ReConnections Blog

By Melinda Brett on 7/12/2013 12:00 AM

”There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophies.”
Friedrich Nietzche

Maybe you got up this morning and said some cross words to someone you love.  You don’t stop to notice how your words affected them because you don’t really feel like dealing with anything.  You don’t feel like getting ready for your day but can picture yourself back in bed.  It’s gloomy and rainy and has been for days.

Stop and check in with your body.  Take a deep breath and notice how you were breathing shallow before.  How does your neck feel?  Are you stiff or have knots in your muscles?  If you just woke up and are over 10 years old, you probably are full of body issues.  Your chi or energy is blocked.

Our bodies will tell us how we feel and we can also make our bodies feel good to help us feel good.  Our bodies give us energy and motivation.  Our bodies hold stores of useful information that we can tap into if we are truly alive and know how to listen.

Tap into your body. Breathe deeply. Stretch. Release the tension. And ask your body what it wants.

By Melinda Brett on 7/11/2013 12:00 AM

I made decisions that I regret, and I took them as learning experiences... I'm human, not perfect, like anybody else.
Queen Latifah

Human beings go through many stages of development and each of us takes time to learn the important lessons we need to have in order to reach the next level.  When we are 3 we become aware of ourselves and are learning that behavior has consequences.  In order to figure out their place in the world and how things work, children may test their parents by refusing to do something, or making up lies.  This does not make them bad, just normal.

When we are an adolescent we want to be independent from our parents and close to our friends.  As a young person we see time as unlimited and we can be more focused on our own needs than those around us.  You may feel defined in your adult life by choices you made at this time of your life.  However, this is also just a stage of development and feeling bad about yourself because of the stupid things you did doesn’t do anything to change what happened, and only becomes a burden to carry around in your adult life.

We make lots of decisions during these stages.  When we move through a stage and learn from our mistakes and hopefully we try not to make the same bad decisions again.  As I grew up and moved through each decade of my life, I kept expecting to stop making mistakes.  I figured I’d get to a point where I’d learned all my lessons and now could avoid making bad decisions.  I would reach perfection.  Well, it hasn’t happened yet.

If a person holds on to each bad choice as a mark against them, then the regret, shame, and guilt can get overwhelming.  However, if we look at mistakes as a natural part of the learning experience, then we can truly learn from them instead of just feeling bad about decisions that led to consequences we didn’t like.  Making bad decisions and having mistakes in your life does not make you a bad person, it makes you human. 

By Melinda Brett on 6/25/2013 12:00 AM

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.
~ Buddha Quote ~

All the time I hear people, especially women, say that they are very kind and giving.  They take care of the physical and emotional needs of each one they love.  In fact it is like a full time job assessing needs, designing plans to fulfill that need and then executing the plan.  So, for one woman this can mean, mom, who is ill, their spouse, who is stressed and tired, their child, who can have any number of life problems.  Each of these people can rely on this one woman as their one and only source of emotional support, along with actual physical support, as in doing things for them or earning the money to help them meet their needs.

Often when I talk to this woman, I find out that although these people are the focus of all her time and attention, it is not always returned.  In fact, these people just assume that their daughter, mom, wife, is endlessly capable and probably doing exactly what she wants to do.  They may get this impression because the woman acts as if it is true.  She is a work horse, getting all her work done and still being there for her loved ones.  However, what they don’t see is how she is slowly building up resentment.  Sure, it comes through when she is irritable and snaps at them, but they just figure she is hormonal or something and it doesn’t mean she will not continue to do everything for everyone.

Women have bought the idea that it is their duty to care for all.  Maybe this comes from the biological imperative to be nurturing.  Some of it comes from cultural and societal expectations for sure.  But the amazing thing is that women accept it and buy into it making it a sport.  They will be the most amazing mom, spouse, daughter, sister, friend..

Who deserves more love than this woman?  Who is the most capable of understanding her needs?  Who has the most experience in assessing, planning and executing need fulfillment?

Do what the Buddha says and love yourself and show yourself the affection you deserve.

By Melinda Brett on 6/20/2013 12:00 AM

“Everybody is a genius.  But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”
-Albert Einstein

How much we limit ourselves!!  before we have even tried something.   One of the topics that is often explored in counseling is our self concept, essentially how we see ourselves.  So many times, we develop ideas of who we are by the accomplishments or failures in our lives. 

One of the toughest things to hear is that people judge themselves by what their life experience has thus shown itself to be.  The problem is that we are all inherently limited by our own experiences.  I have yet to meet a person that has experienced everything that life can offer.  What we do though is take what we have experienced and generalize it to the whole.

The child that didn’t get a piece in the art show decides they are not artistic.  The student that doesn’t earn A's decides they are not intelligent. The girl who doesn’t get asked to the prom decides she is unlovable.

In my work with people with overeating disorders one of the common views is that they see themselves as not athletic.  When I ask what their experience has been with athletics they usually mention one or two team sports and running.  If they have deemed themselves unsuccessful at these, they have then concluded that they are not athletic.  That is a very limited view of athletic prowess and yet they have avoided physical activity because of not feeling they excelled during those few experiences.  When I asked if they have ever been hiking, or canoeing, or dancing or biking they usually admit they have never tried.

How often do we hold ourselves back from trying new things because we have already decided we would not be good or successful.    How much change could we create in our lives if we believed that we just haven’t found the right thing…yet?

By Melinda Brett on 6/18/2013 12:00 AM

“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.”
-Mark Twain

I spent many years feeling both lonely and uncomfortable with myself.    I would have told you, however, that they were two very different things.  I was lonely because I didn’t have the people, places or things in my life that I wanted.  I was uncomfortable because I was filled with self loathing.  This quote represents one of the “truths” I have come to understand.  My true loneliness came from being uncomfortable with myself.

My discomfort stemmed from a pervasive focus of what was wrong.   Yes, I could easily tell you how things around me were wrong, but what I had a hard time really admitting was that I believed I was wrong.  I spent so much time focused on everything about me that I judged as inadequate.   I could make a whole day out of picking myself apart with such harshness.   That action of deeming ourselves as damaged is what today I call self abandonment.  We abandon ourselves with judgment and meanness.

True loneliness, the loneliness that is so deep it is palpable, stems from us abandoning ourselves.  This is what I believe Mark Twain was talking about.  When we are not at home with ourselves and who we are, warts and all, we feel emotionally, spiritually and even physically lonely.

Today when I feel lonely, my peace lies in coming back to accepting myself and by that I mean accepting all of who I am, not just the parts I deem acceptable at the time.  How often do we describe the feelings of disconnection with ourselves as loneliness?

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