Monday, March 25, 2013

Never Have a Bad Day Again

Have you ever had a bad day?

... One of those days where everything seemed to go wrong or one catastrophic event happened that changed your life forever.

You question the reasons for why things around you are falling apart.

Is it possible that the bad day you had has a purpose? A purpose in your life and perhaps you are taking the long road to a destination that at the moment is unclear.

Is it possible that in a year from now you could be grateful for this very experience? 
Maybe the experience changed you in such a way that today you can see the reason for the pain. Perhaps the universe has a grand plan for you and your life and this situation is necessary training?  

Is it possible to feel gratitude now for your current situation? In the heat of the storm can one be grateful?

Interrupt anxiety with gratitude ~ Danielle LaPorte

I am a huge advocate for action.

Action cures fear. Action takes us out of our heads. Action is better than reaction. The list goes on and on.

However, when it comes to getting through storms in our lives one needs to be conscious and think, not drift. Drift into the past or drift into the future but to think in the here and now.

Because thinking, especially thinking about what one is grateful for is extremely powerful. Grateful thinking is associated with increased levels of energy, optimism, and empathy.
Gratitude will be the saving grace in your storm. Thinking in tough times is more important than action, to really think.

Here is one way I have found to get through a tough day.
I found this exercise extremely powerful:
  1. Put on some soft music that soothes you and makes you feel relaxed close your eyes and ask yourself this question:
      • When in your life did you feel you were guided?
      • Maybe there is more than one occasion you felt the hand of the universe on your back.
  2. Put your hand on your heart, breathe in deep. Think of the coincidences.
      • Were any of these situations painful, confusing or difficult at the time but have turned out to be blessings in disguise?

One of the great blessings of getting older is that we get to see life unfold. These memories that you are now having, at the time they occurred could you see the possibilities that came out of those situations? Probably not. We are not able to see through the pain.

I have realized this: You can’t do anything about the past. You can’t do anything about the behavior of others. You don’t control them. But you do control your own thoughts.

So be grateful for everything that comes your way.

Our brains create memories positive psychologist Shawn Achor states that if we write down 3 things every day that happened within the last 24 hours and why we are grateful for them our brains will then double the meaning making us happier.

Gratitude changes the neuro pathways in our brain. Here are a few gratitude quotes to get you started.

So the next time you’re having a bad day, cure your thoughts with gratitude. Write down what you are grateful for in your life. You’ll find that it’s often the little things that we take for granted.

This is an easy life. A great life. And when you understand that, when you realize the incredible abundance that you have, then you can never have a bad day again.

About the Author: Pamela Dale

Pamela Dale is a certified life coach who guides women through transitions in relationships, career and life through developing a stronger sense of self, igniting their personal power, and connecting them to their values and inner purpose. 

Humor, compassion and fierce honesty are the driving forces in Pamela’s work as a coach. Her coaching sessions are known for being inspiring, energetic and transformative.  

Pamela lives and works in Vancouver, Canada. She publishes The Empowered Woman Letter:

I hope you find this post helpful! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you know someone else who may benefit from this post, please share it with them.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I Am in Hell

Writer's Block

I have been trying for days to write. Problem is I work on topics that I am having trouble finding the motivation for. What I want to write about may be too personal to share with my readers. Unfortunately, I think I won't be able to get past this writing block until I share everything.

A Little Bit of History

Some of my readers may already know that my husband has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have never fully shared what it has been like living with him and I don't think I want to yet. Suffice it to say it has not been easy for any of us. 

The man I fell in love with twenty years ago is now gone. In his place is this angry, anti-social man who could not go to work, participate in family events or do anything around the house. He wouldn't even come down on Christmas day.

For those who haven't read my earlier posts, my husband was not diagnosed  for approximately four years. Last spring he finally shared some of the problems he had been experiencing since the accident at work - the nightmares, anxiety, anger always simmering below the surface and flashbacks. 

His symptoms seemed familiar from articles I had read online about work related PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.) After much persuasion, he finally made an appointment with our family doctor. My suspicions turned out to be true. 

My husband was so happy that he had a label for what he was feeling. He wasn't going crazy. 

That was all good but we still did not have a second income. My pay checks were not enough and we were always falling behind on the mortgage.

Don't get me wrong, I was ecstatic that my husband was able to get the help he needed but we had very pressing matters that needed to be tended to. Like keeping our house. Paying our utility bills so we could continue to have water, electricity and heat.

Then came the struggle with the WSIB to have his claim approved. With the help of our local MPP, my husband's claim was finally approved five months after dianosis. The money came just in time to save our home from being sold by the bank.

This is where I thought I am finally able to take a deep breath of relief and shake off the overwhelming feelings of anxiety and stress of the last five years. It was hard. Strange isn't it? To finally have relief but not be able to enjoy it? I was always on verge of tears and there was no stopping it.

My husband's therapy wasn't making a difference. I kept waiting to see him smile and just be happy. 

His medication seemed to work for a while but then he reverted back to the anxious irritable man. His meds were upped. For a short while I saw a glimpse of the man I fell in love with.

But it went down hill. He started getting worse - not better. He wasn't eating. He has lost so much weight that he has to tuck his sweaters in to hold up his pants. His face has become gaunt. Episodes of agitation became more frequent.

Valentines Day

This is usually an uneventful day for us. Now I will remember it for the rest of my life. It was the day I fully realized I was living in hell.

My husband woke up at about three in the afternoon. Well, that's the time he emerged from the bedroom. His routine included jumping in my daughters car, getting a Tim Horton tea and going for a little drive while he smoked his face off.

He asked my daughter to borrow the car. She agreed but asked that he not wake her again at five o'clock in the morning to use the car and to please not leave garbage in her car. 

He lost it. How dare she not lend him the car. No matter how much we tried to explain she had not denied him use of her car, it just didn't register for him.

His anger didn't stop there. He was a raging lunatic for almost six hours. He looked like a rabid dog. The vein on the side of his head was pulsating. He was frothing at the mouth and spit flew in all directions when he screamed at me. 

I could not get away from him. I could not do anything with out infuriating him. I raised my eyebrow - it annoyed him. I looked at him - I annoyed him. I looked in another direction - I annoyed him. I was the source of everything bad in his world.

He agreed that his meds needed to be adjusted again. He did nothing about it.


Aw Sunday. The day to clean the house and relax.

I heard the bedroom door open and close. My anxiety level sky rocketed. My husband was coming down the stairs.

A simple conversation turned into another husband rant and rave and lose his mind afternoon. 

I was sitting at the dining room table working on my blog. I learned from the Valentines Day Rant that there was no rationalizing with him and there would be nothing I could do to stop him. 

I sat there, saying nothing and not looking at him. Of course he told me I was making him angry. Again. I can't go into all the details. It ended once the police arrived and took him to their car. He is not allowed to contact me or the girls.

Sometimes gratitude and optimism just aren't enough.

Gratitude Journal

I can't end this post here. I have to leave it on a positive note. My gratitude journal always makes me feel better. I am blessed in many areas in my life. Thank you.

I am grateful for:
  1. The safety of my family. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
  2. Our home because it provides shelter and grounds me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
  3. The food in our cupboards. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
  4. Another day of life so I can spend it with those I love. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
  5. My laptop and the internet because it is my link to the outside world. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
  6. The heat in our home because it is really cold outside today. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
  7. My daughters car because it provides convenient, comfortable, safe transportation for her and her sister, my granddaughters and me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
  8. For my pay checks because they are the means to provide the necessities in life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
  9. My daughter for her support and companionship because she stops the heart ache from crushing me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
  10. My granddaughters because they continue to be the reason behind my strength, perseverance and hope for the future. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thank goodness I don't have to read this out loud. I don't think it would get past the lump in my throat.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Forgive But Don't Forget

If there was something simple that you could do to remove negativity in your life, would you do it? 

What could that something be? It is forgiving those who have transgressed against you. You need to forgive, but not forget, because once you forgive, you can start to heal and the negativity in your life will melt away. 

I am not talking about forgiving the other driver on the road because they cut you off.  I am talking about a traumatic event or repeated events over a period of time that left you feeling hurt, angry and bitter. 

Don't allow yourself to be consumed by these negative emotions because you are robbing yourself of happiness and inner peace. As long as you hold onto these feelings you cannot let happiness in.

Life Doesn't Have to be Perfect to be WonderfulForgive

The only way you can let go of negative feelings and live your life to your fullness is to forgive.

Forgiveness does not mean:
  • forgetting
  • you approve of the unacceptable behavior
  • you want that person to be in your life (or maybe you do - that is your choice)
  • they can repeat the behavior
  • your life will change immediately

Forgiveness does mean:
  • you know your happiness is your choice
  • you decided that you want to be happy
  • you are taking responsibility for your emotions and reactions
  • you do not want revenge
  • you are leaving the past in the past
  • releasing all the negativity and allowing good things to come into your life
  • you are free to live your life in a positive way.

How do you forgive?
  1. First you must decide that you want to make a change in your life. 
  2. You decide you want to be happy.
  3. You know you deserve to be happy.
  4. You see your past as over, knowing that holding onto anger only keeps it alive. 
  5. You accept others and yourself as you are.
  6. You are determined to get what you want in life and focus on those possibilities rather than thinking about the past. 
  7. You know that no one can make you feel happy or feel sad or angry. 
  8. You are able to express you feelings about the grievance (without hurting yourself or anyone else) 
  9. You do not need or want to take revenge or ask for an apology. 
  10. You notice you are spending less time and energy on the past transgression and eventually there will be little to no emotion tied to those memories

My Story

For some of you, it will be easy to forgive and move on while others will hold onto grudges forever. I have seen how negative feelings can poison the person who will not forgive. And to be honest my life was also affected by events in my past that I was not ready to release.

I was angry, hurt, depressed. I felt guilty. Then I decided I had to make a change. I had to forgive.

At first I had a difficult time wrapping my brain around the concept that I am responsible for my own happiness and that no one person could make me feel happy or sad. I cannot control someone's actions but I can control my reactions. I can just let myself respond in the same ole way or I can make a conscience decision to take control of my life. Happiness was my choice.

Fortunately, I was able to confront a person who hurt me in the past. At first she was angry, then she began to cry. I realized she was not the same woman who whipped me with the vacuum cord (among other things). She was older. She was . . . different. She had regret. It was then that I was able to forgive her. I was lucky that I could spend many good years with her before she passed away. I miss her.

Now it would have been nice to be able to confront my father but I couldn't do this because he passed away when I was ten years old. (That was when my Aunt moved into our home)

It took some time before I could actually forgive my dad. In the end, I rationalized that he was an ill man. His illness consumed him. I honestly believe he did not have complete control over his actions and I could not hold him responsible. 

I also held the belief that my father loved me and he wouldn't intentionally hurt me. If he understood the kind of damage he was inflicting, he would have stopped himself.

I found it helpful to use visualization. I imagined his soul drifting away from his physical body. As he moved out of this world, he was released from the illness that had consumed him and he could look at me with love and kindness. His spirit - his soul was no longer bound to a physical form that was racked with illness, distorted perceptions, or personal baggage. As a result he would feel bad about his actions and he'd wish he could protect me from further pain.

Eventually I felt the negative feelings - all that pain and anger fade away. And I was free. It is true. Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. 

A Dream

If you have the time, I would like to share a dream I had many, many moons ago. I was about twenty years old at the time. 

I was sound asleep. In my dream I woke up. I lay there looking around the dark room. I couldn't get back to sleep so instead of waking my boyfriend with my tossing and turning, I decided to leave our bed and go into the living room.

It was snowing outside. The light from the parking lot bounced off the snow on the ground and poured in through the curtains.

I wasn't sure what to do with myself. I didn't want to turn on the television in fear of waking my boyfriend and I didn't feel like reading because the brightness would hurt my eyes.

Out of habit I walked over to the electric heater and leaned against it to warm up.

There was a knock at the door.

I didn't find it peculiar to have someone at my door in the middle of the night. It wasn't that I was accustom to late night guests. I was just curious.

I opened the door just enough to see outside. The screen door screeched and hit the side of the building. A gust of wind blew the swirling snowflakes into my apartment.

There standing in the snow was my dad. Smiling. He was wearing his work clothes and work boots. Snow landed on everything but him. There were no footsteps in the snow.

I asked him what he was doing here. I knew he was dead so it just didn't make sense for him to be standing there.

I don't remember his lips moving but I heard him say that he was there to see how I was doing and to let me know that he loved me. This being said he told me that I should close the door and get out of the cold - to get back to sleep. I didn't say anything but I felt grateful to him for stopping by. I think he sensed it as he smiled at me.

Being the obedient child, I closed my apartment door and returned to bed. I lay back down and pondered my ghostly visitation. I wiggled in bed, feeling something was not quite right. I sat up and looked back at my pillow. To my horror I saw myself sleeping on the bed. 

I was not in my body. I lay back down trying to force myself back inside. I sat up again only to realize I was still outside. Panic was about to set it just as my spirit regained control of my body. I opened my eyes and looked at my hand just to be sure. I rolled over and fell back to sleep.

I had this dream shortly after I forgave my dad for the abuse. I knew I did the right thing. 

Can You Forgive?

At some point in your life you may have someone do something to hurt or harm you. You must remember that you are not responsible for their actions and they are not responsible for yours. 

Forgiving is a process which will free you to travel the road into the future without emotional and mental baggage weighing you down - travel the road to inner peace and happiness. 

Start now. You deserve it.

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. 
Lewis B. Smedes (1921-2002)

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