Soul to Soul; An Important Message from Gary Zukav

In an Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast episode entitled, “Oprah and Gary Zukav: Live from Calgary,” there is a specific passage in which Gary speaks about grief. Oprah refers to a moment during an Oprah show, where Gary addresses the grief of a young mother who has lost a twin baby named Ryan:

“If you looked at Ryan as a soul – like Ira, like Oprah, like me, like everyone on this earth, that left the earth when it chose, then you will have a different perspective. You will be able to see the gift that this soul offered to you during its short stay on the earth. You will reach a place in your life that you are grateful that this soul chose to be with you, however short that time. If you look at Ryan as a soul, a great soul like yourself, who voluntarily entered the earth school and voluntarily left it in order to be with you and to offer gifts, then you will begin the process of appreciating and becoming grateful for the power of the interaction that you had with that soul and you will be able to receive the gifts that that soul came to this earth to give you, to give Ira, to give to his siblings.” Oprah called this a “healing, holy moment” for this young mom.

Soul to soul is a lovely way to remember our loved ones and the relationship we had with them. To have faith that while they were on this earth,  an exchange of gifts occurred, brings a peaceful, settled feeling. It is also a lovely reminder that while we remain on this earth, we too, continue to offer gifts to our loved ones – soul to soul. 🙂

To listen to the full episode: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/own/oprahs-supersoul-conversations/e/63359146

Like this post? Consider subscribing!

Photo credit: http://Photo by Simon Wilkes on Unsplash

Oprah and Dr. Phil Talk About Relationships

In a recent Oprah’s Supersoul Conversations podcast episode, she sits down with Dr. Phil to talk about his book, “Life Code: The New Rules for Winning in the Real World.” Ultimately, it was an episode about how there are some relationships in our lives that are simply not healthy for us. Between Oprah and Dr. Phil, we are hear some common-sense, yet important, advice – (paraphrased):

  • We tend to give people the benefit of the doubt – after we become invested in the relationship, we are hesitant to give it up, even though we know we are being taken advantage of.
  • We often love with the idea of who we wish that person to be – we fill in the gaps to make them wonderful in between.
  • We often want someone to be better than they are, and we will work harder to try and create it. In the process, we often end up de-valuing ourselves.
  • Someone’s unhealthy or toxic nature has nothing to do with you; it may feel like it does, but it is the way they function in relationship.
  • “The only thing worse than being in a bad relationship for a year, is being in a bad relationship for a year and one day.” – Dr. Phil
  • You don’t owe anyone access to your life if they are mistreating you – this includes family.
  • We have to believe in ourselves; listen to our instincts and heed the red flags.
  • “When people show you who they are believe them.” – Oprah

Listening to the episode is an affirming way to allow ourselves to let go of the illusion that an unhealthy relationship can, or will be any different.  It allows us to set boundaries, take our space, or end a relationship that no longer values who we are.

To listen to the full podcast: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/own/oprahs-supersoul-conversations/e/65771027

Like this post? Consider subscribing!

Photo credit:http://Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Avatar and It’s Deeper Meaning

I watched Avatar this week for the first time; a movie that I was interested in based on hearing Oprah talk about a line that they use in the movie to greet each other – “I see you.”

Based in the future, on an island far into space, the story is ultimately one of love and transformation; it is about connection and the ability to appreciate and honour other cultures and the natural world. The fictional tribe in Avatar have a way of connecting their bodies (little tentacles in their tails) to other creatures in their world – it is the way that they truly bond as they are able to “see” each other.

How cool would that be? An instant knowing of someone else; an immediate sense of who they are; their struggles and triumphs, their weaknesses and strengths. a glimpse into their soul. Perhaps it would create less misunderstandings and a more global sense of peace.

We may not have the ability to instantly connect our inner worlds, but we do have a way to truly know someone. It is through empathy that we can begin to see another person, not through our eyes and experiences but through theirs. When we abandon our own expectations or judgements and challenge ourselves to try and feel what the other is feeling, we can honestly say “I see you.”

A great movie; it will appeal to you in many ways. Cozy up and get the popcorn ready – it is well worth the time.

Like this post? Consider subscribing!

Photo credit: http://Photo by h heyerlein on Unsplash

 

Too Many Choices…Is More Really Better?

In a new podcast I’ve been listening to called “The Happiness Lab” by Dr. Laurie Santos, she recently explored the issue of having too many choices. In the episode, entitled “Choice Overload,” Dr. Santos examines the effects of our society’s belief that choices bring us greater freedom and the message of “more is better.” Some interesting facts from the episode include:

  • Walking down a supermarket aisle can give you up to 275 choices in cookies brands; 150 types of salad dressings – just as two examples.
  • Starbucks has over 80,000 drink options- and that doesn’t include seasonal drinks!

Although we may think that being given so many choices is in our favour, this is what Dr. Santos remarked about how too many choices can lead to decision fatigue:

“Our minds might tell us that finding the best out of all of the options will feel like an achievement, but that is simply not the case. When lots of options are present, even if we do well, we feel worse. Our poor minds just can’t handle all those choices all at once. The human brain doesn’t have the capacity to accurately decide whether a Venti Soy Latte with Caramel is tastier than 79, 999 other choices – so we just filter out the other choices. But all that filtering out still comes at a serious cost to our well being – just seeing all of those choices above the counter are cognitively draining which can lead to worse decisions later on; a phenomenon that Behavioural Scientists call decision fatigue.”

This gives us food for thought about all of the choices that we may face in a day and how perhaps we can begin to reduce our choice overload on a daily basis.

Less choosing, less doing; sticking to simple routines. I guess “less really is more.”

To listen to the full episode: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/pushkin-industries/the-happiness-lab-with-dr-laurie-santos/e/65058310

Like this post? Consider subscribing!

Photo credit: http://Photo by Victoriano Izquierdo on Unsplash

Know My Name by Chanel Miller; a worthy read

I recently wrote a blog about Chanel Miller and her appearance on Oprah’s podcast Supersoul Conversations. Now I am making mention of her book “Know My Name.” One of the best books I have read this year, Know My Name is a poignant and honest memoir of Chanel’s experience as the victim in the “Stanford Rape Case” of 2015.

Known to the world as Emily Doe, we become privy to her experience from the moment she woke up in a hospital room with pine needles in her hair, abrasions on her body and no recollection of what happened to her. We travel with her throughout the next year and a half of Brock Turner being charged, her finding out what happened to her in the news, having to tell her loved ones, and experiencing the damaging effects of victim blaming. We are with her through her harrowing court days, the relief she feels when Turner is found guilty of all three charges (unanimously by all 12 jury members), only to granted a ridiculous sentencing by the presiding judge.

During this time, we hear that one way that Chanel coped was to listen to her mother’s stories of growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution:

“When I listened to her, I understood: You have to hold out to see how your life unfolds, because it is most likely beyond what you can imagine. It is not a question of if you will survive this, but what beautiful things await you when you do. I had to believe her, because she was living proof. Then she said ‘Good and bad things come from the universe holding hands. Wait for the good to come.’ “

With Chanel’s permission, her victim impact statement as Emily Doe is released to the press and it goes viral. Emails are forwarded, bags of letters get delivered to Chanel and she begins to receive the unwavering and uplifting support that was due to her from the beginning. She notes:

“I began to see the world through a softer filter. If somebody honked at me in traffic, I thought, ‘Maybe you have cried for me’. In crowded lines at the grocery store, I wondered if the woman in front of me had written a letter, if she’d shared with me her hidden grief. When I left the courtroom that June day, after reading my statement, courage was the farthest thing from my mind. Now I understood that in this life I’ve been given, I had done something good, created power from pain, provided solace while remaining honest about the hardships victims face. In turn, they showed me who I was.”

Chanel’s faith in sharing her identity with us is further evidence that we can hold fear in one hand and courage in the other. If you only read one book this year, make it this one 🙂

Like this post? Consider subscribing!

Photo credit: Me!

 

The Book “The Second Moutain;” wise words about suffering from David Brooks

I have just finished reading a book entitled “The Second Mountain” by David Brooks. In this book, Brooks explores four commitments that define a life of meaning and purpose. It is a book about personal fulfillment and the sense of agency that is required to live a joyous life. In the beginning chapters, he speaks about suffering:

“There’s nothing intrinsically noble about suffering. Sometimes grief is just grief, to be gotten through. Many bad things happen in life, and it’s a mistake to try and sentimentalize these moments away by saying that they must be happening to serve some higher good. But sometimes, when suffering can be connected to a larger narrative of change and redemption, we can suffer our way to wisdom. This is the kind of wisdom you can’t learn from books; you have to experience it yourself. Sometimes you experience your first taste of nobility in the way you respond to suffering.”

He goes on to say, “The right thing to do when you are in moments of suffering is to stand erect in the suffering. Wait. See what it has to teach you. Understand that your suffering is a task that, if handled correctly, with the help of others, will lead to enlargement, not diminishment.”

Suffer our way to wisdom – a hopeful sentiment and so true. We learn just as much about ourselves from what hurt us as from what loves us. Brook’s wise words also touch on the importance of leaning into the support of our loved ones, for it is the midst of care and connection that we best heal.

Check out “The Second Mountain” by David Brooks here: https://www.amazon.ca/Second-Mountain-David-Brooks/dp/0812993268/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+second+mountain&qid=1573151255&sr=8-1

Like this post? Consider subscribing!

Photo credit: Me!

A Lovely Story of Empathy and Forgiveness

I regularly listen to a podcast called Ear Hustle. It is based out of San Quentin and gives the listener a glimpse into the daily realities of life in prison. In their latest episode entitled “Tell Christy I Love Her,” we meet Tom, a police officer, his wife, Christy and an offender, Jason, who is serving 19 years in prison for shooting Tom in a violent encounter in 1997.

Jason, a 17 year old gang member in 1997, mistrusted the police from an early age. After being pursued on foot by Tom, the encounter turned violent when Jason shot Tom in the neck. Jason was found guilty and sentenced; Tom and his wife were left to try and heal from a traumatic and life changing event.

When Tom attended a parole board meeting to ask that Jason not be granted parole,  he noticed and heard some things about Jason that he wasn’t expecting. And so began a journey into trying to understand what happened.

Through a restorative justice project, and what is named the Victim-Offender dialogue, victims and their offenders have the opportunity to write to each other through a mediator. There are times when they are also given the opportunity to meet. This is what Christy had to say upon watching Tom meet Jason for the first time:

“One of the first things that I noticed about Jason was how remorseful he was; that was one of the first things that touched me when I saw that. And if the victim could see that the person was remorseful, imagine how much of their life they could save, not having to wonder?”

This was an absolute lovely story to hear about; rich in detail with the opportunity to listen to all of them tell their story. It is worth your time to listen to it: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/ear-hustle/e/64629111?autoplay=true

Like this post? Consider subscribing!

Photo credit: http://Photo by Tyler Rutherford on Unsplash

 

Chanel Miller Speaks; Oprah Podcast

In 2015, we knew her as Emily Doe. She was the victim in what the world has come to know as the “Stanford Rape Case.” Brock Turner was found guilty of sexual assault and served only three months.

In Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations Podcast, she sits down with Chanel Miller; Chanel has written a book called “Know My Name” and is speaking out about the experience and how her life changed as a result. When Oprah asks her if there was ever a time when Chanel felt like harming herself, to not go on living, this is what Chanel shared:

“I think sometimes, when you are really isolated, you think I’m just going to slip out the back door, the world is going to keep spinning,  I can’t be here right now. Then I would think, no that’s not the case – I would always keep coming back to the thought – This can’t be it. This can’t be the ending, or where the story ends. How impossible. Because up until then there were so many things that I enjoyed doing. I enjoyed drawing, I enjoying running. And I knew that self was there and I would look around and wonder what happened to her – I knew she was always there, I just couldn’t figure out how to get back to her. And I would always tell myself, “Even if you have no idea what your future looks like, something is there.”

In her times of hopelessness, Chanel searched for the hope – even when it was momentarily hidden from her. She goes on to speak about leaning into mantras she had learned from her mother about staying open, about learning in order to grow and she would focus on how to do that in even the smallest of ways.

A very poignant episode, an eloquent and well spoken young woman. This podcast is worth your listening time: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/own/oprahs-supersoul-conversations/e/64300304

After the trial was over, Chanel’s (then Emily Doe) 12 page victim impact statement was released, with her permission. It was a powerful read: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/06/stanford-sexual-assault-case-victim-impact-statement-in-full

Photo credit: http://Photo by Faris Mohammed on Unsplash

Like this post? Consider subscribing.

 

A Tip About Panic Attacks

One of the books that I read on vacation was entitled “maid” by Stephanie Land. A memoir, “maid” was  Stephanie’s story about how an unplanned pregnancy, and subsequent life as a single mom, saw her strapped in poverty for years as she struggled to support herself and her daughter.

For anyone who suffers from panic attacks, you know first hand how frightening and debilitating in the moment they can be. You most likely also know that they do tend to pass, and when we ground ourselves, we can help to dissipate the panic. A passage in the book that I earmarked spoke about how Stephanie handled her overwhelming feelings:

“At the stop sign at the end of the street, I pulled over to the curb. I leaned forward, pressing my forehead against the steering wheel. This had happened often in the last year. Whenever I felt the pain of loss – my chest caving in right at the hollow spot in the center – I found it best to stop and wait, to give the feeling a moment to pass. The pain didn’t like to be ignored. It needed to be loved, just as I needed to be loved. As I sat in my car, I breathed in and out, counting to five each time. I love you, I whispered to myself. I’m here for you. Reassurance of self-love was all I had.”

What I like about this passage is process, grounding, and affirmations; a great combination in how we can focus on the panic to help ourselves get through the overwhelming feelings. Being able to acknowledge our fears in the moment, breathe through them while focusing on our courage will help us to keep the love for our self close by.

A lovely story, “maid” is a worthy read.

Photo credit: Me!

Like this post? Consider subscribing or sharing!

 

The Concept of a Bridge; Pastor John Gray

In a recent episode of Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations, she featured Pastor John Gray. This is what he had to say about a concept he refers to as the bridge, a figurative meeting in the middle for people who are on opposite sites of ideology or experience:

When I think about the bridge, I think about what I must do,to connect and engage people who didn’t come from where I came from so that we can have a place of commonality and understanding. In our society, shame has permeated the culture. If you don’t believe what I believe, then shame on you and if you don’t like what I like, then shame on you. Shame has permeated the culture. The bridge says, I don’t understand you, I don’t agree with you, and we may never see eye to eye, but if we are all in the same space at least we can begin the dialogue and conversation that may lead to healing.”

He goes on to say “If you want people to see life from your lens, you need to become relational, relate-able and relevant. And then you’re going to have to do two other things that are intentional and uncomfortable. Because if you’re going to build bridges, your going to have to connect to people who don’t look like you. Come meet me on the bridge, I don’t care where you’re from.”

His message was one of being open to the experience of others, to be flexible in your thinking, to lead with love.

He was also very funny; laugh-out-loud funny. His podcast is worth listening to: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/own/oprahs-supersoul-conversations/e/62565212

Photo credit: http://Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Like this post? Consider subscribing!