Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Flying Through Life

Not every plane leaves the ground.

You've done your part. Arrived on time to check-in, clear security and board your flight. You've managed to work through your pre-flight anxiety and you are now seated, awaiting take-off. Seat belt securely fastened, you look forward to arriving at your destination.

Then, it happens. The pilot announces that due to mechanical failure, this flight is cancelled and passengers are kindly asked to disembark.

Life can be a lot like this.

You prepare, sometimes diligently, then something happens that is beyond your control. Are you able to maturely handle the change in flight plans? Do you erupt in anger and burn for days or wallow in disappointment?

We can all feel discouragement, frustration or anger when things don't go our way. Some people are better-equipped to come to terms with the disappointments and set-backs that life can throw at them. Others have become so worn-down with the constant barrage of bad news that it takes less and less to abort their flight plans.

That's the cumulative effects of stress. Without techniques in place - ones that help restore, the constant activation of the stress response, is wearing, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally, as well.

Learn and apply techniques that activate the power of the heart through genuine feelings of care and appreciation. This process helps to reset the nervous system, empowering you to be the captain of your own flight. Be good to go!

Image courtesy of James Knowles.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Face Off - Hockey and Relationships

Watching hockey is not my thing. Actually, watching any sports on television is not something you'll catch me doing. I prefer to do, rather than to watch. However, as the years march on, abetted with 33 years of rheumatoid arthritis, it has become a case of the mind is willing, but the flesh (or joints) are weak.

Olympic fever is something I didn't think I would catch. Surprisingly, I find myself tuning in to various Olympic events throughout the day.

I even astonished myself when I sat down to watch the Canada versus Norway hockey game on February 16th, 2010.

To my untrained eye, it was clear that Team Canada was not playing as a unit. Passes were missed, the players were not anticipating where to be and the team was definitely not in the zone.

In the second period, things began to change. Even viewing it on television, the difference was palpable. The team began to function as a cohesive group. When they did, they were able to score goals. It was a pleasure to watch them skate well and play with power and yes, even, grace. (Hockey? Grace? That is one of the beauties of skill - the ability to make one's effort seem easy and graceful.)

I  enjoyed watching the two Canadian games because of one major difference. They were clean games without the typical checking and fighting that usually ensues in an NHL game.

Relationships can be a lot like a hockey game. Fights. Discord. Jealousy. Excitement. Endurance. Hard work. Flow. Joy.

Are the people involved working well as a team, allowing the individual strengths of the members to shine? Or are there more face-offs and penalties which only serve to stall the relationship?

I just learned that a Power Play is when one team has a member in the Penalty Box and the other has a full complement of players on the ice. Each team will put particular players who are skilled at performing during these particular conditions.

When the team realises that they are stronger together and practises individually and as a group, they begin to function well. The members are able to get into the zone. Even if the team doesn't come out on top, they know that they've done the best they possibly can. That's something worth celebrating.

How do you get your team working and playing well together? Are they able to easily get into the zone?

One way to accomplish this is to learn and practise stress transformation techniques. Why not opt for a clean game - one where goals are made and dreams are realised?

Image courtesy of Jeremy Doorten.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Operating Table to Dancing on the Table!

When stress is lowered, people are better able to deal with the things that are plaguing them.

I have had rheumatoid arthritis for 33 years and have had 9 surgeries plus a "heart attack" which was, I'm sure, triggered by stress. The angiogram revealed that my arteries were clear. The cardiologist told me that my results were "non-specific."

One of the things I notice as I continue to practise these techniques is that despite stuff going on, and there is STUFF, my health is getting better.

Imagine, you're on the gurney waiting to be wheeled in to the operating room for fore-foot reconstructive surgery and the surgeon tells you, "Your Atlantoaxial Instability is much worse. Without surgery, you could be blind, have a stroke or die. You need to get this looked after!"

"What? Now?"

Of course, that created a bit of panic. I immediately began to use a technique to balance my nervous system. Surgery is stressful enough and I wanted every advantage to ensure a successful outcome.

The anaesthetist asked what I was doing, as he noticed a change in me. I give him credit for being curious enough to ask and to talk about what I was doing with his resident.

I mentioned that I wanted an advantage when I went into surgery. Putting myself into a coherent state by doing techniques that improve my heart rate variability would definitely give me one.

In fairness to the surgeon, I can only assume that his thinking was that my surgery would be made more difficult because of this new development. 

Life has a way of throwing stuff at us - job loss, illness, breakdowns, etc. I've learned that the more I can balance my nervous system, the better I feel emotionally, mentally and physically.

I've pretty much tried everything from A to Y in my attempts to improve my health. (Didn't do Zen.) I could get a treatment and walk out the door and turn around and go right back in for more.

Improving the way I handle stress has changed my life like nothing else has. I realised that wherever I went, there I was. In other words, those nagging, looping, worry thoughts would quickly come back and with them, my "internal pharmacy" would get to work - after all, it's programmed to deal with stress. And, that worrying was screaming, "STRESS....prepare for attack!"

My typical pattern would be: worry, worry, worry, frustration, more frustration and then anger.I didn't sleep well either, as a result of all this stress. That didn't help.

The techniques increase resilience. When things happen, you are better positioned to handle them and at the least, prevent further damage caused by the stress process.

What a difference this has made for me. I almost feel as if I could get up on the table and dance!

What is a good way to start your own change of heart?

"A" is for appreciation. Activate a deep sense of gratitude for the people, places and things in your life.

Image courtesy of Gabriella Fabbri.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Dance of Life

If life is a dance. What are you currently dancing?

Tango? Hot and fiery.

Waltz? Graceful and smooth.

Jitterbug? Quick and bouncy.

Ballet? Strong and elegant.

Or are you in the mosh-pit? A frenetic flaying about with little direction?

There's a good chance that as you read this, you'll have your own description for each of these dances, based on your likes and dislikes and your perception.

Life is not a one-dance repertoire. As you go about living your life, the music changes, your abilities improve or decrease and your interest in what you dance or if you dance, waxes and wanes.

Stress affects the dance of life. It may seem that the music is dissonant, your rhythm nonexistent and if you have a partner, you are out of synch. Your world may have shrunk, so that you are only dancing one dance...one that goes on and on and on.

Or, you may have decided to ignore that inner calling - the one that says, "C'mon, get up and dance!"

Stress can even prevent you from stepping onto the dance floor. Perhaps these wise words from Mikhail Baryshnikov will cause you to reconsider? "I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself."

Image courtesy of Galofgray.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dream Seedlings

A dream - a seed of an idea that slowly, secretly even, reveals itself.

You guard this precious thing, choosing to tell a select few - your inner circle - for fear that exposing it too soon, to too many, may somehow hamper its growth.

It's delicate and precious and needs nurturing. Forcing it doesn't work - a gentle hand is required.

What dreams do you secretly hold in your heart? How are you keeping them alive?

Do you even have a dream? Has stress stomped on that seedling, smothering it, so that it didn't get a chance to come into existence?

Are you surrounded by people who share in the joy of your dreams? Encouraging them and you - even when you think that you may no longer be able to achieve them? They still see the potential - in you.

Do your dreams matter to the significant people in your life? Do they take pleasure in seeing you reach for and attain them?

Do they want them for you?

Who has nurtured the seedlings of your dreams?

Photo courtesy of  Jean-Paul Brouard.