Mindful Living

by Cynthia Bischoff on July 24, 2016

“It’s too much,” my client told me. “I just can’t deal with it all. I was able to do it for a long time, and I now simply don’t have the energy.” My coaching client (whom I will call Joan) was anxious, stressed, often unable to sleep. And she had become angry with herself for being unable to keep up the usual pace. The usual pace, of course, would tire an Olympian.

Although she wasn’t totally aware of it, she did know her problem: “There was too much.” As simple as it may sound, I introduced Joan to the concept and reality of “stopping.” As I pointed out to Joan, although it seemed as though her life had moved into “fast forward” rather suddenly; in fact, she had been gradually living a life of too much for a long time. But like all mountains that we create, it wasn’t until she reached her maximum point that she could no longer keep up the pace. It was like putting one more item into a too-full suitcase.

So when did it become “too much?” As Joan grew in greater awareness of what she wanted to invest her spirit in, she realized that there was little space for personal growth or nourishment. That’s when she became acutely aware of “too much.”

I began coaching Joan to practice “pausing”—which is the act of doing nothing for a specific period of time (stopping)—from five minutes to five days if desired.

Joan began with five minutes each day. Five minutes was painful for her at first. She associated the space with “wasting time,” “not getting something done,” etc. But by staying with it, the internal uncluttering that she did in the state of stopping for five minutes was very powerful. It required that she be alone with herself. It allowed her to see herself much more clearly and to remember over time who she really was—what she actually wanted. In other words, she began to see her real self—her truth.

To practice “pausing,” simply set aside five minutes a day to do absolutely nothing. During that period of pausing, remain silent, do nothing—absolutely nothing—and see what happens. Continue this every day, and you will become more and more able to do it. Over time, you will remember important things about yourself.

Pausing will allow you to restore balance and energy to your weary spirit. It may cause you to feel sad, relieved, or even angry. Releasing the feelings within you is a beginning toward mindful living.

Sometimes, when we refuse to allow ourselves stopping points, our bodies make them happen for us. We develop migraines, colds, the flu—ways of making our bodies stop.

Instead, commit to conscious moments in which you pause and do nothing. It is then that you will really be doing something!

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On Healthy Relations

by Cynthia Bischoff on July 17, 2016

In certain circumstances, people may depend upon you to provide for them, take care of them, and guide them, and this temporary state of dependency may be normal. Yet if this dependency becomes permanent or occurs over a long period of time, the person may feel angry about needing you. Resentment may grow for both of you. “Why can’t I do this for myself?” may become the person’s question.

If the feelings and dynamics continue, the relationship can turn into a “hostile dependent” one in which the person feels angry for needing you as well as you feeling angry for the dependency.

How is this type of relationship created? You may create a hostile dependent relationship with another person through:

  • a need to be needed–if I make the person dependent, I am important;
  • a need to control–if the person is dependent on me, I can control their choices;
  • a fear of being abandoned–if the person is dependent, he/she won’t leave me.

When you are helping others, ask yourself a few questions to ensure healthy relationship dynamics:

  • Would my helping this person give him or her greater independence and growth?
  • Would my assistance help this person to know his or her own talents, strengths, and capabilities?
  • Does my helping cause this person ultimately to be able to help himself/herself?

Remember the Chinese proverb: “Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to fish and you feed them for a lifetime.”

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Native American Prayer

July 10, 2016

O Great and Holy Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind, whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me. I need your strength and your wisdom. Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hand respect the things that you have made, […]

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Benefits of Optimism

July 3, 2016

From an evolutionary perspective, fear was meant to alert us about potential danger and to protect us. We may have been afraid of a sound that was heard in the forest in order to alert us to danger or afraid of a cloud formation that might signal a treacherous storm. In modern times, many of […]

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