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

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

Balance for Well-Being

There are five areas of our life that help contribute to our overall level of satisfaction; our work, our intimate/family relationships, our spiritual life, our sense of self and our social life. If we are able to achieve a good sense of balance, and feel as though these areas are for the most part in our control, we feel more secure in our sense of well-being.

There are times however, when we feel out of balance and perhaps one or two of the areas are not in our control as much as we’d like them to be which will require some inquiry and some re-shifting of priorities. A good exercise in exploration is to write down each of these areas and jot down the things you are doing to nourish them; focusing as well on the goals you would like to have in each one. Questions that can also help are ones such as: “Am I putting more into my work than I am into my partner or family? Am I connecting with friends as often as I should? How am I feeding my soul? Am I getting enough exercise? Time outside? Am I finding time to have fun? To laugh?”

Understanding and making conscious decisions in these areas of our lives creates a greater sense of agency and a feeling of simplicity; for it is in our appreciation of stability and equilibrium that our well-being rests and is most content.

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

 

A Reminder to be True to Yourself

I saw this passage on Instagram at myspiritualpath and thought it was a lovely reminder that being true to ourselves is the highest form of self-love:

I will start filling my own cup.

Being my own muse.

Knowing my own worth.

Loving my own skin.

Praising my own existence.

Validating my own journey.

Speaking my own truth.

Admiring my own reflection.

Experiencing my own love.

Enjoying my own company.

Extending my own energy.

Creating my own paradise. 

 

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

Disney Quotes to Uplift

We all need the wise words of Disney characters once in awhile. Here are some favourites:

“Never let your wings be stolen from you.” – Maleficent

“The cover is not the book, so open it up and take a look.” – Mary Poppins

“Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” – Rafiki

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Winnie the Pooh

“Happiness is the richest thing we will ever own.” – Donald Duck

“A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.” — Eeyore

 

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

 

 

Four Practical Tips to Reduce Stress

We all know both the physical and emotional toll that stress can take on us. Here are four practical tips in reducing every day, life-catches-up-to-us, stress:

  • Prepare for the next day. An evening routine that allows us to plan for the next day helps us to feel that we are one step ahead of the stress. This can include making tomorrow’s lunch(es), setting out the outfit you intend to wear, checking your calendar and writing out a to-do list. Sometimes neatening the house can help bring closure to the day; it also separates one day to the next by creating a fresh start.
  • Move. Find ways to move your body throughout the day. It can be a short walk at lunch (fresh air always help to reset our system), taking a walk-about the office every hour, using the stairs instead of the elevator, some in-office stretches, exercising before or after work, taking an evening stroll with the family. Movement is a mood booster and is meditation in motion.
  •  Soothe your comfort system. This might include soothing music, having a lit candle, using essential oils, making a warm cup of tea and some periodic deep breathing. When we keep our comfort system as top priority, we can easily add these types of things to our day.
  • Create moments of joy and gratitude. Our day is fully realized when we are able to laugh, feel joy, and are able to feel thankful. When we are overwhelmed, we tend to put fun and play on the back burner. By building moments of joy and gratitude into our day, we help to counter the harsh effects of stress.

As we can see from this list, there is a fair amount of planning when aiming to reduce stress. Although this may seem like one more thing to do, when we manage our time to include movement and moments that promote feeling settled, we are one step ahead of the game as it has moved us from being reactive to proactive. We can’t really escape stress but we can temper its effects. 🙂

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

A Quote About the Storms of Life

A timeless quote that always resonates:

“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: https://unsplash.com/@wandervisions

 

Merry Christmas

From my home to yours, I wish you the blessings of the season. May you find warmth and cozy in your day;

whether it be filled with the sounds of a full house

or the solitude of a quiet one. May this time between the ending of one year and the start of another, be a time of quiet reflection,

peaceful thoughts and grateful acknowledgment; not only for the things that you have, but also for the things you let go.

God Bless you and your loved ones. 

Forever grateful, 

Kristine 

Chronic Pain; A Function Centered Life

Building on yesterday’s post about how chronic pain can affect someone’s emotional health as well, we can see how chronic pain can often lead someone to living a pain centered life. Prolonged pain can be quite stealthy, invading our system in an insidious way. Often times, we continue to live our life as we always did, ignoring the pain as we plow through our day. This becomes a pain centered way of life, forcing us to eventually face the pain when we have pushed ourselves too far.

So how do we shift it to a more function centered life? One in which we work with our chronic pain and not against it:

  • Get informed. Working with your GP and possible specialists to discover the source of chronic pain is only the first step. Identify with symptoms by researching, join groups online that share similar diagnoses, seek both medical and alternative methods of treatment and look into online resources that can help to understand not only your specific condition but how chronic pain affects you as well.
  • Know your limits. Begin to notice just how much you can do of any activity and re-adjust. This takes some acceptance, but you will be better served by it when you begin to honour your body and just how much it can take. Shorten, tweak, or limit your activities according to your pain.
  • Stay active. Very often, chronic pain can be isolating; even a 10 minute walk around the block is better than staying in bed.
  • Keep your established social connections. Chronic pain can often lead us to say no to activities based on our pain levels; friends are more understanding than we think and keeping them in our life is an important and healthy coping strategy. It just may mean some adjustments – hiking with friends for a day might be out of the question, but how about a spa day instead?
  • Work towards acceptance. Working with our chronic pain is a proactive versus reactive position. You will feel more in the driver’s seat as a result.

A great online course is available from Living Healthy Champlain: https://www.livinghealthychamplain.ca/en/LAHLchronicpain

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

 

How We Carry the Torch

When we are little, we have a very blurred line between need and want. As part of our attachment system, and the inherent knowledge that we can’t survive without our caregivers, we are quite egocentric as children. As our rational brain develops, we begin to think of ourselves outside of others and by adulthood, have a much clearer delineation between what we need and what we want (or at least we hope so!)

As a result of our egocentricity, we internalize everything as children. This includes messages that get repeated to us, both spoken and unspoken; resulting in core beliefs that can often define who we are. If for example, the message we consistently received is “you can do this; try your best,” we learn with time that we have the power within us to achieve our goals; a good core belief to have. If, however, the message we have received is “nothing you do is good enough,” that also follows us as we navigate through life.

When we are children, we are powerless to change core beliefs; they become an ingrained part of our self-identity and as a result feel very real. Once we bridge over into adulthood, we often “carry the torch,” unbeknownst to us that we have the ability to influence and change our negative core beliefs. Our rational brain certainly has the capacity to begin to question how we identify ourselves, but very often, we lean into what we feel to be true, creating a self-fulfilling prophesy of sorts.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way; forever imprisoned by our negative core beliefs. Tomorrow’s post will address how to begin the process of challenging those very messages that affect the decisions we make in life.

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

 

 

June is Indigenous History Month

June is Indigenous History Month in Canada. It is a time to recognize the cultures and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Metis Peoples. It is also a time to recognize the contributions and resiliency of Indigenous people.

Part of our acknowledgement process comes from educating ourselves to the culture and history of Indigenous people. One way to do this is to register for a free online course being offered through the University of Alberta: https://www.coursera.org/learn/indigenous-canada 

History through story is also a way that we can appreciate the resiliency of Indigenous people. Two books that may interest you (that I highly recommend) include:

“From the Ashes” by Jesse Thistle; a memoir that chronicles Jesse’s life on the streets and how he overcame addiction and intergenerational trauma in order to truly embrace his Indigenous culture. Learn more by visiting Jesse’s website: https://jessethistle.com/ 

“Five Little Indians” by Michelle Good. Reading this book allowed me to gain a greater understanding of residential school survivors and the haunting effects of colonialism. Learn more: https://www.michellegood.ca/ 

“Some people naively think they can hijack or control or harness the wind driving this movement forward. Any effort to do this will fail, because the energy behind this awakening, this force, is coming from all directions. Don’t just believe me, go outside and, using your own breath, try to blow back the wind in the direction from which it comes. Think of the drum, the heartbeat, the songs, and how all these beautiful sounds roll into an echo carried by that wind from the ancestors through to the lives of our children’s children.” – Michelle Good, Five Little Indians. 

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