Back to school 2020

Crazy times!   

So I am seeing all the back to school freak out posts.  I just had my own freak out moment yesterday. Lol. I am a planner too!  So what is a planner to do a world they can’t control, sometimes it seems my options are either A. clean out every closet in my house so I feel a little better or B.  throw my hands in the air and binge watch Netflix.   hmmm which to choose?  So as a fellow mom, I am giving you all a virtual hug, I hope you feel it.  Hang in there momma!  You will make it through this.  Bumps, bruises, band-aids and all, we will make it through.  

If I can put my life coach hat on for just a moment and offer a few ideas… As you “plan” for the fall… first, take a breath and let go of your brain for just a second and plan how you want your home to FEEL.  How do you want to feel in your home? How do you want your child to feel in your home?  You can’t control the school or the pandemic, but you can decide now how you want to feel and respond while the storm may rage around.  Now I don’t mean “stuff” your real feelings in a box in the corner of your mind while you paint on your “I am ok” smile.(I’ll talk more about that later)  I mean decide on your breathing pattern for this next contraction, just like you did when you were expecting to deliver those angles of yours. 

For example, I personally want my kids to feel 4 things during this crazy time.  

  • I want them to feel at peace in the midst of this storm.
  • I want them to feel my love all around them (even if I am hollering it across the parking lot when I drop them off for school… or maybe hollering to them on while they are in the other room on the computer and I am on Facebook Live because I can’t do it in the parking lot, whatever it takes.)
  • I want them to feel like they can express their feelings and thoughts that go through their mind. 
  • I want them to look for the opportunity to discover the amazing beings they are, aside from what the world and fear may tell them.

That’s just me and my mom gut… now ask yours… aside from math and reading (which is seriously upside down right now) what do you want to feel and what do you want them to feel? 

Here are a few steps to help you hear your “guts”, sorry, I wish I could make it sound more eloquent, lol, but the mom gut is REAL, and it’s a gift!  Oh, and it’s just yours… we all have our own for our own kids… it’s the closest thing to a manual you got!

Ok, enough rambling… lets break it down. 

1st: Set aside shoulds. 

  • “Shoulds” are rooted in judgement. When we operate from judgment we can’t hear our God given MOM GUT guide us. Let go of what you should do, who you should be and how you should feel. Let go of how life should look, what school should be.  This is the hardest step, but the most important.  In reality you are letting go of fear and leaning into what you value and how to be you in the midst of a situation shouting all kinds of orders at you of who to be and what to do.  

2nd: Emanate not what you fear but what you desire.  

  • What do you want your kids to feel from you the most?  Peace? Love? Confidence? Joy?   Set this as a focus for yourself first so it can then ripple out to your family.  Decide how you want to feel and what you want to emanate, put your focus there.  

3rd: Give your kids a gift of coping.   

  • What anchor would you like to give your child through this time.  An anchor you hope they will be able to use in other trying times throughout their lives. (this won’t be the last)  You must use that anchor within yourself first.  You can’t give what u don’t have. (trust me, I REALLY wish “do as a say not as I do” actually worked, but it doesn’t, they learn by watching you.   Set this anchor as a focus for yourself, practice using it, it will ripple to your family.  (emphasis on the word “practice”, it takes time, and it is the act of practicing they will see)

Practice these 3 steps constantly as the forefront of your planning.  It is in the moments when you have let all expectations, measurements, and shoulds go that you will “feel” your mom gut tell you the next step to take (not the next 100 steps. Lol) but the next step. I put the quotes around feel because you are not asking your brain to calculate and measure right and wrong, best and worst, shoulds and should nots.  Remember, we let that go in step one. 😉.  I want you to connect to your God given MOM GUT.  

And as I mentioned earlier.  Let’s talk about those feelings we have that we don’t want to focus on.  Again, I am not suggesting you stuff them in that dusty box in the corner of your mind, you will explode… and most likely you will explode in a place you REALLY don’t want to. (unfortunately I know this from experience, not because I read it somewhere.  lol)   However, when you have these feelings, it’s ok!  Seriously, yesterday I was pissed off.  So if you experience pissed off, fear, worry, frustration, sadness, then let them be just that… an experience… not an identity take over.  Give yourself permission to feel the feelings.  It is my awareness of my fear and the acceptance of experiencing the feelings that allow me to walk through them.  Not stuffing them or fixing them with a snap, but walking through them knowing I will see more clearly who I am on the other side if I am open to do so.  (This could be an entire blog on it’s own, lol, I’ll get to work on that.)  

At the end of the day remember, you love your kids so much it makes your heart want to explode, that is why we respond in worry the way we do, but when you can’t plan.. don’t fill the space with worry, just love the socks off your kids… that is what they will remember.  

Please know I don’t say this lightly, I can worry and fret and if we are talking about yesterday, get pissed off with the best of them (long story) but that is not where I want to stay.  So yes those feelings will happen. Don’t stuff them, just see them, experience them, acknowledge why you feel them all the while knowing where your focus is. That focus will lead you THROUGH  the feelings (not escape them, walk through them). 

If you need help navigating any of these steps, feel free to message me, we can set something up.  Believe in you momma… you were made for this!

Remember we are all doing our best!! We are all gonna have frustrations, fears, sadness etc. Everything is an opportunity to discover who YOU are. Discover the simplicity of how amazing you are. 🙂

Who is in your corner?

The blow came to the left side of her face. She hit the ground, landing on all fours. The pain radiated across her cheek. She hung her head and gritted her teeth just waiting for the moment to pass. Just then the breath was forced out of her lungs. She rolled to her side trying to regain her composure before the next hit. Finally, it seemed to be over, the bat was now lying dormant on the floor and she whispered to herself, “Get up. Keep going!” As she pulled herself to the bathroom sink, she barely recognized the woman staring back at her. She dabbed some cover up on her bruised cheeks. She tried to take a deep breath but her ribs seized up. She winced and muttered, “I don’t have time to cater to my needs.” She applied some blush to her cheeks and then painted on a weak smile with her lip gloss before heading to the kitchen where she could here her kids laughing. My babies, she thought. I want nothing but the best for them, certainly not the life I have chosen. She rounded the corner of the hall expecting to see smiles, but saw confusion flash across their faces. They stared at her bruised face and her hunched posture “It sounds like you are having some fun in here,” she said. She watched her children turn their concern into a smile to make her feel better. Her husband came up behind her and wrapped his arm around her for a hug. She yelled jerking away from him in pain. “I’m OK,” she said, although he didn’t believe her and she knew it. She truly hated being in so much pain that she couldn’t feel his embrace.


As I read this story I am angered at that person who did this to her. How could I stop it? Could I save her? Then I realized, I could not… she was the one holding the bat. She was the one throwing the punches with her thoughts of: If I am mad enough at myself I won’t make that mistake again. If I can say I am a failure first, then it won’t hurt when I find out that is what they were thinking. If I criticize myself to them, then they won’t be able to criticize me.

While the story I share may seem brutal, I share it because as women we don’t realize how truly detrimental our negative self talk can be. It is imperative that we create a healthy self talk that encourages and supports us, giving us peace and strength through out the day, rather than guilt, shame and agony. It is time to put the bat down and look at the woman in the mirror with appreciation, understanding, grace and forgiveness. It is time to be in our own corner encouraging, nurturing and giving ourselves a little pat on the back for being exactly who we are… women.

So who is in your corner? Before the match, a boxer doesn’t take 30 minutes hitting themselves in the face to prepare. They certainly don’t look in the mirror telling themselves how awful they are and what a failure they will be. Be in your corner. Be an encouragement to yourself.

Take a few days and begin to notice how you treat yourself. And look for way to let go of the past, drop the expectation of the future and just encourage yourself in THIS moment.

Let the Sea Set You Free

Let the Sea Set You Free. 

Well, it’s Thursday evening and I am staring at my presentation notes that I initially prepared Saturday. I pondered the week I have had, and as I reread my title, Let the sea set you free… Well, I am not sure if I should laugh or cry. 

When Ally Pratt (Tropic Like Its Hot Tanning ) first approached me about the series, Ride the Wave on her page, I could feel the title in the very center of my being. My body could feel the power of the message… and my heart said Yes!  This is what humanity needs to hear, heck it is what I need to hear. And right away I began to prepare what I wanted to share. As I was inspired I saw this surfer in my imagination.  I saw her taking the waves, magnificent powerful waves and it looked so thrilling.   I thought to myself. Yes, that is how I want to do life.  I want to feel the wind in my hair and the spray of water on my face. I want to watch  the water tumbling over itself while I just ride it out as if I and the wave were companions working together. (link to video presentation of this story)

I came crashing out of my perfect picture in my imagination the very next day.  When I think of riding the wave in this moment as I reflect on my week I see a different picture in my imagination. I see me sopping wet and exhausted washed up on shore.  I am quite sure I have been drug thru the sand that lies many feet below the wave, tossed over top of the wave only to come crashing back into the water, after which I am quite sure my surf board fell out of the air and hit me over top of the head.  And here I am perfecting my notes for tomorrow and I said to myself, as snarky as snarky gets, “Um really… you gonna talk on Friday about what you “aren’t” doing for yourself. Well, be sure you let them all know this is a What NOT to do DYI manual.”  After I got done sassing myself,  I took a breath and read the title again, “Let the sea set you free” and I asked myself “What do I really need for the sea to set me free, like today… not next week when I feel more together and this week is in the past. But right NOW!

Again my imagination and emotions began to roll.  “The sea set me free! Um, whatever!  It is, in fact, the sea  that has me captive I am sure.  Right now I feel as though this wave has wrapped itself around my wrists clenching with all its might and is shaking me all around.  I have eaten way too much sand, my head hurts, and frankly it’s NOT thrilling or fun, and it is all the seas fault.  But it’s funny, as I sit here and really  look at my week, it was all fear, once again, I am the one hanging on.  I am the one worrying about  future outcomes and I am the one who as latched onto a “WHAT IF.”

I am the one who won’t let go and let the ride be the ride, knowing that each wave is different, and even the best surfers eat a little sand.  I mean, I hope to aspire someday to not getting hit in the head by my surf board, but who knows. lol

My mind wondered back to that woman that first came to my mind ON Saturday, the one out there riding the heck out of that wave.  I thought of her thrill in the moment and then imagined what her ride would be like if she was thinking:

  • I hope I do this right.
  • Ugh, Sally is so much better at this than I am. I should ride the wave like she does.
  • I hope the weather is ok tomorrow, I wouldn’t want to surf in a storm
  • I can’t forget those documents for my deadline at work next week.
  • Who is picking up my kids today?
  • I hope everything is on my grocery list, do we need milk?
  • Well, that’s another mistake, ugh, I am never gonna get this right.
  • I shouldn’t be afraid, I shouldn’t be nervous any more. I should know better by now.

I am quite sure she wouldn’t be enjoying herself, and I dare say, I don’ t know how successful she would be.  Yet that is exactly what we do in life.  And that is exactly what I did this last week.  And I realized it because as I was going over my notes, well… my snarky side came out and said… You can’t talk about this, you suck at it right now. 

But here is the thing about falling off the wave, eating sand, and getting hit over the head by your surf board.  The ocean brings you another, and another and another.  And you will see PROGRESSION.. Not Perfection!  But progression!!! 

So let’s talk about some of those tools that I have found very effective in my own life. Even though I may have forgotten to use them these last few days, I am grateful for them and that is why I love to pass them on. So when I finally came to my senses this week,  I dusted off my tool box and began shifting my perspective on this Sea of Mine.  

To hear about the following tools in more detail… check out the video.

*Look for Progression Rather than Perfection!    

~Collect ALL evidence working and non-working
~Look for your growth… not right and wrong.

* Scratch Expectations, They are going to hit you on the head EVERY-TIME.
~Let go of expectations on yourself to be:

  • perfect,
  • “right” level of emotion
  • smart enough fast enough
  • be fluent at INSTAGRAM like the cool kids
  • OR that expectation of how we “should” be processing COVID-19          

~Let go of expectations that look like- “What if it’s NOT what I want?” 

  • What if I choose a wave I don’t like?
  • What if the wave chooses me and carries me off before I’m ready?
  • What if it rains?
  • What if I fall off?
  • What if people judge my choices?

~ Practice Acceptance-

  • Acceptance of self
  • Acceptance of the “WAVE”…
  • Seek the OPPORTUNITY within the wave 
  • Look for and be grateful for the NEXT STEP COMING right to you ( I KNOW THIS IS HARD… I DON’T SAY IT LIGHTLY.. TRUST ME- REMEMBER SURF BOARD TO THE HEAD, YEAH, I GET IT.)

*Stop Comparing yourself to others…. Seriously JUST STOP.

~When using comparison to decide if you are OK, someone will always seem worse than you and you will feel good for a sec… and then 3 hours later you run into someone who SEEMS BETTER than you.. now What???  
~Choose to see you as you are today… And CHOOSE to like what you see.
~Find value in your uniqueness.

*Get rid of that annoying sea gull of NEGATIVE SELF TALK. 
            ~I do workshop on this alone… too much to say… but for real, it is not effective!

If you are interested in more help with Riding that Wave, Building that Self Confidence, or Grabbing a Few extra Coping Skills to help you through those days your surf board hits you in the head contact me. (now is a good time… Summer Sale through end of July!)

Happy Surfing!

Jamie E. Lightner

jamielightner@yahoo.com

Facebook link

Where is that dang pot of gold anyway?

Where is that dang pot of gold anyway?

I am what I like to refer to as, a recovering perfectionist.  Ya know, be better, do better, get it right! The more I chased that dream of being that “good” person, or getting it “right”, being “efficient” and “productive”, and reacting “perfectly” to every situation, well, the further I seemed to get from my “goal.” (I have put quotations around words that sound good in theory, but because each has an element of measurement to them, it is easy for a perfectionist to always come up short.)  I realized it felt like I was chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Where is that dang pot of gold anyway? No where! So despite my efforts, yeah, that whole reacting “perfectly” to every situation, NOPE! “What!! You mean to tell me that loading yourself up with all kinds of pressure to be a great person results in emotional explosions?” I know, I am as shocked as you are.   

Chasing perfection is an easy trap to fall into.   I mean sure we all want to make healthy decisions. I am not arguing against that, but I do think that we need to stop with the expectations that leave no room for… well, the fact that we are indeed HUMAN.  What if my mistakes and imperfections are a part of humanity? Here’s the thing! We all know that’s true. We have all seen the countless movies, speeches, and Ted talks telling us that making mistakes is vital to progression.  Yet, we don’t give ourselves permission to do so. And here is the kicker! We then turn around and pass the same judgment to someone else (That’s the way it works. Some of you may think you treat others better than yourself, and that may be true for a time, but eventually when the real pressure is on, your natural reaction (the one you have programmed yourself to use every day on yourself) will come out. 

The cool thing is, it seems more and more that our culture is really taking a prominent step in valuing our imperfections as a part of growth, at least in theory.  I know for myself, I believe in what I am saying to you now, but actually implementing that frame of mind well, that takes work. I hope someday it will become as natural as taking a breath.  Until then, when I find my expectations turning me into a pressure cooker, I have to remind myself… it is a pretty long walk to that pot of gold. “It’s perfect, not to be perfect” so let’s actually enjoy the rainbow.

I Got This…After I Throw My Fit.

As I re-read the blog scheduled to post in Girl I Got You last night, for this“Enjoy the Ride” Focus, I was conflicted. “Enjoy the ride”, seriously! What kind of mumbo jumbo are we feeding everyone? The blog talked about how maybe life’s purpose is to simply enjoy life.  Ugh! Hello! What planet are you on Jamie? Life is upside down right now. People are at a standstill, hanging in the balance in their jobs, homes, businesses, and schooling. And yet there I was getting ready to post an inspirational writing on “loving life”. How in the heck are we really supposed to do that right now? How can I look around and see all that’s happening and simply say, “Hey, enjoy the ride?” So I said to myself, “Jamie, don’t go and post something you don’t even feel in this moment.”  I have seen some great responses on Facebook, and I am grateful for those who aren’t kicking and screaming but rather being creative and crafty. I especially love all the encouragement I am seeing online as well. Keep it up!! We all need it! But, to be quite honest, I had to have my Bruce Almighty in the bed moment, or two… ok 4.

(Video)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vn-1c2KbsiU

 

(So I didn’t post my “pre scheduled blog last night…. so I could throw my fit and process some fears, expectations and emotions.)  Today, I hope I finish with something more evolved. Probably haven’t reached the Mary Poppins stage yet, but I’d settle for…Claire Dunphy.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jif3beMEJsY

 

Today I want to say, it is ok to have the “Bruce Almighty in the Bed” moments (ok let’s be honest sometimes the moments become days. lol) And especially right now I feel like we are dealing with not only our fear, but our expectations about what our life should or shouldn’t be and how we should or shouldn’t be processing all this. As if “normal” life didn’t have it’s challenges, I think we are all taking the Advanced Placement course in “Managing Fear and Expectations”.  Hmmmm, I’d like that added to my list of credentials, please… well, provided I pass. Lol But what I am saying is, Have your Bruce Almighty fit and then put your bootstraps on and choose a focus that keeps you moving forward.
So after I had my moment, then put my own bootstraps on, this is what  I choose to focus on that keeps me moving forward:

* First- In the midst of everything, there is LOVE to be seen.  If I can look past the fear and disaster in this world, if I can look past the fear in my own heart… there is always Love to be found and felt. I want to focus on the LOVE that is there in the midst of it all.

*Second-There is a power, a life force, if you will, greater than me and greater than anything in this world.  I don’t care what you call it or what I call it, I feel like fighting over who named it right is a waste of time.  But I do know that this life force inhabits all of humanity, whether they see it or not. I believe this life force is love itself and it connects all the hearts of humanity.  I want to focus on how we are connected rather than how we might be divided giving fear no place to hide as our true light will shine.

*Third-I choose to focus on the fact that up to this point, even when I thought I wouldn’t, I have made it through. Sometimes I am sad or angry, and sometimes I just want to give up,  but I keep putting one foot in front of the other even through those trying times, choosing to know that although I don’t understand, I know I will.

So yeah, some days I want to say, “Screw the dumb ride!”  I let myself throw my fit and then I wipe away my tears, let go of my expectations and choose to focus beyond fear, not run from fear, but see beyond the fear to the true connection of love and life within us all.

I love that quote by Mr. Rogers people are talking about. “Look for the Helpers.” So beautiful and so true. It’s ok to feel afraid but take the time also to step back from the fear and focus on the LOVE. See what you find and share it, we can all help each other with that Focus!

Love,

Jamie

PS- Just because you put your bootstraps on doesn’t mean you won’t have anymore “Bruce Almighty Bed” moments.  Give yourself permission to be human!  Have the moments and then refocus again…and again…and again.  And remember to reach out to others for a hand to help you up.  Reach out to family, friends, or even your Life Coach 😉

 

Jamie E. Lightner

Value Based Life Coach

jamielightner@yaoo.com

Your imagination…where is it taking You?

As a child we believe and dream.  White knights, trolls, fairies, hot lava, magical powers, rainbows made of skittles, the impossible is possible.  Where is that turning point when we leave behind the belief of a child and ground ourselves in what we call “reality” in adulthood?  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. Sometimes that dose of reality is needed when trying to convince the kid that there is no such thing as the monster under the bed, and that it’s just their imagination. I find it intriguing that for years we work so hard to snuff out the fear of something that isn’t real so the kid can get some sleep. Yet, as an adult it seems as if the monsters become real, while the rainbows made of skittles fade into childhood.

As kids we don’t understand the grown-ups and as the grown-ups we just shake our head, justifying that OUR monsters are real, OUR stress is justified and OUR roadblocks, well, sometimes they are insurmountable. Yet, I can’t help but notice the same message keeps persisting throughout the decades.  It shows up in movies and memes, even commercials are utilizing this theme to make their product seem more appealing. I am not exactly sure what to label this theme, it probably depends on the person, but this recurring message has elements that include: dreaming, believing in the magic, believing in the impossible, imagination, you can even call it faith.  No matter what, the common message rings true and that is, to create beyond our limits, to dream outside of what people deem “status quo”, to listen to that little kid inside us all that somehow knows more than an adult, and that there is no such thing as impossible. While the minute hand keeps ticking us into adulthood and reality somewhere inside us all, this message of possibility endures.

I believe this message lives within all our hearts and continues to persist and show up in our movies, memes, articles, and pretty much everywhere, just hoping one day we will understand its magnitude.  The problem is, as human beings, oftentimes, we do not see our true value and power within. We are constantly looking outside ourselves for validation. We look to success, accomplishment, heroism and most of all, we look to other humans to define our worth.  So naturally we try to capture that childlike imagination to achieve all that we can, but imagination powered by the monster under the bed (aka: our need for external validation) will just create more monsters. It can be a mental war. Sometimes, that desire for external value decorates itself in philanthropy, servanthood, and the greater good.  So for a moment it seems like you are letting go of the external world only to find out you have found the secret path through the back gate.

When we dream beyond our limits to prove we are of worth, it doesn’t hold nearly the power or the magic as when we dream beyond our limits because we see our true light, we value our light, and we desire to share our light with the world. That, my friends, is where the impossible becomes possible.  Truly seeing beyond our limits we know our value, and believe in our uniqueness and power within. The more we choose to see and focus on our light,  the monsters will fade. Then we can use our imagination to create those rainbows made of skittles. We can use our imagination to dream when we believe we are worth it, when we believe humanity is worth it and when we believe our creator has given us the gifts to do more than meets the eye.

What if we could be grounded in reality just enough to stay present? What if we were adult enough to use our gifts, but just enough “kid” to have childlike faith in what those gifts are? Faith enough to believe in our value and worth.  Faith enough to know that just by being placed on this earth we were meant to be creators and do amazing things.

We giggle in admiration at the little ones jumping from pillow to pillow on the floor to avoid the hot lava.  Some of us still have that faint memory of what the hot lava looked like as a kid. Take a second and remember when your imagination was also powered by hope. What “monsters” of fear and doubt do you want to let go of?  What rainbows do you want to believe in and create?

At the end of the day… nothing else matters.

 “The common thread that binds all humanity is human pain…”  ~Dean Nixon

 

Today I said goodbye to my Grandma, well actually I said goodbye to her one week ago today.  I will forever have my last moment with her etched in my memories.  I knew that it would most likely be the last time I saw her, so I intentionally soaked up her smile and the twinkle in her eye as I looked back at her before leaving her doorway.

But today was her funeral. I wasn’t sad for my Grandma, I knew she was ready, and she is with my Grandpa now, but tears of love and memories flooded as it marked the end of our time together.   By the time the service ended my tears had dried and I had the most surreal moment in that church today. I only hope I can get my heart on paper.  Some feelings you just can’t put into words, but I will try.

I had gotten separated from the majority of my aunts and uncles so my family sat a few rows back.  When the service finished I was able to see each one of my aunts and uncles walk out of the church one by one.  I have so much love for all of them.  You could tell time had touched them trimming their hair in silver and decorating their faces with a few laugh lines (I am not surprised, the Metts’ are known for laughing).  While we have all been on separate paths for the last couple of decades I can still hear the echoes of them laughing together.  As I watched each of them, my mind was flooded with memories, especially memories of pool parties at Grandma and Grandpas.  Cousins everywhere, and aunts and uncles that I knew loved me.  Not just because they told me all the time but because I could feel it.  For just a few seconds it seemed as if I was placed directly into a memory. I can still feel the bristly green outdoor carpet on my feet and that place in my armpit where those orange floaties kept digging into it.  I can see the moment I stepped onto the diving board for the first time, surprisingly it felt like someone painted it with sand, not at all how I imagined it.  My grandpa walked over to me, his chest sprinkled with grey hair and tiny beads of sweat while my dad and one of my uncles treaded water assuring me they would catch me. My mom sat off to the side with my grandma a couple of my aunts. The smell of hot dogs and chlorine permeated the air and there was laughter, so much laughter.  All at once the sun faded and the laughter seemed further away and there I was watching my aunts and uncles follow each other out of that church.  It was the first time I had seen them all together in years, and my heart just loved them. I have seen over the years that it can be hard for families to maintain those close bonds.  The responsibilities of each individual family monopolizes the days, and soon Christmas parties are divided among their own.  While I see the need for this, I do miss the days all of us all piled in that one room at my Grandpa and Grandmas, I can still feel the thick white tights on my legs as I squeeze through my aunts and uncles to run after my cousin up the stairs.  But today, together again, it is in these moments of human pain, that we rely on family and realize that no matter what.  NO matter the busy lives, and no matter the differences, or even disagreements, there is a bond of love within a family, not because they told me, but because I could feel it.  Sometimes our mind tells us the tales of woes… but our hearts will always connect us to the love.  And even if time races by before I see them all again, I will always love that family of mine.

“Your love lives on through us all Grandma.”

 

What helps me cope…

What helps me cope…

For those of you who don’t know, I have struggled with anxiety since my real deal panic attack during Zayne’s second brain surgery.  The first 6 months after the “show-stopping” event at the hospital were rough.  Some days I would be triggered in a crowd of people, the smell of alcohol or even just the sun going down.  After dark it seemed my “monsters” would show up.  Worries would just climb out of the wrinkles in my brain like bed bugs coming out from the mattress for a midnight snack.  I am extremely grateful not to be in the thick of anymore, there were moments I thought I would never be the same.  I say this with sincerity. I had considered myself to be a pretty easy going, fun loving, love life girl, and I had lost that, or so I thought.   Earlier this week I shared some of my battle, but tonight I thought I would begin to share some of the coping skills I have been using.

Most importantly I have the best family ever!  My husband is definitely my superman, and my mom and my sister are always by my side, and my Dad always has such a simple and optimistic way of looking at life that I am grateful for.  My kids were extremely supportive, even though they might not have understood everything.

Along with my amazing family I have worked my own butt off.  With the help of my Life Coach (Dean Nixon)I have worked hard to come through, well, what I call “torture”.

As I find myself enjoying life more and more I thought I would share a valuable piece that has helped me.  I have others as well, but so this blog isn’t 8 pages long, so I just thought I would start with Focus.

Focus is one of the 8 coping skills (The 8 Coping Skills is actually a series I do with my clients, apparently sometimes I do it right along with them, lol).   Here is a link the The Key, which is the book I use with the series.

FOCUS

Focus in the Moment: Focusing to Stay in the present moment can sometimes be a challenge.  Especially for a first born, control freak like me.  Don’t get me wrong, planning and organization is good, but planning for every possible “what-if” under the sun was not.  I began to focus more on feeling the very moment I was experiencing.  If I was at a game, then soak up the game. Notice the smell of the baseball field or be aware of the squeaky gym shoes of those little feet taking basketball so seriously.   l would pay attention to my kids enjoyment, smiles, determination, and the intensity on their faces when running as fast as they could!  I would focus on truly be there.  I began to focus on the moments we had dinner together.  Allowing my heart to connect with each of my kids sitting at the table and feel their laughter or excitement or even just enjoy the lull in the day with them.

And I can’t leave out the moments I would have during the summer in the yard just feeling the sun on my face and smelling the summer air.  Ahhhh.  There is nothing like it.  As I was working through my anxiety issues it was important that I be intentional about being present, otherwise my imagination would run me to the future, which brings me to the second step of foucs…

Focus My Imagination: My imagination had gotten quite skilled at painting the worse possible scenarios in my mind, some of which you have heard.  I had to intentionally focus on exercising my imagination to use its creative muscle for “good.”  I began to imagine my kids enjoying their work/school, playing in the yard or hanging with friends.  I imagined them laughing or even persevering with strength, taking on challenges and learning every step of the way and being proud of all they had learned. I would imagine my hubby and I soaking up life together, both enjoying our family and our independent accomplishment.   I had to do this several times a day to strengthen a different muscle of my imagination. For me it was getting back in touch with some of that part of my imagination I had as a kid.  I actually was the type of person that carried that childlike imagination with me through adulthood, these past couple years I just got a little off track and my focus has been helping me get back in touch with that “magical” side of me, that I truly think adds a little sparkle to life.

For some of you who read this will not quite understand why such a simple tool may seem so worthy of a blog and that is ok.  A few years ago, I actually had a hard time relating to those who struggled with anxiety. Ahhhh, that time was bliss, lol. But really, I just couldn’t understand how someone’s “thoughts/fears”  basically, could have such power over their life.  As much as I am not very fond of my own personal experience it has helped me relate to others I know and actually helped me to be more effective with my clients.  So for that I am grateful for what I have learned.

If you do struggle with anxiety, first don’t feel bad for it, that just makes it worse (trust me I know), but give Focus a try.  If that doesn’t seem to help, I do have 7 more coping skills in my pocket that I intend on putting out in other blogs.  Or feel free to set up an appointment with me and let’s get you the much needed relief you may need.  We can customize the series to apply the 8 coping skills to your own life personally.

C’mon Jamie…Write something inspiring!

Write something inspiring Jamie.”  I keep saying to myself. You see, I recently made a commitment (to a group helping me with my business) to write 2 blogs a week.  Let’s just say I am a little behind.  The first week I was feeling great! First of all, I was proud of myself for quitting caffeine, yup I did it (I’d explain why, but trying not to ramble).  Of course I didn’t quit coffee all together, ha, what world would that be.  I just switched to decaf.  You may be wondering why I even bother drinking decaf.  Um (said with my hands on hips), have you seen my coffee.  It is a cup of perfection! Check it out… now you can see why I look forward to my “caffeine free coffee moments.”

Ahhhh, rambling again.  Ok, Yeah, proud of myself, that’s what I was saying.  AND, not only did I cut the caffeine, I put myself on a DIET!  Not just any diet, but a “stress free” diet.  I know it is popular to do a sugar free, carb free, meat free, or fat free diet, but that’s not what I am talking about,  rather my main focus was to stop stressing out.  I started realizing I had been BINGE STRESSING about being the perfect parent.  I don’t know why, but large a tub of, shoulda,  shouldn’t of’s , comparisons, and measurements (of course coming up short) seemed to be my “food” choice.  But that week I cut it all out!  No more shoulda no more shouldn’t ofs, ablsolutely no comparing myself to other parents and for gosh sakes I just broke that “mommy measuring stick” right in half!! The week was amazing.  I pumped out a blog I felt pretty good about and I couldn’t believe how much extra energy I had!!

As with any diet, then came the struggles.  The following week I didn’t seem to have the same spark.  I would pull out my computer to blog, ya know, like I committed. Write something inspiring Jamie!  I kept thinking to myself.  Write something that is worth people’s time to read and will capture their interest.  My days looked like this:

Step 1- Stare at computer.

Step 2-Jamie! Write something inspiring.

Step 3- Feel bad for not feeling inspired.

… And repeat.

Finally, I asked myself (hmmmm, I am seeing that talking to myself seems to be a regular occurrence), anyway, I asked myself, why aren’t you writing. And my aggravated voice answered back (all in one breath),  “BEACUASE I don’t feel inspired, I feel crappy, I feel stressed, and can feel my anxiety surfacing this week, I don’t want to talk about it, I just want to be fixed, after I fix myself I will write something inspiring so I can help others fix themselves, because YES, I like helping others, but until I fix myself I just want to sit on my couch, stare at my computer and pout about how I can’t get my own shit together (eeech sorry, it seems my different voices have different ideas of manners), all I have to say right now is that I am struggling this week, and I dug through the trash, (I know, embarrassing) and found my tub of shoulda, shouldn’t of’s , comparisons, and gosh darn it, I duct taped that freakin’ measuring stick back together and found all the places I am not good enough, so there! (I am pretty sure this voice crossed her arms and stomped off after that rant.)

Keeping with the, just telling you what is on my heart theme, here is what I am struggling with,  I have one kid out of the house and one kid about to graduate while my last two just started high school and middle school and I am feeling that time went faster than I expected.  I want the best for them and I am wondering if I gave them everything I was supposed to give them as a parent.  Oh and this having adult kids, like what the #!$#?  Why can’t I still boss them around… I am really good at it!  I just want to help. Oh and I know everything right… c’mon, I am their mother.  Yet as the flow of life pries my grip off my children, literally one finger at a time, I am noticing that I am not enjoying it!  Not like I want too anyway.  I do have a more stable voice (as stable as one can be talking to themselves) that reminds me, Your kids are amazing! Take a breath and enjoy watching them problem solve.   Enjoy watching them figure out life just like you did.  Of course my not so stable voice quickly shouts what if, and will they be sad, and what if someone breaks their heart, what if they crash their car or get pneumonia!  Oh gosh what if they get pneumonia and I am not there to put my cheek on their forehead, I mean we all know that act alone makes you feel better, I can still remember the feel of my mom’s cheek on my forehead.  Oh gosh and what if they eat pizza every night (note to self, google what happens if you eat pizza every night.  What if I didn’t encourage them enough, what if I didn’t challenge them enough.  Should I have pushed them to do more or should I have insisted they do less.  Maybe I shoulda packed more lunches for them, or maybe I packed their lunches to long (hmmm you quit packing their lunch in 3rd grade, probably not the latter).  Seriously though, as much fun as I like to have as I write this blog, the raw truth is that the anxiety can be crippling.  I wrote a blog awhile ago called A conversation with God, that metaphorically depicts what I feel.  Only now I have an added voice telling me I should be better by now, I should have fixed it by now. I don’t share this with you to be negative or even look for someone to pick me up. I continue to pick myself up, brush off my knees and listen to that voice that says, “Go get ‘em girl.  Love the crap out of your kids and love watching their own personal journey in life.”  I am finding more clues to why my anxiety is hanging on that I will hopefully continue to share in future blogs.  For now, one of those clues that I have found is my habit of binging on shoulda, shouldn’t of’s , comparisons and of course, that measuring stick.  And as I write I am seeing, I need to start back on my diet.  Limiting that tub of junk once again and focusing on accepting myself as perfectly imperfect.  I am human and I need to let my kids be human too.  This week I want to focus on that love and acceptance for myself. (Here is a good video on self-acceptance and self love)  Because seriously  if my kids learn nothing else from me, it is enough that they learn that loving and accepting yourself give us the ability to LOVE LEARNING in this life, and how great of a life that would be.

I wanted to share my true thoughts with you partially because it is good for me to be open about my humanity, but also to say to those struggling with the same stuff.  You are not alone and it’s ok.  It’s ok to have these feelings.  Don’t lose hope!  Keep putting one foot in front of the other, your heart will lead you to your own clues and you will continue to move forward.  I invite you all to join me on my “diet” and let me know what you find.  I am hoping to shed a few pounds of worry and self doubt! lol

As always, if you would, share this post or tag someone you know could really benefit from what I have to say.

 

Stepping on Legos with my bare feet…

Upon graduating I decided to take December off to enjoy my family that I kinda put on hold for the last 3 years.  I started making dinner again…wow, when you cook, you are in the kitchen a LOT!!! (This last year of college and work, I had Stouffer’s, Little Caesars, and KFC filling as the main chef.)

After a wonderful break I am excited to get back to it.  What’s “it” you might ask? Well, first of all I am looking forward to having my taxi shift back, ya know, taking kids to practice, going home to retrieve the forgotten water bottle, returning to the school once again to pick them up, forgetting to pick them up, the coach calls, and it’s a mad dash to my car again.

But when I’m not unintentionally abandoning my children, I am working to build more Life Coaching clientele. During my crazy college years (take 2,) I pretty much quit marketing my business all together. Truthfully I don’t miss marketing, never much cared for it.  But it is part of the business… that is if you like your business and you want to keep it.

In a recent conversation with fellow business owners, I was expressing my distaste for marketing…well distaste is an understatement, more like my absolute hatred of marketing and how I would rather step on legos while barefoot in the middle of the night. But this wise group of  courageous women said, “You need to change your perspective. Just tell your story so people who can relate know where to find you.”

Hmmmm.” I thought to myself.  I am a writer… I could just tell my story.

My name is Jamie Lightner, I am a Life Coach, and I absolutely love my job!

“Why?” Well, because it is NOT like stepping on legos barefoot.  Rather it is like sunshine through a window… maybe that’s a little too dramatic…let’s just say it’s like going to coffee with a friend and feeling better afterwards. I never tire of watching my clients leave my office lighter, brighter and full of hope. And it’s not just the caffeine, some of them don’t even drink the coffee.

“What do I do?”  Well, I am mostly a facilitator. You see, I believe we all have the answers we need for ourselves within our very own hearts.  The problem is our thoughts and fears tend to be so loud it is hard to hear. I am grateful for some tools I have learned that allow you to, first of all, eliminate “unnecessary” pain and discomfort  (fear, what if, resentment,offense, or anxiety) while also helping you to work through adversities (teenagers, relationships, or hard knocks) in a way that promotes a positive self concept.  I have a pile of useful coping skills to help manage anxiety and adversity, and to allow growth in a relationship (rather than see who strangles the other first).

“How did I decide to become a Life Coach?”  Well, it definitely isn’t because I think I know everything. And depending on how well I am doing with my self-talk,  a voice in my head wonders if I really should be a Life Coach anyway, and then another voice encourages me and says, you don’t have to be perfect to help others, and then a third voice chimes in with, well, you can be passive aggressive with your hubby, you yelled at 2 of your kids just yesterday and your youngest kid wore his clothes backwards and inside out till 6th grade. I mean seriously, who do you think you are?

Ok, I now realize showing you all the voices in my head is probably not the best way to market myself as a Life Coach.  In a nutshell (because I feel I am rambling and I know you all have busy lives or perhaps a really good Netflix series to watch) about 9 years ago I experienced one of the lowest points in my life.  I was presented with an opportunity to attend TurningLeaf Seminar where I began learning the tools I now teach and gained a new perspective on myself.  I realized although it seemed life had beat me down, I was in fact my worst enemy.  I began to look at my adversities differently and I took back my life. (That is the short version, but I am always happy to share more with anyone who asks.)

So if you have made it this far in my story you have realized I love humor (admittedly corny humor).  I like to say, “no wrinkles and grey for me, I will take the laugh lines and silver lining instead.” I love to find laughter in whatever I can, I figure…why not?! Laughter is great medicine!  Below you will find a couple links containing my materials that tell you more about me and what I do as a Life Coach. Please, if you could share this post electronically, verbally or maybe telepathically(I’m really not picky lol) I would greatly appreciate it!!!!  That way maybe my marketing won’t be like stepping on legos with my bare feet. lol

 

Jamie’s One Sheet-for email

Jamie Lightner-brochure for email

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Jamie Lightner Life/Parenting Coach