Fear Won’t Lead My Heart

Fear won't lead my heart

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Stomping on OCPD

OCPD: Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder

OCPD Traits

OCPD is indicated by four or more of the following:

  • Focus on details, rules, lists and schedules
  • Paralyzing perfectionism
  • Workaholism
  • Moralizing
  • Inability to delegate
  • Rigidity and stubbornness
  • Pack-rat living
  • Extreme saving for a rainy day

I’ve often demanded too much of the people with whom I lived and worked and criticized them about every little detail. Everything had to be done my way or it was not good enough. I often never finished creative projects because they were never good enough or I worried that they would not be perfect and that they would be viewed as failures.

It took me a long time to finish certain tasks because my mind interjected every second with rules about ways things should be done – rules that only I seemed to know about. Whereas any other worker would throw a one-page document together in a few minutes (which was just as usable), I would spend a few hours triple checking and questioning all the information, the margins, the styles, the space between the lines. If I had to contact someone, could I just pick up the phone? No. Is it okay to call that person? When should I call them? What if they are in the middle of something and don’t want to be bothered? I need to prepare what I’m going to say; it has to be done properly, I need to mentally practice… I’ve always hated making phone calls.

Before I had a family, I usually spent a lot more time at work than most. And, of course, no one else could do these tasks the way I wanted them done so I just did them myself.

OCPD My standards were so high even I could never possibly achieve them. I attempted not to stray morally or ethically and frowned upon those who did. If I did stray from my lofty moral expectations, forgiveness was not an option and I had to work even harder to redeem myself. Let’s just say I was often working hard.

Schedules or tasks that changed at the last minute caused confusion and anxiety. I had lost control. Activities had to happen when they were supposed to happen and tasks had to be done a certain way, well, because, they just did otherwise I was at a loss.

When I had children and cats, it just got too difficult, too time consuming and too stressful to keep up the orderliness and the rules in our home, at work and in our lives. I was having issues with being a perfect mother, wife and worker. Everything that was required of me – by me or by others – swirled around in my head until I was dizzy. The “I’m not good enough” moments increased every day. The guilt piled up until it was insurmountable, the negative voice inside intensified and, knowing I was failing life miserably, depression ensued.

Thankfully, in an ironic twist, OCPD drove me to want to become a better person. I worked on it diligently. I started to become aware of the moments when rigidity, perfectionism, rules, moralizing and inability to delegate were hindering my interactions and my ability to move tasks and projects forward. stomping on ocpd

By practicing Small Scale, Daily Healing‘s 4-Step Process for Personal Growth, visualizations and techniques to build a strong relationship with my body, I started talking back to that negative and constantly questioning voice. Over time, I changed my thoughts and my reactions, and I became more compassionate and forgiving with myself and others.

Today, I don’t guilt myself about not having a clean house and making amazing, healthy meals every night (I hand them spinach and sprouts, good enough). I stop myself when I’m about to fix or criticize someone’s work and ask myself, “What are reasonable expectations?” and “Can I let this go?” Praising the good instead of criticizing makes everyone feel good, including me.

Surprises in my schedule are to be expected, and I don’t feel anxious if I’m not prepared. I am calm and can roll with the flow. Everything in my life has become easier, to the point where I’m almost the opposite now and probably should pay more attention to some things (but who cares about dirt; we’re developing our microbiomes).

I’m not perfect (and that’s actually okay) but I’ve come a long way. I’m even completing large, creative projects; I finished my Small Scale, Daily Healing ebook (which I already want to improve, but at least it’s done!) and I am almost finished my sci-fi book, two huge accomplishments I probably never would have completed in the past.

Life is what it is, I love who I am and I love my family as they are. I admire and trust the people with whom I work. It’s possible to change.

I stomp on you, OCPD — and I don’t care if I make a big mess that I won’t clean. So there.

Learn more about Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/mental-health/what-is-obsessive-compulsive-personality-disorder-ocpd

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The Meaning of Spider’s Presence in Your Life

Spider Mama in my Halloween display playing hockey with her babies.

Spider Mama in my Halloween display playing hockey with her babies.

People have been fascinated with—or repelled by—spiders for thousands of years. These deft weavers and deadly predators animate our stories, our dreams and our imaginations. Just this week, PhD candidate, Catherine Scott, in Toronto garnered many new followers by tweeting her observations of  three male black widow spiders attempting to mate with three females.

Spiders, Spiders Everywhere

Last month, I had more encounters than usual with spiders. My nights were filled with dreams of spiders. In one dream, I had to help a very frightened friend through a doorway with many daddy long-legs in the top left corner. In other dreams, I entered rooms enveloped in webs with spiders everywhere. In none of my dreams was I afraid of the spiders but I was certainly hoping they wouldn’t fall on me!

I also found more spiders than usual in the house and promptly placed them outside before my daughter or husband saw them and panicked. One day as I was working on my computer in the kitchen, I just happened to look up and noticed a large cluster of teeny-weeny, black thingies on the end of one of the blades on the ceiling fan above my head. On closer inspection, I realized they were probably newly hatched spiderlings. They were so very tiny though that I couldn’t put them outside without squishing them; I couldn’t save them so I had to wipe them with a towel.

A couple of days later, as I was once again working at my computer, a tiny baby spider peeked at me from behind my laptop’s monitor. It was so adorable I decided to let it be. (Yes, as you can tell, I love spiders…)

Why all of these spiders in my life all of a sudden? And in these unusual ways? (A cluster of hatchlings above my head, seriously??) I didn’t believe it was just a coincidence so I decided to look into it. (If you do believe these things are just coincidences, that’s okay too; you can view them as opportunities to review what’s happening in your life.)

Spiders in World Lore

Spiders are featured in lore around the world. In many Native American tribes, Spider Woman or Spider Grandmother is a creator of the world or a helper with the emergence of life. She teaches people to make pottery, to plant trees and to weave. She creates the stars by lacing a web with dew and throwing it into the sky.

Great Goddess of Teotihuacan with spiders and butterflies

Great Goddess of Teotihuacan. Photo by Thomas Aleto from Riverside, PA – Tepantitla Mural. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via WikiCommons.

In many pre-Colombian Teotihuacan murals discovered in what is now Mexico, the Great Goddess has a world tree covered with spiders and butterflies growing from her head. Other murals of the Great Goddess include arachnids scurrying in the background, on her clothing, or hanging from her arms. 

In ancient Egypt, Babylon and Greece, the spider is the weaver of destiny and is symbolized as Princess Arachne or the goddess Athena.

In the Vedic philosophy of India, the spider veils ultimate reality with an illusion. In West Africa, Anansi the spider was originally a creator of the world and a messenger between humans and the sky god, Nyame. But in the majority of stories, Anansi is a cunning trickster who loves to fool people and animals, and even gods.

Spiders as Spirit Guides

As a spirit animal or animal guide, Spider often represents creativity because of her skill in building delicate yet intricate webs. She is also a symbol of Mother and strong feminine energy, again related to creation. Spider is patient; she must wait patiently for her prey to come by her web.

spider weaves web

Spider weaves net by kadavoor © 2009 Jeevan Jose, Kerala, India. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

As a creator of intricate webs, Spider brings together all parts of life to create a strong whole. She helps you to see a part of your life and to integrate it into a coherent whole. As a skillful weaver, she encourages us to show mental flexibility in viewing a situation from many different angles.

Fear of Spiders

If spiders inspired fear in me (which they don’t), I would be encouraged to explore and to face the shadow side of my personality. Her presence brings fear and unease so that we can examine their causes in our daily life.

Spiders in Dreams

When spider appears in your dreams, she asks that you consider the feminine energy in your life: creativity, patience, receptivity. Also consider how you felt and reacted in the dream: scared, stressed, curious, powerful, adventurous, etc.

In life, you weave your own web, you create your own reality. Spider says if you’re not happy with your web, change it.

Spider Totem

Spider in Halloween display

Spider Mama’s baby in my Halloween display

A spider totem shows you balance between your past and your future, the physical and the spiritual, the male and female aspects. Strength and gentleness, like a web that is both strong and delicate.

The past is always interwoven with the future. Spider’s body is shaped like the number eight and she has eight legs; the number eight is the symbol for infinity or infinite potential, infinite creative potential.

Lots to consider as I ponder Spider’s presence in my life.

When you encounter an animal, an insect, a plant or a person many times in a short period, consider it an opportunity to reflect on an aspect of your life.

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Certain Physical Ailments Aided by Therapy & Healing Habits

Headache, insomnia, fibromyalgia, women with stomach painirritable bowel syndrome, female sexual dysfunction and infertility. According to recent studies, these physical syndromes can all be treated just as successfully—and sometimes better—with psychotherapy than with medication. These physical ailments, like many others, are often partly or wholly caused by stress, anxiety, low self esteem, and other emotional and mental triggers, especially those that are chronic.

Psychotherapy such as cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) can help people to discover and to manage the root triggers and behaviours that can generate the repetitive, caustic physical processes that end up causing bodily pain and suffering.

In addition to psychotherapy, integrating self-directed healing strategies such as those practiced in Small Scale, Daily Healing (SSDH) can go a long way to identifying, managing and correcting behaviours that contribute to physical ailments.

SSDH’s strategy number one, Small Scale, Daily Healing logo4-Step Process for Personal Growth helps people to identify uncomfortable situations and interactions, to reflect on them, and to practice potential solutions until one helps with the issue. Strategy number two, Build a Strong Relationship with Your BFF-Body Friend Forever, helps you to connect and to bond with your physical body and to recognize how emotional and mental triggers affect you physically. Strategy number three, Practice Visualizations, assists in managing and in eliminating the new and deep set physical, emotional, mental and spiritual triggers and pain.

However, the most important factors with any healing approach, whether it be psychotherapy, Small Scale, Daily Healing, or another, are:

1) the belief that you can heal, and

2) a persistent, long-term practice.

Although exceptions always exist, most emotional and mental triggers take time to be identified, managed and erased, and you have to have the will to keep going even during—especially during—the tough times.

Sources

Recent studies on the success of psychotherapy: Scientific American MIND online. “6 Syndromes with Surprising Psychotherapy Solutions.” By the Editors, Tori Rodriguez and Victoria Stern. Published April 9, 2015. Accessed September 25, 2015. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/6-syndromes-with-surprising-psychotherapy-solutions/

Small Scale, Daily Healing: Integrating Quick and Easy, Self-Directed Healing Tools into Your Busy, Daily Routine by Brenda Piquette, 2015. http://continualthreshold.com/Store/

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Subliminal Messages Influence Our Pain

Researchers have discovered that subliminal messages can influence how we perceive pain. If that’s the case, we can also work to change our perceptions to reduce our pain.

A new study conducted by a team at Harvard Medical School and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm demonstrated that subliminal messages, along with normal cues, can modify the level of pain we experience.

For the study, one group of people was conditioned to associate normal images of faces with either more or less pain from heat applied to their arm. A second group was exposed to these images subliminally; they were flashed so briefly the participants were not aware of seeing them.Subliminal Pain Messages Cartoon

Both groups—those conditioned normally to images and those exposed to the subliminal images—later experienced more or less pain by the applied heat when exposed to the images. The team’s results show that our pain responses are shaped by expectations, some of which we may not even be aware.

This study can help us to reflect on and to better understand our levels of pain. Even though this study focused on physical pain, I would wager that the results also apply to emotional pain.

For instance, you broke a leg while skiing in a forest and, in great pain waiting for help to arrive, you are surrounded by the sound of birds making a racket in the trees. For months afterwards, whenever you hear lots of birds, you feel more pain in your leg—but you never realized that you only felt that pain when you heard birds chattering.

Does your pain seem to get better or worse in certain places, with certain people or animals, around certain sounds, objects or images?

What makes you feel good? Do you have a photo that always makes you feel good to help reduce your pain? What makes you feel bad? Can you avoid what makes you feel bad to reduce your pain? If you can’t avoid what makes you feel bad, can you change your response to it?

If we can become conditioned to react with more pain around certain images, places, people or objects then, conversely, we can change our reactions to them so that they don’t have that effect on us anymore. And, we can train ourselves to feel less pain around specific images, places, people or objects that make us feel good.

Train yourself to change your reaction to stimuli that cause more pain.

Start by paying more attention to your pain. Notice when it gets better, when it gets worse. Don’t jump to conclusions right away. Keep track of your pain in a journal if it helps.

Once you’ve got enough information to recognize patterns, then start to change your reactions to stimuli that seem to cause more pain. Look at an image that makes you feel good or think of a place or person that makes you feel good. Open Your Heart. Do your Line of Calm.

Don’t give up after a few tries; it can take time to decondition our automatic responses to stimuli, whether they are subliminal or in our face.

Source

Scientific American online. “Subliminal Messages Influence Our Experience of Pain.” By Simon Makin. Posted Aug 13, 2015. Accessed Sept. 23, 2015. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/subliminal-messages-influence-our-experience-of-pain/

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What To Do About Stressful World Issues

Every day, we are hearing and reading about stressful issues happening all around us: climate change, icebergs melting, hurricanes, Syrian refugeesdesperate refugees, starving polar bears, decimated forests, homes inundated and people swept away, elephants poached. In the past, I’ve offered techniques on how to deal with stressful world issues and I think they are worth repeating to remind ourselves that we are not powerless to help.

We have power. We can help. We can help everyone and everything, including ourselves.

The following techniques are not about woowoo or religion. They are about being human and using the very real power of compassion and unconditional love, the power of your thoughts, and the power of your intentions.

refugees are human beingsThis morning, I was reading about the plight of the Syrian refugees in Europe and pondered the millions of refugees all over the world. What if my husband and I had no choice but to drag our children away from their home and leave our lives behind, knowing we would never return? Leave what had been our daily comfort and security for daily unknown, probably dangerous situations? It would be devastating.

My focus for the following techniques is the plight of all refugees across the globe but you can choose whatever issue is on your mind.

  1. Open Your Heart.
  2. Say silently: “I am filled with compassion and unconditional love.” Alternately, you can ask the universe, God or whoever else to fill you with compassion and unconditional love.
  3. Visualize gentle, watermelon red/pink light (compassion) all around you. Then, while retaining the watermelon light, also visualize very bright green light (unconditional love) within you and around you. Don’t worry if you can’t visualize both colours at the same time; your intention is more important than your ability to visualize.
  4. Say silently: “All of the world’s refugees are filled and surrounded by compassion and unconditional love.” Alternately, you can ask the universe, God or whoever else to fill and surround them with compassion and unconditional love.
  5. Expand your watermelon light and green light to surround all of the world’s refugees (by visualizing and/or with your intention).
  6. Say silently: “All of the world’s refugees receive whatever they need for their highest good.” Alternately, you can ask the universe, God or whoever else to give the refugees whatever they need for their highest good.
  7. Hold that light around them for as long as you wish. Then, bring the light back around yourself.
  8. Say silently: “I am grateful to be in my home. I am grateful for the help they will receive.

You can adapt this technique for any world issue that is on your mind. Visualize compassion and unconditional love filling and surrounding the people, animals, insects, environments, or regions in need. Ask that they receive whatever they need for their highest good.

It’s good practice to begin by opening your heart and to end with gratitude.

Remember that, when you offer your assistance in whatever way you can, you help others and you help yourself because you are transforming your fear, frustration, stress, or anger—which are not healthy for your mind, heart, and body—into compassion and love which are much more beneficial to your body and being.

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Moving Forward After an Argument

It’s pretty normal for two people who have lived together for a while to rub each other the wrong way at times. A few days ago, my husband and I had a disagreement. Okay, an argument. When I went to bed afterwards, I could tangibly feel the wall I put up beside me as I turned away from him. I recalled what my mother had told me her mother had told her about marriage, “Never go to bed mad.” Ya, well, forget that. I’m not ready to let this go yet.couple arguing

Sound familiar? After we have an argument, we know that we should just let it go, apologize and move on. But it’s not that easy. For a while after the argument, that stubborn resistance to movement and outreach blocks us because we’re not done being mad yet. I knew as I was laying in bed that I should work on Opening my Heart but I couldn’t—at least not yet. So I indulged my hurt ego for a few moments as I silently continued to counter my husband’s words in my isolated corner.

After a bit of restless sleep, I woke up during the night with small thoughts tugging at my conscience. I knew I couldn’t go on being upset. I had to deal with these feelings.

I did my Full Calm technique that infuses all my major chakras with calm. This calms my body physically and my being emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Once my entire being is calmer, it’s much easier to Open My Heart. (Small Scale, Daily Healing: Healing Strategy #3: Practice Easy Visualizations)

I Open My Heart so that I can look at the situation more clearly and more objectively. Ironic how we think of our heart and love as subjective tools and yet, when we use them, we remove our ego, we are more open to the big picture and, as a result, we see situations more objectively. (Small Scale, Daily Healing: Healing Strategy #3: Practice Easy Visualizations)

With my entire being calm and my heart open, I was ready to re-examine the situation without my ego. I reflected on why we argued and how we argued, and determined what I could do next time to get my points across more calmy. (Small Scale, Daily Healing: Healing Strategy #1: A 4-Step Process for Personal Growth)

Finally, I breathed some unconditional love into my body and being to acknowledge that, even though it was hard, we worked through this issue and were moving forward. Good job. (Small Scale, Daily Healing: Healing Strategy #2: Build an Attentive, Compassionate Relationship with your BFF—Body Friend Forever)

The next day, my husband and I both, at the same time, looked at each other and said we were sorry. Apologizing didn’t mean one was right and one was wrong; it just meant we were willing to put our egos aside and move forward. Heck, we’re both strong minded and stubborn and life happens. Good to know I’ve got tools I can use to cross each threshold as it comes.

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