Tag Archives: love

LABL 018: Love, Lessons, & Loss with Dr. Martha Atkins

ILF_Wtagline_Logo rgb Welcome to Episode #18 of the Live a Brighter Life Podcast!

In this episode of the Live a Brighter Life Podcast Indrani speaks with Dr. Martha Atkins about love, loss, and lessons. You will learn:

  • How you can grieve
  • The different theories of grief
  • Post-traumatic growth
  • How you can comfort someone during the grief process

Podcast recording

Then there were two….

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…

CRASH!

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.

 

Love & light,

Indrani

Love is not fragile….

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A poem by Samantha Reynolds of bentlily.com

Love is not fragile 

Who taught you
to be sparing
with your love

as though your heart was a bank
as though love could dry up

nonsense

it is as if the ocean complained
it was too
wet

love is not fragile
it is as common as breath

it is play money
it is a race
to give more

go first
say it with impunity

you think you will ache
with vulnerability
but the strangest thing will happen

you will nearly drown
with peace.

 

What to give up for lent….it’s not what you think.

Mother-in-lawThe 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,
Indrani

Not even with a flower. Hope for the future of Gender Based Violence.

What do a future fireman, police man, baker, soccer player, and pizza maker have in common?

They all have the same response when asked to slap a young girl.

Watch the video below to see their reaction:

Link: http://youtu.be/b2OcKQ_mbiQ

If this is a typical response by the young boys of today, then what changes between 7 years old and adulthood that results in women experiencing the violence that we know they do on a daily basis?

More importantly: What can we do to help young boys like this grow up into men that truly believe “girls shouldn’t be hit, not even with a flower”?

We all need to start sharing answers about this question.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below: what do we need to do differently to help young boys grow up into men who don’t hit women?

 

Love & light,

Jeremie Miller

Think Global…Act Local

 

Steven-Matt_455613_1When I think of this phrase I think it means to be an informed consumer.

  • Am I buying products made by children in the slavery mills around the Globe?
  • Am I consciously aware that what I do here in my country is negatively affecting the Amazon Rain Forest?
  • Are the diamonds that I admire Blood Diamonds?

Right?

Big thoughts.

I think I can make my buying power MAKE a difference.

I CAN make my money talk!

What IF….

The phrase “THINK Global…Act Local” could be applied to Domestic Violence and Intimate Partner Violence and Child Abuse?

What would that look like?

It might look like this…

You are watching TV on a normal day or night and you see a story of a VERY FAMOUS NFL player like Adrian Peterson being charged with Child Endangerment for beating his 4 year old son with a switch. You may or may not be appalled… Let’s say you ARE appalled.

What can YOU do?

Well you can begin to look at your own behaviors towards your kids or other people’s kids.

You can open a conversation with your kids … if you dare… and ask them what it’s like living in your home.

  • Do they feel emotionally safe?
  • Are they worried about people flying off the handle?
  • Are they afraid of anyone in particular?

YOU must be brave and courageous and really listen.

LISTEN with your ears and your HEART. (Especially your heart.)

You MUST promise them immunity from YOU flying off the handle if you hear something that hurts your feelings.

If I would have had parents who had asked this question to me and if I trusted them, I would have said something like this:

“Well you are always beating us and yelling at us. If we cry then you beat us more to “really give us something to cry about.” You tell me that I never do anything right. I am always scared of you.”

IF I had parents who were brave enough to go there, I may have had a slim chance of a happier childhood.

YOU have the POWER to give your children a bigger chance of happiness.

If you ACT LOCAL, while observing the pitiful GLOBAL state of violence against women and girls you will be making a difference.

Don’t know where to start? Start with YOURSELF, your own boundaries and awareness of shame and building your shame resilience.

START TODAY.

START NOW.

Here is something to get you started…www.liveabrighterlife.eventbrite.com

If I can do it, you can do it.

Now, let’s say you were NOT appalled at someone beating their child in that way, you can still do something.

You can begin to wonder about your own abuse and ask yourself if your parents could have been more compassionate.

If you say they did the best they could with what they had, you would be right. However, YOU can do better with all the new information that you have about child rearing. You can seek out informed guidance on how to be a better parent.

Why? Because you owe it to those kids you brought into the world.

So however you slice this Domestic Violence pie, you can Think Global and still Act Local.

 

Love and light,
 
Indrani

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Have you turned your back on someone crying Wolf?

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-BlackWolf--4There 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.

What’s the source?

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There is a movement afoot where people want to uncover where their food is sourced.  

Photo Credit: Flickr/chailey

Photo Credit: Flickr/chailey

We have seen an increase in artisan cheese makers, organic farms, grass fed beef and free range chicken. We are balking at farm raised fish and grabbing up the fresh Alaskan Salmon as soon as it drives into your stores.

We fuss about GMO foods and antibiotics injected into our meats and pesticides on our farm produce.

We try as much as we can to ingest the foods that are good for us. We know that messing with the food that nature produces may not be the best thing for our natural bodies.

We run internet campaigns against the large international corporations when they hide what they are doing with our food. We start neighborhood campaigns to help the local farmer, and we are proud when we make even a small dent in the way people think about the food they eat.

We have even seen a fast food chain like McDonalds put apple slices into a kids meal as they hope we forget that the meat in the burger may not be all meat.

I remember when they started advertising their chicken nuggets as 100% all chicken! I wondered what the heck was in the nuggets before.

Yet…we do not take one tenth of this investigative energy to put into the emotions that we take at face value and swallow as if we do not have a choice.

I was recently speaking to a dear friend who is an amazing foodie who prides himself on only cooking and ingesting the very best that he can source. He collects his own seaweed and mushrooms  and can smell the difference in fresh seafood and insists on free range chicken and grass fed beef. He only buys the freshest produce and will go without before he ingests foods not good for his system.

He is the epitome of a healthy man!

Except that he accepts the thoughts he often thinks about being not “good enough “or “being selfish” as gospel truth.

He thinks about past childhood pain and imagines that somehow he had something to do with it. He thinks he may have been ” bad” so that his caretakers had good reason to ignore him, give him the silent treatment or just brow beat him back into the mold they made for him.

He thinks that he could have “made them” love and accept him as he longed to be loved and accepted.

He is wrong.

Children are given to us so that the adults in their lives can show them how to love. They learn how to love themselves by the way they are unconditionally loved by their caretakers.

If the caretakers withhold love and support until some action is extracted then the child gets a skewed view of how to be in the world. The disease of people pleasing begins to take root.

I would love to see the day when we feel an emotion that causes us pain and immediately begin to hunt for the source of the pain. I would love to see more people “sourcing the beginning” of their pain.

If, for instance, I choose to stay home and not attend a family function, and if I am told that I am selfish, instead of accepting that diagnosis I should be able to bring up the thousands of examples where I did what was asked and realize that the  choice to say NO to a few things is MY right.

It does not make me selfish.

It makes me human.

As I take the time to reflect on life from this side of 60, I send so much compassion to my younger self who was ready to browbeat herself about transgressions that were freely lavished on her. I wish she knew that she was a good child, a good young girl, a good young woman and a good wife and mother. She wasted so much precious life energy berating herself for “crimes against the family” that she should not have accepted.

I send compassion to young and old everywhere and hope that they will find the self compassion to begin to question all the emotions that are imposed upon them by blaming voices and people who have no business judging others.

I ask you to hold yourself with loving compassion today. Even if only for a few moments.

Inhale your goodness.

Exhale your divinity.

 

Love & light,

Indrani

I love me, I love me not, I love me….how to know if you love yourself.

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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.

Hope this helps…

 

Love and light,

Indrani

Transactional or relational…what kind of relationship do you want?

downloadA 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,
Indrani