Stepping Away From Under The Dark Clouds

June 6, 2010 by  
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4295397307_51942ab407While working on changing they way we think and perceive life, it is common to slide back in looking at life through dark glasses.

It is in those times that I make use tools I have collected over the years that work for me such as:

1                    -  I seek solitude and reflect

2                    -  I slow my pace down.  I don’t do anything too strenuous to my body or mind.

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When Feeling Blue

April 26, 2010 by  
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When your heart hurts, run and give yourself a hand.  You can do it.

In those moments when you feel alone remember you have yourself.  Who could possibly better soothe your pain away than you, who has known yourself your entire life time?

Of course partners, family, friends, lovers are great help to show us a door when we feel we are cornered.  But the truth is unless we do the rescuing ourselves, outside hands are just band aids.

In my life there are those moments that I actually have to lean against the wall to feel something strong pushing against me.  And when I do it, I let it all out; no holding back.  I feel the loss of my husband, the loss of a cherished life, my fears, and disappointments.

Once I’m done, I take myself away from the wall – with the love I would with a child with snot all over her face from crying – and I do something nice to distract myself.  Music, a film, a book, my dogs, wine, food, a friend; whatever it is that I think I need at that moment.  And then I move on.  Because that is what we do; we keep living and we keep moving forward.

So next time you feel blue, don’t run away from it.  Embrace the feelings, understand where they are coming from and then offer yourself a way to move on.   It is only when we are able to embrace our pain that we can truly find happiness.

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How Can We Love Ourselves More?

April 25, 2010 by  
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Be in tune with yourself –

There are a number of emotions that tend to hide what’s really going on with us.  Anger for example, is a feeling that often hides sadness and low self esteem.  If we are not in tune with ourselves we will react based on the anger we are feeling, compounding the problems, without really addressing what is really creating this destructive feeling within us.  Once we are in tune with ourselves we take care of us and life flows better.

Be your lover and best friend –

Once you are in tune with yourself you know how to take care of you when you are feeling blue.  We all have “things” that soothes us.  For example: a bath, music, meditation, wine, food, a walk.  Whatever makes you feel better, when you are in tune with yourself, you will do – just like a friend or a lover would – and soothe yourself.  Every time you take care of yourself you learn to love YOU more.

Be kind to yourself –

We often have more compassion for others than to ourselves.  All of us on this planet struggle in one way or another.  Rejoice your accomplishments – even if you think them small – and forgive your “mistakes”.  Life is about the journey, it’s about learning and changing.  We can only make changes when we make “mistakes”.

Live to the beat of your own drum –

We are all unique individuals.  We all see and process the world in a different way.  Be honest with yourself and live your life as your unique self.

And if you love yourself, you can truly love someone else.

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An Existential Quanundrum

January 13, 2010 by  
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Today I’m watching my dogs play and I’m jealous or their contentment, lack of ambition and worry of their position in the universe.  They simply are.

Today I’m in a funk.  The reason doesn’t really matter but it has brought up for me a profound sadness.  I catch myself thinking:  Why try so hard?  What is it all for?  Long time asked and not answered existential questions.

I went to speak at a film school this morning about producing.  One of the questions asked was:  How did I know at age eighteen if I was on the right track?  My answer was: I still don’t know if I’m on the right track.  What is the right track?  There is only the choices we make every day.

My mother always says: We all walk in the dark.  And in a way we do.  We don’t know what doors will close or open and the only constant is ourselves.  We walk in the dark carrying ourselves within us.

Yesterday, during my therapy session my therapist said that once I became more knowledgeable of me, I wouldn’t feel the need to react to everything and would draw more contentment from relationships.  What a strange thing.  To have to work at knowing ourselves as if we were two separate individuals; one that just is and the other who works at getting to know the first one.

I talked to a friend this morning on my way to speaking at the school and told him I was really tired; tired of always trying and often not succeeding.  His answer was: Don’t you think that’s how most people feel?  Jokingly I said: I don’t care about other people.  We’re talking about me.  Yes, it was a joke but in a way there is truth to it.  Today thousands are feared dead in Haiti, and who knows how many more in Iraq and Afghanistan but still today I’m thinking of me.

I’m not judging or condemning myself for thinking of me after all I’m human and behave as one.  I’m just making a statement.

Life is complicated.  We have to navigate waters of many different emotions in a world with many peoples and stories.  But within all of  it there is a gondolier who needs to keep his or her balance and put the paddle down in the water and push.  Maybe the key is in the pushing.  In realizing that pushing with too much strength might make the gondola overturn.  Maybe the key is in the rhythm.  I’m still seeking mine.

So today I’m resigned to watching my dogs be with the hope one day I’ll too just be.   In the meantime I’m going to do my best to wear my life jacket in case I end up in the water.

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Sadness

August 14, 2009 by  
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As you know, you people that read my blogs daily tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of my husband’s passing.

This has been a strange week.  A couple of Chris’ friends, who I had not met before, contacted me through Facebook when they realized it was a year since his passing.  They wanted to share how they had met Chris and one of them even included an anecdote about Chris which had me laughing.  I also got a prayer from someone I had helped a while back.

Today in my boot camp class my Argentine teacher who is always teasing me asked: “Brazil, are you okay?  You’re so quiet you almost seem like another person.”

I’m sad, and sadness makes me quiet and introspective. So I thought I should write about sadness and try to turn some of it into something positive.

First what is sadness?  According to many psychology books sadness is a natural emotion that usually accompanies loss; loss of a love, a person, an opportunity. 

What to do about sadness? Feel it, embrace it. If unfelt will just stay in our array of unresolved trauma knots.  Sadness also allows us to get in touch with our deeper selves and with the things that really matter to us.

Why is that sometimes we avoid feeling the sadness? Maybe some of us are afraid that if we feel the sadness and its accompanying partners, grief and crying, we will never come out of the hole. Or maybe we fear that others will judge us weak.

In my own experience there is great strength in pain and there is great wisdom in sadness. Of course I’m not advocating for anyone to go out there and purposely find pain and sadness to achieve strength and wisdom because trust me it isn’t necessary. The truth is; pain and sadness will come to us, on their own accord, at different times in our lives. 

What I’m saying is that when pain and sadness happen to us to honor their existence.  From them we learn that we survive most situations as well as the value of happiness. 

I also think there is great strength in being vulnerable, in being human.  When we are sad and vulnerable we tell the world that we are strong enough to experience your humanity without fear.  That’s strength.

So today I’m staying quiet and am allowing my sadness to have the room it needs to express itself.

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Coping With Rejection:Empower Yourself With An Optimistic Outlook

August 13, 2009 by  
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www.odemagazine.com

By Nazia Mallick

A friend of mine told me once that she was ‘dumped’ by her lover of four years through an indifferent email. Needless to say she felt acutely defenseless at that time and had plummeted into the so-called depths of despair, but after a decent mourning period now she feels like the one who has had the good riddance.

‘You know Nazia’, she jovially confessed, ‘Some lovers live happily ever after, some live happily even after!’

A carefree laughter accompanied this brave declaration of hers and I could not help but marvel at the vibrant and positive outlook she has developed to something as downbeat and heartbreaking as rejection. Fundamentally speaking, rejection is the ending of a relationship, a dream or a hope, and it often is the most dreadful moment of our lives.

Most of the time we are in partial denial of its existence until it hits us suddenly with a force and catches us unawares. Rejection comes in many forms. We feel rejected when we don’t get a job we badly wanted, a seat in a particular college, a house we had set our heart and dreams on, or a lover we were deeply in love with has decided to walk away.

The doomed announcement of rejection may come in a letter, email, or a fax, written out in black and white. Or maybe it was hinted rather catastrophically, during a telephone conversation. Unlike my friend who turned it around later to call being dumped as the best gift from her callous lover, most of us do feel the agony of rejection for quite a long time and it does slowly and surely seep into our psyche to leave us feeling washed up, deserted, and high and dry.

Sigmund Freud said, “We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love, never so unhelplessly unhappy as when we have lost our loved object or its love.” True. Rejection feels terribly painful. It often feels like a physical hurt, as if something is slowly breaking down inside us and we just have no power over it. Sometimes when we are going through pains of rejection, it feels like a global conspiracy. Someone we smiled at did not smile back as warmly and it would twirl our heart into feeling miserable. The gatekeeper did not smile as cheerfully as other days while opening the door in a shopping mall. The saleswoman did not attend to us sooner, and we feel the entire universe has conspired against us to make us feel rejected.

Rejection is also the trigger for many suicides and acts as the propeller of depressive feelings. I have worked for sometime in a suicide intervention center and have come across many a weeping eyes and wailing hearts who just want to curl up and die because they have been rejected by their lovers. They are quick to brand themselves as ugly, unwanted and hopeless just because someone they had pinned all their hopes upon has rejected them.

Well, rejection hurts. It hurts like hell. But do you know that paradoxically it is also a moment of supreme potential? Would you believe that the ending of a dream or a passion has great power and energy hidden in its realms? I know it is hard to believe because all our belief systems keep screaming that rejection is so painful! And during that particularly dark phase of our lives we just cannot accept the notion that the new situation in our lives has opened up the entrance to many opportunities.

The main reason why we see it as pain and not power is because we see it as loss of control. Most of us fear loss of control, because we tend to use it in our interaction with another human beings, especially in close relationships, as a powerful tool. When we determinedly believe that we need to have control of our lives then we will suffer grave pain in rejection. But if we relinquish control and begin to believe in the supremacy of surrender, then we will not feel the anguish of rebuff so extremely and the rejection will feel like the opening of a new door.

Just like my friend, who had told me later that she was actually in an abusive relationship and would have never been able to come out of it on her own as she lacked the will to be the one to end it. Her self-esteem was getting corroded every single day and like many emotionally abused women who claim to love too much, she also took it in her stride. When her lover ended it all one fine day, she was free to see things more rationally and realize what it means to be truly happy. The rejection had opened new doors for her and she was ready to find a new love with a much better person, who would respect her as a woman, as a human being, and give her the love and honor that she deserved.

How we turn the despair of rejection into a powerful experience is in our own hands, but of course it isn’t that easy. We will have to train our thoughts to see that there is always a lesson in rejection. We will have to work hard to re-invent our views, and to see the good in it, in order to help ourselves move forward in life. We will have to learn that rejection is a decision. Although the person who is doing the rejection appears to be more in control, we fail to see our participation in rejection when we are nursing our wounds. It is hard to believe that there are many decisions that we as the rejected one had unconsciously made that had given that power to the one doing the rejection. But we must know this: That just as it takes two to humiliate, it takes two to reject. Why we feel rejected is because we had given the other person, event, or happening that much power to control our responses and reactions.

The second option is to choose our reaction. If we stop seeing the rejection as someone’s power over us, then the rejection will hurt less. We must question ourselves that if someone or something can get a reaction out of us, one that causes such heartache, pain and agony, where have we been ourselves anyway? This kind of powerful thinking takes practice and is not gained in one day, but it is all about self-love that we need to hone for ourselves everyday until it becomes a natural habit.

It is ultimately our choice whether we feel humiliated by rejection or not. If only we learn the serenity of choice and decision in the face of all the horrors we are facing due to this awful feeling of rejection, it will hurt less. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between bad luck and new beginnings, but rejections often carry a secret message and we can actually be taught to see that tiny glow in the darkness of forsakenness and emerge a stronger and more confident person. It is all about turning over the stale, damp pages and switch on to the next new chapter. To live happily, even after.

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Stories Worth Reading

July 18, 2009 by  
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Love and Time

Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others, including Love. One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all constructed boats and left. Except for Love.

Love was the only one who stayed. Love wanted to hold out until the last possible moment.

When the island had almost sunk, Love decided to ask for help.

Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said,
“Richness, can you take me with you?”
Richness answered, “No, I can’t. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place here for you.”

Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel. “Vanity, please help me!”
“I can’t help you, Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat,” Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked, “Sadness, let me go with you.”
“Oh . . . Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!”

Happiness passed by Love, too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her.

Suddenly, there was a voice, “Come, Love, I will take you.” It was an elder. So blessed and overjoyed, Love even forgot to ask the elder where they were going. When they arrived at dry land, the elder went her own way. Realizing how much was owed the elder,

Love asked Knowledge, another elder, “Who Helped me?”
“It was Time,” Knowledge answered.
“Time?” asked Love. “But why did Time help me?”

Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, “Because only Time is capable of understanding how valuable Love is.”

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Sand and Stone

A story tells that two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand: “TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE.”

They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one, who had been slapped, got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After the friend recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone: “TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE.”

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?”

The other friend replied: “When someone hurts us, we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”

LEARN TO WRITE YOUR HURTS IN THE SAND, AND TO CARVE YOUR BENEFITS IN STONE.

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Finding Love After Loss

May 11, 2009 by  
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My husband died on August 15th 2008 at 2am.

We met 5 years ago and had the most incredible life together.  After kissing many frogs and frogets, Chris and I were kissing each other and marveling at our luck at having finally found one another.  We were full of hope for a life together. And full of love.

But then two years later that annoying saying “all good things come to an end” happened.  Chris was diagnosed with a very rare cancer and needed a liver transplant a.s.a.p or he wouldn’t make it.

From Los Angeles we flew in an air ambulance to Jacksonville, Florida where he would have a better chance for a transplant.  After many visits to the ER, and with only hours to spare, Chris received a new liver.

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