Friday, July 31, 2009

More Lessons of the Fall

What did I learn from that experience? This is one of the "mantras" I use to help turn a negative into a positive. It puts an end to the looping, go nowhere, stress-inducing thinking in which I would often engage. Wouldn't you agree that this is much more productive and beneficial? The result is that emotional, mental and physical health improves when the flight or fight response is calmed.

Watch your language. "I need a break." I got one, or rather 3 of them. A broken arm and 2 broken ribs isn't the kind of break I had in mind! This was a painful reminder to be more specific in my requests. So, here I go again. I'd like a break in the sun, sand, surf, with swimming, snorkelling and snoozing! Please and thank you!

Television stifles creativity. During the first few weeks of my recovery, I wasn't up to doing much. Days and nights were spent in front of the t.v. Now that I am getting back on track, I'm finding it a challenge to stir the pot of creativity.

Joanne Stein conveniently tweeted a gentle reminder which could otherwise be translated as: Use it so you don't lose it!

Time-outs have their place. A change in trajectory. A renewed sense of appreciation for what is. A chance for strengths to shine when they may have been overshadowed by other events.

When you are ready to learn the lesson, reinforcement is provided. This has powerfully been driven home to me this week. I feel like a divining rod, twitching and bending towards a variety of sources (the books I read, the television shows I catch, the tweets I notice and the people with whom I speak) - all leading me to the source, not of water, but of knowledge.

Accepting help plants the seeds of friendship. After my somewhat cheeky call for weeding and scrubbing in my last post, I was given the opportunity to reinforce this lesson of acceptance. It was interesting to observe my discomfort while I worked through it by quietening the brain chatter (looping thoughts) and letting the wisdom of the heart speak.

The marvelous thing was that my heart wasn't the only one speaking. As they worked and chatted, revealing more of themselves, I delighted in the deepening of our friendship. Thank you, Kathrin, Nancy, Laurel and Charles.

Use the spiral approach in lesson plans. The acquisition of knowledge can be likened to a tornado which touches down and picks up things as it travels along. Each subsequent cycle adds to and increases the learning, as certainly as re-reading a book provides you with new insights.

A well-prepared unit of learning spirals through previously-taught material, giving students the opportunity to learn, revisit, remember, refresh and deepen the lessons. This is stuff I know and I can happily say, it's stuff I know.

How about you? What do you now know?

Related posts:
Thanks to Billy Alexander for this image!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lessons of the Fall (Continued)

Thanks to Conrad Hake for his post which reminds us, and me in particular, that sometimes we're the (back) scratcher and sometimes the scratchee. In principle, I agree wholeheartedly with this concept; in practise, I realize that I have some work to do.

As I recuperate from my injuries, it's become clear to me that I have trouble being the scratchee - particularly when offers of assistance come from friends and neighbours.

My husband has been wonderful - helping me to get into and out of bed, dressed, driving me to appointments, cooking meals and doing as many other household tasks as he can fit in. Some jobs have had to go by the wayside; I could have easily taken up all the kind offers and asked for help with ironing, dusting or watering the garden.

"Tell us what you need to do." "How can we help you?" "Anytime you need something, let us know - that's what neighbours are for." These were just some of the offers I received post-fall. Considerate, generous and heart-warming. Definitely.

Then the "yabbits" began. "Yeah, but do they really mean it?" "Yeah, but what if I ask and they say 'no'?" "Yeah, but why do I have to ask, why can't they come and do something, anything?"

The second-guessing and looping thoughts are behaviours that were learned in response to growing up in an alcoholic home; one where communication was guarded, at best. This kind of thinking does a disservice to those who genuinely care and want to help. They may not know what to do or whether or not they are imposing.

Just as I would set up exercises in the classroom for my students to learn, that great teacher called Life, has done the same. This lesson is about learning to clearly communicate my needs and ask and accept help from someone other than an immediate family member. This fall has provided me with the opportunity to heal that wound as surely as I heal my broken bones.

And, to further illustrate the importance of this, I received an email from Grannymar that this week's Blog Consortium topic would be on Communication. Another Twilight Zone moment! Dododododo. Haven't you found that when you are ready to pay attention, the lesson is reinforced?

My old stressed-out self would have never been able to recognise the synchrony of these messages nor the lesson; the chance to change old patterns and practise new behaviours. This is much easier when the urge to take flight or fight (stress response) is calmed through the activation of the power of the heart. In turn, this influences the power of the brain so that I am able to choose a course of action that is not only good for me, but also for those around me.

I choose to focus and celebrate the progress I've made and look forward to improving these skills. The more I practise these stress techniques, the better able I am to change my perceptions and live a more joyful life, despite breaks.

In the meantime, I'm itching to get the garden weeded and the shower stall cleaned! Anyone?

Have you been presented with opportunities to overcome old behaviours?

Related post: When You Take A Fall

Resource for Teachers: Children of Alcoholics

Photo courtesy of Andy Reis

Friday, July 17, 2009

When You Take a Fall

I had every intention of writing this post three weeks ago. However, the content was going to be considerably different.

Unfortunately, a fall resulted in a strained, sprained and broken arm and two broken ribs. On go the brakes to a number of activities.

It was difficult to get comfortable - broken arm on one side and ribs on the other. Every breath hurt and sleep was difficult as I had to be propped into place and cradled by a mountain of pillows - imprisoned for the night in a mountain of down and fibrefill.

Naturally, my business activities stopped, as did my participation in social networking. I felt like a turtle tucking into its shell as I worked to minimise pain and maximise healing.

It was no surprise that one of the first people to notice my absence on Twitter was Jacqui Poindexter. Oh, the synchrony of this post! It is evident that Jacqui uses this attention to detail, plus a plethora of many other hard and soft skills in her work as a Master Resume Writer. The stress of unemployment can dull one's self-esteem. It is a comfort to know that Jacqui is there, helping you shine brightly, like so many facets on a diamond. In addition to being bright, caring and engaging, she has a terrific ability to unearth and accentuate one's positive attributes.

An inability to look for the positives is both a sign and symptom of stress. A cascade of stress hormones is released when you simmer in negative thoughts and emotions. The paradox is that these stress hormones then contribute to more of the same.

Learn to apply heart-driven techniques to your day and soak in positive thoughts and emotions, more frequently. This improves your emotional, mental and physical health and provides you with the resilience to bounce back faster from set-backs - including broken bones!

Here is what I'm thankful for when I reflect back against this accident:
  •  I was helped up by two women who happened to walk by where I had fallen
  •  I managed to drive myself home
  •  I only had to wait for an hour in Emergency
  •  I didn't stick my hands out when I fell; this could have resulted in broken wrists
  •  My right hand is functional
  •  It's summer, so dressing is much easier
  •  I've had many offers of prayers, distance healing and positive vibes (Take whatever is on offer - it can't hurt and it may just speed healing!)
  •   Gifted chiropractic treatment
  •   La-Z-Boy Chair!
When you take a fall, and find yourself on the ground, take a look around and see what gems you can unearth from this new vantage point. Lessons come to us in many guises, when we're ready to learn them.

To be continued...

Thanks to href="">Marja Flick-Buijs for another fine image!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Harry Potter's Scar

Those of you who are familiar with the Harry Potter stories know that whenever Voldemort was within range, the scar on Harry's forehead would start to pulsate.

You do have a warning system that often goes overlooked. This is a feeling that something isn't right - that you shouldn't get on that elevator or take that particular route home.

Children are particularly attuned to this sense, but often along the path into adulthood it gets relegated to the back of the closet. This sense is intuition and is something that can be enhanced when effective heart-based techniques are practised.

Intuition not only serves as a warning, but also as a recommendation. I have noticed that when something resonates with me or touches me deeply I get a shiver running up and down my body. It's a pleasant rippling - a frisson of energy that let's me know that I'm in tune and attuned to what I'm doing or experiencing. It's my own personal early warning system.

You have one, too. However, the quiet voice or shivers of intuition may be drowned out by the storm of stress. When you learn to transform your stress with heart-driven techniques, your attention is directed to the information that serves you best. When you are at your best you are better able to serve others.
  • How do you know when you are doing something just right for you?
  • When has your intuition helped you out?
  • What would be different for you if you strengthened this skill?
Related post: Right Place - Right Time

Thanks to Svilen Mushkatov for this image.