your real super power

You don’t get to choose all the things in life, but you and ONLY you get to decide if they will define or liberate you.

no need to bang your head

Sometimes, no matter how much it hurts or how much you want it, understanding and resolution of conflict between you and someone else will not actually happen with that person.  It may be because they are no longer alive, because they are no longer connected to your life, or because they are not willing or able to engage in effective and meaningful process.

This is hard, because we innately want to alleviate pain, and we tend to look outside ourselves for that relief.  This is why it’s essential to understand that resolution and healing is always something that you can give yourself and that your wholeness, peace and wellbeing are never dependent upon anyone else.

When navigating conflict with someone isn’t an option, what’s the alternative?  Turn inward, seek as much understanding of what’s happened as you can, seize opportunities to challenge your thinking and behavior, and allow for as many inspirations for your own growth as possible.  Then move all that energy—cry, scream, write, read, run, meditate, go outside, confide in people whose counsel you trust, repeat as needed, and move forward.

Responses to conflict have less to do with what anyone “deserves” and more to do with how we relate to ourselves and our understanding of our emotions, fears and defenses.  Try to not take others’ limitations in conflict personally; some comfort can be found in accepting that we’re usually all doing the best we know how to do in the moment.

If the person you’re struggling with isn’t in your life anymore, then moving forward is just that: moving forward without them.  If they are in your life, then challenges and disappointment in conflict resolution don’t necessarily have to be deal breakers regarding whether or not you maintain the connection.  You may want to look at shifting how close you allow them to be to your innermost circles, where you’re most vulnerable, but remember that too is fluid.  Long-term relationships usually ebb and flow in intimacy and distance depending on where people are at in their lives and their individual growth; this is normal and you can allow for it without compromising your own boundaries and wellbeing.

time to shine: step 1

(Part 1 of 4) For all the rejuvenation inferred in a “new year” (which is mostly nonsense), I for one felt like I dragged myself through January as sluggishly as ever.  There were many contributing factors, not the least of which included turbulent national times and a relentlessly cold and gray Montana winter.

Here’s the shorthand guide I’m using to try to grab the helm once again:

However, whatever the reasons, when the course of life starts to feel more like bracing against a crashing tide and less like steering a course deliberately, it’s time to regroup.

1. Accept the limitations of your influence and remember the mind’s default is to focus on dynamics that exacerbate the feeling of struggle.

In the primitive brain’s endeavor to keep us safe, it’s on high alert for what feels dangerous (note: not necessarily what IS dangerous).  Therefore, the things that are beyond our control will be what the mind wants to perseverate on the most, including what’s to come personally or professionally, what the people we love do or don’t do, or what others say or think about us or our lives.

Despite our mind’s preoccupation with these, we can’t control ANY of them.  We can attempt to INFLUENCE them, but we cannot control them.  This distinction is imperative to understand. 

Attempts to control are premised on the attachment to a conclusion… on others’ interpretations and perceptions or on how end results play out or are assessed, but these outcomes are affected by influences well beyond what we as individuals can impact.

Before getting frustrated with the futility of this fear-based thinking, remember that fear exists as a guide, waking you up to realize that happiness, freedom and peace only come from within and never from trying to control a single thing outside of yourself.

You’re an adult now, which means you’re the boss of you, and while you can’t dictate all the details of how life unfolds, you’re absolutely empowered to decide how you perceive it and what you make of it.  Once the focus shifts from rigidly believing it’s your need or responsibility to figure out how to MAKE things outside of you turn out a specific way, you instantly release yourself from gridlock of the ego and liberate your soul for greater truths and action.