When the Last Interaction Is Not Positive

One of my friends died today. Our last conversation keeps repeating in my head. It was not a happy conversation. Would I have delivered the same message if I knew his days were numbered? Would I have done it in the same way?
I do not believe that I am an unkind person. I am, however, direct and even blunt. I will deliver the messages that others shy away from. This was the way this conversation went. I was trying to help my friend understand how others perceived him. I feel none of us truly knows how we are being perceived unless someone is brave enough to tell us. This was my intention in my last interaction with this friend. I wanted to give the gift of honesty. I wanted to help him grow and be a better version of himself. It did not go well. I had thought he had received my words with openness and was taking some time to process. When I learned of his death, I also learned that he had un-friended me on Facebook. Apparently I had hurt him. This was never my intention. Many people have un-friended and re-friended me over the years. I don’t let it bother me, most of the time. I do, however, feel bad that this interaction had caused enough pain that he no longer wanted me to show up in his news feed.
Sure, they say, “truth hurts”. That doesn’t help me feel any better about it. I wanted to help him become a better version of himself. Instead, I now have the opportunity to become a better version of myself. If I had known his days were numbered would I still have delivered the message in the same way? Would I have felt the message was important to share? What is the cost of personal growth? Both his and mine. Did it really matter? I am left to wrestle with these questions as I come to terms that my friend has transitioned into another way of being. What would he tell me now that he has access to the wisdom on the other side?

Regret is… an unavoidable result of any loss,
for in loss we lose the tomorrow that we needed
to make right our yesterday or today
~ Gerald Lawson Sitter

How would I feel if someone was brave enough to share with me how I was being perceived? People have from time to time, and I welcomed the information. Sometime it throws you off for a minute as you have to integrate the message that they shared. What have I learned? To be as kind as possible always. Yes. To not share the truth? No. I will still share insights with others. I still want others to share insights with me.
To my friend – “Peace, Love, and a smooth transition to the other side. Please forgive me for causing you pain. It was not my intention to hurt you. Thank you for being my friend in this lifetime. Safe journeys”.

What are your thoughts? Was I wrong? Have you had similar experiences?

Than you for reading my blog today. May your friendships be open and help you grow.

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Bringing Hidden Emotions to the Surface

Recently Emy and I started planning our next BWCA trip. We were debating how many days we should stay. Because there is usually no cell service and you have to arrange for an outfitter to drop you off and pick you up, once you are there, you are there for the duration. I have noticed that when I am “stuck” somewhere, without some distraction, my emotions move.

There was one year that it rained, a lot! Emy and I passed the time sitting under a tarp, drinking tea, journaling, and talking. There is no electricity so using your phone for entertainment is not an option. After hours of sitting under our shelter I felt this desire to leave. I didn’t want to be there anymore. It was like my “fight/flight” response was in full swing and I wanted to run! Of course there was no way and no where to run to. I had to just sit. Then a breakthrough happened. My emotions broke free. I had a revelation. I became aware of some old thoughts about myself that I was holding as true. I realized that I did not believe I was lovable. I broke into tears and cried (something I seldom do). Because of this solitude and sanctuary of the forest, I was able to process this emotion.

Another year, it was the day before we were scheduled to leave, a beautiful sunny day had us lounging in the sun. I could feel the anxiety building in me. Our scheduled pick up time on the next day seemed so late in the day to me. We had a long drive to Emy’s home and then I had an additional hour to my house. I needed to unpack from the BWCA trip. I was scheduled on an early morning flight the next day for work and needed to pack for that trip. Laying there, on a warm rock, next to a sparkling lake, I once again felt that “fight/flight” instinct kick in and I wanted to run. I needed to get home and get stuff done! With nowhere to go and nothing I could do, I asked myself why I was feeling this way. Digging into those emotions and explored their root cause, helped me realized it was about not speaking up for myself. When we were arranging our pickup time, I knew I needed to leave early. When Emy suggested a later pickup time to the outfitter, I didn’t explain to her my perceived need to leave early because of pressure to get ready for a work trip. I just passively let her pick the time. Here it was four or five days later and it was causing me discomfort. Being in a place where I could allow my emotions to surface without the distractions the modern world offers us, gave me the time and space to allow the emotions to surface. I had the ability to dig into them and see what was causing them. I then knew how to prevent feeling like this in the future and advocate for myself.

So often in life we use distractions so that we do not have to deal with our emotions. TV, alcohol, games on our phones, housework, and so many other things to “be busy” and not have to deal with or process our emotions. Give yourself time and space to just be. Even though, at times, it may be uncomfortable it will allow those old emotions to break free. Then you can deal with them and release them.

What types of things do you do to “be busy” and not feel? How do you find space to let these emotions surface?

7 Techniques to Keep Spiritual Ego in Check

Have you ever run across a spiritual teacher who believes they have all the answers. They may even bad mouth other spiritual teachers? Perhaps they do things or treat people in ways you do not agree with? This is what I call spiritual ego. It is when a person believes they have all the answers and use that to justify their actions. It may even cause a falling out between people.

Spiritual ego is certainly not something that just happens to spiritual teachers. Any of us can fall prey to our own spiritual ego. How can you avoid this?

1.     Know you do not have all the answers.  There is a lot of mystery in spirituality. Accept that the mystery is a part of it.

2.     Be willing to listen to others view points. We all want to share the things in our own spirituality that give us peace, comfort, or joy. Others do to. By listening we may hear or learn something that deepens our own spirituality.

3.     Accept others where they are at. Everyone is at their own place on their spiritual journey. They are at the exact place they are meant to be in this time and place. Just because their journey is different than yours does not make it wrong.

4.     Don’t judge. There are many types of spirituality out there. They range from giant organized religions to highly personalized, individual relationships with a greater power. If you study major religions you will see there are more similarities than differences. Recognizing that we are all the same, in the most basic ways, is a huge step to laying your judgments aside.

5.   The golden rule. “Do unto others as you would have other do unto you”. This has always resonated with me. Did you know most of the world religions have a version of this.

6.   Allow for expansion. When we allow ourselves to expand it is easy to be more inclusive. We allow change within ourselves and open to the possibility of becoming a bigger better version of ourselves.

7.   See yourself in the other. When we allow ourselves to see aspects of us in the other person, it creates empathy and understanding.

Spirituality is a beautiful thing and can be very comforting. Believing we have all the answers can be dangerous and can lead to spiritual ego. I know atheists who are more kind, giving, loving, and altruistic than some religious people I know. Be open to others individuality and personal journeys. This will help you to keep your own spiritual ego in check.

The Pain We Carry With US

I was recently talking with someone and he was telling me about a part of his life he felt was a failure. It seemed to me that the perceived failure in this part of the person’s life caused him to view himself as a failure. Failure is a very harsh word. We all carry these pains and self judgments about ourselves with us. How can we learn from them and move forward and realize these perceived failures do not define us.
Let us start by examining the word failure. Are we ever really a failure or do we just make choices that are not in our best interests? Some of the things I have done in my life, that may have seemed like failures at the time, have led me down different paths that I would not have taken if the other path had been a success. For example, there was a time, when a job did not work out the way I had planned. My position was replaced by someone else and I was given a different role at the time. I felt horrible and like a failure. As it turned out it led me to another job that was even better. Life has a way of leading us to exactly where we are meant to be.
We all have had experiences in life where things we have said and done have caused us to feel like we failed in that situation. We carry this pain with us. For a time I even felt like I had failed as a mother because of the pains that my children carry with them. I now see that all three of my daughters have grown to be beautiful, smart, dynamic women. I wish I could have spared them the pain they experienced, but I also see how this pain has formed and helped them to become the women they are today. The pain they have experienced has shaped each of them in different ways. It has given them talents and the ambition to move their lives in amazing ways. One of my daughters always fights for the underdog. She speaks out and shares her views even when it is not popular. Another one of my daughters is all about family. She loves big family gatherings and wants everyone to feel welcome and accepted. The last of my daughters leads people. She has a drive to build and lead teams. I am extremely proud of them.
Just because something does not turn out the way I had hoped, it is not a failure. We all have these times in our life. It is important that we take them out and look at them with new eyes. By allowing our view to shift we can see how, what we once thought was a failure, is in fact a blessing in disguise.
What has happened in your life, that you once thought was a failure, but now can see how it benefitted you in the long run?

Maintaining effective communication during the holidays

Today’s blog is written by Emy Minzel, Adventure Sister.

The stress of the holidays has a way of bringing us closer or tearing us apart. I hear stories that make me laugh, cry, and groan, sometimes all at the same time. I would like to focus on how we convey or communicate love in our closest family relationships. I am guilty of getting defensive when I hear something I may not agree with from people I love. Yet through my years I’ve learned it’s not the best way to communicate effectively.

We know that when our parents, family, and friends are meddling in our lives it’s usually because they love you and see things from a different perspective. They may have advice we don’t want to hear, but it is important for us to listen with love. They speak up because they had been there and done that, and don’t want to do it again. They warn us or tell us ‘how it is’ because they love you, even if it upsets us and pisses us off.

What if we decided to give our dearest family and friends, the benefit of the doubt? Choose to think only the best of them. If we tried to recognize that whatever they do or say, they do it out of love or fear. Then we could also assume that the people we love, do the best they can, in the time and space they’ve been given. I have realized that all our actions, the good, the bad, and the ugly, come from fear or love. At the root, we all want to be loved. As we grow in different ways and different directions, the way we communicate changes as well.

What matters is that we continue to communicate. Even if we are scared, it’s important to tell our loved ones if you are fearful, or hurt, without assuming their actions or words were purposely harmful. Most likely they were not. Keeping lines of communication open, by not overreacting or shutting down is difficult for some, yet it’s imperative for effective communication. When we overreact and blow up, our emotions take over and our ears stop listening, stopping any connection in its tracks. This can affect even our closest most cherished relationships.

What if we met miscommunication and perceived hurt with love? Understanding that loved ones are either fearful of something or trying to show love in a way you may not understand. How would the conversation change if we chose to calm fears, by focusing on love? It may take courage to ask our loved ones to explain until we understand. It takes disciplined focus to speak our truth the best we are able, in the kindest way possible. It’s well worth the work we put in to communicating well, we should talk and know it’s ok to agree to disagree, respectfully.

It can be hard to remember that how we communicate our thoughts and feelings will define our character. How we act/react, handle hard times/good times/holidays, how you make someone feel, the words you choose and how you say them become how you communicate. How you communicate portrays how your closest family and friends will remember you.

My hopes this holiday season are that you too choose love and communication. Remembering that most of your family will act out of fear or love. When we focus on love, we open understanding and healing, this is how we make the world a better place, one family at a time.

~ Emy Minzel, Adventure Sister

10 tricks to stop negative energy and refocus it to the positive.

Today’s blog is written by my beautiful, smart, daughter, Liz Lamoureux. She makes me so proud!

Sometimes life likes to challenge us by giving us what we think is more than we can handle. Unfortunately, when we feel this way there is nothing we can do but carry on anyways. So here are some techniques to help you when you find yourself feeling overwhelmed.

Count your blessings. A very important thing to remember when you’re feeling sorry for yourself is that someone always has it worse than you. One reason we may have to encounter difficult times in our lives is to remind us of all the things we should be grateful for. For every negative comment, find three positive blessings to replace it.

Reach out to your support system. Having a support system is not only something to be grateful for but very helpful when you think you’ve been dealt more than you can handle. Reaching out to someone to vent to or a group that has been in similar situations, can be very beneficial. Just keep in mind that someone may not always be available to you so you might need to find another form of release.

Count to 10. When you are at your prime “freak-out” moment, STOP! These are the times to just breathe and count to 10. Giving yourself 10 seconds to cool down can be the difference of giving yourself over to further destructions or just accepting your current fate.

Go for a walk, Going for a walk or exercising is a great way to release the negative energy or tension built up. Many people even find it helpful to just pace around.

Laugh about it. Sometimes life is just so ridiculously unbelievable all you can do is laugh about. Ever heard the expression “laugh to keep from crying?” That is exactly it. While crying is a healthy way to express emotion; laughing can be just as, if not more, beneficial. So next time just try laughing about that spilt milk.

Distraction. Finding ways to distract yourself can really help ease the negative emotions you are feelings. It is a little escape to bake your favorite dish, mold your favorite project or play that great game. It’s a nice little break for yourself.

Deal with it. Sometimes what is going on may not be able to be pushed off. This is the time to put your “big kid pants” on and deal with it. Procrastinating these types of situations may only further your struggles and facing your situation head-on will feel like a weight lifted off your shoulders in the end.

Be Creative. Reaching out to our creative side at these times is a good way to out that energy into something great. It could be listening to music and dancing it off, writing about it or maybe you’re a painter and the times with true emotion is the times great art is born.

Essential oils/calming tea. If you’re feeling overly energized with whatever is going on in your life maybe you need to have a drink! A drink of herbal tea, that is. Great relaxing teas are those that contain chamomile or lavender. Herbal teas have very calming effects as do essential oils. Chamomile and lavender oils are on the list,of course, but some other ones to try are ylang ylang, cinnamon, rose and sandalwood. Rub a couple drops on your wrists or neck, and behold a calming effect.

Take a nap, A wise man once told me tomorrow is a new day. Sometimes you just have to take a rest, let your body and mind process everything and re energize. More times than not you find yourself feeling 100x better when you wake up and maybe some new ideas on how to cope with whatever you are being challenged with.

~Liz Lamoureux

Sending Love in Response to Pain

I believe in Love. I believe in the energy of Love and the intentions in conveys. I believe that Love is not just for our family and friends but for the whole world. I also know it is not always easy to share love. When someone has hurt us, how do we send Love their way instead of a lower vibrational emotion like hate, jealousy, fear, anger, or disgust. I want to share a story with you about sending Love.

One day my house was broken into. I was on the other side of the country for work and my roommate called me to let me know that he came home to the door open, things ransacked, and many of the electronics gone. I had to let my boss know and book a flight home the next morning. I entered my home alone in the middle of the day. It was a mess. My bedroom was the worst. Things had been tipped over, pulled from the closet, and strewn about the floor. Drawers were pulled open and dumped out. My laptop with all of my photos on it (many that were not backed up) was gone. I sat on the floor near the closet and cried at the feeling of violation. My bedroom was obvious that it belonged to a woman. I wondered how someone who had a mother, maybe sisters, or even a daughter, could violate me in this way.
As I sat there on the floor in front of my closet, I knew what I had to do. I had to send him Love. I sent prayers and intentions that his life would improve in such a way that this would no longer be an option for him. I put a post on Facebook and asked all my Facebook friends to do the same. It has been several years since this happened, but I also request that those of you reading this do the same. Please send Love to this person and intentions for improvement in his life so that he no longer feels the need to break into homes to support himself.
It was not an easy thing to do. I had people comment on how messed up it was to pray for the person who hurt me. I stand by the fact that it was the right thing to do.

I find that when people who we have been very close to hurt us, this can be much harder to do. The pain we feel causes us to want to lash out and protect ourselves. Only Love can begin to shift this. Sending other lower emotions does not benefit us. I know it does not seem easy or even possible. Please try it. It may never repair the relationship and you may be better off to be out of that relationship anyway. When someone hurts you or a person you Love, send Love to the offender. They are likely hurting in someway too. Love will only bring more Love to you.

Have you ever done this? What was the result? Please share any experiences you have with this.