Do You See What I See? (Warning: Graphic Content)

“Thank you to the driver in the car behind me who let me stop safely on the side of the road – although dangerously abrupt (without using my signals). You were watching out for me.”

I couldn’t let the cat die all alone in the middle of the road.  I needed to at least hold him in my arms.

I keep my eyes peeled on the road when I drive at night.  I know how easy it is for animals to dash out unexpectedly and with little warning. I saw the reflection of ‘his’ eyes and his long legs carrying him with great strides across the single lane busy road.  I watched with gripping fear realizing what was about to happen as he almost made it to the other side. I wished the driver of the other vehicle had hit their breaks.  Even a minimal reduction in speed could have made a difference. I don’t think the other driver saw what I saw.

I see animals dead on the road every single day of my life.  It’s a facet of where I live and the fact that we (society) have constantly encroached on nature.  I silently say my prayer each time: “I ask that their soul be returned up to God and healed”.  That is my prayer.

In the moments when it is unfolding, I am calm. My heart aches for what we don’t see – the fragile state of life – and how in an instant, life becomes death.

As I ran out to ‘him’, the road mysteriously ‘clear’ and empty of all traffic – I knew it would only be moments before more cars travelled towards us – perhaps also not seeing what was before them.  I saw his body convulsing, almost ‘jumping’ as he writhed in insurmountable pain.  I picked him up gently and held him in my arms.  I felt his body stop moving and become still as I walked quickly away from the middle of the road.  And then, only moments later, I felt one last heart beat.  It was powerful and strong.  I felt it simultaneously in my own body; like the beat was shared between us both.  Then nothing.

Every moment is precious.  We waste so many moments in unproductive ways. Scrolling through spam emails; being angry when we could be loving instead; holding unkind or even hateful thoughts about our self or others.  We often don’t see nor live realizing the preciousness of each moment.

Please consider how special each moment has the potential to be.  Contemplate how much control you have by choosing your reaction, your response, your words.  Please see the importance of each moment.  Please realize how your actions: ‘awake’ or ‘sleepwalking’ through life, affects the lives of other living beings.

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Winter Blues… A CBT Approach for Treatment

THREE STEPS TO BANISHING WINTER BLUES…  f o r e v e r

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression, winter blues, seasonal depression and… (did you know?) summertime sadness, is a mood disorder subset of seasonal patterns in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter (or summer).[1]

For those living in North America as well as other Northern Hemisphere countries, seasonal affective disorder is most prevalent during the winter months.  In efforts to avoid the cold and dampness, we tend to remain indoors for most of the day, venturing outside more out of necessity than pleasure.  Typically a season of reduced activity, we are affected by the shorter days (with less total sunlight) and an increased innate desire for rest and sleep.  We also forget how vital it is to breathe fresh air by being outside and in nature on a regular basis as part of what allows us to feel better.

Despite the inevitable climate and weather conditions affecting us during the winter months, I believe that there is an even greater contributing factor to our state of lethargy, low affect, and to feeling unmotivated and depressed.  Our environment and climate are important contributing factors, but there is a human element that plays an important role in whether we get excited about what the winter can offer, OR despondent and depressed.

“How you think about the weather (or anything else in life) affects your overall mood state.”  – dorothy ratusny

To help you best strategize in those moments when you are feeling the winter blues “effects”, begin with some simple questions.

Ask yourself, “What was I just thinking?”  “What am I saying to myself right now?” or “What are my thoughts?”

Your thoughts determine how you feel.  Your actions (what you do or don’t do) are fuelled by how you feel. This Cognitive Therapy principle is the same for all of us.

Thoughts -> Feelings -> Behaviours

As the busyness and fun of the year end holidays come to a close, you’re left with the reality of what your life truly is at this moment.  If there are some major issues that you’ve been avoiding, or if you’ve been increasingly unhappy with your life, it’s natural to feel a dip in your overall mood state once you return to your daily routine and are faced with the same challenges that you’ve had some reprieve from.

Typical life events – including responsibilities, bills, and a hectic schedule that perhaps leaves little time for fun and pure enjoyment, can cause negative” feelings (e.g. anxiety, worry, sadness – even hopelessness) that seem to come out of nowhere. Many people cope by finding new distractions to avoid feeling unhappy.  We can busy ourselves with other activities, a demanding work life, or the temporary escape of a winter getaway; but in doing so, we never really address the deeper issues – the origin – of our current unhappy state.

For most of us, its difficult to sit still and contemplate our unhappiness.  As we feel waves of anxiety, dread, or sadness, our instinct is to immediately “stop” these feelings.  We don’t always understand from where our feelings originate, making it difficult to address the cause or origin.  Our initial reaction if we don’t know how to make ourselves ‘feel better’, is to ignore or avoid what we feel in hopes that this will somehow make our sad or anxious feelings go away.  The moment we stop doing whatever has made us “busy” in order to distract us from how we feel, the sadness, anxiety (or any other uncomfortable feeling) returns.  Each time we suppress or avoid how we truly feel, we become further disconnected from understanding the real problem – and the cause of our unhappiness.

I remind clients that feeling sad only persists when we avoid looking at what thoughts caused us to feel sad.  Our sadness may be related to a temporary situation which will resolve itself either with our efforts and initiative or as a result of other events that unfold naturally. If the sadness we feel is related to our feelings about who we are, and the state of our life, then its important that we address whatever is causing us to feel unhappy.  If we can use the same Cognitive Therapy Principles whether for seasonal affective disorder, or any other type of low grade sadness (and other uncomfortable emotions), then we have a means of feeling better. Identifying your thoughts is like uncovering the source of your unhappiness.  What you tell yourself (whether true or untrue) is what you believe.

If you’re feeling discouraged, unhappy, or hopeless with the state of your life, it’s because your life doesn’t accurately reflect what you truly want. (Interestingly enough, your life currently DOES reflect what you believe and what you’ve been thinking about most – including what you fear).  When clients describe feeling unhappy with aspects of their life and with who they are, I remind them of the power of their conscious thought. What you consistently tell yourself is the truth behind the reality that you are living.

We all need to choose our thoughts carefully.

Who you are and how you live life is based on your thoughts and beliefs.  When you feel the ‘Winter Blues’ or sadness in general, pay attention to your state of mind.  Are you focusing on what you don’t yet have or what you want most?  Are you focusing on what you don’t yet see or have in front of you? Most importantly, are you ruminating about your current life situation and the aspects of yourself you are unhappy about, which in the very next moment effectively becomes the past and beyond your control?

The following STRATEGIES are MOST effective for banishing the Winter Blues.  These strategies are based on applying the Cognitive Therapy (CBT) principles that have been proven to be MOST effective in alleviating sadness and any other uncomfortable emotion.  Please remember, this is an approach that you need to use in order for it to work. Be prepared that you will need to pay attention to your thoughts (the internal dialogue of what you say to yourself) far more than you are used to.  Like any other skill that you acquire with practice, attention to your thoughts allows you to reap the benefits of changing how you feel. You can only change your thoughts once you become aware of what it is that you are telling yourself.

In a recent study, Cognitive therapy (CBT) was found to be more effective at treating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) than light therapy (a standard and well proven method of treatment).  In fact, CBT was significantly better at preventing relapse in future winters, the study found. Led by University of Vermont psychology professor Kelly Rohan, the research initiative, funded by a $2 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, is the first large scale study to examine light therapy’s effectiveness over time.

“Light therapy is a palliative treatment, like blood pressure medication, that requires you to keep using the treatment for it to be effective,” said Rohan. “Adhering to the light therapy prescription upon waking for 30 minutes to an hour every day for up to five months in dark states can be burdensome,” she said.

The study showed that, by the second winter, only 30 percent of light therapy subjects were still using the equipment.

Cognitive-behavior therapy, by contrast, is a preventive treatment, Rohan said. Once SAD sufferers learn its basic skills it has enduring impact, giving the person a sense of control over their symptoms.

STEP ONE: Decide how YOU want to be, and also what you want for your ideal life.  Begin with what you know right now.  You can always add to your ‘desire’ list as you decide more of what you want.

In STEP ONE I encourage you to carve out ‘alone time’ to be quiet and introspective.  Make a list of what you want for your life and how you want to be (based on what you know now). I encourage clients to call this list: ‘WHO AM I BECOMING?’  This list reflects the person (and the life) that you have  always wanted but perhaps did not truly believe it was possible.  As you identify a list that yields the definition of your ideal self (and your ideal life), you now have a destination that you can begin moving towards.  Being committed to your WHO AM I BECOMING? list helps you to be accountable and to make healthy ‘right’ decisions that will support what you desire most.

We feel a chronic yet low grade level of sadness and a growing disconnection from our SELF if we have been avoiding looking at what needs changing, and then doing the necessary work to make our life (and our self) what we truly want.

Contemplating what it would require to fix your life – making it what you really want when you’ve been living unhappily for so long – can seem largely overwhelming.  When I work with clients, a first step is to help them become  c l e a r  about their goals and desires.  It means examining who they currently are, and what they need to do (hence the “WHO AM I BECOMING?” list) in order to feel better.  If you begin by practising self-honesty as you define what you really want (even when you don’t know all of the steps involved in getting where you want to be), the results are largely positive. Part of the sadness that we feel at different times in our life (and not only as Winter Blues) is due to the lack of clarity about what we truly want.  STEP ONE is about getting clear and stating what you desire most.

STEP TWO: With clarity about what you want, begin to move towards this using well defined ACTION STEPS.

Create action steps for each of your highest level (the biggest, all-encompassing) goals.  This will help to make the goals manageable as ‘steps’ and it outlines the practical need for daily work in the ‘here and now’ as you stay focused on the bigger picture.  Action steps also remind you that every decision you make beginning with NOW will either bring you closer to or further away from your highest ideals.

Notice how much better you begin to feel when you have a clear plan in place of how you will be different including what you are prepared to do towards this.wwwlauradbeancom

STEP THREE can be a ‘mind bender’.  It requires that you keep up both STEPS ONE and TWO while b e l i e v i n g that you already are living the life that you desire most; and that you already are the person that you most want to be.  I love this part!

STEP THREE is about believing in what you can’t fully see yet.  It truly is an act of manifesting.

STEP THREE is the practise of seeing and believing in what you truly want even though it is not (yet) visible to you in the physical world.  It’s about never giving up on what you want; rather – consistently taking the steps towards your highest ideals and goals (and trusting that they are coming to you as long as you still desire them).  Being consistently clear about what it is you desire AND living your life as if it were already what you want is the STEP that most of us have trouble with.  And yet, its one of the most powerful things that we can do to bring what we truly want into our lives – and quickly!

Each strategy comprised as “steps” is based in CBT principles (together with the Universal Laws that govern manifesting).  And what I am sharing – really works!  It’s important that you begin with a closer look at your existing ‘self-talk’ (to see what is in part causing your unhappiness), and then focus on what you really want for your life rather than what you don’t yet see or have.  The THREE STEPS as I have defined them here are a way of  l i v i n g  life.  It isn’t a one-time formula but a practical way of being.  These strategies help you understand the power of your mind and how you need to be consciously aware of what you tell yourself.

Finding one or more of these steps a challenge? Unsure of what you want? Feeling stuck in how to move forward even though you know what you ideal self looks like?  Let me be of help. To be in touch or to work with me, please contact me at: [email protected]  Thankyou!!

  1. For a full read of the published study on the superior effects of CBT in the treatment of SAD, click the link above or visit: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151105084516.htm
  2. Understanding why Nature makes us Feel Better  http://blog.nature.org/science/2015/05/22/science-nature-emotion-affect-feel-better/
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How do you ‘Father’?

Father (v): the action and behaviours of being a male parent

Warning: The following subject matter is intense…its meant to rouse and awaken you – to think about your role as Father….differently.

However you came to decide that you wanted to be a father (and for some I understand that this may not have been something that you consciously chose), you will likely have never imagined just how it would change you.  And yet, the life experiences that we embrace fully – with open awareness – allow us to reap the benefits of so much growth, understanding, joy, and knowledge.

 

For Fathers…

Consider what it means to you TO BE a father.  Be honest with yourself about how you father, what you do to deepen your relationship with your children, and what you are teaching them through your actions, words and beliefs.  ‘Fathering’ (like Mothering) is how we teach, nurture, empower, and love.  We do this through the examples of who we are – and not just by telling others ….how to be.

I see the potential in each man to be a better father than they already are, beginning with being a better human being.  I am interested in learning whether men who are fathers see their lifelong “role” as a gift (and an opportunity to never rest on their laurels, to always be committed to being the best that they can be; and to admit to themselves – and others – when they can be better).

I invite you to answer eight of the most compelling questions that you could ask of yourself as a father.  

Then, use your answers of truth to guide you – to blaze a new path; one that reminds you that your role as ‘father’ is one that is so largely dependant on who you are.  

“There are many ways to father beyond the act of procreation.”

 

Below is my list of questions for Fathers: biological, step, adoptive, and those who role model fatherhood as surrogate by “fathering” their niece, nephew, partner’s children, and younger siblings.

Answering these questions in written form allows you to gather your thoughts in a clear and concise way; to put extra effort and energy into delving a little deeper inside yourself … and for revealing t r u t h.  These eight questions might just change the way you think of your self as a father – and it may make all the difference between the relationship that you currently have with any or all of your children, and the relationship that you could yet have – and likely the one you secretly wish for.

*A Helpful Suggestion as you begin: The questions and comments in parenthesis are meant to help support and explain the meaning of the primary question.  They too may be answered.

 

Question One: HOW do you father? (What do you do, say, role model, believe in, teach, learn about, etc that depicts what you do as a ‘father’?)

Question Two: What do you see as your responsibilities as a father? Do you do them? (Think about your answer from the timeline of when your children were newborns, as young children, and at their current age. Do you continue to have responsibilities as a ‘father’ if your children are adults? What are these responsibilities?  Do you carry them out?)

Question Three: What are the rewards of fatherhood?  (What do you do that allows you to be “good” at fathering?)

Question Four: What does it mean to you to be a father? (What is the bigger meaning for you in being a father?) e.g. It means that I AM….

Question Five: What have you learned (about yourself) from your role as a father?

Question Six: If you could change anything about the way you fathered based on what you know now – how would it be and WHY?

Question Seven: What have you learned about being a father from your relationship with your father?

Question Eight: What have your kids taught you about being a better father? (and a better person).  + Part two: Do you follow through on what you have learned?

 

Yes these are deep questions.  Yes they require work and reflection that is harder than simply opening a card or gift.  Deep questions always open you to your truth – if you allow it.  If you feel a resistance to answering any of these questions, you may want to reflect on “why”?  For example, What would hold you back from being forthright and honest with yourself about one of the most significant roles of your life?

Without revealing the truth to yourself, there cannot be the possibility of lasting change, authentic growth, closer relationships, and true understanding…

It’s also never too late to become better at who you are….

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10 Ways that Meditation Heals YOU

The secrets of meditation were originally shrouded in secrecy out of respect for, and even in fear of, their innate power. The ancient yoga masters guarded these secrets as they believed that this spiritual power has the capacity to corrupt and that it would be disastrous for the wrong person to learn these secrets. Therefore, these advanced meditations were only made available to disciples proven to have pure hearts. Even today there are different schools of thought for teaching meditation. It remains important for you to find a teacher that you feel a comfortable confidence in, and that teaches meditation as a spiritual practice in a way that resonates with your beliefs and values.

While I teach Mindfulness Meditation, Transcendental Meditation, and Medical Meditation (which uses specific breathing patterns, postures and movements, particular mantras, and a unique mental focus). I have also developed a type of meditation that teaches you how to open your seventh chakra and to be aware of the universal divine intelligence flowing through you in all moments. This form of meditation I have named, “Divya Prajna”: the Sanskrit words for: DIVINE WISDOM. This type of Meditation teaches you how to harness the universal consciousness to access Divine Wisdom and Truth.

Whenever I teach meditation, I use some or all of these different types of Mediation mentioned above, in order to accomplish the effects of healing and awakening, opening you to a deeper experience of yourself as a being of energy. You may check out some of my guided meditations by visiting: https://soundcloud.com/dorothyratusny or

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3ierJvf7b8y5xOHzqgwC6g

Breathing is an integral element of Meditation. Breath awareness with intention is both the primary ‘action’ and ‘benefit’ of meditation.

1. Deep, controlled, rhythmic breathing helps heal as it shifts the body out of the ‘fight-flight-flee’ response that occurs quite automatically when we experience “stress”.

Why is this important? When stress is not balanced by relaxation techniques such as meditation, it operates far too often in the sympathetic mode (the ‘fight-flight’- or flee’ mode) pulling energy away from your immune system and away from the various recovery mechanisms that promote healing. Over time, this destroys the body. Prevailing illnesses strike, viruses spread, bacteria proliferate, and the glands and organs of the ‘fight-flight-and flee’ response become exhausted. The heart may begin to beat erratically. The endocrine glands that provide youth and zest degenerate. Muscles begin to ache. Symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue may appear. Aging sets in. Illness occurs. Deep, controlled, rhythmic breathing done with conscious attention can reprogram your autonomic nervous system (the system responsible for these involuntary actions). Simple breathing exercises which include frequent attention to ‘proper’ diaphragmatic breathing – can be done in minutes throughout the day, both as a way of building-in the benefits of the healing, rest-and-repair parasympathethic mode of the autonomic nervous system but also to shift out of the ‘fight-flight-flee’ mode that you were previously in.

2. The calming hormones melatonin and serotonin are increased by meditation, and the stress hormone cortisol is decreased.

3. People who meditate consistently for the ‘long-term’ experience 80 percent less heart disease and 50 percent less cancer than “non” meditators.

4. 75 percent of insomniacs were able to sleep normally when they meditated.

5. Mindfulness Meditation has been proven in studies to decrease panic attacks, decrease general anxiety, reduce levels of chronic pain, reduce incidence of headaches, improve response rates to drug and alcohol addiction treatment, and reduce obesity.

6. Transcendental Meditation (based on approximately 600 ongoing studies, many in peer-reviewed journals since the mid-70s) has been proven to achieve the following:
* Reduction of anxiety
* Reduction of chronic pain
* Lowered levels of cortisol (a stress hormone)
* Increase in cognitive function
* Reduction of substance abuse
* Lowered blood pressure
* Improvement in post-traumatic stress syndrome
* Reduction in use of medical care and hospitalization

7. Another fascinating study of Transcendental Meditation was one that measured biological age – how old a person is physiologically rather than chronologically. Determinants included blood pressure, vision and hearing. Participants who had been doing Transcendental Meditation for five or more years were physiologically twelve years younger than their non-meditating counterparts. Even the short-term participants were physiologically five years younger than the controls.

8. People who meditate regularly secrete more of youth-related hormone DHEA as they age than those who do not meditate. DHEA (a natural hormone believed to be an effective marker of a person’s biological age; is claimed to enhance immunity, memory, neural functioning, combat osteoporosis and atherosclerosis, and cancer. Meditating 45 yr-old males have an average of 23 percent more DHEA than non-meditators, and meditating females have an average of 47 percent more DHEA. This helps slow aging, increase longevity and strengthen the immune system, decreases stress, improve memory, preserve sexual function, and contol weight.

9. Meditation creates a unique hypometabolic state, in which the metabolism is in an even deeper state of rest than during sleep. During sleep, oxygen consumption drops by 8 percent, but during Meditation, oxygen consumption drops by 10 to 20 percent.

10. Meditation is the ONLY ACTIVITY that reduces blood lactate, a marker of stress and anxiety.

And some further interesting antidotes on the amazing benefits of Meditation and Breath:
* In Asian cultures, it is believed that the rhythm of breath is mankind’s own signature vibration, which unites man with the vibratory force of the universe. Modern Asian yogis have stated that the vibration of human breath interlocks the finite magnetic field of humankind with the infinite magnetic field of the universe. The ebb and flow of breath is seen as a link to the motions and tides of the entire cosmos, outside our bodies, and within our bodies.

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The debilitating truth about blame…

Blame is a powerful deflection from self-examination and self-responsibility.

 

Blame is a wonderful excuse for not needing to change – and for continuing to convince yourself that you are “right” and others are “wrong”.

 

Blame keeps you from experiencing the truth, an opportunity for growth, and the realization that no one can “make you feel” a certain way (since we often blame others for ‘how’ we feel). How you feel is always determined by what you tell yourself (aka: your thoughts).

 

Blame keeps you a prisoner of your self-induced anger, fear, and anxiety. It keeps you far removed from the closeness and connection that you could have with loved ones and others.

 

Whenever you feel the urge to blame someone or something for what has happened “to you”, look instead at yourself – with honesty and truth. What have you ‘done’ or ‘not done’ that has contributed to where you are right now? What would have been some better choices? What will you do now to make a change for the better?

 

Sometimes clients rage in my presence. They are frustrated, fed up, angry, aggressive and at times they have explosive outbursts that are difficult to contain. At the core of their outbursts is often some form of blame. They blame others or some external event for their misfortune in life; convinced that they have little or no control in whatever has “happened to them”, what situation they currently find themselves in, or what will become of their future.

You will remain in a state of angst (inner turmoil, hopelessness, and sadness) for as long as you continue to look outside of yourself for the reasons that you feel the way you do. For as long as you continue to blame, you will perpetuate negative thoughts and feelings (e.g. helplessness, anxiety, anger, resentment etc.,) rather than see a situation as an opportunity for learning and growth, and becoming more (in whatever way more translates into something better). You will continue to feel immobilized by your current situation as long as you convince yourself that others are the cause of this, and that there is little or nothing that you can do but endure, rather than take control of your life by being in charge of what you need to do to make things better.

 

One path is destructive and limiting: causing suffering, grief and despair. The other path is one of learned resilience, confidence building, and self-actualization through reliance and faith in one’s ‘self’.

When we blame others, we are not looking at our own actions; nor taking responsibility for how we feel. Blaming external events or others deflects any attempt to examine why we feel the way we do and in turn, to examine our biased perceptions of a situation. The two most important questions that you could ask yourself when you are caught in a position of helplessness because of whatever has happened is: “How do I want to feel?” Next you need to ask, “What do I need to do in order to feel this way?”

The quickest way to eradicate blame is to be proactive – to be in control of what you will do to fix, change, or improve the situation – and to begin a path towards this. Still, how do we get caught in a cycle of helplessness about our life – and who we are? What is it that causes us to give away all of our power by making ‘someone’ or ‘something’ the total cause of our experience? ….and hence our ability to thrive?

Ask yourself: “What earlier life experiences taught me that I have little or no control over my life path, how I feel, or who I become?”

Decide to change your earlier belief system. Know that for whatever you feel and what happens is either a direct cause of your thought process or your actions (your actions perpetuate a chain of events that brings you to where you are now, as does your repetitive thoughts). Yes, events occur all of the time that are unexpected and at times, incredibly traumatic. Yet, everything in life has meaning. How you react to what happens (to you) is within your control.

The fact is that every experience is (pre)determined by how we think – and how we perceive / witness / examine / and interpret what has happened.

 

Learn to question all of what you were taught to believe. Instead, examine each situation as unique and different.  Examine your part in whatever “happens to you” including your thoughts and actions towards creating the outcome that you are living right now.

With blame, nobody wins. You end up making someone else “wrong” or “not good enough” – and judging them unfairly which affects your treatment of them. When you blame yourself, you can easily become caught up in a cycle of self-loathing rather than constructively look within to see your part in what has caused this situation – feeling – or behavior – and at what you need to do instead. There is learning in self-awareness. Blame – even towards one’s self – keeps you from focusing on proactive change.

 

If your well ingrained habit is to blame external factors or people for how you feel and what happens to you, that’s your cue to turn the finger directed outward – onto yourself. (Not in self blame but in awareness and understanding). See what it is that you have done to create your existing reality. Even when something happens that you have absolutely no control over and you did not want – you still have the power to choose how you feel, think, and live …in spite of what ‘has happened’.

I use the phrase, “This too is for good” to help bring to light the idea that everything that happens has a greater purpose and if you can believe it is always for good…then perhaps it is only a matter of time before you see with your eyes that whatever has ‘happened’ has led to something inevitably – better. For nothing is truly bad unless we make it so.

So please consider what damage you create through blame. Start seeing everything that happens in your life as a ‘teaching’, a ‘life lesson’ meant to aid and help you along your path, or an opportunity for personal growth and greater awareness.

In therapy (as in life itself), clients can become emotionally charged in a matter of milliseconds – reacting to what has just been said or asked of them long before they realize ‘why’ they reacted as they did. Clients may look to the therapist as the point of blame; as the one who said something to offend them or hurt their feelings; or perhaps is “judging them” – especially if a client is being asked to look at a particular problematic situation or behavior which evokes feelings of uneasiness, vulnerability, or shame.

In therapy, I will ask you to examine yourself in ways that you have not done before. The socratic questions asked of you are meant for you to explore your current situation and yourself specifically in a different way. Sometimes you will be asked or challenged to look at what causes you to feel uneasy, vulnerable, or shameful. The point is not to “make you” feel badly, but to examine what needs attention and change in order for you to feel better, to correct a situation or ongoing pattern of behavior, to strengthen self-esteem, and/or to heal a reoccurring conflict that is affecting your relationships with others.

Take control back. If you are blaming others or external events for your current state of unhappiness, you are giving up your control to fix a situation or improve yourself.

If you feel hopeless or defeated, or if you believe that you are resigned to the current circumstances of your life, then you need to take a closer look at where you are directing your ‘locus of control’. Do you believe that your happiness is dependant on what happens to you, or are you aware of your ability to choose your reaction to what happens (thereby being in control of how you feel at all times)?

Similarly, if you continue to rage, venting your displeasure at what you are unhappy with yet unwilling to look at your part in why you continue to feel this way, you will continue to suffer.

This inhibits emotional growth. It actually keeps you stuck in ‘reactive’ mode; quick to get fired up when people ‘anger you’ or if life throws you a curve ball (a flat tire, a bill you weren’t expecting, or when someone says or does something that hurts you).  If you are quick to react, lash out, become enraged, or go quiet in the silence of suffering, the never ending cycle of unhappiness continues. “A prisoner of our own self-induced pain” is what I call it.

Many would say that a person needs to be ready in order to make changes to their life and to who they are. Indeed this is true. Yet readiness must also exist in the desire to move out of one’s own “suffering”; to see that change and happiness is really driven by our desire and through action. We cannot blame others for the way we feel nor how we act and react in different situations. We cannot blame others for what happens ‘to us’ but rather we can examine our thoughts and assumptions – and our prevailing attitude – and be willing to seek out different ways of looking at everything.

Which brings us full circle to the practical method of therapy and its socratic questioning as a way of helping clients examine their lives and who they are – in different and more honest ways then how they have previously.

Blame keeps you in a state of suffering. Willingness to look within for what you can do to change your personal situation or aspects of yourself will always be met with answers, growth, and the freedom that comes with discovering just how much control you do have over your life and in who you decide to become.

 

 

A final note: While I cannot and do not speak for other therapists and how they approach the delivery of therapy as a modality of healing, I can say that my approach and the careful purpose of my questions is intuitively driven. When you are wholly present to the person(s) in front of you in order to seek to understand, acknowledge, and empathize their experience as best as you can by remaining engaged, and intentional in your delivery of help, you allow for a highly instinctive and organic process to unfold. While I am trained in several models of psychotherapy, my job is to ask clients questions that will help them think differently about their particular problem or issue. The idea here is that you as a client are the best source of knowledge for how to fix your situation or problematic behavior. What I simply do is help you become clear and self-honest, so that your inner wisdom may easily be accessed; and what you hear yourself say (which at times will surprise you) will be exactly what you intuitively know you need to do.

Blame me or someone else for how you are feeling and where you are in life….or look deeper within yourself. See how you got here, why you feel the way you do – and take back your personal power. Reclaim your ‘self’ by taking the steps to make your life (and yourself) far better.

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What Parenting IS…

Parenting is the most important “role” you might ever have next to living as your Authentic s e l f.  It can also be the most rewarding experience of your life if you have the means to parent in a healthy way based on your conscious intention to raise a child in a way that nourishes them and allows them to know their inherent greatness so that they can soar in life.

 

So when a client is seeking strategies and guidance to help improve and nurture their parent-child relationship, I feel blessed: I am able to help BOTH the parent AND their child (who will inevitably benefit from what new ways of thinking and being that their parent is now putting into action).

 

PARENTING IS MODELLING HOW TO BE AN INCREDIBLE HUMAN BEING

When a child acts out inappropriately, one of the most curious things I sometimes hear parents say is: “I have no idea where they learned that from?” I would just like to remind parents everywhere that ….. A CHILD IS A MIRROR OF THEIR PARENTS.

 

To ensure that your child is well behaved and well-adjusted, look to how YOU think and behave in the world.

 

If you want to improve your child’s behaviour, begin with your own. Children do (say, and believe) exactly what they see you do and say. They believe (even if it is with reservation) what you show and teach them, until some later time when they are learning and discovering ‘other’ ways of thinking and being that they may change their beliefs according what to what greater knowledge they possess.  In the meantime, your children learn by example. It’s that simple. They watch you as the parent and model what words, mannerisms, behaviours and ethics (morals and values) they observe of you. Period.

The other thing that I remind parents of: “It’s never too late to change how you are if you want your child to behave differently.”

 

Parenting has virtually no ‘formal’ training, no mandatory education, no need for writing any ‘exams’ attaining licensing, accreditation, or ongoing training. We need permits, permission, and licenses to fish, drive a motorized vehicle, or to build an addition onto our existing home – yet there are no definitive requirements needed to become a parent.  Do we perhaps prepare ourselves in the right ways for all that parenting demands of us?

 

How you parent is primarily how you were parented. Often unconsciously, you use the same methods and teaching styles as your parents did without realizing the cycle is repeating itself. At times, you may observe yourself saying and doing what your parents did, and perhaps what you vowed you would never do. Parenting is inevitably reactionary at times, and so without conscious awareness and deliberate contemplation, you say and do what you know is not reflective of what you want your children to learn.

 

Without conscious awareness of how you want to be as the major source of influence on your child’s future, you as a parent will likely struggle to learn from your mistakes (provided you are aware of them) rather than from deciding in advance of having children how you will think and behave in various and different situations and more importantly, who YOU are as a person.

 

If you want to be a great parent, and/or to have a better existing relationship with your child (regardless of their age), begin by making changes to how you are.  To focus on changing your child’s behaviour while you continue to do all of the things that have contributed to or caused emotional and psychological hurts, a betrayal of trust, and feelings of low self-worth – will only alienate your child further.

 

I help parents heal the painful experiences of their own childhood (of which they themselves were mistreated, neglected, verbally, emotionally or physically abused, repeatedly showered with a barrage of hurtful words, and in some instances unprotected from sexual predators (who co-existed undetected until it was too late). “Healing” means whatever is needed to help a client (parent) repair their own psychological and emotional hurts and traumas that have continued to haunt them long after the initial injustice. “Healing” means a facilitated journey that allows for a better understanding of what happened without necessarily blaming their parents or caregivers but finding comfort and safety in validating their experiences, while finding resolution through fixing, eliminating, correcting, forgiving the past in lieu of making forward strives of self-empowerment, healthy self-esteem, and reclaiming one’s childhood.*

 

*(And despite how all of this may sound difficult or daunting it really isn’t once you the parent seeks to heal your past, knowing that it will continue to affect how you parent your children if you don’t).

 

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The most significant thing any parent could do (ideally before they become a parent) is to heal their own past. To do the work that YOU need in order to heal your past begins with a close look at who you currently are.

 

Parents don’t set out to make mistakes, repeat old patterns, or continually avoid looking at themselves FIRST as an important reason for why there are problems in their parent-child relationships. Placed in an automatic position of authority, power, and having all of the right answers, parents tend to believe that “the teachings” go only one way. The truth in fact is that parents learn so much from their children about how to be a better person and a better parent, than they likely ever give their children credit for.

 

Some questions for parents to ponder:

What mannerisms and behaviours are you showing your children that you would you never want the world to see?

What situations from your childhood caused you grief, that you would never want your children to experience?

 

 

We do so much more than create life when we birth or adopt a child (“Creating life” is equally important for parents who adopt child – who is now given ‘a new’ life by being ‘gifted’ to you, AND a child that is biological to you). We instill in our children all of the fears, insecurities, self-doubts, mental and emotional instability and in some cases – genetic disposition to illness, that we suffer with.

The good news is that we can also instill in our children all of the grace, love, high moral conduct, self-esteem, self-worth, kindness, consideration, honesty, and perseverance that we are – as long as we are this.

 

And finally, consider that all children are born “perfect”. All that we need to do as parents is allow them to thrive in the world with love and positive role modelling. We don’t need to make great strides towards changing them to be more alike us, or simply different than they are if they are different from how we want them to be.

Your child is a product of you. You need to take much responsibility in making yourself a product of love.

 

It’s okay to seek help to become better  – as a parent AND as a human being…. because to do so will only give your child a greater possibility to thrive in the world than what you have taught them so far.

 

The only way we retrain ourselves to be different from how we were raised and what we learned through observing our caregivers is to be consciously aware – to realize how we are and to see that this is not an ideal way in which to be. Through conscious awareness we become what we choose to be, and we will always choose the highest ideal that we believe is possible.

To believe in more you need to heal your past and the damaging beliefs and stories that you have been told, and that you continue to believe.

As a parent, be the best role model for your child – first.  The rest is built on how you lead by example as you exhibit unconditional love and support of their healthy development.  Encourage their need to be who they are while you focus on being the best version of yourself that you can imagine possible.  Parenting is a powerful reason to want to improve who you are.

 

– Dorothy

 

I’d love to hear from you!  

What has been the two most valuable teachings that you have ‘learned’ from being a parent?

 

What’s the one piece of advice that your parent taught you that has helped you immensely in parenting your children?

 

Leave your comments for me below or email me directly at: [email protected]

Thankyou!!!

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Why do couples ‘fall’ OUT OF LOVE?

The SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT REASON why couples fall out of love?

“They NO LONGER acknowledge how incredible their partner is.”

 

When did you start focusing on your partner’s “faults” instead of praising their strengths and their greatness? Ironically, its their strengths and their redeeming character that you “chose” them for in the first place.  

 

You did do this right?

 

If you didn’t ‘choose’ your current partner based on “enough” of the qualities that you were looking for in a life mate, its likely because you hadn’t yet realized exactly what YOU wanted. Knowing yourself well and being confident to hold out for what you really want is how you choose a partner that will be highest in compatibility and ultimately the best choice in a life mate.  You want to be highly compatible in your values, beliefs, goals, and even shared interests and hobbies because it is your compatibility that keeps you connected and grounded in your commitment to one another during life’s more challenging moments – and when either of you are weathering a storm.

 

Remaining honest about what you really want in a life partner helps you to seek this out and not “settle” for anything less.  One of the biggest regrets couples have in choosing out of ego (false pretenses and beliefs) or fear (of not ever ‘finding someone better’), is that they chose someone who really wasn’t what they needed or wanted in a partner.
Source: Rob Lewine Getty ImagesBefore you decide that you have “fallen out of” love, re-consider what it is that you really want in a mate. Know that we tend to choose based on our subconscious desires to work out the unresolved relationships of our childhood.  Who you already chose may be exactly the person you need to help you realize (and become) who you have always wanted to be.

 

Your love relationship IS the most significant relationship of your life.  If you have chosen someone that you can truly be “yourself” with, then you are about to embark on a journey that will help heal you, while challenging you to seek and become more; and you will be able to support your loved one to do the same.

 

 

Continue reading below…..

 

If you are fortunate to have chosen a partner that you are highly compatible with, chances are even as you both change (grow, transform) over the course of life, you will still share many fundamental beliefs and core values that continue to fulfill you as a cohesive couple.

 

Here’s something to consider:

“When you’re feeling ‘IN’ love – is it because you are basking in the love that someone is adorning you with? What most people will never get to experience in their lifetime is how to become a ‘being of love’. Being love means that you have learned how to connect with the source of love that comes from within you.  This “source” makes it easy for you to share your love with others and to adorn yourself IN the feeling of love. Learning how to “be love” means that you are never dependant on someone else to feel loved.”     – Dorothy Ratusny

 

 

The other side of relationship longevity has to do with keeping the love. This is done by ensuring that you remain faithful to one another – both intimately (sexually, romantically, and emotionally). ‘Keeping the love’ also means that you continue to know your partner as a best friend, significant other, soul mate or ‘Covivant’ (French translation: “co-cohabiting with the one you love”).  Since both of you are constantly evolving, there is always a need to continue to learn about and understand who it is you are in relationship with.

How you nurture love:

When did you begin to take for granted all of the amazing qualities that your partner has to offer?  When have you last noticed and acknowledged those same qualities that you initially found so attractive and desirable, making your partner an easy choice for a spouse or life mate? Couples tend to begin focusing on the less positive aspects of their partner after being together for some time.  These ‘other’ qualities, mannerisms, and character traits were likely there all along.  Its just that early on in the relationship, you were solely focused and enamoured by all of their goodness – making these ‘other’ aspects of their personality – less significant. You may have also told yourself that any qualities about your partner that you did not like would somehow magically go away “with time”.  Convincing yourself that any of your partner’s ‘unattractive’ habits and behaviours would likely change only sets you up for disappointment.  Deep down we know that change only happens when someone goes in search of it out of their own desires (and is unwilling to “give up” in their quest of what they seek to change).

 

What nourishes love is: seeking to find all of the good that someone is.

 

If you’re feeling as though you’ve fallen out of love, ask yourself: “What has changed?”

 

Did you somewhere along the way stop seeing the good in your partner? Did you expect that he or she would never have an ‘off’ day (or week), or be negatively affected (or even consumed at times) by circumstances that are perceived as ‘stressful’ or challenging? (e.g. losing a job, suffering a physical injury, the experience of bankruptcy, death of a significant loved one, loss of a parent or change in a parent’s quality of life so that your partner has now become a main caregiver to their aging parent).  These are only a few of the many life events that force us to face what we are truly made of – how we think and perceive life – and how we choose to deal with what happens “to us”.

 

Add to this, the blessings of life that come with being a parent.  As you go from a happy couple with little responsibilities or obligations “in bliss” to a couple with one or more kids in tow, the life you signed on for is likely no longer the life you now live.  It doesn’t mean that your life is any worse – it’s just very – different.

 

How do you keep the passion and love alive when everything is not what it once was?

 

Most times, a couple doesn’t even realize what has happened. They are so busy trying to stay on top of their hectic, fast paced life (attempting to hold it all together), giving endlessly to their children and aging family members, that they wake up one morning after another sleepless night with their needs unfulfilled, and perhaps desperate for attention (e.g. someone to remind them of how wonderful they are, someone to listen or talk with).  The months, and possibly years of living a life in which one or both members of a couple feel terribly “lost”, “alone”, or as though life as they know it has “overtaken” them (they feel a lack of autonomy in their experience of life), make it very difficult to see the good in their partner.

 

But did you know?

Everything about “saving” a relationship, “staying in love” and being “forever happy” comes back to the moment in which you first chose your partner. Everything comes back to your choice in a mate.

 

We choose a partner based on how we feel when we are with that special person. Subconsciously we expect that this is how we will always feel when we are together. We don’t realize (and are likely never told), that it is you who is responsible for making yourself feel: ‘happy’, ‘loved’, ‘cared for’, ‘good enough’, ‘safe’, etc.

 

But wait? How do you do that when you’ve always been relying on someone to give you these positive feelings?

Precisely.

 

This is why so many unhappy people continue to stay in their doomed (and vastly unhealthy) relationship. They idealize the “good” moments of the past and create wishful thinking around what they hope it could be like again. They focus on how their partner used to treat them, and blame their partner for not being the same person that they once were – carefree, easygoing, positive, and self-assured, rather than realize that the ‘two way street of love inside of a relationship’ requires nurturing, kindness, care, and patience.

 

Consider why things have changed.  Point the finger first at yourself.  What have you said or done that has created hurt and pain in your partner?  Who you are in relationship with today is not the exact same person that you once chose.  Do you fall out of love because you are no longer getting what you need from a partner, or are you insightful enough to realize that you are partly responsible for who your partner currently “is”.

 

Have you contributed to (nurtured, supported, encouraged) your partner’s success as who they are, or have you been a contributing factor to their demise?

 

Rather than looking outside of your love relationship for the ‘things’ your partner used to give you (or at least some of them) – LOOK WITHIN.

 

No relationship will sustain itself until you realize the power that YOU HOLD. Stop giving it away. Stop looking to others and most often your partner to fulfill you, and look inside yourself.

 

ASK: “What do you need at this moment?” Identify the need.
Next ASK: “How can I give this to myself?” For example, “How can I contribute to my own feelings of: happiness, fulfillment, importance, value, high self-esteem, intelligence AND to feeling loved, appreciated, needed, deserving and important?

 

You see, you really don’t FALL OUT OF LOVE.  You may realize that the person you chose is no longer (or perhaps never was) someone that is truly compatible with who you are presently.  You may not feel the same intensity of love because you have stopped being that loving person you once were.  In the midst of our confusion and sadness, and in feeling sorry for our self or the direction of our life, we stop giving; we stop being loving.  If your partner has done the same, it means that you are not feeling some or all of the positive feelings that you once felt when your significant other would say or do what contributed to your feelings of positive well being.

 

The irony is… perhaps all along you allowed your partner to have a major influence over how you felt about yourself rather than taking responsibility for your feelings of ‘happiness’, ‘self-esteem’, ‘being loved’, ‘being good enough’, etc.

 

We love to be loved….but can we be compassionate and loving when someone needs our love?

 

Rather than look for the escapes, the distractions, the ways of seeking pleasure externally – go within yourself. For whatever you are in search of, realize that it exists somewhere inside you – wanting to be discovered – waiting for you to realize that it’s right here and that it’s been right here all along. Seek out the experiences, the feelings, the origin of what you really need and be prepared to give this to yourself.

 Be prepared to learn how because likely you have been relying on someone else to do this for  you for a long time.  Find what is missing within yourself. Think about how you have shown and demonstrated love and affection for  others and do the same for you. You will know best what you need.  Taking care of your own needs rather than  looking to your partner or others to do this is the most powerful demonstration of self-LOVE.  In this way, you will  never again be dependent on others for fulfilling your needs – one of them being – LOVING YOU.  (Others will  continue to contribute to the positive feelings you have about yourself.  Your relationship with others can add to the  quality of your life but you will  no longer be at the mercy of someone else to love you).

 

Discover what it means to be self-sustaining, independent, to cultivate ‘self-love’ – to “fall in love” with yourself which frees you to love others not for how they make you feel, but because you choose to be with them in order to appreciate and love who they are. Love that you receive from them becomes the icing on the cake. But you remain the cake.  (You retain the ability to be love, and to share it readily.)

For more on the subject of relationship love and choosing the ideal partner, please check out my Book, ‘The Purpose of Love: A guidebook for defining and cultivating your most significant relationship.’ ISBN 978-1-897178-50-8 (Insomniac Press, 2007). (Click on the book image to find out more including where to purchase it).

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Mindfulness is the path to Clarity, Truth, and living as your Authentic Self

In mindfulness you experience clarity and wisdom; by honouring what “is”, rather than deceptively telling yourself how you “want it to be”.

Being “mindful” is being consciously aware of yourself; your thoughts and feelings, how you engage and interact with others, and how others receive’ your words and actions. It becomes a far more revealing way to live life as compared to listening solely to the voice inside your mind.

Leah sat across from me with tears welling up in her eyes. As clients progress in therapy, quite often their accomplishments, and the changes they make to who they are can at times, evoke powerful emotions of joy and gratitude.

Leah began to describe how she used to make every effort to avoid being with herself, and how she would be unaware and inattentive to everything around her.
——————–

Therapy is a wonderful place to examine any of the “stuff” (emotional baggage, old patterns of behaving, self-critical and negative thoughts) that continues to dominate your life – causing you to feel stuck and powerless, holding you back from living life in the full expression of joy that is your authentic nature. If you have the gentle guidance of someone who can help you discover healthy strategies, you begin to make progressive and lasting changes. The result is a feeling of personal satisfaction and feeling whole. Healing the past wounds that are still the triggers for why you react the way you do is a necessary step to eliminating old behaviours that no longer represent who you want to be. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours in therapy dredging up the past. But you do have to examine what happened in a way that can begin the process of healing. The purpose of therapy isn’t to talk about what bad things happened. Its about examining what bad things” happened from the perspective of understanding how these events shaped who you are, and what you need to do to heal from what happened.

In therapy, you gain a different perspective – shifting your thinking from being hurt, a victim, and lost, to feeling forgiveness (towards another or yourself), empowered, and having a clear directive for what you need to do next. Therapy is about looking at old problems in new ways that you hadn’t before. This different perspective allows you to see the whole truth rather than your particular (and often limited) version of the truth.

——————–

Like Leah, we’ve all “run from ourselves”. This is precisely what all of our busyness is about. Clients often tell me that they take great lengths to “not be alone”, even when it means being with people that aren’t adding to the quality of their life.

 

As Leah explained, her experience of mindfulness caused a dramatic change in her behaviors. Being self-aware allowed her to pay attention which meant she was able to react differently in situations – beginning with more self-control and the ability to feel her “anger falling away” (her words). I thought that this insight was especially interesting since we often don’t realize that it is our thoughts and perceptions that cause our emotions (and not what happens “to us”). Anger in particular is one emotion that can seem to come out of nowhere, “causing” us to react in ways that we are later not proud of.

 

Being self-aware or mindful is like turning the lights on in a pitch black room – instantly you are able to see everything. I call this seeing what “is” rather than what we have been telling ourselves is true. And, as the old adage goes, “the truth will set you free”.

 

Practicing mindfulness brings into your awareness all that you have been ‘running’ from. It’s in seeing what “is” that you know what you need to do (to change what you don’t like). Seeing things as they are rather than how you have been convincing yourself they are, means that you will have to face some of what you have been hiding (or running) from. In the end, being honest with yourself is the only way that change can actually happen.

 

Afterword:

The word ‘Mindfulness’ has become quite popular in today’s wellness literature. To be mindful, practice observing yourself whenever possible. Reflect on situations that have happened when you haven’t been self-aware and consider what you could have said or done differently to create a different (and more desirable) outcome. Stop blaming others for what happens and take responsibility for the direction your life has taken. Remember, everything that you think about with intensity manifests itself in your life. Who and what you are currently is a reflection of your inner world. Being mindful is stepping out of the world you have created in your mind and seeing everything as it really ‘is’.

Meditation practice is all about learning mindfulness. Not only will you reap the benefits of meditation, but your practice deepens your ability to live mindfully in all of your waking moments.

 

For guided meditations to help you develop mindfulness, please visit my Youtube channel  https://www.youtube.com/user/DorothyRatusny

or you can upload free guided meditations at anytime on soundcloud:

https://soundcloud.com/dorothyhelps

 

 

 

 

 

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Self-Acceptance

 Self-Acceptance: The transformational step between ‘Who you Are’ and ‘Who you are …Becoming’.

by Dorothy Ratusny, M.A., (C).OACCPP., PhD. (Candidate)

Self-acceptance is the acknowledgement of who you are. From here you use conscious intention and deliberate action to move you towards who you are willing to become.” – Dorothy Ratusny

 

After you read the blog, please check out the link at the bottom for a Guided Meditation that will allow you to experience what it means to truly accept yourself!

Self-acceptance is the ability to love and appreciate who we are even as you continue to seek change, personal growth and transformation. It is your ability to see yourself with a level of self-honesty that conveys heightened awareness and absolute truth. Self-acceptance is the antecedent to change and growth. It implies that you are aware of and able to acknowledge all of who you are even when there are aspects of yourself that you wish to change or let go of.

 

Who we are is fusing of multiple elements – all in a constant state of flux – that become (largely through our deliberate will) all of the greatness we believe is possible. Through self-acceptance we see the aspects of our self that we wish to uphold as well as those aspects we wish to become. Becoming all of who we are capable of is not possible until we are ready to admit honestly to our self, who and what we are.

Begin by acknowledging the qualities and characteristics that you admire and appreciate about yourself most. Your willingness to write these on paper brings a deeper level of awareness – a sense of ‘reality’ to what is otherwise – a grouping of ideas you hold in your mind. Self-acceptance builds esteem and self-worth whenever you are willing to acknowledge all of the good that you are.  Out of self-acceptance you acknowledge the less favourable parts of you: your intolerance for others’ differences, for judging others unfairly or for being unkind or purposely hurtful as a reaction to someone else hurting you. 

 

Self-acceptance is about willingness to see yourself as you are. Out of self-acceptance comes positive change – personal growth – knowledge – and feelings of empowerment and self-worth as you choose to embrace new thoughts, behaviours and core beliefs to replace what once was.

I teach the notion of self-acceptance with clients as a rite of passage (‘a stepping stone’) that takes them from unawareness or at times self-denial, to intentional transformation. One of the benefits of having someone you can trust mirror back to you what they are observe and witness of you, helps you to connect the dots as to ‘why’ you do what you do, and ‘how’ you can change. This allows for a greater ease to which transformation happens.  When we are able to acknowledge and understand with clarity, the significance of our thoughts, the core beliefs we hold, and how our behaviours affect us and others, we can confidently step forward into who we want to become. This of course, is helped greatly when we are given the right tools, guidance, and support for making positive change happen. 

In this way, self-acceptance is an important catalyst towards self-transformation and wholeness.

 

Use the following sentence stem exercise to help illicit the unconscious (and largely hidden) aspects of yourself that you do accept. Repeat each sentence stems at least 6-10 times, allowing yourself an opportunity to delve deeper into your psyche, and pay attention to what it feels like to acknowledge – and accept these aspects of who you are.

I accept that I am…

Next ask, “What do I not accept about myself?”

(If you don’t accept certain aspects of yourself, does this mean you are in denial of them?)

Choose to be self-accepting of the parts of you that are less likely to change and recognize that everything else is within your power to become better – if you choose.

Remember that self-acceptance is also the kindness you choose to acknowledge and speak inwardly and aloud.  When we actively practice self-acceptance as intentional kindness directed within, we further anchor our positive feelings about our self and this encourages us to continue to be this.

A final thought…

Through self-acceptance we elevate our awareness to live out of our free will choice. We can choose to act from a place of authenticity – to be loving kindness – or we can allow our ego to be in charge. Acting out of our ego-mind, our thoughts (and our reactions to our thoughts) are fear-based and do not represent who our ‘self’ truly is. ‘Self’ as defined by eastern philosophies is the core essence of who we truly are. Our core self (our soul consciousness) is pure, loving, and always truthful. Self-acceptance is one mechanism that guides us to choose how we will be.

Sat Nam everyone!

Please check out my Guided Meditation on Self-Acceptance that will transform how you feel about yourself.  It’s so very beautiful and powerful! Please give yourself some time in quiet to take it all in and feel free to do it often.

https://soundcloud.com/dorothyhelps/self-acceptance-a-guided

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The Secret for Getting “Unstuck” in your Life…. 3 STEPS for What You NEED TO DO

I nor anyone else cannot make you do what you need to do. If you find yourself flailing, feeling ‘lost’, unproductive, uninspired, anxiety-ridden, waist deep in self-sabotaging behaviours, the way back – the easiest route you could possibly take involves believing in yourself; and in making the ordinary – extraordinary. Ultimately, you must find a way to own up to what you are doing.

It’s called an Awakening.

And it can’t happen unless you are prepared to look at yourself with stark honesty and truthfulness. Stop telling yourself that you are justified for being this way and move beyond what you have always done.

I find that clients shift their reality when they are made to look at themselves truthfully. In those moments when I speak candidly and honestly with them, if often triggers several uncomfortable but equally relevant emotions: shock (that someone has found them out), sadness, self-pity, shame and at times …as their psyche seeks to quickly defend their ongoing behaviours (which they’ve built their current life around), they may also make bold excuses for why they can’t do what they know (even if they won’t admit it) is the ‘right’ thing. This by the way, is how you hold yourself hostage.

How long have you been adrift? Caught up in the stories that you tell yourself and why you can’t do something? For example: ”It’s too hard”, “I’m in too much pain”, “I don’t know how”, “I don’t have the time”, “I don’t have the motivation”, “I feel lost”, “I don’t know what to do”, “I’m afraid of doing the wrong thing” etc, etc. Whatever statements you cling to, whatever set of “untruths” that you have adopted as your beliefs, take a closer look at them now. Even when what you are telling yourself SEEMS true….it never truly is. Everything that you do or don’t do is based on what you tell yourself and what you have chosen to believe.

 

With every excuse you make (and there will always be more than a hundred reasons why you remain stuck and feeling unfulfilled), KNOW that the time comes when you can no longer function this way. It may take months, even years of constant repetition of your ‘untrue’ stories swirling around in your mind, or any number of self-sabotaging behaviours and unhealthy habits, all reinforcing whatever “stories” you tell yourself.

OR… You can decide one day that you will chose to think (and act) differently. Just remember, it only has to be one different thought that leads to a new behaviour…. for you to see what you are really capable of.

An awakening is a moment of truth. It is examining your inner dialogue and the actions that follow and then ‘waking up’ to see that you have not been living honestly. You have convinced yourself of whatever limitations you hold because for whatever reason, this (you have convinced yourself) is EASIER than doing the necessary WORK to fix or change your existing behaviours. It doesn’t need to be me in a session of therapy to help you by pointing out what you already know – but keep avoiding. For most people, it means getting to a place where it becomes intolerable to function at all before something ‘gives’. (And this by the way is very sad to watch). As creatures of habit, we thrive in the comfort of knowing our misery – even though we feel awful and hopeless.

The idea is to be motivated by the search for pleasure rather than staying in the pain of what we know so well. If you’re still feeling a strong need to defend your position of inaction right now, consider any of the iconic people (Mahatma Gandhi is one) who have been subjected to immense physical and emotional pain and who have chosen to thrive inside their mind – directing their thoughts to what they hope and look towards, rather than the suffering and misery that surrounded them.

Awakenings occur when you are simply honest with yourself. (Not rocket science – just truthfulness). When you are willing to state the facts rather than hide behind what environment you have constructed that allows you the facade of being safe – protected from the world or your previous failings at seeking change, . Ask anyone who has overcome a personal hardship and they will tell you that it was perseverance that made it possible for them to overcome; perseverance and belief – and never looking back. Awakening is a reality check – but only as you remain humbled to its truth – the truth of what “is” and not what you keep telling yourself.

 

Inspirational quote by Gautama Buddha (563 BC-483 BC) on earthy

 

3 STEPS to getting yourself unstuck and moving in the direction of what will heal and support you in life:

1. Admit honestly (write it down so it’s real and starring you back in the face) what you NEED TO DO DIFFERENTLY in order to be the change you say you want. (Step Two will test you to see just how badly you want “it” and how willing you are to stop living in the untruths you have surrounded yourself with.

 

2. With discipline, and yes, even though it may be emotionally or physically painful at times to move past what you’ve been convinced of for so long – FOLLOW THE ACTION STEPS you have listed in STEP ONE and SEEK HELP from either a professional who has proven they know the journey because they have lived it (so ask them if you’re not sure!).  You need to feel confident that they will give you additional tools and strategies while keeping you accountable to the goals you have set making it possible for you to see the change happen.

 

3. Never Stop.

As much as change feels overwhelming for many people, if you attempt to avoid it you will return to being fearful and deny the unavoidable path of constant growth. Regardless of your age, life continues to be filled with new experiences, teachings, and wonderful new opportunities if you remain open and look for these.

 

Now get started!

 

namaste everyone!

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Just Begin…. Rules for Getting started and not waiting for your Dream to “happen”

 

How much of your life is “spent” waiting for something to happen? Are you waiting for just the right moment to begin something new? To be who you really want to be? To take charge, to do more, to change something important in your life?

 

Do you need to wait? 

 

Much of the time we have enough knowledge that we can begin now. We actually don’t need anything at the moment except the pure intention and the ideal of what we are wanting to co-create. I say “co-create” because an interesting thing happens when you begin to move towards a goal or dream – as long as you hold the highest intentions for it – (that it is not out of greed, nor lust, nor ego), but a true and deep yearning for creating – manifesting – something more or different, your deliberate actions and the truth of those actions (e.g. why it is so important to do so, how come you want this change to occur) moves you in a direction toward it at precisely the same rhythm as the universal law of attraction brings it to you.

 

Try for yourself and see. Have you ever begun to make something happen and found that your steps have equally or more been matched by events and situations that seemed to unfold perfectly in order to help make your vision a reality?

 

Begin. Take the first steps towards what you want most – even if you don’t know how it will all come together just yet. Begin. Hold the deepest desire for cultivating this in your heart as you move in a direction towards it. Just begin.

 

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Manifesting an Ideal Relationship

I used to wonder how it would ever be possible to heal – improve – specific relationships.  After all wouldn’t doing so require the full commitment of both people?

With BELIEF and the commitment to realize (no matter how long it may take) what it is you want most…truly anything is possible!  Most of the time, when we fail to see the fruits of our efforts, its because we have given up (we have stopped before what we wanted has manifested completely!)

 

With belief you can manifest anything!  (In fact, what you desire most ends up being true because of such a strong resolve you have in making it a reality – even when at times its a reality only in your own mind!)

Consider that the one thing holding you back from having the relationship  (e.g. love, friendship, sibling, parent-child, etc) of your dreams is simply how you perceive it.  The other important factor is the amount of belief you hold in making your ideal relationship – a reality.  (This INCLUDES the effort and work that is required to propel you towards what you want most – making it happen!)

 

Most of us focus on the problem.  We become lost – caught up in the negative aspects of our relationship, and focused on the flaws of the other person, rather than the solution – and what we want the relationship “to be”.

 

We can manifest the most incredible ideals for anything in life….but the moment we begin to focus on the problems, we direct our focus and energy on these, perceiving (and even making them) to be bigger than they really are.  We also lose sight of what is “good” and “working well” and most important “how” we want to improve our relationship further.

FYI:  The other thing that we can do is minimize the ‘real’ problems (e.g. abuse, neglect, deceit, infidelity etc.) and convincingly ignore these in the “hopes” that they will somehow ‘improve’ on their own.

 

In the first example, we are more likely to ‘give up’ on our ideals for a healthy relationship, deciding that it simply isn’t possible to have what we want.  In the second example, we ignore and make excuses for the “real” problems rather than end the relationship and seek our ideals for a healthy relationship elsewhere.

 

Important to remember, manifesting your ideal relationship may no longer be possible with the person you are presently with.  In some cases, a relationship will not be able to improve because one of its members simply doesn’t have the same desire (or ability at present) for it to be different (better).  For a relationship to progress and develop: to strengthen, deepen, and transform in a way that takes both people to a new level of understanding, respect and love, both have to share a similar desire – and to focus on this desired outcome as they do the ‘work’ of making it so.

In all relationships, when both people share similar ideals – i.e. and if they both believe – without doubt – in the possibility of the relationship to reach new depths of love and intimacy, and levels of honesty, openness, and closeness – it will happen!  (It can also happen even if only one member of a relationship desires and believes in this – but as long as there is effort made towards this  – AND OF COURSE…that the other person remains open to the positive efforts they see are being made.  One partner’s positive efforts is often a catalyst for a relationship improving – if both members truly desire this).

 

So, what have you been manifesting?  Are you looking at the ways in which you may have an even more incredible relationship with those you love?  Or are you focused on what’s wrong, missing, or the ‘water under the bridge’ (old hurts and resentments of the past)?  Either direction will subconsciously bring you that result.

 

Make it possible to have what you want by defining it first – either in your mind or in written form – detailing exactly what you want your relationship to be.  Next, consider what you are willing to do toward accomplishing this.  Let your thoughts and ideals be the road map and your actions be the ‘tangible’ ways that you make your ideal relationship possible.

You may be surprised at first as you begin to see your relationships transforming.  Notice even the simplest ways in which you have been able to contribute to making your relationship “better”.

Sometimes (like in my case) your efforts won’t fully be materialized for YEARS!!  During this time, it may seem easier to throw in the towel, to stop believing, to give up the idea that you could ever have the kind of relationship with someone that you’ve always wanted.

Just remember… You have any relationship (providing that the other person is as deeply invested in deepening and strengthening the relationship – by first BEING / LIVING / the ideal for HOW you want the relationship to be.
For example: if you wanted a more open and honest dialogue with a family member, you need to begin by first modelling this behaviour, directly ‘asking’ for the same in return (forthright communication is such a pivotal component of healing and nurturing relationships) and providing examples of what this ‘looks like’ for them.  You also need patience and fortitude to overcome the preconceived ideas you have about what the other person is capable of – as well as persistence and BELIEF that EVERYTHING YOU DESIRE MOST is possible.

 

In the end, no matter how long it may take, perhaps you will be (like I was) both amazed and grateful at how it was possible all along – just as long as you remained focused on the positive behaviours (that you are responsible for), PATIENT (you may see results instantly, but it can also take years!), and constant in your BELIEF of the outcome you want most!

Namaste everyone!

 

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How Do You Know?

With anything you choose, how do you know what will be a ‘right’ choice and what will be so wrong?

Remember who you are choosing for. When you make decisions that affect your life, are you choosing based on what someone else thinks or recommends, or do you focus on the best outcome based on your needs and what is right for you?

 

Growing up, we are taught to “listen” to our parents, to “do” what we are told, to ‘follow’ without needing to think for our self. If you have not had much practice in making decisions autonomously, how can you trust that what you decide will work out in your favour?

Decision making, like any daily life choice follows a particular pattern. If you focus on the problem or the challenge you are faced with, decision making will be more confusing.  You will continue to be caught between what you hope won’t happen and all of the possible scenarios that might. This never helps you to make a ‘right’ choice.

 

Focusing instead on what you want most gives you a clear directive.

How do you know if your decision will be the right one?

Answer:  Because you are focusing (and acting) in the direction of what you want most; and of what is best and right for you.

Namaste everyone!

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Living IN this moment.

Words of WISDOM when prompted from someone in their early seventies …recently conveyed the importance of one life lesson they had learned thus far.

It’s the idea of slowing down, of not being prisoner to the thought that we are too busy to enjoy “taking time” for the simple things.

When you can mindfully exhale …releasing all of the thoughts that go with where you have to be next, what tasks are waiting for you that you are not looking forward to, and the worries of how you will possibly accomplish all that you “need to” today, what happens is that you create an OPENING – a space – in which to ENJOY whatever you are experiencing right now.

The beauty of calling your attention back into the present moment is to experience being engaged IN life.  To experience the richness and beauty of each singular moment you need to be fully present IN THIS MOMENT. present moment

Anything experienced with the pleasure of present moment awareness is heightened.  Just begin to think of all of the activities you already enjoy; the simple pleasures of a first cup of coffee in the morning, the heat of a steam room warming your entire body, or a kiss from the one you love.

This means that all of the experiences we love most are made even better by focusing our attention on them.

Consider that you will need to use some parts of your day for planning future events.  Yet, make the conscious decision to live more of your life as an active participant “in” your (present moment) experience.

*Especially when you are doing tasks that are not enjoyable – use your breath to bring you back into the present moment and be attentive.  Find the joy in whatever you are doing right now even if the task isn’t your most favourite.

The richness of  life’s simplest moments (often unplanned and purely spontaneous) far outweighs the ENJOYMENT of future or past thoughts about something else.

 

This is what is meant by the words: ‘Living IN the now’.  We can only experience THIS moment fully.  Every other moment is now either memory or what we have already forgotten.   When we come to realize this, we can actively create future moments (with certainty and enjoyment) but then be present to LIVE in the experience of right NOW. Namaste everyone!

and P.S. A simple afterthought….. Even the moments used for ‘planning the future’, ‘setting goals’, and envisioning the future are powerful tools to actualizing what you want.  Even these ‘tasks’ can be experienced and lived fully by enjoying them fully!

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A Note about Sadness

In a world were so much focus is placed on our outer appearance, the state of what physical objects we own, how we look and appear to others, what others see; and what we wish to see of our self, there is less of a need to acknowledge and honour what is within. Working to find our unique path in life; one that allows us to feel a sense of promise, hope, and fulfillment happens only as we are aware of our heartfelt desires; those gentle and yet sometimes fierce inner urgings that tell us to take a certain path; to try this new thing, or to go in search of a particular new experience.

 

 

Feeling attuned with your inner self means being aware of this place deep within you. Your sadness, and any other inner anxst or turmoil are often visible reminders that there are things beneath the surface; inside your being that need attention.

 

Sadness can often be the result of some past life situation – perhaps unresolved.  A general low level of sadness that seems to be there whenever you find yourself in moments all by yourself, can have very different meaning for you.   The main point is to no longer attempt to cover or deflect the sadness (or any other emotion you may be feeling) and instead step in ever so further. The point of looking at any emotion to explore and uncover its root origin allows us to have information- to have knowledge about why we feel the way we do and to address the underlying root cause.

 

Sometimes you will find yourself feeling sad for no real reason. The sadness comes from your train of thoughts and whatever you were thinking in those recent past moments.  Uncover your thoughts to see how your thoughts influence your overall mood state.

 

Sadness like any other feeling has an underlying purpose. It is there to reveal what may be missing, unhealthy, unsatisfactory, or disturbingly wrong with a present life situation. Sadness also comes out of our choice to focus on a particular life situation without truly empowering ourselves to discover what we need to do with it. We remain lodged in the feelings of sadness and replay the conversation or event rather than contemplate “What can I learn from this?” or “What would I need to feel at peace (happy, content, healed, etc) from this situation instead?”

Let your heart (your intuitive source) point out some real possibilities and begin to imagine yourself following the path toward them. Contrary to any previous thought, you do not have to remain sad; sadness is a feeling that is the result of “something” and not a resting place for our state of being.

 

The next time you glimpse even a fleeting sense of the feeling of sadness, consider what you are guided to do instead. Feel the sadness but decide whether you will choose to remain here; whether you will make sadness a regular experience or whether you will acknowledge it as simply an emotion that calls on you to attend to its for purpose – it is always a feeling that requires further exploration and examination.  Likely your decision to explore sadness will allow for some positive action that moves you toward feeling an entirely different set of emotions after all.

Namaste everyone!

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