Fear, Love & Scaredy-Cat Joey

fear love lifecoachlinda.com

This is Joey, my little scaredy cat.  He is on constant high alert and can disappear at the speed of light, running to his safety zone under my bed.  His latest fear is the air coming from the vents when the air conditioner comes on.

Recently, I noticed that his anxiety was getting worse.  He was spending entire days under the bed and had a constant look of panic when he was downstairs.  It was breaking my heart.

So, I decided to immerse him in love therapy.  Every chance I had, I would pet and love on him.  He took to it well and soon he was following me around everywhere I went and I was totally covered in cat fur 24 hours a day.  His confidence grew.  His fear dissipated.  And, he became an active member of the family again.

I have heard that fear is the opposite of love.  So, is it also possible that love is the antidote to fear?  What would happen if we learned to focus on loving ourselves through our fearful experiences?  Love the experiences?  And, even love fear itself?

It wouldn’t hurt to try.  Shall we?

What It Feels Like to Become a Grandmother

My Grandkids

Christopher, Thomas, and Becca

Nothing prepared me for what was going to happen when my first grandchild was born. Friends would get these mysterious smiles and say, “Just wait, it will be wonderful.”

And it was. More than wonderful. 

Even though my oldest grandson is about to graduate high school, the moment I first saw him is branded in my heart and mind forever.

Everything fell away in that moment and my heart opened beyond anything I could have imagined. I was experiencing a miracle of life and love.

No more guarding and protecting my heart. No more sitting on the sidelines. I was in! All in! 

The same feelings came forward when his sister and brother were born, but that first time was like a shock to my system because I didn’t know I could love that freely and at such a deep level. I hadn’t realized how big my heart really was.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my son more than anything, but we were separated when he was born because he was premature and didn’t get to experience those first magical moments together. And then, there was all that single parenting struggle that kept me busy and my upbringing in a family that didn’t show affection that held me back. So even though I loved him more than life itself, I didn’t have the skills or freedom to really demonstrate it at the time.

That is why being a grandma is different than being a mom. We are free to just love without the daily stress and worries. We can see things from a broader perspective supported by our years of experience and our only job is to be there fully for these new precious beings that come into our lives.

There is a moment I remember when my grandchildren were young that symbolizes for me what being a grandma is about.  

As I walked into their house one day, they all ran over to hug me at the same time and ended up knocking me down onto the floor. Their parents yelled at them to stop and I remember looking up and trying to figure out why. Because I was in heaven. Pure bliss. Wrestled to the floor with love.

That is what it feels like to become a grandmother.

I guess I am feeling nostalgic because my first grandbaby will be going to college soon, but I will never forget how it felt to become a grandmother for the first time. My heart will never be the same again. And that, is a good thing.

Please feel free to comment on this post. I would love to hear what you have to say about becoming a grandmother.

4 Ways to Attract and Keep Great Relationships

relationships
In my line of work as a Life Coach, I hear a lot about relationships. My clients want to know how to fix broken ones, sustain and grow good ones, and even how to attract them in the first place.

Relationships are a hot topic in the coaching world. At least with my clients they are.

Whether they be friends, family, or romantic partners, the quality of your relationships shape your life. Mutual caring and shared intentions can lift you up, while drama, lack of skill, and disrespect can make your days miserable.

You can’t necessarily change the people around you, but you can show up yourself in ways that honor your relationships and demonstrate how you want to be treated. When you set the bar, other people are more likely to live up to it.

So, here is what I suggest.

Be Yourself: You don’t want to be laying on your death bed surrounded by all the wrong people. And, the only way the right people who will love you for who you are will be able to find you is if you are authentically you. This can be scary. Real scary. Maybe one of the biggest risks you will ever take in your life. And yet, the risk is worth the blessings of a life filled with true love and friendship.

Be Fully Present – Put down the phone, stop watching TV and be with the ones you love. Really be with them. Give them the gift of looking them in the eye and listening deeply to what they have to say. Let them know they are a priority in your life. You may be surprised by all of the magical moments you experience that could have easily passed you by.

Keep Your Agreements – Seems obvious, doesn’t it? Yet, my clients talk about broken agreements all the time. Little agreements matter, too If you can’t keep one, let the other person know and renegotiate. It’s as simple as that.

Express Appreciation – In an earlier blog post I shared that I lost someone I loved without ever saying those three little words – I love you. I will always regret keeping those words to myself. Saying a simple thank you or letting the people in your life know how special they are to you is something that should happen daily. Believe me, you won’t regret it.

Practicing these principles will lead to relationships that honor everyone involved and that you will want to keep forever. It will be a blessing when you are in your final days to know that you are surrounded by the right people and that your relationships are rich with love and respect.

Don’t forget to leave a comment.  I would love to hear what you have to say.

Related posts:

Having Trouble Forgiving? Try This.

How to Tell When it is Time to End a Friendship

How to Cultivate Inner Peace

A Wake Up Call

love heart

Late last night my phone rang.  My friend had come home and found her son dead.

Can you imagine?

I could hear the shock and grief in her voice and it triggered memories of other moments when I had heard those qualities in the voices of myself and people I love.

It was a wake up call for me in more than one way.  I was reminded that:

Everything can change in one moment – we will all experience lifequakes that will shake us to our core.  Our lives will be forever changed and often diminished in ways we could never have imagined.  This is part of our journey here on this earth.

What we can do is live so fully that when our world is shaken or someone leaves us forever we have no regrets.

When I was 22 the man I loved died suddenly in an accident.  I had been so busy protecting my heart that I never told him I loved him.  My fear kept me from saying the words until it was too late.  It took years before I was able to forgive myself and let the regret go. 

Live fully.  Love fully. Go for your dreams.  This is your precious life and every moment of it is a gift.

Be Grateful  – sometimes we don’t appreciate what we have until it is gone.  Well, maybe on some level we do, but we push back the awareness of it because we have other things on our minds.

When we focus on appreciation and gratitude our lives become richer and more meaningful. We experience things more deeply, recognize blessings when they come, and fill our hearts with love.

This can help us be more resilient when we suffer a loss.  There will be shock.  And, grief. But eventually the love and gratitude will bring balance and guide us through the process of learning to live again.

My heart goes out to my friend and all that she is experiencing right now.  I don’t know why she has been given this as part of her journey on this earth, but I trust that she will be okay.

I can’t save her from the pain or make it all better, but I can be grateful for the wake up call this has offered me and share it with you, hoping that it makes a difference in someone’s life.  Could that someone be you?

 

How Wayne Dyer Saved My Life

Wayne Dyer

Yesterday, I watched Wayne Dyer with Oprah on Super Soul Sunday and as usual felt inspired by what he had to say. Later in the day I learned he had passed on, or as he would say – left his human body behind.

Since then memories have been coming forward of how his words have touched my life over the years. He is the one I credit with starting my journey toward healing and becoming who I am today.  Continue reading

Try These Bedtime Practices for a Peaceful Night’s Sleep

 

woman smiling as she sleeps

Over the years, I have learned the value of having a bedtime ritual.  There is something very comforting and calming about doing similar things every night to close out the day.

Bedtime practices also support being able to fall asleep and have a peaceful night’s rest.  When I release the stress of the day my subconscious is free to work on my challenges and questions for me while I sleep, often bringing new answers with the morning.

Here are some bedtime ritual ideas you may want to try:  Continue reading

How I am Surviving a Crisis

my cat Joey

My little 3 year old cat Joey is very sick.  He almost died.  And, still could.

Being totally human, I went off the deep end with worry.  I created stories about terrible outcomes and took his fear and upset personally, especially when he seemed to not trust me anymore.  It broke my heart.  Continue reading

28 Ways to Be Your Own Valentine

I love me! card

Whether you are in a relationship or not, you deserve some special time for loving self-care.  When you take the time to nurture yourself, you will be more loving with those around you.  It all begins with you.  And, if you are like most of us, you have been neglecting yourself way too long.

Take some time this Valentine’s Day month for you.  Only you.  Do something that feeds your soul, lifts you up, or gives you a sense of peace.  Remember that you are the most important person in your life, and you deserve to be nurtured and loved. 

How?  I asked my some of my clients and friends about their favorite self-nurturing activities and this is what they came up with:

  1. Buy yourself flowers
  2. Play with art or crafts
  3. Have a technology free day
  4. Soak in a bubble bath surrounded by candlelight
  5. Get a massage, facial, or mani/pedi
  6. Spend the day in your most comfortable pajamas
  7. Journal about the blessings in your life
  8. Treat yourself to your favorite chocolate
  9. Read a good book or watch a funny movie (or 2, or 3, or all day long)
  10. Go for a walk in nature
  11. Make yourself your favorite comfort food or bring home a great take out meal
  12. Visit a museum, art gallery, or zoo
  13. Lay on your back and watch clouds or stargaze
  14. Hire a photographer to do a professional portrait celebrating you
  15. Meditate
  16. Set a formal dinner table for yourself, including candlelight and flowers
  17. Color in a coloring book
  18. Enjoy a sunrise or sunset
  19. Do yoga
  20. Snuggle with a pet
  21. Sit quietly and listen to music you love
  22. Daydream
  23. Go out into the garden and get your hands dirty
  24. Float in a pool
  25. Write a loving letter to yourself
  26. Spend time sitting on the beach
  27. Go for coffee and a treat at your favorite café
  28. Take a class or go to an event that will inspire you

 Whatever you choose to do, remember that you are your own Best Valentine and treat yourself accordingly.

Do you have any self-nurturing practices not listed here? I would love to hear about them.  You can share by leaving a comment below.

Giving Gifts from the Heart

hand holding out a gift

It’s easy to go a little crazy this time of year looking for the “perfect” gifts for your family and friends, many of which will go unused or be forgotten within a month or two.

Gift giving is not about:

  • Proving your love for someone
  • Maintaining your image
  • Pleasing people to feel accepted
  • The expectations of others

 Gift giving is about:

  • Looking into your heart for what feels right
  • Choosing gifts that have meaning or bring more comfort to someone’s life
  • Matching the gift to the needs of the receiver.  Fancy gifts don’t make sense when someone needs groceries.
  • Value, not money.  A gift certificate for a couple hours babysitting to a harried mom is likely to be appreciated more than the latest thingamajig.
  • Having a plan and working within a budget.  People who truly care about you will not want you to go into debt.
  • The personal touch.  Little extras like words of appreciation or personal references that make it clear your gift was specially chosen for that person.
  • Holding your gift to your heart and infusing it with love before passing it on

Lessons I’ve Learned from My Friend in Hospice

Sybil's Valentine Tree 2013

My friend, Sybil, has a disease called CBGD and has been living in a guest home for a few years.  Her disease has frozen her body and taken away her ability to communicate and care for herself.  And yet, she is still my friend.

Witnessing this part of her life has been an interesting experience for me.  For the most part, I have been surprised how much I enjoy visiting her and there have also been times when I feel like my heart is breaking.  She has modeled pure grace and I love that the last word she can speak clearly and often is the word, “yes”.  It speaks to who she really is and how she has lived her life.

Sybil’s journey is also a learning experience for me and I would like to share some of the lessons and reminders that have come my way because of it.

Live each day fully – we never know how much time we have or when things might suddenly change. This may be the best year of your life or the last time you get to do something you really enjoy.  Approach your days with awareness and appreciation because each one is truly a gift.

 Trying to understand “why” is a waste of time – sometimes things just don’t make sense.  Why is my friend who loved to travel and have compelling conversations sitting in a wheelchair unable to move or speak day after day after day?  What could God possibly have in mind?  I have learned to accept that it is not for me to know the answer to this question.

My life is truly blessed – it is so easy to get upset about little things like bad hair days, computers that don’t work, and other challenges that come along, but visiting Sybil puts my life in perspective very quickly and reminds me just how blessed I am.  I can move, take care of myself, talk, drive, read, and even swallow easily.  She reminds me to be grateful for all of these, and more.

Sometimes being loving is all you can do – most of the time, now that we can’t have conversations, I read to my friend.  But, it’s really about just showing up and being there.  I believe in the power of love and when that is all I can offer, I know that it will be enough.

(Thank you Sybil for saying yes to my sharing this story.)

The Love Balloon

For some reason, this week I feel called to repost this story from October 2011.  My sweet cat Smoky has since passed on, but I will never forget our experience with the love balloon.

smoky-and-the-love-balloon-003

For my recent graduation from the Spiritual Psychology program at the University of Santa Monica, my dear friends Patricia and Kaleo gave me two balloons.  One of them said, “congratulations”, and the other had hearts on it.  I took the balloons home, where they floated up to the ceiling.

The balloons stayed by the living room window for several days and then I noticed the one with hearts was missing.  While the congratulations balloon has never moved, the heart balloon began to explore my two story home.

One morning, I woke up feeling compelled to write a loving email letter to someone in my family who was facing a challenge.  After finishing it, I sat in my desk chair enjoying the feeling of love I had for that person.  When I looked over my shoulder, I discovered the heart balloon had come up behind me, as if to inspire or share in the love.

I renamed it the Love Balloon and over the next few days watched it travel from room to room as if spreading love throughout my home.  One afternoon it centered itself in my bedroom window and seemed to be beaming love out to the world.

The Love Balloon is coming to the end of its life now and has made a new connection.  It chose to spend its last hours above my cat, Smoky’s  food bowl and they seem to have formed quite a bond.

I’ve really enjoyed my time with the Love Balloon.  Think what you want.  Believe what you want.   But, for me, it’s been a beautiful reminder of the importance of sharing love with the world.