Posts Tagged ‘survival’

Let Your Joy Fly!

October 18, 2017

Recently, when I told someone I was going to present a program about joy, she asked how I could possibly think of being joyful when so much is wrong in the world. At first I was taken aback and wondered if I was being insensitive, but then I remembered that joy is something that can lift us out of a pit of despair and in these times of trouble, it is sorely needed!

It’s important not to judge people who seem to have lost their sense of joy, because they are probably in a sad and scary place in their lives. Joy has left the building and left a big empty spot that has been filled by misery or fear or anger or another emotional troll. Hopefully these people will soon once again reclaim their joy.

This is what I know about joy: It is not as elusive as some might think and it’s not the same as happiness.   Happiness often depends on an outside source to make it happen, whereas joy comes from within.  Joy abides with us even in times of trouble because it thrives on hope and if we keep hope alive, joy will remain even when other things fall away.

Joy is like a helium balloon in that when we try to push it down, it wants to push back up and fly and if we let it go, it will soar. The human spirit is an amazing thing and even when we are reeling from a disappointment, crisis, or any kind of trauma, joy wants to break forth and heal us.

Joy is rather indescribable; it is a peace that passes all understanding. It doesn’t depend on a perfect life, wealth, success, or any of the things we have been led to believe are necessary in order to be a joyful person. Joy can be nurtured by choosing to have an attitude of gratitude and by moving away from your own disappointments, grief, and fears in order to extend kindness and help to others who may be in need.

Joy can be found in the beauty of nature, in hope for a better tomorrow, and in the face of a child. It grows stronger with each small victory over fear and when shared with someone else, it is the gift that keeps on giving! Joy is a spark inside of you that can light up the world!

The thing about joy is that you have to be on the lookout for it and invite it in. Some will choose to read JOYISNOWHERE as joy is nowhere. Hopefully, many will read it as joy is now here! If you meet someone who seems to have lost track of their joy, I hope you will give them some of yours.

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Hope is the Thing with Feathers

September 25, 2017

“Hope springs eternal.” Does it really? Or is this just a nice quote that sounds good until you’re going through tough times at which point it doesn’t offer much comfort? I guess it is for each person to decide.

Here’s what I think hope is NOT: It is not about being a Pollyanna. It is not thinking that everything you wish for will come true. It is not about unrealistic expectations.

Hope is the belief in possibilities. It is an understanding that things can change for the better; where you are today doesn’t have to be where you will be in the future. Hope is what keeps us afloat when we feel like we’re drowning in fear, disappointment, or sadness. It is a beacon of light in a dark and stormy sea. I like to think of hope as Holding Onto Positive Expectations.

Sometimes it is difficult to find hope in desperate situations. When we are feeling overwhelmed, it seems easier to give in to despair…but there is nothing positive at the end of that path!

If you are feeling as if hoping is pointless, consider this: Hope is a cognitive system that can propel us into action. Whereas optimism suggests a feeling that everything will turn out alright, hope involves working toward making that happen. When we have hope, we tend to set goals and come up with creative ideas to help us reach them.

In hoping, we acknowledge that there is something worthwhile ahead of us, even though we may have come up against some powerful barriers. Hope allows us to go on. Emily Dickinson expressed it beautifully this way…

“Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all.”

 

I would love to work with you and your organization. http://www.lindahenley-smith.com   laughlady1950@gmail.com

When is it OK to Laugh?

August 30, 2017

Sometimes, when a crisis occurs; even if it doesn’t touch us personally, we lose our desire and even our ability to laugh. With the horror of terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and unkindness rolling out before our eyes via broadcasts and social media outlets, it seems unthinkable and disrespectful to find anything funny. That’s the way we sometimes feel but in reality, laughter is a valuable survival tool.

Obviously, our psychological recovery from a disaster depends on how close we are to it …physically and emotionally and of course, time is also a factor. After every disastrous event, we see heroes appear on the scene, in the form of first responders and also regular people coming to the aid of victims; working together to help put the world back together again. We feel helpless and shaken as we watch the events unfold and eventually, as there begins to be some distance from the horror, the stress lessens and we begin to laugh again. Then we can begin to heal.

Laughter is a release of emotions that we need to express but aren’t sure how to do it. We sometimes feel guilty for laughing in times of trouble, but it’s important to realize that we aren’t laughing at the event; we are detaching from the fear and anger we have been feeling. Laughter is an emotional catharsis and is necessary for keeping us from falling into the pit of negativity; it is our link to sanity.

We should never feel guilty for finding a thread of relief through laughter, as a matter of fact, we should embrace it. People who have been in the most terrifying and unimaginable situations will often share stories of how they tried to find a little humor in their dismal experiences in order to keep themselves from breaking down completely.

Victor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor wrote, “What helps people survive awful circumstances is their ability to detach and get beyond themselves. This is seen in heroism and humor.”

During the Vietnam War, Gerald Coffee was shot down and imprisoned in the “Hanoi Hilton” for over seven years. He explained that “Laughter sets the spirit free to move through even the most tragic circumstances. It helps us shake our heads clear, get our feet back under us and restore our sense of balance and purpose. Humor is integral to our peace of mind and ability to go beyond survival.”

Laughter and tears are closely related; they are two sides of the same coin. It is much like a snake eating its own tail…we cry until we laugh and we laugh until we cry.

Some of the most famous comedy teams emerged from the time of the Great Depression and WWII. Why? Because the nation needed some relief; we needed to laugh. Many of the stories portrayed on M*A*S*H were based on stories told by actual surgeons who used humor to escape the horror of their experiences in Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals during the Korean War.

Laughter is a gift. In times of stress, it is a pressure valve which allows us to maintain an even keel. It saves lives and it allows us to step back for a moment and perhaps even find a little peace and hope. And speaking of hope, here is a quote from Bob Hope on the subject:

“I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform the most unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.”

Your Amazing Brain & What You Can Do With It

February 16, 2017

Several years ago, I experienced a traumatic shock, and while it isn’t important to elaborate on the details, it’s enough to say that it turned my world upside down. People talk about PTSS as it relates to people who have returned from war but it is very possible for anyone to be a victim of the “after shocks” of a traumatic event.

In light of my experience, I did a lot of research and became fascinated by the workings of our brains and how we can change or alter our thought patterns. I learned about the science of neuroplasticity. The term is derived from the words Neuron and Plastic. Obviously, neuron refers to the neural cells in your brain and plasticity means to mold or modify. So neuroplasticity is the science that explains the potential that your brain has to create new neural pathways; basically changing the way you think. Cool, huh?

The more I learned, the more I realized that I had the capability of reorganizing my thoughts and I really needed to do something to get out of the negative spiral I was in. And I realized that it was going to take some action on my part.

Think of it this way, when you memorize a song, you do so by constantly repeating the lyrics and singing it over and over again until it’s locked in. You have created a neuropath which allows you to remember that song. Suppose you decide to put new words to that song, like a parody. How do you do it? The same way…you sing it over and over and over again until you have created a new neuropath.

If you play an instrument or if you are a dancer, you know the concept of muscle memory. Your brain remembers the steps of a dance or where you put your fingers on your instrument. The science is fascinating and complex, but the concept is simple. As it relates to getting past a fearful mindset, you have the ability to change a negative thought pattern into a more positive one. But just as in singing a song, playing the piano, or dancing, you have to practice. If you are going to change a thought, you have to apply action!

That means that you have to begin to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. You can’t just leave an empty spot, or those troll thoughts will jump right back in! When I was teaching, I used to ask my students to answer a riddle. Here it is: Five frogs sat on a log and one decided to jump into the water. How many frogs were left on the log?

The answer is…..FIVE frogs were left on the log because one only DECIDED to jump into the water, but took no action!

I am not a doctor….but I am a DIVA and that stands for Delighting In Victorious Attitude and I think we all deserve to have an attitude of altitude!

 

I would love to work with you! I offer one-on-one and group coaching classes as well as keynotes, seminars, and trainings.

www.lindahenley-smith.com Contact me at laughlady1950@gmail.com

“Forgive Your Enemies…Nothing Annoys Them as Much!” —Oscar Wilde

May 14, 2012

It happens. Chances are; at least once in your lifetime, someone will betray you. Somewhere along the line, most of us experience the feeling of being let down by someone and we end up feeling sad, mad and most definitely, we feel like we’ve been had!

Since we are human, our emotions play a huge role in who we are. When we put our trust in someone and they don’t live up to our expectations, we get disappointed and hurt, and if we don’t deal with it in a healthy way, that resentment grows into a monster troll that can eat us up. Hanging on to anger and being an active participant in “blamestorming” can cause us to get stuck in a rut of despair.

When we think someone has “done us wrong,” it’s easy to hop onto the revenge train and imagine how we can get even or how we can punish the person responsible for our misery. Little evil gremlins sit on our shoulders and tell us that if we forgive, it is the same thing as giving a “free pass” to the person who hurt us. They tell us that we would feel better if only we could make the other person pay for what he or she has done.  When we listen to the nasty little voices, we are allowing toxic thoughts to poison our minds and our bodies. Negativity turns in to stress. Stress turns into illness. Making another person feel guilty can make us feel like we’re in control, but that’s a convoluted and sick kind of power. The healthier path is to get over yourself and put your ego aside!

The act that hurt you will always remain a part of your history because you can’t go back and erase it. But, choosing to forgive can allow you to focus on other positive parts of your life and even allow you to adopt a new and improved attitude about things. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you are justifying the wrong, but it does mean that you are refusing to be a volunteer victim. It means that you are choosing to be bigger than the betrayal!

As a child, when I felt betrayed, I perpetrated my share of revenge acts…none too serious, thank goodness! Okay..I admit to burying Joey’s crayons in his glue bottle after he hurt my feelings, and I will own up to opening Ellen’s lunch box and taking bites out of her sandwich, when I found out she told a lie about me. But.as I grew older and the hurts seemed to run deeper; I learned that I can’t wait until I FEEL like forgiving because that day may never come. Forgiveness isn’t a feeling…it is a choice. And forgiveness is not so much to benefit the other person (who may or may not even realize they have hurt you) as it is for your own benefit! It feels good to release those trolls and gremlins and make space for happier thoughts!

Play it Forward

November 30, 2011

Yikes!  By now, everyone has heard about the strange and disturbing events of Black Friday.  A woman pepper spraying other shoppers in order to get to a video game, riots breaking out over $2.00 waffle irons and people stepping over each other when they fell…all in the name of “competitive shopping.”  I don’t know about you but I’m afraid to go into a store for fear I’ll be conked on the head with a toaster or strangled with an appliance cord! Tis the season to be jolly….and there will be blood!

Obviously, these are tense economic times but some people are really losing it! I think part of the problem is that we are becoming a panic driven society; we are saturated with bad news and impending doom…and we have forgotten how to play nicely with others!

Remember the movie, “Pay it Forward?” the concept was to do a needed favor for three people and ask nothing in return except for those people to do the same for three others. It was the idea of an 11-year-old boy with the hope of making the world a better place.  I think we could use some of that right now and I’d like to adapt it a little and suggest that we “PLAY” it forward, as well.

What if each of us were to make a commitment to laugh with three people every day…or at least smile with one person? What if, instead of leaving our houses every morning expecting to run into problems in traffic or at work, we adopted an attitude of altitude and decided to rise above annoyances and be determined to find some joy in the day? Maybe it would catch on and courtesy, patience and friendliness could make guest appearances!

It makes sense to me that if we were to try very hard to avoid walking in fearstorms and try equally as hard to add some fun and play to our lives, we might be better off, but it’s not always easy! It is difficult to find humor in stressful situations, especially when we’re constantly faced with what’s wrong in the world. People are losing jobs, worrying about money, fearful of their futures and consequently, they are clobbering each other with waffle irons while Holiday shopping during the “most wonderful time of the year!”

To maintain a healthy balance and prevent road rage, shopping rage and general “snarkiness” to others, I think it’s imperative to occasionally shift mental gears and readjust our thinking patterns to include more playing….good, old fashioned silly playing that is accompanied by lots of laughter.  It begins with a daily attitude shift; a personal vow to choose your battles, keep your cool and refuse to be sucked into negativity.   And if you feel like adding some stress-breaking toys into the mix…so much the better! Each of us measures the success of a day in our own way; some by how many battles we win and some by how many people with whom we’ve shared a smile.  If we play it forward and share some fun with others; maybe they’ll be inspired to do the same. Then, maybe we’ll have less people snarling and more people smiling. It’s worth a try and it sure can’t hurt! And if you anger someone because you smiled at them, and they conk you with a toaster….at least you’ll go down with a smile on your face!

Embrace the Detours

November 17, 2011

Sometimes we get on a path and we think we know where we’re going. We have it all planned….the route we’re going to take and how long it will take us to get there. Then, all of the sudden…WHAMMO! Something happens; a road block or a detour. We’re suddenly thrown into a tailspin as we realize that we have to go a different way and change our carefully laid plans.  This is true in driving and it is also true about life in general.   People don’t like change.  We don’t accept it readily and we fight it.  While driving, I have actually seen people get out of their cars and argue with orange cones.  The cones don’t care…they are cones of silence.  Now that I think of it….I, myself, have thrown out some harsh words at detour signs. It never does me any good because it doesn’t change anything, I can do nothing about it and I still have to take the detour.  And sometimes, I find that the different route takes me to places that I never would have seen otherwise, and I actually enjoy the scenery.  I guess I owe some of those signs an apology.

The same goes for detours in life.  There are many quotes about the uncertainty of life; like “Life is what happens while you are busy planning other things.” and “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”   I’m not really sure exactly what that one means, but I guess people and rodents often get stuck in mazes and have to find their way out. All of nature is subject to unforeseen influences and “stuff happens.”  We experience roadblocks and detours along the way and they can either make us or break us. It depends on how flexible we are and how willing we are to go with the flow.  When life throws us a curve, we can either emulate Rumplestiltskin or throw a tantrum or we can put on our big girl pants and look at the situation as an opportunity to grow.

I once drove on the highway behind a van full of children. After driving behind them for a few hours, I noticed that they were busily working on something. In a few minutes, a sign appeared in the back windshield. It was lettered in crayon and in a childish scrawl. It read “Help us please. We have to pee and daddy won’t stop.”  I guess Daddy was determined to reach his destination and didn’t want to make a detour.  Too bad….because he probably missed some nice scenery.

Three Habits of Highly Self-Defeating People

October 14, 2011

Most of us have read books informing us of the habits of  highly successful people. We know that in order to be successful, we must  program our minds for success and we also know that particular mindset doesn’t  always come easily. I think it is equally important to know the habits we  should NOT embrace. I call these the habits of highly self-defeating people.

1. Always compare yourself to others.  This is a great way to feel lousy about yourself! If you measure your  every accomplishment against someone else, you will probably always be  successful in finding some shortcoming in your own performance.  This is because you are NOT someone else and  someone else is NOT you!  Every one of us  has a unique personality, style and talent. Modeling a successful person whose  accomplishments you respect is one thing but it is important to realize that  you cannot live anyone else’s life because they are already living it, so blaze  your own trail!     

 2. Always expect the worst and you will never be disappointed…and make sure  you always panic.  These are trying times and everyone  loves to talk about how we’re going down for the count! Watching the news will  straighten your hair if it’s curly and curl your hair if it’s straight! You  can’t pick up a magazine without seeing a headline about impending doom and it  is getting tougher to muster up any optimism.  Now is the time to just say “no” to despair! Panic doesn’t help anything  and it makes you look like a deranged squirrel. We attract what we most often  think about so if we expect failure and angst to come knocking at the door, we  will probably find it on our front porch. Maintaining an optimistic attitude  doesn’t mean believing that everything will be rosy; it means entertaining  alternate possibilities, fostering creative ways to meet challenges and being  proactive in your own success!   

  3.  Keep old feelings of past failure, guilt, fear and other bad things alive  and in the frontal lobe of your brain at all times….and don’t forget the  negative self-talk!  To maintain that fearful feeling of  never being good enough, be sure to constantly conjure up and nurture your past  woes. Right? WRONG!  You cannot move ahead while looking backward. Don’t allow  your mistakes to define your worth or dictate your future.  Fight the urge to relive the past. Get off of  the hamster wheel that keeps you on the same track and take a different path  with a different attitude! Refrain from reminding yourself daily that you do  not deserve any good things and treat yourself with respect.  Deal with the situations at hand, glean the good “stuff” from your past failures, do the best  you can and don’t rent your brain cells out to negativity! Above all….don’t be  your worst enemy! You may as well like yourself because wherever you go…there  you are!

Women and Willows

August 17, 2009

I’m new at this blog thing.  To me, a blog is the sound that my garbage disposal makes when it’s backed up.  Anyway, I’m embarking on this journey and hope to share some thoughts with other women who are trying to make it through life. on their own, after the age of being “cute and hot.”  Actually, I’m still hot….it just comes in flashes now.

It’s tough to be an “invisible” woman; one who doesn’t quite fit into the mold of size 4 hotpants and taut abs.  I am actually quite comfortable in my skin now because it has a relaxed fit! But others don’t necessarily think that jiggly is cute when you’re over 50!

I’m a newborn in the areas of twittering, blogging and all things technical.   When someone first suggested that I twitter, I thought they were suggesting something that would make me giggle.  I feel a little dinosaurish, but excited that there is something out there that will allow me to communicate with more people about my passion; helping women to build self esteem and confidence.  After being married for a long time and feeling rather secure in life, when the rug gets pulled out from under you, it can be a tad disconcerting.

Women must constantly redefine themselves and their roles in life and that’s what this blog is about.  My organization, the Willow Connection, is about just that.  I was fascinated to learn that in a willow grove, the trees are all connected with one root system. What affects one, affects them all. And they also are very determined to live; often being nearly destroyed and then finding one tiny source of water to nourish the whole group. 

When women reach out to help each other, amazing things can happen, so share your stories of survival and renewal here because they may just encourage someone else.

I believe in the power of laughter…it’s the medicine with no bad side effects.  I encourage all of you (if you’re out there) to add more days to your life by adding more life to your days!

Linda