Aug 26

Are you ready?

cactus plant rising to the sky 2012 019

Fear of the Unknown Holding You Back?

There are times we may desire to do something new, unique, or completely foreign to us. Because we will have to travel in to new territory, it is called the unknown, we may feel shaky, our feelings can be unsettling, even nerve racking. Why? I am sure there are many variables involved in every situation that create unique and individual scenarios. Nevertheless, I believe we are similar in one area called procrastination. We may find that we have put things off because we are afraid of that which is not familiar.

Is it time to start, even if it is scary? Each one of us has to answer that question for ourselves. For once we start something we actually put in to motion a situation of some sort that may or may not be successful. Perhaps we will try to accomplish a particular feat, and then find we did not have what it takes to complete that task. When that occurs we may see ourselves in one or two ways. Some fall into the trap thinking they are losers because what they desired to accomplish didn’t happen. Others may look at themselves as highly educated, for they have learned many lessons along the way.

Education is expensive no matter what field we go in, or what school we enrolled. The school of hard knocks has a reputation of being painful yet I believe some of the most powerful lessons are learned there. The key is not to forget the answers that were learned for the next test that will be coming up.

In the realm of education, I have been gifted with many opportunities in life. Some of which is the ability to read, write, understand and teach. Having those abilities I have been trained in the field of psychology, have counseled many years in many different formats, and have the ability to help others who have a variety of different needs. I am thankful I can be of service and help relieve suffering.

Using the knowledge, gifts, and skills I have acquired over the past twenty years has provided many exciting and interesting life experiences. As I continue to expand my expertise I am reminded of the words of wisdom from my mentor many years ago. “You can train and train and train, but sooner or later you have to get in the ring!” I can add more knowledge, research, write, and talk about, “Someday I am going to…” Although I know someday is not on any calendar, it is easy to believe that it exists because we all have heard it said so many times.

Is it time to face our fears and acknowledge the fact we are ready now? Ready for what? Are we ready to start that which we have been putting off because of fear? Fear of failure, fear of success, will keep us from starting to work on, make, or do that which is in our heart to accomplish.

Personally, I have decided it is time. I am ready. I am going for it! I am stepping away from the familiar IMFT/ Ph.D./Psy.D….all of my former training, letters and degree’s on the wall to take a step up higher on a new platform.

It is time to embrace that which is within and allow all that dwells there, love, compassion, understanding and education to be released in a new way. “Ready or not, here I come”, that was a saying we shouted while playing hide and seek so many years ago. Now it is time to boldly say it once again.

Being a Heart Mender Specialist is the result of that decision. Combining the psychological, biological and the spiritual elements, I am available to help those in need. It is our ultimate goal to get to the heart of the matter resulting in healing and freedom.

Aug 25

Facing Our Fears

20150110_171256Breaking Free From Fear

When we are aware of an area that is our weak point, do we try to hide from it? Although we all may know that we can’t be great in everything, is there a subconscious thought that expects we should be anyway? If we were raised by demanding parents who expected us to perform, get straight A’s in school, and always look our best, would that have an impact on our self-esteem when we became adults. There are many who had just the opposite training, the parents may have been absent, too busy, or didn’t care what their children were doing.

As a professor, I have taught Child Development in psychology at Simpson University. As a guest teacher, or school counselor, when working with children who are developing in their early stages, it is amazing to watch how they respond to external stimuli. Some may challenge authority, others may withdraw and begin crying. There are many manifestations of emotions when children are put in a setting where they have to be still and listen for long periods of time and attempt to focus.

As adults, we will carry with us many of the behaviors we developed as children. Some will continue to respond in a negative way when they feel pressure or if they are being told what to do by an authority figure. Other adults may respond by withdrawing, isolating and being quite. Many look for coping skills to deal with the stress of life, some through drug and alcohol, others through working long hours and being too busy to feel.

Many times the reason we experience stress and respond in ways that are harmful is due to the faulty thinking we are entertaining. Perhaps everything that could go wrong, did go wrong! What do we do now? We may think that it is too late, why bother, nothing is going to work to fix the problems we have to face now. I am not suggesting that it is easy to deal with problems, and many times we have to do so on a day to day basis.

There are times the problems we are facing are actually caused by an underlying fear of some sort. I found that when I realize I am facing something that I did not know how to handle it was O.K. to let someone else know I needed help. That was a huge step for me. As a child, or somewhere in my early development I was led to believe that I must know how to do, or take care of, or fix whatever needed to be taken care of at the moment it needed to be done. I would feel panic inside for I knew I didn’t know all the answers. That was unrealistic thinking on my part, as well as a cruel action from the one who placed the false responsibility on my shoulders.

The good news is that when we recognize faulty thinking, we can adjust our thoughts to become realistic and be free from the burdens of our past. For example: I had a great day today. For one reason, I was able to tell a student that I didn’t know how to solve a particular math problem from a new curriculum that I had never seen before. It was great because I could re-direct him to others who could assist him, and at the same time I was free to accept the fact I didn’t have to know all the answers all the time. Facing our fear, being vulnerable, makes us authentic and genuine. I believe as others see our freedom to embrace our unique and individual self, flaws and all, they too will find their own freedom.

Aug 24

Want to Finish What You Started?

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“Talk does not cook rice” -Chinese Proverb
Have you ever thought about starting a new project and felt really excited about doing it? You tell your friends, “I am going to make this… write that book, or build that new…. (Fill in the blank).” They may celebrate with you about your latest passion, while encouraging you by saying they look forward to seeing your finished project.
When we get an idea or desire to take on a new project, we can experience all kinds of emotions. We feel energetic and enthusiastic about getting started. Taking the first step we make a plan. What materials will we need and how much will it cost? How much time will it take to complete or accomplish the job? Do we need assistance to finish, or can we do it alone? If we will need help from others, will it be available? Can we count on them? In the area of time, how long will the project take? How much time investment will others have to make and will their calendar correspond with ours?
Given all those considerations, the plan moves forward. It is time to begin. The excitement increases, with money in hand, we go shopping to purchase all our supplies. We may sense a little adrenaline rush walking through isles and filling our cart with the needed items. Once back home, car unloaded and bags unpacked it is time to sit down and rest. Then we notice the clock and realize it is dinner time! We need to prepare something to put on the table, eat and then get the kitchen cleaned. We finally get all of our obligations taken care of.
Now comes the reality; it’s time to start our new project, we can begin the work! Being tired from shopping all day, it is easy to justify waiting until later. Desiring to have a fresh start in the morning, we agree it is wise to wait until tomorrow. The excitement is not quite as strong as it was when we first got the idea. Now it comes down to the “nitty-gritty”, we have another thing on our to-do list and now it may be called work. A friend calls to see how things are going. When asked about our new project we can easily explain we were tired and plan on starting on it first thing tomorrow.
As morning arrives we may receive an urgent call from a mate, friend or child requesting a helping hand. There goes our time to work on the project! We realize other people need us, so we put off what we were going to do until later. Soon the children need help, the dog gets sick, or perhaps our boss requires our attention at the office and we have to stay later! The list can go on and on. A week passes and we stumble over a small pile in the corner and notice the supplies we purchased. Our memory being jogged at that moment, we may think, “Oh, wow, totally planned on making that…, but was so busy forgot all about it. Think tomorrow will be a good day to start working on that, after all it is Saturday and I don’t have anything else I have to do.” We all know what happens tomorrow, right?
A new idea comes along, perhaps learning how to paint a picture! Always having a desire to learn how, plus having a need to do more fun things, makes a great excuse to start something new. We may believe painting would be a good stress reliever, which is true, to justify ourselves as we go to the art store. Later we call our friends and say, “Guess what, I am going to learn how to paint!” Our friends may laugh and say, “That’s good; let me see your picture when you are finished.” (Pictured above were three unfinished abstract paintings that were patiently waiting for the artist within to show up.)
It is easy to make pronouncements, we can say just about anything our hearts desire. “I am going to become a beautiful piano player!” What, no lessons required? Did I hear there is no time to practice? Do I understand that there is no piano to play? To say something and actually do it is another matter. It is easy to say we are going to do this or that to ourselves and others. We can even pronounce to the world we are going to follow our dream to be the first to climb the Alaskan glaciers; we may even have a few friends that would cheer us on.
I have been viewed as one with too many ideas and not enough time to complete them all. I realize it is important to slow down to the speed of life and focus on that which is truly important to accomplish. I believe if we focus on making fewer pronouncements, while making more commitments to accomplish what we desire to complete, we will be successful in filling our destiny.
Aug 23

Who Can I Talk To?

fall 07 326Are there times in life when we find ourselves sweating and feeling all shaky inside and we don’t know why? Do we become agitated, or even worse, notice others seem more cranky than usual? In the complex life we live, there may be moments, days, weeks, or even years where things do not occur the way we desire. Unfortunately we are all subject to painful experiences, rejection, and broken hearts.

I often wonder why we perceive it is wrong to talk about challenges we are facing. Although we know that no one is perfect, somehow it is a sign of weakness if someone talks about their real feelings, whether anger, fear, or anxiety. What happens when we become irritable? Is there some unspoken rule that states we are never supposed to express our thoughts or concerns when we are feeling any of these emotions?

Why is it that if we experience confusion and do not know what to do when there is an obvious problem?
When we are facing challenges, whatever the problem, it will affect us physically as well as emotionally. We may have difficulty and suffer with the Inability to concentrate. This is hard to deal with, creating a sense of nervousness when we are with others, especially if they are co-workers. We may feel a sensation of unreality, a pounding or racing heart, creating even more fear.

When we are dealing with physical issues, compounded with emotional issues, there may be times when speech difficulties occur as well. Fuzzy thinking, mood swings, and even being nauseated can manifest due to high stress levels. Unchecked, our bodies become fatigued, feelings of melancholy may develop, followed by depression. Many begin to experience headaches or even migraines as they attempt to internalize issues they are experiencing. What’s buried alive stays alive!

As a Heart Mender Specialist, I combine the psychological, biological and spiritual tools to help those who are hurting identify the challenges they are experiencing. Getting to the heart of the matter we can then address issues and begin moving toward the healing process. Many have stated how rewarding it is to be free to be themselves, while enjoying their new life to the fullest.

Aug 22

Why Bother?

159What can one say that is of any significance after pouring energy into teaching 145 children in a single day? Shopping for dinner, getting food on the table and the dishes cleaned? Exhaustion soon follows. How does one come up with energy and creativity enough to write words filled with passion?

I lean into my long dead compatriots – the truth tellers; I figuratively ‘lean’ with a deep longing to understand all they suffered. They ultimately communicate to me through their typewriters and big bottles of scotch. In fact, they – my immortal mentors inspire me through their long since dead time travel, their art and finely crafted skill is nothing without the courage and tenacity to speak. Speak when you are weary, speak when you are afraid, and write for all of mankind.

Solzhenitzen cited this willingness to step aside whether weary or uninspired in his Nobel Prize address. “…a work of art bears within itself its own verification: conceptions which are devised or stretched do not stand being portrayed in images, they all come crashing down, appear sickly and pale, convince no one. But the those works of art which have scooped up the truth and presented it to us as a living force- they take hold of us, compel us and nobody ever, not even in ages to come, will appear to refute them.”

I treasure my reticence at times – the humility leads me to allow others to cook or paint or to be more prolific than I am. I can rest in another’s beauty, for a moment.

Aug 21

Busy and tired?

017This is just a short and sweet note to acknowledge that we are still on the planet.  While we are here we can attempt to communicate with others about the issues that are on our heart, or we can choose to be quite and ponder things on our minds.

These days, what things occupy our minds the most? Finances, Security, Acquisitions, Ego, are some examples. What is missing in the midst of all this; communication and building trusting relationships with others due to busyness while chasing the wind?

What ever choices we make, we can grow to appreciate that which is around us and celebrate this adventure we call life.

“There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired.”

“The Great Gatsby                                                                                                      F. Scott Fitzgerald

Which are you? Care to discuss this question? For a free consultation, contact me at xtremecounselor@gmail.com

 

 

Aug 20

I was thinking, “What if”?

265My personal commitment in life is to celebrate any success, large or small. I believe each day is a gift to enjoy.  While spending time to accomplish whatever the task at hand, we all may look forward to special occasions in the future. It can be exciting when the final time arrives that we have been waiting for. There are many different things or events we all wait for in one way or the other. One may be ready and available, hoping for a promotion at work, another may be waiting for their longed for wedding day. Pregnant women who are approaching their predicted due date will have an entirely different experience, actually waiting with anticipation and great expectation!

This past week I have been excited and waiting with great trepidation. I realize the time is near and soon there will be major changes in my life. While waiting for this to occur I became tempted to worry about the “What If’s. What if raging fires get out of control and destroy the whole world completely? What if the ocean suddenly left its boundaries and crashed over the mountains, flooded the valley, and swept us all out to sea in a millisecond? What if one of the key players in this exciting event tragically flew over a cliff while driving over the mountains and no one knew where to find them? Or, what if I wrote the wrong date down and completely missed out on the whole opportunity to participate? What if all the things that could go wrong did go wrong all at the same time? How would I handle taking care of business; after all I am trained in psychotherapy and in the field of emergency and critical incident stress management.

Is it possible that we all entertain thoughts that are similar to those I just shared? I wrote the above examples, although they are obviously exaggerated, to point out that we all can easily worry about things that others may view as highly unlikely. Yet, when someone is of this mindset anxiety, anger, fear and agitation or excitement will manifest as logical thinking momentarily disappears. Looking from a positive point of view, there are also times when these emotions occur even when a wonderful experience is about to take place.

I will use the example of a woman giving birth. I do so because it is so unpredictable. Under usual conditions doctors can estimate the time frame the baby will be born. Only the mother will be able to say, “It is time”, as she begins her final journey in labor. There is an excitement and joy that climaxes to a level that our written language cannot describe as a new-born baby is delivered.  At that exact same moment, anxiety levels rise with the fear of the unknown that is tantamount to a soldier on the battle field. As the baby draws its first breath and lets out a cry, those with the mother let out a sigh of relief and with tears of joy. I realize all fear, worry, and hand-wringing did not make any difference in the outcome in my past. So I choose to celebrate this day once again, and surrender the care of the outcome with silent and grateful confidence that the what if’s do not matter.

 

 

 

 

Aug 18

Looking back in time

215Although I was born in a city in California, my father did not think the Bay Area was a good place to raise six daughters. We were all surprised when he came home one day and put a for sale sign in the yard. He was a contractor and carpenter by trade. He made a great living due to the fact the city was continually growing up all around us. Dad had the foresight and willingness to make sacrifices to provide and protect his family. He found a small 20 acre dairy/ranch located hundreds of miles north of the city that would become our new home.

As a child I never gave thought about how hard it would be to literally pack up your whole family, (no boys included to help with the loading), and move everything, piano included, to the unknown world called Glenn County. Our new ranch house only had two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Of course dad had his own, being the only male in the house.

As you can guess, I being the fifth of six girls got the short end of the stick many times. One of which had to do with having time in the bathroom to get ready for school. That may seem unusual to mention here, yet it was a very important place in our house. The pecking order was in full force, not just out in the chicken coop. After all, where do young girls get to style their hair, put on their make-up, view them self in the mirror; to assure they were presentable before leaving the house, no matter the occasion?

My youngest sister was treated differently because she was the youngest. I can imagine what she went through, in some ways being treated special because she was the last child, but she also had to deal with being left out, hearing things like, no she can’t go; she is too young, she has to stay home!

Isn’t it amazing how well we can see as we get older? I wonder what she went through dealing with her five older sisters always telling her what to do or worse yet, what she couldn’t do. Top it off, having a mother that may be over protective in one way, and not protective in another. This of course is all speculation on my part. I hear hind sight is 20/20.

Looking back on things from an adult’s point of view helps me to see things in a different light.One of which is the fact that there are some parents who are willing to sacrifice their own desires to help their children grow up to be healthy adults. The reality that there are also parents who are not willing to take responsibility to raise their children properly, who also abuse them in many areas is hard to comprehend.

As a former mental health professional, I believe this was one of the most painful areas to work with. How can one not love their own off spring? Some view their child as a threat, jealous of their budding gifts, talents and strengths. Others see their children as a hindrance, as another thing in their way as they desire to have fun or do drugs. There are many reasons why a mother or father will reject a child.

When going through counseling with a therapist, priest or pastor, counselor, or with me as a Heart Mender Specialist, each professional will treat the situation differently. I have found many times to be very successful in helping others see faulty thought patterns and relieve suffering. The choice to see someone for help, especially as a Broken Heart Mender Specialist, may be scary at first. As one who is Doctoral trained as a clinical psychologist, I have learned many reasons why we may disconnect and act accordingly. It takes time to build a trusting relationship. It is difficult to understand that the truth is ‘now’ is the perfect and only time we can actually take time to address concerns we have.

As a Heart Mender Specialist I hear stories on a daily basis of abuse and neglect. My job is to help relieve suffering, as well as to help re-frame thoughts to adjust to the realities we all may suffer one way or the other. As I stated earlier, daddy was willing to make sacrifices to move away from that which he had known for our benefit. There are times when we may also need to make sacrifices, walk away from the familiar to be able to be free from the past.Contact me for a free consultation if you have a desire to address past or present issues and experience the freedom to enjoy life to its fullest.

Aug 17

Limited Communication

ViviLnkIf we were restricted with a limitation of five hundred words to communicate a message, what words would we choose to be spoken? Would it depend on the audience? What are the circumstances? Would they be the last words ever spoken to an individual or a group? Is this a time when one would desire to leave a legacy, saying words to be remembered by?

We all know we are here for a limited time offer. Losing loved ones is a reminder of the harsh reality of life and death. As I humbly write, there are many others also sharing their thoughts. (Limited to only five hundred words? I see by the word count, I have already used over one hundred and still not made my point). When we communicate orally we may not think about the reality of how many words we use. We may take for granted we have the ability to say what we think without restrictions. In addition, we expect others to understand and hopefully agree with us.

Communication is important if it is orally or in writing. There is a power that takes place when something is written. A Binding Contract, Lease agreement, Wedding License, a Copyright , or even my Diploma’s and State License to Practice, hanging on the wall, these are all written documents in one form or another. Seeing them, we equate there is some type of business, education, or commitment attached to them.

Using the knowledge I received in school as well as working with clients, I have found how therapeutic it can be to use a different type of writing; some refer to it as journaling. When we are willing to take time to write our thoughts down in a free flowing style, a process takes place that relieves stress, it is a type of de-cluttering the mind, while making room for creative thinking to occur.

Are we really limited to five hundred words to be able to express ourselves? Perhaps if we were writing a newspaper article, an assignment for our Professor, or a magazine company that has a prescribed word limit for their agency submissions. Outside of those types of parameters, we are free to allow our thoughts to be recorded in the written form in any way we desire. Some enjoy writing on the computer, others desire to use a pencil and paper and write the old fashion way.

Personally, I love to hand write in my journal, perhaps I may even sketch something, be creative and glue something I picked up when I was out and about. For example, when we go out for Chinese, we love to get the fortune cookies so we can read the silly little notes stuffed inside. It is fun to save them and stick them in my journal, writing a small note about dinner and capture a great memory I had with my family.

In addition, I realize at times while writing in my journal, I may be agonizing about an injustice and need a safe place to vent my emotions about that issue. Other times I may jot down notes about another great book idea I would like to write in the future. I do not edit my journals, nor do I fear my children will read them after I am gone and think poorly of me. I believe it is important to be transparent to a degree and choose our words wisely.

Many of us desire to write down our thoughts to assure they are not forgotten, but then we let fear or procrastination stops us. My question is this, if we do not write down our history, who will? I am talking about our individual history, or future events we will be involved with which also is our history in the making. Because some other author was willing to learn and then actually do the work to write their book, we can enjoy the labor of their hands. Looking back in history, I doubt William Shakespeare would have ever dreamed his name and his work would be available to read and to talk about in the year 2015.

I am thankful as a writer I am not limited to only 500 words to express my thoughts. Especially now; for I was totally surprised with an early birthday gift; a Professional “Master Class” Writing Course by James Patterson! “He suggests we write a million words before we start writing our book! I will adventure to say I have done that over the course of time.

Nevertheless, I want to encourage others to appreciate the fact we have the ability to read and write, knowing there are many who in this world who do not. For those who may, l encourage them to share their thoughts with others and willing embrace their passion in life while celebrating their ability to communicate freely.

Aug 16

Who Am I? Where Am I and Now What Do I Do?

DSC03865There are so many questions in life.  How many times did I ask these questions before? It seems like I am always asking questions, yet that is part of the learning process. I am curious how I may be of service to others while dealing with my own challenges in humanity. If we entertain the thought we should have all of our ‘shit’ together before we can help others, we will be sadly disappointed and never be available. For those who are surprised I said the “S” word, hopefully I did not offend you. In my professional world I would not say that out loud. In my reality, while being transparent, I am reaching out to others to say there are times when there is no other word to describe the “S”…. in our lives, although stuff is a great alternative word.

I confess I mess up, get tired, make mistakes and disappoint myself as well as others many times. We call that in my profession as being human. I believe we can all agree upon that.  Although I do not desire to blow it, as some would say, I do! Then I pray, “Now what”? When we are vulnerable and real, the predators may see us as weak and think they can take advantage of, steal or even kill us. Yet, I am of the mindset that if I am not being realistic and genuine, at this very moment, I am just another voice blowing off at the mouth. (Oh my, did I day that out loud? Some may ask, “Wow, what got into Brenda”?)

If we are honest with ourselves for one moment, we would acknowledge that there are times when we just want to whine, complain, express ourselves in a way that may not be exactly pleasing, and yet we do not know where we can do so. Is it safe to actually express our thoughts and emotions with the one we are with? Do we tip toe around others so we do not upset or offend them? How do we vent, let off steam, talk about the disturbing emotions that are very real, but hidden deep within?

I realize I have shared even more questions than I stated previously. As a Heart Mender Specialist, I work with those who desire to express themselves without fear of repercussions. We all need to be free to talk about the issues that are on our heart without the fear of judgment, condemnation, or betrayal. When we have the opportunity to share thoughts with one who is trusted to keep confidentiality, we can find solutions to the challenges we face within as well as without. I encourage those who are ready to ask questions and find answers to contact me for a free consultation. We can begin looking at that famous question, “Now What”, while working together to find the answers hidden deep within those ready to hear.