As an accomplished big-city mediator, Chris was no stranger to interpersonal relationships.
Her job was to masterfully help those she worked with identify important issues, clarify misunderstandings, explore solutions, and negotiate a settlement rather than having a costly, time-consuming trial.
At the time I was giving my seminar on Relationships. Given the work she did, I could understand why she signed up.
Yet, interestingly, for all her intricate experience with people, she couldn’t see what was going on within herself.
The Problem: Old Stuff
Often there are things going on behind-the-scenes in our inner lives that cost us big time.
They’re underlying ideas about ourselves and the outside world that we don’t know we have. And they show up in ways that seem to sabotage our best efforts.
How can you tell if you're throwing sand into the gears of your life? Start noticing what’s bothering you and ask yourself these questions:
• Is it something you’ve noticed before?
• Is there a repeating pattern playing out through people and experiences like personal relationships and work? Your health? Your finances? What stresses you out? How you feel about the world?
• Do you sometimes feel like you’re moving backwards instead of forward or plateaued out?
The Cost to Her and Those Around Her
Reflecting, I’ve wondered what Chris’ life could have been like had she discovered what she did about herself years before.
How much happier she could have been. The time and frustration she could have saved herself. How much more she could have enjoyed her family or better served her clients.
Being able to help her empower herself to free herself from an issue that had dogged her for decades was a wonderful win across the board.
Here's what she said to me about the experience:
"Something happened in the seminar that changed everything for me – everything.
How Much You Matter
Remember. Everything you do matters from a big picture perspective.
You have no idea how profound the effects are when you do something positive for yourself. And because it ripples outward, others.
1. What's one thing can you do today to help you understand yourself better?
2. What one positive action can you do now to start that process?
Asking yourself the bulleted questions in the Tell-Tale Clues paragraph above can be a good start.
Photo: Amy Hirschib
"Life is a State of Mind"
These are the closing words from the movie Being There with Peter Sellers and Shirley MacLaine.
Simple-minded Chance (Peter Sellers), a gardener who has resided in the Washington, D.C., townhouse of his wealthy employer for his entire life and been educated only by television, is forced to vacate his home when his boss dies.
While wandering the streets, he encounters business mogul Ben Rand, who assumes Chance to be a fellow upper-class gentleman.
Soon Chance is ushered into high society, and his unaffected gardening wisdom makes him the talk of the town.
Chance (great name considering the story) was open - unaffected by judgements about what could or couldn't happen.
When you free yourself from self-judgement, criticism, and underlying beliefs that are messing with you and getting in your way, you open up the space for miracles to happen.
• The movie promotion illustration is of the Vanderbilt Biltmore Mansion in Asheville, NC
• It was the setting for part of the movie, filmed in 1979
• It's the largest house in the US at 179,000 square feet
• I visited the mansion in 2017 with my mom, a trip inspired by the lifestyle of the Downton Abbey PBS Series
PERSONAL FUN FACT
• I was complimented by the heiress of the Biltmore Estate on my writing expertise
Since this was completely unexpected, a factor of being open to possibility?
What's your state of mind?
What do you think is possible for you?
I wrote this Toolkit for you from years of experience.
In getting through, and emerging from, tough times.
Some were tragic – about outside events – extreme losses that knocked me to my knees where I didn't know how I'd get up again.
Some were on the inside – from dealing with a firestorm of emotions to a sense of gnawing unease.
What I discovered for myself, through trial and error, has helped many people change their lives.
Foundation basics for mental and emotional well-being are simply presented in this compact workbook Toolkit.
• Emotional health is at a global crises across the board
• Holidays can be rough for a lot of people in a "normal" year
You can check out My SOS Need it Now! Emotional Feel Better Toolkit here.
Because sometimes it just helps to know you're not alone.
My mom and I talk by phone most mornings.
She has her tea and toast and I have my coffee and toast.
We talk about what's happened since we last talked and what we both have planned for the day.
I was telling her about the next door neighbor cutting down a few huge pine trees in their yard.
The house has been vacant for years. The owners only show up to cut the grass.
When I asked them what was going on, I found out they're planning to sell.
With no one living in the house, I've enjoyed a level of privacy that's now going to change.
Losing the trees was the start. Everything feels exposed. It left me feeling a little weirded out.
I realized that it's a metaphor for the big changes in my life that I'm already experiencing.
Being able to share those feelings, talk them out with my mom, was such a gift.
She reminded me to embrace and celebrate those changes.
Sometimes, we can't see what's going on in our own backyard very clearly and it makes all the difference to have another perspective.
I help you with life change.
Reach out to find out more.
3 Things You Can Do to Help Yourself Right Now
Do you feel like having control in your life these days is like trying to catch a fistful of feathers in the wind?
Do you feel anxious, frustrated, stressed or angry?
Do you wish that whatever's bothering you would just go away?
Take heart, there’s something you can do. Should you accept this mission, taking steps to claim your personal power requires three things.
Caution: This may fly smack dab in the face of your current beliefs!
1. Go Neutral.
What does that mean?
To take a pass on getting caught up in judging yourself, others, a situation or circumstance.
An Example for You:
Sitting on my couch before the day starts, I can look out and see traffic going by. The way the window is positioned creates a frame for the outside world. I can wake up with my coffee cup while observing a car or truck passing through the “frame.”
There aren't any stories in my head about the vehicles, who’s in them or what they’re doing. It's just about observing what is.
Why is it important?
Like shifting your car, shifting your mind to neutral allows you to choose how to respond. You’re not caught up in your emotions, in a reaction, or judgment. From that space, you can make deliberate choices about where you want to go.
2. Get Centered.
What does that mean?
Calling a time-out with your self-defeating thoughts and actions.
When I was little, my mom would summon us kids and declare Quiet Time. I don’t know if it was because we got totally out of hand or she needed a break (probably both), but we dreaded those words because it meant we had to stop whatever stuff we were into at the moment.
Why is it important?
Quiet Time as an adult is great for your mind, body, and spirit. How often do you make it a priority?
Taking the time to get centered, really centered, allows clearer thinking so you can be calmly effective in your life.
Go Neutral and Get Centered work hand-in-hand:
Both are simple in concept, but take practice to apply. In the words of the iconic song Dream On by Steven Tyler /Aerosmith:
The past is gone, it went by, like dusk to dawn. Isn’t that the way, Everybody’s got the dues in life to pay.
The parallel is that it takes inner work to get your outer reward.
Remember, you can use Go Neutral and Get Centered to take charge of something you can control – you.
When you do that for yourself, through a lens of love and compassion, it ripples. You’re creating an open space to make new choices for yourself.
Zooming out to enfold the bigger picture, when you do that for yourself, it also affects the world around you.
Go Neutral and Get Centered is also a launch pad for beginning to deliberately transform your world.
3. Ask Yourself a Self-Discovery Question:
Are you ready to take another step forward in standing for yourself, standing in your personal power, regardless of what's going on in the world?
I invite you to book a complimentary discovery call with me today.
Just reach out and send a message.
I look forward to listening to you.
Copyright ©2020 Catherine Lenard. All rights reserved.
Hedy left the planet this week.
Hedy liked to give her friends lovely gifts. One year, a really difficult year when I was recovering from a "rip-your-heart-out-and-stomp-on-it-beating" breakup, she gifted me with the picture in this post.
In a sea of misery at the time, I clung to those words for dear life. And you know what? Looking back, they were true.
Whatever changes you may be going through whether in your personal or work life, having the belief (or if that's too much of a stretch, just being open to the possibility) that everything is working for your highest good –
even if it seems impossible,
even if you don't have a clue about what that could possibly look like right now
– will go a long way in helping you help yourself.
In case you can't see the words on the picture, they are:
Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a Butterfly.
Cheers, Hedy! Thank you, and Angels Atcha!
Your comments are welcome.
A Timely Life Lesson from "Tammy Faye"
Who IS That?
In case you didn't know, Tammy Faye Bakker was an outspoken televangelist who was in her heyday in the 1970's and 1980's along with her husband, Jim Bakker.
For entrepreneurs reading this, it's worth mentioning that together (starting in an abandoned furniture store) they created the PTL Club and Heritage USA, a retreat and theme park that ranked right alongside Disney World and Disneyland as one of the most popular in the U.S. at the time.
Tammy Faye was known for her emotionalism and sensitivity as much as outlandish glamour and theatrical makeup that often tangled with her tears.
I bought the greeting card in the picture (a true-to-life Tammy Faye parody) for my mom a long time ago. To this day, if I see it sitting on the table by her chair where she has her morning tea, I know something's definitely not right in her world and she's pulled out some positive reinforcement for an attitude adjust in working it through.
A Breath of Fresh Air
We've all been saturated with "uncertain," "unprecedented," and "challenging"– soaked with facts, figures, and statistics while feeling the impact of what's going on in the world. The effects on us all don't need repeating.
This week I was in a Zoom meeting with some business friends. The leader of the group started with this timeless quote:
"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about these things."
It's a great reminder.
One of the most powerful principles you can apply in your life is to remember that what you focus on expands. Feed something that's upsetting in your world with your energy by thinking and talking about it unnecessarily and it grows. Withdraw your energy, and it fades in importance like a Round-up blasted dandelion.
One of the guys in the meeting, who happens to own an employment agency, said how important it is to acknowledge the good in someone [or something] when you see it. Seemingly simple things can make a huge difference. Putting your attention on the good brings out more – not only from the person who's getting the positive reinforcement – but for yourself because you've dialed into noticing that good.
A Focus Shift Exercise for You:
Because it's one thing to read something and another to experience it, here's a simple exercise you can do for yourself:
1. What's going on in your life that's bothering you? Whether it's a personal or work situation, rate how you're feeling right now on a scale of 1 - 5 with 1 being "I'm in the pits" and 5 being "I'm pretty okay."
2. Whatever you're rating, take some time to reflect on whatever you find noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy, or more simply stated – positive – in that situation. Whether it's about someone or something, give it some time to sink in, be it for an hour or a day. Then check in again with how you're feeling. Has it changed?
The Tammy Faye card throws some humor at Laugh and The World Laughs With You, Cry and You . . . (actual words are "cry and you cry alone").
You choose what you decide to focus on. The results of that choice will be reflected in your world through your own sense of mental and emotional well-being.
Photo ©2020 Catherine Lenard
What’s your anxiety or fear level related to coronavirus on a scale of 1–10 with one being Eh,-This-Too-Shall-Pass and ten being The-Sky-Is-Falling-and-Everyone-With-It?
With the increasing onslaught of scary stuff in the media, I admit I started drifting toward 8 or 9, once in a while spiking to 10.
Do you remember the TV show Fear Factor where contestants had to do a series of challenges from being covered with hissing Madagascar cockroaches to a spaghetti clump of writhing snakes? Or chugging a freshly blended worm smoothie without it (ewww) backing up? Although there are different ramifications, today’s Fear Factor is kinda like going out in public without a bottle of hand sanitizer or (depending where you are) face mask.
Understanding very well that taking common sense precautions to protect your body is important, I realized that I also had to get a grip on what I could control — my thoughts about it all.
Are You Choosing Fear or Love?
Remembering a book purchased years ago called Love is Letting Go of Fear by Dr. Gerald Jampolsky, M.D., I pulled it off my lower bookshelf. In it, Dr. Jampolsky recalls that in med school a high percentage of his fellow classmates would start developing symptoms of whatever illness they were studying — no matter if it was chicken pox, schizophrenia, or an STD.
He said his fear factor at the time was a highly contagious lung disease, tuberculosis, transmitted through the air by talk, coughing, or sneezing. As an intern he had to do a one-month stint in the TB ward. He was terrified he would die. His fantasy plan was to take one deep breath and have it last for a month. At the end of his first day, he was an emotional wreck.
Just before midnight he received an emergency call that a woman was admitted to the ward with not only TB, but alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. She’d just vomited blood. When all lifesaving measures failed including an oxygen machine, he resorted to mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
When it was over, he noticed in a mirror that he was covered with blood. Yet at no time during the event was he fearful. Through the necessity of the moment, he had forgotten about himself and went into action to save the woman’s life. After that, he had no fear of TB.
The point he made at the end of the chapter is when you take your mind off yourself and your fears and bring love into action by helping someone else [whether through direct help, a kind deed, a positive thought or prayer], you shift your own focus from destructive and negative to constructive and positive. This also has an effect on your body.
The Mysteries of the Mind
Years ago, I’d attended a business conference in Florida. One of the presenters was a hypnotist who was on the level of having his own Las Vegas show. When he asked for volunteers from the audience, I raised my hand. A bunch of us went onstage and he did his initial hypnosis thing to screen people who would continue on as part of his demonstration.
Some of the people responded to his suggestions and “went under,” some didn’t. I was determined not to allow myself to do so and was excused to return to my seat in the audience along with a few others.
It was a great show. About ten people were sitting in a row onstage and conversing in everything from martian to (bawk-bawk) chicken-speak. It was seriously funny stuff.
But here was the kicker.
One of the ten people, a woman, was later positioned between two conference chairs. You know, the stacking kind you see in restaurants and hotels with a solid metal frame. The chairs were positioned back to back with about 4.5 — 5 feet in between them. While she was in a trance, her body was positioned with her neck on one chair and her ankles on the other. Her body was suspended between two chairs, stiff as a board. Then someone stood on her torso! Are you kidding me?
After that, she woke up, stood up, and returned to her seat in the audience as if nothing happened.
Had I not seen that for myself, I would have had a hard time believing it. The thing is, your mind is incredibly powerful. With self-awareness about what you’re thinking and discipline to catch yourself when you’re heading into a downward fear spiral, you can choose to change that thought into something positive and life-affirming. For yourself and others.
The Miracle Man
A friend of mine was left to die in a humble nursing home after suffering a stroke at an early age that left him paralyzed. He said he had nothing to do but lie in his bed and stare at the ceiling. He put his creative mind to work and envisioned himself alive, happy, and healthy.
Today, he’s a golf instructor at a PGA-designed golf course and belts out a repertoire of Frank Sinatra classics at a wide variety of entertainment venues. You can do this, too. Enough said about the power of the mind?
It’s a known fact that mindset affects the immune system and physical health. Emotions of fear tear it down. Feelings of love and creativity bring life.
In that respect, the coronavirus can be a potent personal growth teacher — discovering how not to allow ourselves to get swept away in fear. Because if not this, in some way or another, it’ll typically always be something.
Along with precautions you’re taking to protect your body, watch your thoughts. Become aware of what you’re thinking. Your state of mind is your responsibility and can be an oasis of calm and positive creativity, despite what outer appearances may seem to be.
You can bite fear in the butt by focusing on having vibrant health and inner peace. Forgiveness of yourself and others — love for yourself and one another. And whatever makes you happy or brings you joy.
Remember, “Eh, this too shall pass.”
You Tube (vlog) version of this post: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hClTsS33Gz0
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Hi, I'm Catherine!
Having overcome trauma and adversity, I created Catherine's Divine Riches Project to make it easier for you to empower yourself to move beyond change, stress, and fears that hold you back while discovering how to create positive change in your life!
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