Let There Be Light

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I just got off the phone with a good friend of mine, Chris Miles, founder of Global Exercise Group, a company offering a holistic approach to lower back pain, which he’s just launched. I called him because I needed his advice about a situation I’ve encountered where politics has led to good people being harmed. Knowing his business acumen and character, I thought he could help me sort this out. He did.

Chris left the corporate world last year after watching countless examples of good people being sacrificed to corporate politics while others became drones of the status quo. A world I’ve managed to avoid (mostly) by being self-employed for the last 20 years. In listening to him, I realized that unfortunately the situation I find myself in is much like he described.

Chris is one of the “lights” in my life, supporting me in doing the best I can as a business owner and person.  In The Four Agreements, one of my personal favorites, Don Miguel Ruiz’es Fourth Agreement is  “Always do your best,” and I believe as he does that each of us has a responsibility to do so.  What do we do then when we find ourselves in a situation where we are supposed to have the authority to make things better but aren’t allowed to due to politics? The solution I’m arriving at is to invest my energy instead in situations in which I can help create a positive outcome and let go of those I can’t.

Ah, the Serenity Prayer again. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”

So, that’s my practice for this week. What about you?

Blessings

As I sit here listening to absolutely beautiful music play from www.aholyexperience.com, my thoughts turn to Stacey, my dear co-conspirator at livingselfcare, and how she’s doing. I’ve had a rough few weeks myself with becoming acutely ill after a great vacation, but when I read about her taking her mom in, I thought this post needs to be about her and the generosity of spirit she and many of you have.

Knowing that this decision would raise many discomforts for her, she chose it anyway, as women often do. I am always awestruck by such unselfishness and yet many of us dismiss what we’ve done as obligatory or no big deal. But, it’s so much more than that. It’s about being connected to life at a very deep level and knowing that relationships are the greatest wealth of all. What is more important than loving and being loved? This is what makes life worthwhile.

Please extend your blessings to Stacey and all who are in need of comfort and support as they undertake the challenges life presents. When you awake and when you lie down, offer a prayer of healing for them and you. I will, too.

(Stacey-This one’s for you).

Big Changes

Diane will be back posting next Monday after she gets back from her fabulous trip  to Spain! Hopefully we’ll get to hear all about it!

In the meantime, I wanted to share an experience of my own with you. My family and I recently decided that it was time for my mother to move in with us for several reasons. I felt such a mixture of emotions at the thought: happiness because I’ll see her more and because I’ll be there if she needs anything medically; apprehension because of our past relationship (though it has since been healed); and wariness that I might fall back into my childhood relationship patterns with her.

She’s only been here a couple of days and I have to keep myself from treating her like a guest. My impulse is to ask, “Can I do something or get something for you?” In reality, all she wants is to find her own way and settle into her own routine that is harmonious with ours. My offers to do things for her would just enable her to be more dependent than independent, and neither of us want that.

We have agreed on a code of complete honesty, even if that may mean hurt feelings. We have discovered the hard way through the years that mind reading is just not possible!

This is a big change for all of us, and I struggle to remember that. Holding myself back from offering things and allowing myself to be calm in spite of my mother’s habitual anxiety is a challenge. But my intuition is telling me that this is a good situation, so I’m focusing on an attitude of gratitude instead of stressing out. It’s not easy, but I am worth it – and so are YOU!

Have a Good Day

Today was a good day. It started this morning after a restful night’s sleep and having a warm, soothing cup of Zen tea. I spent some time online, looking for phones for my new office, did laundry, and watched “Income Property” during my excellent lunch of chicken wild rice soup my husband made. Yum.

Then I ran errands, went by my new office and bribed my sister to join me there with a container of my husband’s soup. She said she’d come by a week ago but hadn’t. It was good to have another set of eyes to look at how we’re finishing the space. We had a good laugh about how OCD we can be over furniture positioning, then went on our way.

(All readers who live in and around Saint Louis, are welcome to drop by my new location, the Midwest Mind Body Health Center at 501 N. Lindbergh on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday from 9-5. Call ahead to make certain we’re in-314-991-5666).

When I got home the sun was shining as I sat on my beautiful front porch sipping my Starbuck’s Pumpkin Latte. Even better, I got to do yoga and meditate outdoors. Finally, my husband Steve and I fixed dinner together and now I’m writing this blog. A fine ending to a good day.

This week, notice what you do that feels good, no matter how small. Remember, most good days are filled with smaller, enjoyable moments. Savoring life’s goodness decreases stress and improves health and well-being.

Enjoy your week!

Where the Magic Happens

They say that “Magic happens when you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone” and that’s where I’ve spent the last six months, creating the Midwest Mind Body Health Center which opens today. When I first decided to enter this unknown territory, I reached out to another mind-body-spirit counseling professional, Maria Carella, who embraced the idea with the same enthusiasm I had. Next, I spoke with another amazing woman, Janet K, who I’ve known for 20+ years who agreed to be our office manager. In the past few weeks, I’ve discovered that no task is too daunting and she takes care of whatever I need-no worries. Pure magic.

After Janet, I ran into Shirley Stoll, our meditation instructor, at a Chopra Center meditation and yoga retreat. Next, I was introduced to Jen McCurdy, one of our counseling providers, through a chance conversation with my good friend and colleague, Executive Director of Mother to Mother, Linda Meyer. A couple weeks later, Jen, Maria and I were at a Mother to Mother fundraiser together (which we didn’t plan), and Maria told me Jen was the woman she wanted me to speak with about becoming part of our team. After that, my massage therapist Sage Kuhlmann who’s also a yoga instructor, joined. Then I contacted another psychologist, Megan Keyes, who I’d known for years through her family and thought would be too busy, but she was interested too.

And the magic didn’t stop there. My husband Steve supported me unconditionally from encouragement that things would work out despite setbacks to moving the contents of my entire office. There were also countless friends and family who kept me going with hopefulness when I’d misplaced mine. While I felt stretched and challenged, I didn’t feel  alone.

Goethe said, “What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

Once again, I learned how much can be gained by stepping outside your comfort zone. Now, I’m encouraging you to do the same. That’s where you discover magic. I promise.

(Thanks to Shannon Hutson for inspiring this post)

Introducing the Midwest Mind Body Health Center

After many weeks of uncertainty about my new office, I can finally announce that on Oct. 1, the Midwest Mind Body Health Center will be open for business. In addition to the counseling services I’ve always provided, we’ll be offering weekly classes and multi-session workshops in mind-body practices including mindfulness, meditation and yoga. Research has shown that these practices can help reduce stress, depression and anxiety and improve health and well-being.

I could go on for hours, but instead check out the new website at www.mindbodystl.com.  And remember, “Self-care is like chocolate; you can never have enough.”

Namaste.

This Too Shall Pass

Reading Stacey’s post last week, reminded me that life is full of joy and sorrow, loss and gain. These shifts occur in a day, week, months or years. How do we keep going? Here’s what I decided to do.

Monday I discovered my colleagues leaving the practice I started and will be maintaining, sent marketing info out which prompted a nurse from one of the groups I work closely with to call and ask if Women’s Healthcare Partnership (my practice) was breaking up. I was worried and distressed. But, I had a cancellation the next hour so I phoned the group’s office manager to tell her Women’s Healthcare Partnership was not breaking up and arranged for them to visit my new location. I felt relieved. The same day, I got home to discover these colleagues had sent an e-mail with both their pictures on it after one of them told me she didn’t know anything about it. I felt angry and upset. However, Wednesday I signed my new lease and can finally move ahead with my plans to open the Midwest Mind Body Health Center on Oct. 1. Yeah!

How did I cope? I reminded myself of the story of King Solomon’s ring. As the story goes, King Solomon heard of a magical ring that had the power to make happy people sad, and sad people happy so he sent his minister out to find it. He was about to abandon the search when he came across a wise jeweler who said he’d heard of such a ring and would make him one. Taking a plain gold band he engraved four words in it. When the ring was delivered, King Solomon recognized the simple wisdom it contained, for engraved in the band were the words, “This too shall pass.”

Life is constantly changing. This is the hard and promising truth. Light becomes dark and dark turns to light in a single day.  Next time you face adversity, stress or just unpleasant feelings,  remember “This too shall pass.”

A Different Take on 9/11

The 9/11 tragedy affected so many people on so many different levels. Of course, there was loss, hatred, patriotism, conspiracy and a myriad of other feelings and consequences that came out of the loss of the World Trade Center in 2001. But what about the people who have birthdays and anniversaries on this significant date? What do they experience every year?

Dora* and Andrew* will have been married 11 years on September 11, 2012. They were married in a modest ceremony in a small town in southeast Texas. They had seriously considered postponing the wedding after watching what had happened that morning. Their friends and family convinced them to go ahead with the weekday wedding, as they didn’t know when Andrew would be available again. He had an offshore job that took him away from home for weeks at a time.

“Even 10 years after the whole World Trade Center thing, we get strange looks if we’re out celebrating our anniversary at a restaurant. We’ve even had one guy tell us that we were heartless for having a good time!” Andrew recalls. “When is this ever going to stop?”

Dora and Andrew are by no means alone. Over 10,000 babies were born on September 11, 2001. As it was a weekday, not as many weddings took place. However in 2004, when 9/11 fell on a Saturday, 8,000 weddings were held across the country. Reasons for choosing this date range from “taking back that day as a happy one,” to “honoring a fallen loved one.”

While birth dates are not as widely chosen as happen by chance, children born on that fateful day will turn 11 years old this year. Amanda*, a rambunctious 4th grader, has always known that something was different about her birthday. “Sometimes, people are sad on my birthday,” she says, frowning. “But everybody at my party is happy!” Her mother, Sandy*, says that she has experienced all kinds of reactions to party invitations she sends home with Amanda’s classmates. “I had one mom call me and yell at me once,” she remembers. “She asked me how I could be so thoughtless – like I had any say in when my daughter was born!” Most people are very gracious, Sandy says. “They realize this is a little girl’s birthday party and nothing else. Amanda hasn’t ever had a bad experience with her birth date.”

Perhaps the country will always mourn each year when September 11 rolls around. But for 10,000 kids and countless couples, that date will be special to them for entirely different – and joyous – reasons.

*Names have been changed for privacy reasons

Don’t Labor-Enjoy the Day!

Today is the perfect day to celebrate all the hard work you do by taking time off. Whether we are caring for our children, partners, parents, friends, or pets, most women labor all the time, both in and outside of home. So just today, climb back in bed, have a cup of coffee, watch the TV show you want, go to the mall, have your nails done, read a good book, or do whatever suits you. You can go back to work tomorrow. For now, enjoy!

For more ideas about what you can do to make self-care part of your life, visit “Taking Care of You: Body, Mind and Spirit” at http://extension.missouri.edu/takingcare. I just got trained in this program and can’t recommend it enough.

Have a great day.

If I Were A Guy???

This is the question I’ve been asking myself lately. Why? Because I’m in the “middle” of negotiating a lease for my new Midwest Mind Body Health Center which opens Oct. 1, and I’ve been in the “middle” for the past 8 weeks.

When I first saw the building, I asked the owner to deal with me directly but he said he’d hired a real estate broker and it’d be better to speak with him. Would a man have agreed to this? I don’t know, but I did to “be nice.” What’s happened since then? Not much. The broker has been on vacation twice, doesn’t answer morning calls, isn’t much better later in the day, and took 10 days to get me the draft of my lease even after I decided to take a bigger space in a building that’s only half-full.

Not a great way to run a business especially in a real estate market that’s glutted. Then yesterday I decided I’d had enough and called the owner who seemed “clueless” that his broker was handling our deal like this. I told him I’d tried to respect his request that I work with the broker but I’d had enough. How soon would a man have done this? Probably much sooner. Certainly a man wouldn’t have been “nice” about it when the broker wasn’t doing his job.

Although I was raised to be a “nice girl,” I was also brought up to respect myself. While I know the broker is not intentionally disrespecting my time and need to wrap things up, I’m done waiting for him. Einstein said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different solution.”  So, Monday I’ll be phoning and e-mailing the owner again to get my lease settled. If the broker ends up with mud on his face, he’s earned it.

What are your thoughts about this? What would you do? How long would you “be nice.” Let us know.