The Gift of “Negative” Emotions” 😳☹️😤

Every situation that elicits or brings forth what I might think of as a negative emotion, is an opening to change my thinking to something that feels better, that is more agreeable to me.” – J. Bowden

Uncertainty and unpredictability are a constant and undeniable part of life. Not being able to control others, or the world around us, can often lead to feelings of fear, anxiety or hopelessness. What can we control? We have the power to control OUR thoughts, words, actions and reactions. Since it is a fact that life is fundamentally uncertain, why not choose a way of feeling better as we live our daily lives?

Whether it is in the realm of weight loss, relationships, finances, etc., making a change in our thinking is an act of kindness, a gift to ourselves. When we do this, our current feeling of negativity changes to something positive. The better feeling that results from this change is the gift.

Here’s one example. When my mom passed away, many decades ago, my initial thought was, that with her died any potential for a better relationship. Over time I changed my thoughts to:
1. Our relationship was what it was
2. We both did the best we could at the time
3. It was never meant to be other than it was

With that small improvement in how I viewed things, I let go of my ongoing resistance of wanting things to be other than they were. Holding on to my old thought just kept me feeling stuck and crummy.

What is the alternative to changing our thoughts to be more supportive and kind to ourselves? We can stay stuck and feel resentful or continue to be angry or sad that things aren’t working out the way we want them to. How is that helpful? How does that serve us? What does that get us?

Why not take a moment, close your eyes and search “inside” for any painful or uncomfortable feelings. When you find one, ask yourself how else you might think about it that is also true, and, that might bring you a slightly better feeling. (Note; I have found it helpful to start with something small, like telephone solicitations or my inability to find something).

You can feel good regardless of what is going on with the people and situations in your life. And you can create that for yourself in a way that doesn’t depend on outside circumstances. It is YOUR choice. It all begins with giving yourself the GIFT of a new thought. Who, more than you, deserves that?

With love, Jackie

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Just Words? No Such Thing

I have a little daily meditation book that a wonderful friend of mine told me about. When I take my quiet time, I look forward to reading the thought for the day and turning my focus to it. It is called “A Cherokee Feast Of Days”. The other day, one of the meditations felt especially meaningful. I thought you might like it too. What follows is just a piece of it.

“There is power in a word whether we read it, speak it, or hear it. Words are tools, weapons, both good and bad medicine – but very beautiful when used lovingly. Words have the power to help heal or to make sick people sicker by negative talk around them. The word gives confidence when it builds rather than destroys. Until we listen to our own voices and how we talk, we would never guess how we use our own words.”  

After reading that I decided to set a gentle intention to become more aware of the words coming out of my mouth. This led me to wonder about where the words we use originate. They originate in our thoughts. Our words are a reflection of the thoughts and beliefs we hold. So, in order to choose my words more lovingly and kindly, I decided I needed to choose more loving and kind thoughts.

Think back for a moment and feel the power a kind or unkind word has had on you in the past. Would it be possible to give yourself, and perhaps someone else, a kind word today?

With love, Jackie

Kind Words When a Pet Dies

Many of us choose to share our lives with beloved pets. Because their life spans can be much shorter than ours, we inevitably get to a time when they are no longer with us. This was my experience last week. My sweet cat left this earth.

I was contemplating what made the experience so painful. This is the answer I came up with for myself. When she died, our shared experience of giving and receiving love from each other every day ends too. The physical connection is broken. Of course, we never stop loving them, it just changes form overtime from daily interactions to happy and loving memories of time shared.

A kind and supportive friend wrote a beautiful and heartfelt article, a blog post, about the experience. I offer it as comfort to all of you who have been in, or are faced with this or a similar situation.

With love, Jackie

 
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by sdruesel
“Those whom we have loved never really leave us. They live on forever in our hearts, and cast their radiant light onto our every shadow.” – Sylvana Rossetti

A small life passes …

Today I mourn the passing of a small life. A small life that carried a very large and loving heart.

A close friend’s pet, a cat and family member of 15+ years, has completed her journey in this life. Recently this wonderful, loving creature took a turn for the worst as she dealt with a foreign growth diagnosed as terminal. By mid-week she continued the downward decline, seeming stoic yet offering signals from her natural, inner senses that her time for the next phase of life was almost here. And as loving care and comfort was given, my friend heard the message, searched deep inside her soul, and together with her son made the loving and difficult decision to offer peace once more to her friend, companion, and playmate of so many years.

So yesterday was my friend’s time to begin grieving, and remembering the wonderful life shared between a cat and their guardian. It signaled her time to navigate through loss and the painful process of beginning to let go. It became her time to begin re-framing love expressed when alive into an even richer love built upon memories and the reliving of the feelings spawned by those memories.

And for me, I gave comfort where and when possible … and gave space for healing to begin. And throughout it all I was reminded that the human species thrives on connection … a connection that at times can be surprisingly powerful, deep, and richly sweetened by life’s shared events accumulated each hour of each day of each year … a connection that when lost, creates pain like no other. A connection that becomes a rich tapestry that is woven through life when lived, then folded and stored once life ends. A connection that is love.

But the tapestry remains, ready to be pulled down from the shelf and used to wrap around you when times arrive to recall a life well lived. Yes … such loss is terribly sad. But as was described by this friend as she navigated the painful feelings … death is the price paid for living. And a life well lived … a life offering deep and ever meaningful connection is worth the payment.

Be at peace as you … as your kitty spirit flows back into the universe my dear Pepper. You are loved because you gave love, and the sting of loss shows the depth of the love you gave.
sdruesel | August 6, 2016 at 8:29 am | Categories: Uncategorized |
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Small Steps 👣

When I think back on why I was overweight for so many decades, one of the things I clearly remember was that for me, weight-loss seemed like a mountain to climb. I had tried to climb this mountain many times only to find myself in the same spot once again, feeling defeated.

It was clear from my past experience that I was getting nowhere with my desire to be fit and healthy. Looking back now, I believe one of the reasons I was never successful was because I was trying to take too big of a step too many times. I was only focused on weight-loss to the exclusion of my sense of well-being and the rest of my life. I ignored my sense of well-being by thinking I had to eat food I didn’t enjoy, depriving myself of enough food, forcing myself to do exercises I didn’t like, not making time for myself and more. I never took the time to figure out what might make me happy, whether it was losing weight or anything else.

I was reminded of all of this, this morning. I realized that over time, taking one small step at a time, I have come up with a menu of exercises that I enjoy doing. Since every day is different, I developed different exercise options that can accommodate any amount of time from one exercise to one hour. If I only have time for just one exercise, I don’t judge myself. I do what I have time for and get on with my day.

The following is probably more than you wanted to know, but I thought I’d share it with you in case it might be helpful. I have divided my exercises into sweaty and non-sweaty categories. For me, sweaty exercise must be done before I shower. This includes my elliptical machine or an aerobic DVD. Non-sweaty exercises can be done after I shower and sprinkled throughout my day. These include light weights, stretches and yoga. If I need to get going first thing in the morning, I will choose non-sweaty exercises later in the day. If I can take a little extra time in the morning, I spend time working up a sweat.

I smile when I think about how much I hated exercise, and vegetables too for that matter. How did all of this change in my experience when it seemed so unlikely, so impossible at the time? My answer to myself; I started taking small steps that felt good instead of any step that didn’t feel good. For the first time in my life, I began to be gentle with myself.

Instead of forcing myself to eat vegetables I didn’t like, I started with more of the ones I already liked. Instead of telling myself I couldn’t have something, I added food that was healthier, like fruit, more protein or a beverage I enjoyed that didn’t add to my weight. I chose to go out and buy myself one or two inexpensive outfits that I felt good wearing NOW, instead of waiting until I had lost weight to buy new clothes. The most helpful thing I did was, I STOPPED JUDGING MYSELF.

What about you? Is there anything in your life that you’ve wanted to change but feel like you’ve never been able to? What about considering one tiny change or step that actually feels good to you or that feels doable?

We can all find things in our lives that seemed impossible at one time….and then they weren’t.

It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela

With love, Jackie

Finding the FEELING of Appreciation

Remember when gratitude journals became popular over 20 years ago? I tried keeping a gratitude journal many times over the years. Even though I was very thankful for the many blessings that I had, it was more of an intellectual exercise for me, without much feeling involved. Fast forward to today.

It took me a while to get this, but I have learned that in order for me to have a heartfelt session with a gratitude journal, I must go beyond just observing all the wonderful things in my life. I must go to a place that is not as familiar to me. I write down or think about what I am grateful for until I can PHYSICALLY FEEL it inside of me. When I write down something I’m grateful for, if it doesn’t give me a physical feeling, I redo it until it does. I either go deeper into the details, or let that one go for now and move on to appreciating something I can physically feel. When I do this, I am in the process of creating the physical and emotional feeling of gratitude, appreciation or thankfulness. The result of this is that it makes me feel good which is usually followed by smile.

So, here’s an example of what I’m talking about. I could say that I am thankful for my beautiful backyard and that would be true. However, now I choose to focus on the details because of the physical feelings it evokes inside me when I do. I think about the way the sun and the shadows show up in a lovely silhouette on my deck and lawn, the gorgeous array of colors that have a multihued backdrop of green that accents them. I think about the freedom I have to sit on my deck in a comfortable chair. I notice how the leaves and branches on the trees move when there’s a gentle breeze, making them look like they’re alive. I am grateful to nature for allowing me to enjoy it’s artwork in the form of stones and rocks in my backyard. They have so much character. Can you have enough rocks? And most of all, my favorite thing is my birdbath. It’s not really the actual physical structure. For whatever reason, I find it absolutely delightful to watch the birds fluff their feathers in the water over and over again. It makes me giggle. I think for me it symbolizes pleasure and freedom. I like to think they are flying away refreshed and spruced up for their day. Who knows, maybe it leaves them with a more pleasant feeling too.

When was the last time something made you giggle? Is there anything around you right now that you could stop and appreciate for a moment until you physically FEEL the feeling that it creates? If you’d like to take a chance on feeling happier right now, why not give it a try? You may feel like you just fluffed your feathers.🐥

With love, Jackie

Loving-Kindness💜

Would you like loving-kindness to follow you wherever you go? Who wouldn’t right? There are very few guarantees in life, but here is one I can give you. When you begin to train yourself to think, speak and act with loving-kindness toward yourself (first) and others, it will follow you wherever you go.😉

With love, Jackie

Do You Have a Reason For Not Allowing Yourself to Feel Good?

Are there things that have happened in the past or are there current events in your life that are frequently bothering you? How can you possibly begin to change any of it right now? If you can change the situation, and you would like to, can you do it now or make plans to do it? If you can’t, are you willing to consider changing the way you think about it?

Life is like the weather. It alternates between sunny and warm, light or heavy rain, hurricanes, tornadoes or a spring breeze. Do you want your sense of well-being to be dependent upon the pleasantness of the “weather”, or would you rather feel good rain or shine? If we choose to focus on the dreadful weather we experienced in years gone by, we might miss the lovely summer day that is offered to us now.

You might say, “But that flood or storm (hurtful life experience) was memorable! Am I just supposed to forget about it?” No, we probably wouldn’t forget about it. The question is, does remembering it, re-living those feelings and talking about it serve a purpose that is helpful to you NOW? Does it make you feel better? Does it enrich your life? Does it make you more loving or kind? Does it make you more prepared for unpredictable weather conditions in the future?

The only reason, in my humble opinion, to spend time thinking or talking about past experiences is to get the lesson that they are offering us, but then to move on. For me, if I don’t move on, I am stuck in the past, bringing my past experiences into the choices I am making in this moment. If you want to know if that is a good thing for you or not, ask yourself how it makes you feel when you think about it? If it feels good to you, it’s obviously beneficial, if not, it’s bringing negativity into your life today. Once we are aware of that we now have a choice. Each choice will create a different feeling inside of us.

If we want to feel good and leave the negativity of the past behind, are we willing to consider RETRAINING our thoughts. Our thoughts dictate our actions and reactions.  Choices like blaming others, anger, complaining, rationalizing/making excuses, not taking care of ourselves, or holding any thoughts that limit us in any way will need to be escorted out (or blown up 💥) if we want to feel better. They can be replaced by something that smacks of more kindness toward ourselves, like accepting 100% responsibility for our lives, compassion toward ourselves and others, and making time to care for ourselves. All of these choices can begin with the smallest of steps. But the most important step is your intention or desire to begin to change things!

Well, you might wonder, do I really have a choice about what I’m thinking? I am here to tell you the answer is unequivocally YES! You can purposely choose “the road less traveled” and change the negative thoughts or feelings you are currently experiencing into something that feels better? It’s your life, your choice. If you like the way your life is going, stay with your current thoughts. If you want something better, why not change your thoughts to match your dreams, one small step at a time.

With love, Jackie

Are You Worth It?

If you want to find out, take a moment to ask yourself some of the following questions;

Do you take time for your precious self?

Do you feed yourself healthy food?

Do you make time to exercise your body? 

Are you true to yourself? 

Do you make time to pursue your own interests?

Do you have a career, a life, a partner or friends you love?

Do you take a moment to change critical or judgmental thoughts about yourself into kind supportive ones?

Have you been able to release any negative feelings you harbor inside about anything or anyone so you can feel better?

In the past my answer to the majority of these questions would have been “no”. How do you feel about your answers? Look around at the different parts of your life, your relationships, your job or career, your free time or lack there of, your finances, your health and fitness. There you will see reflected what you currently think you are worth. If you are not happy with the reflection in one or all of those areas in your life, you can change how you feel about it now by changing your thoughts. How do we change our thoughts?

Instead of looking at your current situation in any one of those categories, you can change your focus to what you’d rather have. How would you like it to look? Spend a few minutes thinking about how you would prefer it to be. Which one feels better, thinking about the way it is, or the more desirable way that you are envisioning? Go with the one that feels better, ALWAYS, simply because, anything we do from a place of feeling good turns out better. It seems so obvious, doesn’t it? It took me decades to figure this out and put it into practice. I was more focused on what I considered “reality” or my current situation at the time, which was not helpful and did not leave me feeling better.

Many of us spend a lot of time giving our thoughts and energy to things that don’t make us feel good. Why? Because we don’t know how to change it or that it is even possible to change it. I never even considered that. What if we decided to do something radical and change our thoughts? What if we picked better feeling thoughts on purpose and replaced the old ones that did not feel good? Who does that? I do now, would you like to join me?

With love, Jackie

Freedom

There was a moment in time when I realized I was beginning a new chapter in my life. The next thing that occurred to me was that I did not want to carry any anger or resentment with me into this “new place”. Think of it like you’re moving into a new house and you only want to bring with you the things you love, the stuff that lights you up. You also want to get rid of the stuff that weighs you down.

The most powerful thing I ended up doing was adopting a new attitude. I decided I was going to refuse to allow anger into my life. I didn’t want to waste one more minute living with anger. So, I did something radical for me. I made a new choice to automatically let go of any anger as soon as I detected it. I deliberately release it so I don’t react in anger. I decided that no matter how unbelievable it may seem, we are all doing the best we can. Besides, being angry about something that has already happened started to seem like a huge waste of energy.

As I researched a way to ditch my anger constructively, I found many people who had already come up with their own solutions. In this blog I’d like to share with you some steps I used, bits and pieces of other people’s strategies, in case it may help your heart heal too. You can use it as often as necessary to free yourself from something mildly irritating or something that has a huge impact on your life.

  1. Find a quiet place or time when and where you can be alone, in your home or car, in nature etc. Somewhere you cannot be disturbed or heard. Allow about 30-60 minutes.
  2. Make a list of anyone, including yourself, that you have anger, resentment, hatred or negativity toward for ANY reason. It doesn’t matter if the people are dead or alive. Also include any situations that you are still upset about. It doesn’t have to make any sense. Write them all down without filtering your thoughts, with the intent that you are going to shred or destroy your writings later. (Afterwards, go ahead and do that if you choose).
  3. It can be helpful, but it’s not necessary, to pick a chair, a tree, a picture of a person or situation to be the “receiver” of your anger that is going to come out in a minute. This object is like a “stand in” for the person or situation you are angry about.
  4. Imagine yourself or that person or situation there with you, as represented by the object in #3 above. Blast away at them/it verbally and uncensored for all the hurt you have experienced because of what happened, and how what happened impacted your life (remember this has nothing to do with making sense or being reasonable right now). Do this with each person or situation, one at a time. Give a voice to all of your hurt feelings; irritation, anger, rage, hatred, and fear. Feel free to cry, curse, kick a chair, punch a pillow etc. The idea here is to get all of your hurt feelings out of you.

When you feel you are done, ask yourself one more time if there’s anything else you need to say. You may want to give yourself a quiet moment until you feel ready to continue.

  1. Create an image in your mind. Imagine that at some point (in life, or surrounding death), each person will be shown a life review. What (we or) they did, why, and the impact it had will all be made clear from this otherworldly perspective. From this new perspective, it would be unimaginable for someone to think, do or say anything that might cause harm to another.
  2. If you are ready, and there is no expectation that you are, see if you can look at the “stand-in” object, for yourself or this other person who caused you harm, with eyes of compassion. You now know that these types of hurtful choices toward ourselves or another come from a painful, hurt place inside (whether we know what it is or not). Holding onto the “wrong” we’ve done or experienced is a choice and only causes harm to our precious selves. Doing this only continues to hurt us, and is not kind or loving. It also keeps us stuck in a “victim” mentality.
  3. If you feel ready, you can now choose to let go, to release yourself from the past hurt and move forward into your future with a lighter spirit. Gently send these old, harmful memories away with a kind thought or prayer for your own improved sense of well-being. If you are able, and there is no expectation that you do this, extend the same thought or prayer for the person who harmed you. We do this as a gift to ourselves (see blog “Letting Go” Dec. 5, 2015) because we no longer choose to keep past pain alive. We are done with it.

I know this process could seem like a stretch or a welcome step. It’s completely up to you if you want to try it. No one will stop you from holding onto bitterness or resentment but how does that benefit you? How does it make you feel? You can choose to let go of it. Remember that the reason we hold onto the anger and bitterness is because we subconsciously think it keeps us from getting hurt again. I can tell you from my own experience, that’s just not true. Love, contentment or happiness cannot exist where anger and resentment reside. So, what’s your choice, to live with thoughts that continually keep anger alive or to let it go and make room for feeling at ease, delighted, happier or more loving?

With love, Jackie

When Your Heart Aches

Lately I have been going through some tough times with my autistic son. His behaviors are shifting, making it more difficult for his caregivers and me to deal with him. It wasn’t always this way. We have had many years of stability in the past. This change in his behavior threatens his quality of life.

I stumbled upon an encouraging way of looking at my current situation in a blog that I follow (marcandangel.com). Though the ideas it contains are things that I am very familiar with, hearing it put another way, by another person helped quiet my aching heart the day I had the good fortune to come across this. I share it with you now in case it might be helpful to you in a similar way, now or perhaps in the future.

Details aside, whatever is going to happen will happen, whether you worry or not. So just do the best you can right now, and find peace in knowing that you are. No further judgments are needed. Sometimes you’ve got to go through the worst of times to get to the best. And sometimes the best of times come sooner than expected.” -Marc and Angel

I am a strong believer in the power of our choices. I’ve learned that I can put my focus wherever I choose. Focusing on the “problem” is what hurts. It awakens past pain and future worries. Instead, focusing on the above thought eases the pain and makes taking the next small step easier. It also leaves me feeling better. If you are in a place where you are not feeling emotionally or physically well, look at where you’ve put your focus and know that something that feels better is just a thought away.

With love, Jackie