Last evening I went out to pick the last of the day’s ripe blueberries, and as I was lingering in the garden enjoying the cool dusky air, I noticed the sunflowers. In the last week, there are four of them that have grown almost as tall as me and are starting to show signs of blossoming. Their heads are still tight in a bud, but you can tell they are eagerly waiting the day when they can show their petals to the sun and offer themselves to the world.
I just read an excerpt from the last chapter of Anatomy of a Rose, a book by Sharman Apt Russell, and it is about being cured by flowers. She points out that for a long time flowers have been used as medicine – from prescription drugs that contain some part of a flowering plant to folk medicine, flowers have healing properties. There are hundreds of ways to let plants, and specifically flowers, help our bodies heal: from evening primrose to sage to cornflower to prickly poppy, flowers have the power to cure what ails us. Continue reading “Cured by Flowers”
Last spring I heard a woman named Cynthia Jurs speak. She said a lot of interesting and important things during her talk, but what stood out to me most was the way she spoke of “acting from the subtle” and how important it can be to stop and breathe in the midst of the chaos that seems to punctuate our world more than we want it to. She spoke of focusing on the space that is in between where we are and where we want to go. She said it’s that ‘in between’ space that allows new things to come into being. From that space we can learn to recognize our gifts, and once we’ve recognized them, we can offer those gifts out into our communities, our workplaces, and our families. She reminded us that it is from our gifts – those gifts that are unique to our own being — that we can affect our life situation in the deepest way and contribute to the healing of the world. She reminded us that due to the nature of “in between” space, we all have a different version of what’s true for us, but that we can still support each other despite being on differing paths. Continue reading “The Space Between”
Henry David Thoreau once wrote the words, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” Though Thoreau lived in his cabin on the shores of Walden Pond many years ago, those words hold a deep truth. Wildness can mean so many different things to so many different people, but whatever it means to myriad humans across the globe, I have found embracing wildness to provide healing, inspiration, introspection and reason to explore. I have found wildness to be a foundation from which to do my work in the world, and I have found wildness to drive my choices as I tap into the potential of life on this beautiful earth. I have found wildness reason to cultivate community and exist in the world in a way that aligns with beauty and truth.
Here are 10 more reasons to embrace wildness, in all its forms, in the months to come. Because you just never know how making some little changes to your way of being might contribute to the healing of the planet. Continue reading “Why To Embrace Wildness”
Part of my day job is calling people to schedule coaching appointments. Usually people are polite and respectful, and even sometimes downright kind hearted and pleasant to talk to. Which is good news, since I’m calling them to put them on my own coaching calendar, so we’ll be talking again. It’s helpful to start the relationship off on a positive note.
But today I called a gentleman who wasn’t any of those things. Quite the opposite, really, he was quite mean and disrespectful. I asked if he wanted to set up a call, and he responded with sentences that tended to start with “you people” and “do you even realize” and so on, punctuated by sarcastic chuckling. In short, he made it personal and he wanted me to acknowledge that I was in the wrong. I was the enemy, and he was going to let me know it. Usually I am good at being able to internalize the fact that everyone is dealing with a plethora of issues that I do not know about and that are quite probably very challenging, resulting in unfriendly behavior; and hey, maybe this man was just having a tough day, or week, or year. His energy is absolutely the product of our broken culture, and at the end of the day, he needs love, too. But today when he was essentially scolding me for not being able to meet his expectations, all I could hear was “you aren’t good enough” and “this is why it’s doing me a disservice.” I felt like the bad child who doesn’t measure up, and I found myself apologizing and trying to hold back tears. Which is really interesting, as 1. I did nothing “wrong” and 2. I was quite kind, professional and offered what I had to give. He just didn’t find it acceptable. When on the call, I knew intellectually that his issues and his anger were not about me at all, but in the moment his energy triggered a response that I couldn’t control. I had to hang up the phone. Continue reading “The Other: Crumbs of Despair”
“The door itself
makes no promises.
It is only a door”
Crossing that thresold into your uncharted future is an act of great courage and self compassion, and it changes your relationship to life in a fundamental way. It embodies your willingness to employ a new form of risk taking, to consciously choose growth-stimulating, soul-nourishing conflicts, to live through the accompanying anxiety, and to accept your life as open ended and unpredictable. Passing through the door commits you to living in the present in a way you never before have. ~Bill Plotkin, Soulcraft
Have you seen that movie, Sliding Doors? I have to admit that I don’t really remember the plot very well, other than in tandem story lines, Gwyneth Paltrow’s character misses her train by seconds as the doors slide shut in one and in the other she makes it and goes on with her day as planned. Her choices as a result of missing the train and going through a different door alter the course of her life almost beyond recognition. In the movie, at least as I remember it, she doesn’t consciously choose to miss the train of course. But she does and goes through a different door that she normally would have chosen, and we see the chain reaction of events that emerge. It can be a scary thing, a door. An unwanted thing. And it can be life changing. Continue reading “It’s Only A Door”
I stumbled upon a post on social media earlier this summer by Dr. Lissa Rankin that made a lot of sense. She’s a medical doctor who left her traditional practice to explore what it would mean for her to practice healing in a way that truly resonates with what she values. (That’s the short version of her story)
She posed a number of questions that align quite well with the world of wellbeing coaching. I can only imagine what health care might be like if more physicians asked them, too. I’m posting a few of them here as food for thought as we continue to work toward bettering the health and well-being of all those which whom we come into contact. Dr. Rankin titled her post Questions Your Doctor Should Ask You (But Probably Doesn’t) It’s worth noting that some of these questions are likely to stir things up emotionally for people, so developing a good rapport and a sense of trust is essential before delving into some of these areas. Continue reading “Healing Healthcare: The Hard Questions”
Everyone is outraged about the killing of one lion – and rightly so – but then we all go get a quarter pounder that is produced through a system that mistreats millions of animals and destroys the environment (i.e. habitat for other animals).. ~N. Barr
Everything is connected. Trophy hunting is an overt and extreme illustration of the type of behavior our culture is capable of producing and one to condemn without question. Killing another creature for sport will never be right. We have the right to be angry, and we have the right to grieve the loss of a beautiful life. But what I keep coming back to is that the death of Cecil the lion, while fostering immediate sorrow for the life lost and rage against those directly involved, sometimes makes us forget that the actions of the average Joe living in a developed nation — of you, of me — It makes us forget that the things we do every day, like drive a car or make a call on a cell phone or type on a computer or eat from a box of crackers that was produced in a factory….all of these things are complicit in a system that exploits life for human gain. It’s not blatant disregard for life like trophy hunting is, no. But at the end of the day, so many of our actions, albeit a few steps removed, result in the loss of life. Continue reading “Be Sure To Act”
Stress. It’s something that every living being experiences. From animals to plants to humans, stress is a part of life on this planet. A zebra experiences stress when a lion springs from the bushes: that rush of adrenaline and cortisol that fuel the instinct to flee keeps the zebra alive for another day. A plant in the garden experiences stress when the weather is hot and windy or cold and too damp: the resiliency that is built due to these conditions helps the plant to thrive when conditions evolve. Much like in the zebra’s story, a human can experience stress when life is physically threatened whether that threat comes via a gunman, a grizzly bear or an icy road. The heart races, palms get sweaty and all we can think about is the crisis at hand. We react. And that reaction to a life or death threat is necessary for survival in such cases.
However, in our modern societies today, we generally experience significantly less life or death stress than our hunter/gatherer ancestors did. For most of us, stress arises when we perceive a situation to be stressful and when we let our perception hijack our response. There are challenges galore in a human life – that goes without saying. Schedules are tight, communications with loved ones or colleagues or neighbors are strained or non-existent, traffic is bad and there are too many bills to pay. But are they life or death situations? Usually not. Yet they often trigger the same fear or stress response: Our hearts race, palms get sweaty and all we can think about is the crisis at hand. We react. But in this case, our reaction is not helping us to survive: in fact, it might even be causing damage to our health in the form of elevated blood pressure, chronic tension headaches or inability to get quality sleep. In today’s modern culture, particularly in the corporate workforce, values of more, better, faster have invited everything from chronic stress to burnout to a general disliking of Mondays. When we view the world as an emergency room, our stress levels soar. But when we can really see what’s going on, we regain a sense of control and peace. Continue reading “Own Your Story: Managing Stress in Three “Easy” Steps”