Know When to Stand and When to Lean – Getting is Giving

Guest Blogger:  Asia Sharif-Clark

If I could compare us to part of a tree, it would be a solid trunk.  We stand firm, strong, and tall securing the roots beneath and the leaves above.

There’s only one problem and it’s a big one, most trunks don’t lean.  Leaning symbolizes receiving support from others, standing means giving support from oneself.  We’ve got standing perfected.

Now we must allow ourselves to lean. That’s where the branches comes in.  They move with the wind, sway in the rain; giving to leaves, yet receiving from the trunk.  Giving and receiving.  Standing and leaning.

I’ve learned to lean more and more over the years and am amazed at the immense joy others experience from giving to me.  I am open and happy to receiving.

Self-Care Tip – Wishing you more moments to lean.

Question:  Can you tell us about the leaning motion in your life?

I’m Asia Sharif-Clark, founder of Centered Self Worldwide, the Glow Weekend, and the Glow Circle. In 90 days, I take women from overworked and overwhelmed to empowered and energized. And, that’s just the beginning.   I invite you to Raise Your Joy!

Let Things Come Together And Fall Apart To Experience Them More Fully – Presence

Cover of "Boy"

Cover of Boy

He still has some lingering vestigial baby-smell that sets the pheromones into motion.  I turn soft and doughy sniffing his hairline and would claw out any threat; as if there would be one within our stuccoed walls in jungled suburbia.  But just in case, I am primed.  Grrrr.

This moment that comes in one lungful of air sets off the sixth sense, like chimes in the wind, into a little pretty song of contrasting emotions – something warm and nice against fear and aggression.  Lovely.  Complex and simple.  I breath in and taste what is in the air again more slowly.  I let it come together so I can pull it apart.  I am in awe.

What creatures we are.

Big breath everyone.  What contrasts come together for you?  Is the experience of letting yourself watch them coalesce and then dehis add any sense of presence to your moment?

Self-Care Tip – Let things come together and fall apart to experience them more fully – presence.

Tell the Truth About Yourself To Feel Freedom

Self-Care Tip – Tell your true story to feel freedom.

Nobody ever asked me how I feel about what I do.  And it wasn’t until I told the truth that I started to feel freedom.

drawneartogod.com

My husband surprised me with a spontaneous date today after work.  (I almost wrote after school.)  We didn’t know what to do with ourselves.  What do Middles like us do with ourselves on a date?

Middles is a name I just thought of for those of us in our middle of life time with; middle-level debt, middle place in careers, middle waistlines growing and all that we find in our middle years.  Middles.

Anyhow, we found ourselves at the theater because I guess that’s about as creative as we could manage.  There was only one movie showing at 3:30 pm on a Tuesday; The Help.

Score!  Wow!  Blowing my nose and sharing germs, we had no idea it would be this great.  We’ve seen a lot of bang ‘em up movies lately for some reason and we were more ready than we knew just to hear someone’s story.  The Help, told a good tale anyone could relate to.  Of all the ah-ha moments however, watching Aibileen Clark walk away from getting fired was my favorite.

Nobody ever asked me how I feel about what I do.  And it wasn’t until I told the truth that I started to feel freedom.

I remembered us of course.  What we have and are fighting for:  Being our own friend.  The freedom to feel.  Courage to love ourselves enough to love ourselves in our communities.  Accountability for ourselves even when victimized.

So I ask us all again, “How do you feel?  Please tell us your story.  When, in your narrative, did you start feeling freedom?

You Are Free To Feel. Emotional Freedom.

I should feel happy.

Norma Talmadge

Image via Wikipedia

In Mona’s efforts to process what it meant for her to claim her emotional freedom, she tripped over this,

I should feel happy.

I almost tripped too, with, “No you shouldn’t!” But wouldn’t that have been weird?

Freedom to feel how we feel is not the same as picking and choosing our feelings from the great many genetic options we have all been given.

“No. I’m going to a meeting today. I’m going to feel powerful, confident, secure and somber. I’ll save ‘happy,’ for later when I come home.”

Ahem. That sounds like another indenture; some other short sugared path to being controlled.

The first part of emotional freedom is simply unwrapping the gift.

“I have this collection of shiny and not so shiny gifts that are accumulating in the attic. Nope. Never opened them.”

Open the gift of emotional freedom or not, it’s still ours. It’s ownership isn’t about what we’ve done to get it or keep it. That’s what a gift is. Free. There’s no negotiation; no exchange. It’s a one way path to our home, attic or living space as it may be.

I hoped for Mona that she would grow in her awareness of her freedom. No other goals at the moment; no happiness quest. No scavenger hunt for emotions she wanted and house-cleaning for those she didn’t want; just an awareness that what she felt was hers. She was free.

Questions: Have you felt free to feel? Or do you believe that you feel the way you do because of what others do to you? Is this a useful thought-paradigm to you? Please tell me your story.

Self-Care Tip – Open up your gift and check out your emotional freedom. Be a friend to yourself.

Strategize Your Energy Deposits and Your Work To Heal Emotionally

Working from home

Image by ishane via Flickr

Work works if it’s in something we find pleasure in.  That’s where we will find empowerment and self-esteem.  We don’t resent the labor as much.  We feel less controlled, boxed in and manipulated by others.  We have more gratitude and optimism.

The realm of biology enthroned on helices of DNA are socialized and demystified some with the tools of our temperament. Our temperament, sometimes called our personality, has built-in guidance we can use to steer our energies biologically, psychologically and socially.  Directing our energies strategically both maintains our emotional and behavioral health, but also is a healing force on the way our genes express themselves.

Wow!

This is one area that insight might improve biological function.  Generally, I don’t have much faith in insight if the biology isn’t there to support it or produce results.  However, when it comes to the excellent tools outlined by Jungian Typology, we have true assistance.

Mopping a floor with a metal clock on a stick, combing my hair with my shoe, drinking out of a lidded bottle – you get the message.  We have design.  We have areas of strength and brilliance.  We have power.

Self-Care Tip – Do what you were designed to do.  Be a friend to yourself.

Questions:  Is this a realistic tool in your life?  What’s helping you vs. slowing you down from using it as a tool?  Can you share an example or more?  Please tell us your story.

Good Sleep

Naruto Sleeping

Image by lyk3_0n3_tym3 via Flickr

When our day feels out of control, perhaps our night doesn’t have to be.

During sleep, our body replenishes hormones and chemical messengers that it needs so badly to cope with the many physical and emotional stressors throughout our day.  If we don’t sleep well, we can’t cope as well.  It is during sleep that our memory consolidates and we can see where that might affect us.  Poor sleep means poor day time memory, concentration and focus.

Focus on the part of sleep that we can influence.  This is called sleep hygiene.  Possibly we can choose what time to go to bed, what time to wake up, what is in our bedroom and what we do before bed.

Any parent knows that there are times when these things are not in our control but they also know that without a good nights rest, parenting during the day is much harder.  Pick any one of those things to start with, such as getting to bed at the same time every night, at a time that allows us to sleep a good 7+ hours for the night.  Chart our sleep in a sleep journal for a week to get a better sense of our own sleep train and the areas we can take control over.

Taking care of others means taking care of ourself.  “You can’t give what you don’t have.”  And without sleep, we have a lot less to give to ourself and others.

Self Care Tip – get good sleep.  Be a friend to yourself.

Questions:  What does it offer you to know that the night doesn’t have to be another place of chaos in your life?  How has that improved your ability to be your own friend.

Run Away Before You Self-Destruct – Keep Yourself Safe

Run Away Before You Self-Destruct – Keep Yourself Safe

This is a slight remake from 7/25/10. Hugs to all.

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When you feel the pull to do something that isn’t good for you, turn away from it. Do something that you can stand doing at the moment that won’t make you hate yourself now or later.

In the evenings, when the kids are just in bed, the backlash of the day seems to have a few last flicks. Despite the anticipated quiet, my shoulders are tight. Dusk, when the land meets the sky, is when I feel like eating …chocolate specifically.

I purposefully don’t bring it home, except the darkest chocolate sold with over 75% cacao for this very reason. It’s so dark, it’s practically bark.

Home is my safe place and I need to know that it is as safe as possible, even from me. I used to bring treats home that were to be eaten in moderation, but I found that when the monster in me crept out. I’d board myself up in the pantry and polish it off. That would turn me to self-loathing. It was a cycle. I got tired of being my enemy and knowing what was coming next.

Now, I choose to simply go out for my chocolate. I eat what I want when I’m out, when I’m less likely to eat myself into despair. Now, when I’m home, I can pick a different fight rather than fighting the urge to closet eat. Home is a little more safe for me.

Tonight, the kids went to bed ok, but I still took my turn around the fridge and pantry, even though I knew there was nothing, absolutely nothing, I’d want to eat in my house. I am in danger now of developing something of a ritual in this rummage around the kitchen. The good thing is that when I do make the turn, it leads me to the thought of just going to my bike and riding. Tonight, after a 30 minute spin, while watching the last 1/2 of the première to Glee, I am good again. I’m thinking about the muscles in my legs and the way my body doesn’t walk as heavy as it used to and I feel good about myself. Just like that, I feel a little less self-loathing. I feel more safe.

Self Care tip #1 – Run away before you self destruct. Be a friend to yourself.

Questions: Have you found a safe place? What is keeping your home safe for you? Please tell us your story.

Gathering Friend to Yourself Blog-Post References:
Choosing Safety:
  • basics on Weight Management 2011/06/25
  • Trusting our Clinician, or Not 2011/05/17
  • Self-Care Works You, Pushes You, Tires You Out Until You Are Happily Spent On Your Friend – You 2011/04/25
  • Participate – Work as Part of A Team With Your Medical Providers 2011/04/12
  • Choosing Connections – Take The Good and Take Care of Yourself 2011/04/04
  • Check Your Read. Even When You Feel Shame, Bullied and Herded, You Are Free. 2011/03/26
  • Living Where We Feel Safe is Part of Self-Care 2011/03/20
  • Afraid of Meds 2010/09/19
  • Get in Someone’s Space 2010/09/08
  • Run Away Before You Self-Destruct – Keep Yourself Safe 2010/07/25
Self-Loathing:
  • Number One Reason For Relapse In Mental Illness 2011/04/07
  • So Many Choices, So Little Time …For Self-Care 2011/03/05
  • Say, “I Can’t Control This” When You Can’t 2011/01/31
  • Emotions: The Physical Gift We Can Name 2011/01/06
  • Escape Self-Loathing 2010/10/29
Breaking Negative Cycles:
  • Loving Me without ambivalence – Perfectionism v. Passive Surrender 2011/05/28
  • You Can’t Barter With It. Sleep. 2010/12/03
  • Regardless The Reasons Not To, Go Get Your Sleep 2010/11/22
  • Choose, Gladly, Using Resources 2010/10/13
  • Sleep Hygiene – my version 2010/08/29
  • Pay a dollar 2010/07/29

Rotate Your Picture To Connect And Grow Presence In Your Life

Hello Dear Friends.

Seems I’m heading toward a different blog-site level of productivity.  Wasn’t deliberately turning that way, but turn I have.  I’m just saying this so you know that I acknowledge the change in flow and am thunking, thinking on it.

I will post a minimum of one to two times a week.  In between, I hope to develop the material we have now, clean it up and share it again, integrated with your comments and what we’ve worked over this past year.

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That done, I can chat about other stuffy stuff.

20080726 - Melanie's Birthday party - DSCN1530...

Image by Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL) via Flickr

Today, I was thinking about our interpersonal connections we believe so strongly improve our ability to be our own friend.  However, that is not the same as pairing with someone who is bad to us.  We’ve talked about how abuse, any kind, disables us from connecting.  “Get off of me!” is self-care when there is an unequal sense of power being used and we are trying to gain accountability for where we are at in life now.

In my mind’s eye, imagining that, I saw a figure lying on her side and someone heavy lying on top.  “Get off of me!” could mean, “Get off and get away.”  It could also mean, “Rotate the picture.”

See the picture turn 90-degrees?  Now the two figures are standing beside each other rather than subjected.  The two figures are connected, proximate and present to each other’s experiences.  “Get off of me!” doesn’t have to mean, “Get out of my life.”  It might be able to mean, “Rotate.  Stand beside me.  I choose connection in my life and not subjugation.”

Insight isn’t everything though.  If saying, “Get off of me and stand beside me.  Stay connected.  Stop controlling.” doesn’t happen despite insight, we might be looking at behaviors and emotions that are symptoms of brain disease of Me or of the other person(s).  Medical illness needs more than word play and adjusting picture frames.

Questions:  Have you been able to rotate any pictures in your life in any ways that have helped you be a better friend to yourself?  What?  Has that improved your sense of connection with people you didn’t want to lose?  Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip – Rotate your picture to connect and grow presence in your life.

Supercharge Your Life Purpose

SERVE

Image by elycefeliz via Flickr

Going back to basics is one of the best tours of life. It is exactly how to supercharge our life purpose.

Truth is, we’ve been in this polite exchange between serving others and serving ourselves for the past year. It’s been nice but we are smarter now.

We all agree that “living to serve Me” sounds like a two year-old. We all agree that “living to serve others” sounds like pleasuring a martyr’s stake. Perhaps, as wise Solomon said, there is a time for everything, but most of our time is best spent where we will get our highest yield. I think of that place like a sphere, whose constitution are our basics.

Our basics are all about the wonderland of our biopsychosocial selves and including temperament.

Just as with “all” extremes, the truth is a bit of both. None of us can abandon our need (Me) to self-serve. None of us can abandon our need (Me) to serve others. The commonality in both is Me. Everything starts and ends with Me and that is our sphere’s constitution.

To review some of this, I jotted down:

health

medical illnesses including brain
hungry
tired

things we are doing to ourselves

sleep hygiene
addictive and decadently enticing exercise
food journaling
daily weigh-in’s
victim role
accountability to Me, and including Higher Power
starting over, and over, and over
community

things being done to you

natural disasters
assault/abuse
stigma
environmental milieu
the biopsychosocial condition of those we choose to be connected with

Don’t let this get past basic. If the list bugs you, throw it out. If it’s too long, shorten it.

Self-Care Tip – Supercharge your life purpose by getting at your basic needs

Questions: What constitutes your sphere of “best self?” How did you come to that? How would you describe it to someone who doesn’t understand? Please tell us your story.

How To Feel Understood

Feel Good Together

Image via Wikipedia

To feel understood, do your best to understand others.  To feel connected, work to connect others.  To feel less lonely, help others see that they are not alone.

Take your pick.  What’s your gripe.  To be your own friend, use the stage around you to discover what to do with your needs.  Doing things for others starts with Me, motivated by Me and it ends satisfying and rewarding Me.  That’s the key to service.

Today is my birthday by the way.  I’m off to spend the day with my wonderful kids who don’t understand me, who are often self-absorbed, argumentative and feel misunderstood.  I’m going to spend the day with them for Me though.  I’m going to because I am going to get a lot out of it.

I’m not going to blame them for anything today if I can.

Happy Birthday to me :).

hugs to you all.