Monday, September 28, 2015

Does Time Heal All Wounds?

"The human heart has a way of making itself large again even after it's been broken into a million pieces."
~Robert James Waller, The Bridges of Madison County

I've taken on the huge task of writing a book. It's been over a year of writing, reading, adding, editing, rethinking and the occasional panic attacks surrounding the content. It very well may never be published but just within the process I've had a lot of time to digest some ideas in a new way.

Time heals all wounds.

That idea I'm ready to call bullshit on. If you've been hurt by someone, truly hurt to the point of desperation, time will never make that hurt go away. Wounds of the heart or soul never heal completely. Time, forgiveness, joy, these can all put a stitch, close it up little by little, but as long as you still have the capacity to feel you'll still have a level of hurt.

I'm not just talking about personal pain. I do have many cuts in my heart that I know will always cause me sadness. But I've hurt people I love and I wish the time=healing equation were absolutely correct. I know I will always have to own that hurt. I will always be in charge of adding a stitch through love, laughter and happiness whenever possible. When those things are absent I may see the pain again.

We are human; flawed, beautiful, and fragile. We love deeply, hurt intentionally or by accident, and bleed.

My hope is to continually try to create so much love and joy that the cuts don't have a chance to bleed, only throb in a quiet moment. It seems like a noble purpose. That's all we can do with our pain or the pain we cause others, be better. Learn from it and be better.

Time doesn't heal all wounds. Even decades later a truly horrible moment can feel like a yesterday occurrence. Ask any soldier that has seen real war. Our battle scars are there for a reason. They show us our flaws, our mistakes, or our painful memories. What we do with them, how we add our stitch, can either make us stronger or defeat us.

"Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or.....learn from it."
~Rafiki, The Lion King

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Beyond You

"Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself."

My family did a collective facepalm last night when I ended dinner by pulling out a mason jar full of rolled up pieces of paper. Looks of complete fear and utter dismay displayed as the questions began.

"What is this?'

"What are you going to make us do?"

"Where did you get this idea?"

This idea, strangely enough, came from my coaching clients. I often give them a challenge for the week between sessions. I started to think about my own life and how I should have a weekly challenge as well. Something to shake things up a bit and get me out of my own head, thinking outside of the normal.

Of course my family could use this also (insert heavy sigh from said family) as they are all in their bubble of school stress, work stress and, well, fill in the blank stress. What if one day a week, I picked Tuesday as it is a non-activity night, we picked a weekly challenge and the following week you report how it went and pick a new one. Seems easy.

My daughter had a fear of horrible challenges like "go for a run every day" or "clean the house," but I explained it was mostly small things that, on occasion, she might already do. For example, her challenge is to exercise three times during the week, easy since she'll have a riding lesson, gymnastics and currently has gym class.

My task is to compliment someone every day for a week (preferably not the same person). If I see something I like this week that you are doing or wearing expect a shout out!

Other examples are to read a book, plan and make dinner one night, do something nice for someone else every day, try a new food or retry one you previously disliked, make a plan with a friend. There is quite a few in the jar with an extra jar to put the completed ones in. They can be recycled at the end. Chances are you won't pick the same one the second time around.

My family is reluctantly going along with it and we'll see if anything positive comes about. My purpose is to get everyone out of their own world a bit if only briefly each week.

Then we can go back to being the center of the universe.

"The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature."
~Joseph Campbell, A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Creating a Wall

"If you keep running into the same wall over and over again, turn."
~Crystal DeLarm Climer

Walls, often a symbol of being contained, blocked or separated from something. We all run into walls, whether it's in our job, relationships or personal accomplishments they are unavoidable.

The true test is how you handle each wall. Do you stop, lean against it for awhile and walk away? Do you find a foothold and start to climb? Or do you find a sledgehammer and destroy it with passion?

Every wall is different.

Relationship walls tend to be constructed slowly over time. We are usually present for every brick that is laid but rarely take notice until the wall starts to obstruct our view. Once acknowledged the options tend to be removing the bricks one by one, letting the wall stand and ending the relationship, or drastically bulldozing the sucker in one motion. On a rare occasion, a relationship wall can be handled that final way, when both parties can find that moment of clarity and understanding of the future. There is still rubble to sift through, but the wall is destroyed.

I have clients in my Healthy Reboot program that hit walls. Family, work, stress or simple lack of motivation halt their progress and make them stand, banging their head against the bricks, wondering where to go. In those moments the wall won't be destroyed, it won't go away. They have to either gain the determination to climb over it or reevaluate their priorities to see if they can slowly find a way around it. That is the keyword: determination. No one can make you determined, motivated or successful. Someone can help you, cheer you on and guide in the right direction, but the work, desire, and drive can only come from within.

Work walls come in a variety of heights and thickness. I have a friend who gives the advice to never waste time in a career you hate. She clarifies that we all waste time in jobs we hate but never in what is a potential career. There is a difference between a job and a career. Great advice but sometimes seemingly impossible if we need that money to survive. I've heard the words, "This is not what I signed up for." It takes great strength and determination to start a new path, turn away from the wall and go in a better direction. Whether it's going back to school or actively job hunting and networking to find a better fit, it takes courage and a strong belief in a future professional happiness.

But if the wall is simply a stalling point in a career you love then it may just take some time to disassemble it to get back on the right path. That often requires a plan or blueprint of steps. But if getting past that obstacle will move you forward it's worth the effort.

What wall are you starting to construct or are you staring up at it right now?

It can only stop you if you want it to.

"A wall is a very big weapon. It's one of the nastiest things you can hit someone with."
~Banksy, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

What Do I Want?

"...and you drink a little too much and try a little too hard. And you go home to a cold bed and think, 'That was fine'. And your life is a long line of fine."
~Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

What does it mean to get stuck in a rut? Is it as simple as just being predictable,  routine or bored with life? Is it not having anything to feel passionate about, look forward to or strive towards? Is it never getting out of your comfort zone and always being afraid to shake the balance of life?

I suppose it can be any combination of these ideas. Some people find the routine, predictable and easy, with the minor daily shake-ups, all they can handle. But so many others long for that "something more." That elusive explosion of change or adventure that seems out of their reach but always in the back of their minds.

I'm absolutely one of those people. I have to have something to look forward to, an adventure or a goal I want to accomplish. Right now we have a family adventure planned in November and I have at least four goals I hope to achieve in the next few months, plus a longer term goal or two.

But so many people get stuck in a self-fulfilling dish of unhappiness with a dash of 'lack of passion' and a hint of 'that's life' attitude that presents the most boring and sad display.

Often I hear "I wish," "if only," or my favorite, "what if?"

Those ideas can be what we need to get out of our rut.

Look at your life right now and say: I wish.....
What is it?
I wish I was in better shape.
I wish I could travel more.
I wish I could find a better job.
I wish I could go back to school.
I wish.....

If only I had the money.
If only I had more time.
If only things were slightly different.
If only...

What if I cut some corners and started a separate account for a vacation?
What if I asked for help from my family to go back to school part time?
What if I started actively looking for that job that I think I deserve.
What if I made a goal to run a 5K or get to the gym four times a week.
What if....

And now the ultimate of questions: What do I want?

I understand having obligations, responsibilities, and a busy schedule. But if your life consists of a job you hate, coming home to a relationship gone sour or simply having nothing positive to strive for it may be time to shake things up.

It doesn't have to be a major Eat, Pray, Love or Wild type of life altering adventure, but it may have to be something. Plan a trip or excursion, sign up for a class, try something or plan something completely out of your comfort zone. Go on a weekend getaway with your partner to reconnect (and if you discover that there is a reason you don't spend that kind of time together discuss that issue). Start a blog, try a sport, pick up an instrument, try out for a play or join a club.


I wish my life could fill me with passion.
If only I could make a plan.
What if I made a plan right now?

I want _____________.

What is stopping you?

"But there was a difference between being stuck and choosing to stay. Between being found and trying to find yourself."
~Martina Boone, Compulsion