Sunday, February 26, 2012

Life Ain't Easy!

My ex used to say “Life’s a bitch and then you die!” What a terrible statement! No wonder I had forgotten about it …. until I was recently reminded of an old favourite book I used to read to help me make sense of my life back then; The Road Less Travelled by Scott M. Peck. Author Peck had a more constructive take on the sentiment of my ex; he concluded that yes, life IS difficult - AND only when we accept this and face it as fact, can we do something about it and eventually transcend it! That book was one of my bibles for years, and gradually I discovered my own tools for change, tools which made it less and less frightening to open up what seemed like a Pandora’s box filled with the issues that made life so difficult.
A few of the ‘tools’ to ponder (and even implement ):

1.    Pay attention to your body. Does it feel good? Bad? Tense? Can’t tell? Where do you feel your various emotions? Try noticing what your body is trying to tell you........
2.    Breathe. It’s the single most significant thing we do. Do it slowly and mindfully at least twice a day..........
3.    Take TIME to solve your problems, and never underestimate the helpfulness of writing. The process of writing (about any issue you have) can, in and of itself, help you clarify, give you insights, and often even help you find a solution..........
4.    Wisdom, problem-solving abilities and insights come when the brain is creatively ‘switched on’, and the brain is designed to function at it’s most creative when we are in a feel-good state. Suggestion: appreciate something – anything in your life - feel it..... and feel your brain working better!

Even if life still ain’t easy, I've found that applying these simple steps makes me much better able to handle life’s trials, and more and more to experience that life is in fact, most of the time, beautiful!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Keeping It In Perspective!

I try to keep a balanced approach to social media in my life – i.e., I keep my Tweets to once a day and I only check Facebook a couple of times a week….. not easy recently as I have reconnected with quite a few ‘old’ friends through FB! This of course is delightful to say the least! Wonderful that short messages and a few clicks make it possible to re-establish human connections across vast miles and many countries. However, I find the follow up, the moving on from FB into emails, Skyping, phoning, and if possible actually getting together for a beverage, is the really gratifying piece. The short-lived (and very public) connection made via social media gives an equally short-lived and often superficial satisfaction. Maybe that is why this increase in accessibility to each other parallels an increase in social ‘phobias’ and social insecurities and anxiety, especially amongst young people? I know I am not the only coach/counselor finding this in my practice. We are seeing clear evidence of the fact that with all the advantages of technology, human beings still need the human, face-to-face connection for true fulfillment and friendship to flourish. What I have found personally, is that once a friendship is established, ‘in the flesh’, social media can help keep lines of communication open and so support it’s upkeep; keeping it all in perspective!
In order for us all the learn to use social media in a healthy, supportive way, I believe we need to place a little more emphasis in our educational environments (and that includes ALL stages of education) on building social and emotional intelligence …………the basic life skills that actually form the foundation for success and fulfillment – but now that’s a whole new subject and another blog entry……. :-)