Swag meggings jean

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My Trip To New York

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My Trip To Rome

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single-origin Meditation

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Schlitz Banksy Austin

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Marfa Odd Future

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Etsy distillery

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Marfa Odd Future

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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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Random Acts of Loving-Kindness: Reclaiming Valentine’s Day as a way to remind us to be spontaneously LOVING in our actions.

 

Consider Valentine’s Day …a day that is already ‘hyped’ with a focus on LOVE …to be a day in which you make no distinctions between who you are being loving with.

 

It’s about sharing the LOVE… the kindness…and the appreciation of others in your life (and possibly a random stranger or two that will likely always remember your gesture of kindness and love).

Can we all share a little love just because it feels good to do so?

 

My seventeen year old client had the most incredible experience with what she thought would be a surprise gifting of roses (pre-Valentine’s Day) to someone she loves.

But he wasn’t in class the day she showed up with roses and a hand written love poem …as well as permission from the class teacher to reveal a grand gesture of her love.

Instead of worrying about how she would get the flowers to him, Sarah (a pseudonym and not her real name) kept the flowers in her locker until the end of the day and then flagged down random strangers – some in cars near her school, and two on a city bus – giving out a single rose to each ‘random’ person with a smile and a wish “to have a happy day”. The impromptu social experiment became a gesture in giving back in a way she never expected.

At one car, she noticed a father with his kids in tow. Sarah asked the father if she could give a rose to his young daughter in the back seat – the only girl in a family of three boys. He graciously obliged. The look of instant glee on the little girl’s face as her eyes lit up magically was almost enough to send my client into bliss….

Actually, it did.

…And Sarah shared the other roses in the same way – magically, deliberately, and with loving-kindness.

 


In a way that marks a new routine in your life, perhaps you too will reclaim Valentine’s day (week, etc) and make it what would be truly an incredible practice – a day of random acts of loving-kindness.

Begin with smiling at a stranger instead of avoiding eye contact. Step it up with paying for the person’s coffee in line in front of you, hand out a gift card to the person that collects and disposes of your recycling and compost each week, shovel your neighbour’s steps, bake cookies to give to those people that you see each week at the grocery store or bank who always serve you with kindness because that is who they are… or anything else that inspires you and says, “You are special” to someone.

This is what love looks like … the giving of kindness from the heart – whether by actual gift or as a gesture of appreciation and acknowledgement.

 

For Sarah, her innocent and spontaneous gestures stirred in her a promise to always pass out roses on Valentine’s Day. It would be a way that she could make someone’s else day a little more special, a little more meaningful, a lot more magical.

Take back the commercialism and ‘big business’ of a day that is often filled with unmet (and also unspoken) expectations and consider what it means to….just be the love – period.

Without realizing it, you will have made your day a lot more special as well.

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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: dorothy@dorothyratusny.com

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.
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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.

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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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