The Effects of an Attitude of Gratitude

Have you ever heard somebody say “You should be grateful for…”? How did that feel? Was that an invitation to even consider shifting into an attitude of gratitude?

Growing up as a child, gratitude got a “bad rap” for me. Gratitude went into my shadow for a while because I could not relate to it. My parents’ and grandparents’ experience came from lack. Some very essential ingredients were missing when they referred to gratitude with that disapproving voice. They completely missed the joy, the magic, and the wonder that is to be found in gratitude. When they referred to gratitude it came from the head instead of the heart, it came from fear to have to experience lack again, instead of knowing the universe as abundant. Instead of teaching true gratitude by their example, they preached gratitude and judged what they perceived as “ungrateful”.

When I moved from Europe to Canada, Thanksgiving became one of my favourite times of the year. I loved teaching my children about giving thanks and seeing their brains process the information of abundance. Their eyes lit up and their creative little minds joyfully came up with more magical and wonderful things that had manifested and were reasons for thankfulness.

What actually happens when we focus on all our blessings? Quantum physics has taught us that we affect and create change by what we observe. We literally modify the molecules that make up our physical world. As we are focusing our attention on all we have in abundance and give thanks for everything, for what we really enjoy but also for everything we like less, we are affecting our reality.

We are happier, we are healthier and we are able to perceive opportunities and more abundance. Complaining inhibits our brain from properly processing information. Our perceptive filters prevent us from seeing what we are looking for. We only see the print-out in the physical world of our past fears and worries. Complaining creates interference. Instead of using our ability to create with clear focus what we actually want, we are creating blocks and are getting ourselves stuck.

gratitude-james-mellon_-cement

What we complain about expands. Complaining brings on more of what we are complaining about. We always have the choice. We can focus on gratitude or on complaining. We are creating either way.

Gratitude is not something we do but who we become as we focus on our riches. Gratitude is a powerful magnet. It is expansive. Complaining, worrying and “should-ing” are constrictive. They create statics in the infinite field of possibilities. An attitude of unhappiness and dissatisfaction keeps us away from our good. “You should be grateful” is counterproductive. Saying “yes” to life means working in resonance with the field of possibilities.

 

gratitude-e-tolle_always-say-yes

In today’s globalization, we are being sold a hostile world everywhere. Our fear driven amygdala kicks in and buys into the illusion of separation, of living in a “dog-eat-dog” world. We feel small, unsafe and shift into “fight mode”. From that fear, ideas of greed, envy and competition are born.

During the Shadow Energetics workshop, we begin one morning with a deep meditation called “Being State Meditation” which my friend Darryl Gurney created. The purpose of that meditation is to experience ourselves as different from form, independent of the many roles we all play, of experiencing ourselves as true essence. Once we have had that taste of being more than our physical body and being connected with everything and everybody it has to reflect our choices. We realize the responsibility we all carry for the entire system we are all part of.

Everything is connected. Just like the five fingers of my hand are all connected, each of us is an integral part of one living system; we live as such, breathe as such, thrive as such. Everything I do affects everything else. We affect and change everything, even just by observing and thinking, not to mention by what we say and do. When we apply our beliefs, fears and opinions to the world, we shape the world. If we buy into hostility and danger, we create more violence and aggression. If our commodities are love, compassion and forgiveness, we contribute to healing the planet.

Experiments with the Transcendental Meditation® technique has shown that only one square root of 1% of a population practicing unconditional love and true peace, results in measurable improvements away from fear, crime, aggression and violence, to lower crime rates, less violence, cooperation and group thinking.

gratitude-pam-grout

“… By choosing to add energy to the resonant field of gratitude and joy, you can fundamentally change the world… you don’t have to march for peace (although you may want to)… You can enlarge the conversation by taking your focus off the negative and noticing all the things that are going right, taking a stand for goodness of humanity.” (Pam Grout)

What we choose to focus on manifests. My mind creates my experience, not the other way around! Therefore, it is my responsibility to see a friendly Universe. It is my essential contribution to making this planet the beautiful, safe and loving place it can be.

thanksgiving-happy-thanksgiving-2

If you are enjoying my articles, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

Angelika Baum

Belief Change Coach and Workshop Instructor

905-286-9466, greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

Living from the Inside Out

Did you have a nice summer with lots of fun and interesting experiences? Perhaps you went on special family outings or even on a vacation? If so, you have collected beautiful memories. If so, you have also intuitively made the perfect choice for happiness and to recharge your emotional tank.

Spiritual teachers, philosophers and scientists have been striving to answer the question “What is happiness?” for a long time and in different ways. I have previously written about the happiness formula.

H = S + C + V

Happiness = the Set Point in the Brain + the Conditions of Living + our Voluntary Choices

 

Depression and anxiety are almost epidemics today, and peace, joy and happiness seem more elusive than ever. Why is that?

Are we perhaps focusing too much on the conditions, the relative facts of our life? Do we allow those relative conditions to prevent us from choosing happiness and fully experiencing it? What if instead of living from the outside in, we chose to live from the inside out?

Living from the inside out means taking charge of our mind and using it to our advantage. It includes examining our beliefs and changing the ones which do not serve us. We have the birth right to be happy. Our Good is constantly flowing and waiting to be received by us. Our beliefs are merely the impressions we have bought into. Our beliefs create our experience.

What shows up is just the out-picturing of the way we have been picturing things inside, the way we have been using our mind. When we use our mind differently, the out-picturing will inevitably be different. That does not mean to ignore the conditions but to realize that they only determine 10% of our happiness while our beliefs and mind set determine 50% and our voluntary choices 40%.

Healthy Minds RC Barker 2

 

We overcome negative conditions by changing our mind to create better conditions. We need to choose to be grateful and happy, independent of what shows up around us. We need to make voluntary choices which increase our level of joy. Voluntary Choices are those choices we make for pleasure or for fulfillment.

Psychology Professor Thomas Gilovich from Cornell University has studied the subject of happiness and concludes that happiness is derived from experiences, not things.

“People often think spending money on an experience is not as wise an investment as spending it on a material possession. They think the experience will come and go in a flash, and they’ll be left with little compared to owning an item. But in reality we remember experiences long afterward, while we soon become used to our possessions. At the same time, we also enjoy the anticipation of having an experience more than the anticipation of owning a possession.” (Gilovich)

IMG_4717

A get-away or other experience allows you to enjoy it in three different ways: the anticipation, the experience itself and remembering it in retrospect. Every moment spent on picturing it and reliving it brings up heartfelt feelings of joy and happiness again.

Furthermore, experiences with family and friends are like glue to our social lives. Experiences allow us to get closer to others in ways a material possession cannot. And ultimately, as human beings, we all long to be close to others.

Material possessions on the other hand give us less lasting joy. After we have acquired those inanimate objects, it is only a question of time until we get used to them. New things might be exciting at first, but then we adapt to having them.

Gilovich has also studied how we tend to have more regrets over missed interactions with others and missed experiences than over possessions we have not acquired. On our death bed, we might regret not to have connected more deeply with our children or other loved ones, but we won’t regret not having purchased the new car or newest TV.

As a society, we need to ask ourselves how to live more from the inside out, how to choose beliefs and activities that support joy and happiness. Social experiences and helping others lead to attention, affection and appreciation, and therefore to greater happiness and joy.

So next time you have the choice of whether to spend your money on a material possession or on an experience, especially if that experience involves connecting with or helping others, remember that the experience will enhance and make your life richer than the material possession.

 

If you are enjoying my articles, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

Angelika Baum, Belief Change Coach and Workshop Facilitator,
905-286-9466, greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

Rituals

Relationships need rituals. With our children we all recognize the need for rituals. We hug and kiss them goodbye and hello. We might have the ritual of reading or singing to them before bed-time, eating certain meals together, perhaps engaging in a spiritual practice, or we might have a ritual of doing something together like gardening. When my children were small I used to put a note of encouragement or love in their lunch box on a regular basis. Perhaps, you have a personal sharing ritual with your children? For a while we used to do the “What was the best part of your day?”- Question at dinner. In fact, the day with children is full with deliberate moments of ritual behaviour.

rituals blog bench under willow

We say the children need rituals. I would like to claim that it is not just the children but the relationship itself which needs the rituals. Rituals give us predictability and help us to be emotionally connected with each other; they make our relationships stronger. As our children become older, some rituals change or fall by the wayside. However, those rituals were part of the reason why the connection between us exists.

We all have birthday rituals. In our family, the birthday girl or boy is being woken up with a song in the morning. The cake later in the day, with the ritual of singing and blowing the candles out, making a wish is another common ritual in many families. Birthday presents are rituals. We all have our rituals around different holidays. They all strengthen the bond between the members of the family engaging in those rituals.

“Rituals are an important part of belonging. They are repeated, intentional ceremonies that recognize a special time or connection. Rituals engage us, emotionally and physically, so that we become riveted to the present moment in a positive way.” (Sue Johnson, Hold Me Tight)

My dad calls us every Sunday morning. This is a ritual established more than 60 years ago as his mother, my grandmother, could already be counted on calling every Sunday morning. When I know we will be out, I’ll let him know, not because he will otherwise worry, my dad is pretty laid back despite being in his 80ties, but because it acknowledges our ritual and shows both of us that we value and treasure it.

Fourteen years ago, when I first moved to this area, I very quickly made a new friend, another mother from the school my older daughter was attending. Right from the start, we established a strong ritual. Once a month we went on a girl’s night out, going to dinner and a movie afterwards. This ritual lasted long after our children were not attending the same school anymore and they had lost touch with each other. Our friendship remained strong due to our ritual.

Then our lives became so busy that we did not have a lot of time anymore to go out at night and we changed our ritual to going for lunch. However, that new ritual did not have the same strength as our old one. I am sad to say that our lunch dates became more and more infrequent and our friendship drifted apart. Friendships need rituals. Some friendships need regularly shared activities, other friendships can survive on picking up the phone twice a year on each other’s birthday. However, without recognizing the bond in an intentional way, the friendship is going to struggle to survive.

The one relationship which we sometimes forget when it comes to rituals is our partnership or marriage. When I was married to my first husband, we didn’t go out anymore for regular dates after the children were born. We didn’t recognize the importance of alone time and rituals to keep our bond strong. Regular small gestures or ways of connecting go a long way in keeping a relationship healthy.
rituals blog bench in snow

What rituals do you have—or would you like to establish—in your primary love relationship? Do you touch, kiss and hug as part of your day, on waking up, going to sleep, leaving the house or coming home? Do you call or text during the day, not just to exchange information but to connect emotionally? Do you take a new class together, for example learning a language, or taking a cooking class, or dance class together? Do you have a special time together, for example having your morning coffee together or maintaining a regular date night or weekend getaway?

Other bonding rituals, deliberately structured moments of connecting, are validating your partner’s struggles and victories on a regular basis, for example “I am so amazed how you are able to…”, “I am proud of you for pushing through…”, or “I saw you struggle in that situation. You did your best…”

Publicly recognizing your partner and your relationship in front of friends or family members is another way of strengthening the bond. Some couples renew their vows; others are comfortable to express their love on facebook. But even a simple thank you in front of other people on a regular basis is a ritual that strengthens the relationship. Or a gesture of gratitude like bringing flowers home with a sincere thank you “for everything you do”.

Roses

As mentioned above, one ritual for some couples is to take a workshop together. Many couples who have taken our workshops have established a ritual of helping each other to change subconscious beliefs. I am teaching muscle testing during the four day Shadow Energetics Workshop. We will learn to muscle test others and how to do self-muscle testing.

To learn more contact Angelika

905-286-9466 (free phone consultation) or

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

For 2016 workshop dates and locations go to Upcoming Workshop.

If you enjoy my posts, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

 

 

 

 

HOMEWORK – Part Two – by Angelika Baum

This is the second in a two part series on homework. The first part, called “How a Grade 3 Book Report Turned into a Parenting Life Lesson for Me” was written by my friend and colleague Mary Strachan, the Founder of Fresh Perspectives and mother of two.

PART TWO

Nobody Likes Homework – Or?

By Angelika Baum

For the past ten years, I have been trying to convince my oldest daughter to throw out an old school project that was taking up room in the closet. It was a huge model of an airport runway, buildings and model planes attached to it. She made this project in grade two—or so we think. We also cannot remember anymore what the title of the assignment was. Yet, this project had become like a fifth limb to her. It had turned into the perfect representation of her creative ability. It was probably one of her first experiences of being resourceful and able to produce something that looked good and felt good. For this project she had to “interview” two people who worked at the airport. Ironically, she works at the airport herself today. The project—or what was left of it after all those years—stood for being able to achieve anything she sets her mind to.

As a teacher as well as a parent, I have seen children come into school with these elaborate and perfect projects which have so clearly been 80% produced by a parent. Have you ever wondered what is underneath this? Could it be our fear that our child will not be able to compete without us?

Let’s sit for a moment with the beliefs that cause this fear in us.

Does our story go a little bit like this? “It’s a tough world out there. It’s hard to compete with others. If you don’t get good grades in school you are not going to get a ‘good job’, and if you do not get a ‘good job’, you will not make ‘enough money’, and if you do not make ‘enough money’, you won’t be happy.”

Sometimes the fear story goes “My child is different. He/she is too sensitive/has too much energy/ADD/etc. Unless my child learns to be ‘normal’, he/she is lost and is going to fail in the system.”

Just notice your fear story. Be compassionate with yourself for having it. It was probably instilled long time ago by your own parents and your own experiences. Also ask what it would be like to let go of that story and trust that everything is alright. And what would it be like to trust our children to be smart, complete and resourceful? If we are packing their symbolic luggage to go out into the world, what would we like them to have in that suitcase of theirs?

homework - suitcase

What limiting beliefs do we teach our children by doing their homework for them?

“I cannot do my homework by myself.” Or more specifically, “I am not good enough (smart, creative, etc) to do it myself.” Maybe even, “I cannot do anything by myself; why even try.” He or she learns, “I am not good at problem solving” and “Homework is overwhelming.” And most limiting of all, “I need my parent in order to get through life and to compete with others. In order to make it through life I need help.”

It does not even have to be a project, regular everyday homework provides the opportunity for either learning limiting or supportive beliefs. Now that school is in full swing again, many parents find homework time stressful. Emotions fly high, tears roll and there is a lot of struggle when the experience could be completely different.

Am I saying that we shouldn’t under any circumstances support our children with their homework? Not at all. But there is a difference between supporting them and doing it for them. It’s the difference between teaching them strong beliefs about themselves and teaching them limiting beliefs about themselves, school and life.

Is homework a big dramatic event in your household? Do you have a child who puts all his or her energy into not doing the work or into whining about it? Do you hear “I don’t want to do this,” “I can’t do this,” or “I don’t know this” a lot? Do you find yourself being pulled into endless repetitive games around the school work?

homework H Ford quote

If this is your household, your child most likely believes that learning and homework are hard and not fun. Instead of embracing the homework as easy and enjoyable, your child puts his or her entire energy into fighting the situation.

How different would life be like for this child if he or she had the following beliefs?

  • I can do most of my homework by myself. If I need assistance, it is given to me.
  • I can think for myself and problem solve. If I need further clues, I can ask for them.
  • I am good at reading, writing and problem solving.
  • I am smart and I can do whatever I set my mind to.
  • I have the choice to make homework pleasant and I do.
  • I like doing my homework and I am good at it.
  • My homework is my responsibility and I do it as soon as I can.
  • I always complete my homework efficiently.
  • I do my best in school and my best is always good enough.

Now you might be thinking, “Sure! When pigs fly!”

I promise you that you CAN shift the energy in your house—but you need to start with yourself.

Do you truly believe that homework can be fun and easy? Or do you feel burdened by it and are secretly thinking, “It’s the teacher’s job to teach my kids in school, not mine at home on the weekend!” Watch how you are responding to the homework; how do you feel when it’s homework time; how are you are talking about it?

We also need to be conscious of our own fears and not pass them on without questioning their measure of truth and their usefulness. Is it more likely that our children will thrive in life when they are living in fear, or when they are embracing new challenges and tasks with curiosity and joy?

homework 1

How different would your family life be if you embraced your child’s school work not as an evil which has to be done but as something positive? Show interest in what they are doing in school, supply an everyday context for what they are learning, or be impressed by the amazing knowledge or skills that your child is currently acquiring.

Provide applications for what they are doing in school. Math, for example, is abstract if I am only writing numbers underneath each other and adding or subtracting single digits. Give your children money to buy something small rather than you buying everything. Point out prices and do calculations. When they ask, “How old is grandpa?” don’t give them the answer but say “Grandpa was born in 1945. How old do you think he is?” Life is full of mathematical calculations. Playfully practice the times tables and simple additions, subtractions and divisions. Most of all, know that you child can do this. They are smart enough to put their energy into avoiding thinking and doing homework. Just re-direct that curiosity and intelligence to playfully learning every day.

Walk your talk about learning and school work. Does your child see you read to relax or educate yourself? Do you enjoy when you have to write something? Do you approach problems with an attitude of I’ll find a solution rather than “I can’t do this”? Are you making time for creativity?

homework - bookshelf 1

Nobody is perfect, so if you have noticed that you are not modelling to your child that thinking, learning and being creative are fun, be open about it. Say to your son or daughter, “I don’t read as much as I would like to. Let’s find some time each week for you and I to read together or sit in the same room reading.” Or “I think grandma would really like to get a letter. Let’s sit down together tomorrow and write one for her.” Or “When it comes to new things, I sometimes give up to fast. I want to change that. What do you think I should do?”

Children value transparency and truthfulness. Don’t get annoyed, angry or lecture. Don’t tell them stories about how you always did your homework right away when you were a student. Be honest and prepared to make changes yourself. Change your own attitude towards homework. Use it as an opportunity to connect and have fun with your children. School is their life; you can help them to enjoy it.

Angelika

Coaching & Conscious Parenting

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

greendoorrelaxation.net

If you enjoy my posts, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

Piece of Advice for My Daughter

My friend Crina was sharing a lovely blog with me in which a mother gave her daughter 32 principles or lessons on life as she is moving out to go to school. That made me wonder, if I could only give my own daughter one piece of advice, what would that be? What is it that I have learned that has made a fundamental difference in how I experience life?

Sometimes clients resonate with a part in me, like a tuning fork will trigger another equal one into vibrating. That might be a part that I needed to see in a mirror, or a message I needed to hear. Other times, I recognize a part that I haven’t connected with in a while but have integrated or made peace with over the years.

Lately, a few of my younger female clients have shared about the part in them that feels that the “clock is ticking” in regards to reaching their goals. That part used to speak to me very loudly as well when I was in my twenties. The story that part would tell me went something like, “You only have so much time to make it all happen, to finish your education, start your career, find the perfect partner, get married and have children. You better hurry and make it happen or you will be too old in no time.”

Piece of Advice 2

That part wants us to have a plan for the future and to focus on reaching it. It is undoubtedly a useful part. Yet, if we over-identify with this part, it can also put us in a place of anxiety and of constantly living in the future. We miss out on the present moment. We deprive ourselves from living right now, from experiencing and enjoying the magic of today. That magic is not just present at whatever age we have decided our life will surely be perfect, but continues to be constantly present during our twenties, thirties, forties and so on.

The one piece of advice I would like to give my daughter as she is starting out on a new adventure is to honour the part in her which is focused on the future, while not forgetting to live fully right now in the present. The voice in us which is aware of the passing of time and the need to “get ready for the winter” like a squirrel, is only one voice on our committee of advisers, only one voice on the panel of our internal board of directors.

How would it feel if we just moved into a place of trusting that everything always unfolds perfectly? Our career will take the twists and turns it needs to take for our personal growth. We will learn from each of our partnership(s) until we decide to start a family. Children will come in their own time and in their own way, some biological, others as adopted children or stepchildren. What would our experience of life be like if we—instead of feeling we have only a limited time to make it all happen—relaxed into everything unfolding with ease and grace?

Piece of Advice 3

Angelika

Life Coaching

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

If you enjoy my posts, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

The See-Saw Effect – What You Suppress Your Partner Will Express

Have you ever felt surprised by your mood unexpectedly shifting and an emotion suddenly boiling up?

Maybe you felt a bit annoyed about something that happened during the day and when your partner comes home, you share with him or her, and suddenly you feel really angry?

Or you felt a bit concerned about your mother’s health and you talk to your father who is apparently not worried but quite calm. Yet, you suddenly feel really scared and worried about her?

What has happened in those two situations? You felt a bit annoyed respectively a bit worried and suddenly the emotions boiled over into anger and fear. Why? Who pushed the button for that eruption?

John Gray cartoon fear

John Gray: What You Feel You Can Heal

Your partner and your father pushed the button without knowing they did. Both of them where disconnected to their own emotions and had suppressed their anger and their fear. We disown certain energies because we have learned it is “bad” to feel or be a certain way. However, whenever one person is trying to bury an emotion, somebody else will express it for them. The more closely connected these two people are, the more they are able to feel and experience each other’s emotions.

In our example, you were feeling and expressing the anger and fear for both of you, yourself and the partner in your interaction. This happens unconsciously and automatically. Suppressed energy has to go somewhere. A vacuum of energy draws that energy in from somewhere else. John Gray illustrates with great humour how our emotional “tank” work when we are in a relationship:

John Gray cartoon anger

John Gray: What You Feel You Can Heal

Wilma is starting to feel anger but pushes it down because she has learned that nice girls don’t get angry. The more she pushes it down, the more Fred feels it and the anger rises in his side of the tank. All of a sudden, Fred starts to feel irritable and angry. Wilma might try to also repress his feeling of anger by attempting to calm him down. This continues until Fred explodes. If this happens on a regular basis, Fred might even be labelled as an angry person. Both remain clueless why the anger explodes.

When we push down a feeling, it comes up in our partner. John Grey calls this the see-saw effect. One example John Grey gives for the see-saw effect is the emotion of “need”. Fred falls in love with Wilma. He starts to feel his need for her but that feeling frightens him because he might lose her. So he pushes that feeling down, telling himself he does not want to get too committed. The feeling of need goes over to Wilma’s side of the “tank” adding to her own feelings of need. Wilma becomes insecure and desperate, and starts to feel what is commonly called “needy”. Some people go from one partner to another, wondering why their partners all become so “needy” around them. Who is the common denominator? The person who is out of touch with his feelings of need and fear.

A friend of mine who is generally seen as a peaceful and calm person always seems to end up in relationships with angry women. When he first meets them, they are quite pleasant. Yet, the longer their relationship lasts, the more annoyed and angry the women seem to all become. They yell at him more and more frequently, more and more loudly, while he shuts down more and more, unable to feel his own emotions. Eventually, he leaves them because he can’t stand being yelled at anymore. Until he embraces his own anger and learns to acknowledge and express it appropriately, he will always attract somebody who expresses this deeply buried emotion for him.

Are you tired of having all these invisible buttons on your chest that others can just push?

Would you like to stop triggering others and stop being triggered yourself?

Would you like to learn more about how we disown certain energies because we have learned it is “bad” to feel or be a certain way and how we can live more conscious relationships as whole human beings who love themselves and others?

I offer individual coaching sessions and workshops.

Angelika wide picture for blogs

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

Upcoming Workshop:

“Shadow Energetics” training with Darryl Gurney, June 18-21, 2015

If you are enjoying my posts you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the follow button in the right hand corner of your screen.

The Five Blind Men and the Elephant

blindmen & elephant

Have you heard the Asian tale of the five blind men and the elephant? Five blind men come upon an elephant. They have never heard of an elephant. The first man feels a leg of the elephant. He says, “Ah, I know what this is! An elephant is a pillar!” The second man grabs the tail. “Ah,” he concludes, “an elephant is a rope.” The third man touches the trunk and decides an elephant is a snake. The fourth one happens to touch the ear and decides an elephant must be a hand fan. And the fifth one upon touching the tusk is convinced an elephant is a spear.

All five of them have only perceived part of the truth. All five of them have also interpreted their perception based on their old subjective experiences and beliefs about the world. They are only able to interpret what their functioning sense of touch picks up based on the individual “bucket” of beliefs and experiences they come from.

One of the hardest things for us humans seems to be not to jump to conclusions, to remember that our perception is limited and that facts only become a story based on our interpretations. In her book, “My Stroke of Insight”, Jill Bolte-Taylor describes well how our left brain, which she calls our “story teller”, perceives certain facts and how it fills in the gaps between these facts with an interpretation or meaning. We create our story based on those facts. When we come across more facts, we need to revise our interpretation, as the original story otherwise doesn’t match all the facts.

blindmen & elephant leg QUOTE

James N Miller is certainly not alone. Even though I am aware of how our brain functions, it still happens to me that I jump to conclusions. The other day, I sent an email to somebody asking the person for a favour and I did not hear back. I assumed she was reluctant to meet my request. A couple of weeks later, I found out I had sent the email to one of her e-mail addresses which she doesn’t use much. Instead of jumping to a conclusion based on a fear that my request would not be met, I should have followed up again by phone.

blindmen & elephant trunk QUOTEWhen we have children and they come home from school with a story about their day, we sometimes as parents tend to jump to conclusions because we only hear their side of the story. We are convinced the teacher or another child has not treated our child well. As a mother, I had to remind myself several times over the past twenty plus years of the “in dubio pro reo” principle. If there is any doubt or possibility that I have not gathered all the Intel, I should not judge, yet.

Thankfully, I was a teacher for many years and have seen parents show up in school with only part of the story, or with a misinterpretation based either on limited facts or on their own expectations or beliefs about school, or both. Yet, my first response as a mother still was to feel protective of my daughter and want to call up the school to defend her. The reminder that I need to gather more facts before I jump to the conclusion that somebody has treated my child unfairly saved me from making a fool of myself a few times.

Teachers also appreciate when they are approached calmly by a concerned parent. As parents, we can be strong advocates for our children without getting angry and accusing anybody. Having been on both ends of the table, I know that non-violent communication works best and teaches our children that we can talk about any problems.

My mother was passionate and expressive. Even though she wasn’t Italian, she could easily have passed as the proverbial Italian. Happiness was loud, she had the greatest laugh, and so was anger. She was often jumping to conclusions and getting angry at my teachers. Part of me understood she wanted to protect me, another part was really embarrassed by her response. It wasn’t productive. The older I became, I told my mother less and less about school, because I was afraid she would create problems where there were none. Whenever I feel the impulse to defend my children, I remind myself what it was like to have a mother who acts impulsively.

With all our interactions, let’s remember that everybody perceives a situation through their own filters. There is no absolute truth. We are only capable of perceiving an aspect of the truth based on the facts we have access to, our beliefs and our previous experiences. Next time we feel ready to judge a person or situation, let’s keep in mind that we might not have the whole picture, just like the five blind men with the elephant.

blindmen & elephant tusk QUOTE

Angelika

Belief Change Coaching

Hypnosis & PSYCH-K®

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

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“You are mad-sad”

 movie Home 1

Have you ever been mad-sad? Then you are a typical human being as the alien character “Oh” discovers when he makes friends with the human girl, Tip, in the animated movie “Home”.

What is mad-sad? Mad-sad is when you get angry but deep underneath you are sad. Tip is sad that her mother was relocated and separated from her by the aliens when they invaded the planet earth. She is ready to fight the world. Her angry part has stepped forward to protect her vulnerability. When Oh discovers what is underneath her anger, he says with surprise, “You are mad-sad”. What appears to be anger is really sadness and grief for her loss.

 movie Home 2

Sometimes we are mad-sad, other times we are mad-scared. A parent might be mad-scared because their child is failing in school and they are worried about their future, or because their teenager has made a decision which has put them in danger. We might get mad scared when we are in the passenger’s seat of a vehicle and the driver has a different driving style which makes us feel unsafe. How much more successful would our communication be if we could express our fear rather than our anger? Yet, anger is an automatic response triggered by fear. It takes practice to communicate differently.

When we feel overwhelmed, we also sometimes snap faster and respond with anger. Have you ever felt really bogged down by everything you had to do and as you were busy focussing on getting some work done, another person needed something and you replied with impatience or even anger? That could be called mad-stressed.

In all these cases of mad-sad, mad-scared or mad-stressed, the anger serves the purpose to protect the vulnerable part of us deep inside. Anger is a driving force. In Tip’s case, it drives her to search for her mom. Anger also feels better than helplessness and is an intuitive response when we feel unsafe or afraid for somebody else.

 Movie Home Gorg

The evil character of the movie from another alien race, called the Gorg, turns out to be mad-sad, mad-scared and most likely also mad-stressed. Without being aware, Oh’s alien race has stolen his babies, the entire next generation, which means extinction for the Gorg. When Oh is brave enough to face the Gorg, he realizes that this intimidating monster is really deeply vulnerable and just trying to save and protect himself and his family.

Have you heard of people who get “hangry”? When they are hungry they become grouchy or angry. To stay with our pattern, that would be called mad-hungry. There also is mad-tired. Have you ever been so tired and found that your protective defences were coming up when others are interacting with you in this state. My daughter, who works mainly overnight shifts, is not a happy camper when approached in a tired state. She gets mad-tired. Everybody in our family knows she has just reached her limit and her irritation is a feedback for us.

Next time you or somebody else shows up as angry, remember that there is usually some other emotion underneath the anger. That deeper emotion or need has to be addressed. Just as we know we need to feed ourselves when we are hangry, we also need to feed the other emotions or needs.

When we feel angry the question usually is, what exactly is underneath the anger? It might be Sadness? Loneliness? Fear or insecurity? Frustration? Overwhelm?

  • Sadness gives us the feedback that we perceive the loss of a person, an experience or a feeling. What needs to be done to make up for that loss, to replace the experience we have lost?
  • Loneliness gives us the message that we have a healthy longing for companionship and love. How can we enjoy our own company more, love ourselves more and also draw in other people as companions?
  • Fear or insecurity means that our subconscious is convinced something is not safe, and/or that we are not good enough in some way. What beliefs can be changed to alter how we see ourselves and the world?
  • Frustration gives us the feedback that something that we have been doing is not working. What do we need to do differently, so that the frustration does not tip over into depression?
  • Overwhelm is a signal to do a reality check, to limit, to organize, to prioritize, to say “no” and to delegate.

Anger also sometimes gives us the feedback that we perceive something as unfair. The first question is: Is or was it really unfair? If not, change your perspective. If the answer is yes, find a way to make fair if the event is in the present, or let go and forgive if you are angry at something which lies in the past.

movie Home 4

All feelings are good! Our emotions are our guidance system. All feelings and emotions give us feedback on what is going on. They are a call to action. Anger is good. It is like an indicator light that something needs to be looked at, but it also serves as a driving force to make changes.

Angelika

Belief Change Coaching, Forgiveness Work, Shadow Work

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

 Wearing Angela's T-shirt

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Conscious Parenting – Finding Authentic Compromises Versus Bargaining

Just a few days ago, a memory from seventeen years ago came to my mind. Back then, I was a relatively young mother, who was still partially figuring out what kind of a parent I wanted to be. As an elementary school teacher, I had worked out which rules apply to having a classroom full of 6 year olds as opposed to a classroom of 10 year olds. As a foster parent of a little girl I had—through trial and error—worked out what she needed during those four years that we fostered her. She needed so much more of everything parents can give: more reassurance, more consistency, more love. What I hadn’t worked out, yet, was a conscious awareness of needs—mine and other—and negotiating true compromises.

At that time, I was witness to what struck me as a very odd scene between an Egyptian friend of mine and her 17-year-old daughter. The topic of the conversation was the daughter’s curfew on a Saturday night. The daughter suggested 11:30. The mother countered with 8:30 which resulted in a dramatic response from the daughter. So the mother went to 9 o’clock and the daughter countered with 11 o’clock. Half an hour and several more outbursts of emotions later, they ended up with 10 o’clock. The daughter was pleased as punch.

When the young girl had left the room, I turned to my friend, who had made a big show of having given in, and said, “What was all that about?” She smiled and said, “I knew we would end up with 10 o’clock. She will be exactly home at the time I wanted her to be home.”

I was flabbergasted, especially as I was a “no-negotiating-by-any-means type of parent” back then. The bargaining or sometimes blackmailing that they seemed to be doing on a regular basis in her family around her three children’s needs seemed unnecessarily exhausting to me, but most of all inauthentic.

Now, there is bargaining and there is mitigating everybody’s needs. The difference between bargaining and negotiating compromises is tremendous.

Bargaining vs Negotiating by Greendoor (1)

What values and beliefs are we teaching our children by bargaining? They are learning that their needs are not worth being met without a fight. We are teaching them to be deceptive instead of open with what they want and need. We are teaching them to think of how they can win, rather than how everybody can win.

Negotiating means finding a compromise to meet everybody’s needs. Negotiating is not about who wins and who loses. Negotiating is about being creative in finding a win-win. We are teaching children that there is a way to have your needs met and that everybody can have their needs met. We are teaching them to express how they feel, to honestly ask for what they want or need, and to trust that a creative solution can be found. We are teaching them to collaborate rather than to compete for their individual gain.

I used to think that the parent has to be the boss and makes the rules. I still believe we have to remember that our child is not the boss of us but that a democratic boss opens up some decisions for discussion. When we refuse to acknowledge needs and refuse to negotiate to find compromises, we are teaching the next generation that they can never get in life what they truly want. The outcome of those experiences are grown-ups who don’t know what they want or need and don’t even attempt to express their wishes. We raise pleasers who are only able to follow the wishes of others. We raise people who feel their only strategy to get their needs met is by lying, being secretive, or being manipulative. They have no concept of living from integrity, their own personal integrity. They learn that they cannot be their authentic selves.

 Integrity De Angelis

Over Easter, we were spending time with friends and family. The more people are in the mix the more needs are sometimes colliding and need to be negotiated. One child ended up crying because she had hoped for a particular activity. The response of the adults present was mixed. The opinion that she should not get what she wanted because crying is not an adequate way of expressing your needs was voiced. The parent of the child felt she was trying to manipulate her way to what she wanted through this behaviour. That parent would have been me 15 years ago! I was an “I don’t negotiate” kind of parent. I strongly believed children shouldn’t get what they want by crying, sulking or throwing a temper tantrum.

Today, I believe that it is important to differentiate. There is more than meets the eye in a situation like this. If a child chooses to sulk, cry or get angry, we have to understand that they have already learned this is their only option. There certainly are more appropriate ways to express one’s needs. They might also truly just be expressing their sadness, disappointment or anger. We have to teach children that their needs and feelings matter and that they will be met if it is at all possible. They have to learn how to arrive at compromises to have everybody’s needs met. Life is about win-win, not about how to achieve a win over others.

When our children are getting emotional, let’s sit them down, help them to express how they feel, for example “disappointed”, “angry”, or “unimportant/like I don’t matter”. Let them know they have a right to feel what they feel. Then put everybody’s needs on the table, for example: “You want to play this game which takes an hour, Anna wants to watch this movie, Mom has a headache and wants to take a nap, Dad has to start cooking dinner, the dog has to go for a walk and Peter needs a ride to work. We have two hours left. What do you suggest?”

Then sit back and trust them to be creative to work out a compromise which is a win-win situation for everybody. Let them be the problem solvers. If they are struggling to come up with ideas at first, make suggestions. Negotiating teaches them to truly listen to others and to care about everybody. Our job as parents is it to be a role model and reminder of non-violent communication and to hold the knowing that a peaceful solution can be found.

The more compromises the children get to create when they are young the more we can count on them growing-up to become balanced adults who know what they want, who believe that their needs matter and who naturally are striving to create win-win situations in all areas of their lives. After all, our children are the leaders of the future who need to be able to negotiate peace for our world.

Angelika

Life Coaching, 905-286-9466

 greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

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Authenticity Barometer

AUTHENTICITY quote 1

Ever so often, I need an honest sounding board. For me that sounding board is three hours time difference and only a phone call away.

My best friend—who I grew up with and whom I feel closer to than to my own two sisters—can always be counted on as a barometer for how I am doing. We talk about being parents, being relationship partners, about our families—close and extended, about new experiences and challenges, but most of all about who we truly are.

Claudia is what I call my “authenticity barometer”. She truly loves and respects herself, and I admire her for how she navigates life. When I am at a crossroad and about to make an important decision, I often ask myself, what would she do or say? That does not necessarily mean I make the same decision that my best friend would make, but it always means I am making my own choice with more awareness.

AUTHENTICITY quote 2

My soul sister and I have learned from each other’s errors and from each other’s successes. We are encouraging and non-judgmental with each other, while at the same time we do not let each other get away with less than what we feel the other person is capable of. We don’t coddle each other or lie to save each other’s feelings. The measure is always authenticity. The one person who will honestly tell me if I am behaving in line with what I claim my life philosophy to be, is Claudia.

About thirteen years ago, she was brutally honest with me and let me know in not unclear terms that I was not showing up to my full potential in terms of honesty and the values I claimed I had. She could have just turned away from me without telling me why I was hard to be around at that time, and done the “polite thing” by letting the friendship slowly and quietly die. Instead, she spoke her truth and expressed honestly what she saw. It took me a while to digest what she had noticed but because it came from her, I knew it was worth considering. I am still grateful to her today, for pointing out how and where I had lost myself.

Speaking your truth is different from being opinionated and feeling you know what is right. Speaking your truth is a subjective I message: “I see, I feel, I believe and I need…” It is up to the person I am being straight with to accept or reject what I am saying. There is no absolute truth, no absolute right or wrong. There is just what works for me, or doesn’t work for me.

AUTHENTICITY quote 3 Guber

Being authentic also means refusing to fit into moulds of what is done, in lieu of finding your own way. Claudia always encourages me to take the harder path, the path of being in integrity with myself, which lately has required setting clear boundaries with people I love.

Sometimes we can lose ourselves in the name of love for others. Our children and partners bring out our shadows. They constantly challenge us to love ourselves as much as we love them. Living life in line with who you are means checking back in every so often to decide if a clear “no” is in order and if the lines have become blurry. Is it time to say to someone we care about, “Sorry, honey, no. That does not work for me.”?

One of the things Claudia always reminds me of through her own example is that our relationships do not have to be lived according to what society deems to be the norm. Sometimes we decide to just live how married people do, or to do what so called “good parents” do, or to behave how “good children” are expected to behave because it feels safe. We forget that it is completely up to the two people involved in a relationship to decide how they want to design their personal commitment or their personal relationship. The only relevant question is, “what feels right to both parties?” And if guilt clouds your judgment, know that shame and guilt are the lowest frequencies and biggest blocks to truly being happy. Clear them out!

AUTHENTICITY quote 4 (Brene Brown)

We all have heard of grieving the loss of another person. Do not underestimate how deep the grief goes when you lose yourself, the true voice of your soul. Ultimately, choosing to not be true to yourself comes from a place of deep fear of being unlovable. That feeling of fear, unworthiness and shame is the breading ground for depression, food, alcohol or drug addictions, and for many physical symptoms and disorders.

How does one avoid losing oneself? What if you decided to not do things for others because you owe them but because you truly want to, because it fills you with joy? What if you reminded yourself that being lovable is not tied to conditions? Most of us still find it hard to believe that we will be loved unconditionally, independent of what we do or don’t do. And then ask again—free of guilt and obligations, free of the worry not to be loved—what feels right to you deep down?

Shed the idea that your decisions need to be popular with others! If it is a deciding criterion whether others will like your choice, you sure aren’t making that choice from your own inner voice. Sometimes one has to risk being called “a bitch” or “selfish” in order to be true to one’s own needs and values. To truly be authentic and at the same time to do what other people approve of is nearly impossible. The fastest way to come to a place of being true to yourself is to let go of the need for outside approval.

Sometimes we have to risk hurting someone’s feelings in order to be true to ourselves and our own needs. That doesn’t mean you have to be cruel or insensitive. We can come from a loving or compassionate place when we let others know how we feel. After all, love and compassion goes two ways. In order to be truly loving with others, we cannot come from a place of hidden resentment because we have been ignoring our own needs.

Being authentic has no agenda of manipulating or changing others. The motivation for authenticity is being happy with yourself and being truly healthy. Authenticity is detached from the response of others. Being authentic is loving yourself unconditionally and continuously, no matter what. Ultimately, we cannot change anybody. By living in line with our own inner voice, however, we can be an encouragement for others to try the same.

 

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Angelika wide picture for blogs smaller

Life and Relationship Coaching

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

 

The Growth Choice Versus the Fear Choice

If you are not satisfied with what you do and you keep postponing starting a new career or business, have you actually avoided making a decision?

If you are avoiding speaking to your partner or ex-partner about an important issue, are you really postponing making that difficult decision?

If you are struggling financially and you find yourself going deeper and deeper into debt and you don’t make changes, are you able to escape making a decision?

In all three cases, you have made several decisions or choices. You have made the choice not to be in control of your life. You have made the choice to remain stagnant. You have made the choice to allow others to make the decisions for you. You have given away the opportunity to have an in-put and find a compromise. Your partner will most likely make his or her own decision without you, and your debtors are most probably going to react to your financial situation. In each case, you have deluded yourself that you are not making a decision, but you have, in fact, made a fear choice over a growth choice.

We are making choices all the time! We cannot live life without making choices in every given moment. “The Universe is Decisive” (Raymond Charles Barker). We exist in and are part of a Universe in which we are constantly co-creating our reality. The Law of Mind, as the Science of Mind teachers call it, or the Law of Attraction, as it is called in the Abraham teachings, is clear: We are constantly manifesting from our thoughts, feelings, words, decisions and actions. It is not possible to NOT make a choice.

The choice not to make a choice is a choice in itself. It’s the choice to stay “in limbo”. And on the other side of indecisive energy is decisive energy. When we are indecisive, we draw in other people who are decisive and will make decisions for us. The choice to let somebody else make the choices for us IS a choice. We give away our power of decision. We give away an opportunity to self-actualize consciously.

Abraham Maslow choices

We are human and we make fear choices over growth choices all the time. We might choose to stay in an unhappy relationship out of the fear of being alone. We may choose to not move from a financially secure job into a more fulfilling but less secure one. We might avoid important talks out of fear of conflict.

Be compassionate with yourself when you notice a pattern of making fear choices. Just don’t delude yourself that other people and forces control your life when you are the one who has made the choice to relinquish control.

“Have no fear of negative patterns you may uncover in your mind. They are ready to be known and dismissed.” (Raymond Charles Barker, The Power of Decision, 187) When you find that you tend to behave or act, think or feel in a certain pattern, celebrate that you have found a pattern. Now that your conscious mind is aware of a pattern which you would like to change, you can begin your work. Such a pattern could be “when somebody is not pleased with me or criticises me, I feel rejected” or “I jump to the rescue of people with a victim consciousness, enabling them to remain a victim” or “when somebody is angry, I retreat into feeling helpless instead of constructively solving a problem” or “when I feel sad and not good enough, I overeat to push my emotions down”.

This Universe is fractal in itself. There are repetitive patterns everywhere. They show up in nature, in the history of mankind and in everybody’s individual history. The same patterns show up over and over again until we become aware of them and consciously change them. Within this choice is a decision again: the decision to break a pattern, no matter how long it has been present, the decision to change something that has not been working for us.

 

Raymond Charles Barker mountain valley quote

 

Related blog:

http://greendoorrelaxation.net/2013/07/01/what-if-i-make-a-wrong-decision/

 

Life Coaching, Changing of Beliefs and Habitual Patterns

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

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Who should I talk to when my relationship is struggling?

Relationships sometimes bring out the best in us, other times they bring out the worst. They can trigger our insecurities and old inner wounds; they can bring up our fears and automatic protective responses. Such protective responses can be anger, judgment, the rational voice, or a part in us that pretends that we don’t care. All these power selves protect our inner vulnerable child.

When we are struggling in our primary love relationship, the temptation to confide in someone close is great. We all have those moments when we just want to hear from someone who loves us, “Poor you!” We have the tendency to find somebody who confirms we are right and that we have been treated so badly. It seems harmless to do that, doesn’t it?

It isn’t harmless at all. It is short-sighted. Confiding in somebody who has a relationship with both partners is often detrimental to the relationship, as it destroys trust. I see over and over again with my clients that a marriage or relationship which is already struggling is weakened even more by one—or both—partners complaining about the other one to a close family member or friend.

So if I feel misunderstood by my partner, should I complain to my mother or father about him or her? Not unless it is my intention to destroy the relationship between my mother or father and my spouse. Very few people are still able to truly respect another person once they have heard the dirty inside scoop that comes with every relationship. Especially for a parent, it is hard to remain neutral and not side with the poor daughter or poor son. Even if they have the awareness that every story is subjective and that there are always two—or more—sides to a situation, they hear “My daughter/son is not happy with this other person”. Most parents will have a hard time not giving advice or not meddling in the relationship if their child approaches them apparently being unhappy.

Senior Mother Interferring With Couple Having Argument At Home

The same thing applies to other family members or common friends of the couple. If my partner has been insensitive or uncaring, or if he or she has even done something worse like cheated on me, should I go crying to our common friends? Resist the temptation! A person my partner has a close relationship with as well is not the right confidant to talk to. No matter how much I want to be pitied or want to feel that somebody has compassion for me, I always have to keep in mind that I am most likely destroying the respect that person has for my partner. So, no matter what my partner has said or done, I am making it worse by retaliating with sharing something that most likely is embarrassing to him or her.

So, who should I talk to? If I need to talk a situation through, I need to find a person who has no relationship with my partner, preferably a professional who can listen to me. That professional can also help me to make the best decisions of what is to do in a situation looking at it from a neutral outside perspective. A professional coach or counsellor can teach me how to successfully speak to my partner, set boundaries and have my needs met.

Of course this sort of destructive dynamic does not only occur when a love relationship is in a crisis. I have come across several mothers in my life who complain to one child about the other child. Some mothers have this down to an art. They will call up one daughter to complain about the other daughter or the children of the other daughter. Usually, it is also part of this dynamic, to switch allies. Tomorrow, the mother might be dissatisfied with that daughter and complain to the other one instead. We can all see that this is not a healthy dynamic. It destroys the trust between the sisters and at the same time the trust between mother and daughters.

So, don’t complain about somebody behind their back! If you have an issue with your partner, or another family member, seek out a calm and non-violent communication with the appropriate person. If you need a professional to coach you, use that resource. Then sit down with that partner and work it out together, without pulling other people into the relationship who are bound to side with one or the other. Can you move beyond right and wrong? Instead of making it a question of blame or of who is right and who is wrong, you can both be honest with your feelings and needs and find creative solutions to your problems.

 couple talking

Relationship Coaching

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

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