Ringing in the New Year

Here we are – on the cusp of a new year. I would say that most people are probably pretty happy to bid 2021 goodbye – the pandemic owned this one for most of us. As I remarked in yesterday’s post however, there is always much to be thankful for.

This week between Christmas and New Year’s is often one of reflection. We have moved on from the hustle and bustle of Christmas, enjoyed the magic once more that surrounds the holiday, and have moved into being a bit more reflective in the space that slowing down always allows us to do. We sometimes can get into organization mode as make room for the new gifts received. We may catch up with old friends, take some longer walks, linger over our coffee, watch a movie or two.

I always appreciate the space coming into a new year as a time to think about the past year and plan for the new one. Some like to solidify those plans with resolutions; for others, it is simply a time to quietly reflect. In any case, a new year always brings with it some hope, a sense of renewal and blessings ahead. Perhaps that can be our focus as we make a toast to the year past and to the one that faces us – to live with courage, grace, faith, and the knowledge that we have within us what it takes to live with intention.

Photo credit: Me!

Grateful for 2021

It is almost hard to believe that title. I fully intended to travel this past year as I was sure that things would return to normal. When I bought my Christmas themed mask in 2020, I didn’t think I would be wearing it again this year. And we are entering 2022 much in the same way as we did last year – with uncertainty, restrictions in place, and not knowing when this pandemic will ease its hold.

And yet I still have much to be grateful for. Every day I walk in the woods; the skies in the morning help me to strengthen my faith and remind me of the stillness within me. I relish the time spent with my partner and our families – the bonfires, the family suppers, the game nights, camping weekends and holidays seeped in tradition.

I was able to experience a girls weekend with my high school friends – so good for the soul. I love my work and am grateful for every client whom I have had the privilege of learning with in the past year.

I lost my beloved Great Dane last March and yet I am so grateful for the love of a good dog – Cricket gave me 12 years of loyal companionship.

I continue to be thankful for the grief surrounding the loss of my parents; there isn’t a day that goes by that they aren’t with me in some way and it strengthens the blessings of my childhood.

I am grateful for being able to see my Aunt Rita this Christmas as she travelled from Massachusetts – we wrote to each other for the past two years, had phone and Zoom chats; but nothing compares to being able to hug her and spend precious time together.

2021 will go down in history; yet the ordinary still exists. It is in that space that I am most thankful; for the small things show us why the big things matter.

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

 

Merry Christmas

 

From

my family

to yours, I wish you peace

 on this day. May you feel blessed;

may you have moments of joy, may you feel

content and full. May you feel the magic of Christmas.

May you find comfort and warmth in your family and friends.

May you feel love.

Kris, xo

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A Quote About the Storms of Life

Thank you to my friend Gurlie who sent this quote my way:

“Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.” – Unknown

When we are in the midst of a storm, we are often preoccupied. We are focused on what is happening outside, we are at times anxious, wondering if we should be taking greater shelter, we are focused on the unknowns and we worry about the aftermath.

When we are challenged by a storm in our own life, we often focused on the unanswered question of “why?” This is a natural response as we are curious creatures; we also feel comforted by knowledge and understanding. Sometimes we will never get the why question answered. Sometimes we get the answer years later.

It is important while in the midst of the storm to not get too preoccupied with the storm itself; rather to try and ride the storm, seeking shelter in our support system and having faith that we are going to be okay. If we never weather the storm, we also won’t see the rainbow when we step outside.

Photo credit: http://Photo by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash

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Five Fun Facts About Laughter

Consciously keeping laughter as part of our daily routine is a great self-care strategy! Here are five fun facts about the importance of keeping yourself amused:

  • Laughter is contagious. People are 30 times more likely to laugh when in the company of others.
  • Laughter has bonding qualities; when couples tackle stressful situations with humour, they are more likely to report higher levels of satisfaction with their relationship.
  • The average person laughs around 13 times per day; spontaneous laughter bringing about more instances of belly laughs.
  • Whole-hearted laughter boosts our immune system, working against harmful illness.
  • In an average day, children tend to laugh 3 times more than adults.

What do these facts tell us about the importance of laughter? They all tend to focus on the importance of working towards adopting a carefree attitude to our daily stresses; using laughter as a way to counter some of the challenges we may face in our busy lives.

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Stuck at a Crossroad? Try these 3 things!

People often come to therapy because they have reached a crossroads in their lives. Unsure of which way to go, they end up standing at the crossroads, struggling to make a decision and feeling stuck.

A job presents itself but is accompanied by change, a relationship has reached a point of being unhealthy, a bad habit is beginning to feel dysfunctional, past trauma is affecting your current experience. In any case, the impasse represents our comfort zone; choosing a path is frightening. Turning back is always an option but most likely not a good one and standing in the same place puts you directly in the absence of growth.

Three things can help begin the process of choosing:

  • Find your direction. If you were lost, you would google map it. Get informed; find out as much as you can about what it would look like to take the paths in front of you. Curiousity is always one of the best ways to temper fear.
  • Ask for help. If you were standing there and a fellow wanderer came down the path, you may ask them about the best way to reach your destination. Use your loved ones as sounding boards; seek therapy.
  • Use your instincts. Let’s face it; you wouldn’t be at the crossroads unless something in your gut was niggling at you and telling you that some form of change was necessary to feel a difference.

Standing at a crossroads needs to be a temporary, not permanent position. The choice, ultimately is ours and being proactive and involved in the decision making will give us a sense of relief and confidence in having stepped towards a path.

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Yung Pueblo Quote

 

I especially resonated with this quote from Yung Pueblo:

the forces

of the universe

support those who

work at healing 

themselves.

 

yung pueblo

 

Very often, people come into therapy with a core belief that keeps them stuck. Core beliefs remain rigid when we feed them; often using an internal, critical voice that originated from someone else or from experiences that hurt us. But what about the energy that is required to keep those core beliefs in place? And what happens when we begin to challenge our core beliefs with more accurate and objective truths?

Our energy shifts. When we put things out to the universe, when our values and worth align with who we are, our energy works for us and the universe responds. 🙂

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The Absence of Growth

In order for nature to flourish, it requires the proper amounts of hydration, nutrients, light, climate and space. In humans, we have both the advantage of the human growth hormone and cell propagation that allow us to physically grow; less than optimal conditions can affect this system as well.

But what about emotional growth? How important is it for us to function? Well, I suppose that comes down to the importance we place on reaching our full potential, realizing and achieving our well-being goals and the prominence of meaning and purpose in our lives. Anyone can go through the motions, but in the absence of growth, we can become static, stuck, unchanging.

Perhaps the single most important element that is required for growth is movement. Without it, water goes stagnant, trees don’t grow, humans fail to thrive. Movement gives us direction, a sense of accomplishment, and an underlying feeling that we are nourishing our system in a holistic way. Challenges can be stepping stones, goals can be broken down into achievable steps, we can give ourselves permission to satisfy our human need to continue learning, not only about the world but about ourselves as well.

The bottom line? Growth equals movement; one step at a time.

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Wisdom of Princess Diana

There are days in our lifetime that strike us with an unforgettable feeling. The day Princess Diana died was one of those days for the world; the events of August 31, 1997 sent nations into mourning. Princess Diana was the exception to British royalty; she often set aside convention and yet managed to do so with grace and poise. Three of my favourite quotes:

  • “Only do what your heart tells you.”
  • “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”
  • “I’d like to be a queen in people’s hearts.”

Princess Diana believed in kindness; she lived in a way that honoured her instincts while making others feel cared for and loved.

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The Use of Avoidance in Conflict

Avoidance is one of our defense mechanisms. If we are trying not to face the truth about something or desire to not feel a certain emotion, we can choose to avoid as a way of putting off the inevitable.  But how does the use of avoidance work in conflict? Typically, if someone tends to default to an avoidance position, they will also tend to do so in relationship as well to bypass conflict.

Sometimes, avoidance in conflict can be useful:

  • It prevents an immediate conflict; giving each other space to cool down.
  • Someone else may be able to resolve the conflict more effectively; thereby re-directing the conflict to an appropriate channel.
  • The issue or relationship is unimportant; therefore, why engage in the first place?

Although there are uses for avoidance in conflict, there are also dangers; especially when it is being used in relationships that are important to us. The risky parts to avoidance include:

  • Conflict festers until it escalates; creating an even bigger issue.
  • The relationship can move to or remain superficial.

Avoidance as an overall strategy isn’t one I generally recommend to clients; giving space to something while being transparent about it is a safer response to an issue that just can’t be dealt with in the moment. It bides you time while still respecting your loved one by not leaving them guessing.

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