Archive for feelings

Red Light, Green Light – Time for a Change?

By Guest Blogger, Betsey Brogan.

Why is it so difficult for me to give myself a break?

I hope it’s not going to take my whole life until I learn the importance of rest. How ironic! But sometimes it certainly feels that way.

If I go on vacation, change my location, turn off all connections to the world, then I can take a break. But what if I need to do this right here at home? There always seems to be something that has to be done, someone I need to call, something that must be crossed off the list.

One lesson I learned while I attended massage school was that pain is the body’s way of communicating to us that something is out of balance. For example, carpal tunnel syndrome may be the body’s way of telling you that you are working too many hours, or that you may to rethink your ergonomics at your workplace. The pain in your wrist may be your body’s way of telling you that something needs to change.

From Wikipedia, we learn that homeostasis (from Greek: homoios, “similar”; and histēmi, “standing still”;) is the property of a system that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, constant condition. When our bodies are out of homeostasis, they start to communicate to us this need for change.

When systems are out of balance, things begin to break down.

We all know the importance of eating right, getting plenty of rest and exercise. But when we slack on any of these self-maintenance habits, our bodies don’t work at their best. And we get uncomfortable, cranky, and/or sick.

It really is true that the world will go on without us. Things that need to get done will get done. Therefore, it’s essential that we learn to listen to our bodies when they tell us to stop.

It quite literally is a life lesson.

I don’t know about you, but the next time my body tells me to slow down, I am going to listen.

What a lifesaver!

Note: This post originally appeared on True Voices’ RiskADay blog project, which has now concluded.

 is on her way to creating World Peace – one massage at a time. On-site Chair Massage and In-Home table massage. Bringing Stress Relief to You.

The Green-Eyed Monster

By guest blogger, Carolyn Cook

Like most Southern ladies, I’ve been taught not to compare myself to others. Someone will always be smarter, richer, better looking than I am. No two people are on the same path. Someone else’s success doesn’t equal my failure.  And so on.

But the other day, I slammed face-first into an intimate comparison. An old friend of mine, with whom I had a complicated relationship and then lost touch, has become wildly successful, and I happened to see her bio. The list of prestigious awards she’s won made my head spin. And of course it pushed all my buttons. Suddenly I was overcome with jealousy and self-doubt. What had I done with my life?

I told myself to walk away from the feelings, to rise above them, or at the very least to push them down into my gut and wait for them to pass. No such luck. As soon as I got home I blurted them out to my husband and teenage daughter. I owned up to being petty and small. I admitted to thinking horrible, unattractive thoughts. I risked looking ugly and weak in front of the two people I love most. I tried to have a sense of humor about it, but I knew what I was revealing.

I was right to trust them with my ugly truth, because they knew how I felt. They knew the quagmire of comparison first-hand. Both of them have experienced this at some level, and neither of them judged me harshly. They understood. My husband shed light on our human tendency to compare ourselves to others:

“We’re not born with an instruction manual. We don’t know how to operate our lives. The only way we know how well we’re doing is to look at other human beings and see how they’re doing. We can’t help comparing ourselves to other people.”

That’s what he told me. He didn’t say we should use those comparisons to hurt ourselves or others. He just said they’re part of being human; we have to learn to live with them. There’s no simple way to rise above or push away the feelings that come with comparison.

My daughter simply said that what’s important is not someone else’s success; it’s what success means to you.

My people are wise.

I decided to risk finding out everything I could about my old friend’s success. If I was going to compare my life to hers, I wanted more than just a short bio. So I found her website. It was so good I wanted to email the designer and gush. It painted a lovely, clear portrait of who she’s become and why she’s successful.  She’s brilliant; she was when I knew her, and she is now. She’s doing what she was preparing herself to do all those years ago, and she’s doing it beautifully. She works hard. This is a woman who has earned her place in the sun.

As I read about her, I realized that I too have done exactly what I was preparing myself for when I knew her, and more. We were preparing ourselves for vastly different lives, in different fields, in different circles, in different parts of the country. I got exactly what I was yearning for all those years ago:  a home and a family and – more than I dared dream of – a career in the theatre. With all its imperfections, my life is the one I always wanted. What a surprising discovery.

I’m not proud of being jealous.  But I’m glad I owned up to it. If I hadn’t risked acknowledging my weakness, I wouldn’t have found my strength.

Carolyn Cook is a sometimes peaceful, sometimes frazzled individual who works to raise a daughter, build a marriage, and explore the human condition through theatre, art, music, history, literature, and relationship.

This post first appeared on

Are You Accepting The World’s Invitation?

It was February 19th. I glanced up from my desk and my eyes rested on the lovely rose that my partner gave me for Valentine’s Day. “One more day, and I’ll have to throw it out,” I thought to myself. Then, I continued the one-way conversation in my head, “That’s how it is with fresh flowers. I have to make sure I really enjoy them while I can, because the window of opportunity is very slim.” I was referring to the fact that I had waited several days after receiving this exquisite gift before I realized that I needed to put in my office. Given that my office is where I spend the majority of my working hours, having the rose there, and sooner, would have allowed me to enjoy it even more of the time, before I could enjoy it no longer.

That’s how it is with life, too. It brings us lots of presents, and not just on the designated present days, but every day. Inherent in those gifts are myriad opportunities to experience life more abundantly. That’s only if we fully receive them, however. Otherwise, we miss out on all the richness they, and life, have to offer.

In a sense, the world is inviting us, always, to take in what it has to give us. And I don’t mean physical things. Goodness knows, most of us have enough stuff. (I know I do.) No, by saying “take in” what the world gives us, I am suggesting that we see past the stuff, and/or the circumstances, and glean the meaning from what we have been given. And, I’m suggesting that we do this no matter how we label the new item or occurrence.

Of course, when we experience something we perceive as  “bad,” meaning unpleasant or painful, we must first acknowledge those feelings. No amount of glossing over them will make them actually go away. In fact, quite the reverse will happen: If we don’t allow ourselves the emotions that immediately follow such experiences, then those emotions will begin to cloud everything that we do, even while we are trying to avoid or deny them.

Then, once we have fully owned the truth of our feelings, we can respond with a wholehearted yes to the invitation  and  ask ourselves the following questions (in addition to any of your own):

  • What, if anything, is there for me to learn ?
  • What might I have done differently?
  • Is there a metaphor that could apply here that would enable me to see a different, deeper meaning what I first supposed to be true?
  • Is there an action that is appropriate for me to take now, given this new knowledge?

The most important thing for us to remember when engaging in this process is not to judge ourselves! This only serves to keep us stuck in the muck and will not only not allow us to move forward, but it will inhibit any kind of real learning and/or change going forward.

So, the next time the world outside you offers you an invitation to go inside, I hope you’ll take it.  I think you’ll be glad you did.  In fact, I believe that we must go within or go without all the rich beauty and meaning there is – all around and deep inside us.


Is it Winter in Your Heart?

Regardless of what or how we celebrate this time of year, there is an unspoken expectation to be joyful, grateful, giving, and loving.  And for some of us this is simply not how we feel, not what we are experiencing.  Whether it’s due to the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a connection to the spark within us, the holiday cheer can be a painful reminder, if not downright heartbreaking.

To put it more beautifully, I’d like to share with you a poem, written by my dear friend, Janie Cook, on her blog, Living with the Loss of a Child.


in the shadow of blinking Christmas lights

of holiday parties and celebrations

surrounded by gift shoppers

and promises of peace, hope and joy

it is winter in my heart

i am the cold, cloudy days

the damp leafless trees

the stark stillness of the night sky

filled with longing

so . . . Holy One who knows the seasons of our hearts

be the sunrise that warms

be the breeze that freshens

be the light that illuminates

and help me give birth to The Love that is ever deeper and more sustaining

(To read Janie’s post in its entirety, click here.

Regardless of what it is you are feeling during this holiday season, please consider this note a kind of permission slip to feel whatever that is – whether it’s joy, sadness, grief, gratitude, indifference, anger, etc.  You may even want to share with someone close what is true for you so that you don’t feel so alone in your seemingly unique situation.

Remember, we can’t put our feelings on a timer, and only feel them when they are welcome.  We must welcome them when they are present so that they don’t overtake and cripple us for even longer a time…

May you find some peace with your feelings this holiday season, and know that I’ll be joining you in doing my best to honor my feelings.  May we all find peace, all over the whole wide world.  Amen.


PS  This post is directly lifted from my December, 2012 newsletter, True Voices Express.  To make sure you don’t miss another offering like this, please go to the the top right of this page, and sign up to receive future issues.  I’d love to be in contact with you more often – but not too often, I promise.  Thanks!