2018 Anniversaries and Christmas

My mum passed away last year on the 10th December. After her passing, I was busy getting everything done for her estate. Organising the final goodbyes with a funeral and all that goes with it. Life was busy last year with people visiting, and while it was sad to have lost her, grief didn't really set in then.

At first after a loss, shock sets in, and that shock helps cushion us from the deep feelings that are associated with grief. However, at some point those deep feelings will emerge. For some it comes straight away for others the feelings surface later on. There are no hard and fast rules for grief.

For me, just over half way through this year, grief set in. Grief can be so overwhelming, and hard for others to understand. I'm normally on the listening side of the counselling process. However, what I found in looking for someone to talk to myself, is that it is actually really really difficult, to find someone who is comfortable with simply listening to deep grief, and to be able to sit with lots of tears.

There is a rather wonderful talk that I came across today with Petrea King talking to Mia Freedman. I was feeling confused as to why this year, more than last, that lots of tears have been emerging. In the talk, I heard Petrea mention how sometimes it can be the second year after a loss, that you may be feeling the loss more deeply than the first year. That was so reassuring for me to hear.

In case you are going through grief this season, or know someone else who is, you may find this talk will be very beneficial. Grief is the feeling we have in response to loss. It happens not just when someone dies, it also happens, through divorce, separation, financial loss, health issues, and when you lose a pet. I hope this talk gives you some comfort as well.

The Empty Chair at The Christmas Table - Petrea King

Christmas is often referred to as the most wonderful time of the year. It’s a day that's meant to be filled with joy and love. But what if you're not feeling joyful because you're missing a loved one or you're dealing with the end of a significant relationship? How do you face the empty chair at the Christmas table?

Petrea King is one of the most respected grief counselors in the country. She’s counseled over 120,000 people living with cancer and other life-challenging illnesses as well as people dealing with grief, loss, trauma, and tragedy through her foundation, Quest For Life.

She knows what’s it’s like to be facing Christmas with a death, diagnosis or divorce looming after she lost her brother to suicide, and received her own diagnosis of a rare form of leukemia.

So what's her advice on how to navigate Christmas when you're not feeling joyful?

To listen to the podcast with Petrea King talking with Mia Freedman - Click Here or under the image below (BTW the arrow in the purple circle won't work)...

https://omny.fm/shows/no-filter/the-empty-chair-at-the-christmas-table - Click Here

BUT... I would BUT... I'd like to BUT... I love you BUT...

Communication can create conflict or bring people together. We can see it happening every day and it doesn't matter what language is being used. For effective communications, here is a tip to help you build bridges instead of walls when you interact with others.

Words are very powerful, so powerful, that we attach emotions to them almost immediately after hearing them. Because of this, certain things we say create conflict and resistance. However, if we become aware of the effect of these words and know which words to use instead, we can communicate more smoothly with others and still get our points across. This creates greater agreement and far less hostility along the way.

For example, the word "but" can be a problem. Whenever you hear "but" in a sentence, you know that you should discount what came before it and pay attention to what comes after. If you hear, "That's true, but..." you know what's coming next, right? You are going to hear why it's not true or why it's irrelevant. Or if you hear, "That's an interesting idea, but..." you know that you are about to be told why it won't work. (You may substitute "however" for "but" and get the same reaction.)

Supposing that instead, someone said to you, "What you say is true and here's something that's also true..." Feels a lot better, doesn't it? Or if they said, "That's an interesting idea, and you could also look at it this way...."

By using the word "and" instead of "but," their ideas are linked to yours (or your ideas linked to theirs) instead of being put in opposition to each other. The difference between "but" and "and" is a lot like the difference between boxing, which uses brute opposition to defeat an opponent, and Aikido, which joins with and redirects an opponent's energy in a way which is better for both of you.

Yes, there are some folks who purposely use specific words to engender conflict, and sometimes fear. These people don't want constructive communications. You, on the other hand, will be more persuasive and create less conflict and resistance if you avoid "but" and strive for greater understanding and agreement, instead.

Reposting information from: The Winners Circle at The Pacific Institute


Whenever you find yourself making a complaint to another person, stop and ask yourself, "What is the request behind my complaint?" What is it that you would like to be different about the situation?

After yoga today - incidentally, our yoga room over looks the view above - we were having our morning tea and chatting, and our teacher told us of a book she had been reading called 'A Complaint Free World'. Well as the subject happened to come up, I think we must have all been moaning a lot about the heat, and whatever else. ANYWAY... she explained about the book and how there is a 21 day challenge to go complaint free. That instigated a round table discussion how we all agreed that there were a lot of things we regularly complained about.

If you'd like your life to change, your relationships to get better, your family to thrive, start to hold back on the criticism, the complaining. John Gottman, one of the top marriage therapists says that, beneath every complaint is a deep longing. What is your longing, how can you reframe the complaint into a positive request?

What if we were all to change our mindset around Complaining. What? How? Well what if we changed our reactions and started to bring some curiosity to the person complaining? Don't get me wrong, I haven't been able to do this all along either. But when we can bring an attitude of curiosity to the other person, we can really make headway in relationships. You see our brains are wired for judgement and comparing. Sometimes just allowing the other person to have their voice heard, can bring about a positive change. AND, by listening to complaints we can actually work towards fulfilling the longings that the complaints were masking.

The challenge: Go 21 days in a row without complaining. Why? Because scientists believe that repeating the same behavior for 21 consecutive days can make it a habit. The average person takes 4 – 8 months to complete the 21-Day challenge. But stick with it! Just remember, you can’t complain your way to health, happiness, and success.

There is a bracelet that goes with the challenge. The idea is to put on the bracelet, and that starts you on day one. Then each time you complain, you change the bracelet to the other wrist and you go back to day one. The bracelet serves as a physical reminder that you are taking part in 21 day no complaining challenge. If you don't complain, you move to day 2 and, the bracelet stays on the same wrist. See how long it takes you to move through the 21 days.

I have a few of the bracelets that I can send out, if you are interested, they are $5 including postage within Australia. Email or phone me if you would like one.

One Minute Mindfulness

Student-led mindfulness practice from Denise Nobile on Vimeo.

A mindfulness process run by sixth graders at Somers Middle School, children taught by Denise Nobile’s practice every day. I invite you to join in, with them, no matter what your age.

A cup of mindfulness

Then, if you'd like to continue with a mindfulness practice, you can start with just one minute, each day, by simply stopping, bringing your focus to the present moment, and taking a few breaths. You don't need a bell as a reminder. You can use anything that is in your present moment. Bring your full attention to what is in front of you. Next time you're at a cafe, stop and notice your coffee cup. Stop and really look, did the barista create a pattern? Notice the cup and the colour, the smell. And then take a few breaths before drinking. Then continue with your day.

New Year, New Start

They say that the only thing that is constant in our lives is change. We are all being asked to grow and change each day, but we probably aren't aware of it. Babies grow into toddlers, toddlers change so quickly, before you know it the teenager years are there and then young adulthood arrives. Middle age and old age come along, and really we don't really notice the changes each day, but if we look back and go through photos, it can be amazing to see the transitions.

Everyday our bodies are changing, in subtle ways. And what of our inner worlds? Have you ever taken the time to consider what changes you have made on the inside, over the years? Are your thoughts and attitudes still the same ones that you had as a young person? Chances are many things have changed on the inside as well.

As we start the New Year, it can be a time to think about where you'd like to head and also if there are any changes you'd like to make in your life.

If you'd like to try this exercise, take out your journal and copy or print out the wheel above.

On the scale of 1-10 mark out how satisfied you are with each area of your life. If all is going fabulous, couldn't be better - give it a 10. Things are OK, but I'd like to improve in an area, perhaps a 7. I am sure you get the idea.

Now each day, put a little focus into each of the areas that are important to you. If a relationship is important, but you haven't been connecting lately, what is one small step you could do to make a difference. If exercise is another area that you'd like to see improvement, what is one small action you could take each day, to include more exercise?

If you would like to have a session on this topic, to clarify where you would like to head, and create more of what you want, call to book a session today.

Happy New Year, may you create some great connections and wonder in your life. Contact Kareen: click here.

Embracing Ageing

I've put this image of the front yard of an old house we once rented in a sea side town in NSW, as I'm particularly fond of old beac...