When the Sun is Setting

What a lovely passage by Morgan Harper Nichols:

And in those moments where the sun is setting

and the house is quiet and you are weary from the day,

may you know that there is grace for you in that space,

and no amount of heaviness or loneliness can take

that away. And because of that grace, you are free to slow 

down. You are free to breathe and rest, no matter the 

things not sorted out. There might be some mystery here,

and there might be longing, wondering and waiting, but

 there will also be boundless peace that goes beyond

any understanding, running wild like a river

through everything, no matter how heavy these moments 

feel. So rest easy, when evening is approaching. Tomorrow

is surely coming, but in the hours in between, 

you are free to rest till then.

– Morgan Harper Nichols

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Knowledge Incorporated = Structural Change

A quote that I came upon: “Education does not take place when you learn something you did not know before. Education is your ability to use what you have learned to be better today than you were yesterday.” – Iyanla Vanzant 

It is in the therapy office that I see examples of  this statement becoming reinforced over and over again. When clients first come to therapy, the first question I ask them is “what is bringing you to counselling?” It is a good way for me to hear from them, in their own words, what part of their story they are struggling with and through exploration, we are able to begin to put some of the pieces of the puzzle together to work towards resolution and possible change.

In order for there to be an element of transformation to that process however, what I like to call structural change will often need to occur. It is about going back to move forward; figuring out how our experiences in our lives have led us to core beliefs and patterns that became ingrained and therefore a part of how we process the world. Through discovery, we can gain an understanding of how something developed, which will guide us into acceptance. Knowledge sets us free; we begin to feel that something has shifted and we can give ourselves permission to move towards not only a deeper healing of those experiences, but to new ways of thinking about ourselves, and then finally, a call to action, an important step in which we incorporate some new skills into that knowledge. And so, the change becomes structural, a shift in our foundation that finally feels right. 🙂

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5 Great Quotes by H. Jackson Brown Jr.

H. Jackson Brown is an author, best known for his work entitled “Life’s Little Instruction Book: 511 Suggestions, Observations, and Reminders on How to Live a Happy and Rewarding Life.” Here are 5 quotes by Brown (sourced not inclusively to Life’s Little Instruction Book) :

“Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.” H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“Life is slippery. We all need a loving hand to hold onto.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“I’ve learned… . That being kind is more important than being right.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr. 

“Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Some lovely advice; simple and yet powerful in reminding us to live according to our values, to honour connection and to seek meaning in the every day.

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A Poem About Growth

A little poem that caught my attention by Rudy Franciso:

Of all the things I could’ve been,

I am so glad to be this.

Thank God I didn’t actually become who I pretended to be

Back when I had no idea who I was. 

What a lovely thought about growth and giving ourselves permission to “just be.” Sometimes it is the expectations that society places on us that get in the way, other times it is our own reckoning about what it means to be successful, and sometimes the messages we get from others help put us into the mode of pretending and we end up living a life that can feel misrepresented to some degree. It is the process of self-reflection, through experience, that allows us to move towards a more genuine place, both with ourselves and others; ultimately bringing with it a courage to be who we are. 

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@name_gravity

 

Another Maya Quote….

I couldn’t help sharing this Maya Angelou quote as well:

“We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends, and living our lives.”

– Maya Angelou

We fear the inevitable and worry about things that take up our time and energy. We also can fall into the trap of allowing our focus to shift from our goal of living a meaningful life to one in which we strive for success. Sometimes our ‘busy-ness’ trumps the slow down process that is necessary to allow ourselves quality time to be spent with our loved ones.

We can take joy in the ordinary moments, we can aim to have daily laughter in our lives, we can choose a healthy pace. If we need to heal, we can create a focus around that. Growth can become a cornerstone in our foundation. Movement becomes valued. As does time spent in nature, time spent seeking a grounded feeling, time spent adoring our families and cherishing our friends 🙂

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Today, Gratefully.

I came across this quote by Maya Angelou that reflects the importance of trying to live with the notion of today, the present moment – to try and heal from our past and not fret too much about the future:

“If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present….gratefully.” – Maya Angelou

As a therapist, I do believe in the process of looking back. But it is never about blame, and always about understanding. It is meant as a way to heal and move forward – to do so forgivingly. When we look forward, we have the choice to do so from a worried place, or one in which we have faith; we can do so prayerfully.

And today, we can do so gratefully – by focusing on our blessings, by being thankful for the day and for the experience it brought to us. Thank you Maya Angelou for the reminder. 🙂

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The State of Change

A recent quote got me thinking: “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it and join the dance.” – Alan W. Watts.

Although we have often heard that the only constant is change, we frequently hesitate to welcome it, much less plunge right into it. Perhaps this comes from the element of the unknown as it compromises our level of comfort and safety; perhaps it comes from the transitional element of change. Even good experiences (like weddings and babies) bring with them a time of flux that can be both exciting and stressful at the same time. Another potential reason for our apprehension can come from our past experiences where change brought us sorrow or heartbreak; the very thought of impending change can then default us into trying to avoid it. In any case, change often puts us into some form of limbo, and that is a difficult place to be; we need some sense of direction, plan and intent to feel secure.

Perhaps we can begin to view change instead as transformation; a process that requires our participation, perhaps cautiously but still present. The idea that moving with change then, seems achievable as it implies a willingness to simply stay the course, opening up to our feelings in order to discover where movement and growth will take us.

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Nature’s Reminder

I came across this lovely poem by Mary Oliver that reminds us how important nature is to our well being:

When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

– Mary Oliver

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The Process of Letting Go

When I read this poem by Erin Hanson, I thought of the grief we often feel through relationship loss:

I was the type of person,

That held onto things too tight,

Unable to release my grip,

When it no longer felt right, 

And although it gave me blisters,

And my fingers would all ache,

I always thought that holding on,

Was worth the pain it takes,

I used to think in losing things,

I’d lose part of me too,

That slowly I’d become someone,

My heart no longer knew,

Then one day something happened,

I dropped what I held dear,

But my soul became much lighter,

Instead of filled with fear,

And it taught my heart that some things,

Aren’t meant to last for long,

They arrive to teach you lessons,

And then continue on,

You don’t have to cling to people,

Who no longer make you smile,

Or do something you’ve come to hate,

If it isn’t worth your while,

That sometimes the thing you’re fighting for,

Isn’t worth the cost,

And not everything you ever lose,

Is bound to be a loss.

-e.h

And through just such a process, we go from letting go to moving on. 🙂

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Moving from the Inside Out

This quote from Victoria Erickson reminds us that reaching our full potential comes from within:

“If you inherently long for something, become it first. If you want gardens, become the gardener.

If you want love, embody love. If you want mental stimulation, change the conversation.

If you want peace, exude calmness. If you want to fill your world with artists, begin to paint.

If you want to be valued, respect your own time. If you want to live ecstatically, find the ecstasy within yourself.

This is how to draw it in, day by day, inch by inch.”

― Victoria Erickson

We can’t always choose our beginnings. We don’t always have control over what challenges come into our lives. But we do have choices in our journey; we can determine the path. Our goal to live joyfully is within us before we ever find it out there. Let us move from the inside out.

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