Better By Monday: Contemplation is a place of observation

Better By MondayHopefully, where you are and where you want to be are the same place but if you’re like most of us, life has bumped and jolted you along to places you never completely planned or even desired, in good and in not so good ways. But even so, today is where you are right now. And any time you devote to contemplating your own path, diverging or just unclear, may help develop your capacity for thoughtful reflection. And this may help you move into your future undaunted by any uncertainties you face.

In therapy clients get to look down the pathway of the past, which can be beneficial as it can support purposeful decision making for the future. But just looking is the key; it’s a challenge to not go too deep or delve to long else we re-live all of our past traumas and pains far in excess of their value to us, crowding out the enjoyment of the present that is always with us.

So while looking back is helpful, in moderation and with great care, lifting our heads high and gazing on any possible future pathway is helpful too. Engaging in the uncertainties and various scenarios with purpose and forethought, makes a huge difference in how you can see yourself as a life traveler. A decisive, thoughtful, and meaningful mental trip into your future possibilities usually feels empowering regardless of any possible doubts you may hold inside.

Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, is in many ways a current reflection of the past, but at the same time he extends an arch into the future:

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

Robert Frost’s poem evokes many things in me, not the least of which is the wonderful reverence I have for basic acts of contemplation and reflection which are both central to my own and my client’s capacity for healing awareness.

The therapeutic process allows them to sit and consider the past but we also understand it’s never a good idea to get swallowed up by it completely; a reflective visit is always best. There is also room made for the present moment, a place where many paths, past, present, and future, are open to immediate interpretation, pondering, and careful consideration.

Many things can cause us to go into those deep woods of thought. But the practical realities of the day call us back to ourselves, to the present, over and over again. We may have miles to go before we sleep but none of us knows how many or where the journey will end – so journey on.

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., LPC.

Better By Monday is a blog about one thing you can do, over the weekend, to feel a little bit better by Monday.

Zest of Life, LLC. Professional Counseling.

Better By Monday: Write Out Your Worst

Better By MondayYes, write a list of your worries and/or fears down on a piece of paper and look at them. Keep the list focused on your biggies, probably not one, but not more than ten. Once you’ve done this put them away in a container or box.

Many religious, spiritual, and secular traditions around the world use worry mandalas, images, icons and figurines to allow people to mentally deposit their worries and fears and then move on with their day and their life. It’s a way of acknowledging their existence, treating them with the respect they deserve (meaning, they are of real concern to you) but also allowing you to LEAVE them be, for a time, and free yourself to get on with regular living.

For you it might be as simple as a daily or weekly list, folded and stored in an old shoe box or plastic container. You can replace the old one each time by throwing it away and depositing the new list. However, you may want to date them and keep them all. Any practice that works for you is what will work!

Try it! Just doing this simple activity can actually help you do better work, and enjoy relationships more because as you no longer carry the fears inside you the odds of them leaking (or screaming) out at random times is lowered. Leaking your fears onto others can inflict pain or confusion on those you love.

This isn’t denial. You are accounting for all of them by placing them on a list in a container – you are also creating a situation where they don’t upstage what you need to do (perform your best) for the present moment. You are taking back control of your choices and thoughts and giving space for the thinking you need most in the moments of your life you really want them to be pure and undiluted.

This is a practice, maybe too simplistic for some, to regain personal peace. But the very essence of freeing yourself from excessive fears and worries is an act of courage over something most within your control – your thoughts, how you animate them (with fears, emotion, wisdom, anger, etc. etc. etc.) and your choices around how to respond to, manage or simply influence them to regain a moment of peace.

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., L.P.C.

Better By Monday is a blog about one thing you can try, over the weekend, to feel a little bit better by Monday.

Zest of Life, LLC.

Better By Monday: Off Balance

Better By MondayPlan to be unbalanced. That’s right, spot a time in your day or weekend where you KNOW you’ll be a bit of a wreck, overly emotional, or even angry. I know this is a bit of an anti-positive attitude here, but hang with me. After you select your anticipated event or time when you expect to be challenged, think right then of how quickly you can recover or get back to a positive/neutral feeling about it.

Plan in your mind whether it will take a day, a few hours, 30 minutes…..maybe a minute? Point is – there is NO such thing as achieving some ongoing steady state of personal or emotional balance in life. People keep themselves anxious and self-critical every time they fall out of a comfortable life position. Instead you can now see this as a normal nuisance and expected thing, and the ONLY plan and forethought worth having is about how you expect to get back into balance, for a time – until the next thing happens.

That’s it! Balance can be found but never kept. It’s found, lost , found again and lost again. Over and over it goes. Over time you don’t need to anticipate any specific bad situation, just know they will always show up, along with the good ones, and in each case you will have an opportunity to see how much better you are at responding, recovering, and moving on with peace inside (think of peace as a hybrid positive and neutral).

So at a minimum you can stop fearing this loss of balance and welcome it, and plan your recovery. THAT’s the way to get though life with overall balance, over time… as nothing – and no one – will be able to incite fear in you again as you have the ability to respond to anything… and trust yourself.

Dawna Daigneault

Dawna Daigneault, EdS, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., L.P.C.

Better By Monday is a blog about one thing you can do, try or practice over the weekend to feel a little bit better by Monday

Zest of Life, LLC.