September 26, 2017
Meditation involves a process of focusing our attention on only one thing at a time and letting all other thoughts go. Simply put, meditation is “focused thinking.” If you know how to worry, you already learned how to meditate, although your focus is in the wrong thing. Meditation God’s Way includes God in the process
If a thought comes to a meditating person’s mind, she should not resist that thought or judge it, rather she should notice it and let it go.
This is easier said than done because we are not used to it, it goes against our training to “doing” instead of “being”. Most people in the industrialized Western cultures have come to enjoy being busy, filling time with activities, people and noise. Many do not understand the art of quiet, solitary meditation.
It is hard to find moments of quiet reflection left that are not filled with:
~Listening to the Ipod, ~Cell phone conversations/texting, ~Checking email or the blackberry, ~Doing a google search, General business, Face book. I am as guilty as the next person on this matter. Whatever happened to appreciating the moment, introspection, free play, doing nothing.
*From ancient times God has instructed His people to meditate on His Word:
“Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth, meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8
I continually stress the importance of body, mind and spirit connection, how one affects the other and as all three components work together well they make us whole.
*Harvard medical school tested the benefits of meditation:
~ A decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen consumption
~ An increase in electrical resistance of the skin and alpha brain wave activity (both associated with relaxation)
*Meditation has repeatedly been found to reduce chronic anxiety and worry. Some long-range benefits may include:
~ Sharpened alertness
~ Increased energy level and productivity
~ Decreased self-criticism
~ Increased objectivity
~ Decreased dependence on alcohol, recreational, and prescription drugs
~ Improved self-esteem and sense of identity
~ Meditation helps to uncloud your perception of yourself and your life.
With all these good stuff happening, why do some of us resist relaxing and meditating, or don’t even like it? Besides what I mentioned before about busyness and noise, there are internal resistances to it.
*Meditation in Scripture not only helps us calm the mind and relax the body, but it also helps us to control our thoughts:
“For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
*The Word of God has the power to reveal our wrong thinking patterns and help us to change them so we can be filled with peace and calm:
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
The unnecessary stressors this culture presses upon us can be overcome as we choose to meditate on God’s Word. Jesus said “The words I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” John 6:63. It is good practice to focus on God’s words and allow them to sink deeply into our hearts.
In our childhood we discovered the art of daydreaming. We used our imaginations perhaps to escape the circumstances we were in or to dream of what we would like to be or do. Unfortunately, as our minds take on more distortional thinking, hurt, pain, and worldly ideas, our imaginations become more corrupt and negative. People imagine catastrophes that will come to them, and many kinds of unclean thoughts.
From the beginning of mankind, after sin entered the world, our imaginations have been bent to evil:
“The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” Genesis: 6:5
* As Christians who have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we can fight this negative inclination to evil. Paul said:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think (meditate) about such things.” Philippians 4: 8
Choosing to think about what is noble, just, pure, and lovely things will cleanse our mind of many stressful factors.
August 1, 2017
If someone discovered how to have freeing and liberating thoughts that would take you away from anxiety, stress and despair, you would find a wise, sensible, ‘together’ person that takes life and its challenges as they come. They accept “what is” and move forward without having to process everything for too long or too deep.
Grieving, has been said, is the inability to let go of someone or something. When one loses a loved one, grieving is the stage we enter into to unstuck ourselves. Grief could be defined as being stuck in a particular moment unable to keep on moving, breathing or feeling.
Freeing and Liberating thoughts are the opposite of being stuck. One can argue that this is easier to do when the situation we are stuck in is not one of the biggest tragedies of our lives. As we all know, “time does not cure all things,” but time gives our emotions, our brains, our bodies, our spirit the much needed opportunity to make some sense of what we have left. In other words time without processing may be just a waste of time and a means to get even more stuck in the pain we are trying to get away from.
Acceptance does not mean agreeing with what happened. In time, acceptance brings permission to embark a completely different life realizing it is OK that we will never be the same person we once were. A big piece of our previous personality was buried with the death of the loss we are experiencing.
Giving ourselves permission to, in time, entertain the thought to re-enter life as a different person is what I mean about having freeing and liberating thoughts that would take us away from the tremendous amounts of anxiety, stress and despair we may be feeling.
A few tips:
~Decide you are ready to move forward without fighting it or feeling guilty.
~Take a few safe steps to re-enter your life
~Ask for help from good friends and trusted family
~Map your new you and go for it.
As you choose to free your mind remember to relax. Our Cds amd Mp3s were designed just for that. All you have to do is close your eyes and breathe…
Blessings your way,
Please visit our store.
July 25, 2017
A simple definition of Mindfulness is “the practice to pay attention to what is happening to you from moment to moment.” In order to be mindful we need to slow down and do one activity at a time while bringing full attention to what we are experiencing. It sounds similar to Jesus telling us “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matt. 6:34).
Being present in the moment means to “accept what is.” When you are dealing with a problem, accepting what is happening will determine whether your response will be kind, frustrated, angry, understanding, etc.
Paying attention to your breathing is a way of mindfulness, doing one thing at a time and bringing your stress down. First thing in the morning, even before you get up, take a few deep breaths and pay attention to them only. After that tell yourself a favorite Scripture or affirmation: “I am loved by the King of Kings, I am calm and relaxed to begin this day peacefully and joyfully.”
Please visit our website store where you will find relaxation Cds and Mp3s to help you learn mindfulness. Our products are geared to help believers to relax God’s Way.
Blessings your way…
July 14, 2017
Are you being too hard on yourself? Too critical? Seeking perfection?
Well, then…we need to tame that! Ha, if it were just that easy! Yet, in a way, it could be that easy. By becoming intentional on our quest for peace and relaxation within our soul we can choose to “think right.”
When a bad, nagging thought gets inside my head I immediately imagine putting legs on it and let it go right off my head. It works wonders for me and the many people I have shared this little trick with.
The inner critic in your head will try to tell you that you are not enough, you haven’t done the task well enough, you are lazy, inept, unorganized, bad parent, nobody likes you and as many more lies your mind will create.
Then we wonder why we feel anxious, stressed, and unworthy. Just because we think something, it does not make it true. Our thoughts lie to us; they distort reality to match how we feel about ourselves. Our task is to bring back the truth and nothing but the truth about what we are thinking.
For example, when I get up in the morning and my very first thought is “I hate this day” (lie), I catch the thought and I can (a) put legs on it and let it go or (b) challenge it: “I will choose to have a great day, I am just having a hard time starting it.”(truth).
~Feelings are fleeting. We learn to listen to the feeling to readjust our attitudes and behaviors, not to succumb to them. We manage our feelings to our benefit.
~Feelings are energy. We may feel a surge of pent-up energy that we need to discharge in a healthy way. Anger especially requires action sometimes. Going for a good run or a walk may help the energy to dissipate in order to begin the problem solving stage.
~Problem solving. Doing something proactive about a situation gives us power over it. Complaining about it provokes anxiety. Choose action!
~Realizing our humanity. When we do what we can with the situation we have at hand we understand our humanity. We work with our limitations to do the very best we can.
~Practice kindness to self. Just like you would be kind to a friend in need, do the same for you. Self-kindness and compassion go a long way to release anxiety.
~Accepting what is, yet working toward our goal with realistic expectations calms a troubled soul.
Please visit our store and consider our spoken word and music to calm your soul.
January 30, 2017
I love my work. Life Coaching has taught me so much about people and God. For the purpose of this writing I will use Webster’s Dictionary definition of pattern: A reliable sample of traits, acts, tendencies, or other observable characteristics of a person, group, or institution <a behavior pattern> <spending patterns>.
We are all so vastly different yet there are certain characteristics that keep repeating themselves in us from all different walks of life; rich or poor, young or old, male or female, married or single, employed or student.
Today I am concentrating on “Things that paralyze us.” Has it ever happened to you that you are moving forward, feeling accomplished in your purpose and all of a sudden, one day you wake up and feel stuck, paralyzed? People or situations may bring this feeling, be it a death in the family, where suddenly your sense of safety and security are gone; or finding out that your spouse has betrayed you or your child is using drugs. Or your family turns their back on you when you needed them the most, or there is a terminal illness among your friends. Loss of a job and financial hardships forces big changes in your lifestyle. And it hits you like a ton of bricks have fallen on your shoulders. It is hard to breathe, let alone get up and carry the heavy burden. Life becomes gray and unimportant. Interests you had became burdensome and your energy is gone.
This constitutes as trauma or traumatic event. Life as you knew it will never be the same. In time it will take a new form that may or may not be better that the one you had, yet you will need to readjust your thinking and accept this as your new life, your new you.
And a few days later is when it hits you harder. You feel paralyzed. There is nothing stopping you other than this imaginary hand holding you by the shoulders or the neck. And you cannot move. And it is hard to breathe, and you feel anxious and depressed and sad and angry, lost and unsafe, all at the same time.
In the beginning of the “paralysis season” you will need a lot of time and reinforcement from others just to get out of bed and keep doing life. You may feel your brain is ‘in a fog’ unable to clearly think or respond. Regardless of the kind of trauma you experienced you will need time to heal. Trauma and healing are opposites of each other: trauma may take just a few seconds to injure and change you forever, while it may take a life time to recover and heal from it, possibly never achieving full healing.
As time goes by trauma begins to teach us to go deeper into ourselves, our feelings, our needs and our shortcomings. It allows us to not sweat the small stuff as much anymore and gives more meaning and better relationships, although you may lose some friendships that switch into superficial now. We become more human and empathic to the pain of others. Our ability to feel intensifies and all of a sudden there is an understanding of ‘I get it.’ Superficial, selfish people become annoying with their platitudes and their ‘perfect’ lives. You have entered the ‘no going back zone’ and in a weird way you begin to feel the few advantages to your new situation in life.
Life as you knew it ended yet a new perspective has taken over your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Like most change we tend to fight it at first, and it would depend on the seriousness of the change: the strongest the change the stronger the fight we put up. Death of a loved one may share some of the characteristics I am talking about but in many cases deserves a place of its own as the painfulness of grieving can’t be compared to others simpler loses.
Once we find ourselves in the middle of a storm day in and day out we fail to think clearly; confusion and darkness take over and our ability to think clearly disappears. We are surrounded by a thick fog that impede us to see the sun way up there. If you choose to share with others what we are feeling, you will feel misunderstood by those people that are out in the sun, not walking in your shoes, clueless to your pain. They are the ones that may say to you “There is a reason for all these,” Don’t worry, things will be better tomorrow,” etc. You need to reach out to qualified people that will acknowledge your sadness and will be able to stay there with you for a while, not trying to “cheer you up.”
After time -and how long varies from person to person- you will find a small glimpse of a desire to peek out the window and maybe accept the idea that the sun may shine again sometime for you. That is all it takes, you will feel again, laugh again and believe that life may have a purpose even though you may not understand it yet. You will lose some of the old friends on that journey and gain some deeper ones that will hopefully stay with you for the long haul.
The paralysis gets replaced by movement again. The sadness lifts and you want to live to the fullest again, in a changed way, but full.
I do not believe this process can be hurried and it is different for everybody. Go with it and I would love to hear from some of you who are seeing a glimpse of hope in this dark season. My prayers are with you..
Relaxation is one of the many tools we need to overcome almost anything that comes our way. Our Cds and MP3 were born out of my own journey with anxiety and panic attacks. Please visit our store and our Being in Him Facebook page.
I will continue with other patterns that I have observed in my practice. I started with “feeling paralyzed” because it is prevalent in counseling sessions.
God bless you always,
December 3, 2016
A very hurt and frustrated client walked into my office yesterday morning, blaming herself for having such an unforgiving heart and beating herself up for not being spiritual enough. As I offered to help her unpack what she meant by that we got into the real heart of this situation. Speaking of forgiveness is not always easy when people already find themselves guilty without a trial.
Often times, well meaning people want to mediate between two friends that have had a disagreement and perhaps are not in speaking terms anymore. In my client’s case, though, it got a bit trickier as her friend whom we will call Sally, was trying to mediate the problem and was being quite harsh to my client about having an unforgiving heart toward their other friend Betty. Sally was quoting Bible verses and exhorting my client to stop this non-sense and reconcile now. After some probing we ended up realizing that the reason Sally wanted so badly to reconcile these two friends was because she was organizing a party and wanted to invite both of these ladies but it was creating a conflict for her and she didn’t want her party to be messed up.
Sally’s motives to have her two friends reconciled was out of her own selfishness and had nothing to do with Christ’s teachings.
As Sally was quoting Bible verses to my client and making her feel guilty, she failed to really listen to my client’s heart and validate her emotions and reasons why she was so hurt by Betty’s wrongdoing. Sally was only interested in the success of her party and not on how hurt my client was feeling.
My client’s stress and anxiety were quickly escalating to a panic attack as she felt unworthy and unable to have a forgiving heart.
I explained as lovingly as I could the real reason Sally wanted a quick-fix-look-good-reconciliation versus the real work of the Holy Spirit in her heart. It takes time to forgive an offense. The deeper the hurt the longer the real forgiveness will take. It is a process that when it is well done and completed restores peace back in our hearts regardless of reconciling with the other person who hurt us. Sometimes reconciliation will take place, sometimes it will not. Forgiveness is a process between you and God. Nobody, just because they throw Bible verses at you, will expedite the process. The reward is that when it is truly completed with God’s guidance, it will feel complete and peaceful.
I believe my client went home with renewed hope to work on the process at her own pace and not at Sally’s selfish motive.
Our Cds and MP3s are a great tool to learn to relax and allow God’s work in your heart.
Please visit our Being in Him Facebook page.
November 3, 2016
“Life is difficult” tells us a very well known book, The Road Well Traveled. Difficulties make us stressed, anxious, fearful, insecure and the list goes on. What are you anxious about? What are the things that keep you awake at night? Who are the people you worry about?
The question is: Is this worry helping us with the solution? Are we making progress when we sit down and worry?
The answer is simple and complex at the same time. No, we do not fix anything by simply worrying about a person or situation. When we learn to think wisely and make progress about what and how we think about a situation, we feel empowered because we enter into problem solving which opens so many others roads to manage and resolve a situation.
I remember when we moved back to California many years ago there were 3 things that worried me and I spent many hours awake and anxious because of them
- We are never going to be able to afford to buy a house in this crazy expensive market
- We will never be able to afford college for our three kids
- Something bad is going to happen.
Through these worries I learned that:
I present my worries to God in prayer and leave them there.
I have no control over the future.
Letting go does not mean giving up.
I can only do my best today and leave the future to the one who is really in control.
I prepare a good plan, being a college savings or protecting the family as best as we can.
We listen to our feelings and then we sift them through our thinking brain. And together we make a more rational decision. We act instead of react.
The beauty of feelings is that they act as an alarm system in our bodies. They help us to identify what is really going on with us and sometimes we understand where these feelings are coming from; usually from our past, our childhood triggers an emotion that caused pain at the time and today it translates into worry, fear and doubt. ‘What makes you anxious?’ will be answered when we listen to our feelings yet we don’t let them control us. We are blessed with the ‘thinking brain’ that will teach us consequences to behaviors -good or bad- planning and timing, acting vs. reacting, etc. reeling ourselves in to the reality of a situation instead of creating doom and gloom where it does not exist.
Cognitive therapy is wonderful to help us appraise the value and truthfulness of a thought as we learn to not let them take us captive. We think about we are thinking and accept or discard as needed. Just because a thought pops in our head does not mean it is true. Our thoughts lie to us constantly, especially if you are a worrier. You will magnify and intensify thoughts, many times, to a point of distortion. Learning to keep our thoughts truthful and real is a huge part of our sanity.
What makes you anxious? Write down 3 to 5 thoughts that make you anxious and analyze them for what they truly are. Are they true, biblical, wise, hopeful? Or they bring doubt, lies, un-biblical and doom provoking?
October 22, 2016
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
God is very clear in this Scripture about the peace He leaves with us and exalts us to choose it over fear. But, do we actually do that? Sometimes our lips say we do yet I am not sure our hearts believe it. When we get overly anxious fretting about a situation we are giving in to fear over peace and trust. When we dwell in the past and can’t move on we may be giving our God given power to fear instead of peace. Remember He told us “Peace I Leave With You.”
As we decide to live in a ‘fear based’ or ‘faith based’ world we also must train our mind to connect to our heart to fully believe what we profess. I will be, however, the first one to say it is not easy. When Jesus said “Peace I leave with you” He meant it.
Let me give you some affirmations you can daily use to achieve more peace than fear in our lives:
I am a child of the living God
He will be with me always
I believe in His power and His love for me
My thoughts are truthful and healthy
I am calm, I am at peace, I am relaxed
I am loved with an everlasting love
These are just a few thoughts to write down and keep handy to read over and over to replace fearful, negative thoughts. As we make it difficult for our mind to think fearful thoughts y replacing them with healthy ones, we will feel our anxiety lower and diminish its intensity. Replacing fear with peace is a wonderful feeling!
October 10, 2016
Healthy talk brings healing, unhealthy talk brings sickness -physical, emotional, and spiritual.
Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
This healthy and unhealthy talk refers to the way you talk to yourself and others. Self-harm or others-harm is just as important. “‘Self-Talk’ is the most important conversation we have all day.”
Are you being mean and critical to yourself, are you discouraging others by the way you talk to them and the things you say? I am an HSP (highly sensitive person) and, over the years, realized how badly I am affected by critical, discouraging, judgmental, condescending people. And as a child how hurtful it was when I felt ridiculed, teased, laughed at, and in need to hide. In the name of ‘oh lighten up, it was a joke’ more emotional damage happens to sensitive people than any other kind of harm. Just because someone isn’t bleeding externally or falls unconscious to the ground, it doesn’t mean they weren’t badly hurt emotionally and spiritually.
Someone who is or was emotionally hurt will, most likely, feel that people are unsafe, have anxiety issues, depression, and a general sense that the other shoe is about to drop at anytime. Peace is gone, and fear takes its place. That is how important it is to healthily talk to self and others, starting early with your children.
Why, then is it so hard for some people to speak nicely? We all know the ones, they are usually always critical, discontent, complaining about most things, can’t get along with others, very judgmental, project their thoughts and feelings onto others, etc. These people bring the ugly part of you and you may mimic their behaviors by responding harshly too, yet that is not your true nature. You hate seeing that ugliness coming out of you. Your heart would like to have peace with them, yet they like to keep on bringing conflict and minimizing your thoughts. They like to point their dirty finger at you yet you know it is a mirroring technique they are using to hurt you even more. That is toxic people at their best. Run from them as fast as you can.
They are those people who were hurt themselves yet they are still blind, repeating a hurtful history with their own children and adults in their present life. They need to be willing to allow God to work inside their hearts to find true peace and fulfillment.
It takes a long road of recovery to realize: “I am OK the way I am.” “I like who I am and I do not have to prove myself to anyone. I do not feel like I am not enough anymore, and that is so freeing. I thank God he used conflict to help me realize that I can have peace in my life and still be loved by the right people. Those whom I am not ‘pleasing,’ under their harsh standard, were not really on my side in the first place.” These are just a few affirmations that have helped many other people. 1 John 4:18 says: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
Healthy talk brings healing to your soul, start today by being kind, nice, gentle, and loving to others. You never know what kind of battle they are fighting and your kindness may be the strength they need to keep on moving forward. I know I need that in my life.
September 28, 2016
Healthy Stress! When was the last time you remember being really, really happy and peaceful as an adult?
What I mean that powerful feeling of joy with the sense that you can overcome the most obscure obstacles just because nothing was going to spoil this wonderful moment? Healthy stress runs through your body and produces a joyful feeling of contentment.
Even at such joyful times, stress was present. Let’s call it healthy stress. But many of us live life waiting for the other shoe to drop – even while hearing wonderful news. It is like we are waiting for the bad news to hit at anytime even if it never does. And if/when it does, we soberly tell ourselves “I knew it.”
Having said that, it is refreshing to know that some people do not live this way, they do not expect anything to go wrong and if it does, it catches them off guard. Must be nice to not have to worry about things, including good news! They have a different expectancy paired with a positive outlook, trusting that life is mostly on their side, while tragedy is for others. Their focus is on today.
We know that depression stems from dwelling in the past while anxiety focuses on worrying about the future and its many possible ‘what ifs.’
How about the present? Only in the present moment we are able to enjoy the wonderful news we have been given. Without comparing it to a bad outcome from the past (depression) or projecting any bad outcome in the future (anxiety.) Only today, right now, soaking the beauty of this moment, such as the joy I felt when my grandson was born and being thankful that mother and child were doing well. Or praising God for the news of a second baby soon to come and staying in the awe of His creation. Rejoicing when a medical test comes out negative or smelling the Fall so near. Not more, not less, no what ifs, no possible scenarios, no doom or gloom. Just pure bliss and joy. Just healthy stress that brings peace.
Our Relaxation Cds were born out of a need to learn to let go of gloom and doom, instead to learn how to lower stress hormones in a healthy way. Deep breathing, Progressive Muscle Relaxation and Healthy Imagery will do just that. Please visit our products page and our Being in Him Facebook page.