Thursday, September 29, 2011

Need a Little Therapy?



“How do I do it?”  Tin Cup demanded.  “Do what?”  “Therapy.  How do I do it?”  So adorably vulnerable sitting in the ‘therapist’s’ office, having absolutely NO clue what ‘therapy’ was about or how to proceed.  While excellent fodder for a movie, I am certain that a great majority of our society is just as in the dark as our golfing friend.

It occurs to me that ‘therapy’ takes on many disguises.  For instance – I meet several girlfriends for Friday Breakfast each week.  This meeting, while not in a clinical or office setting, absolutely serves a psychological need.  Few topics are off limits and we cover the spectrum from meals to teenagers all the way to investments.  There is a flow of ideas and concerns, followed by instant feedback and advice.  Viola! Group Therapy!

Date night is another time for reflection and planning.  It doesn’t matter where it takes place.  Could be Starbucks, the ice cream shop or a nice restaurant.  The important part is my husband and I spend some alone time in an environment without work or kid interruptions.  We look at where we are, where we are going, what went right this week, what was not so good and how to proceed.  Marriage Counseling!

Meeting with a mentor or superior in your company to discuss challenges and opportunities – Occupational Therapy!

God did not put us here to be loners.  He designed us as social beings, to rely upon and enrich one another.  Heavy loads are much easier to lift when we work together.  Sometimes merely being able to share a problem allows us to deal with it.  Often, a different point of view is all that is needed in order for a solution to present itself.  When we allow someone to be part of our problem, they become part of the solution.  Few things are as satisfying as working in cooperation and seeing the problem through to a positive result. 

There are certainly times when a professional is necessary.  When a situation goes beyond the normal day to day, you owe it to yourself and those around you to seek assistance. 

By making time to meet with others on a regular basis it might be possible to catch and address situations before they hit the crisis level.  As an added benefit, breakfast is MUCH cheaper than a therapists’ hourly rate!

~Conia

“For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." 
Matthew 18:20


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Meditation?!?

meditate |ˈmedəˌtāt|
verb [ intrans. ]
think deeply or focus one's mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.
( meditate on/upon) think deeply or carefully about (something) : he went off to meditate on the new idea.
[ trans. ] plan mentally; consider : they had suffered severely, and they began to meditate retreat.

 Twitter led me to Deepak Chopra.  Deepak Chopra led me to https://challenge.meyouhealth.com/about_daily_challenge.  It’s a site that gives you small daily challenges meant to raise your awareness of healthy habits.  There are points and little awards involved, so the competitor in me loves it.

Today’s challenge was about meditation.  Meditation?  Really? Meditation is for crunchy people – right?  You have to go into some sort of sacred place, figure out what a lotus position is and do some kind of chanting – don’t you?

The daily health challenge just said to find a quiet spot and concentrate on my breathing for five minutes.  I could do that.  There were points to be gained and badges to be won!

The five minutes went by slowly, but I didn’t fall asleep! At first, I felt guilty because I had so many things that needed to be done.  I was eventually able to transition and just concentrate.  At the end of the 5 minutes, I have to say, I felt like I had hit the reset button.  Those of the crunchy persuasion might call it ‘centered’.  Whatever you call it – I felt better. 

Our lives have become fast-paced and busy.  I cannot remember the last time I was actually bored.  So maybe this quiet time needs to play a part in our lives.  When our children misbehave, we send them their rooms to ‘think about’ what they did.  That’s a form of meditation.  What if we took time everyday just to go to our room and think about it? 

Without labeling it as such, meditation has become a recurring underlying theme in my life lately.  One of my favorite “Zig Talks” includes a suggestion that I spend 15 minutes at the beginning of each day sitting, thinking and praying for my day.  I got a tweet the other day that told me it is in times of stillness that we open our hearts and God can speak to us.

Today’s challenge makes the third such suggestion.  I may be hard-headed, but I DO get it eventually.  So I think I will incorporate a little purposeful ‘time-out’ each day.  It might do this mommy some good.
~Conia

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Green-Eyed Monster

So, I was humming along the other day, feeling good.  I have been focused on my blessings lately, finding purpose, and generally positive about my life.  Then a series of events re-acquainted me with a family friend I had not heard about in quite some time. 

She is about 10 years younger than I am, and we had simply fallen out of touch. She is doing quite well.  Through the magic of Facebook, I now know many things.  She and her husband are fabulously fit because they compete in triathlons.  Their babies are adorable.  They could be poster children for Gerber.  The décor in their home is the stuff of House Beautiful.  All their family photos are professionally done and flawless.

I was suddenly hit by a case of jealousy the likes of whice I have not experienced since my best friend in fifth grade had Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and I didn’t!  I couldn’t understand it.  Usually I am able to be happy for someone who is doing well.  While I like ‘stuff’ I don’t feel the need to have it all.  I love my children and know that they are gorgeous.  Why, all of a sudden did this bother me? 

Then through more Facebook magic, I got my answer.  I posted how I was feeling.  A good friend responded to my post.   I understand. Living right next to (insert spendy neighborhood here), I struggle with house envy all the time. And it's not just the houses, it's my perception that they are all skinnier, prettier, more organized, etc.”

That was IT! It wasn’t the trappings, it was the story that the trappings represented to me.  Their life seemed easier than mine.  They seemed more organized.  Flawless complexions must mean flawless days.  Children with perfect curls could never throw temper tantrums like my 4 year old.  Dinner always tastes good, the dog never chews things he’s not supposed to and she never has a bad hair day.

Smiles frozen on the screen said ‘Yes, we have it all – don’t you want to be us?’.  My wise friend also said something else – but you never know what it's really like in someone else's life.”

There is no way to know what someone else is truly going through.  The chances of their life being as fabulous as it is in my mind are remote.  Even if their life is fabulous, the last line from my friend is the important part: At least we have enough self-awareness to fight against the green-eyed monster, instead of letting it consume us. :-)”

We choose how we are going to respond, we choose what we let affect us.  The Green Eyed Monster has only the power we give him.


~Conia

Proverbs 14:30 ESV 


A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Vows didn't have a “Boredom Clause”


I am beginning to think that some marriages are coming with a 'Boredom Clause'. Somewhere in the fine print, whispered at the end, there must be one. “Til Death do us Part, or I'm just not feelin' it anymore.”

A wedding is not merely a reason to have a party. You don't get married because it is 'time'. Thousands upon thousands of dollars are spent for the extravaganza that is the bride's BIG DAY. Heinous dresses, gimongous sprays of flowers, battles over ivory or ecru invitations are seeming requirements these days in order for a couple to say “I Do”. Were these couples to spend one-tenth the time, money and planning it took to pull off the wedding on such endeavors as pre-marital counseling and discussing how they view life and the future, we could save a whole-lotta heartache.

I have recently run into several couples that have made the decision to get divorced. Most have children. One or the other of them has decided that this marriage was too constricting, maybe they could do better, or it wasn't quite what they expected. So, rather than re-examine how they got here, remember why they fell in love to begin with, and commit to ride out the tough time, they call it quits. The ones that irritate me the most are the ones who say “We're still great friends”. I see red just thinking about it. Don't degrade the term marriage with such a cavalier attitude. If you are still great friends, you really didn't try hard enough.

My marriage is a little over 18 years old now. I had NO IDEA the twists, turns and pitfalls we would endure. There have been many times when the ease of just being able to go-it-alone has crossed my mind. Yield and compromise are rare in my fighting style. Suffering through, asking for help, and coming to an agreement are a close second to walking barefoot on crushed glass. In the end, however the benefits of working it out FAR outweighed the alternative. I love my husband with a fierce devotion. Our shared experiences make us who we are and enrich our lives. We stay together because you reap the benefits of the effort. We decided to do that when we got married. It wasn't a whim, it wasn't a trial offer. It was a vow.

~Conia

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Links and Tweets and Circles – OH MY!


Over the past several weeks, I have been researching this whole idea of Blogging.  The blog itself is an effort to open my heart and fulfill the purpose for which I have been placed on this planet. (But that’s a whole other topic!)  What I have discovered is, the more I know, the more I find out I don’t know

Blogs are not merely on-line diaries, they are tools for education, support and networking.   So now, I have to figure out how to most effectively market the blog in order to reach the intended audience.  What a Pandora’s box!  There are some blogs that have 15 or 20 ‘buttons’ at the bottom for sharing their content.  There are blogs about blogging.  There are whole websites and businesses dedicated to getting followers for your blog.  How’s a girl supposed to choose?

MySpace never interested me.  I only got involved in FaceBook when my high school reunion came around and I wanted to see if everyone had aged as much as I had!  Until recently I had no use for Twitter – I really didn’t want to know when celebrities were getting their hair cut.  Call me a convert – I have found many worthwhile people to ‘follow’ and get a good bit of viable information from their ‘tweets’.  I was already Linked-In, but I wasn’t doing it right.  

Now I find out that I must Google+, but I have to have an ‘invitation’ and then form my ‘circles’.   It’s kind of like getting the nod from one of the cool kids to join their table at lunch.  All of these combine to form my Klout score, which goes up and down according to some mysterious algorithm, taking into account my likes, followers, network size, comments and retweets.  Effective use of these tools can mean the difference in a blog reaching your 10 besties or a world-wide audience.

I am at that crossroads in life - no longer young, but not yet old.  At this point one must make a conscious decision to keep up with the times or be left behind technologically.  I know now why my grandmother’s VCR always blinked 12:00!  This is going to take some real effort on my part.  I am going to have to consult with younger minds that will politely try to hide their incredulity that I do not grasp such seemingly easy concepts.

There is no choice but to forge ahead.  Achieving my goal of reaching out requires action.  Many years of viability lie ahead and I intend to make the most of them.  Staying relevant means staying current.  I don’t want to be the grandmother who has to ask what LOL means.


~Conia

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blind Date

I, for one, am always interested in the back-story.  I love the 'behind the scenes' on a DVD!  So, I thought I would post my reaction to meeting Jen.  (Maybe I should have saved this for a future mid-season slump!)

Enjoy!
~Conia



26 July 2011
  
Having never been on a blind date, I can’t say what it really feels like.  Today I came as close to a blind date as I think I will ever get.  It was definitely a set-up.  An old friend said, “ I have someone you HAVE to meet!”  So we did.  A mutually agreeable location was chosen and a time set.  We swapped background stories, shared hopes for the future and philosophies on why we are in our current places in life. 

This blind date however was not the romantic kind.  It was an arranged meeting for a new friend and colleague. Until Old Friend mentioned it, I had no idea that I needed a new friend or colleague!  What if I didn’t like her?  What if she didn’t like me?!?  What if Old Friend was wrong and we really had nothing in common?  This is where you have to trust your friends not to lead you astray.  Considering the source, I knew this was going to be okay.  Old Friend is not generally flighty or impulsive and has always been wise far beyond her years.  I was present when the idea of meeting New Friend occurred to her, and I am certain that it was somehow Divinely Guided. 

So I went.  New Friend is very much like me, but has an obviously better sense of style.  We chatted as if we had known each other for years.  We have common interests and common philosophies on life.  Then it was up to us to figure out why we had been thrown together.  Just like a blind date, we were brought together for the purpose of creating something bigger than the two of us could do individually.  

We both believe that everything happens for a reason.  Neither one of us is questioning the decision to go down this path.  We cannot see what is on the other side of the hill in front of us, but we are stepping forward in faith, knowing there is reward for forging ahead.

When I left I was satisfied, knowing all had gone well, that we would see each other again soon, and would continue making plans.

As with any new relationship, I am at once cautious and excited.   A relationship of any kind carries with it responsibility.  Expectations are bound to be challenged, and one day she will find out that I am even more flawed than I first appear!   We’ll cross those bridges as we come to them.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Jen, meet Conia. Conia, meet Jen

There are people on earth who serve as God's Messengers.  We know, because one of them is our friend, Tyra!  This blog would not exist without her, so it seems only fitting that we reveal how it all began.  (It is also nice knowing there is at least one person on the planet who can validate our ability to write!)


July 20, 2011:


Hello, Jen and Conia!

I think the two of you need to meet.

1. You both are entrepreneurial.

2. You both are excellent, persuasive speakers.

3. You both have a passion for writing but need a little push.

4. You both seek and listen for God's guidance. And then you actually follow it. (Some of the time. No one is perfect.)

5. Among Jen's gifts: finding and sharing bargains, making a house feel like a home, advocating for children with special needs

6. Among Conia's gifts: sharing life skills with children and their parents, sharing the importance of financial responsibility

My big picture idea is that the two of you could co-write a book and/or lead workshops together. But at a minimum, you two should meet. So, how about lunch or coffee when it works with our schedules?

Also, I'm going to be emailing both of you writing prompts/encouragement. 

Love from your pushy friend,
Tyra