habits

Habits That Center Us

I remember the day I came to the mind-shattering conclusion that the right pair of yoga pants wasn’t going to bring me peace. I also remember the day, after a week of grueling busy-ness, I found myself in the little nook between my closet and my bed, taking deep breaths, repeating, “You are going to be okay. You are safe.” And feeling calmer than I’d felt in years.
Many of us aren’t sure how to soothe ourselves as adults. Maybe we learned that anxiety and panic are just a part of daily life. But here’s the thing. They don’t have to be.
Mindfulness therapy takes you on a journey. You get to decide what’s sacred or peace-bringing to you and what is not. You get to play around and build your own toolbox of sacred habits that keep you centered in a world that often feels it is tilting on its axis.
Lately, for me, it’s cuddling up with a movie a few nights a week and being quiet, a pet on each side. Other times, it’s walking through the woods, noticing the feel of winter on my cheeks, the crisp sense of something new being ushered in. Sometimes it’s a patio drink with a friend on a work night when the world tells me I should be asleep.
Staying sane in our world requires us to carve out these nooks and crannies that bring peace. They are not indulgent. They are necessary. And they are our sacred, centering habits. And I invite you on a journey to uncover yours.
law of giving

The Law of Giving (and Receiving) = FLOW

Hi Friends! Megan Bartley here.

This year Louisville Mindfulness Center is giving away one book a month that has been influential to me in my life to better understand and love myself, my relationships, and in the work that I do as a therapist, mindfulness coach, speaker, and author.

January 2021 we are giving away, “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” by Deepak Chopra (scroll down to enter to win!)

Today I’m reflecting on the Law of Giving.

For those of us who are natural caregivers or maybe even people pleasers, we tend to give and give and give and give and give some more which can lead to us feeling depleted and perhaps frustrated when we feel no one is looking out for us and our well-being.

How I understand the Law of Giving is that there has to be a balance of Giving and Receiving. This creates a FLOW. Energy flowing out and energy flowing into our lives. If energy is only flowing out of us, then we will feel exhausted if we aren’t allowing others to care for us, or making time for us to care for ourselves. This is why we preach the necessity of “self-care” and “loving yourself.”

It’s the premise behind putting your oxygen mask on first and then assisting your dependents. If you are pouring all the water out of your pitcher into other people’s water glasses, and you don’t have a supply of water coming into your pitcher, then you will soon become dehydrated, emaciated, and feel “stuck” since there is no hydration to sustain you. And I don’t know about you, but when I’m hungry or thirsty my moods get grumpy and negative and resentful that I’m giving everyone what they need, but not receiving what I need in return.

Creating this FLOW involves allowing others to give to you

To help you out, to bring you treats and gifts, to offer their compliments and for you to receive them gratefully and without guilt. I’m sure when you are offering your help to others you are being genuine and truly want others to take you up on your offer. How do you feel when people turn you down? Perhaps not trusted, not good enough, brushed off? When we say “no thanks” to others when they are offering help to us, we are perhaps sending these messages to them without even realizing it.

I know what you’re thinking… you’re thinking you say “no thanks” to others because you don’t want to burden them with your stuff. So ask yourself this question, “When you offer your help and assistance to others, do you feel burdened by them?”

Perhaps you can challenge yourself to get the FLOW going by asking for help.

I know, I know, many of us have a hard time asking for help, but again, when someone asks you for help, I wonder if you sometimes feel special, or trusted, or honored that they thought you were the person they could rely on for help.

When we start to shift our mindset from worrying about burdening others to creating the wonderful flow of giving and receiving, we are choosing to allow others to think of us, to “have our backs,” and we are honoring others with trusting them to help us out.

The visual I like to think of is of the ocean waves coming up to shore on the beach. There is a constant motion of waves coming in to shore and going back out again. The movement doesn’t stop, EVER. There is a flow of water coming in and a flow of water going back out to sea. The ocean is in constant FLOW. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to feel this flow in your own life? Perhaps you already do in certain areas. And perhaps there are other areas where you might challenge yourself to be more in “FLOW” with life.

I’d love to hear your feedback and if this was helpful to you. If there are other topics you’d like me to write about, please let me know!

trust playbook

How To Rebuild Trust: A Playbook

Written by Rob Giltner, MAMFT

A lot of couples get in “gridlock” where they find themselves in conflict over the same subject or find themselves continuously in conflict. Couples in “gridlock” are trying to solve the issue that is the tip of the iceberg. Partners may get frustrated with this issue not being solved, and begin to feel like they’re not being heard or understood. This then makes partners listen to respond to each other rather than listening to understand each other.

Once we work to come from a place of understanding rather than one of response, we realize that many arguments are not about what we see on the surface, but are really ice that has built up underneath the surface. Many times once our partner understands our ice below, we began to feel connected and understood which melts away the ice. We then find ourselves no longer stuck in “gridlock.”

After such continued conflict, it can be important to practice trust-building. The following is a playbook for strengthening the trust within your relationship.

Signs someone is suffering from PTSD as a result of betrayal:

  • Hypervigilance
  • Emotional numbing with explosions
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Depression

The 3 Pillars for Rebuilding Trust: Atone, Attune, Attach

One can Atone by:

  • Continued expression of remorse and sincere apology (even in the face of skepticism)
  • Confession
  • Dealing with triggers
  • Behavioral change, transparency, and verification
  • Understanding what went wrong
  • Reasons for return or relapse
  • Understanding the high cost of future betrayal
  • Acceptance and forgiveness

After conflict with your partner, the key to healing is to process and repair. It is vital that we are mindful of our partners’ feelings, as well as our own related to the event. Identifying triggers to those feelings is a great way to begin to repair from conflict. Triggers can come from events related to influence, acceptance, and affection.

Attune stands for:

A=Awareness
T=Turning toward
T=Tolerance
U=Understanding
N= Nondefensive Responding
E=Empathy

Couples must learn to handle conflict by tuning in, so it doesn’t overwhelm them and create distance in their relationship.

When an individual feels emotionally overwhelmed, it makes it very difficult for them to listen to understand, offer empathy, and dialogue. Their brains are in fight or flight mode. This may then result in stonewalling, criticism, and defensiveness. If a couple is able to find ways to self-soothe, they are able to approach an argument rationally and gently and they have a higher chance of a positive outcome. Sometimes couples need to take a break from the argument to soothe, but they must agree to return to the conflict.

Attach

When we talk about attachment, we are asking, “Are you there for me?” You can practice connecting to your partner through:

  • Rituals of connection
  • Building intimacy
  • Turning towards one another
  • Accepting bids

Establishing Rituals for Connection

One of the keys to a strong relationship is creating shared meaning between you and your partner. Shared meaning can be big things like sharing overarching goals and visions for your relationship and life, but it also comes from establishing rituals of connection. These are rituals that you do daily, weekly, or monthly that bring you together and allow you to connect as a couple. These rituals ensure that you are taking the time to develop deep emotional connections with each other.

It can be helpful to start by examining each partner’s memories of family rituals and then script new rituals. Be specific about what, how when, and where. Restructure your time the following week to include these.

  • Waking up, waking one another up
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, & or coffee together
  • Bedtime
  • Leaving one another
  • Reuniting
  • Handling finances
  • Hosting others at home
  • Athletics, exercise
  • Celebrations (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)
  • Taking care of each other when sick
  • Renewing your spirit
  • Recreation, games, play
  • Dates and romantic evenings
  • Watching television
  • Running errands, doing chores
  • Doing schoolwork
  • Soothing other people’s feelings
  • Apologizing or repairing feelings after an argument
  • Common hobbies
  • Making art

Resources: The Gottman Institute