Tag: peace

The One Thing That Will Change Your Life

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How do we change? Some of you have heard me talk about this before, but it’s so powerful, it’s good to hear it again.

Most of the time we learn through pain. I am no different.

There it was again, this sense of feeling trapped and helpless in my situation. Someone who means a lot to me had done something that rocked my world…..not in a good way.

This triggered old thoughts and behaviors, like “no one really loves me and I am a bad person”. I went into a downward spiral, feeling overwhelmingly alone and betrayed.

Before I knew it, I was in a dark pit, taking me to a scary place…… making me feel like this was the theme of my life.

Yet, some small part of me recognized that I had felt out of control like this too many times in my life!

There had to be a better way!

This led me on a journey where I discovered that there is an easier way to change old patterns than practicing psychotherapy. Don’t get me wrong, I believe it is invaluable to explore the origins of our thoughts and behaviors.

But it takes a long time…..and doesn’t always work.

I know……. I had spent my life exploring and analyzing and, still here I was, falling right back into my old patterns. It happened in a flash, like someone else was pulling all the strings.

You may recognize this. It’s not just something that only takes hold of me. I’ve seen this with clients, in classes and retreats.

A trigger sets off an avalanche of emotions and behaviors. We are feeling trapped in ourselves.

We don’t always recognize the fork in the road. I didn’t at the time.

Sometimes it’s an article, a workshop, a retreat or a person who has something powerful to share, but you aren’t quite ready to hear it all. That’s how it started for me, years ago.

However, a seed was planted. When the soil was ready, specifically, when I was open enough, when I had had enough pain, this seed began to sprout. From there it was almost magical. Information, people and situations showed up that guided me along and showed me the way to change my life.

Here is what I discovered: Being willing to stop, breathe and observe, changed my life.

It may sound simple, but it isn’t necessarily easy. It requires practice.

It’s a skill we have to develop, a muscle we have to grow.

We think we are our thoughts, we believe we are our feelings. Yet they are only a part of us, not the entirety. We are so much more!

  • You are not your thoughts

We think, all day long, as long as we are awake. That is what our minds do…..one thought after another. Random thoughts, habitual thoughts, deep thoughts, shallow thoughts. Our mind analyzes, plans, remembers, likes, judges, compares, blames…… thoughts perpetually rising and falling.

We identify with those thoughts. If something happens, our mind jumps to certain thoughts and runs with those, like I’m no good, for example. You know that you can create a whole painful scenario from that one thought.

Yet, when you stop and watch your thoughts, you become aware that they are impermanent.

When we are willing to stop, breathe and recognize that we are thinking, when we step back and watch ourselves thinking, we can take back our power!

It requires a willingness to observe without judgment, like a scientist.

It is similar to lying in the grass watching the clouds or sitting by a river, just observing what flows downstream.

You recognize this is not you!! These thoughts are not a fact. You are so much more than these thoughts. They cannot take your equilibrium, your peace, your happiness.

Because, you see, just by being willing to observe your thoughts, you acknowledge their existence. Whenever we are willing to acknowledge something, it loses its urgency.

  • You are not your emotions

Emotions arise from our thoughts.

We may not recognize when a certain feeling originated, what thought began the wild ride downhill. But if we are willing to step back and observe ourselves feeling a disturbing emotion, we create the space in which we can recognize that we are not this emotion.

There is no need to fight or resist what is there. Just breathe and observe.

This is not you! It is simply an emotion that arose from thoughts, which are floating in and out of our minds, because that is what minds do.

We may think that these feelings are facts, because we have felt them for so long. Whatever we think repeatedly begins to appear as fact. But that is not the truth.

Simply observing without judgment, allows us to move through whatever is there. You’ve heard the saying: “What you resist, persists.”

If we don’t resist, there is no need for anything to persist.

By simply observing your emotions, you will uncover patterns in you that are keeping you stuck…..in pain, in destructive relationships, in self-sabotaging situations.

Once we become aware and observe our thoughts and emotions, the resistance disappears and this creates a space for life to show up differently.

It has the power to change relationships, to ourselves and others. It changes what we attract into our lives.

It heals our life!

  • You are not your thoughts. You are not your feelings. They are part of you, but not the entirety of you. Learn to be aware of them rather than become them.
  • Like all things in life, we must practice this. You can’t wait til you need it and expect yourself to be proficient.

 We had to crawl before we walked, we had to practice holding that spoon and aim for our mouth, we didn’t learn that new language overnight.

Practice by giving yourself time throughout the day to sit quietly, without distractions, to notice, to observe, to be…….like a scientist, without judgment.

Practice, when you are in conversation with others, when you are working on something, when you are watching TV…..

Just observing, not judging.

If you forget, it’s ok. Do it next time…..

Be kind and gentle with yourself…….and don’t forget to breathe.

To learn more, come to our classes http://www.mindfulnessevolution.com/events-and-classes/

or contact me http://christina@christinadevalencia.com

 

 

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Oh That Elusive HAPPINESS

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The Art of Happiness. If it doesn’t come naturally, we have to help it along.

Sometimes when nothing seems to go right, Stop!!………Stop all the frantic activity and go DO something you like.

I’m sure you have been told that when you are constantly busy, running around taking care of stuff, nothing changes, nothing new can come in. Your mind is not at peace, your body is stressed out, your emotions are on edge and everywhere you turn presents you with another roadblock.

A glass of wine is good, but maybe not in the morning.

Meditation will definitely get you on a better track, but it seems at times it’s nearly impossible to just sit down and get quiet.

Your mind is racing, your adrenaline is high and the last thing you can imagine is sitting still. That’s why it’s sometimes more productive to do something you really enjoy to get back to a happier place, to find your happiness.

I love to do physical stuff, like painting walls or furniture, digging in the garden, building a little table, fixing something, creating wood-art, practicing yoga or taking a walk on the beach.

You don’t have a moment to stop and spend time “goofing off”, you say? Really? Will you have the time to get sick, have a mental break-down or at the very least get into disagreements with your loved ones? We really all do have time to stop every once in a while. 

We have to prioritize. What is more important in this moment: What we are doing or our sanity?

Do something you enjoy!

Your kids can miss a soccer game once in a while. If you don’t make it to the grocery store after work, you won’t starve. Your spouse can take care of that task without you. If you don’t have a spouse, leave it for another day (it works for Latinos….manana). Ask someone for help. People really do want to help, as long as you don’t abuse it.

I have a couple of rental homes and one of them had a serious roof-leak. It literally rains in. The tenant had to put some pots and pans out to catch the drips. This stresses me out to the max. The thought of the tenant being upset, the damage the water is causing, the expense……on and on. In the meantime, I can’t get a hold of the roofer. It won’t stop raining (I’m in NC right now). But, I suddenly realize, I have absolutely no control over this at the moment. I already left a message for the roofer. I apologized to the tenant. “Money comes easily and frequently” (my favorite mantra).

It was out of my hands.

Still tense, I located my paintbrush, pulled out that new can of paint and started painting my bathroom.

My mind calmed down in minutes, a space opened up for better thoughts, my breathing regulated…..all without me having to work hard at it. That’s the best part! I am tired of working so hard at everything. Aren’t you?

Then I remembered three things that always shift the energy and open the door for happiness:

1. Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself!

Self-pity is the very worst kind of emotion. It kinda sneaks in there and before you know it you are all about it. It destroys everything around itself, and leaves you feeling powerless.

Stop being the victim, stop feeling sorry for yourself – and be happy.

2. Be Grateful

Life is so fast-paced that we rarely recognize and acknowledge the wonder of it all.

Think of all the things you’re grateful for right now: family, health, home, your puppy, your red shoes, the grass, the sunshine, everything. Spend time being grateful each day – and be happy.

3. Accept What Is

We frequently resist what is. Just say “Yes!” more to all of life’s experiences. Don’t fight the river’s current. Say Yes!” more to emotions, situations, social invitations, adventures – and be happy.

Before I knew it I was smiling. Happiness…………it’s a process, not a destination.

To Your Happiness, with Love

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Anxiety and Grace

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Most of my life I have had serious anxiety that is most active at night. It seems to have gotten worse over the years, to the point of me feeling almost helpless, as if some other entity is in charge, causing panic-like fear. That is after all what anxiety is, a great fear of things turning out badly.

So many women I know seem to harbor this fear of becoming homeless. That is an example of a serious anxiety. Then there is fear of never having a good relationship, enough money, living a more fulfilling life……on and on. If you haven’t experienced the positive side of these things, then it is difficult to believe you can have them, that life can be better. There is nothing in your history to compare to, nothing to connect to in order to create the feelings of having that good thing.

That is how the anxiety grows and becomes larger than you. Many of us can suppress it or mask it during the day with activity and logic. It’s at night, when it is quiet and logic has left the room, that it grows into a massive monster that torments you for hours.

Taking sleeping pills or general anxiety medication didn’t appeal to me, so I turned to working on my thoughts. I noticed that I didn’t want to think about it too much during the day…..because it is so painful…..so I was left to address it at night when it felt overwhelming. What a monumental task! Kind of like climbing a rock-wall that is leaning forward, it seemed impossible.

I do pray. I know prayer, meditation, visualization and faith work! I prayed for relief, for help with positive thoughts, I demanded to be heard, I cried to be shown love, to accept feeling loved….the kind of love that makes you gentle, understanding and peaceful. I stated that I no longer wanted to accept this horror show, that I expected to be acknowledged and guided. I visualized good, loving outcomes…….

……until one night, it worked!! An other-worldly peace descended upon me, literally! The monster had left. A deep knowing, a trust had taken it’s place. The energy in the room became gentle and good; my heart was filled with love. It was nothing less than GRACE.

 

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How are you feeling now……?

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How are you feeling now….after the Christmas rush? Are you feeling satisfied, at peace, happy with the way your holidays unfolded? Are you feeling sad that it’s over, guilty that you spent so much money, disappointed with the way it turned out? Or are you exhausted?

How do you feel about the commercialism that Christmas has become? It isn’t new, it increases every year. Now there is Halloween stuff on one isle and Christmas stuff on the other. It’s all about consumerism. We get so stressed out over making sure that we buy enough stuff for everybody. What to do if someone gives us something and we don’t have a gift in return? Are we spending as much as the other person spent on us?

Somewhere in the final days of the Christmas season, I hit a wall.  I felt dizzy with my to do list, the hectic, frenzied shopping, the insane traffic, who I still had to shop for and how much I should spend. Every-day-life didn’t stop, I still had to work, call the cell-phone company, go grocery shopping, get the brakes fixed, etc. My mind was all over the place, just not present. God knows how I got from one place to the next with my thoughts playing this crazy game of chase.

So I stopped!

I literally stopped doing anything, sat down and meditated. It was not an easy thing to just sit and get quiet in the chaos. But on the other hand I couldn’t add one more thing to my plate either. The anxiety and stress were making me sick. I couldn’t participate with the craziness anymore. I wanted to enjoy the season! I wanted to experience the moments.

I didn’t want to be a victim of consumerism and the resulting frenzy.

Some things were easy to change, like remembering to breathe and staying calm, smiling at others, becoming a nicer driver….letting people in, not getting upset when I got cut off, and driving a little slower. I cut back on the gifts I chose for only the immediate family. I didn’t send any Christmas cards; I sent facebook messages or emails instead. I chose to bake cookies and plan a nice dinner. Grocery shopping became calmer and more focused.

It was wonderful, as if time obeyed my command and slowed down.

What hurt was that I couldn’t get gifts to my daughter on time. She lives on the other side of the country and I was too late. I felt stuck and confused about how to approach the topic with her. So I was amazed when we resolved this with lots of love on the phone. (I sent the presents late and some money via paypal).

I can say this Christmas season was wonderful! We enjoyed the food and the cookies (I shared with others); we appreciated each and every gift, my family and I loved our time together and all without stress. The miracle was that we even resolved some family issues that normally cause pain and anxiety.

How do you want your Christmas to be next year? It is your choice! You are in charge; make it as crazy or enjoyable as you want. As a matter of fact, this applies to everything in your life.  You can start right now!

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