Using ACA Blogs to Change Our Emotions

“In the adult there lurks a child—an eternal child, something that is always becoming, is never completed, and that calls for increasing care, attention, and education.  This is the part of the human personality that wishes to develop and become whole.”

Carl Jung

1.  Guess what normal is: “Own Your Crap: Trade Blame for Honesty about What You’re Feeling”

“You ever notice how when you go at your partner with strong emotions, it pushes him or her away?   Isn’t that weird? Ever wonder how that works, exactly?  How could your important, strong, emotions become a big cow plow, ramming the person you care about most out of your path?  I mean, you just want them close, right?  Your only (secret, inner) wish is that they would perceive your misery behind the emotional storm and thunderbolts you’re throwing–hug you, hold you, save you from yourself. “

“But they just see the storm.  And who wouldn’t?”

“When I’m in the heat of an emotional snafu, I don’t get what’s obvious.  Not at all.  Later, when I’ve cooled to a normal, human temperature, it’s all too obvious:  Duh, my partner can’t “hear” me (well, he can sure hear me, but not hear the issue), not when I’m in a flurry and talking (in circles, scratching an emotional itch) about what sounds a lot like…blame.”

2.  Just be Real: “Survival Mode–Pretending”:

“My teenage years were the darkest for me. I shiver just thinking about how awful they were. I grew deeper and deeper into depression and isolation. Had no one to talk to. Sometimes I felt I lost touch with reality. Creating my own fantasy world with my own dialog and cast of characters in my head to ease my pain and to have some kind of life. As sick as it was. That was my survival mode. La La Land.”

“This late in my journey, some 40 years later, I am just now feeling some compassion for my mother. The Lord is showing me that she too was in her own pain. She did not know how to comfort me. She was in her own misery of guilt. She was hurting and she went into her own survival mode.”

“How have you survived?”

“Some of us become perfectionists to cover up our pain that we can even drive ourselves crazy with our rituals. Pretending all the way nothing is wrong. Which can drive us harder to perform perfectly for people. To please others. To somehow think our pain will ease if people will accept us.”

“But God does NOT ask for such sacrifices from us. It is NOT our job. God is aware of our brokenness. Our pain. He does not come to shame or condemn us.”

“So very easy to put on paper. Still it is a big pill to swallow. Sure my walls have thinned considerably around my heart, but some still remain. All in time. All in God’s time. The more I am willing to let Him continue do His surgery, the sooner I will be able to heal into the person I was intended to be! That surely will be freedom then!”

3.  Understanding My Son: “The Letter”

“We updated our letter from last year to make it current and it went out to the classroom parents this week.  G’s teacher was very enthusiastic about the idea and specifically told us we were doing a good job advocating for G.  I feel like it was our choice this year, vs last year when we were trying to head off problems with parents.  DH already got some positive feedback from another dad.”

‘Yet I still feel conflicted.  I know this is a proactive and positive step but I can’t help but feel that we’re betraying G’s privacy.  It’s a bit hypocritical of me, I talk about his autism with other parents often.  The difference is that is one-on-one where I can get a feel for the individual person before I say anything.  This feels more like taking out an ad in the paper.”

“However, I know this is necessary.  The first few days have gone smoothly, as is typical.  We generally start seeing problems during week two that stretch into the remainder of the first month.  By giving parents a head’s-up, we’re garnering a little leeway while we work through the issues.’

“I know not everything relates to alcoholism, but I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t the true root of my discomfort.  When you live in an alcoholic home, you spend an extraordinary amount of time and effort covering up your family problems.  You create a facade of perfection so that nobody will suspect anything dysfunctional is happening behind closed doors.  Sending out this letter feels like I’m exposing our family secrets.  There is nothing shameful about autism, it’s just a fact of life, but taking this action goes against everything I’ve ever done from the time I first realized my dad wasn’t like other dads.”

“Maybe the issue isn’t really one of betraying G’s privacy.  Maybe the issue is really with me and my fear-based need to be seen as perfect.”

Photo credit.

Mindfulness Exercises Help Us to Keep Our Goals

Goals are dreams with a deadline. Do you have both short-term and long-term goals? If you set a few hours aside each week—Sunday evening is my favorite—you can develop goals that you can easily transfer into short to do lists. Each week you could choose one short-term goal and one long-term goal. The trick is if you finish the long-term goal during that week—do not choose more. Instead reward yourself for living a balanced life.

When my life is out of whack, the first thing I do is to evaluate on a short note how much time I’m spending with the major areas of my life. Generally—but not always—I am spending too much time living in the past or in the future. Forgetting to live in today is the major way I get out of sorts—emotionally and in all ways.

Mindfulness takes such a little bit of time for the vast rewards it gives to my serenity. I have to have that inner calm to make and keep goals and to enjoy my life everyday. Some of my favorite places for mindfulness exercises are:

(1)  Anxiety Insights: Workplace Meditation and Yoga can Lower Stress--“

Twenty minutes per day of guided workplace meditation and yoga combined with six weekly group sessions can lower feelings of stress by more than 10 percent and improve sleep quality in sedentary office employees, a pilot study suggests.

The study offered participants a modified version of what is known as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a program established in 1979 to help hospital patients in Massachusetts assist in their own healing that is now in wide use around the world.

(2)  Jack Canfield in “Shift Your Life to be More in Line With Your Vision” writes about: ”Where are Your Habits Leading You?”

(3)  From Lindsay Holmes: “6 Mindfulness Habits You’re Already Practicing (But May Not Know It)”:

“I just can’t do it.”

The excuses for not engaging in mindfulness are endless — you either don’t know how or worse, you don’t have time. You may think that being mindful on a daily basis is something that’s more of a pipe dream than a reality, but don’t count yourself out so quickly. Mindfulness is simply about being fully present in the moment, whether it’s through meditating or just in conversation. The truth is, some of your everyday habits are mindful at their core — you just didn’t know it.

Below are six mindfulness habits you’re probably practicing already.

Paying attention when your child is telling you about her day.

When your little one excitedly scurries into the car and tells you about what games she played on the playground — and you actively respond — you’re practicing mindfulness. As HuffPost blogger Jan Cloninger wrote in a post on mindful parenting, your awareness (or lack thereof) can have a significant effect on your children. “People often say they have trouble focusing their minds. It’s difficult to be in the moment — especially when we’re parenting and the demands of life also need our attention,” she wrote. “If, as adults, we are having a difficult time managing the distractions that interfere with our ability to focus, it’s not surprising that our children are struggling, too.”

Next time your son or daughter animatedly tells you a story, be grateful for the mindfulness you’re already practicing. It makes for amazing memories later on.

Soaking up the sunset on your walk home.

It’s hard not to stare at the sky as the sun casts its final golden glow for the day — and when you stop to appreciate its final moments, you’re actively engaging in a mindful activity. As mindfulness researcher Jon Kabat-Zinn once said, “Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.” And nothing fits that bill better than taking in the beauty of a sunset.

Savoring every bite of that cake.

There’s nothing quite like the sweet taste of your favorite dessert — and if you’re slowly enjoying every last morsel of a rare treat, you’re mastering the art of mindful eating. And that’s not the only benefit of practicing the habit: Being present with your meals and eating slower has been linked to significant weight loss.

Throwing yourself into your weekly softball game.

It’s no secret that many of the world’s best athletes are using mindfulness to help their performance – and it’s paying off. In fact, according to sports psychology coach JoAnn Dahlkoetter, the actual art of playing the game is mindful in itself. “If you can think about just what’s happening at that moment — I like to give my athletes a little mantra, saying, ‘Just this play, just this kick, just this pass,’ — just keeping your mind on what you need to do that moment, that’s a really good way to practice that mindfulness in the game itself,” she said in a recent HuffPost Live segment.

Cooking dinner (for yourself or for others).

As the meditation experts at Headspace point out, cooking is meditation in action. When you’re making a meal, you have the opportunity to be present and aware (because no one actually wants to be distracted while using a sharp knife!). If you’re focused on the task (and the boiling water) in front of you, you’re already more mindful than you think.

Enjoying a nice, long shower at the end of the day.

Chances are you’re grateful for the few moments you get to relax under that steaming water, as you wash away the stress of the day. Those little periods of bliss have mindfulness written all over them — and it’s in a task you’re already doing on a daily basis. A warm shower is the perfect place for a little awareness (plus once you’re done enjoying the moment, it’s also a place where you can do your best thinking).

Photo credit.