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Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won’t come in. – Alan Alda

People assume things all the time. We think just because someone “looks” a certain way, they must be a, b, c. But is this really true?

I have had many assumptions made of me in the last few weeks/months:

“You must be in pain all the time.” (No, actually I have never been physically stronger.)
“You can’t walk very far.” (No, actually I can walk a mile in 15 minutes.)
“I love hanging out with the underdog.” (Actually I am your equal.)
“You must be getting that promotion at work because of your disability.” (No, actually I am worth the promotion because I put time and effort and energy into a job that I enjoy.)
“I see you are in pain. Can I pray for you?” (No thank you.)
“Well, you are ‘different’” (I am, but not in ways that you might think. We are all unique!)

Assumptions are natural. You see something/someone and a whole bunch of ideas are formed. But are they true? What you think you see, isn’t always the reality for the person whom you see a trait in.

I can tell you that I have never truly identified as ‘different’ or ‘disabled’. Yes, I acknowledge that the disability is part of who I am. It is not all of who I am. In fact, rare is it that I wake up in the morning with “Hi Liz, you gorgeous disabled person” coming out of my mouth as I look in the mirror. Usually it is “nice bed head, Lizzie” and I jump in the shower.

I have come to accept my disability to the point where I can honestly, from the heart, say that what people see as my biggest weakness, has become my greatest strength. I would not be who I am today, were it not for being born with a disability. It is part of who I am. It makes me who I am. But it is not all of who I am.

I am much more sensitive to others, and I have a greater appreciation for people who face adversity and overcome, with beauty and grace. I try my best to accept people for who they are. I have more compassion. I am much more assertive because I had to be. I am more free to express my emotions. I have a strong sense of spirituality, and a sense of who I am. These are all qualities I believe I have developed because of my disability.

I have to admit that every time I get assumptions made, it still shocks and hurts me a bit. (Even after all these years of experience!) I think that is a good thing, because it shows that I have accepted me, as me. I can be dressed to the 9′s having a high self-esteem day, and a remark from a stranger reminds me that people do see me as different.

I see myself as whole and beautiful. I try to see these remarks as opportunities to heal and build the foundation of wholeness and self acceptance within me even more. Some days, that process is easier than others. Some days, I have yelling matches with God. In the most recent yelling match, a small voice inside, said, “use this experience to teach others.”

So, here I am in my vulnerability, sharing with you. :)

Assumptions. How can the assumptions people make about you, bring you to a place of more self-love and self-respect?

Use the energy for your good. Keep in mind when assumptions are made, that people are simply unaware.

Rainy day people always seem to know when it’s time to call
Rainy day people don’t talk, they just listen till they’ve heard it all
Rainy day lovers don’t lie when they tell ‘ya they’ve been down like you
Rainy day people don’t mind if you’re cryin’ a tear or two
If you get lonely, all you really need is that rainy day love – Gordon Lightfoot

Recently, a friend was in from Alberta. As usual, we got together and it was like we just spoke yesterday. One of those connections that I really treasure, for many reasons. She intuitively knows what to say and when to say it. And conversely, knows when to say nothing at all. She “gets me”. Really “gets me”.

What I love the most about rainy day people in my life is how I feel when I am with them. I can be totally and completely all of who I am, without masks or pretense. There truly are no thoughts of limits or holding back when I am around the rainy day crowd. They are who they are. I am who I am. There is a simple genuine acceptance that makes my heart swell with gratitude, and my mind swims with thoughts of “how did I manage to have such awesome people in my life?”

I have had some challenging days in the recent past where I just felt like the wind has been knocked out of me. Yet, I spend a few hours with my rainy day (and sunny day and every day and any day!) friend and all of that just disappears. We listened to each other as we shared from the heart about what we were both facing. Gradually I felt calm and more Liz-ish again. She helped me reconnect with my truth and just know who I am. Just by being there. No magic or fixing or anything. She was just fully herself and fully present. Simple. And so wonderful (and needed) for my spirit.

How can you reconnect with the rainy day friends in your life? Friends are so important. Take time to reconnect with them, and with yourself.

PS: I love ya, Lynley. Have a good trip home. xo

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens….. These are a few of my favorite things – Julie Andrews, the Sound of Music.

What are some of your favorite things? Do you have a list? Thinking of the things we love opens us up to the good things in life. Thinking of what gives us pleasure shifts our energy into the positive and invites more positive in.

What about taking this concept to another level, and  thinking about our favorite thoughts, to get us into the positive stream? Thoughts have the power to lift us up.

Here is a list of words and phrases that I use. Take a few seconds to meditate on each one.

• Keep moving forward.

• Allow.

• Let it come to me.

• Trust.

• Love.

• Let go.

• Just be.

• Have fun.

• Laugh.

• Hug

• Remember where you came from. Cherish the journey.

• Wait for the right things. You will know what they are.

• Smile.

• You are not alone.

• Hope.

• Bless others.

• Be here now.

• Be happy.

• Appreciate.

• I am loved, loving and loveable.

Try to make a list of thoughts and words to keep you focused on the positive. It will move you from limited thinking to possibility thinking.

Regrets

After a three month hiatus from writing, I have chosen this one from the archives. Will be writing more, just getting back into the groove.

Ever find yourself thinking, “Why did I do that?”

Regrets are part of life, but they can teach us a lot if we are open to the lessons. We all have times in our lives that we wish would could have responded better in the moment. Maybe we didn’t take an opportunity and risk failure. Or better yet, risk success. Staying in the regret serves no useful purpose except to remind us of our limits.

We all have things we haven’t done. We all have things we wish we had said, not said. But all we have is today. We can’t bring back the regrets of yesterday to fix them. But we can live life today aware of these situations, and make small changes to make them better.

Not that long ago, in the midst of a heated discussion, someone pointed out a character flaw of mine. In the heat of the moment, I refused to see this as a truth of mine. When I stepped back, I did see that it was true.

Once I saw the truth in what the person said, I realized that I could use this feedback to become bitter and live in the regret, or to become better, and use the regret to my advantage. This time I chose the better option. I started to write about what I wanted to change. I started to see my life differently, and took the time to be grateful for the awareness. It doesn’t take a lot of energy to put awareness into action. I have found it is a decision.

Regrets can have a negative effect on us, preventing us from wanting to try again. But if we are gentle with ourselves and see the lessons, we can change for the better.

How can you use the regrets of your yesterdays to make today a better experience for you and everyone you are connected to?

Nothing is more important than reconnecting with your bliss. Nothing is as rich. Nothing is more real. — Deepak Chopra

I had coffee with an old friend recently, and it was just what I needed. She reminded me of how important it is to stay true to myself. A message that became so lost in the last few months. I wasn’t connecting to myself, I was scattered everywhere – grasping at straws.

I have always known the life I have wanted to create – and at age 42, I finally understand that I am more powerful to create it than I ever realized. All it takes is staying connected. Connected to that quiet part of me that knows my truth. Yes, I want to be loved and accepted by others, but ultimately, I have to live my life, and be at peace with my choices.

When I get quiet and just let things flow, a soft voice whispers to me and calls me back to my passions. Remember me? It laughs. Yes, I remember you – you are the voice that never fails me. My intuition. My God-instinct.

It is so easy for us to get distracted by the ways life can pull us in different directions. I can spend my time beating myself up or being grateful for the distractions that ultimately teach me the greatest lessons. I can say “man, I screwed up again!!” or I can say “this really taught me a valuable lesson. I bet I will be able to pass it on to someone else one day.”

Reconnecting to what I value is so important – because it reminds me of how simple I want my life to be. I don’t need a lot of glitz and showy outer circumstances to be happy in this life. I value the simple things. Laughter. Friends who “get me”. A job that makes me want to bounce in to work every day. Travel. Love. I have all these things. I just get disconnected from them occasionally.

The disconnects add a lot of flavor to life. It all works together to create a wonderful story of truth. Truth and a sense of adventure. There are no mistakes, only experiences. It doesn’t matter how long it takes me to get back on the right path, just as long as I do. And I usually do.

Have you forgotten what makes you happy? How can you reconnect to the part of you that holds the vision for your life?

Let go of the need to beat yourself up, and appreciate the side steps on your path that hold the greatest lessons. A return to the wonder of YOU.

Every friend is to the other a sun, and a sunflower also. He attracts and follows. – Jean Paul Richter

The sunflower is my favorite. It’s yellow. My favorite color. It’s sturdy, with a thick stalk. When you stand it up in a vase it STANDS. There is no weakness to the sunflower. Yet it yields and follows the sun. It searches for light. It has an inborn flexibility that helps it flow with life’s natural rhythms.

My kinship to the sunflower is not an accident. I too have sought the light many days in my life. Sadly, I spent a lot of years caught in the darkness of my own thoughts. Not good enough. Not smart enough. I was VERY black and white in my thinking. It was THIS way or forget it. I couldn’t wrap my head around the gray areas of life.

Over the years I have learned to yield, but the process has not been easy. It’s not a quick fix, and there are still days where I just want to droop over and hide from the light.

What keeps me going in those droopy days is knowing that there is a bigger plan for my life. I might not see the big picture, but I know everything is purposeful.

A friend of mine said to me a few weeks ago – Liz when’s the last time you bought yourself flowers?

No idea.

Why don’t you go buy yourself some and when you do – think of how much God loves you? He made those flowers for you, you know.

I said pfft… what’s a dumb flower going to do to my relationship with God?

Just do it Liz.

What a dumb idea. I didn’t do it – I just let it go.

A few weeks back, I had another friend over for dinner. She asked what she could bring. We are both watching our weight so she decided she would bring me flowers.

What’s your favorite kind?

Sunflowers.

Hmm, might be too early for sunflowers but I will try.

She came in and said – Liz they just got sunflowers in at the florist half hour before I got there.

I nearly fell over. I didn’t go get my own flowers, so life found another way. And, I received flowers that were not readily available. Kinda wild. Yet strangely purposeful.

We are all loved.

Look for the tiny clues in life that reconnect you to the important things.

In your darkest times, you will find the light.

Keep your face to the sunshine and you will never see the shadow. – Helen Keller

The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the tiny pushes of each honest worker.~ Helen Keller

Do you ever feel lost? Wonder what the next step on your path is? Take the time to whisper your hearts desires and let them be known. Then have the courage to let them go. Be happy without your dreams.
Pfft, what kind of craziness is that? Be happy without creating my deepest desire? Are you on glue, lady?
If you let go and allow the tiny pushes of life guide you – it is amazing what can happen. Step by step, moment by moment, we can be moved to creating what we are learning to live happily without.
For the past three years all I have wanted is to be a professional speaker. I have begged pleaded and grovelled with the Universe. I have ate, dreamed, slept, shaved and showered with this dream. I have been on my knees pleading for opportunities to deliver a message I am passionate about. The more I pushed for it, the more aggravated I became. The dream was in me, and I wanted it to be bigger than life itself, and I wanted it to all happen yesterday!
Truth is, I am not ready for the full dream to happen. There are baby steps that I have to take in order to see this dream to the end. The first steps are always the hardest, and my first step is to absolutely let go of the end of this scene in my life. Surrender the dream, and allow life and its forces to gently push me to the next step, rather than try and take leaps and bounds when the foundations are not in place yet.
Nearly every day, something happens that gives me that ooglie feeling of glee, whenever I think of helping others with my message, and my experience. A tiny reminder that while I don’t see results in front of me right now, there are things happening in the background to bring my dream into alignment. I hold on to those moments of glee when I am feeling lost. They remind me that I am on the right path. They keep me grateful for being exactly who I am and where I am right now. They comfort me when I start to over-think and analyze, and wonder what I am doing wrong. Find your glee, and the rest will fall into place.
The tiny pushes often come from the least expected sources. A line in a book. A lyric in a song. A conversation with an acquaintance. An out-of-the-blue crazy thought. Life is constantly talking to us. Are we taking the time to get quiet and listen? The nudges and tiny pushes are there, if we surrender our need to push things ourselves, and let life guide us gently to the next step.
What gives you that ooglie feeling? Find your glee and surrender to it. Let life guide you to your next step, rather than force it by pushing your way through. The process that unfolds can be amazing.

We live in a busy world. People have too much responsibility at their jobs, and often are committed to many activities outside of work. Overload is common. Stress is a given. Overload and stress can be kind of isolating, and we can end up feeling like “does any one care?”
It’s easy to say “I’m too busy.” The job and the laundry will always be there. Will your connection to friends still be there if you let “being busy” stand as a reason not to take 5 minutes?

It takes 5 minutes to make a call to a friend.

It takes 5 minutes to answer an email.

It takes 5 minutes to buy a friend a coffee.

It takes 5 minutes to send a card.

I often get caught up in my own life and before I know it I haven’t called friends or spent any time emailing an actual “how are you” rather than just forwarding some cutesy chain letter email – that yes, says “I am thinking about you” – but am I really?
It often takes recommitting to maintaining friendships and spending 5 minutes here and there to say “I care”. Yes we are all busy and tired, but I always find a smile on my face when a friend takes the time to send a “Hey, you still alive?” message. Life might be frantic, but that one little note brings a calm inside. I am reminded that the busy-ness is worth it, knowing that people care, and I am still connected to others.
When the time comes that I am no longer around, I would rather be remembered for the silly things I did to let people know I cared, rather than leaving an estate for people to divide and argue about in my absence.
I am a big list fan, so here’s my list of connectedness activities: (and these are all things I have actually done, to let people know I care.)
• sing to friends and coworkers – a good lalalaaaaaaaaaaaaah can go a long way, and takes way less than 5 minutes.
• write notes to friends that simply say ‘I like you’. They’ll talk about it for months afterward.
• Call friends and say ‘Hi, I am too busy to talk right now, OK BYE!!’, and then hang up. Call back later and laugh about it.
• Send emails with smileys in them. Nothing like the magic of smileys to brighten someone’s day. (Admittedly, I have a bias here – but you can find something that works for you!)
• Write lists of what you like about your friends. Give them the list.
• Write a letter that says “Still alive???” – you’ll bring them a smile.
• Send someone a gift card for something they really like. Attach a note that says “I forget what you look like and I miss you”.

There are many creative ways to keep people in the know that you care about them.

What can you do to nurture your friendships and keep them alive in a time when everyone is crazy busy?

No more excuses! Just do it! :)

100% me.

Ever have one of those days where you wish you weren’t quite so much “you”? Take a little off the top and let me be a little less me, please. Give me 85% of the good stuff and lets chop off the other 15% and bag it for the curb. If there were a barber shop for personality restructuring, that’s something I might order off the menu some days.
I had a flash of anger at a comment some one made to me recently and I let them know that I was angry – boy did I ever let them know. I spent the rest of that day and the next day punishing myself for the outburst.
“How could I have reacted that big over something that small?” Why did I take that so out of context and blow it into this monster that ate at my brain for two days? I didn’t use the “water off a duck’s back” that has saved me from personalizing others comments. How could I be such a bad person? Gawd, I don’t want to get out of bed. And I didn’t.
Granted, I over reacted. Yet in that moment, I was being 100% me. My reaction was authentic. I didn’t hold back. I showed my vulnerability to what was being said. I honored myself in my over-reaction and saw that there was more to that moment than what was happening then. It uncovered old issues that I had to revisit. It uncovered more of the 15% that I prefer to hide.
There is a quiet beauty that comes from not holding any of my 100% back. I discover more layers of who I am, and I can put more of the pieces of the puzzle together. Punishing myself for two days definitely shed light on my need to be perfect. Yet over and over again, I am shown that every moment is perfect. I am learning that in every moment there is no other option but to surrender to being myself, flaws and all.
This incident showed me that I can start to accept that I make choices, not mistakes. Every moment is a choice, and choices do not need to be scrutinized. I can look at the deeper layers and the healing that can take place if I choose that for myself. I can appreciate the gift of simply expressing anger rather than hiding it and putting on the masks that I have crafted over the years that tell the world I am ok on the outside while I am screaming on the inside.
There is definite freedom in being 100% me. And the rare glimpse of contentment with that freedom spurs me on to invite more of the same into my life. Here’s to unmasking more of that dreaded 15% that I want to run from!
How can you invite more self acceptance and peace into your life by acknowledging your full 100%? It’s only when we acknowledge the fullness of who we are that our limits can fall away easily.

“Stick a sock in it.”
“Go fly a kite!”
“You’re weird!”

Ever blurt out something in the heat of the moment and later say “wow, that was blunt!”

How much honesty is too much? Is there a balance in letting someone know your truth, maintaining your integrity, while having the other person’s feelings in mind when you share it?

Whenever I have been blunt, it usually is a mask for the fear I feel in confronting someone about their behavior. Telling someone I am feeling uneasy about something requires a certain amount of vulnerability. At times, I don’t want the person to see the hurt I feel, so I interact bluntly, rather than show the person, with a bit of tact, the impact of their actions.

Being blunt is not always the best solution to resolving issues. If anything it shows how limited a person really is in their ability to fully communicate. Blunt interactions do not invite the other person to share. In fact it often scares people away, making them shy to want to interact again. Put things bluntly, and people are instantly on their guard and walls go up.

Softening our approach to letting someone know our feelings creates something entirely different. In fact, it opens doors to understanding, compassion, and healing. It shows our human side, and allows others to relate back to their experiences of a similar nature. It clears the air and sheds light on miscommunication without defenses rising. It brings people together. It creates bonds and strengthens relationships.

How can softening your communication style help you move beyond limits in your interactions with others?

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