Have you struggled with responding with compassion and love when an individual challenges your boundaries or your truth?
Listen to this episode of the Caring for the Caregivers podcast as Indrani and special guest, Mark Silver, share their wisdom and experience with addressing challenging responses and staying in your power when faced with challenge.
00:00 Intro 01:30 Indrani- Scenario and Introduction of Guest Speaker, Mark Silver 08:02 Mark- How to use training and practice for challenging responses 10:20 Discussion 14:16 Mark- saying No from a place of strength 18:25 Spiritual Power Discussion 25:20 Honoring the Physical Vessel 32:03 Summary and conclusion
The other day I was preparing some small quilts to take with me to India for a program I planned to visit. The quilt squares had been decorated by children of the mothers who had been burned by fire or acid. I had met these kids years before and never got a chance to finish up the quilts. I was going to India in a few days so I was inspired to finish them. This work reflected all my hearts passions: meeting the survivors, speaking to the kids, remembering to bring them fabric swatches, saving the swatches for the right time to finish it and of course sitting at my beautiful machine and finishing the project.
All of a sudden, the machine would not work. The needle would not stay threaded.The bottom thread would not catch. I rethreaded it about 6 times and then I yelled, to no one really, “what the F is wrong with this machine?”
I began to hyper focus on the threading mechanism and tried to use a pen to poke the thread into one of the moving parts and of course it could not work. I had never threaded the machine with a damn pen before. Why was I trying to do that now? I have been sewing for 50 years. I used to make my own Catholic School uniform skirts. I KNOW how to thread a sewing machine.
Then a heard a voice in my head say “Indrani zoom out, close your eyes, and use muscle memory to do this. Nothing is wrong with you or the machine.”
I closed my eyes. I allowed my hands to float up to the machine and I held the thread a loft. I mimicked threading motions and saw that my left hand floated behind the presser foot to check if it was in the down position.
I opened my eyes.
The presser foot was NOT in the proper position.
I put the foot down and threaded the machine and finished the quilts.
Then, it dawned on me that this episode mimics what women do to themselves. We KNOW how to be in the world. We know how to be brave and courageous and yet, when we forget a simple thing (like lowering the presser foot) we begin to judge ourselves and we accept the judgment of others. I love that it was the “putting down of the foot” that brought me out of my trance of feeling inadequate and stupid for not successfully completing a task I have done 1000’s of times for 50 years. How can you use this in your life?
The next time you KNOW deep in your heart how to do something, or WHO you are at your core, put your foot down on the knowledge and do not allow any one (even your judgmental self) to convince you otherwise. If others in your life say unkind things, let if go in one ear and out the next. Put your foot down and don’t let others define you with their words. Maybe use a simple phrase like “I am not sure whom you are describing, but that’s not me.”
Believe the words. You know you!
Now, go be the full YOU. The world needs all of you.
Join Indrani for a meditation to help prepare you for the new year. This meditation will help you get grounded, then send peace and compassion to yourself. Once you are feeling at ease, you can then send the same peace and compassion to others.
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 speaking to a very dear friend the other day.
She said that she had 6 beautiful bowls that someone had given to her a long time ago.
The other day she noticed that there were only 3 and she realized that some of them were broken.
She felt happy that she had 3 left.
She began to tell her young daughter who had been helping with her dishes.
She turned away to do something and heard the awful sound…
She froze and realized that something had broken.
She did not know what it was. She turned to the sink full of dishes and saw her sweet daughter, shaking and fearful and she heard these words, “Sorry mom it was an accident, I did not mean it. Sorry mom.”
My dear friend said, “Now there are two.”
And then she smiled.
The worry on the daughter melted away and the mom showed her child how easy it was to show compassion and to to teach her child that mistakes can and will happen.
As my friend was telling me this story I saw the realization on her face that her child had been shaking because she fully expected to be yelled and screamed at.
My friend knew that she had been a teller and she had parented with anger in the past.
She also knew that she had been intentional in the way she had been parenting the past few years and that she had significantly changed the energy in the family.
She had been able to forge a deeper connection with her son and she had been showing her daughter what unconditional love really is.
Here, at this moment, it meant that she loved her daughter MORE than she ever could love those dishes.
She chose to NOT break her child.
She chose to parent with understanding and respect.
I have known this woman for a long time. I know how hard this woman has worked to get to a place of peace and tranquility.
I applaud her willingness to change the way she used to parent and to seek new ways and to know that she was doing the best for her kids.
Most people say, “My parents did it this way and I turned out ok.”
My view is why just settle for OK when we can be wiser and better than OK?
Let us thrive as parents and constantly better ourselves so we can raise a brighter generation. One that will know more than we will ever know and will be in charge of the welfare of our grandchildren.
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 have never had an altar and I found the instructions of building one for myself just not me, not something I would do.
I looked around and found that, really, my home is my altar and I made that comment to my dear friend.
I felt it was egotistical to say my home was my altar, that it placed attachment to my things. And perhaps there is some attachment to a few of the items.
My friend reminded me that my house used to be my prison and that transforming it into my altar was a major accomplishement. I sat with that thought….
My house was not a home for so many years, it was a place to hang my hat. Home is where the heart is and there was no love amongst the walls, no trinkets of adornment, no comforts with its furnishings or the people who resided there.
As my divorce came and went, the house had become mine to do with it what I wanted. No compromise with others, no decisions made just to please another. I was and am free to do what I want. Awareness for what I needed became apparent as the cast of characters in my life stepped off the stage. As I had looked to others in my house of life for the love and acceptance, I had to turn to self-love and self-acceptance.
The walls that held secrets of the arguments, the abuse, the anger and resentment, I had them plastered over. Part of my history that were painful building blocks of who I am today, I’m stronger for it. Plaster and paint gave a fresh page to a new chapter. The house is an eccentric museum of my life and the things I hold dear, the memories and experiences which have shaped me in this lifetime. The books I loved reading and those I would love to read. Treasures and antiquities from my adventures. Colors and fabrics that bring me comfort.
Even a toy from my childhood with a hole and a torn eye sits on a shelf, a reminder of family vacations when they were still fun, and I was innocent.
Like an onion, each item is a layer of my life and peeling away one layer only brings about another.
The structure that, in the past, held no charm and had no atmosphere, now welcomes everyone once they cross the threshold. The energy of my altar is one of peace. It’s a place where every room invites you to stop and sit a spell. Blow the dust off almost any item on the shelves and there is a story of wonder and discovery to be told.
On the floor are framed photos of people and places I love and one day they will finally find their place on a wall. My tribute to them.
My home is not finished. It’s a work in progress as is my life.
The days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday marks the Lenten season for Christians.
Many people “give up” something for lent. Many stop eating sweets or stop drinking or some other behavior modification.
Few people give up “being nasty” to others.
That maybe be too harsh a thing to say, but it needs to be said.
I recently met a woman whose son was getting married and she “asked” to go to the bridal dress shopping expedition. The future daughter in law was nice enough to take her along. When the bride found the perfect dress, she asked the mother in law what she thought and the response was… “It’s not to my liking.”
The bride went ballistic and shouted at the mother in law that it was NOT her wedding.
As I was listening to this story, I wondered why the mother in law was not giving up something other than sweets for lent.
She was so ferociously attacking the bride-to-be and calling her names to whom ever was listening, like “hoochie” that it was very hard to be sympathetic to her hurt feelings.
Personally, I know what the bride felt like. When I was getting married, none of the saris that I wanted were “good enough” for my future in laws.
Luckily, I was quite stubborn, and with the help of my future husband I got exactly what I wanted.
Parenting is hard at all ages and when kids are grown up enough to start their own families we all get to enter a new stage of parenting. This time we get to try to be nurturing to complete strangers whom our children have chosen.
We have to give up judgments of what they should or should not do.
We have to help the young people to sort through their own lives.
This is the only way forward into a new stage of non aggression with the new family member.
I wished this women would give up bad mouthing her future daughter-in-law for lent instead of cookies and candies.
I believe that I suggested she give up negative thinking instead of sweets and she said that it would be too difficult.
Is that not the idea for lent? To make a sacrifice that smarts a little?
So what have you given up for lent? Let us know in the comment section below.
Make the sacrifice count. Make the sacrifice make you a better person.
Love and light,
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There once was a shepherd boy who was bored as he sat on the hillside watching the village sheep. To amuse himself he took a great breath and sang out, “Wolf! Wolf! The Wolf is chasing the sheep!”
The villagers came running up the hill to help the boy drive the wolf away. But when they arrived at the top of the hill, they found no wolf. The boy laughed at the sight of their angry faces.
He does this a couple more times and as the story goes….
Later, he saw a REAL wolf prowling about his flock. Alarmed, he leaped to his feet and sang out as loudly as he could, “Wolf! Wolf!”
But the villagers thought he was trying to fool them again and so they didn’t come.
I remind you of this story, because in my own way I have cried wolf. Unlike the shepherd boy, however, I was not lying about the wolf.
The wolf in my life was depression. In my cry of wolf (which came out as cries of pain, tears, sadness) loved ones came for a while and I was heard but quickly dismissed because they could not see the wolf.
The wolf was always lurking. My cries took the forms of chronic stuttering, pacing, insomnia, weight-loss and these all compounded my tears and my pain. People could see signs of trouble but no one saw the wolf so they turned away.
Then the wolf, chewing on me, was devouring me and my life. I made the final cries that I wanted to die. “Help me! Can’t you see I want to die?” And yet the ones who I thought loved me the most were deaf to my pleas. Worse yet, those who heard me held me in contempt.
I never lied about the wolf in my life.
As the little shepherd boy cried out to get attention, yes I did too. The attention I needed was in the form of help.
If someone you know is crying out for attention, they may have the wolf known as depression in their life. Take time to look through the trees to see if they have wolves in the shadows and are in need of help.
Don’t turn away from a cry for help.
It is the loneliest feeling in the world when you reach out to those you love for help and they walk away.
*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.”
Guest post by Keisha Gallegos
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