Just do it!

It is time to tell the voices of your history to shut it! Yes, I said shut it. Somewhere in our lifetime, there was some thing we wanted to do. Some thing maybe we wanted to be. Then we started letting everyone else tell us who, what, how, why and when to be anything, everything. Tell me who made them the boss?

I know some things we were told were truly for our own good. You know the ones, look both ways before you cross the street, save some money for a rainy day. They are good things as they have continued to keep us alive and well.

That’s not the things I’m talking about. I am talking about the things that set our souls on fire. The ones that made our hearts come alive. The ones that got our whole being to perk up.

Those things will be different for everybody. Could be singing, dancing, acting, painting, gardening, writing. You get the picture, creative things. Some time in your life you may have enjoyed those things. Unfortunately, somewhere in your life, someone put it in your head that you couldn’t do those things. Maybe it wasn’t a “safe bet” for a future career. Maybe they were in a bad mood and told you to stop what you were doing because it was annoying them. Maybe someone else stepped all over their thing and they believed no one should get to do some thing like that if they couldn’t. Who knows what their motivation might have been.

So you stopped. Maybe you never even started. Growing up we overhear all kinds of conversations. As kids we tend to internalize those conversations because it came from someone important to us, important to our welfare even. We did not want to disappoint that person so we never did anything with that thing we wanted to try. I’ll give you an example. When I was a kid, I wanted to try learning to play the violin. I loved the sound of violin music. I loved watching someone play because their whole being became involved with the music. I was told that I would not be allowed to learn because the sound of someone learning the violin is like listening to cats being tortured. (not making that up). That was it. No violin. Perhaps I might have proved to be a virtuoso. The world will never know. Or will they?

You see, we’re grown-ups now. I’m not saying that thing of ours is going to turn our worlds around. I’m not saying that thing is going to make us a millionaire and loved by the world over. I’m not saying any of that. What I’m saying is, that those things made our hearts come alive. It made us dream. It made us imagine all possibilities. That is all that those things needs to do now.

I don’t know if any of us will be any good at what we try. It may take a little time to show any promise of being good at whatever it is. There is only one way to find out if we are going to be good at something. We just have to do it. Do it as a hobby. Do it as a toe-hold on our sanity. Do it because it brings our souls back to life and our souls deserves to live, really live. The people around us deserve to see us with our inner lights turned on and turned up bright.

Just one more thing. Remember how soul crushing it was to not be able to at least try that thing out? Let’s do someone else the favor of not doing that to them. Let’s support someone else trying out theirs. Maybe it’s your kid, your friend, a parent. It doesn’t matter who it is. It is time to lift each other up and give ourselves the chance to see where that little dream we have, that little light, takes us. What a beautiful world we are going to create.

Share your some thing and how you’re doing with it in the comments. Chat with each other. Chat with me. Let’s be each others cheering section?

P.S. If that thing you try out doesn’t quite pan out, it’s okay. You can tweak it or change it all together. There are so many facets to our own art and how it gets expressed. I have a great friend that knits hats that he donates to Veterans’ Organizations. Who knew he’d be so good at it and get such joy out of it. There are no limits on the things we get to try, how old we are or how long it takes. Just do it.

“I Hate Confrontation”

According to Oxford Dictionary confrontation is: A hostile or argumentative meeting or situation between opposing parties. Based on that definition, agreed, I hate confrontation. However, confrontation should not be confused with disagreement. A disagreement is when we don’t see eye to eye on a subject. It becomes a confrontation when it escalates into loud voices, arguing, expletives and more.

Sometimes someone tells us something about ourselves, or something they perceive in us that we don’t like. It seems it is human nature to immediately take the opposition with guarding and argument. We may use deflection pointing out something we don’t like in the other person or even someone not involved at the time who exhibits the same behavior or trait. We may use the tactic of making excuses for what has been pointed out to us as well. What if instead we just took a moment to think about what that person has shared with us. Do you know what courage it may have taken them to bring this to your attention? I have rarely found that there isn’t some truth to what someone has showed me about myself.

Unless we’re already at the confrontational phase, what that person is pointing out to us is most likely not meant to be hurtful. Not if it is someone who cares about us. It is often easy to tell that they are coming from a loving place by the language they are using to point something out to us. The fact that they are not yelling should be a really good sign. When someone is bringing our attention to a trait or behavior of ours it is because they want things to be better in their relationship with us. They may devolve into that confrontational stand point when they feel the frustration of not being heard or understood.

Listen, pause and think. This is one of the best ways to work through something with someone who cares about us. Maybe we don’t realize we respond a particular way because it has become a habit for us. We can ask to step away from the conversation if we need to give ourselves time to see it through the other person’s eyes. We can always continue the conversation later. People really do want to get along and will give us the space we need when they care about us.

Of course, we all want to be the hero of our own story. But, did you ever notice, the hero in every story has a moment where they question themselves and who they are? They have this epiphany often brought on by some level of adversity that evolves them into the true hero that they are meant to be. Let’s consider what someone is sharing with us about ourselves as one of those possible moments to evolve.

We deserve to be the best version of ourselves. Sometimes that means working on something about ourselves that hurts someone else. Sometimes, it is seeing ourselves with honesty and doing the work that is necessary to create the change we want to see around us. None of us is perfect and honestly, who would want to be. Perfection leaves us nothing to strive for. However, we are all amazing works in progress. Sometimes the next lesson, the next evolution of ourselves comes from someone showing us our not best features and giving us the opportunity to grow. Ideally, that is what can bring people closer together.

Insight into an Introvert

As the saying goes, it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for. We take it all in. We see and hear quite a bit. We carefully choose the conversations to involve ourselves in. If we’re comfortable with you, we’ll get into incredibly deep conversations with you.

We have difficulty in crowds as there is a lot of information coming at us all at once. It is why we like the quietest corner to observe from. We enjoy (mostly) all the people around us. But often it is difficult to filter through all the talk going on at one time. We do best in small groups for that very reason.

Introverts are social. We are not stuck in our own heads. Though our quietness makes it look that way. We simply have an ability to observe everything at once and it becomes overwhelming. We then need to take time to decompress from all the sensory information that has come at us. We recharge and unwind sifting through all that information. When our batteries are back at full we’ll be out and social again, no worries.

So if you see that quiet person in the crowd, they may be the most interesting conversation you have at that gathering. Just give them a little time to get comfortable with you.

Just a reminder…

I love this! We all have that amazing day when we stand up for ourselves and say I’m done. We mean it too. Then life happens and we forget that we said “I’m done”. How about we remind each other. Let’s catch each other when we see one of us faltering. We don’t have to do things all alone. It’s time to surround ourselves with the people who will catch us when we fall and help us be strong again. I’m here to remind you that you’re done. Maybe tomorrow, you can remind me.

  • Tiny Buddha is one of my fave places for positivity. You can catch them on their own website or follow them at Tiny Buddha on Facebook! (No compensation for sharing their info). Click on the highlighted text and it will take you right there.

Weathering our storms

Yesterday was not a good day if we’re judging by mood. I woke up cranky. Everything was annoying. Even my walk didn’t make the difference that it usually does. I was just in a dark and foul mood. I was dealing with some heavy baggage from my past. I didn’t realize it until later in the day. The good thing was, that mostly I was on my own for the day and so had the time and space to go through it. I also had a great friend who called later in the day just sensing I was not in a good place. She was able to sit with me, albeit by phone, as I made my way through the storm and back to a safe harbor. She asked great questions that made me soul surf to find the source of what I was feeling. She doesn’t know it, but she’s my life coach. (Lucky me, she’s also my sister).

She did not try to make the bad mood go away with platitudes. She didn’t try to make me see all that I have to be grateful for. She did not try to steer me towards sunshine, rainbows and roses. Did you ever notice that those tactics just intensify what you’re already feeling? That is because they are dismissive. Inherently we know we are feeling an emotion for a reason. We truly want to work through it because that is the secret to “getting over it”.

What was done for me was extraordinarily therapeutic. She let me go through the bad mood. She gave me space to explore the whole thing. What an absolute gift it was. I did get to the bottom of it. I came out the other side feeling a great weight lifted off of my soul. She did for me, what I do for everyone else. I slept really well last night and this morning I woke up in a peaceful place. Thank goodness!

Bad moods happen. Anyone who says they don’t have a bad mood now and again I will call B.S. on. The reason people won’t admit to bad moods is, they are not acceptable. Mmm-hmm, I said it. We don’t like bad moods. First of all they don’t feel good to the person going through it. Second, they don’t feel good to anyone witnessing it, or on the receiving end of it. That is a big problem.

Bad moods, anger, sadness, grief, crankiness, however we want to term the corresponding emotions, are uncomfortable to say the least. They don’t feel, look or sound good. We’ve been taught to hide that from the world. We don’t want to feel them and neither does anyone else. The question is why are bad moods such a taboo issue? Why do we think only happiness and smiles are acceptable? Britton Peters, a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Washington shared that we are “scared of negative feelings because as a society we see these emotions as weak, as making us open to hurt or betrayal from others“. 

We’ve been teaching each other for generations that we are strong when we don’t show those bad emotions. “Walk it off”, “suck it up”, “big boys don’t cry”, “get over it” are just some of the phrases we use. They are demeaning to the person experiencing that emotion. They reinforce the idea that only happiness is a worthy emotion.

I hate to break it to you all, but we are human and all emotions are part of that experience. What we deem as negative emotions are actually a healthy part of the human experience. There is now growing evidence that negative moods, like sadness, have psychological benefits. One research project showed subjects film clips depicting different emotions. After the subjects watched those clips they were tested on cognitive and behavioral tasks. What was found was that those then experiencing a “bad mood” experienced the benefits of better memory, more accurate judgement, more motivation, improved communication and increased fairness. This doesn’t mean we should walk around in a bad mood all the time. It simply indicates that those negative moods actually have healthy benefits for us.

It is time we stop worshipping at the shrine of perpetual happiness. First of all, we just cannot maintain that level of happy with out doing harm to ourselves. Not allowing ourselves to feel these emotions has both short and long-term affects on our health and well-being. “Suppressing your emotions, whether it’s anger, sadness, grief or frustration, can lead to physical stress on your body says provisional clinical psychologist Victoria Tarratt. “We know that it can affect blood pressure, memory and self-esteem.” The long-term affects have been shown to include diabetes and heart disease as well as a 70% increase in risk of a cancer diagnosis. Those are some pretty serious risks to be taking with our health.

Let’s start giving each other the space to feel again. Even better, sit with someone while they go through it. Take the time to just listen. You don’t need to solve their problem. Chances are, they have the answer and will find it as they go through feeling what they feel. If they need help, they’ll ask for it. It may take us all a little time to build trust in each others ability to listen and render aid when asked for. But what a better place we will all be living in when we can help each other weather the storms and return to our safe harbors.

  • If you are experiencing prolonged bouts of sadness you may well be dealing with depression. It is time to reach out to a professional who can help you charter those challenging and sometimes dangerous waters. The following link is a place to start in finding a professional to talk with https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists. (I receive no compensation for sharing this website)
  • If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. Please click on the following line https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/talk-to-someone-now/ or call directly: 800-273-8255

Noise vs. Nature

All the noise, noise, noise, NOISE

Dr. Suess

We don’t do quiet very well anymore. What’s worse is that we don’t even notice how much manmade noise is in the world around us all the time. We wonder why we can’t string a thought together and are easily distracted. It is all the noise jamming up our brains.

I really noticed this issue when I went down to the Dunedin Causeway today to walk. It’s a great way to clear the cobwebs out of my brain and get my creativity going. The problem was, I couldn’t get my zen on. There were cars going by. There were a few people sharing their high decibel bass music from vehicles. People were walking by sharing their phone conversation with everyone. What was missing was the sound of the breeze moving the palm fronds, the water lapping at the shore, the birds chattering to each other. What was missing was the quiet music of the natural world. I’m sure it was still there. I just couldn’t hear it over all the other noise.

I find that when I get out into the natural world (in a place I can actually hear it), everything just calms down. Time slows down for me. So does my heart rate and breathing. My whole nervous system goes into a rest and digest state. Then the magic happens. My brain stops jumping all over the place. I can string coherent thoughts together. Even better is that this overall effect seems to last for quite a while once I head back indoors to get things done. It is amazing what a little time with nature can do for us.

“Research has found that people who spent just two hours per week outside in a natural setting reported greater well-being compared with people who spent less time outdoors.” I already know what you’re thinking. “I don’t have two minutes in a week let alone two hours to be outside!” I get it. Sometimes, most times, I don’t either. Good news! Further studies have shown that listening to recorded natural sounds has the same benefit. Numerous natural sounds were recorded and played in lab settings in 11 different countries. The results were pretty impressive as those who were tested showed a decrease in stress, annoyance and pain. They also showed a great improvement in mood and cognitive testing.

So, when you can get out into nature, take the time for your happiness and health. Even 5 minutes sitting on a deck, park bench, or wherever you can find nature counts. When you can’t get out into nature there are all kinds of natural sound recordings that you can download to any device and just take a few minutes to listen and reset your balance. One of the apps I use is Calm.com. (I am not compensated for sharing their site). There is a free trial. Then there is a monthly subscription. However, there are plenty of other ways to download free natural sounds online. Just type free natural sounds into your device’s search engine. If you like something that will always be available to you then you can purchasing digital albums through sites like Amazon. (Again, not compensated. Just click on that highlighted Amazon you just saw and it will take you to what I found.)

I hope you get some time this week to get quiet and hear nature in some form. I like to check out new places, and so do others. So, go ahead and share your fave spot to get into nature in a comment and in the meantime, enjoy this quick little natural sound video I took:

Lake Valhalla, East Stroudsburg, PA Spring 2021

Just Getting Started!

So, after 15 years as a massage therapist and life coach, it is time to reach out to the world beyond my office! I love helping people uncover their best selves. You know, the person you started out as before everyone told you who, what, how, where and why to be.

Over the years I have found that I can’t fix anyone. But, I can and have provided the information, resources and support that have helped people do what it takes to be the best version of themselves. That great version of you feels good at every level of their being (most days). So good in fact that you enjoy living each day to its fullest as a Happily Healthful you.

Thanks for joining me here at Happily Healthful. This journey may be challenging at times, but it’s going to be an amazing ride! Ready? Let’s get going!

%d bloggers like this: