+

Surviving a broken heart


“It felt like my heart had been torn out of my chest.”
– Jennifer Lopez on Ben Affleck, in her memoir True Love


“In the beginning, you tamp down the animosity for the kids’ sake. “I’m not going to deny that I went through the wringer. But I don’t think I doubted we’d end up here. That was always my dream, that the kids can have two loving parents that show respect for each other. And I feel that’s what they have.”
– Elin Nordegren on Tiger Woods, People



“I think when I came into marriage—especially when you’ve had divorced parents like myself… You’d want to try even harder to make it work and you don’t want to fall back into a pattern that you’ve seen happen in your own family. I desperately want it to work; I desperately love my husband and I wanted to share everything together. And I thought that we were a very good team.”
– Princess Diana on Prince Charles, 1995 Panorama Interview

“[Divorce is] very humiliating and very isolating… But, by the way, if it’s not painful, maybe it wasn’t the right decision to marry to begin with. Those are the appropriate emotions. When people get in your face and say, ‘This will pass,’ you think, Are they crazy? I’m never gonna feel any better than I feel right this minute. And nothing’s ever gonna make sense again. And I still have moments where I’m like, ‘Nothing’s ever gonna make sense again.'”

— Reese Witherspoon on Ryan Phillippe, ELLE

Why do we continue to allow ourselves to be hurt? I suppose it has something to do with knowing you have nothing to lose by loving and everything to lose if you don’t. I believe that. I also believe that each experience, each encounter no matter how insignificant it might seem, bears something transformative. And ever expanding. Who I am, and all those amazingly scary, difficult-to-digest events that have brought me here. To this particular moment, to this particular place.

Here are tips to help you recover from break ups

ACCEPT THE PAIN

Accept that you will have to go through some pain. It is an unavoidable truth that if you loved enough to be heartbroken, you have to experience some suffering.

When you lose something that mattered to you, it is natural and important to feel sad about it: that feeling is an essential part of the healing process.

The problem with broken-hearted people is that they seem to be reliving their misery over and over again. If you cannot seem to break the cycle of painful memories, the chances are that you are locked into repeating dysfunctional patterns of behaviour. Your pain has become a mental habit. This habit can, and must, be broken.

This is not to belittle the strength of your feelings or the importance of the habits you’ve built up during your relationship. Without habit, none of us would function. But there comes a time when the pain becomes unhealthy.

Don’t Fight Your Feelings A break-up is often accompanied by a wide variety of powerful and negative feelings including sadness, anger, confusion, resentment, jealousy, fear and regret, to mention a few. If you try to ignore or suppress these feelings, you will likely only prolong the normal grieving process, and sometimes get totally stuck in it. Healthy coping means both identifying these feelings and allowing ourselves to experience these feelings. As hard as it is, you cannot avoid the pain of loss, but realize that by experiencing these feelings, they will decrease over time and you will speed up the grieving process. The stages of grieving frequently include: shock/denial, bargaining, anger, depression and eventually acceptance.

Keep busy. If you wake up early take a walk, go out to breakfast or do something around the house. Try a little “retail therapy” (go shopping) or enjoy the decadence of going to a movie in the middle of the day. Many businesses allow their staff to take “mental health days” if needed. If you can’t sleep do the crossword puzzle, read or watch TV. Don’t sit in your room and ruminate, you have to free your mind so your heart can heal.

Don’t try to mask your pain by trying to find a replacement. We all know the term “rebound relationship” these happen when we (unconsciously) use another person to fill the gap that’s been created by the ending of a relationship. These transitional connections can feel healing in the short term, but if you don’t process your pain appropriately you will not be able to be in a fully committed partnership.

 Give yourself permission.

It is okay to be smile again. It’s okay to find something funny and have your curiosity evoked. It’s perfectly fine to dwell on other matters besides your old love. It’s acceptable to feel those first flutterings for someone else. It’s okay to have your heart beat for something, someone else again.


I like to think that it really takes very little to survive after our heart’s been very broken — some gumption, a little bit of hope, the daring to dream again… and patience. Know this now: The time has come to stop wasting your heart and time in anger and obsession – re-living the pain of relationships past. Be thankful for the lessons and life experiences this relationship has taught you, and be hopeful for the future. Know that there are better things to come and welcome every new experience that comes your way with open arms—they may just exceed your expectations.

+

It’s All Under Control: A Journey of Letting Go and Hoping On

We are driving on Transcanada Hwy just past Swift Current, Saskatchewan heading home to Winnipeg. Every driver is supposed to drive at 110 km per hour on this highway. I am  driving at 114 km/hr, just 4 km above the limit, not too bad. In front of us to the right is a line of truck, my assumption is that they too are driving at 114 km/hr because it is taking too long to pass them. We stay on the left side.  As I attempt to pass the 6 trucks on the right lane, I see a sports car veer just behind us. They must be driving at around 130 km/hr. As we pass the first truck, I see car behind tailgating us, kind of putting pressure on me to speed up, coming just a few meters close to us. We accelerate to 119, he comes even closer.

I can not go faster than that to impress him…but he keeps on coming even closer. I choose not to yield to the pressure. These guy behind me is in a black BMW. I see him checking his phone, then making angry faces at me and getting closer and closer. I am feel threatened by his tailgating,  I know that his car is too closer to us than it is safe, a bad accident could easily happen should I have a sudden need for to slow or stop for unforeseen circumstances ahead of me. I speed up alittle bit, thinking it might calm him down but it did not. We continue like that for the next ten kilometers until we finally passed all the trucks.  Finally he zooms past us at a speed of lightening.

“I hope he does not get a ticket.”

I don’t how others feel when I was telling you this story; I have to be honest with you that when I first saw the car behind me I started to feel under pressure to speed past the trucks to give him a right of way. But as I thought through it I decided not to speed any faster, I knew that speeding was only one part of the solution of yielding to the driver’s behavior, I also knew I could show some anger or probably swear at him  but that is not me….I wanted to handle the situation differently, I wanted to stay calm and allow him to pass as soon as I had a chance. I had to choose to keep my testosterone in check and I knew that deep in me I had that power of saying no to the tempting spirit.

We all experience pressures in our lives. We feel pressured to perform, to conform and please others. We experience financial pressures, social pressures, career and professional pressures – pressures in relationships, (marriages, partnerships, parenting, etc.). We want to pin the blame for pressure. In this situations we feel that we need to take our power back from these external forces. And, this accurate – when we are experiencing pressure, it’s a signal that we have an opportunity to call our energy and power back to ourselves. We just get confused on how to do that.

The dictionary defines pressure as stress, a constant state of worry and urgency. It’s a force that pushes or urges, (emphasis on force). To pressure is to compel, or make someone do something. Some pressures are healthy, and even necessary. The adrenaline rush we feel at the start of a new project, or when we have a deadline approaching, helps motivate us. But when we try to do too much, all the time, stress becomes the enemy – quite literally. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, raises the body’s metabolic rate in readiness for a ‘fight or flight’ response. It increases heart rate, breathing and blood pressure. It affects background body functions too, like digestion, cell division and even our reproductive processes — putting them on hold until calm returns.

Being on constant alert and able to react to an imminent, life-threatening emergency is great when you need it, but living constantly in that state is detrimental. Stress affects our ability to think clearly and remember things; it has been shown to increase the likelihood of depression and can exacerbate health risks like stroke and heart disease. It also impacts our immune systems, which scientists now fear can impair our ability to fight cancer. Thus, unrealistic worries are over-reactions to a tolerable situation or a prolonged over-reaction to a threatening situation that can not be avoided. But how can you be sure a situation won’t cause trouble? You can’t. How can you be sure you won’t handle the problem any better if you worried about it a lot more? You can’t be. However, we can learn to recognize extreme over-reactions, e.g. being terrified while flying or obsessing for hours about an insoluble problem. But a little worry about crashing while flying is realistic and some thought is necessary to know that you can’t do much about a problem. So, how much time should you devote to a particular problem? There isn’t an exact answer; that’s why some of us let anxiety overwhelm us.

Many a times, we all find ourselves under pressure similar to my tailgate experience, we feel pressure, spoken and unspoken, to do everything and be everything, pressure to provide for your family, to be available to everyone, to meet company targets, to attend every meeting, to keep engaged, to have meaningful and well-maintained relationships. And as we well know, as we grow up we are taught by the people or our environments that we should suck up when we are pressure. We start on a journey that I call survival journey, you start to say, “I just want to get through today.” or, “Just one more party and it’s over.” We start to walk through sad places where we quit to enjoying the season s, the presence, others and starts trying to get through it instead. Beyond stressing about your general workload, if you dwell on the related risks and get wrapped up in thoughts of what could go wrong, you generate patterns of fear that start to seem normal. You get so used to being afraid that you actually start to accept it as a sign that you’re working hard: “Oh, I’ve got to give a big presentation, so I’ve got to be nervous.” That sort of thing.

Over the years I have learnt a thing or two about working under pressure. I have learnt that when one acts or live under intense pressure one start to create survival environments for themselves. I have seen people who live in survival journey making impulsive judgments, angrily rushing to bring closure to whatever matter is at hand. He or she feeling is compelled to get the problem under control immediately, to extinguish the perceived danger lest it destroy him or her. When one lives in survival journey they are robbed of their flexibility, their sense of humor, their ability to deal with the unknown. They forget the big picture and the goals and values they stand for. They lose their “cool” or feeling at peace, they lose their creativity.

I can’t help but think we’re a lot like that when life presses down on us. When the pressure gets too intense, we start looking for ways to bail ourselves out from under the thumb of circumstances that seem too much to handle. And all too often we are tempted to bail in terms of our attitudes, feeling angry, bitter, or even mad at God—or anyone else we can blame our problems on. Or, we are tempted to bail in our actions by refusing to persevere in righteous ways.

Apparently, gaining a sense of mastery or learning one is able to handle problems early in life, e.g. in monkeys who get good mothering and social support when young, seems to protect the adult from serious anxiety. Although fears are generally based on primitive automatic emotional reactions, more intense panic and specific fears occur when we feel particularly vulnerable–open to being seriously hurt. Some of this vulnerability may be genetic tendencies but much is probably learned, often at an early age. How are these dangers, these “Wow, that scares the hell out of me!” reactions, learned? Sometimes, we see the actual results of a real danger–a heart attack, an auto accident, someone going crazy–and we vividly imagine that might happen to us. Examples: Panic attacks often are exacerbated by the scary thoughts that the tightness in my chest and high anxiety means I’m dying from a heart attack, going to faint, going crazy, etc. Such thoughts greatly increase the panic.

Sometimes, we are given specific instructions by others to expect danger, e.g. some social phobics have been told that interacting with others can be disastrous–“they will think you are stupid or weird,” “you can’t trust them,” “you’ll make a fool of yourself,” etc. Sometimes, we have started to think in a certain way (the source may be totally unknown–a TV, movie, book, or just our own fantasy as a child) that implies some situation is dangerous. Examples of this might be: “Oh, what I just said sounded really selfish… dumb… critical… ” which grows into “I’m going to mess up when I talk to them,” “I’m not good at socializing,” “I can’t think of anything to say,” or “I get really uptight and start to sweat when I try to talk to someone.” We can create, in effect, our own dangers, and may be especially prone to do that if we are given certain genes and childhood experiences.

Norman Vincent Peale tells how a young business man asked him to talk with his father, the head of their business. He said. “I’m very worried about Dad. He is so nervous and tense. There are so many pressures and problems in the business and my Dad is giving way under them.” Dr Peale encouraged him to relax and talk over his problem of pressure in the business.  After a time, Dr Peale said to him, “I don’t suppose you ever read the Scriptures do you?”

“Certainly I do” the man replied.  Dr Peale said, “You read them but you don’t practice them.”

“Of course I practice them, I’m a moral man.”

“I wasn’t talking morals and ethics, I was talking about the healing power of God.  Have you ever read the 26th chapter of Isaiah, 3rd verse – ‘You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you’?” Peale then went on to explain that the father had not been keeping his mind on God, he’d let it dwell too much on his problems.  He urged him to repeat the text three times a day to get it fixed in his mind and heart. Faith in God, more than anything else, helps us to keep things in perspective and cuts our pressures down to size

It boils down to whether or not we want comfort or character. You or I may think that life should be a bed of roses, but if that’s your take on life, you’re in for a big surprise—trouble happens! The issue is not if you will face trials, it’s how you will respond to the inevitable pressure that the problems of life bring. It may be that you face pressure at work. In the face of a seemingly insurmountable project, it’s easy to think, “If I just fudge a little bit I could get this job done faster.” Or, when the problems at home won’t go away, we find ourselves wondering, “Maybe I’ll just leave so I won’t have to deal with this anymore.” The sin of pride causes us to respond to problems with thoughts like, “I don’t deserve this.” And soon our attitudes are in the dumper and God’s work is derailed.

+

Are you feeling stuck in life?

Are you feeling stuck in life? Many people do. Sometimes it feels as if we simply cannot move on with life. As if there was something that keeping us from pursuing our dreams and hopes. AND THERE WE ARE, Stuck! We feel limited and simply do not know what to do. We have no idea how to break free from the limitations that are imposed upon us. What is worse, we do not even know what it is that is imposed on us and who imposes these limitations on us. It’s quite scary to be confronted with an invisible obstacle you cannot seem to tackle. Even though the situation may seem hopeless, there’s much you can do about it. In fact, there are a variety of highly efficient tactics and powerful tricks you can use to free yourself from being stuck in a rut.


To illustrate how painful being stuck can be, I want to draw from the analogy of the movie, the Groundhog Day. If you have not seen the film Groundhog Day, please do so immediately—it is hilariously entertaining, touching, and has thousands of implicit lessons for improving one’s life, community, and the world. Some of you may know I wrote my dissertation on the 1993 romantic fantasy starring Bill Murray, directed by the late Harold Ramis.

Groundhog Day is about an arrogant TV weather man (Bill Murray) who finds himself stuck in a time loop where he keeps repeating the same day over and over. The worse part? He’s the only one who remembers the past day’s events — no one else seems to remember anything! At first he uses this time loop for personal gain. After a while though, he starts to evaluate his life and priorities.

In the movie, the main character, Phil Connors is trapped in a recurring day — a freezing February day in Punxsutawney. The town never changes; the events and the people never change. Only Phil can change.

It is impossible for Phil to have any control over the external world. Every morning he wakes up and it’s the same day again. He is compelled to find how best to survive and prosper, and decide if this is a curse or maybe a blessing. This is a nightmare everyone fears: to be trapped in a repeat mode forever.  Boredom crushes creativity and saps motivation at work and at home. The good news, there is an antidote to boredom.  It is about tapping into the power of purpose.  The fun part is that there are 5 lessons to be learned from the movie.


So what you can you and I do to get unstuck? As we have already established, you won’t be able to break free by digging deeper. What is necessary is to find another approach that helps us to address the underlying issue.

Here a some lessons for us

Don’t give up.

Again, Groundhog Day as life metaphor: Most of us have at some point been trapped in a situation where no matter what we did, we couldn’t extricate ourselves from some endless cycle of lameness. In the film, Phil’s attempts to bypass the situation altogether by offing himself don’t pan out; they don’t solve anything. The lesson is clear: Giving up doesn’t solve the problem.

Look at the big picture

This is about meeting yourself where you are. What are the current issues? Where do you want to be? And what is the in between? Remember, “The way out, is through.”

Take the wheel. 

Stop being a passenger in your own life. Take responsibility for your well-being and break the cycle of blame. Where you are today is solely the result of your choices and actions. Where you will be tomorrow is a result of things you do or don’t do today. Your circumstances and your results are your responsibility. Yes, many external factors are beyond your control, but you can change how you feel about them.

Do your best, live in the moment. 

Your best may be different at different times, and at different tasks and in different situations, but it begins with being in the presence, being in the moment you will always know when you are doing it. “Presence” is not about attracting attention to oneself, as some seem to think, but about being present and PAYING attention.

Express, Don’t Repress

As you work your way through your rut, don’t suppress your emotions. Instead, experience them fully. Going back to our example of a job loss, perhaps you’re very sad that you lost your job. Maybe you loved that job and wanted to stay with the company for the rest of your working career. Rather than be depressed for weeks or even months, express the emotion you’re feeling. If you feel you need to cry or yell out in rage, then do so. After you’ve let the emotion out, let it be. Don’t dwell on it forever. Experience the emotion and then move on. Remember, each event we experience in our life is a learning opportunity. Find the lesson that’s hidden in your current situation so you can move on.

We are All in a Prison of Our Own Making

Everyone is living out their own Groundhog Day as we speak. You’re bumping into the same problems, the same issues, the same challenges in most of the situations you’re in, because, duh, you’re you, and this is your heavy, heavy synthetic bag. You could even argue that this is The Point of why you’re here. 

Help Others In Need

The first time that Phil passes the old homeless man on the street in Punxsutawney, he pats his pockets pretending not to have any money. But over the course of the movie, Phil becomes more and more empathetic to the old man’s tragic situation. Phil buys him meals on numerous occasions, and tries to save the guy’s life when he’s stuck out in the cold. Phil also repeatedly catches a kid who falls out of a tree, helps some women with a flat tire, and performs the Heimlich maneuver on a restaurant goer. As his actions show, helping others doesn’t just only make them feel good — it can make you feel great, too.

Do one thing at a time
Anxiety and overwhelm kick in when there’s a lot going on.

But even when you have a lot to do, it’s impossible to do everything at once. The most effective way to make progress towards any goal is by doing one thing at a time.

Make a list of what’s most important for you to do. Do one thing first. Then, move on to the next. Keep repeating until your day is through. When you get distracted, come back to the one thing you’re focusing on.

Give thanks to whatever or whoever you give thanks to, but acknowledge your own role in your success. 

Live in Beauty

The French believe each day should be lived in beauty. No, that doesn’t give free rein to having a closet, cleaning the garage or basement. I do love a nice pair of shoes. It expresses that life is beautiful…hardships and all. Notice the single flower reaching for the sunshine through the snow, or the dog out for a walk, wagging his tail and carrying a favorite ball. That is beauty. It’s also a moment of perfect clarity.

Master Joyful Skills

If you are bored at work or home, put yourself on the path to master joyful skills.  This can happen regardless of your time, financial resources or the level of teaching talent available in your community.You will see that even if you are working in a rough neighborhood, with a terrible work schedule and a low wage job, you can cultivate a sense of purpose.

In the movie, Bill Murray brushes up on his piano lessons with a local teacher and eventually rocks out to a full house.  He worked with what was available and poured passion and purpose into it.  He mastered a joyful skill.

 
Being stuck in a rut is no fun, but as I always say ‘nothing last forever’!  Everything has its season, and I strongly believe that when one door closes another opens.  Just as the universe appears to work against us sometimes, it also works for us a lot of the time.  Remember that the universe seeks balance, so things will eventually level out, no matter how bad the outlook may be.  The more positivism you can foster during this time, the better your chances of getting out of that rut feeling better than ever.  You’ll be able to pour that new motivation and energy into your goals, and work that much harder (and focused) on your success. The idea is not to avoid these issues, because sometimes it is not possible, but to be aware of what they mean and know how to turn them into opportunities for new opportunities and personal reinvention .

Express, Don’t Repress

28E3BDA7-9233-49DF-B849-AA8F0BDC270BAs you work your way through your life, don’t suppress your emotions. Instead, experience them fully. I have a friend who recently went through marriage break up. She was so angry about the whole thing. When I called to talk to her she wanted to cry and speak up her feelings without any interruption. I offered her my ears. She talked for over two hours.

“Thank you so much for listening, “ she commented at the end. I suggest that rather than be depressed for weeks or even months, one should express the emotion in a healthy way. If you feel you need to cry or yell out, then do so. After you’ve let the emotion out, you will feel better.

If you’re feeling low, feeling depressed, anxiety,remember it is just temporary. Grow through it. You have family and friends who truly care for you. Tell them about your problems. Keep yourself busy. Take help online. Do meditation. Seek therapy. Seek medical help.

Remember, each event we experience in our life is a learning opportunity. Find the lesson that’s hidden in your current situation so you can move on.Remember that under any situation God Is with you and He is For You. In that situation you are, whether it’s ugly or hard, tap into the Joy of God that is within you because that’s how God Fills you with strength to help you make it through. And you know, the joy of the Lord is your strength today. Hold tight to His joy and you will be held by His strength. Nothing you face today will be bigger than your God and His strength.

Advertisements

Don’t give up

Groundhog Day is about an arrogant TV weather man Phil Connors (Bill Murray) who finds himself stuck in a time loop where he keeps repeating the same day over and over. The worse part? He’s the only one who remembers the past day’s events — no one else seems to remember anything! At first he uses this time loop for personal gain. After a while though, he starts to evaluate his life and priorities.
Phil Connors is trapped in a recurring day — a freezing February day in Punxsutawney. The town never changes; the events and the people never change. Only Phil can change. It is impossible for Phil to have any control over the external world. Every morning he wakes up and it’s the same day again. He is compelled to find how best to survive and prosper, and decide if this is a curse or maybe a blessing. This is a nightmare everyone fears: to be trapped in a repeat mode forever. Boredom crushes creativity and saps motivation at work and at home. The good news, there is an antidote to boredom. It is about tapping into the power of purpose.
This movie has some invaluable lessons for us for when we feel stuck in life:
6FD35FDF-970E-44C4-8ED0-CE2CDE6BB701
Again, Groundhog Day as life metaphor:

Most of us have at some point been trapped in a situation where no matter what we did, we couldn’t extricate ourselves from some endless cycle of boredom. I have a friend who is married to a husband that hates her, as I pray with her I am always encouraging her to stay strong. In the film, Phil’s attempts to bypass the situation altogether by offing himself don’t pan out; they don’t solve anything. The lesson is clear: Giving up doesn’t solve the problem. No matter how crazy it looks right now, GOD can STILL make a way! KEEP PRESSING and BELIEVING!Look at the big picture.

 

 

Living under pressure

085BB10F-E46D-4608-862C-416CFB9E770FI daily chat with people on social media and even in workplace or places where I am presenting, they  tell me that they are bored with with everything around. When I ask them to tell me more, they say that they feel stressed out with their jobs, with their marriages, with their partners who ignore them, they say that they feel wrapped up in thoughts of what could go wrong, and for some they feel like nothing will ever get better in their lives. I empathize with each of these people. I feel that God brought them to my life for a purpose, so I pray for them.

As we live in this life survival journey it is very easy for any of us to generate patterns of fear that can start to seem normal. You get so used to being afraid that you actually start to accept it as a sign that you’re working hard: “Oh, I’ve got to give a big presentation, so I’ve got to be nervous.” That sort of thing. But none of us was born to get stuck in this quagmire of just living for little or journey of going no where. As God’s children, we were created for more than average living. We were created to thrive and do more, yes, more than living under the heavy clouds of fear.

Over the years, I have learnt that when one acts or live under intense pressure one start to create survival environments for themselves. I have seen people who live in survival journey making impulsive judgments, angrily rushing to bring closure to whatever matter is at hand. He or she feeling compelled to get the problem under control immediately, trying to extinguish the perceived danger lest it destroy him or her. When one lives in survival journey they are robbed of their flexibility, their sense of humor, their ability to deal with the unknown. They forget the big picture and the goals and values they stand for. They lose their “cool” or feeling at peace, they lose their creativity.

I can’t help but think that even strong Christian believers are like that when life presses down on us. When the pressure gets too intense, we start looking for ways to bail ourselves out from under the thumb of circumstances that seem too much to handle. And all too often we are tempted to bail in terms of our attitudes, feeling angry, bitter, or even mad at God—or anyone else we can blame our problems on. Or, we are tempted to bail in our actions by refusing to persevere in Christ centred ways.

 

Feeling abandoned

17952CBE-3E28-403E-91C5-C88D6E16ADCFSometimes we feel abandoned 

Left in the cold. Lonely and stormed.

In this moment of fear, the unknowns and struggle we tend to blame others for some of our problems.

We fight within ourselves and ask millions of questions.

One Question.

Why don’t you seek God first?

Pray.

God does listen but remember God doesn’t give what you want he gives you what you need.

What do you hope to do now?

Breath

47261E2C-F0C0-4000-B436-CD2B7A2524B2Breath you’re going 

To be OK 

You’ve been here 

Before you’ve been 

This scared 

Uncomfortable and anxious and you survived 

Breath and know you can survive this too I know 

U can survive this too I know it all feels unbearable right now just breath 💙💙💙

Walk away

6EFB9BE0-96C6-4851-9B5C-459898944E8EWALK AWAY .. from arguments that lead to anger, from people who put you down, from anyone who doesn’t see your worth. Walk away from mistakes & fears – they don’t determine your fate. The more you walk away from the things that poison your soul, the healthier &  happier you’ll be

+

Reclaiming Your Identity: Embrace Life

Koffee with Joe

I work as a Regional Coordinator for an Indigenous Program here in Canada. I was recently  meeting with one of the field teams to discuss opportunities of how they were implementing land based healing to their program. The team talked of their new opportunities to help their children to define who they are and re-claim their identity, which was taken from them and their ancestors through colonialism, for many generations .

Image result for Reclaiming Your Identity

“We lost our medicine when we were relocated, “ one of the team member went on to say.

“You see, my family, my community and I have been greatly affected by the Residential School System. My mom was in attendance from Kindergarten to Grade 3, and although many years have passed, my family has not been able to recover from her experiences. Throughout my childhood, the negative messages that have stemmed from that experience such as poverty, shame and neglect were evident in…

View original post 2,887 more words

+

 Be like a monkey, Be Flexible

Monkeys adapt depending on their habitat. All monkeys can use their hands and feet and some use their tails too, so that they can grab a tree branch or pick up something as small as a peanut. What creates flexibility in your business? You may need strategic inventory buffers—or just-in-time fulfillment options so that you can respond quickly to varying demand. Staffing on key pieces of equipment may need to vary from the norm. Using lean and Six Sigma tools, you can diagnose and focus on creating flexibility where you need it most. In a factory or warehouse, cross-training may be far more valuable than one more piece of equipment that adds capacity but no extra flexibility. Monkeys copy humans and each other all the time flexibility means be like a monkey and adapt.

Image result for be flexible

Flexibility allows you to face challenges

By being flexible you have the ability to change yourself when needed. This is fundamental when it comes to facing challenges.

Say for example you are typing up a report for work and your computer stops working.

A flexible person will go the local library and finish it but a person who is not as flexible will simply stop.

Flexibility makes you more successful

If you are more flexible you have an advantage over the people around you. You adapt better to your surroundings, you face challenges more easily and most importantly you are more effective with changes.

Be willing to do extra work

When you’re in the workforce, there will be times when you’re asked to take on more work. Maybe your boss needs help with a special project or someone else in your department isn’t going to be able to meet a deadline. Think of these situations as opportunities to be the team player who helps make the winning play in the workplace.

Learn to balance your own needs with those of others

As you settle into your job and show your value and expertise, people will start to come to you for help. It will take flexibility on your part to balance these requests with your own duties. Of course, it would be easy to turn your back on these requests and simply focus on your own work, but then you wouldn’t be doing your part to help the team.

In life, we must be flexible in what we encounter everyday so that we retain harmony in the workplace. Being adaptable is almost equivalent to being universally liked. Someone who is flexible is universally trusted mainly because this person has the ability to deal with a variety of personalities of varied temperaments. This person shows the ability to think clearly in any type of situation.

Conclusion:

Be flexible and willing to adapt; there are so many benefits.  Remember it is a fine line – not too much, but just enough to keep you balanced.

+

carpe, carpe diem, seize the day

Koffee with Joe

Today is July 10,2019. I am writing this story as I fly to Bloodvein First Nation in Manitoba Canada. The morning looks gorgeous, with lots of sunshine. As I look through the window of my plane, I am awed by the beauty of the vegetation. It’s all green, full of life and hope. Crops look beautiful, every farm look well trimmed and full. As we fly over Lake Winnipeg, I see total beauty, clear water, small island and calmness. It is a beautiful day indeed!
download
Surely, I can’t imagine that in a few months all of these vegetation and Lake Winnipeg will be covered with snow and a long cold winter. That’s is sad to imagine but that will start to be the the reality starting in October. Where am I going with this? In my short life on this earth I have come to realize that our time in…

View original post 1,715 more words

+

It’s All Under Control: A Journey of Letting Go and Hoping On

Koffee with Joe

We are driving on Transcanada Hwy just past Swift Current, Saskatchewan heading home to Winnipeg. Every driver is supposed to drive at 110 km per hour on this highway. I am driving at 114 km/hr, just 4 km above the limit, not too bad. In front of us to the right is a line of truck, my assumption is that they too are driving at 114 km/hr because it is taking too long to pass them. We stay on the left side. As I attempt to pass the 6 trucks on the right lane, I see a sports car veer just behind us. They must be driving at around 130 km/hr. As we pass the first truck, I see car behind tailgating us, kind of putting pressure on me to speed up, coming just a few meters close to us. We accelerate to 119, he comes even closer.

I can…

View original post 1,831 more words

+

Reclaiming Your Identity: Embrace Life

 

I work as a Regional Coordinator for an Indigenous Program here in Canada. I was recently  meeting with one of the field teams to discuss opportunities of how they were implementing land based healing to their program. The team talked of their new opportunities to help their children to define who they are and re-claim their identity, which was taken from them and their ancestors through colonialism, for many generations .

Image result for Reclaiming Your Identity

“We lost our medicine when we were relocated, “ one of the team member went on to say.

 

“You see, my family, my community and I have been greatly affected by the Residential School System. My mom was in attendance from Kindergarten to Grade 3, and although many years have passed, my family has not been able to recover from her experiences. Throughout my childhood, the negative messages that have stemmed from that experience such as poverty, shame and neglect were evident in my home since I could remember. Many members of community have had to struggle through humiliating memories, personal dysfunction, and family pain, but we are now changing that story, we are reclaiming back our identity through Jordan’s Principle, “ she was very excited and confident.

 

“ We teaching our children to make Bear Grease, a traditional medicine used by our people. We are excited to see children take on this in our country, we Bear Grease in ceremonies and healing procedures and we are grateful to learn more teachings and participate in preparing the medicine from our elders,” another team member went on to explain.

 

They talked about a recent winter camp for their youth, “we saw our kids becoming calmer and more aware of the connection to the land – listening to the birds, wind, to their breath, the trees and remembering the times of being immersed in the healing work. I, myself breathing deeper, letting out sighs of stress and exhaustion. As I commented to my friends that this day was exactly what I needed, our healing journey has began, “ she smiled. This was so encouraging and energizing. Their stories about bringing healing in their own way, reclaiming their voices and identity was raw and powerful. We all wept as the team told their way out of pain and all they had endured, and rejoiced as the community choose to rise from the ashes like a phoenix. Their story shines like a brilliant light star, journeying from horror and pain to hope and redemption.

 

The team mentioned that in there landbased healing journey they were integrating traumas and triumphs, “ we are reclaiming back the right to express our truth with power, and compassion, as embodied beings, living in this moment,” an elder with the team stated, “ we are making peace with what was, what is and what will be. We are people of value, we stand with grace, forgiveness, and with joy, take full responsibility for our lives. In so doing, our voice emerges with strength and purpose. We value our feminine voices, and our sisters, our mothers, our daughters, our ancestors, and we encourage the sounds, the groanings, the whispers, of all women who are waiting to be heard.”

 

This community story ignited fire in me, I could hear my dad’s voice in me. I remember him telling me similar stories. I remember him saying, “When the British settlers began pouring into what is now Kenya in 1902, they intended to set up an agricultural colony. The plan was simple: Flood the land with settlers who would set up farms. To kickstart that project, they needed to shove the native tribes off of the land and turn them into cheap (or preferably unpaid) laborers.

 

“The British government then began expropriating large tracts of land in the highlands, with or without compensation, and evicting people whose ancestors had lived there for a thousand years. The British set up reservations to house the newly landless peasants, which quickly got crowded and overtaxed the marginal lands they were sited on,”dad explained.

 

Given these conditions, an internal refugee crisis was well underway by 1910: Masses of native people, most of whom had no connection to their reservations and no reason to stay, started drifting out of their pens and across their old lands in search of income. The roughly 1,000 British settlers now had around 16,000 square miles of prime farmland under their control, and their cheap labor came to them looking for work.

 

 

At this time, the British were only farming around five or six percent of the land they had seized. They classified any Kenyan native farmer caught sneaking back onto the land to start a garden as a Squatter. He could stay there, but at the cost of 270 days of unpaid labor per year as rent — days which correspond to the planting and harvest seasons.

 

To keep all of this straight, the British imposed a pass system, called kipande, a paper document that all native African males over 15 had to wear around their necks. The kipande listed the worker’s classification level and included a few notes about the man’s history and character, so that any police or farm official would know at a glance whether he could be trusted with a job or should be hauled off to jail for another whipping.

 

“Settler began to restrict the natives’ freedom of movement to an obscene degree. Majority of Kenyan natives were relocated to rural “villages,” ringed with barbed wire and trenches and patrolled by guards with orders to kill escapees. Outside of the camps, reservations, and “villages,” dad explained, you could see hurt on his face and eyes.

 

“The colonial government had resorted to open violence and routinely displayed the corpses of executed prisoners at crossroads as a warning. Unfortunately through the imposed culture, rights to individuality and community was taken away from the Kenyans, as they were given new names by their masters, therefore branding them as their own. By imposing a new name on them, the masters ensured that their natives had to give up part of who they were, are or will be. What came after was loss of self and community identity, they were no longer their own, their future was not shaped by their self determination but just labelled by what the settlers called them,’ he stated.

 

Dad told me that Kenya and the rest of Africa are paradise on earth, “we are kings, queens, princes and princesses. However, the colonialist made us feel lesser than who we are, preventing us from seeing what is right in front of our eyes–our cultural wealth.”

 

Dad told me that when the British left Kenya in 1963 Kenya was at a crossroad, “ We had to ask ourselves, where do we start in our journey of self-remembrance? This is the first step to remembering the identity of ourselves, we must start by questioning the lies we have believed for so long.” That began the resurgence to healing and cultural identity for the new Kenya.

 

Dad told me that taking this journey was answer to these question of self-remembrance, a vault that opened our eyes to the truth. The answers helped us realize what the colonizers knew too well: Africa is wealthy. The wealth is not just material but also in the form of values–love, generosity, kindness and the spirit of ubuntu. These qualities should enable us to be independent. Values we are slowly losing in the name of development or capitalism.

 

Dad told me that after the Independence, Kenyans had to look at themselves clear of the lies that had been told, remembering all the reasons to love being Kenyans. Self-love inspired by self-knowledge will cure us of self-doubt or self-denial, which in my opinion is the greatest crime to a humanity.To know oneself is to return to these origins of experience. Obliging the unconscious to return to the conscious mind its concealed memories of our past experiences is liberating, for therein we discover the forgotten influences that have made us what we are. The memories recalled re-establish our sense of continuity with the past and hence show us the truth about ourselves. In reaching back to origins to recollect lost fragments of our experience, memory makes us whole once more by reaffirming our connection with the past.

 

Has your voice been silenced in some way? Are you able to speak out in the workplace, in your community or in your relationships? Or do you feel somewhere deep inside you that you have no voice and no one will listen? As you read this story, you are probably going through a journey of reclaiming your voice, your identity, your self image, your own space and your location. Maybe your voice have often been silenced or repressed through experiences of cultural conditioning, personal or collective traumas, for others reading this story, you are probably an ally and advocate for those who have lost their voice or maybe you are of those that have taken voice from others, whichever side you are in, I want you to know that you are joining many of us who re in this journey too.

 

Past traumatic and emotional baggages imposed on us by others or by ourselves can put you in a bit of a deep freeze or even dissociation. That’s what happened to me over the past year. Your brain and body will know how much and how fast to let out the painful emotions but if you aren’t picking up your body’s and brain’s signals due to trauma or shock, you can end up with physical body pain or illness from emotions lodged inside you. Do your best to let the tears flow, and let go of whatever is coursing through you, right in the moment if you can, or at the very least, soon after when you’re in a safe space. How to release emotions?

 

The process of reclaiming and rebuilding a strong, healthy sense of self requires first and foremost looking critically at your life. What is your life reflecting back to you and where are you focusing your attention? What is the common story you tell yourself when things go right?
When things go wrong?

 

Here below are a few tips that have helped me and others in this journey.of reclaiming our spaces, voices and identity:

Retell Your Story

Each of us has a story about who we are and why. Often we have several. These stories express what we believe we can do and who we believe we can be. They define who we think we are. Stories can be positive. Narratives like “I’m great with numbers,” “ Tomorrow will be a good day” “The best is yet to come” “Kids love me,” or “Music is my calling” can inspire us to develop and give our best gifts; they encourage us to show up confidently and authentically in our relationships with others. Often, though, our inner accounts and repressed emotions have less-salutary effects. Stories like “People always let me down” or “I can never do anything right”  become self-fulfilling prophecies. They convince us that we’ll never have what we want or be what we were created to become.

 

What’s Your Story? John Sanford, in his book “Healing and Wholeness,” essentially says: “Our life must have a story in order for us to be whole. This means we must come up against something; otherwise a story cannot take place.” I daily tell communities I work with that they hold their own pens to write their own stories. I reclaim with them new stories, stories of hope and self determination. We cannot change our past. But if we stop blaming mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, ex-spouses or former lovers — or our heritage — we can redesign our future. Fear and anger keep us entrapped and, therefore, deprives us of the good life.

 

Connect with like-minded People.

We learn about ourselves and thrive in relation to others. Your identity and social space is in part of the social environments you put yourself in. We are relational beings created for connection. When we are in community with others who are striving for the same goals, embarking on the same journey of self-improvement, and can encourage and motivate us when we need it, we win. There comes a time in your life where the circle you are part of no longer helps you to grow -where you fall into old patterns of behavior, rather than soaring to a new level of yourself. That’s a clear indication that a new identity, a new space and  a new voice of yourself is wanting to be re-generated, it just needs the right opportunity to grow.

Work towards accepting yourself.

If you are in a constant state of self-judgement it’s like trying to see yourself clearly through a rain of fired arrows- you aren’t letting yourself just be long enough to see yourself, let alone feel strong and confident. How can you, when you are focusing on the negative? Of course being told to accept yourself is all well and good, but if you do feel down on yourself already it can be that sort of advice you feel worse for hearing.

The secret is to not focus too long on the idea of acceptance, but to as quickly as possible focus on real actions that lead you in that direction.

Re-Defining Who are now

The way you see yourself directly affects the way that you perceive the world around you; everything is filtered through the prism of your identity, from the way you interact to other people to the way that you think. Your “self” lies before you like an open book. Just peer inside and read: who you are, your likes and dislikes, your hopes and fears; they are all there, ready to be understood. This notion is popular but is probably completely false! Psychological research shows that we do not have privileged access to who we are. When we try to assess ourselves accurately, we are really poking around in a fog.

 

Princeton University psychologist Emily Pronin, who specializes in human self-perception and decision making, calls the mistaken belief in privileged access the “introspection illusion.” The way we view ourselves is distorted, but we do not realize it. As a result, our self-image has surprisingly little to do with our actions. For example, we may be absolutely convinced that we are empathetic and generous but still walk right past a homeless person on a cold day.

 

 

At the core of all human behavior, our needs are more or less similar. Positive experience is easy to handle. It’s negative experience that we all, by definition, struggle with. Therefore, what we get out of life is not determined by the good feelings we desire but by what bad feelings we’re willing and able to sustain to get us to those good feelings.Here are a few examples we all struggle to achieve:

 

  • People want an amazing physique. But you don’t end up with one unless you legitimately appreciate the pain and physical stress that comes with living inside a gym for hour upon hour, unless you love calculating and calibrating the food you eat, planning your life out in tiny plate-sized portions.
  • People want to start their own business or become financially independent. But you don’t end up a successful entrepreneur unless you find a way to appreciate the risk, the uncertainty, the repeated failures, and working insane hours on something you have no idea whether will be successful or not.
  • People want a partner, a spouse. But you don’t end up attracting someone amazing without appreciating the emotional turbulence that comes with weathering rejections, building the sexual tension that never gets released, and staring blankly at a phone that never rings. It’s part of the game of love. You can’t win if you don’t play.

God calls us to go deeper

Each person is born with an unencumbered spot, free of expectation and regret, free of ambition and embarrassment, free of fear and worry; an umbilical spot of grace where we were each first touched by God. It is this spot of grace that issues peace. God calls us to go deeper in our search for the spot of grace that issues peace,to look again and again, to discover the Divine Beauty in the people we meet and the circumstances we find ourselves. In all the seemingly ordinary, poor, broken, vulnerable, small experiences of our day, we begin to see our God – the One who was born in a poor family, helpless and vulnerable; the One who hung broken and disfigured on the cross; the One who stood a wonder to behold in His Resurrection. He is here with us.God had created man with characteristics that He possessed and He desires for man to live that out. I believe strongly beloved, that God in that moment was saying, even as how I have dominion in the heavenlies I am granting you that dominion in the earth.

 

My friend, you are working with your false identity until you feel good about yourself. You don’t need a reason to feel good about yourself. You are good enough. You deserve a great life. You are worthy of having great relationships. When you know this in your heart – not just your head – your life will transform.Determine your direction and your purpose. Without a direction, it is easy to be at the mercy of those around you. By establishing your purpose, it infuses everything you do, and you can easily remove all odds, interactions and activities.Remove toxic people in your life and find those that embrace you for who you are. This step has been one of the hardest. You can’t thrive in the same environment you got sick in.  This might mean something different to everyone. Maybe you just need to delete that contact, or maybe you need to switch schools. It may be lonely for a while, but once you find your true friends, it will all be worth it. If you already have supportive friends, spend time with them!

Remember, you are a beautiful work in progress. You are so much more than a body, a label, a grade, or a number. You are fearlessly authentic. I hope these tips will inspire you to support you in your journey to reclaim you space, your identity or space. If you have tips about reclaiming your identity, share them below!

 

+

Taming monsters in your life: Your Journey to The End of The Rainbow

Koffee with Joe

It was 8 PM. I was riding Toronto Subway from Spandina to Lansdowne. As reminisced through all that had taken place during the day, I started to notice some hand unusual hand movements of the woman sited across from me.

“Don’t be like your dad, ” she shouted at her three year old son, who was trying to free her grip, wanting to walk in the train.

“Men are monsters,” she shouted, at this time everyone in the train cargo was looking at her.

“Andrew, you are a monster.”

“No, ” her son freed himself, “you are a monster.” In no time the train was in Dufferin, which was her stop. She left quickly holding her son and shouting at him. As she left the cabin and as the doors closed I wondered why she has so much bitterness, I wondered why she repeatedly called men “monsters”. Could she had…

View original post 1,432 more words