Friday, 25 January 2019

Applying Ground Hog Day to How You Treat Yourself

I was thinking about February and Groundhogs Day popped into my head as it's February 1st...then I remembered Bill Murray's Movie, "Groundhog Day," I started to think about the patterns that I have worked on over the years.  To me, the concept of the movie is in line with Eisenstein's definition of insanity: "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."  We have all fallen into this behavior.  One area I find the most people do this is in self-talk, especially when we make mistakes.


Most of us, when we are supporting our loved ones, friends, even co-workers or just acquaintances,  would never meet their sufferings with phrases like, "Are you kidding me?! You are so stupid! What the hell. You can't do anything right!"  Yet, we say these things and many more like them to ourselves often, sometimes on a daily basis.  Part of it is the mind's way protecting us from potential pain and suffering externally, even though it creates internal pain and suffering.  Part of it is cultural upbringing that states if we work hard enough we are guaranteed safety and security, so if we fail or make a mistake we are just not good enough. Another is for those of us who have grown up with the Disney Fairy Tale ending that again, blames ourselves if we can't just find that one person who will make us complete and worthy.  All of it is complete BS and not true!

Think to yourself why you would not say these things to others who are in pain or suffering. Seriously.  Take a moment and write down 3-5 reasons.

Now, coming back to yourself, why is okay for you to say these things to yourself?  Why are you different than the 7 billion other people on this planet who experience pain and suffering? It isn't okay to treat ourselves this way.  And, you aren't alone in this.  We all do this and yet it is harmful to us physically, emotionally, and energetically. 

Masuro Emoto has done studies on this with water molecules, looking at the effects of different words on the water molecules. We are made up of 60-70% water, it's something to pause and consider. Check out this video summarizing some of his research.

The words that we say to ourselves actually change the structure of water in our bodies.  They also affect our physical strength.  They affect how we interact with the world around us.  If we believe we aren't worthy or good enough, our actions will be much different than if we believe we deserve love and compassion and are good enough as we are.

The GOOD NEWS is that words and beliefs change.  They aren't the truth.  They aren't facts.  Which means with practice and effort we CAN CHANGE the negative self-talk and beliefs.  There are many ways of doing this. Here are a few to start with:

  • Start a Gratitude Journal and each day write 5 things you are grateful for and why.
  • Cultivate self-awareness, after all if we aren't aware of the negative self-talk we can't change it.  Here is a practice to start awareness of breath and body sensations.  Any practice of meditation or breathing practice helps with cultivating self-awareness. Insight Timer is an amazing app and it's free.
  • Do a self-compassion meditation! has a number of them available under the "practice" tab.  Here's one I like.
  • Develop a firm policy for yourself that you will no longer tolerate negative self-talk.  Then any time you catch this happening, you will stop and challenge that thought and come up with a more realistic statement.  For example, if you catch the thought, "You are so stupid!"  Ask is this 100% true? (No). How are you feeling right now and what happened?  What are the facts? (Maybe the situation is that you gave someone a second chance and then, again, they flaked out on you.  One fact is you value giving people a second chance.  Unfortunately, this person did the same behavior.  The behavior isn't about you, it's on them.  Recognize it's okay to give people second chances and to let them know your expectations and what message their behavior sends.  Then you get to choose if you try it again or decide not to). What is a more realistic statement?  Maybe, "I don't have control over others.  Their behavior is a reflection of them, not of me.  I want to give people second chances and it doesn't mean they will change. This has nothing to do with my intelligence."

The sky is the limit with this.  The key is to do something different!  Don't get stuck in Groundhogs Day, doing the same thing over and over and over.  Negative self-talk doesn't work!  It just makes things worse. So do it differently!  It takes time, effort and practice. I guarantee if you keep at it, it will change.  

Send YOURSELF love this February!

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Health and Well-being is a Process Not an End Point

I've mentioned in the past that a health area I've been dealing with consistently over the past year now is sudden hearing loss and tinnitus.  It effects my right ear, actually started about almost five years ago, with major changes happening in September 2017 that have led to wearing a hearing aid. (Thank goodness I live in a time where this is available and I have had support in obtaining a hearing aid, which is quite expensive.  I am grateful and remind myself of this often).  The process has involved facing a lot of fear that includes how I make money...listening to people...and managing the challenge of the effort it takes daily to hear and process sounds.  It can be exhausting. 

This past October, with a head cold, all of the sudden I had hearing loss and tinnitus in my left ear.  I knew that this started with the cold and most likely would clear up (whereas I do not know the reason for the right ear issues happening).  The hearing and tinnitus fluctuated daily, which also made me feel positive about it eventually clearing.  Fast forward to December and still I was having issues.  I went to my audiologist and testing showed that, yes, there had been loss of hearing, though not loss of comprehension from the nerve.  She too saw this as positive and hopefully not permanent. She recommended I go to the ENT for steroid treatment.

"Steroids."  I could feel my whole body tighten.  I've taken many courses of Prednizone over the past year with no help and just feeling awful from them: anxious and racing mind, restless, constipated, issues with sleep and when finishing them taking a good two weeks or longer to recover. I did some biofeedback that revealed my body's number one rejection to what was tested was steroids, so most likely when taking them my body was rejecting them.  Every part of my being said, "no."

The struggle has been how to be true to myself and trying to work with doctors that don't have the answers or the time to help find alternatives that go against taking a pill, while also not wanting to burn bridges of avenues for support and resources. I decided I would go to the ENT and voice my concerns.  I was first started on an OTC allergy nasal spray, which I was willing to try, and nothing changed with it.  Then I was recommended to try Sudafed for a couple of days and if that didn't work, Prednizone, the steroid. I agonized over these options and finally decided since this was a different onset for the hearing and tinnitus and no nerve damage, I would try it.

On the second day of a nine day course, it changed.  My left ear hearing improved and the tinnitus stopped.  The next day the same and the next.  In the mean time, my mind went on hyper drive.  The positive was I knew it was the medication and continued to use all my tools and practices for calming the nervous system.  I didn't experience the significant constipation as usual and I wasn't as stressed about having some nights I really didn't sleep.  I just slowed down and took care of myself. 

On the seventh day, with a reduced dose, during a stressful day at work (or my perception with my intensified nervous system), my left ear started to feel clogged again and the tinnitus returned.  It continued.  I write this on my last day of the Prednizone, after processing many feelings and thoughts around this experience.

I am glad I decided to take the Prednizone.  I went into it knowing what I was getting into and what I needed to do to take care of myself.  And it helped for a moment, though it was not lasting.  I know that I'm not willing to keep taking this medication because of the side effects.  I'm not willing to subject myself to those to manage my left ear. It has made me plant myself more firmly into continuing the process of lifestyle changes to increase my immunity and gut health, create a life that is conducive to calming the nervous system and increase overall enjoyment, and continue with my yoga sadhana (daily spiritual practice). 

I feel in my body that the hearing loss and tinnitus is reflective of lifestyle choices over the year, environmental factors and biological factors.  Some I have no control over, some I do.  It will be a continued path of experimentation and learning.

The teaching part of the hearing loss for me has been about the process of an unlearning of our American cultural belief (and a human tenancy) that there is a quick fix, a magic pill and if we could find it we'd live happily ever after. This is not the case.  When I fixate on trying to find a guarantee or the quick fix, I increase my stress level, blame myself, compare myself to others, get consumed on trying to find an outcome and miss enjoying life.

Creating lasting change in health and well-being is not a point or a finish line.  It is living life.  We are born into these human bodies that are guaranteed to change whether we like it or not.  We can fight against it and be miserable, exacerbating negativity in mind in body, or we can accept it, take responsibility and steadily make changes to our lifestyle habits and beliefs.  IT TAKES TIME, it's a continuous process and patience is essential.

Be kind to yourself in this process, find support systems that uplift you and trust yourself.