<![CDATA[Serendipity - Blog]]>Fri, 17 Feb 2017 15:44:11 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[I Am Beautiful]]>Mon, 06 Feb 2017 12:10:12 GMThttp://healingwithserendipity.com/blog/i-am-beautifulPicture
By Brenna Steiner

“I am beautiful.”

#loveyourbody #loveyourself #bodypositive #prioritizeYOU #meFirstthenYou
I was maybe ten years old. I had developed earlier than the other girls in my school.  I was shy about it, and probably a little confused as to why I looked different than the other females my age. On a day I can quite vividly remember, a classmate thought it was appropriate to have a conversation about it with me. 
Walking in our single-file line to the library, this young girl in front of me stopped suddenly. She turned around with this expression of excitement as if she had a secret she was about to share. With her eyes so big and so blue, she began to examine me up and down. In a movement so sneaky and quick, she extended her hands out in the direction of my chest. Aggressively and uninvited this young peer of mine squeezed my “baby” breasts. She made a face of disgust that I still vaguely remember and said, "Why do you have those?"
I didn’t know the answer yet. I was confused myself. Then again, I didn’t know she was wrong in her behavior. I didn’t know that I had just been violated. The moment shocked me beyond thinking. In my shock and ignorance, I followed the lead in her apparent disgust. I believed that she was right and I was wrong. I was wrong for having breasts, and wrong for standing out.
In that moment and in many more to follow, I began to develop the practice of disowning my body as my own, as well as disconnecting from my sense of Self out of fear that another would deem me “unlovable.”   As a teenager familiar with exercise, I found myself working out all of the time. Not eating, then eating everything in sight. In remorse for what I had done, I would go so far as to make myself sick to correct the “wrong.” Every morning I would wake up, hoping that my reflection in the mirror had changed and that some or all of my disowned parts would magically vanish. I learned to reject my body every morning, and lived each day ready to abandon myself in exchange for acceptance.  
This is how many of our stories unfold. For some, the beginning is more devastating. As a health and fitness professional, I am approached by individuals who want to abandon their bodies for a better one. They tell me, “I want to get rid of this…” as they lift up their arm shoulder-height and flick their middle finger
against the extra skin under their arm. Others will grab the loose parts of their belly or hips and shake it with both hands. “How do I get rid of this?” they’ll ask. 
As a coach, I can lead the way with appropriate diet change and purposeful exercise with the finish line being a trimmer physique. What is the point if you continue to look in the mirror waiting with anticipatory anxiety for those “parts” to return? 
We are not whole until we choose to embrace and love all that makes us who we are. This is transformation.  
My life changed when I stopped looking for acceptance from others and started asking myself for it instead. I finally stopped caring if I had the “perfect” body, as long as I felt amazing in my body! I stopped caring if someone didn’t like my outfit or my haircut. I stopped caring if my choices offended someone. I learned to care what I felt in situations and to listen long enough to know how to respond. 
Imagine what it would be like to look into the mirror and feel enamored by what you see. Imagine what it would feel like to find yourself joyous at the sight of your own smile reflected back at you. Imagine going through life feeling free in your body. Imagine feeling grateful for how far you’ve come.
What do you want to experience that has a hold on your heart? The life you want to live is a choice and a thought away. You are that close to your New Life. Believe me, with a mindset of love, the body of your dreams will come. In love, the dreams you have for your life will find you.
As American Tibetan Buddhist, Pema Chodron, says, “Start where you are.”
1. Accept first that it is okay to feel uncomfortable. Let go of what you want and be with what is right now. Think of your body as your child for a moment. Would you criticize a child for their “imperfect parts?” I imagine you’re thinking that a child has no imperfect parts. Such is my point. Neither do you. The only reason you feel that you are imperfect is because you are judging yourself and probably the choices that “got you here.” Let go of that bull shit.  You are here now, and YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.
 2. Be willing to act with Love, not discipline.  Nourish yourself with food, do not deprive yourself of it! Instead of allowing the thought preceding a meal to be, “Is this going to make me fat?” Instead ask, “In this moment, will eating this nourish me?” Listen and respond to that answer.
3. You are not what you eat. You are how you eat.  Breathe between bites. Taste your food. Enjoy it! The stress of dieting and eating to prevent weight gain in the name of a better body can create a distressed mental state. A distressed mind is a distressed body. A distressed body is primed to run from a tiger, not digest and assimilate food. GET OFF OF YOUR DIET. Bless your food with a thought of gratitude, slow down and enjoy the goodness of each bite. Your body will thank you.
4. Relax, and enjoy the process.  This is your greatest opportunity to learn how to best love YOU! Sometimes our thoughts are the only thing holding us back from experiencing everything we’ve hoped for. By changing your mind, your body will follow. By trusting this process, so will your life.
We all experience some degree of pain or trauma in our lives. Each one of us can carry the weight of these experiences quite literally. We do have a choice. We can let go of that weight. Permanently. We can interrupt the negative self-talk and choose to nourish our minds with loving and supportive thoughts. We can let go of the deprivation diets and instead choose to nourish our bodies with heavenly, delicious food. And we can finally let go and nourish our spirit by jumping two feet into the life we always wanted for ourselves, but were too afraid to live. 
Do it. 
Do it now.
Look in the mirror today and greet the person who looks back at you. Introduce yourself as the New You, and tell that mirror what you see. 
If you remember nothing else today, remember this:
 You are whole. You are perfect. You are beautiful. You are beyond this world amazing. 
Go out into this world and live that truth.
We’re waiting for you.

<![CDATA[How New Age Thinking Can Ruin Your Life]]>Sat, 04 Feb 2017 13:53:31 GMThttp://healingwithserendipity.com/blog/how-new-age-thinking-can-ruin-your-life3380601“Whatever you do, don’t think negative thoughts or you will bring them to life.”

Whenever I read this or hear someone say this I want to scream. First, I stop and question if that is true because, well, I’m human and if it is true, I’m screwed. Then, I let my intuitive and logical mind unite and remind me that, if that was the case, I would have been poisoned, stabbed, suffocated, burned to ashes, drowned, publically flogged or have been locked up in a padded room by now.

And since that hasn’t happened yet, I’m pretty sure that this “fact” can be re-categorized as an urban myth. As a rational minded mental health professional who is equally committed to her spiritually based mindset, this popular belief drives me even more nuts.

When someone tells you not to think negatively, it’s like saying, don’t think of the color red. Whatever you do, don’t do it. Don’t think of the color red. Block it out of your mind. Don’t do it! Are you doing it? Are you thinking of the color red? Why are you thinking of the color red?? I told you not to. Now your whole world is going to look red. And in your effort of making yourself feel better, you instead feel like a failure, beating yourself up because for the life you, you simply can not block red from your thoughts.  Which makes the red feel even brighter and stronger in your mind.

When we experience challenging moments in life, we are going to have negative thoughts. We are going to have sad thoughts and angry thoughts and fear filled thoughts. To tell ourselves we shouldn’t feel that way is a huge disservice and setback to our healing process.Giving ourselves permission to feel and think how we are feeling in the moment is sooo important in the process of acceptance. To deny ourselves how we really feel....Keep Reading

<![CDATA[Who Will You Be Today? The Importance of Being Yourself]]>Sun, 29 Jan 2017 17:32:34 GMThttp://healingwithserendipity.com/blog/who-will-you-be-today-the-importance-of-being-yourselfI stood in the dark parking lot for several minutes before going inside the restaurant that waited for my arrival. The expectation of the night remained unknown.  I was unprepared and uncomfortable and really, I didn’t genuinely want to be there. Yet the discomfort of the invite drew me in as a means of addressing one more fear I’d long held.

It wasn’t meant to be a big deal, this networking dinner I’d been asked to attend.  My friend said “come mingle and meet people in your field”. I knew it was a good idea, meeting new mental health professionals who had long worked independently. I loved to share my views on mental health. I wasn’t new to the work, but I was just beginning my private practice so I didn’t at feel like I knew what I was doing. I was insecure in my ability to share my opinions independently, not representing anyone else other than myself. 

I heard the question in the darkness break my internal stillness….”Who am I going to be tonight?”

It was a valid question. I’d spent most of my career in a profession that required me to filter my words and opinions. I had to craft my views wisely to ensure the face I showed was acceptable to the employer I represented.  I could not have been successful if I didn’t curb my true inner thoughts and feelings…which was also the reason I was no longer there.  I longed to break free of the constraints and in that parking lot, I recognized that I was free. This was my choice, my gig, my terms, and yet I wasn’t exactly sure what that looked like.  I wanted to assist whichever part of me was going to show up to be prepared.

After a brief assessment of who was best suited for the presentation, I heard the next question…”why don’t you just be yourself?”

The exhale came fast. I was terrified. The internal fears flooded quickly. “What will they think of me if I share my non traditional views? How will they reject me once they realize I am not one of them? Will the start of my new career be the end of it?”

And then…”wait, what am I really afraid of? I have absolutely nothing to lose. Go be yourself and try her on. What’s not to like?”

Deep breath.  Keep Reading...
<![CDATA[An Apology to My Body]]>Sun, 29 Jan 2017 17:25:22 GMThttp://healingwithserendipity.com/blog/an-apology-to-my-bodyBy Debbie Williams

I apologized to my body the other day.

It was right after the holidays, and I was mad at it for being heavy and bloated and for not fitting into any of my clothes. I felt angry and betrayed and a little tired of this all-too-familiar situation. And then I came to my senses. Blaming my body for gaining weight after being fed a steady diet of Christmas cookies and alcohol for the last few weeks was like blaming my car for running out of gas. Over the years this body bore two healthy children, ran a half marathon, competed in a triathlon and a slew of other races, and has been free of major injury or illness, despite my penchant for Cheetos and twizzlers. I was the only one to blame for the shape my body was in. I have one body to take care of, and not only was I mistreating it with food, but now I was directing my misguided anger at it. And so I apologized. And my body responded……by getting sick.

To be fair, it waited until the most opportune time, if there is such a thing. It waited until my daughter was over the stomach bug and both kids were back at school. It even waited until my dog, who had been under the weather the previous day, was responding to his medications and feeling better. But at 5:30 Wednesday morning, I woke suddenly with the feeling that something wasn’t right. Had I heard a noise? Was the dog ok? Did I smell smoke? No, no, and no. Then what the…? OH!

I slept all day Wednesday (minus a trip to the bathroom every two hours). The worst of it was over by the time the kids got home from school and, since we had nothing to do that night, I just dozed on the couch until it was time for bed. Now I have a pretty good immune system, so I figured after a good night’s sleep I would be back to normal. On Thursday morning I got up, made the kids lunches, helped them get ready for school, and walked them to the bus. And I. Was. Exhausted.

By 8 am I was on the couch “for a rest” and woke up two hours later wondering what day it was and if anyone had gotten the license plate of the bus that hit me. For the rest of the day I was essentially useless. Any attempt to climb the stairs left me winded, and moving around made me dizzy. It was even hard to focus on reading. So I watched TV and dozed, reluctantly. I kept thinking of all the things that needed to get done around the house. And I felt guilty. Hopefully by Friday I would be better!


But something had changed. I wasn’t fighting it anymore. While I didn’t want to be on the couch one more day, I knew it was what my body needed to heal completely. So I surrendered and spent the morning catching up on emails and old magazines- necessary chores, but ones that were never high on my priority list. I figured if I was going to be stuck on the couch, I might as well get something done. And then I realized…..how often do we get to truly relax? If I was feeling better, I would be on the move- doing laundry, vacuuming, going to the gym, grocery shopping… I wouldn’t be spending the day on the couch under a comfy blanket, slowing down, reading that book that’s been gathering dust on my nightstand, and binge watching the show I’ve always wanted to watch.

So that’s what I did all afternoon. And I didn’t feel the least bit guilty about it. Tomorrow would be filled with chores and basketball games and responsibilities but today was a day for resting. For taking care of me.

Unfortunately it took a stomach bug to force me to slow down, relax, and do some of the things on my “nice to do” list instead of my “have to do” list.

And so I thanked my body.]]>
<![CDATA[How New Age Thinking Can Ruin Your Life]]>Sat, 28 Jan 2017 15:03:17 GMThttp://healingwithserendipity.com/blog/how-new-age-thinking-can-ruin-your-life“Whatever you do, don’t think negative thoughts or you will bring them to life.”
Whenever I read this or hear someone say this I want to scream. First, I stop and question if that is true because, well, I’m human and if it is true, I’m screwed. Then, I let my intuitive and logical mind unite and remind me that, if that was the case, I would have been poisoned, stabbed, suffocated, burned to ashes, drowned, publically flogged or have been locked up in a padded room by now.

And since that hasn’t happened yet, I’m pretty sure that this “fact” can be re-categorized as an urban myth. As a rational minded mental health professional who is equally committed to her spiritually based mindset, this popular belief drives me even more nuts.

When someone tells you not to think negatively, it’s like saying, don’t think of the color red. Whatever you do, don’t do it. Don’t think of the color red. Block it out of your mind. Don’t do it! Are you doing it? Are you thinking of the color red? Why are you thinking of the color red?? I told you not to. Now your whole world is going to look red. And in your effort of making yourself feel better, you instead feel like a failure, beating yourself up because for the life you, you simply can not block red from your thoughts.  Which makes the red feel even brighter and stronger in your mind.
When we experience challenging moments in life, we are going to have negative thoughts. We are going to have sad thoughts and angry thoughts and fear filled thoughts. To tell ourselves we shouldn’t feel that way is a huge disservice and setback to our healing process.
Giving ourselves permission to feel and think how we are feeling in the moment is sooo important in the process of acceptance. To deny ourselves how we really feel is the act of stuffing our emotions down and that’s the kind of stuff that actually gets us in trouble. Those feelings want to come out. In those moments, they are asking to be heard, they want to be accepted and understood. And when we tell them they are wrong because we are uncomfortable with them, they grow even stronger to keep our attention.

Keep reading....

<![CDATA[Forgiveness on the Road to Freedom]]>Sun, 11 Dec 2016 15:06:54 GMThttp://healingwithserendipity.com/blog/forgiveness-on-the-road-to-freedomPicture

I woke up early this morning watching the warm shades of red and orange fill the sky over the horizon from my bed. The view never gets old for me. Each sunrise boasts of possibility, of hope and promise of another opportunity to embrace the adventure of this life, never quite knowing what is coming next.

I have always been a lover of the early morning. I feel like no matter what happened yesterday, I have the chance to start over today. It’s my choice of what I want to do with it.

Today was feeling especially auspicious and once I noticed the date, I knew why. It’s my mother’s birthday. This day has come and gone 27 times since the day she took her life.  It slips in right in the middle of the holiday season and nudges me to reflect.  For 27 years, I’ve felt waves of sadness and remorse, anger and regret, riding on top of a guilty sense of relief underneath.

Occasionally, I’d lightly share this remembrance with someone, but for the most part, I kept the memory just out of reach of my heart and my mind….never quite knowing what to do with it.
In 19 days, it will be the anniversary of her death, and then five days later, my own birthday. A day I’ve struggled with since her exit from this world.

This past birthday was especially challenging for me.  I woke up angry.  I mean I was really angry.  I had taken the day off and was setting out for an adventure and instead of feeling gratitude, I just felt enraged…at my mother.

Once I realized I was mad at her, I became mad at myself.  Why was I feeling all this anger so many years later? I felt like I had hashed out and released all my pent up emotional junk. How could there be any left? And why now? I didn’t understand and that just made me judge myself even more harshly.

But man, I was ticked. I sat in my bathroom and cried, yelling at her, asking what kind of mother takes her life and leaves her child only days before their birthday. How could she have been so selfish, so insensitive?  How could I not have been important enough? Old feelings of not being good enough flooded me. I sat in a puddle of my own misery. The hurt little girl who just wanted to be loved was fully exposed.

A few hours later I bounced back.  I always bounce. My rational brain took over and put all of my feelings in perspective, but I was still emotionally sore from being stretched so far. I knew why this year was different.  This was the year I would outlive my mother. She died when she was 41 years and 19 days old, and I had just turned 41.  In my rage, I was going to be damned if I was not going to continue to make it my ongoing goal to live my life as fully as possible.  Happiness was mine to have. I earned it and I was determined to keep accessing it in myself.

As it winds down, I can see that 41 has proven to be one of the most transformative of my life. I’ve spent more time digging into the deep parts of myself to uncover my long held patterns of resistance, self-sabotage and feelings of lack.  I’ve re-evaluated all of my relationships and assessed how I interact, how I invest emotionally…or not, and how I run in fear when my heart feels remotely threatened.

About two months ago, an opportunity developed for me to look at myself when the threat of loss once again stared me down questioning what I was going to do about it. I dove down again, identifying deep seated patterns in myself, dating back to early life with my mother.  I saw my fears, my resistance, and how my unconditional love for my mother turned conditional when I sensed her time here was short.

I saw how I pulled away and shut down and left her feeling unclear how I felt about her when she died. I felt my old guilt slam into me, devastated by the loss. I saw all the reasons why I held on to the anger, to protect me from getting hurt again. I let it come up and pour out of me, overflowing waves of sorrow and regret. And then…I saw it all for what it was and forgave my mother for not being what I wanted her to be and for myself wanting to protect myself.  She was, and I was, in fact, human.

And that feeling, letting go of the anger and guilt, was the freedom I’d been craving for a very long time. For the first time, since my mother’s death, I felt my mother’s energy in a very different way. It was light and flowing and a soft pink. I felt her embrace me as I let her in. She wanted to support me and I let her.

I could go on and on and explain how our early relationships with our parents and caregivers impacts every other relationship in our lives. Any dysfunction that exists begin the patterns that last until something proves important enough to stop us and realize we don’t want to repeat them. And it’s not until we change ourselves while also accepting ourselves that our lives and our experiences will change accordingly.

These revelations are a culmination of the work I’ve spent rebuilding my relationship with myself. Getting to know the real me. The scarred parts that continue to heal and the eternal optimist who has made peace with her internal masochist. The one who is always striving to be the best and most authentic version of herself.

She is real and she is spectacular.

(Seinfeld anyone? I simply cannot help it)

So today, I am celebrating the new relationship I have with my mother, as well as myself.  The birthday of new beginnings, the dawn of opportunity, the celebration of all things learned that brought me into this fascinating existence that is my life.

Happy Birthday Mom! Thanks for getting me here. I Love You.

<![CDATA[Which Roller Coaster of Life Will You Ride?]]>Fri, 16 Sep 2016 18:45:52 GMThttp://healingwithserendipity.com/blog/september-16th-2016By Brenna Steiner

Do you remember being a kid and every day seemed like an adventure? We never knew what was going to happen or where we were going to go.  Now, we knowingly control everything. Every job interview invariably asks the question, “Where do you see yourself in five and ten years?”

It’s hard for me to imagine what my life would be like in this span of time. I think through the past decade and I NEVER would have predicted the path my life has taken. I don’t believe I’m alone in this notion either. So, why must we answer this unfortunate question standing at the doorway of uncertainty?
On the other hand, I am thrilled to talk about my past achievements, and maybe even more enthusiastic to talk about my most recent “mishaps.” You know, those “situations” you walked away from with knowledge as the greatest gift. I’d be delighted to discuss my 4-year relationship that ended this past year with me as the 3rd wheel. In fact, I’d love to share the details of how its ending transformed my life in the most beautiful and unimaginable way.  
And that’s the thing. Life is the most hellish roller coaster. That is, if you choose to see it that way. I’ve always loved the little, anxiety provoking creaks of the initial climb to the top of a ride. They are the little noises that ALWAYS precede the abrupt descent into madness and joy, blended as one.
But again, isn’t life like this sometimes? Maybe that’s why I believe in God. We gotta believe there’s someone driving this thing. If I think back to all of the events of my life and the moments truly magical in nature, I could NEVER have planned them.
As for me? I choose the magic! I choose the violent adventure of the thump-punching of my heart beating against my chest cavity through the moments of fear woven into blind faith. I choose to feel, witness and live the adventure of being alive. Why am I rambling on about violence and magic and unicorns? Because it matters. It matters now more than ever.
Where is our heart? Where is the heart that beats for all of us? Where is our faith? Where is our willingness to see the anxiety through and not medicate, not distract, but instead, show up!
I was stopped at an intersection the other day on my way to work. There was a woman in her car waiting in the middle of an intersection to make a left turn. Instead of continuing to wait for the 5 or 6 cars to pass by, she pulled out her phone.
That really got my attention. At this point, it’s a normal behavior. But why is it a normal behavior for all of us? Why are we so willing to live in distraction and avoid what is uncomfortable or scary?  Do we realize what we are missing by being asleep?
What solutions to our life’s drama, to our world’s needs, are we completely missing?
Are we even living? How do we know what’s actually occurring now in our lives let alone what we project to happen in the next 5 to 10 years if we’re looking at our phone for something interesting to pop up on Instagram?
How many missed opportunities have we had because we were looking away from them? How many new friends, new lovers, old friends, and (gasp) old lovers, might we meet again walking through life if we had the nerve to put our distractions away and live?
When is the last time you felt joy deep inside your chest?
When is the last time you experienced pleasure without looking for it? It just showed up because you were there… you were present and you were open to receiving the gift of its magic.
Magic happens when we wake up to our lives and choose whole-heartedly to be in them. Brene Brown talks about the willingness to be vulnerable. That’s exactly what this is. You have to choose it. We have to be willing to allow the loneliness in. To feel it in order to understand it. To understand it, we can transform it. We have to choose to feel bored sometimes so we can ask ourselves questions about why we’re bored at all. What’s missing in my life today? What needs to change and am I willing to change it right now?
My friends, this is the journey of living. I don’t ever want to be that person that turns around at 80 years old and says, “What the hell did I do all this time?” I want to know. I want to remember. I want to contribute to others and to this world. I want to be excited to talk about the role I played in my contributions to this world. I want to say, I lived. I loved. And I did it so f*cking well.
I have a challenge for you. Yes, YOU. Put your phone away and go out into the world. Even if just for a day. Experience it for everything it has to offer you. Go where you feel you want to go. Smile. Feel where it comes from. Talk to strangers. Listen intently. Play! Do something you have been thinking about, but it “wasn’t the right time.”
Do it NOW!
If you think it’s going to be hard, it’s because you have strayed so far from your heart, you’ve forgotten what it is to experience life from this sacred place. Choose it. Live it. If even for a day. I promise you this, your life will change.

Brenna Steiner is Holistic Wellness Coach who teaches and empowers her clients' approach to living by integrating mindset and behavior modification through coaching, nutrition education and online exercise programming. Since 2006, Brenna has been serving clients in the cities of New York, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles and is now offering one-on-one remote consulting with clients both near and far. For a complimentary consultation, Brenna can be reached at bodywellnessbybrenna@gmail.com or directly through Facebook @bodywellnessbybrenna.

<![CDATA[There's Purpose In Pain and A Gift In Every Loss]]>Sat, 03 Sep 2016 20:38:14 GMThttp://healingwithserendipity.com/blog/theres-purpose-in-pain-and-a-gift-in-every-loss“There’s a bit of magic in everything and loss to even things out.”- Lou Reed
“Although I have spent years training myself to reverse my own anxiety, I have only left survival mode in the last couple months and am learning what that feels like and to be comfortable fully trusting that I am and my children are taken care of. I am at my goal of better than fine- but I’ve never been here before.  And while I know my work is in the interim of where I’ll end up, I am learning to appreciate where I am in the journey. It’s a wonderful and foreign place and I know this appreciation is also a practice, but it feels incredibly important.  I don’t want to just say I am grateful, I want to fully feel it. I am whole without more, just as I am. I create as I choose.  Peace is happening now if I allow it. Big revelation.”

I sent this text to one of my closest friends one morning after a particularly empowering meditation.  Our daily conversations were always this deep, introspective and growth oriented.  It felt good to write out my inner thoughts and fears and I was excited for every one of her heartfelt and insightful replies.

Her response…”That is incredible! I understand the angst of living in the now. Took me years of working hard at trying to change my patterns and reactions that I picked up as a result of living so many years with fear, angst and chaos. So Lynn, live it, breathe it, be it! You earned it! I’ve only known you a short time, but this has been the best year of my entire life. A year of learning, understanding and clarity, it’s been incredible sharing my thoughts, dreams and sorrows. Thank you.  Thank you for what was, what is and what will be.  I am so grateful for you! For your friendship, for your support, for your love, I’m the luckiest girl in the world.”

Five days later, after many more texts, and one evening of sharing our joy through our growing pains in person, my treasured friend died in her sleep.  Unexpectedly for those who loved her, her soul exited peacefully and left an enormous hole in the hearts of her son, family and friends who relied on her unwavering strength and glowing light to keep us comforted and inspiring our own power.

I, for one, was devastated.

The peace I had felt a week prior was shattered. I felt nothing but shock, anger, confusion and a deep, deep sadness. But worst of all, I felt alone.  Keep Reading...]]>
<![CDATA[How To Climb Up When You've Hit Financial Rock Bottom]]>Sat, 03 Sep 2016 20:33:06 GMThttp://healingwithserendipity.com/blog/how-to-climb-up-when-youve-hit-financial-rock-bottomI was on hold for over an hour…no one was picking up.  I had the phone on speaker so I could work on other things, but I was a little taken back by how much effort it took to get someone to help me.  I was applying for the Snaps program, ‘Food Stamps’, state aid to feed my children.  It was awkward enough as it was and I just wanted to get it over with, but instead I had to wait. Was it this difficult for everyone?

I had just resigned from my job and had next to no income while I took a couple more classes to be eligible for a license in professional counseling.  My father suggested I apply a few weeks prior and I nearly scoffed at the idea. I didn’t see how I could apply for aid, I made a choice to leave my job. I chose to reduce my income temporarily.  I chose to take a risk in hopes it would give me a greater gain.  I didn’t think I earned the right to ask for help.

His view was that that was what the program was for...temporary help to get by. And more importantly, it wasn’t just about me. I had two children I had also made a choice for.  They had to live with my risk and decision.  For that reason alone, I decided to apply.  I made a decision to live without, but they had not.

Lots of paperwork, several more hour long phone calls, an interview and escorting my pride out the door awarded my children a monthly allowance of financial food aid.  I was not personally awarded aid initially since I had made a choice to leave my job, but my children were not penalized for my choice.  Somehow, that made me feel better.

As my bills rolled in and my income did not, I was incredibly grateful for the help we were given.  And yet, I found myself uncomfortable every time I was at the grocery store checking out.  Because of that, I swear, my card didn’t work and the cashier would have to override and punch in the numbers several times often asking if I was sure there were enough funds available. I was sure. I kept careful track. And I was embarrassed, every single time.

I reminded myself that it was me judging myself. It was me who didn’t feel deserving. I wasn’t doing anything wrong and asking for help is more than okay.  But I still squirmed. I still questioned what they thought of me.  Keep reading...
<![CDATA[Stop Worrying with this Secret to Predict the Future]]>Sat, 03 Sep 2016 20:17:15 GMThttp://healingwithserendipity.com/blog/stop-worrying-with-this-secret-to-predict-the-future“I just want to know what is going to happen.”- Almost Everyone You Know

Perhaps not those exact words, but certainly similar words with the meaning behind them. We all inherently want to know where we are going and what we are doing at some point.  Predicting the unknown to make it a known is what makes us feel safe, right? If I make a decision, I want to know it’s going to lead me to the land of joy, no matter what. 

As a professional counselor, I have the luxury of listening to people’s stories all day long.  I ride the emotional roller coaster with them while watching the events that transform their every thought and move at that time in their lives.  We navigate the endless fears that come from the nonstop unknowns they face.  For me, it’s like watching an ongoing movie wondering how it’s going to play out, on the edge of me seat, holding out for the happy ending. My job is to help them see the life preservers that are slightly out of their view and the flowers that are waiting to be made into bouquets that grow right of the mud. If you pay close enough attention, they are absolutely everywhere.

Because of my years of experience of watching and listening to others, as well as living my own roller coaster of a life, I have become quite adapt at predicting the future.  Sometimes the movies become so obvious to me, I want to fast forward and tell them how it’s going to end, but I know that’s not actually my role.  So we watch together, take the dark and windy turns, hold our breaths and exhale and laugh when we rewind and see all the parts where we questioned what would happen next.  And I am always honored to be an invited guest in the portion of their life I’ve been included in.

I will share with you what I’ve learned over the years as fact.  And I encourage you to consider this practice as you hone in on your natural predictive capabilities.

As a human, you have likely questioned your decisions at times and include all the possibilities of what can go wrong and how to avoid them.  Your predictions may include “what if I lose all my money or security or get hurt or sick or am rejected or worst of all…am embarrassed in front of others! And suddenly our minds run us into dark alleys with creatures from foreign lands that had nothing to do with our original concern. The thought train of fear. We’ve all bought the ticket at some point.

We know fear is immobilizing. We know it stops us in our tracks.  And yet often, we think of our fear as keeping us feeling secure, even if it makes us feel insecure.  We’re funny like that.  We want a guarantee of the outcome so we can plan accordingly. How can we make a solid, safe decision without knowing? Continue Reading...