Stuck in a power struggle with yourself?

iStock_000005889385XSmallAs a coach and counsellor, I’m privileged to work with some wonderful high-powered businessmen (and -women). Yet the men, particularly, often resist their power so strongly that it can sometimes be hard to break through. They’re used to being in charge and to making things work. After all, for better or for worse, they’ve been running the world for millennia. But if things are not working in their business, they tend to attribute it to some external factor—the market, the economy, the poor work ethic, the wrong location, the workers, the competition, etc. They tell me: Olga, you don’t understand this business. I’ve been running this company for 30 years and I know how these things work.

And I say to them: Well, you’ve been running your body for 55 years and it’s not bringing you what you want; how well do you know how it works?

I’ve been around the block, Olga, and this is how it works in this industry. People just don’t

But it’s not about those people, out there. It’s about what’s going on inside; it’s about the power of you and your subconscious, and whether that power is switched on or off. It’s about whether that power is being channelled into external sinkholes or into the true inner drivers of your life.

But you don’t know how hard I’ve worked, how many times I’ve tried to fix this… you just don’t understand everything I’ve done.

True. I don’t. But I don’t need to, because I know the power of you—how it gets switched off, what it takes to switch it on, why we resist it so much, and how we can prove to ourselves that there’s an easier way to win. I don’t need to know the story of your life to know what’s going on; whatever’s happening in your life right now is story enough.

Yes, but…

I’ve been there, done that—argued with all the ‘evidence’ that life presents, and resisted the deeper truth, again and again and again. I’ve been masterful at resisting the power of me, and I know the symptoms of self-denial.

There’s a basic goodness and strength in men that pushes them to want to achieve things, to perform well and to make things work. (Of course, there’s sometimes a teeny weeny bit of ego, as well…) But while men can readily acknowledge the power of their business, as something they have created, they often discount the power of themselves, which is something that they are. And while it might sometimes seem as if I’m criticizing their approach by focusing on what’s going on inside them, I’m actually paying them the greatest compliment possible. I’m directing them to explore a power that will leave all their sophisticated business strategies in the shade.

We all have it, of course—not just men—and it’s a power that overrides market forces, the economy and whatever other factors may seem to be deciding our fate. Recognizing and understanding that power represents such a radical shift that it’s often too big a leap for some to make. Circumstances are so convincing, dramatic and distracting that we can’t see how some indefinable force inside us could possibly cancel out all the ‘evidence’ of our apparent inability to turn things around—to get the partner of our dreams, to save our business, to heal our relationships, or to break long-standing cycles of debt or defeat.

Yet if we resist an exploration of this power, we’re resisting ourselves. If we resist an expression of this power, we’re resisting success. If we insist on believing in the power of external forces, we’re resisting the easy route to getting what we want.

In all the strategizing, financial planning, market research and other due diligence that hard-working businessmen undergo, it can be hard to see an easy route. But if we switch our focus from external events to our internal dynamics, we discover a much greater force that can work in our favour.

I sometimes encourage men (especially those who work even harder when things stall) to take time out to just sit and meditate—to allow inspiration and answers to come to them, and to demonstrate the trust and confidence that they don’t always feel, deep down. But many of them are quick to set me straight: Olga, meditation doesn’t work for me. And I don’t have time for it; I’ve got to save my business, make money, protect my employees…

If we resist meditation, we’re resisting a connection with our self—the source of all our answers. And if meditation ‘doesn’t work’, it’s the connection with self that’s been scrambled.

We all have the power to be masterfully ‘manifestatious’. Our bodies and minds are the systems through which we live our lives—the medium through which we process who we think we are, how we think life works, and what we believe is possible. It’s not about finding a savvy business plan to outsmart the competition, or using clever marketing strategies to attract lots of paying clients. It’s about recognizing that you are the system, and then working to ensure that that system is operating powerfully—with solid self-worth, positive intent, healthy dynamics, clear boundaries, wholesome integrity, honest self-expression, sound values, and a loving validation of who you are, without manipulation, disrespect or contrivance, and without compromising or over-extending yourself in the hope of a payoff.

So, men, take a bow for all that you’ve achieved …and take a break to let in all that’s trying to reach you. You deserve it and it’s time to let things be easy. Any negative circumstances are simply pushing you to take charge in a new and masterful way, from the inside out.

Forget about tapping into the grid; get connected to the power in you and you’ll have no more power failures in your life. You’ll have power to pass on to others—and rocket fuel to spare.

Here’s a new way to think about—and live—your week

 

ScreenHunter_02 Sep. 08 10.25MoneyDay: Make this a day when you’re mindful about what you do with money. Donate something to a charity, give some cash to someone living on the street, or buy a lottery ticket. Think about what money means to you—the power it has and how wisely (or otherwise) you use it. What’s the most powerful use you could make of your money today?

ChooseDay: This is a day for being very conscious of your choices. Focus on making only those choices that feel good for you, and avoid making any compromises that don’t feel right. Watch yourself as you choose, being mindful of what’s motivating you, and catch yourself when you’re about to do something just because you’ve always done it (and not necessarily because it’s the best option for you).

WhensDay: Now it’s time to focus on some advance planning. After making some new choices, you may be ready to make some new commitments, so let this be a day for focusing on the ‘whens’—when you’re going to start that new class, when you’re going to take time for meals/meditation, or when you’re going to start being honest with your partner about how you really feel. Make this a day of forging commitments, with deadlines, and ask a friend to hold you accountable for sticking to them.

TerseDay: Now it’s time to cut to the chase. No more faffing around. DO those things you’ve committed to getting done. Be clear and concise. Avoid rambling or going off on tangents. De-clutter your mind (and environment) so you can stay focused on what matters and not get distracted by the routines and busyness of everyday life. The time is now. Your life is short. The world is waiting for you to get clear and to show up. Get to it.

MyDay: This is a day for taking time out, for reflection, and for feeling and doing what’s healthy and right for you. It’s a day for saying YES to you and NO to any kind of stress, obligations, pressure, overtime or even doing favours for others. See what happens and what comes up when you make this day completely yours.

SatireDay: Life is full of ironies and this is the day for observing them, laughing at them and getting to the deeper reality. What are the ironies in your life? Can you see the irony in needing to be accepted by others who so badly need to be accepted by you? Do you see how pushing to get things done, or chasing someone to get them to love you, actually pushes both away? If you can laugh at yourself—at how we all strive so hard to get somewhere, when all we need to do is be powerfully ourselves—you’ll be halfway to the truth. Ironies are all around you. Watch for them and dig down to what’s really going on.

FunDay: This is the day to let it all go—to completely relax, have fun, go to the beach, laugh, play, put on some music, have brunch with friends, turn off your computer/cellphone, and generally be in your body, rather than in your head.

When you think of each day you live, do you see it as a weakday, a freakday, a meekday, a geekday or a peakday, when something pivotal happens to change the whole course of your life? Each day has come to mean something, after years of living one week after another (with Monday being the dreaded back-to-work-day after the weekend, for example), but you can give your week a whole new meaning by giving each day a whole new focus and purpose. Try it and see what happens. And let me know—next week.

 

Maybe yes, maybe no, or maybe just maybe…?

21/08/2013 3 comments

questionWords are powerful, and none more so than YES and NO. Are you using them powerfully in your life? In your work, friendships and relationships, what are you saying YES and NO to?

Do you say YES to honest self-expression, healthy boundaries and authentic interaction? Or do you say YES to more work, more care-taking, more compromises and more stress?

Do you say NO to disrespect, manipulation and being taken for granted? Or do you say NO to opportunity, daring adventure, fulfillment and growth?

What we say YES and NO to determines how much support, guidance, love, money, ease and success we can have—from our partner, from others, from strangers and from the universe. It’s a direct reflection of what we think we deserve and what we allow ourselves to receive, as a result. If we’re saying YES to lots of unhealthy dynamics, the universe will respect our choice to not put ourselves first (in healthy ways). It will acknowledge our message of ‘non-deservability’ and it will hold off on all deliveries of good stuff until we make it clear, through our healthy choices and behaviour, that we’re open to receiving again.

But don’t just take my word for it. Try it for yourself and see what happens. Say YES to one new thing in your life today—something healthy, positive or wonderful that you’ve never said YES to before. And say NO to one new thing in your life today—something you’ve never dared say NO to before, even though it would be healthy, positive and powerful for you to do so.

And let me know what happens.

Yes? No? Maybe? Hey, you decide.

Are you having phoney phun?

14/08/2013 3 comments

evil smiley

Some day soon (very soon, I hope), there will be a designated space set aside in restaurants, airports and other public places for those who just cannot survive without their cellphone phix. It took a long time for this to happen for smokers, but it finally did, once the realities of cigarette smoking could no longer be swept under the carpet.

We’re all still having too much phun with our phones to be bothered about health issues, and it’s going to take a phundamental shift in awareness or a very nasty collective wake-up call for this to change. But it’s not just about the harmful ephects of cellphone radiation; it’s about the respect, human connection and emotional presence that are being compromised in favour of being ‘connected’ to some person, in some place, about some thing other than what’s right in front of you. It’s a contagion of phragmentation that will have many more repercussions than losing a friend, not digesting your meal or missing a beautiful sunset.

Our electronic gadgets have also swept us up into a multi-tasking phrenzy. Our brains are not designed for this degree of processing, and multi-tasking not only reduces our productivity, our phocus and our problem-solving abilities; it also permanently damages our brain and makes us less smart. (Look up multi-tasking on the Internet to see just how damaging it is, but try not to do it when you’re in the middle of doing something else.)

For now, there seems to be no escape from the cellphone inphestation. Yesterday, I saw two young people sitting on the beach on a stunning summer’s day, heads together, talking intimately. As I got closer, though, I realized that they were both on their phones, texting pheverishly, ignoring each other, the eagle flying overhead, the beautiful clear water, and the antics of the one-year-old playing in the sand. (Unbeknownst to that little fella, he only has about another year left, before being directly hooked up to the source of the pandemic, although his thin little skull is already being bombarded by harmful radio waves from all sides.)

I hardly ever use my phone, but that doesn’t make much difference if you’re still using yours—beside me on the bus, beside me in the cinema, beside me in the restaurant, and beside me in every single café in town. If I went up to you in the restaurant, pulled back my hair and said, “Look. See this scar? This is from brain surgery to remove a tumour due to electromagnetic radiation“, would it change anything? I doubt it. You’d probably be annoyed that I’d interrupted you when you were trying to send a very important text. Besides, that kind of thing only happens to other people, right? Like lung cancer. Phunny. I used to think like that too.

Perception or deception? What you see is what you get…

14/06/2013 6 comments

perceptionI wonder how our lives would change if we put a positively powerful spin on our greatest challenges. What if, for example, I viewed my recent brain surgery as one of the highlights of my life? It might go something like this:

Gosh, this is exciting, isn’t it? Brain surgery! Never had that before. And none of my friends have ever had this kind of intriguing experience. What’s it all about, and what might they find in there, apart from that pushy little blob that’s trying to take over? I’ve probably been coasting too much, getting bored with the status quo and indulging in too much mental masturbation; since my mind loves a challenge, this one has obviously been sent to get me thinking in a whole (hole?) new way. And isn’t it fascinating to think that my waking self got dispatched into some death-like, timeless zone while the surgeon took a saw to my noggin? In a flash, I’m awake again without ever knowing I’d been asleep. Yet eight long hours have passed, with the most delicate dance of intricate interventions having been choreographed by a whole team of experts, completely focused on me. Am I not hugely blessed? Not only did I manifest a highly skillful surgical team to save my life, but I have a body that can re-grow an entire network of nerves, re-knit bone, and recalibrate the brain once the squatter has been evicted. Blimey. I’m amazing! Yet I’ve been twiddling my thumbs, metaphorically speaking—taking my sweet time with life and work, and really not pushing myself even close to my potential (while spending far too much time contemplating my limits to even glimpse what’s beyond them). It’s time to do something seriously superlative with all this power inside me.

It’s no surprise, then, that I now have little time for pleasantries or being polite, just for the sake of propriety. I no longer sweat the small stuff (well, maybe just a little, but I usually catch myself before I go too far down those nasty little rabbit holes). I’m keenly aware of my mortality, while realizing that my body has incredible creative, healing powers that I never truly grasped or valued before.

But what about the small stuff? If we take the stance that we’re in charge, that we powerfully attract all kinds of circumstances that are designed to ultimately advance us along our personal evolutionary path, then we must consistently hold that power in every single thing—from the tedious breakdown of a nifty new laptop, to the disintegration of a long-standing relationship. We’re either in charge or we’re not. We’re either powerful or we’re not. So patting ourselves on the back for having manifested a fabulous new partner, yet bemoaning the fact that we just got fired from work doesn’t make sense— and it doesn’t do us justice.

So if I client cancels or if something important gets rescheduled, I ask myself what opportunity I have created by orchestrating this turn of events. I almost always find the answer: I needed to rest; I wanted to work on my book; I needed to go for a walk—and if I hadn’t, I’d never have found that amazing book or bumped into that guy who… You get the idea. I’m in charge. I’m running my own show—even when my subconscious brings me stuff I don’t like; it’s only doing its job—putting me in touch with something I wasn’t aware of or hadn’t yet seen from an enlightened, empowered perspective.

So it’s all good, even when it’s bad. And we’re in charge, even when life seems chaotic. What you see is not necessarily what’s there. Yet what you see is what you get.

Is fear the story of your life?

28/05/2013 2 comments

Caveman and t-rexOnce upon a time, we lived in caves. We also lived in fear. We were hunters, but we were also prey, vulnerable to attack from nasty, brutish beasties. Outside our caves (and sometimes also in them), life was scary, unpredictable and full of unknowns. We learned to lie low, to reduce our exposure to danger; we learned to be stealthy to avoid being eaten alive; we learned to understand our predators so that we could outwit them; and we learned to hide, as being visible could mean big trouble.

Fast-forward to the twenty-first century… and we have traded caves for boxes in the sky; we’ve traded loin cloths for suits, clubs for cellphones, and grunts for smooth talking. But we still live in fear – fear of competition, fear of not being good enough and fear of not being loved. We’re afraid to be ourselves, to stand up for what we believe in and to do outrageous things. We’re afraid to be fully seen for who we are, even though (in fact, because) we crave visibility and acceptance. We’re afraid of rejection and of not being liked, which makes us needy, distorts our sense of self, and leads to compromises that bring us more of what we don’t want.

We may wish to blame our parents, our parents’ parents, or even our prudish Victorian ancestors for our inhibitions – and for all the disappointments that result; yet these fears have existed in us since the first hairy beast – and the first human being – roamed the Earth (and, back then, there may not have been much difference between the two). We are safer now than at any other time in history, yet our fears have not diminished accordingly. Instead, they have been channelled into a much more insidious – yet equally life-depleting – context. They are fuelled by low self-worth, by a sense of unacceptability and by the idea that we’re innately sinful and imperfect, constantly in need of improvement, redemption and forgiveness.

But where does this impetus come from? The answer is religion, although religion is not the answer to anything else at all. Whether you are religious or not, you have been shaped, distorted and diminished by religious influence. Even if you consciously reject all religious constructs, they have had an impact on almost every culture on Earth, filtering down to you through your parents, teachers, politicians and presidents, while seeping into the morals, laws and constitution of almost every ‘civilized’ nation.

Religion has disconnected us from our own ‘hotline’ to God/the universe and our own power, just as effectively as rubber-soled shoes have insulated us from our electrical connection with the Earth. We no more need a religious framework to connect with our all-powerful, co-creative, spiritual selves than we need a cable to connect us to the Earth’s energies. Existing as human beings is enough, as is standing barefoot on the grass.

Our natural flow of power and energy has been distorted by generations of programming. As a result of self-appointed religious intermediaries, and the manmade rules and regulations that they promote, we have surrendered our autonomy as innately worthy, creative and masterful beings.

But there is nothing wrong with us. In reality, the only thing we need to ‘fix’ is the layers of negative programming and conditioning that have scrambled our connections – with our self and with our power to create the lives we want.

Removing these layers of low self-worth sets us free to clearly see the truth – and to apply the universal laws that enable us to thrive and love life. Like taking off our shoes and walking barefoot along the beach, it reconnects us with the Earth and with the life-giving energies that fuel our body, mind and spirit. But if we always have our shoes on, we are no longer grounded in the earth, and the ‘charge’ from cellphones, wi-fi and countless electrical appliances can overwhelm the body, creating sickness, inflammation or stress. Similarly, without emotionally, mentally and spiritually grounding ourselves in the truth of our mastery, we fall prey to the unfounded fears of our forefathers. But just because they succumbed to religious oppression, way back when they risked being burned at the stake, doesn’t mean we have to.

So kick those shoes off and get re-connected with the earth, and with your innate goodness and ‘godness’. Look around you and see just how truly safe, loved and cared-for you are – by nature, by your own creative self-sufficiency and by the universal energy that fuels us all. Whatever fears you have originated in your mind. And if you can change your mind, you can do anything.

Toxic-parenting purge [Part 2]

30/04/2013 1 comment

51 Move your bodyToxic-parenting purge [Part 2]

Resolving emotional pain can be serious stuff. If you have personal issues from your early years, you may find it exhausting – not to mention expensive – to address them effectively. And if you’ve suffered abuse in your upbringing, it may be depressingly difficult to break free from the frustration, anger and shame of the past.

To continue in the vein of emotional spring-cleaning of my previous blog (Part 1), here’s another spin on taking charge of your own healing, while giving yourself permission to have fun with it and thereby reduce its grip on your life. If you have suffered emotional, physical or psychological abuse in your life, the suggestion of using humour is not meant to trivialize your experience; it is, however, intended to lighten your load, while encouraging your subconscious to take a less serious view of what happened, thereby transmitting more positive messages to your body-mind as well as to the outside world. Since our self-worth is determined by our perception of who and what we are (which has been largely shaped by others), we can reduce any negative perceptions by focusing on light-hearted self-acceptance. When we laugh, we lift our spirit – and we also reduce the weighty ‘charge’ around the emotional pain in our hearts, which can cause us to attract more of the same.

Choosing to have fun with some former painful, damaging experience is a powerful statement of self-determination. It’s an active refusal to allow that pain to further dictate the quality of your existence. And if you’ve already done a lot of personal growth work, having outrageous fun may be the only thing you haven’t tried.

So let’s take that abuse to pieces. Let’s break it down so that it no longer runs your life or makes you reactive. Let’s see what it really stands for, and how you can read something better into this highly-charged word, transmuting it into a higher expression of who you really are, with humour, creativity and self-acceptance:

A is for ab-use – the creative and energetic use of your abs to exorcize your inner demons and free yourself from emotional angst, while making a nice tidy little six-pack of your tummy. Work those abs and pump that solar plexus, where most of your heavy-duty negative programming is lodged, but from where it can be ousted, with a little huff-n-puff and dogged determination. (You can double the benefit by doing this while watching a really funny movie, although you may end up doubled over.)

B is for brave-blogging – a brazen blog on something totally tedious that happened to you, written with all the weighty seriousness associated with a major world crisis. Like when you lost your earring down the plug hole and had to resort to all kinds of contortions and pointy contraptions to fish it out; or when you stepped on a massive mushy slug – in your bare feet! – and the luscious sound and texture of it, as it slithered silkily along the skin of your sole, where all 72,000 nerve endings instantly related the gristly nature of this encounter to every squeamish cell in your bod… or that time you had a really bad hairday and ended up looking (and feeling) like an angry buffalo in need of a parting just a little more to the left or maybe the right, if only your hair were not in a state of electrified anarchy… Be brave. Write unflinchingly. And send your message out to the universe. Speaking of which…

U is for universe – your very own private playground, with endless resources to nourish you and your dreams. Know that the entire universe is there to serve you – to enable you to discover, heal and empower yourself, not to mention having a laugh at all its cosmic ironies. Everything around you exists to somehow make your life better, richer and more meaningful – and it’s meant to make you laugh. The universe is working entirely on your behalf (even if it doesn’t always seem to), and it’s dedicated to bringing a smile to your face, every single day (which can be really hard work when we take ourselves seriously). Look for the humour, especially in the pain, for every single molecule thrives on the vibrations of your laughter. Own it; make the universe yours; and see what wonderful mischievous magic you can co-create together when you see the universe as the cosmic comedian that it is.

S is for scrumptious, sinful, soulful sustenance – the kind your body needs to support you in living your best-ever life. Focus on eating power-packed foods for one whole week and see what happens when you nourish yourself fully, without resorting to the comfort foods that the battered body so often yearns for. Think: brain food, superfood smoothies, maca-flavoured munchies, sprouted nutty nuggets, raw-cacao brownies, veg-n-fruit bars, raw chocolate – all the yummy, nourishing, potent stuff that you can find or fabricate yourself. By eating delicious foods that boost your brain power and your mood, you’ll gain a new understanding of the feel-good factor – and you’ll want to chuck the dreaded comfort foods that only mask your pain and stress your already-addled adrenals. Feed your body lovingly, and you’ll attract more of that loving quality into your life.

E is for everything – what you are made of, what you were created to do, and what you stand to gain by liberating yourself from the pain of your past. You have it all – the resources and the recipes; the faculties and the funnies; the smarts and the sexiness; the ideas and the insights; the wealth and the worthiness; and the power and the purpose, not to mention a host of heavenly hormones and huge hugability.

So put your own fresh, sassy spin on that tired old record that keeps replaying itself inside you. Hopefully, the abuse you suffered is a thing of the past; when you find creative ways to let it go, you give us all the gift of your presence by sharing the real, unabridged, uninhibited you.

I look forward to reading your brazen brave-blog.

Time for a toxic-parenting purge? [Part 1]

25/04/2013 2 comments

30 Missing Pieces telling offParenting is a tough task. Perfect parenting is an impossible one. But most parents do a phenomenal job of caring for their children, while holding down a job (or two), remembering everyone’s birthday and making order out of chaos. There are some, though, whose unresolved issues and emotional pain from their own upbringing result in abuse and deep emotional scars for their offspring. The fallout is costly, with failed relationships, unexpressed anger, and years of therapy for many worthy souls. And even if they arrive at a place of compassion and understanding for their parents’ pain, it can be hard to completely let go of the feelings and memories that distorted their world.

In cases like this, it can be refreshing to give yourself permission to vent and to not feel obliged to love someone just because they gave birth to you. It can be healthy to reclaim yourself by rejecting all that ‘stuff’, through humour and spontaneous self-expression, in ways that got suppressed through abuse in your formative years. If you’ve done years of therapy and have diligently peeled away the layers of pain that got laid down, it might feel good to just ‘let it rip’.

Over the years, many women have came to see me about the pain of their past – and the damage done by their severely dysfunctional alcoholic parents. These parents had dumped all their toxic pain on their children (a projection of their own sense of worthlessness and despair, since their children are an extension of them) and some took a perverse pleasure in seeing them suffer. It’s hard to feel compassion for parents like that – and maybe we shouldn’t even try. If we find ourselves trying to make sense of such wanton cruelty, it’s often because we’re trying to figure out what it was about us that caused them to be that way. That, in itself, is a big part of the damage done to our sense of self and our innate self-worth.

So, for all those lovely women (and men) out there who have experienced the pain of a loveless and alcohol-driven existence, here’s a tongue-in-cheeky recipe for relief that will hopefully bring a smile to your lips and a lilt to your heart. (For other forms of toxic parenting, see Part 2 – coming shortly.)

Imagine a world without those parents; they have evaporated into the ethers in an alcoholic haze and are no longer using up valuable oxygen on planet Earth. You’ve decided to expunge all negative feelings and memories associated with them. What should you do?

Celebrate! Take a whole week off work and give thanks that you’re finally free. But don’t go drinking, now. You know what happened to them, and you don’t want to give them the afterlife satisfaction of turning into an alcoholic yourself.

Spend all of Monday walking on the beach, breathing in that delicious parent-free air. Savour the fact that you are a self-sufficient, autonomous, self-determined being, and give yourself total permission to be as outrageous and creative as you a-parently are.

On Tuesday, eat a whole bar of organic dark chocolate, just to re-affirm that you can actually enjoy yourself (maybe even experience ecstasy, if it’s really yummy chocolate) without getting drunk. Notice the uniqueness of your experience, which you can’t possibly describe to anyone else, even if they’re a connoisseur of chocolate, and remind yourself that all your experiences are your own, for you to accept or reject, as you see fit.

On Wednesday, go into a pub/wine bar and order a fresh orange juice, sipping it slowly as if it were heavenly nectar (which it is). Luxuriate in the fact that your taste buds are alive and well (rather than being numbed by alcohol) and that you can fully appreciate the delicious, sun-kissed perfection of nature’s simple goodness. 

On Thursday, go dirty dancing and take special delight in being able to pirouette 10 times without falling over legless. Even if you do fall over, you can laugh, knowing that it puts a healthy spin on life; and you can get up, knowing that you’re still in charge of you.

On Friday, write them a letter telling them what you think of them and send it off to the Guinness Book of Records, without a return address. Be creative, exaggerate, and inject as much humour as you can, knowing that laughter is a form of self-love – and an antidote to pain.

On Saturday, go sit on a mountaintop and give thanks for all that you are that they were not …and apologize to the universe for ever thinking that you were anything other than perfect – not to mention courageous, strong and forgiving, with an uncanny ability to see life’s many ironies.

By Sunday, you should be feeling fabulous. Parents? What parents…?

Please note: No parents were harmed in the making of this blog.

Are you switched on?

02/10/2012 5 comments

Isn’t it funny how we all desperately try not to repeat the mistakes our parents made? We’re determined to be emotionally available for our children, to protect them from bullying, abuse and second-hand smoke, and to feed them nutritious food.

But guess what we’re doing instead. We’re walking around with cellphones, while carrying our babies in a body sling. We’re exposing our youths and teenagers to harmful wi-fi radiation – not just at home but in schools, libraries and almost every other public place. And we’re wired for sound (and visuals and games) in every square foot of our homes and offices. Looking back at past generations, we may find it hard to believe that doctors used to promote cigarettes as being good for our health, and that tapeworms were sold as a great way to lose weight. But what will the next generation be thinking of us, when it becomes widely recognized that our high-tech gadgets are creating all kinds of health problems and fatal illnesses—not to mention killing off the birds and bees so essential to our food supply?

Headaches, abnormal heart rhythm, cancer, fatigue, MS, Parkinson’s disease, memory loss, tinnitus, digestive problems, difficulty sleeping and numerous other conditions that you’ve been unable to resolve (or may have attributed to stress)… these are all symptoms of electromagnetic sensitivity—the body’s physical reaction to the constant bombardment of electromagnetic fields and radio-wave radiation that permeate our living and working environments.

Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is coming at us from every angle—from cell phones, cordless phones, wi-fi networks, Smart Meters, laptops, wireless keyboards/printers, kitchen appliances, electronic equipment, heating systems, and fluorescent lights. Not only that, but often the wiring in a house or building can contain what’s known as ‘dirty electricity’—a high-frequency current that produces magnetic fields that emanate from the walls into your living space, with the potential to cause numerous conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, attention deficit disorder, cancer, infertility, miscarriage and birth defects.

All of this and more is explained in Jim Waugh’s fascinating book on EMR (Living Safely with Electromagnetic Radiation—a complete guide to protecting your health), which is an eye-opener for those seeking an explanation for their health-related conundrums. Waugh shares numerous accounts of individuals whose debilitating conditions disappeared when the source of electromagnetic radiation was detected and removed. Pets, too, are seriously affected, with dogs, cats, horses and other animals succumbing to lameness, tumours, diarrhoea, skin diseases and paralysis—often because of a cordless phone in their owner’s home.

I need no further convincing of the importance of ‘cleaning’ up my act. Yet I realize that it’s another ‘inconvenient truth’. We all love our wonderful, labour-saving, mobility-enhancing technology, and none of us want to give it up.

What can you do to minimize the negative impact?

Here are some tips from Jim:

-Never leave an unused appliance plugged in as the cord/cable and socket will emit a strong electrical field. Don’t stand near them, either, when in use.

-Stand back from the electric elements on your stove, when turned on. They too emit a strong electrical field.

-Change all your so-called energy-saving CFLs back to incandescent bulbs – if you can (they will soon be banned for sale in Canada). CFLs emit harmful radiation (causing skin burns if placed too close to the body), and they contain toxic mercury. According to Walt McGinnis (see http://www.greenmuze.com/blogs/guest-bloggers/1031-the-dark-side-of-cfls.html), CFLs actually increase a consumer’s carbon footprint because they are energy hogs to produce, operate and dispose of.

-Never sleep with an electrical cable or plug behind or near your head – such as the cord from a bedside lamp going behind your bed to reach a socket. The electrical field can disrupt sleep and other body functions. Check appliances on the other side of your bedroom wall for any appliances plugged in there – for the same reason.

-Use a separate keyboard with your laptop, if possible. Using the built-in keyboard exposes you to a strong electrical field.

-Switch from a cordless phone to a corded one. This may not be easy or convenient to do, but numerous health problems have been associated with the use of cordless phones—among pets as well as humans. Cordless phones use the same kind of pulsed microwave radiation as cell phones and are known to be more dangerous because they operate 24 hours a day, even when the handset is not in use.

-At night, turn off your wi-fi and all other appliances not in use.

-Never charge your cell phone in your bedroom. During the day, avoid putting it in a breast/hip pocket, if possible. Keep cell phones away from babies and small children as they are much more susceptible to the harmful radiation than adults.

-Be mindful of others around you and how they may be affected by your techno-gadgets.

In Sweden, EMF sensitivity is officially recognized as a disability, and the government provides benefits as well as designated EMF-free areas for those who are affected. While Swedish brains are presumably no different from ours, they certainly seem to be a whole lot smarter.

For more info, see emfsafehome.com

From dental disaster to mental re-mastering

15/08/2012 5 comments

I don’t know about you, but I find going to the dentist very traumatic. So when I broke a tooth recently, I was steeling myself for some radical (and expensive) dental treatment. The visit turned out to be much more traumatic than I expected—but not because of the dental work, which was yet to come. Instead, I had a very disturbing experience with the dentist himself, and I left his clinic feeling more traumatized than if I’d undergone major surgery.

Considered to be one of the best in the field of biological/holistic dentistry, this man was nonetheless arrogant, unprofessional, disrespectful and insensitive. He openly bullied his staff and he wasted precious time (at roughly $5 a minute) extolling his many virtues, claiming to be so incredibly happy with his superior skills that he had no time for everyday things. And it was clear that he didn’t really want to be spending it on ordinary mortals like me, either. Added to that was the fact that every other dentist who’d treated me had, he said, done a really bad job, and it was going to cost me, big time, to repair the damage. With them, I had wasted my money, but undergoing his extensive treatment (for TMJ disorder, crown reconstruction, dental implants…) would, it seemed, be my salvation.

I don’t normally like to put negative labels on people, but I’m allowing myself this rare dysfunctional luxury—partly because it can be healthy to just emotionally vent, and partly because it helps me to understand what’s going on for me. I also think it’s important to try to define the subtle negative undercurrents and passive-aggressive behaviour that we so often experience in our communications. These things can be hard to articulate, and we may feel we won’t be heard or understood anyway …which is why we tend to let them go unchallenged.

Admittedly, I’m unusually sensitive, acutely aware of undercurrents, hidden agendas, underlying emotional drivers, and the deeper truths and dynamics behind our words and actions (which is a wonderful asset in my work). Nonetheless, after 35 minutes of this dental diatribe, when the master himself had left to deal with more important surgical matters, I was stunned to find myself crying uncontrollably—literally unable to contain my emotions. When my embarrassing sobs finally subsided, I began to reflect on what had happened and why I’d reacted so strongly to his behaviour.

The true gravity of a cavity…

If I see myself as perfect and always attracting what I need (rather than being a victim), then this dentist must represent something more meaningful for me. But what did it mean? He was irrational, which prevented me from having a reasonable conversation or taking a logical approach. He was destabilizing—nice one minute, but aggressive the next—so I didn’t feel safe. He needed to be heard but didn’t listen to me, which brought up issues of trust and validation. Yet the emotional overwhelm kept building, as he piled on the pressure—financially, emotionally and psychologically—completely insensitive to the fact that I was dealing with a brain tumour that is aggravated by stress. At the same time, despite his claims that he was just “too smart for anyone else to keep up with him”, I was ‘reading’ him on many levels. I could see why he was arrogant; I could see high blood pressure in his complexion; I could feel some deeper warmth and compassion underneath all the bravado; and I sensed that he was far from happy.

Of course, he’s not a bad man. His mind was just so fevered and intense (a bit like mine!) that he could not relate appropriately to others. His work had saved him—given him an outlet for his creative energy and provided him with the accolades and recognition he wanted. Yet, at a deeper level, I sensed that he was lost and in desperate need of acceptance and validation from others. But with so many data and stimuli coming at me at once, my brain just couldn’t process it all …and I broke down. There was nowhere else for all the backed-up energy and tension to go. It had to come out; when it did, I recognized it as trauma—just one more layer on top of what had been buried inside, many years ago.

Perhaps if I’d allowed myself to collapse emotionally with him, rather than his assistant, I’d have connected with the deeper essence of the man—the heart and all the loving dedication that keeps him alive and engaged in his work. Maybe it would have been healing for us both and maybe we’d have seen the powerful impact we can have on others. Not all our cavities are in our teeth, and I believe that sharing our deeper selves can help us heal the ‘holes’ in our hearts.

We think we need to ‘hold it together’ so others won’t be upset by our upset, but really we owe it to ourselves and to them to just let it rip and to share the raw, authentic emotions that we keep so tightly contained, terrified of their powerful intensity. Maybe that’s the very essence of trauma—a deep hurt that never gets processed or healed, a ball of suppressed emotions that keeps attracting triggers on the outside, pushing us to the edge of overwhelm so that we finally crack, let go and set ourselves free.

As healthcare practitioners and as human beings, we have a responsibility do our own inner work, to have solid boundaries, to demonstrate appropriate behaviour and to not dump our unresolved issues on anyone else. Our clients invest their trust in us, and we hold their hearts in our hands, whether we’re counsellors, doctors or dentists. We’re not just fixing a tooth, an illness or an emotional crisis; we’re helping to build wholeness—one word, one action, one smile at a time. And aren’t dentists supposed to give us lovely smiles?