Bring your life into balance

Empathy works. It always does.


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Giving to others by celebrating your own life

I had my birthday last week.

I carry pain around my birthdays. Not getting the presents I want. Having anxiety that I am not popular enough. Fearing that no one will like my parties. Things like that. It all boils down to the thought that my birthday is a litmus test of how much I am loved, how much I matter. And in the comparison with others I have often felt ashamed, thinking I am indeed not popular, not worthy enough. Dan Greenburg suggests “that if readers have a sincere desire to make life miserable for themselves, they might learn to compare themselves to other people” (Marshall Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication, a Language of Life, p. 18). I have found that absolutely true for me.

Image courtesy to David Nayer

This year was no different, especially since I turned 50, so the thought that I should throw myself a BIG party with many, many people showing up was even stronger.

As anxiety arose, conflict increased, till I finally decided to take off the day before my birthday and focus on self-care.

It was the best thing I could have done for myself. After receiving empathy, listening to my heart’s desire, and nurturing my own needs, I felt peaceful going to bed, thinking “What can I give to others?”. This was a shift from “What should others give to me?” It was too late to make presents, even cards, so I let the question go, just appreciating the shift and this new intention.

I woke up delighted with my life and my birthday. I put on my new dress, an orange crown, and indulged in the phone calls, emails, messages, cards, and friends showing up. I had a big smile on my face all day. It turned out that the biggest gift I could give others was my joy, and my celebration of life, especially my own. And in giving to others, I gave to myself.


You want help to share your delight about your life with others? Contact me for a free, discovery session. I would be delighted to help, 512-589-0482.


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Mara pays me a visit

Mara brought me a visit today. Right during meditation.

He usually does that. I don’t know how he knows when I’m gonna sit -my schedule is rather erratic- but he knows. As if he is around the corner, waiting for me to ring the bell, then barge into my room, pull up a chair, and talk right in my face. Rather loudly too. I never understood how my husband sleeps through his barking, but he does.

Image courtesy to lennemi.files.wordpress.comMara rants in a non-stop stream of words: “You should do butterflies to transform your pain, not this stupid chunking along with your plans. You’re too attached to your ego, you don’t live from your heart. You’re not funny enough, your website doesn’t have nearly as much humor as your sister’s. You’re not giving enough, you don’t really love from your heart, serving without attachment or expectation.”

A constant cascade of words that undermine my self-confidence, self-acceptance, and self-compassion.

This time it’s different. I remember how Mara threw arrows at Buddha, and how Buddha transformed each of them into flowers.

Mara is just doing what he is supposed to do: to create a world of illusion, of suffering, of despair. Nothing wrong with that. We each have a role to play, and Mara is playing his to the best of his abilities. There would not be any mindfulness, any compassion, if it were not for the suffering in the world.

No mud, no lotus.Image courtesy to a3.urbancdn.com

All I need to do is to bring my awareness back to my breath, my thoughts, my feelings.

Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.

Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.

In.

Out.

Breathing in, I know I have feelings of loneliness, sadness, shame in me.

Breathing out, I smile to the feelings of loneliness, sadness, shame in me.

Breathing in, I know I have seeds of solidity and peace in me.

Breathing out, I smile to the seeds of solidity and peace in me.

I look at Mara. He looks rather cute on the tiny, red seahorse chair. “Hey friend, thank you for visiting me. I would love to hear what you have to say. I’ll listen to you after my sit.”

Breathing in, I know I have unconditional love in me.

Breathing out, I smile to the unconditional love in me.


 

You want help to smile to all your thoughts, feelings, and sensations? Contact me for a free, discovery session. I would be delighted to help, 512-589-0482.


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Do the request dance

What does this guy want from you? He tells you all this stuff about what he saw and heard, how he felt, and what he wants: belonging. Great. Now what?! He wants you to drag him along to all your friends and social events? He wants you to tell him what a great guy he is? He wants you to set him up for a blind date?

Ever felt lost when someone tells you their feelings and needs? Ever had a sense of ‘what do I have to do about that?’

Nonviolent Communication is a great help to empathize with requests, especially the ones that aren’t made. “Hey, are you asking if you can come for lunch with me and my friends?” (after maybe a silence, a moment of self-connection, and acceptance that that is actually what he was asking) “Yes, I would like that.”

Astaire-Hayworth-dancing, Image courtesy to WikipediaThis is the first step in the request dance. Now that you heard what he wants, you check in with yourself to see which needs would be met and unmet if you say ‘yes’ to this request. You realize that you wanted to work on a project with your friends during lunch. Having this guy come along might interfere with that. On the other hand, you get that he doesn’t want to eat alone. You wouldn’t like that either, if you were new to town. So, on the one hand you have needs for collaboration and forward movement, on the other hand, you have needs inclusion and support for his sense of belonging. So what might work for all the needs on the table?

If you can come up with that, you took the second step in the request dance. It is your ‘yes, and’-moment, the skill of building on each other’s ideas. “How about this: you come along with us for lunch, and let us work on this project for the first ten minutes, then we talk about whatever comes up?” “Sure, I might even be able to pitch in some ideas, I have been a project manager for seven years.” “Cool, let’s go.”

He might also have a ‘yes, and-moment’, building on your suggestion: “What about I make two phone calls, while you guys work on your project, then I join for the remainder of the lunch.” Third step. You can take as many steps as you want, till you feel satisfied with your result in the relationship.

Tedious? Maybe. Efficient and sustainable? Yes. 95% Guarantee that you’ll come up with solutions that address all the needs, increase a sense of understanding, and deepen your relationship.

You want help to take the first steps in the request dance? Contact me for a free, discovery session. I would be delighted to help, 512-589-0482.