Golden Breaks

golden breaksA couple of years ago, a coaching client told me about Kintsukuroi (golden joinery) also known as Kintsugi (golden repair), which is the Japanese term for art of repairing ceramics with gold.

I like the poetry of “there is strength and beauty in the breaks”.

Times of adversity are a challenge depending on your circumstances, but I believe that what’s on the other side is golden and precious.

Many years ago, I had a burn out which also coincided with chronic back pain. Once I stopped being angry at my body and the world for what was happening to me, I started to listen. I decided to let my body guide me back to well-being and discovered along the way what a beautiful and wise instrument it was!

Having gone through the break, it was now sharper than ever and I was more attuned to it. As a result, I could be alerted a lot faster to circumstances that were not in my best interest and adjust my course to healthier choices.

It led to paths I would have never dreamed of. I taught tap dancing and revelled in the joy of creating choreographies. I went from being afraid I would never dance again to creating something that was part of the music, and gave it visual movement through the dancers. What a gift! I had no idea I had that in me. That break revealed that strength.

Another example is when my mom divorced my dad in the 70s. Back then, there was still a stigma that came with that. She was afraid of how it would affect my brother and myself and vowed, as if she had that power, that it wouldn’t. What I got to see was her determination to be independent, to build a career and make a difference in the world – and she did.  To this day, she remains a bright and powerful light that is very hard to ignore!:) That break gave her wings and she turned out to be more empowered by it than she imagined.

Another situation related to family was my grandma who lived well into her nineties and widowed as my grandpa died many years before. Like most men of his generation in Europe, he was in charge of the money for the household. Grandma managed to put away some coins that she would give us in secret (oh the fun of that!) but she was not the one writing cheques or paying bills. When he died, she was a bit at a loss as to how to do all of that, but once she got the hang of it, she was a new person! Withdrawing money at an ATM was like a game for the little girl that was still inside of her. It was a thrill to watch that transformation and see that part of her come to life.

So experience has taught me that we all face obstacles and go through challenging emotions that we tend to resist; it’s part of life. It has especially taught me that if you make it a point to remember the art of Kintsugi, when ready, you have the power to transform fear, sadness or anger into curiosity of what lies ahead for you. Difficult times will change you, no matter what. Being curious about what you’ll make of it changes your perspective and therefore opens the door to a future full of hope.

It feels a lot better and the world can add one more unique, beautiful work of art to its collection!

 

Val.

http://www.thepowerofemotions.ca

Advertisements

Morning Anxiety

blue-sky-1866985_1920

I am an explorer of emotions. I go through them and like a lot of us don’t always perceive the “negative ones” as very productive at first. However, experience has shown me that it’s all about perception, so I look for the hidden gift in those emotions, the transformative power that lies there. Once I do find it, I use it and get on the other side…oh my, what a view!!! And then, I can’t wait to share it so that others may realize the exploration is such a worthwhile adventure.

Here is an example of me dealing with anxiety one morning. Yes, it happens. 🙂

I woke up and within seconds, feelings of fear and guilt started engulfing me. Having had success in the past with my breathing space technique, I started looking for something that would improve my breathing.

It’s not always the same. Some memories, images or sounds work for a while and then they are not as effective anymore. That’s a sign that we’re forever evolving which is good. Weeks ago it was that picture of the girl and the elephant. Now it’s not as effective, though it does bring me peace, but not the kind of relief that I was in need of. That morning I wanted reassurance, support and some sort of advice, so I focused on the source I believed it could come from and how I felt about it. It’s important to note that I have no doubt whatsoever about that help and support being there for me. I am fully aware that sometimes I am just not able to hear or feel it, so I am the obstacle. Nothing else is in my way.

I kept repeating the name of that source silently and each time I felt the connection in my heart. That is where it was. I didn’t “will” it there. This is where everything was happening. As I thought of the name, a kind of rhythm came into place with my breathing and at the end of the breath, I felt it getting deeper and longer. In that space, I had relief, so I kept repeating the process. I relaxed so much into it that I went back to sleep. When I awoke again, I did it again, over and over.

After a while, it was almost automatic….my breathing was deeper and longer and brought great peace and stability in my body. Then I tackled some of my fears and had clarity about them. Again, it was not a decision to then tackle them. Clarity just “rained” on them. That is what it felt like. I could see now how to go about either expressing them to the people involved or finding the positive side of how to express something in other cases. Either way, I could see more clearly and the emotion didn’t engulf me. My head was above water and I was more empowered.

 

So grateful for the beautiful guide that breathing is!

 

With love,

 

Val.

You can find me at www.thepowerofemotions.ca

Breathing Space

c0fdff75179227b2b5f68e0c2c7c1b79 (2)

When things get hectic, chaotic, out of balance, and even scary, I find what helps many of my life coaching clients is to provide them with tips on how to find breathing space.

Breath is first. It is life, it is the rhythm that is indicative of whether we’re in a good-feeling place or one that is challenging. It’s also automatic; we take it for granted. The engine keeps running and we have no reason to think about it as long as it’s running or keeps us running. Its fuel, which is air, is all around. It’s free and there’s an abundance of it everywhere we go, so really all the more reason for us not to give it much thought.

We will, however, pay attention to our breathing when we feel a difference in our bodies and even then, unless it’s painful to breathe, we don’t consider it as a solution to feeling better. It’s quite normal, really. We’re usually problem-solvers. Most of what we create comes from a place where something needs to be improved upon, a problem to be solved, so unless the problem is painful breathing, our attention is not drawn there.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say the problem is you’re under pressure at work. You see the source of the problem as being at work, outside of you. It’s quite logical to think that finding a way to affect that source, to change it, get rid of it, get away from it is the way to go.

The reason behind wanting to influence what you perceive to be the source of the problem – something or someone at work – is that you want to feel better and therefore breathe better even though again, most people usually don’t think in those terms because of how automatic that function is in our bodies. You don’t realize your breathing is affected by how pressured you feel at work in our example, but it is, and it is good news because it gives you leverage.

Here’s why.  How you want to feel (eg, better, happier, more relaxed, more enthusiastic, more energized, useful, appreciated, supported, safe etc.) – often translates into the optimum breathing experience for you.  It just so happens that the optimum breathing experience also opens the door to feeling better. Consequently, it is absolutely within your power to start by directly affecting your breathing in order to make space for more enthusiasm, appreciation, joy etc. So reversing the equation is the key.

To that end, I suggest meditating on the following questions and keeping the answers in some kind of treasure chest that will be most useful on “rainy days”:

What gives you breathing space?

What increases your breathing capacity?

What brings you relief and soothes you when you think of it?  Images? Memories? Certain kinds of music? Exercising? Playing? Dancing? Singing? Painting? Travelling?

What transports you into a world that only brings fun, joy and wonder?

 

It’s a lot easier and more effective to affect your mood by realizing what creates more breathing space inside of you than to try to change the world around you. The side effect of that is feeling empowered by the whole process. A wonderful bonus!:)

 

Val.

PS: the picture illustrating that article is one of my breathing spaces. Its impact on me is quite magical. It only takes minutes for the soothing effect to take place, for me to feel calmer, to breathe more deeply and fully, for joy to come back in, to feel that inside smile that makes everything brighter and that feels like home. Then I remember who I am, what is important to me and why. I connect to love, kindness and reverence and remember that we’re one. Once I’m there for a few minutes, inspiration blooms like a flower in the sun.

You can find me at www.thepowerofemotions.ca