September 18, 2012

Stages of Change

I have long understood and appreciated Motivational Interviewing concepts in counseling.  Further, I adhere to the belief that The Stages of Change apply to a majority of my own life challenges.  A quick down and dirty of The Stages of Change goes like this:

When in the stage of Pre-Contemplation others may recognize I have an area that needs to change.  However, I do not.  This stage for me is akin to denial.

In the stage of Contemplation, I am beginning to see this area as something I might want to change.  I am starting to recognize the negative aspects of continuing the behavior.

In the stage of Preparation, I have accepted that this change needs to take place and have gone so far as to look into how I will execute said change.  I might have even given the change a start date.

In the Action stage I am doing this new behavior daily.

During the Maintenance stage I have continued this change in behavior for at least 3-6 months.

If return to the old behavior occurs this stage is considered Relapse.

Yes, there is a point to this instruction.

I am inviting you to follow me in a change I have considered (contemplation) for a while.  Five months ago it wasn't even a concern (pre-contemplation).  For three weeks I have researched -- more than on a surface level -- several options for this change (preparation).  Tonight I pulled the trigger toward the action.

I can give a long list of justification for "why" it is so.  Instead, I'll save that for when I am feeling self-pity.  Over the last five months I have gained some weight.  I stopped exercising.  And I lack the energy I once had after about 4:00 PM.  I have had enough of this.

In addition to some spiritual guidance and holistic shepherding by a professional, I made a decision to use a product distributed by Advocare.  [No, I am not becoming a distributor who is about to ask you to buy something.]

I placed the order tonight.  And if I am completely honest with myself and others I will admit that a friend who is very involved in this company talked with me about these products over two years ago.  My interest was only luke warm.

Tomorrow I will be speaking to the Advocare consultant couple who will provide me with all the details I need about the 24-Day Challenge.

I have also reached out to two very motivating friends who work in the fitness industry hoping they will lend their support.

My intention in making this public is for accountability.  You know...if by this time next month you haven't heard me mention this.  Ask me about it.

Looking forward to a little Spark in my life.....

September 17, 2012

Lessons I Never Wanted to Learn

Many times I hear myself saying,  “everything is meant to be.”  Or “the struggles in my life have made me who I am.”  While engaging in some deep thought recently, I found myself saying that I have learned some lessons along the way that I never wanted to learn.  That is where I am today.  I am not whining.  I am not looking for a pep talk.  I am just processing. 

Here are the top five lessons I have learned, but never wanted to.

1.  Losing my father…..

Who wants to be without a father for nearly 20 years?  I sure didn't.  At 25 I was just emerging as an adult.  I was a bit of a later bloomer into adulthood.  I realize now that having an adult relationship with a parent is very different than an adult-child relationship.  I also wish he was here for my son to meet.  My son doesn't know it to be different, but I know he missed out on meeting a very special man. 

2.  Losing my mother to a stupid car accident. 

After going through such an ordeal battling cancer, I know I thought cancer would take her life.  Ultimately, I assume it played a huge role in her ability to recover.  And I even recently found myself telling someone the car wreck might have been a blessing.  Still, watching the woman I have seen as the strongest role model in my life suffer and eventually pass away was not something I could have even fathomed.  Not like that.  In less than two short months she will have been gone for three years.  I have never been the same since that day.  And I don't look to being the same.  I know there will always be a difference in me, as a result.  Her being in my life made me want to be a better person. 

At times I feel lost without her to turn to in flesh.  

I recognize I can’t want to be better for someone else.  And, my spiritual beliefs cause me to believe she is still part of my life.  Either way….I still never imagined learning that lesson.

3.  Divorcing.

I likely don’t have to elaborate on that one.  I married someone at 29 years old.  I wanted to be married and never imagined even considering divorce, much less following through.  I believe people should stay and work things out.  I also didn’t ever want my son to be from a divorced home.  Yet, here I am.

4.  Having my heart broken by the one person I thought never would.

How I stood back and allowed myself to fully and absolutely let someone in still surprises me.  I knew the risk.  That is what love is supposed to do, right?  And how do you ever really know the outcome?  No matter what another promises, they always have a choice in the matter.  Intentional or not, the pain is still deep.  And after doing many things I know to do in order to heal, I am not.  I miss him.  I wish it had turned out differently.  And while I know he is never ever coming back, even though I think he should, he isn't.  And moving forward is not something I have the instruction book for on this situation. 

I have the qualities and characteristics of a strong woman.  I planned for and learned all of the skills necessary to support myself.  I am independent.  It has taken me a great deal of that strength to fall on my knees and admit how much my heart was broken.  

5.  Ridding myself of a toxic relationship when I still love that person.

There are few times I have let someone go because it was best for me.  I am a long-termer when it comes to love.  However, over a period of time being hurt again and again, it was my decision to protect myself from being in the position of inevitable harm.  Many times I thought she might change.  Many times I believed in the value of the relationships.  Many times I had hope.  Over and again I was disappointed.  Others don’t change simply because I will them to.  Or because I beg them.  Self-preservation of my own health was my choice. I would not feed myself poison.  

Yes, I have learned from each experience.  Yes, I am strong because of each experience.  Yes, I might even have a better character after having worked through the experience.

No, I didn't want to learn the lessons in that way.

In order to end on a note of humor, perhaps, I will add a sixth thing I didn’t care to learn…..

6.  The impact gravity has on aging. 


Lesson learned…..

How to Help Heal A Broken Heart How to Mend broken hearts

People may say no one ever died of a broken heart, but when you're suffering from one, it sure doesn't feel that way--at least initially. These suggestions may help you navigate the painfully troubled waters of a relationship that has ended and help you heal a broken heart.

I found this eHow article I wanted to share.  Perhaps, I am not alone in asking "HOW" when it comes to moving on.  Enjoy. 

Days 1 and 2

Breathe. All you can do is survive this first and difficult day. Take one day at a time. Give yourself permission to mourn. Call in sick at work, sleep all day, eat too much ice cream, sob.

Congratulate yourself for being human: It is only when you open yourself to love that your heart can break. Develop and repeat a helpful mantra to get you through the initial shock and pain, such as "This too shall pass" or "I will survive."

Reach out to a close friend or family member. It helps to share your thoughts with others. Watch a movie to distract yourself. Choose a comedy that has cheered you up in the past. Or watch a movie that's guaranteed to make you sob--it may surprise you how good that feels.

Month 1

Week 1: Force yourself to go out even if you are feeling despondent. Take yourself out for a cup of coffee or go on a long walk. Express your emotions in a way that comes naturally. Write in a journal, paint, sculpt or play music. Do daily cardiovascular exercise--the endorphins will give your spirits an immediate lift. Resist the urge to call your ex. Instead, write a letter. Don't mail it. Go out of town for the weekend to distance yourself from the temptation to call your ex. Visit an old friend or go back home to your roots. A change of environment does wonders for the spirit. Put everything that reminds you of your ex in a box and seal it. Throw it away, donate it to charity or ask a friend to hold on to it indefinitely.

Week 2: Surround yourself with friends. This may mean reaching out to people you fell out of touch with during the relationship. Make lists to help you regain your confidence and identity: a list of your friends, of things you like, of what you want to accomplish in the next decade. Spoil yourself: Get a new hairstyle, have a spa day or go shopping. Resist the urge to call your ex.

Week 3: Assess the experience. Have you learned anything about yourself? Does the experience make you more empathetic to others who've suffered a hardship? Begin an activity that will fill your time, distract your mind and rebuild your confidence. Train for a marathon, take up yoga or learn a new language. Resist the urge to call your ex. Volunteer your time at a local homeless shelter, soup kitchen or tutoring center. It will take your mind off your own woes and keep your suffering in perspective.

Week 4: Continue regular socializing and exercising. While socializing, though, make sure you don't depend on alcohol or drugs to dull the pain. Call your ex if you feel it would be helpful. Resist if you merely want to say hurtful things. Consider dating other people, but be wary of rebound relationships. Understand that you will need to experience and process sadness, anger, guilt and fear to fully heal. Burying or ignoring these emotions will thwart the healing process. Write, cry, share the feelings with friends.

Months 3 to 6

Force yourself to go on dates. You'll be surprised to discover that your heart can still flutter over someone. It's part of the healing process.

Consult a psychiatrist if you are experiencing symptoms of depression, such as lack of appetite, insomnia or too much sleeping, low self-esteem, and an inability to concentrate or carry out routine tasks. Ask a friend or physician to recommend one who is experienced in treating depression.

Remember that healing is a process that takes time. Expect waves of sadness, anger, guilt or fear even after you think you are over it. Give your heart time to heal.

One year and beyond

Compartmentalize the experience in your memory: "My heart was broken once. It really hurt and I'm glad it's over."

Reach out to your ex if you want to re-establish a friendship. Do not harbor secret ambitions of winning him or her back. You'll only set yourself up for another heartbreak.

Read more: How to Mend a Broken Heart

Happy Fall

We may not get all of the color changes in Texas, but we do get to enjoy cooler weather.  I love the feeling of fall.  It brings so many reminders.  Change....everything changes.  And life goes on in spite of the change. 

Is there anything you have been putting off until another day?  How about today?

I've got a few....

September 12, 2012

The Past

Have you ever wondered what life would be like had you gone down a different path?  I don't look back too much.  I even embrace the poor decisions in my past as something that has strengthened me. 

But I have been communicating with someone that was in my life 22 years ago.  And I have to admit it has crossed my mind how different my life would be today had I not lost contact with them along the way. 

One of the most positive things that has come of that communication is I have been able to see how much I have grown.  When I listened to them tell me things they saw in me back then I was amazed.  I didn't see those things then.  Not at all.  And I can see them today. 

I am grateful for my new found, old friend.

I am.