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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Secret to Starting Life Over

I move from the old to the new with ease and joy--Susan J Meyerott, Artist
'Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.' Douglas Adams

On the Brink of Transition?

Where are you at this very moment in your life? What are you trying to accomplish? Where are you starting over? What's making you anxious? 
  • Are you looking for a suitable mate or considering breaking up with someone?
  • Are you thinking of having a family or trying to get back into the workforce after having a baby?
  • Are you searching for a new job or trying to decide if you want to quit your current job or break into a new field of work? 
  • Did you finish college and you now face transitioning into adulthood and a new life and career?
  • Are you trying to decide when to retire or how to reinvent your life?
  • Are you buying a car, a home, or working on a home improvement project? 

Maslow's hierarchy of needs--from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Why Do I Feel Anxious and Tense?

No matter how good or bad you perceive a life change to be, whenever you start over in some area of life--according to Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs--you're left feeling anxious and tense as you nose-dive from being your most confident, best ('self-actualized') self to someone who is now concerned with basic safety needs. 

As explained on Wikipedia:
"The most fundamental and basic four layers of the hierarchy of needs contain what Maslow called 'deficiency needs': esteem, friendship and love, security, and physical needs. If these 'deficiency needs' are not met the individual will feel anxious and tense.

It doesn't matter how big or small a life-changing event is forcing you to stop what you're currently doing to start over. Once you've moved into that uncomfortable place of feeling unsafe and insecure you have to deal with it before you can move on. 

And whether we like it or not--before we're able to 'move on to the new with ease and joy'....we must first get unstuck from feeling mired in the fear of the unknown.

Wake Up Calls (things that go bump in the night)

The last few nights I've woken up feeling anxious. I ran into a snag on a home improvement project that is forcing me to stop and start over in my planning to complete the project. I'm stuck and I hate it.

As a result of the stress I'm woken up by 'things that go bump in the night'--in my head and body. I hate the anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach that wakes me up and robs me of a good night sleep. 

I shoot awake, heart pounding, and begin fretting about what's behind the anxiety--all the while trying to deny anything's wrong.  

But the body knows better than the mind. At the very core of my anxiety is something is making me feel unsafe that I need to acknowledge and take action on to calm my internal alarm system .

Times of transitions or change are unsettling and stressful for everyone. The fear of the unknown downshifts us into our very primitive, but street-smart, reptilian brain putting us on high alert for 'fight or flight' and making it difficult to be our best problem-solving self. 

Stress: A perceived threat, unpredictability, a feeling of loss of control, hopelessness, helplessness.
The 'How to Get Unstuck Cycle'

The Secret to Starting Over

The secret to starting over after getting stuck is to examine what stress is so you can offset the things keeping you stuck--then move into action.

If stress is:

  • A perceived threat--you must take steps to identify and deal with that threat;
  • Unpredictability--you need to take steps to make the unpredictable predictable;
  • A feeling of loss of control, helplessness and hopelessness--you need to take action.

Stress is dis-empowering--leaving you quivering in inaction. When you feel helpless or hopeless to control a situation that feeling is further fueled by inaction. This creates a 'get stuck and stay stuck' cycle in which you fail to think about, act on or evaluate your situation. 

Taking action--no matter how small--is empowering. Every time you take a step it empowers you to take another. Every step you take shows you have options and you are not helpless.

Start using the 'get started' cycle.To 'start over' or create 'new beginnings' give yourself time to cycle through the 'get started' cycle to think and plan, take action, and evaluate your actions. 

The key is to show yourself you have options by taking action and evaluating the results of your actions--then basing your next steps on what you learned. Never stop taking action.

The more you stay in a pro-active state the more predictable the 'unpredictable' will become. 

Sit in it. Accept the anxiety and tension as your body helping you figure things out 'off-line'. Until you get to the truth of naming what is making you feel unsafe and vulnerable the anxiety will remain. 

It is only after you name 'it' and take action that your anxiety will lessen.

You don't have to like facing what is bothering you but until you name it and face it you'll keep getting those wake up calls from your body.

'Make peace with your today to improve your future... It may sound odd, but the fastest way to get to a new-and-improved situation is to make peace with your current situation. If you rail against the injustices of your current situation, you hold yourself in alignment with what you do not want, and you cannot then move in the direction of improvement. It defies Law. In every particle of the Universe, there is that which is wanted - and the lack of it.'        Abraham

Trust Yourself

Even when bad things happen, trust yourself to get through the troubled time. Know that all things seemingly good or bad ultimately work in your favor. Sometimes it is the seemingly bad things that drive you to do really great things with your life. 

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes. Douglas Adams

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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bored? Lonely? Waiting for Life to Happen? Break Free and Go After it

"It is not your role to make others happy; it is your role to keep yourself in balance. When you pay attention to how you feel and practice self-empowering thoughts that align with who-you-really-are, you will offer an example of thriving that will be of tremendous value to those who have the benefit of observing you. You only ever uplift from your position of strength and clarity and alignment." Abraham

Bored? Lonely? Waiting for Life to Happen?

Winston Churchill once said, "If you wait long enough....something will happen!" And so it is with our lives. The question is how long are you willing to wait?

You shouldn't fret about being bored or lonely. As uncomfortable as these emotional states are--they're great motivators spurring us on to do something different in our lives. When a situation becomes uncomfortable enough you'll use it to energize yourself to take steps to improve your situation.  

Your Tolerance for Being Uncomfortable Determines How Quickly You Move On

No one escapes experiencing boredom, loneliness or disappointment. We're all forced to move through rough emotional times on our way to finding or keeping that partner worthy of a lifetime, that life path we feel called to pursue, or simply when regaining our balance after making life transitions.  How much discomfort you can put up with will determine how quickly you move past it. 

Spurring Yourself On

In my twenties my major lessons included learning how to enjoy being alone while staying open to finding a mate, and also learning how to get involved in activities I enjoyed after seven years of disciplined academic life where I learned to postpone pleasure for studies. 

Later in life, my on-going lessons became learning how to enjoy being alone despite having a mate, and how to reacquaint myself with what I enjoy doing after experiencing major life transitions or working too much.

After I graduated from college I was fortunate enough to run across a life planning exercise that put me on the path to spurring myself on to enjoying my life and regaining my balance and direction each time after my life got out of whack.  I am sharing it with you below.

A Life Planning Exercise People Love to Hate

This is a simple exercise that takes very little time to do. You just have to start it...then follow through one step at a time.

The hardest thing about starting this exercise is many people find it uncomfortable to think about what they want. I've had people describe this and other such life planning exercises as the most important exercise they ever did--that they loved to hate.

If you are tired of being bored, lonely or disappointed with life, take the time to do the exercise. The key is to limit the amount of time you give yourself to consider answering to no more than two minutes for each segment. Limiting the time you allow yourself will limit your discomfort.

Imagine you have 6 months to live. All activities around your death have been taken care of. What things would you want to accomplish or do? How would you enjoy spending your last days?

1. Take two minutes to list everything you'd like to do without judging what's on the list.

2. Next take another two minutes to look over your list and refine, add to, eliminate.

3. Last look at your list and ask yourself how many of the things on your list are you currently doing.

4. Pick one thing on your list to do then commit to one step. Pursue it until you've had enough then pick another one and go after that.

Use Boredom, Loneliness and Disappointment to Propel You Forward!

When I did this exercise for the first time in my twenties I looked at my list and discovered I wasn't participating in any activities I wanted to pursue. Nada. I had just gotten out of seven years of college where I learned to postpone 'fun' activities that were not academically related. 

It was startling--and motivating. I started on a year of fun and adventure after that....getting involved in a choir, traveling, taking guitar lessons, doing art, writing a book, playing with friends--you name it--I went after it.

If this sounds like you, get going! Sure, you can wait until 'something happens' but why wait when you can begin to step into your life one step at a time.

Use your boredom, loneliness and disappointments to propel you forward!  Plan one adventure for yourself--giving you 
something to look forward to--then see how that feels. If you like it you can do it again. If you don't like it, do something else. 

Sign Up for Free E-mail updates

For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.