You Never Really Know

There is a belief that a small change can produce a ripple effect; leading to bigger changes in the universe that we may not be aware of. I am certainly a firm believer in the energy we put out into the world; that by focusing on appreciation, kindness and thoughtful intentions, we send out a ripple effect. That when we focus on feeling settled within, we give others around us permission to do the same. I came across a saying by Nikki Banas which speaks to just that:

“You never really know the true impact you have on those around you.

You never know how much someone needed that smile that you gave them.

You never know how much your kindness turned someone’s entire life around.

You never know how much someone needed that long hug or deep talk.

So don’t wait to be kind.

Don’t wait for someone else to be kind first.

Don’t wait for better circumstances or for someone to change.

Just be kind, because you never know how much someone needs it.”

– Nikki Banas

Or for that matter, when you might 🙂

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A Reminder About Choice

I appreciated reading this passage from Walk the Earth:

Decide

You are the only one in charge of your destiny. Unfair things may happen to you, unfortunate times may come to you, but you always get to choose how you respond. You can live in frustration and bitterness, or you can be the bigger person and just play the hell out of the cards you are dealt. Because the truth is, in this world, not a single person chooses the cards they receive, but every single person chooses how to play them.

Walk the Earth

We are living right now through an unfortunate time; one that will go down in the history books. We have choices in how to get through it, collectively and individually. We can do our part, act responsibly, focus on our blessings, appreciate the simple things and prioritize self-care. We can decide.

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A Good Way to Think About Therapy

I came across this poem by Hannah Brencher which summed up quite nicely for me the ‘unpacking’ that occurs in therapy:

“We all have a bag. We all pack 

differently. Some of us are 

travelling light. Some of us are 

secret hoarders who’ve never 

parted with a memory in our lives.

I think we are all called to 

figure out how to carry our bag

to the best of our ability, how to

unpack it, and how to face the mess.

I think part of growing up is

learning how to sit down on

the floor with all of your things and

figuring out what to take with you

and what to leave behind.

– Hannah Brencher

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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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A Little Fun – Just Because

Bringing us back to our own childhood, or to the many times we read our beloved Dr. Seuss books to our children:

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Dr. Seuss

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And
you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll
decide where to go.

You’ll get mixed up,
of course, as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up with
many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great
tact and remember that
Life’s A Great Balancing Act.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE
MOUNTAINS!

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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. 

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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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