Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Okay, yes, I know it’s March 1st but it’s been awhile.  Did you miss me?  Well, I missed you.  I’ve been working really hard on writing my book which I plan to finish, publish, and launch this year.  It’s a lot to get done but that is a big goal for me and one that I have pushed off and pushed off so now is the time.  What have you been up to so far this year?

I know many people that started the beginning of the year with fasting or starting a new diet.  Are you still just as committed today as you were on January 1st?  Are you getting more sleep?  Watching less TV?  Spending less money?  Whatever it is, many of us have already forgotten about the promises that we made to ourselves just two short months ago.  What happened to that commitment?  Are you kicking yourself again for starting that gym membership and haven’t gone since January 31st?

What happens to us?  Are we that bad at committing to a task that we so desperately wanted to do this year?  What are you letting side track you and we haven’t made it to the end of the first quarter of the year?  Maybe your overall goals are exactly what is side tracking you.  If you said you want to lose weight, save money, or take a vacation, what action steps have you put in place to actually make these things happen?  The things we want to do must be concrete enough for us to do them.

I live and die by my calendar.  If it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t exist.  Can you relate?  Maybe some of you are more spontaneous.  Going with the flow can be great if you aren’t so concerned about your destination.  If you really have some goals you want to achieve this year then you must have some strategies in place to guarantee greater success.

I started writing again because finishing my book and my mother’s book are priorities for me.  I had to employ the Pomodoro Method to my writing.  This method helps me schedule time on my calendar to write, set a timer for my writing and put it away when time is up.  It is sad that I have to play these games with myself but that’s how I get things done.  Do you have a strategy that works for you?  I hope that you can finish this first quarter of the year setting clearer priorities for all the things you want to accomplish in 2016.  Take time each week to check in with your goals to plan for the next week.

Look for me to check in with you now that I’m back writing and blogging.  If you need help creating a clear plan for your home, work, kids, or finances, contact me at: Shannon@deeprootsconsultingllc.com and visit my website at www.deeproots.consulting for more information on the importance of coaching to helping you achieve your goals.

I would love to help you in any way I can to make it a Happy New Year!

Pain Management

Pain Management

 

I have not written over the last few weeks because I have been battling a bit of denial.  Yes, I hate to admit that as a life coach I sometimes struggle with denial, but I’m human.  I’ve been in denial about being 44 and not 24, that working out without stretching can cause injury, and that constant stress can breed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, struggle with weight lose, and justification for binge eating.

 

I have been in pain but too scared to admit it.  Have any of these things happened to you?  Well, the pain of my denial came to a head a couple of weeks ago after I went to my primary care physician for my annual check up (something that before I turned 40 always gladly embraced around my birthday in August but somehow now delay further and further each year).  I talked about my hearing loss, my continued struggle to lose weight, and a nerve issue where I felt tingling and numbness down my left arm, shoulder, leg, and foot.  She recommended that I see a neurologist to get to the bottom of my pain.

 

After my visit with the neurologist, she began to panic and told me she thought I was showing symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) or transverse myelitis.  I was so scared.  Had my stress level gotten so high that my body finally turned on me?  I really was scared.  After 12 vials of blood, a nerve test, and five MRIs of my brain and spine I was blessed to find out that I did not have MS or transverse myelitis.  What I do have, however, is a degenerating spine with herniated discs in the C, T, and L sections.  That is what’s causing my pain.  I finally got to the root.  Now I have to figure out how to “fix” this problem.  I visited a pain management doctor and he, of course, wanted me to “manage” my pain by taking high doses of high powered medication and to get shots in my back.  

 

I went to a chiropractor who said “of course the pain management doctor wants to just “manage” your pain and cover it up with medication.  Their goal is for you to not FEEL any pain but what are they going to do to eliminate your pain?”  Is it okay to just walk around and cover our pain?  Do people want us to stop feeling pain?  I guess in a sense, no one wants to FEEL pain but how do you ever get a signal that something is wrong?  What desire do you have to fix the problem if it’s already covered up?

 

I had to think about these questions and both courses of treatment.  Our lives can also follow those two philosophies as well.  Do we want to walk around in pain and get some adjustments or are we just going to manage the pain and never fix the root cause?  What do I need to add or eliminate in my life that can help to eliminate my symptoms?  Lose weight?  More water? Physical Therapy? Yoga and pilates?  These are great ideas for my physical health but what about mental health?  What do we need to add or eliminate to get to a state of wellness and not just “pain management?”  Pain doesn’t just show up in our lives for no reason.  It’s a sign that something in our lives needs to change.
“Pain is inevitable.  Suffering is optional.” – Haruki Murakami

what-a-difference

What a Difference One Year Makes

What a Difference One Year Makes

I cannot believe the difference one year makes.  I have had a dream about becoming a life coach for several years.  As many of you know, life happens and you delay and delay your dreams until you can barely see them any longer.  I had one reason after another that seemed legitimate as to why it was not a good time to pursue life coaching.  I had too many things going on at home and at work and I didn’t get it done.

Well 2014 was different.  I was able to finally save enough money to take the life coach training with Valorie Burton and I became a certified life coach.  I learned things about business development that I never thought I would understand.  I incorporated my business and didn’t just buy cards from Vista Print and pretend that was all I needed to do.  I read, researched, and learned about business and made it my goal to implement good business practices.  I also stretched myself and with some assistance from my friend Erial Ramsey at Imperial 1002 and built my own website!  Most of you know that I am not tech savvy but I was determined to learn what I needed to learn to help my business flourish and to challenge myself to become familiar with new technology and social media that could help build my brand.

Deep Roots Consulting, LLC was born.  I have a steady number of clients, conducted many trainings and have been requested frequently to be a speaker for major events across the country.  I think one of my biggest accomplishments over the last year is that I became a published author!  I always envisioned that I would become an author but never laid out a strategy to get it done.  That is why I was so excited to become a part of the “Voices Movement” with my friend Marlon Smith. I am one of the authors in this book which includes a diverse group of 26 experts and leaders who represent five countries: Spain, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United States.

Each chapter is written from the space of possibilities. Some authors share real life epiphanies and wisdom from their own personal struggles and valley experiences. Others empower you with action-oriented solutions for transforming your life.  My chapter is titled “Get Unstuck” and will inspire you to start living the life you were destined to live.

I share this experience with you because I want you to know that whatever you dream for yourself can become a reality.  Last year, when I started my coaching business, I had no idea that I would have the opportunity to build an amazing brand that has literally reached so many with my coaching, training and speaking appearances.  Life gives us no guarantees when we work toward our goals. This all started from one tiny step.

I focused on what I love to do and I worked hard every day to learn more ways to help people by providing resources and information that help them not only to live but to thrive. Over the years, I’ve spent many nights wondering if I was on the right track.  You might be wondering the same thing about your dreams right now while reading this blog.  Things will work out if you stay the course and be open to change along the way.

There are a few things that I have done along my journey and I’d like to share them with you.  I believe that success is a formula and that if you follow the steps you can create similar or greater outcomes for yourself.  So for anyone who wants to know how I got to this point, I want to share a few strategies with you.  They are:

  • I have always paid for professional advice on how to make myself or my business better.  I have always invested in myself.  I hired my first coach for $100.00 per month over ten years ago, when I was still searching my purpose. I found the money to invest in myself and I cut back on things that were not necessary in order to afford the coaching service.
  • I associated with people who were my ambition level and above. I also identified people who have already accomplished what I wanted to do and I spent time with them.  That was hard at times.  It’s so easy to stay around people whom you love and make you comfortable but comfort does not create progress.   I focused on building relationships with people who elevated my vision and that made me more success minded.  I attended weekend, one day and daily training to get around people who were doing what I wanted to do.  Today I have so many new friends that came from these events.
  • Reading is fundamental. I read books that changed the way I looked at myself, others and the world.  It is important to get out of my own head to see things from other’s perspective so that I could be more open to what people had to offer.
  • I take at least one strategic action every day that will move my life or business forward.  I know how easy it is for me to get overwhelmed.  Every day I make sure that I take actions that can create change in my life.  This has prevented me from feeling overwhelmed about doing everything all at once.   Some days are better than others.  Don’t beat yourself up if you struggle in this area.  Even if you only take a micro-step, count it as a victory and set yourself up for success the next day.
  • I have more fun.  I work full time and have so many activities that I must shuffle children to and fro that I realize they have a better social calendar than I do.  Over the last year I have found ways to try new things like boot camp, girl’s night outings, or just taking a bath!!  How sad is it if you don’t have time to sit in the tub and relax?  We have to carve out time on our calendars for ourselves.  What is the point of reaching your goals if you don’t know how to have fun along the way?

Maybe something on my list inspired you to add to your list or if you don’t have a list maybe now you might create one.  I am so excited about this last year.  What have you accomplished in the last year that makes you proud of YOU?  Big or small, it’s time to celebrate!

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What’s Cooking? How to Automate Your Day

“What’s Cooking?: How to Automate Your Day”

My greatest fear is happening.  I’m becoming my mother!  All of us dreaded to hear our mother’s nag about the same things over and over again or to hear one more lesson about life that we thought only applied in the “olden days.”  My mother was no different.  She would share her wisdom with me about how to make life simple for myself but I couldn’t relate so it didn’t matter to me.  My mom was an athlete and the youngest of six children.  If anyone on this earth had a bit of arrogance and was totally spoiled, it was my mom.  She bragged about being the baby and the apple of her papa’s eye.  Since she was so spoiled she didn’t have to learn about homemaking as most young ladies of the south did during that time.  She was playing basketball and watching her older siblings do all the work around the house.

When my mother married my father she did not know how to cook at all.  She said that she could burn water.  I didn’t realize she lacked the cooking skills that a North Carolina-born woman should have because she cooked every day.  She picked up a few key recipes along the way and put them in her “play book.”  Those were her go-to meals and she mastered them over time.  As I child I could not appreciate this.  I was so tired of “meatloaf Monday”, “Taco Tuesday”, spaghetti on Wednesday, fried chicken on Thursday, fish on Friday, and Rice-a-Roni on Saturday I didn’t know what to do!!  Sunday was a little special because we would have either a baked chicken or a roast so that would spice things up a bit.

As a “working out of the home mom” now myself, I finally appreciate this automation.  Most days I have no clue what I’m going to fix for dinner and I’ve given my family way too much fast food for my taste!  My family just started watching the sitcom “The Middle” and watching Frankie put fast food on plates to feed her family each night is just hilarious.  I can identify except I don’t break out the china to eat McDonalds or Subway!  Since families rarely eat together these days, I guess eating Subway around the table is better than not talking or eating together at all.

What about our health?  Are we able to play to our greatest potential if we haven’t prepared our bodies to do so?  Growing up my household meals were so automated that our bodies knew what to expect and could keep us all at optimal health.  My parents ate the same thing for breakfast daily and only changed up a bit on weekends or when we would go on vacation.  My father never overloaded his plate and since he didn’t “work on a farm” he felt that he didn’t need to eat like a farmer.  They knew portion control and even when we ate out they would share their food.  I thought that was weird growing up as well but now I realize that it not only was romantic and an intimate thing they did, it was also economical and health-conscious.  I watched my parents split a baked potato, share a small (yes, I said small) French fry, get a fried fish dinner but split one piece of fish and save the other two for later, and even split a soda!

So maybe there’s no one in your life that you want to share food with in this manner or splitting a baked potato seems cruel but this type of automation and self-control made less stress for my mother on a daily basis.  I’ve decided it’s time to throw in the towel with guessing what I’m going to eat every week and create a bit of automation that may result in a whittled waist and money in the bank.  Here are 3 plays to live by that may create some sanity in your home:

 

  1. Eating the same meals every week isn’t so bad. – Unless you plan to be a chef on one of those cooking reality shows then finding 10 good healthy meals that you can master will help you plan better and reduce your daily stress.  Knowing what you’ll eat and when you will eat it will eliminate guesswork and temptation.  Research shows that it takes two weeks of repetitive action to make the action become automated.   I plan to adopt this automation so my girls will understand the importance of planning their meals before they get out on their own.  Just like my mother, I didn’t learn how to cook before I left home so I plan to do a better job preparing my daughters.

 

  1. Automation is key to weight loss. – My parents never suffered from being overweight. Their bodies knew what to expect and my mom could prepare her meals in a way that were healthy and nutritious.  We would eat desserts on special occasions.  They never felt that it was required to have cakes or pies with every meal (I also discovered that my mom really couldn’t bake either so that probably added to this fact).  Most people that lose weight do so because they know what they are eating at all times of the day.  I took that fact for granted growing up because I was bored with what my mother served.  I didn’t realize that she was doing me a favor and setting me up with healthy habits.

 

  1. Eating at home saves your waist and your wallet. – If I have to stop at a drive thru, check my bag to see how many things they got wrong this time and then drive home, I could have made a simple 30-minute meal that could have been on the table just as quickly as the fast food and half the calories. Knowing the ingredients that I put in my food is much better than taking a chance on all the harsh chemicals and additives that are in fast food and restaurant food. So many people suffer from allergies because of the changes in the makeup of our food now that It’s just safer for us to make our meals at home.   In addition, if I added up the amount of money I spend on eating out, I probably could be on a nice cruise with my family right now.

Needless to say, it’s nice to eat out sometimes and have other people prepare your meals but there is nothing that beats home cooking and planning your meals to keep your family healthy, fit, and full!

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Retire While You’re Still on Top

Retire While You’re Still on Top
So many people at my job are retiring. One friend told me her last day is today and I just found out yesterday. She doesn’t want any parties or fanfare. She just wants to walk silently into the night knowing that she’s “done her time” and it’s time to move on to the next phase of life. She looked prepared, peaceful, and calm. She isn’t one of the new “retirees” that leaves a job on Friday and starts a new one on Monday. She wants to relish in the fact that she is at the end of her career and has financially planned her exit accordingly. Sadly, some people don’t get that luxury. With rising costs, having children and buying houses later in life, the overuse of credit cards, and the fact that people are living longer, most people do not think about retiring earlier than 62. I see so many people stressed out about making ends meet that the thought of enjoying life after retiring seems so out of reach. Many aren’t enjoying life now!

So many businesses have their employees by the neck understanding that they have the upper hand with the longevity of their stay. They know most people are too in debt to retire and we can see those disgruntled employees every day. It doesn’t just happen with government workers or the private sector. We can see it with professional athletes as well.

We see ball players with everything taped up but their heads still trying to run with the young boys. Know your limits (body, mind, and spirit) and leave the game while you can remember your best days. I watched my mom leave the job she loved because someone decided she was not valuable enough to teach high school PE anymore. They wanted to move her to middle school, which in her mind was a demotion. She helped train the new PE teacher who was young, white, and male. My mom was not going to take that lying down. She pushed barriers all her life and was not going to “go out like a sucker.” She felt that once a person hit 50 the world started to view them differently. She felt just as sharp as a 30 year old but that was not what the world saw.

She could have agreed to play along and still teach the kids at the younger level but that is not what she wanted. She knew where she belonged. She knew what made her happy. She and my dad planned, prepared, and sacrificed so that no one could dictate when she should “throw in the towel.” Are you that prepared? Can you retire at the top of your game right now if someone offered you the opportunity to do so? Maybe you’re not at retirement age and have younger children like I do but if you fast forward 10 years, how close are you to retiring comfortably and not starting a new job on Monday?

Don’t let anyone push you around and determine your worth. My mom knew her worth and played the game by her rules- no one else’s. We get caught in these work systems that are not like the systems of old. There are few pension jobs. People don’t stay at the same job long enough to get a pension if one was offered. We have lost the understanding of how to save (that’s if we CAN save).

I found an article titled “5 Ways to Know If You’re on Track to Retire Early” that can help you look at your retirement plan. Know your financial facts so that you can make an informed decision about when to retire. We can’t wait until we are 50 or older to change our spending habits, begin reducing debt, or creating a financial plan. We have to do what we have to do now so that we can do what we want to do later.

I loved the fact that my mom was fortunate enough to call the shots with her retirement. She got to go out on top and not let the financial chains of bondage keep her attached to a job that no longer valued all she had to offer. Can you say the same? Will you retire while still at the top of your game?

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Voices of Inspiration – Volume 3 Book Launch

Get Unstuck

I’m so excited that today is the launch of my new book called “Voices of Inspiration – Volume 3.”  I am a part of a collaboration of authors who contributed to this book and hope that you will purchase it and become inspired.  The chapter I have written is called “Get Unstuck” and I hope it will help you laugh and learn the necessary tools to get you moving one step closer to your dreams.  Go to: Voices of Inspiration – Volume 3 and purchase the book and contact me for your free gift for purchasing today.

This is my first of many books I hope to publish and I am am so excited about all that is in store. Thank you for your support.

To Do List

Do What You Said You Would Do!

Do What You Said You Would Do!

As I am writing this blog right now I should be working on my book. When my mom passed away in 2012, I promised her that I would finish the book that she never finished before she died. I have started and stopped that project hundreds of times.  I would set a goal of writing a certain number of pages each week and had a deadline of completing the book by my birthday which was on August 4. Here I am, a week after my birthday, three years after my mother passed and I am still not done with that book. Instead, I have decided that writing blogs is much easier and less painful than doing what I said I was going to do.

Why is it so much easier to finish all of the little tasks on our ”to do list” but not tackle the one big project that could be life-changing? Is it fear of failure? Is it fear of success?  I know for me sometimes it can be a little bit of both. Right after my mother passed away the emotions were too raw for me to want to write about anything. Now what is holding me back?  Do I feel that the story I will tell will not be accepted by others? Do I even care if it is? Am I such a perfectionist that I have to have the exact right words and the exact right order of chapters just to get started with my writing?

Most people will look for any excuse to not tackle the big things. I know I have been guilty of that. There are so many decisions that I need to make in my life but it is so much easier to decide if I am going to have chicken or fish for dinner or go to the grocery store in the morning or in the evening than it is to sit down and actually write my story.

This has been a pretty lazy summer for me. In some ways that is a good thing because I am always on the go and most people tell me I need to sit down and relax. One of the days that I was being lazy, instead of just sitting on my couch and watching a movie I decided to re-organize my sewing kit.  That does not seem like a bad thing to do except that I do not sew!  I couldn’t just sit on my couch and do nothing while I was watching the movie, I had to stay busy. I could have been writing a chapter for my book but instead I decided that my needles and thread should be in order from smallest to tallest. Have you ever gotten distracted by meaningless tasks and not been laser focused on what you truly needed to do?  I do that all the time. I felt very accomplished when my sewing kit was nice and neat. I felt accomplished when I cleaned out my garage for the third time this summer instead of sitting at my desk and starting to just type.

I can set a new deadline for the completion of my book but where is my dedication and commitment to actually getting it written? How dedicated and committed are you to the tasks that are vital to transforming your life? I know that God has a plan for my story being told and the life lessons that my mother shared with me that I want to share with the world but somehow I am delaying this story from being told. What gift do you have to share with the world that you are delaying because of your procrastination? What do you plan to do about that today so that you can get back on track and in alignment with your purpose?

This year will be over before we know it. Will you have accomplished all that you set out to do for 2015? Even if I have to take a break from writing my blog, which I am enjoying, in order to finish my book, I must do what I have to do. I can take the energy and I used to clean my garage and re-organize my sewing kit to write the story of my mother’s life and her lessons and to share what an impact she had on me. A clean garage will never satisfy the void I feel with not being able to talk to her every day or see her face.

I hope that whatever void you are trying to fill with empty distractions can come to an end so that you can go about the business of your true task at hand. Whether it is a conversation you need to have, a doctor’s appointment you need to make, or your own story that you need to write, take just a few moments today to put that at the top of your “to do list.” There is no more time for procrastination. The time is now for you to do what you said you would do.

inner peace

Don’t Disturb the Peace

Don’t Disturb the Peace

Don’t you find life to always be filled with stress? Doesn’t it seem like there is always something that happens which encompasses our entire attention, and thus drain our positive energy? As our society grows more and more complex, finding true peace becomes more like trying to find an oasis in the desert. My life is a busy one as well, being a wife, mother, working full time, and running a company and all of the stress & demands that comes with it, definitely takes its toll over time. Today was one of those days that it seemed my peace as destined to be disturbed but I finally took a moment to reflect on all that was going on around me and focus.

Therefore, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you seven of the methods that I use to find peace and disconnect from all that may be falling apart around me:

Be One with Nature

We spend so much time confined in buildings of steel and concrete and bricks that we quickly forget that it is natural for us to be in nature.  This is why it feels so good and it is so peaceful when you take a walk in a park or bike on a local trail. As I am typing this blog, I am looking out my window to this gigantic tree in the back of my house. Watching its stillness, with the wind blowing through its branches calmly, it is a sight that not only inspires me, but also relaxes me.  If you feel overwhelmed, take a stroll outside where there are many trees or go to a remote area far from the city. Just enjoy the sights, the sounds, and the peace.

Laugh a Little

Whenever you are laughing or smiling, something interesting happens. Not only does something happen on a chemical level to make you feel better, but it also stops all stress and negativity from entering your psyche. A simple smile can make such a difference. For example, I have a friend that I talk to almost every day and we laugh until our stomachs ache.  It’s such a great part of my day that we have now decided to call it our “ab workout” for the day.  I know I’ve been doing boot camp but I believe laughter with this crazy friend has contributed to the formation of my abs!  So whenever you find yourself in a funky mood or things just aren’t going right, just think of the silver lining in the cloud that you think is following you, and don’t be afraid to just laugh until you cry. You will quickly realize that peace finds its way much more easily to you when you don’t take life so seriously.

Just Breathe

When all else fails. Just breathe!  Some days you may not have time to get outside and walk or laugh with your friends but one thing we all must do is breathe.  Any time you bring attention to your breath, your mind can’t think about all your worries.  I close my eyes and breathe in slowly for 8 seconds and then exhale for 8 seconds.  Depending on the day I’m having I may need to repeat the deep breathing many times until I feel calm and centered.  Breathing is healing.  I have been interested in mediation for years but have not been able to sit still long enough to feel I can do it effectively.  I discovered that by just closing my eyes and being aware of my breath is meditating.  I have stopped pressuring myself to become a master yogi and decided that inhaling and exhaling with my eyes closed and being fully present is good enough for me.

Live in the Present Moment
Most of the time, what we worry about is relating to something either in the past, or something that hasn’t happened. Living in the present moment erases all such thoughts. Why worry about something in the past that we cannot ever change? Why worry about something that we are not even sure will happen? This is why in the present moment, you find true inner peace. In the present moment, there are no problems and no concerns. There is only stillness, and it is within that stillness that you can uncover peace.

Embrace your beliefs
Faith is a belief that God will, as my grandmother used to say, “Make a way out of no way.”  Faith has sustained me in good and bad times. Faith is much more than just comforting rituals to religious people.  It has the ability to have a positive impact on mood and mental health.  We need faith to navigate this world today and must embrace our faith with our entire being. Having a solid, healthy faith is crucial in guiding us towards peace and wisdom. There is a reason why research has shown that people that are deeply devoted to their faith have a higher life expectancy and are less likely to manifest disease in their bodies.  Faith can play a major role in the reduction in and protection from stress.  A scripture that helps me know how important faith is to me in my times of stress is one that my mother said to me often: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (Jesus in John 14:27).

Care about Others

You will never find peace by being self-consumed and only worrying about your own needs and wants. When you begin to genuinely care about other people, so much goodness comes right out. This only helps into solidifying your inner peace. It can be people close to you or pure strangers, but any act of kindness and goodwill eases your way towards peace. When I help other people, I stop focusing on my so-called problems and realize that my life isn’t so bad after all. This rids my entire being of all the stress and feelings of overwhelm. There is great peace and wisdom in thinking and caring about other people, which we are blind to when we are too deep within our own selfish ways.

Accept What Is
There is only so much we can affect. What we cannot change, what we cannot influence no matter what, should not be a concern to us. This is what I notice with so many people, in that we focus and linger on things in which we have no control. Why worry about something that all the worrying in the world will not change? Why care about what other people think of us when we’re not even sure what it is they are actually thinking? Once you understand this fact and start accepting what is that you cannot change, you automatically relieve yourself of a mountain of stress and anxiety. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Taking this path is following a road towards peace.

Having peace is based on our ability to let things go and to understand that we can control and what we can’t control.  Let the small stuff go.  Focus on what is good in your life and spend your moments appreciating what you have instead of ruminating about what didn’t go your way.  My new goal is to practice being mindful, staying in the present and enjoying the little things that fill up my day with joy- because those things are there!  No matter how situations may throw us off our game, we cannot let people disturb our peace.

promises

Promises, Promises

I’m a big music fan. Growing up in Massachusetts in the 1980s I was exposed to all types of music. I love classic rock from Queen or Led Zeppelin but my favorite type of music besides old school hip hop is old school R&B. While I was a student at NC State we used to have outdoor concerts and one of my favorite performers that came to campus was Christopher Williams. I used to love his song “Promises, Promises.” It was about someone who never kept promises to him and how disappointed he was when they broke their promise.  We want others to keep promises to us but I started to think about the promises that I’ve made to myself and did not keep.   I had real intension in the beginning to keep my promise but after deep thought and time passing, the initial commitment that I had to my promise just vanished!

These promises that we break do something to our self-esteem. It’s like what we are saying to ourselves doesn’t matter. We don’t believe what we say out of our own mouths. We don’t think what we say is true. We don’t believe in ourselves.  Because we think before we act, our subconscious mind is so convinced that we aren’t going to do the thing that we said that it puts out into the world the information that it was fed.

When your thoughts and intentions don’t match the behavior that you put out in the world, you create a more challenging life. Imagine your friend promising over and over again that they will pay back the money that they borrowed. You know they never well.  How are things going for that person in their life? That is the same for us when we make promises to ourselves that we don’t keep.   Our subconscious brain starts to not believe what we are consciously saying we were going to do. This means that we are not in integrity with ourselves.

We may keep promises to other people but what does it say to them if we keep breaking promises to ourselves? Will they believe we are trustworthy? Do you trust yourself to make sound decisions?  We are training our brains that we cannot believe anything that we say that we were going to do.

How easy of a life do you think it will be to be out of alignment with yourself?  This week, I’ve included a blog post that I found called: “12 Promises You Should Make to Yourself and Keep Forever” by Mark Chernoff.  This post really spoke to my spirit today as I do my own work on being authentically me.  Don’t beat yourself up if you are still on the road to discovering your truth.  You will know when you are ready to embrace these principles but each day should be at least a baby step towards being yourself and all that you were created to be.

Check out the post at: http://www.marcandangel.com/2014/09/17/12-promises-you-should-make-to-yourself-and-keep-forever/ and let me know your thoughts.

 

Until next week!

Can you Hear Me

Can You Hear Me?

This week has been a very odd week.  I lost my hearing in my left ear due to what the doctors are calling sudden sensorineural hearing loss.  They aren’t sure what triggered it but I’ve got to tell you not being able to hear out of my left ear is very frightening.  My entire existence has been altered.  The way I receive information has changed.  The noise around me is so intense but I cannot distinctly hear what is going on.  Is that person talking to me or am I just surrounded by noise that I can’t decipher?

If I didn’t have a clear understanding that my faith will get me through this experience this entire week would have been a tailspin.  When I was talking the hearing test on Tuesday and sitting in that booth unable to hear anything in those headphones my heart started racing.  How would I be able to communicate if I couldn’t fully hear?  How would I have to change everything I do if my hearing doesn’t come back?  Those were just a few thoughts that raced through my head.  I immediately thought, “What could have caused this?”  What noise overload was too much for my ears to handle?  Since I’m left handed and this is my left ear have I done too much talking on my cell phone in that ear?  Was it singing in church on Sunday plus a loud concert that night?  Am I just getting older and my ears are starting to fail me?  All of those thoughts started swirling in my head.  I realized that I hadn’t written my blog for this past week and it made me think about this ordeal with my hearing.

How much do we truly take into our ears on a daily basis?  Do we really hear what’s being said to us or do we just let the sound waves go by without giving them much thought?  How much are we communicating with the people around us?  Are we really listening to what is being said or has so much noise gotten into our heads that we start to block them out?  I really had to start thinking about this as I tried to listen to my husband or my kids talk to me this week.  I could barely hear them and felt out of sorts when I did hear what was being said.

I think we do that with the people we encounter on a daily basis.  People are talking to us but we barely hear them.  We think we know what’s being said but we have all but tuned out.  We start to hear what we want to hear and then interpret that to be what we think the person said to us.  We place a judgement on what was miscommunicated and unless fixed, the relationship is forever altered; just like my hearing is right now.  This situation has brought up three things that I think are important when we really want to hear what someone has said to us and open up our lines of communication.  If you are in a situation where you feel you aren’t being heard or you’ve gotten so bitter that you cannot hear then you need to do Awaken, Equip and Engage.

Awaken

Loosing hearing in my left ear has been a wakeup call.  It has awakened something in me that I hadn’t felt in a long time and that was – helplessness.  No matter how hard I tried to clean out my ear or press on it, no sound could be heard.  I had to wake up to the fact that there has been a shift and I could either wallow in sadness or get myself together to take the next steps to attempt to recover my hearing.  We have communication breakdowns in our relationships every day and there is a wakeup call. We either choose to repair it or ignore it.  If we repair it, we take the time to do whatever needs to be done so that no further damage can happen to the relationship.  If we ignore it, we pretend there is nothing wrong; ignore the sharp pain that we may have just felt and we go on as if nothing has happened.  The problem is that no one was heard.  There is a deterioration that is starting and will continue unless a rational mind steps in and stops the damage in its place.

Awakening should be the beginning of our awareness.  It should be the beginning of our understanding that change must occur in order to see improvement.  If we are willing to see our fault in the breakdown of our communication then there is a better chance to protect further erosion in the future.  The same goes for my ear.  What were the steps that I could have taken that that could have protected my hearing and possibly avoiding this situation?  Was there anything that I could have done differently?  We have to think about this with our communication as well.  What do you need to awaken in you so that your words do not fall on deaf ears?  How is your tone, speed, or pitch?  Has everyone around you become so numb to your harshness that they can no longer hear you?  You must be frustrated?  Just like I am now.  We must equip ourselves to do a better job in our ability to hear and be heard.

Equip

Are you ready to make a change?  I know I was not.  I was not prepared at all for what happened to my ear this week.  It caught me off guard, or so I thought.  Back in 2013 I visited the ENT doctor because there was something not quite right with this same left ear.  Since I was able to pass the hearing test, no one questioned me further about this potential breakdown.  I was not equipping myself to take better care of this ear because people around me helped me to ignore the signs.  Since this episode this week, I am understanding that we must be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.  We must do the same with our everyday communication.  We must prepare when we are talking to understand that our delivery of our message must be clear and stated with love in order to be heard.  If our message is delivered any other way it will be shut off and communication will break down.  We must find the tools and resources necessary to help us become better communicators.

Whether calling someone, talking to them face to face, sending emails, or the one I hate the most: texting, we have to be prepared to state and restate our message in our minds so that when it comes out there is no block.  I think that’s why I don’t like sending serious messages through text.  That is a form of communication to me that gets easily misunderstood and many repairs to the message must occur to not further breakdown.  The problem with texting to me is that we don’t hear the message in a positive tone.  We put a nasty spin on what’s being said in our own heads but use the other person’s voice to deliver the message.  We are not fully equipped to hear a person when you are listening to your own voice send the message.

What do you need to do to better equip yourself for better communication?  What do tools do you need to pull out to be effective?  Do you need to be an active listener?  Do you need to move your ego and feelings out of the way so that you can be heard?  Do you need to bounce your conversation off another neutral person so that you can hear feedback on whether your approach is good or needs to be improved?  There are so many ways to equip ourselves for better understanding.  I’m learning that with my own hearing as well.  I am currently on 60mg of steroids and just had a surgical procedure that injected more steroids in my ear so that I can be equipped to repair the nerve that is not functioning in my ear.  What injection do you need for better communication?  Patience?  Love?  Kindness?  Understanding?  IF you equip yourself with those tools, your chances of improved hearing get greater every day.    Once you are equipped with the tools you need you are now ready to engage.

Engage

Just like doctors not knowing what is causing my hearing loss, sometimes we don’t know what is causing our ineffective communication with others.  If we want healthy relationships, both personally or professionally, we must engage people in a way that is welcoming and open.  We cannot put barriers up that will prevent us from reaching out to others and possibly cut off communication permanently.  My hearing loss has caused me to engage not only with doctors that can help me but also to other friends that have suffered with similar issues.  This situation has humbled me and made me realize that we cannot take the slightest thing for granted.  I am learning new ways to engage with others this week so that I can hear what people are saying to me.  I’ve had to move the phone to my right ear so that I can actually hear.

Sometimes we have to move things around so that communication can continue.  If I kept the phone up to my left ear, I would hear nothing but jumbled up robotic-like sounds.  I could be stubborn and just continue to do things the way I’ve always done them but it would not get me the results that I want and that is to listen and to be heard.  We must alter our way of communicating as well if we want to engage with others.  We must engage in a positive manner that is well received.  If we are able to do that, our hearing will be restored.  Relationships will be healed and no further damage will be done.  We must not lie around in self-pity and feel like victims when our words fall on deaf ears.  We must be aggressive with our approach to restoration.  We must believe that our faith will carry us through.  I pray that you hear me and do what needs to be done to protect your “hearing.”  I am doing all that I can to protect mine and I know that restoration is on its way!