GIRLS.Are you sick and tired of reading these messages from me? I would expect that you are. It’s Ok..I know you don’t mean you are sick and tired of me as a person.
If you are reading this, you probably like me. Know that I am also sick and tired of asking people to dissect their lives and find the ways where the violence is silent and insipid.
What areas? Here are just a few…Telling your daughter to lose weight because no boys will like her. Telling your self boys will be boys.Allowing your spouse to disrespect you.Allowing yourself to accept disrespect. Making excuses for religious institutions to treat women as second class citizens. Repeating lies like “ she must have been asking for it, look at how she was dressed” when you see or read about sexual and physical violence.
I could go on and on, but you are smart enough to get the idea. Take an action to end violence, please.
I am very fortunate to belong to a community of practitioners called the Daring Way™.
I got here the hard way, by doing the classes from Dr. Brene Brown and taking tests and following their rules and guidelines.
It was a lot of work and I loved every step of the way.
I was very happy to participate in a research survey that the community sent out a while ago and decided that I should do my part to further along the research that is the foundation of her amazing books and teachings.
So I logged in a began.
It was long, I was getting a little tired of it and considered not finishing but then something about the answers that I was giving really hit me hard.
A lot of the questions were about my feelings of worth and whether I felt my life was going anywhere and also, did I frequently compare myself to others?
Half way through the survey it occurred to me that my answers to statements like “I do not like myself” or like “when I think of my accomplishments I feel I have done less than others” ( I did not pull these from the survey, they simply reflect the sentiments from the survey), I found myself answering almost never.
What did this mean?
Simply put, it means this:
I liked myself.
I feel accomplished by any ones standards.
This occurred to me about half way through the survey THEN I was pumped to complete it.
I even told myself to BE HONEST, that Brene wanted honesty so I reread the stuff I had answered and carefully answered the rest…
And what do you know?!
I actually like myself and I actually feel good about what I am doing and feel good about being able to laugh at my mistakes and do not allow others to determine what I think of myself.
This is NOT at all reflective of how I felt just 10 years ago.
As recently as 2005, I was still comparing myself to others, beating myself up for not being up to par or not as good as almost everyone else in the my world. I was not a good enough coach, or writer, or business person, or mother or, or or. The list went one forever.
Also I was always catastrophizing. If one thing went wrong, it meant everything else was going to go wrong. If someone disappointed me, it meant I would be doomed to a lifetime of disappointments.
It was quite exhausting to live this way. I knew no way out.
I put on a great show of being outwardly confident but I was always on the look out for evidence that I was not good enough.
The evidence always came.
It came in the form of people’s words about my life choices (I was a bad mom because I was pursuing a new dream) or in the form of a societal or cultural message
(You are traveling too much. Who takes care of your home? One family member even asked who cooked food for my husband.)
The evidence was ALL around me.
I had to really close my ears and eyes to all the messages I was hearing. All the nay saying that was trying to get into my psyche.
I even had to listen to close friends and family tell me how silly and unrealistic my dream of doing something about ending violence in the world was.
After all, I did not have a degree in psychology, or any experience in the real world. I never worked at a not-for-profit nor had I had a job in the last 25 years!
Yes, they were lined up to tell me the way I was living was not acceptable to them, not at all.
I had to be deaf and blind to those voices all around me and to try to tune into the voices within my own heart.
The inner KNOWINGS that I wanted to do more, be more than a housewife (I had done that for 20 years) and I wanted to create change in my world.
I saw that survey as a way to go back into my past and to tell the younger me that she would be fine!
I gave her examples of the questions that would have brought her to tears just a few years before, those same questions that now brought a huge smile to her face, warmth to her heart and ONE single sweet tear to her eye.
The tear of clarity.
The tear that acted like a magnifying glass through which she saw herself in all of the accomplishments and all the experiences and all the loving people surrounding her.
I sent my younger self blessings and thanks for not ever giving up and always finding ways to burn off the fog of unworthiness and shame.
Thank you Dr. Brene Brown. You may still be collecting your data, but you have already shown me my results.
I was visiting a very close relative a while back and the conversation turned to a favorite brand of candle she loves. I am always aware to bring some of those candles for her. She is in the winter of her life and a candle makes her happy.
The last time I brought candles, I had intentionally brought more than she could use in 8 months. I remember being in the store and purposefully filling the basket with more than I had ever purchased.
So, during my visit, as she is filling me in on the stories of her life, she says in a sheepish whisper “you forgot to bring more candles.”
I was quite shocked and thought for a few seconds that I had not sent the full compliment of the candles I had bought just a few months ago.
“You are out?” I asked.
She said, “Almost.”
I asked, “How many do you have?”
“A few.” she said.
I have history with this person and her inability to say the truth without having to twist it to serve her purpose.
“Few” is not a number.
I pressed, “How many do you have?”
She looked very uncomfortable and squirmed in her chair and said, “One big bottle and eight small ones.”
My first instinct was to lash out and say, “Why are you so greedy?!”
I did not.
Instead, I got up, went to the kitchen to get a glass of COLD water to calm down and then I went back to sit next to her.
I said, “I want to ask you a philosophical question.”
She asked what that word meant. I explained. She seemed to understand.
I began to ask her how she felt when she though she did not have enough candles for her immediate needs.
She answered as best she could and after a few more questions, she said
“I feel afraid that I don’t have enough.”
Then I explained the concept of scarcity and abundance. It took me about twenty minutes before she understood. I was not rushing her, I was not rushing myself. I had actually already accepted that she may not get it and that would have to be ok.
She did understand the concept. Then I said, “How might you feel if you BELIEVED that you had enough candles for your immediate needs?”
She said, “Well, if I use them all what about the rest of my life?”
I asked her “How long are you going to live?”
She said she did not know.
I said, “None of us know, we all just like to pretend that we do!”
So again, I asked about her how she would feel if she believed she had enough.
She said, “I would feel comfortable.”
I asked her to choose the believe in “enough and abundance” instead of “not enough and scarcity.”
She asked if I thought it would be wasting money.
I said, “I think it’s a waste of money to buy more stuff for you to STORE, instead of you using the STORES of stuff you already have. I could use that money for things that are immediately necessary instead of using it for stuff you already have.”
I do not know if she got the concept, I felt like I had done a good job of explaining and using an example with which she was familiar.
My question of you is this…
Do you get this concept?
Whether it’s as simple as candles or food or money?
Do you know when you have enough?
I invite you to look to your own life for your areas of not ENOUGHNESS!
If you are human, there will be many.
Take just ONE small area and do some inquiry around it.
Ask a friend to help you with the inquiry.
Ask a friend who LIVES in the abundant philosophy. You will know which one, they will be the ones who are happy and joyful and always ready to give to others.
Let me know how this goes for you in the comments below.
I started out the week with some disappointments, then got some great news and then some greater news, then was able to witness the pain of another while holding space for them.
And all of a sudden I realized that through all the ups and downs I had lost my roots.
I allowed myself to get SWEPT away by whatever news was floating around me.
I forgot that I was in charge of MY emotional health.
It was quite a shock to me, because I have been more rooted than not these past few years. Took my rooting for granted. I forgot that I had to continuously strengthen the roots for them to stay strong.
It is like lifting weights and when you stop, the muscles get lazy and you have to start all over again.
I forgot to devote more time to meditation and to yoga and to silence.
I have been ON for weeks in a row and forgot that I needed time away from everything.
I became intoxicated with the numbers on my pedometer and started to believe that the numbers mean more than numbers.
The result was that in a matter of a few weeks I was thrown from emotional pillar to crushing post and I have the bruises to show.
I realized that I was out of alignment.
This misalignment was not a spinal condition, it was a spiritual condition.
The only course of action was to STOP and BE in the moment.
I dug out one of my favorite spiritual reads, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
I began to devote time to inner inquiry and intuitive push-ups.
I began to ALIGN myself with my values again.
I offer you the simple formula below to help you to remember how to regain Alignment.
ALIGN A… Always L…lean into your I…intuitive G…growth N…NO to giving your power away.
You can begin to ask yourself what it means to give your power away.
You can give it away in many ways.
You can believe that other people must do certain things to make you happy.
They must have lunch or dinner with you.
They must call you every other day or ask you certain questions that show they really care.
If you can come up with a list of people who have affronted you and it brings up a lot of hurt then there is a good chance you have given some power away. They are still controlling your feelings. You must de tangle from their grasp.
When you are in alignment, you can feel hurt without having the hurt bring you to your emotional knees. You can separate from the event in question and begin to recapture all of you.
The pieces that felt hurt and wounded will begin to heal and bloom.
It may take a few moments to begin the process of healing, it is worth the time you will invest.
If you do not choose to heal, you choose to keep hurting.
*Psst.. Did you know you can highlight any sentence in this post to automatically share it via Twitter or Facebook? Go ahead, give it a try!**
A dear friend, Keisha Gallegos compiled this list of strategies for dealing with depression and we want to share it with the world. Please share if you know someone struggling with depression. We hope it helps.
First of all, if you are not functioning well or if it takes an inordinate amount of energy to get even the smallest task accomplished- medication. Be evaluated by a psychiatrist. That’s their specialty.
If you don’t like the first one you see, go see a different one. The first medication you try may not work, I had to try several before I got one that worked well.
In my opinion, untreated depression is much worse than possible side affects from medication. Your body can’t heal when you are depressed. That should tell us how debilitating depression is physically.
Later when you are stabilized, you can consider how long staying on medication is right for you. Sometimes it’s for a few months, maybe a few years, possibly for the rest of your life.
Deal with the shit you have been repressing your entire life. Take it out, look at it, and feel your feelings. The fear of dealing with it is far worse than actually dealing with it, I promise you.
You don’t have to lay on a couch for 40 years contemplating your belly button- that’s ridiculous. Try a large and regular dose of self compassion.
When you are good and sick of your own story, possibly try coaching. Coaching works because it teaches you good mental health hygiene.
Learn what your triggers are. For me, I don’t watch the news- it’s a distorted view of the world- focusing on the negative and magnifying it to astronomical proportions. Our nervous systems are not made to handle the details of every single heinous atrocity committed on every corner of the globe.
I make sure I eat well and sleep enough. I don’t hang out with people that treat me badly or make me doubt my sanity- even if they are family.
I protect my energy like the queen guards the crown jewels and I infuse my life with positivity.
Put together a box where you put in a note of every single thing you remember that makes you happy. When you are depressed, you can’t remember what makes you feel better so have something readily available. Have a happy playlist. Learn to detach from painful thought patterns that create suffering. Practice random acts of kindness, read good news, cuddle with pets, go for a walk, spend time in the sunshine for vitamin D, make yourself go to gatherings where you feel loved.
Don’t retreat. Keep involving yourself in life.
Do things that feed your spirit.
Most of all, treat depression as the serious disorder that it is. Medicate it if you need to and don’t be ashamed of it. You are not weak or ungrateful.
I’ll never forget when I went on medication and I was doing some self shaming about “needing” it. I asked my sister what people did before anti-depressants, and she said, “They drank, Keisha. Take the meds.”
*Psst.. Did you know you can highlight any sentence in this post to automatically share it via Twitter or Facebook? Go ahead, give it a try!**
I have been having some significant issues the past few weeks.
Most of the time I am able to stay in the moment and to stay out of negative thinking and self judgment. However, a few days ago, all my resolve fell apart and I had nothing left.
I could not crawl into a hole and hide. I could not run away from home. I could not stop caring for the people around me.
I had to find a way through a difficult 24-72 hour period.
So I chose to live by the positive psychology of PERMA.
P is for Positive Emotion E is for Engagement R is for Relationship M is for Meaning and Purpose A is for Achievement
These five elements are what make life sweet.
If the details of each day put a little deposit into each of the buckets and you can look at the day and feel good and positive about what you accomplished then you are living with PERMA.
Here is an example:
Let’s say you are facing some significant personal issues and you have no energy to do anything for anyone but you want to do a little something for a few key people and you want to feel great about what you do.
Pick a person who needs a little help and do just a small thing, like maybe giving them some tea or a meal or just a call on the tele.
When you do this small thing you will get Positive Emotion from the deed.
You will be Engaged with the person you love.
You will be building the Relationship with that person.
You will have done something that gives Meaning and Purpose to your life.
You will have Achieved something with and for them.
Stacking up these bits of PERMA during a tough day will make you feel a lot better AND will flood your brain with Positive emotion.
It’s not always easy to find something that fills all the buckets, so just being able to fill 3 or 4 is a great start.
**Psst.. Did you know you can highlight any sentence in this post to automatically share it via Twitter or Facebook? Go ahead, give it a try!**
A few weeks ago I got some bad news. Something that I was looking forward to for more than ONE year got cancelled and just sort of fell apart. I did not receive any real reason.
I FELL apart.
I had to “phone a friend” and I gave myself permission to cry my eyes out.
She held space for me and I let it pour. I had not let myself fall apart like that for years.
After the wave of emotion crested and crashed, I felt better… except that ANGER began to swirl.
The previous pain was replaced by INTENSE rage and I wanted to call the offender all sorts of names and hurl insults … then I saved myself by going to sleep. The good news was that I was able to find sleep and peace whereas before I would have stewed all night and woke up even more angry.
But this time, I woke up refreshed and I took to the streets for my daily walk.
I walked almost 6 miles and I felt great.
I also had some really great conversations with myself on the walk.
There were two wolves in my head, one was righteously mean and the other sweetly compassionate.
Every time the mean wolf would speak, it would list the “ways” I SHOULD act. If I did not act in those ways, the wolf told me that I was a wimp and a push over and so on and so forth!
The other wolf would wait for the first wolf to stop speaking and just whisper something like
“you know that this person is not nasty, you know the person is one of the kindest you know…”
Then the mean wolf would jump back in…
And so it went.
I began to get very confused. What to do? Who to believe?
Then I had a thought!
“Indrani,” I said to myself, “what KIND of person are you? What if this was the last decision you will ever make about this person? Who do YOU want to be like, the mean wolf or the compassionate wolf?”
And just like that I knew what to do.
If you know me, dear reader, you KNOW I choose wolf number TWO, the wolf of Compassion. That is the wolf I choose to feed. I fed it with great thoughts about the person, great memories about the person and I said a silent prayer for the person to be well and safe and happy.
When I got home, I decided on the proper course of action for me. I decided to do the activities by myself. I decided that the decisions of another had to do with them, not me. If I wanted to go somewhere or do something, it was my business.
At my ripe age of 60, I really have NO time for waiting for another to fulfill my desires.
I have no time for regret.
So I offer this lesson to you.
When you are disappointed, as you sometimes will be, don’t allow your pain and your self righteous wolf lead down the path of nasty and revenge.
Try to feed the Wolf of Compassion and free your self from the “expectations” of what others should do for you.
Make YOUR decisions for your happiness.
Decide to be compassionate to yourself, as you offer compassion to the other.
A while ago, while listening to Barack Obama, I heard him describe a relationship (not with Michelle) as one that was solidly transactional and polite.
He knew and understood exactly what kind of relationship that was. The way I understood it was that when things were discussed he did not say things like ” that FEELS great, or that MAKES me HAPPY.”
Emotions were OUT of this equation and both parties understood that.
To put the transactional relationship out into the light, think Pretty Women. It started out as a transaction and then she wants a relationship. It took him a while but eventually the arrangement changed.
I have read that successful pimps prey on young women and start off with the lure of a relationship, then when the young girls think they have a real boyfriend…..the pimps beat them, rape them and turn the arrangement into the transaction it was always meant to be.
I have been thinking about marriage and have been wondering if perhaps the high rates of divorce might be due to the fact that we do not know the difference between transaction and relation based relationships.
A wife who complains that her husband is always at work, travels too much and is never available is complaining that the relationship is suffering. The man may be very confused as he is providing a house and cars and lifestyle and does not understand what she wants from him. He is seeing the transactional side of the arrangement.
How can people on two different sides move towards the center?
I think a good place to start is with shared filling in the blanks of “What’s missing here?”
If the wife says her piece and says that time with husband is missing and intimacy and friendship it is a start.
If the husband says nothing is missing and he is happy at work and just wants to be the provider, there is an insight into the size of the divide.
I knew of a couple who went on vacation once, and while he played golf everyday she drank and sat by the pool.
She did NOT want to spend more time with him and HE was happy with that arrangement. They saw each other the same amount of time while on vacation as they did at home.
The only difference is that they slept in a hotel room.
This transactional vacation worked for them, he bought the vacation package and she used it.
We don’t get to complain about the type of arrangement we have if we are not courageous enough to open it up and ask questions.
If you are in a relationship that feels like it needs to be changed, ask “What’s missing for me here?”
Journal about this question as many times as you need to. Look at your answers.
Make a list of the things that are missing.
Then begin to see what YOU can provide for yourself.
This may not be the answer you want, but when you can provide the elements of life you want for yourself than you can begin to fill in the other elements with your partner.
Love and light,
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.