Archive for May 2019

Feeling Stuck? – How to Stop Spinning Your Wheels ll By Brenda Bomgardner

Feeling Stuck? – How to Stop Spinning Your Wheels
By Brenda Bomgardner

Life doesn’t always find us cruising in the “fast lane.”

We make unexpected twists and turns.

Though sometimes this can be a good thing. Often, we discover fantastic opportunities that we never imagined.

However, in other instances, you find yourself getting stuck in life.

Instead of progressing the way you wanted, you are spinning your wheels.

This could be for a variety of reasons, such as not finding yourself where you want in your career.

Or, your relationship causes you to feel stuck. Either way, there are ways that you can get unstuck and get moving again.

1. Stop What You Are Doing

The first thing to do is stop what you are doing and pause. Of course, this is a metaphor that applies to your life. I am not suggesting that just because you don’t like your job, you should stop going to work!

However, you can pause when it comes to your life in general. Take a step back and reflect on what’s going on. Sometimes we focus so hard on making something work, we miss out on the big picture. Sometimes persistence at going for the gold works as you eventually break through a barrier. Other times persistence keeps you stuck and spinning your wheels.

Remember, if you want to stop spinning your wheels the first thing to do is take your foot off of the accelerator. Give yourself a brake – break. Take a breather and let things percolate.

2. Take Some Space

Next, take some space for yourself by creating distance between your day-to-day life. Why? Because the demands of our daily lives can distract us from getting perspective.

Now, you don’t have to retreat to a monastery in the mountains for months on end. However, what if you just took a day to yourself to reflect and think? That’s right percolate. No TV, no cell phone use. Just yourself and your thoughts.

A drive in the countryside could work. Or, spending the day at a local park. The objective is for you to slow down. I have a saying, “An ounce of solitude gives you a pound of serenity.”

3. Use Freewriting and Journaling

Have a thought? Take that thought and write it down on paper. This doesn’t have to be a formal essay. It could even be just certain words or phrases that occur to you.

Writing helps to organize what you are thinking and to have something to refer back to later.

Allow your mind to drift by considering the following topics:

Where are you now?

Where are you headed?

What were your original goals or objectives?

How do you feel?

Give yourself broad questions but be specific in your answers. Consider whether or not you truly are content or are wishing to make a change.

4. Make a Goal

If you want to get unstuck, start by making a goal towards the direction you want. This doesn’t have to be a big step. You don’t have to quit your job overnight and go from being a banker to an artist.

However, if this your desire long-term, why not start off by creating some art in your free time? Join a local group of artists as you might find out about the business of art. Volunteer at a museum.

Small goals are more manageable than broad ones. Plus, they allow you to start making changes from spinning your wheels to moving in the direction you desire.

5. Get Professional Coaching or Get an Accountability Buddy

These are great first steps towards getting unstuck. Yet, to create effective change, find a professional coach who can help. An accountability buddy is a sure fire way to keep movement in your life. It only takes one other person to make a difference. It’s important your meet on a regular basis.

If an accountability buddy is not working a professional coach can help you to maintain the momentum you’ve started and to make sure that the changes you make last. Plus, a coach can be a great support for when you feel stuck. They are trained in skills to create movement.

That way, you don’t find yourself spinning your wheels instead, and can maintain your progress.


 

It takes time to get unstuck, but you don’t have to be spinning your wheels forever. Making some small changes can help get things back on track.

Plus, a professional coach will be able to help you ensure that those changes are lasting. Please, contact me today if you’re at a place of feeling stuck in your own life.

To learn more about Brenda visit her About Me page

About the Author: Brenda Bomgardner is in her encore career. One of her greatest joys in her career is seeing people move beyond life’s roadblocks toward a fulfilling and meaningful life. She believes each person has a purpose in life waiting to be realized that evolves over a lifetime. And the path to reaching your life’s purpose is as unique as each individual. We all have dreams. Step by step she will walk with you on uncovering how to bring your dreams to fruition.  Brenda is a counselor, coach and clinical supervisor and specializes in practicing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which is a cutting edge evidenced-based processes. This means there is scientific research proven to show ACT works. Before becoming a therapist, she completed a successful 17 year career in Human Resources at a Fortune 500 company. On a personal note she loves the great outdoors, ATV riding, adventure travel and family.

To learn more about Brenda visit her About Me page, https://brendabomgardner.com/brenda-bomgardner/

Why are we so stressed? ll By: Rich Brodt

Why are we so stressed?
By: Rich Brodt

Gallup’s 2019 Global Emotions report was recently released; it revealed that Americans are among the most highly stressed people in the world. America has the largest Gross Domestic Product in the world, an economy that has enjoyed the highest growth in the world in the past year, and people who live here enjoy more freedoms than people in many other places in the world. Yet, people are still stressed, anxious and worried for many of their waking hours. While we should not be surprised that a high GDP does not lead to decreased stress, the lack of other information available leads me to search for reasons why Americans are so stressed out.

For me, at least one of the answers seems to be embedded in American culture. As a whole, it seems that Americans value success, ambition, innovation and the collection of material possessions. These ideals put pressure on individuals to work towards these values even when they are not particularly important to the individual. Many seek success, financial gain, acquirement of possession not because they strongly identify with these values, but because they feel societal pressure to meet these standards. Social media and the news media just compound this stress.

Social media’s impact is becoming more and more apparent. It creates a space outside of reality where individuals can curate a particular image for themselves, filter and edit photos as they choose and then release those curated images for mass consumption. This allows an individual to project an image of themselves that is not accurate. These images are consumed by other individuals who then become envious of this person’s lifestyle despite its lack of basis in reality. We see an image of a lifestyle that is probably unattainable for most people, we see an individual who is claiming to live that lifestyle, and we assume that we can also find a way to do so. But the reality is that most people are pretending. This pretending leads to positive validation in the form of likes and comments. In essence, people are creating a dishonest version of their life for the purpose of having that dishonest version publicly praised. It is easy to see how this can lead to a disconnection from our true, genuine selves with individual values. How can that lead to anything resembling joy or happiness?

The images used to market products to us are not dissimilar to the images we are finding more and more on social media. In fact, many regular people who post on social media are now being approached to market products, which creates even more pressure for them to maintain an image. We also feel the need to purchase these products in order to attain a similar lifestyle to the person we observe on social media. This leads people to overspend, get into massive amounts of debt, and feel no better off for what they have spent their money on. Thus the cycle continues as that debt often causes long-term financial issues. Those that consume social media are constantly being marketed to both by the people they follow and by independent advertisers that now have unfettered access to their personal browsing and shopping habits. This compounds the problem, leading to more impulsive purchases and increased debt.

While the above addresses the burdens of financial debt and pressure to maintain a certain image, the current political climate must also play a large part in American stress levels. Since the election in 2016, the country has never felt more divided. Both sides are absolutely sure that they know what is right 100% of the time. This has lead to a severe lack of connection and lack of dialogue between people with differing viewpoints. If we avoid people who have different political beliefs than us, we are cutting out nearly 50% of the population, and basically judging their entire character based on what candidate they support. We are closing ourselves off when we are not able to see past a single viewpoint. We are creating a climate of adversarial interactions where people always feel like they are on the defensive. This is no way to create a dialogue. As a result we are losing our sense of connection to others, which is essential for feelings of well-being.

Many of these issues come from our individual attachments, to our beliefs, to our political views, and mostly to being right. We seek information that confirms our beliefs, and we block out the information that does not. We actually have less of a role in this than we might think. Internet search algorithms are designed to lead us to a space where our firmly held beliefs will be confirmed, and those opposing ideas are filtered out. This leads to a lack of empathy for anyone but the group that we identify with. This is a dangerous direction for a nation to be headed. We need to close our computers, put down our phones, and try to see and accept one another.


About Rich Brodt
I provide therapy and counseling for individuals. My style integrates various techniques, but I tailor my approach to each client’s unique needs. I am committed to helping people that experience anxiety resulting from trauma, work-related stress, legal issues or major life transitions. Together, we will work to calm your mind and create lasting change.

Dark Nights of the Soul: Spiritual Transformation or Clinical Depression? Part 3 ll Mary Coday Edwards

May 14, 2019
Dark Nights of the Soul: Spiritual Transformation or Clinical Depression? Part 3
By Rev. Mary Coday Edwards, MA.

John of the Cross wrote his Dark Night of the Soul as a guidebook for monastics, those who would dedicate themselves to a spiritual life through community, meditation, and various forms of service. I follow Thomas Moore’s lead (1), who looks at it less technically and sees it as a period of transformation.

In Part 1, I defined soul from a Jungian perspective. In Part 2 I gave more definitions, including spiritual transformation, soul from a religious perspective, sadness, and clinical depression or Major Depressive Disorder—including its symptoms.

Signposts of a Dark Night

Lack of consolation from our spiritual practice is a common signpost. We then work harder on its spiritual disciplines: we pray, we fast, we go to more meetings, more retreats; we sit longer on the meditation cushion. These disciplines in the past brought us a measure of joy and deep peace. Now they don’t. We go to a mental health specialist. We want some sort of drug to make these sad feelings GO AWAY.

Plans go awry. A deep ennui sets in. “What’s wrong with me?” we ask. Our postmodern society might call it an existential crisis. Similar in definition, it consists of when life loses its meaning for an individual. The same sort of questions haunt an existential crisis: “What is my purpose on this planet? Is there a set of predetermined convictions? How should I live my life?”

But if we name the pain and loss as an existential crisis, it’s too easy to ignore the soul. Existential crisis implies: “I can fix this. I just need to change my thinking. If I can come up with the right answers to my problems, everything will be okay.” Or “I need a new partner, house, car, vacation, etc.” Fill in the blank. It’s ego-driven. After all, the ego may have done a great job of protecting us so far, and it’s hesitant to give up that control to a nebulous other piece called “soul,” along with soul’s counterpart, “intuition.”

 

When we look to our soul’s wanderings, we move into mystery, symbols, and mythos.

This is another form of knowing outside our Western emphasis on brain, head, and thinking. If we turn to ego, we’re relying on the same tool that got us into this pickle to get us out of it. It’s inadequate. It may have served us for what Bill Plotkin calls our “survival dance,” it won’t help up in this next stage of transformation, which Plotkin names our “sacred dance” (2).

Common Reasons

Two common reasons lead into a dark night and a crumbling worldview:

1.) you’re not living your life, but what your parents, teachers, religious institution, or society says you ought to be doing, thinking, or believing.

2.) and related to No. 1, we remain an adolescent long past the time it’s time to be an adult.

Jung believed our psyches carry a deep-seated drive for integration, particularly our unconscious with our conscious lives. And that includes everything we’ve stuffed down into the shadows, including that which ego has deemed unworthy. If you’ve been living a lie, letting the ego and persona rule the roost, eventually your soul says, “ENOUGH.” At first it comes as whisper, but the more it’s ignored, the louder it becomes. Something comes along—external or internal: a long illness or a troubled marriage, a family crisis, or a career shift, for example. Sometimes an unshakeable, emotional inner mood grabs hold of us.

My work as a People House minister allows me the privilege of journeying alongside troubled individuals when they come to me carrying pieces of their shattered lives they’re trying to glue and/or duct tape back together. They’re unhappy and want life to return to how it was. What life they had might not have been perfect, but it was better than this.

 

Women, caring for others all their lives, tell me, “I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I like, dislike, or what I want.”

Creatives show up, feeling like failures because no longer can they force the deepest parts of who are they into the molds our dominant culture wants to squeeze them into. They have looked into their souls and feel them lacking. They live with constant judgment of falling short of what their loved ones expect of them.

And all the while, their true essence, buried deep in their souls/unconscious/psyches, sits huddled in a dark corner, rejected and in pain, imprisoned behind a thick wall.

 

A deep desolation typically accompanies your soul’s cry for help.

No longer can you cut yourself off from soul, that which carries so much energy. No longer can you pretend that everything is okay, that you can just buckle down and slog through life without that which gives you life.

And all the while, down in the dungeon, in the shadows, huddles our spark. Our true essence. And if we choose to ignore it, to push it down, eventually it will find the cracks in our persona.

We base our lives on beliefs and values that we presume to be rock solid. In reality, they’re more like earth’s shifting tectonic plates: our worldview continuously needs updating. The forces of life deep within us cannot be contained—best to integrate them consciously vs. letting them rule us unconsciously.

 

In my next blog I’ll talk about living with a dark night. Meanwhile, pay attention to the deepest parts of who you are.

To go in the dark with a light is to know light.

To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight.

And find that the dark, too, blooms and sings.

And is traveled by dark feet and dark wings. (4)

_____

Notes & Sources:

1.) The best resource I have found on determining if it’s a dark night of the soul or a clinical depression requiring the attention of a mental health professional is Thomas Moore’s book, Dark Nights of the Soul, A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life’s Ordeals. Penguin Random House. 2004.

2.) Plotkin, Bill. Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche. New World Library. 2003.

3.) For Christians, a good book is John of the Cross for Today: The Dark Night, by Susan Muto. Ave Maria Press. 1991.

4.) Wendell Berry, from “To Know the Dark,” in Farming: A Handbook. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1967.

Embedding Rejection as a Spiritual Practice ll By Erin Amundson

Embedding Rejection as a Spiritual Practice
By Erin Amundson

As I considered what I most wanted to share through writing this week, I reflected just how prevalent the theme of rejection is all around me right now. 

Brene Brown’s Netflix Special encourages us to embrace it as a part of living a courageous life.  Brendan Burchard published a newsletter highlighting the initial rejection of his now #1 New York Times Best Selling book The Motivation Manifesto and a woman’s group I participate in has devoted the entire month of April to the theme of this topic.

On a more personal level, I’ve been rejected from a Catholic Monastary turned event center for not being the right kind of spiritual.  I’ve been accepted, then rejected, then re-accepted by a co-working company to lead a personal power workshop for their members, I invited friends to get together, was declined, only to find out they already had plans with each other, without me. 

Now, I’m an adult, and I practice my spirituality daily.  So I can handle rejection, right?  The truth is, I do handle it pretty well, but it seems as though the universe has decided to see if I can get a little bit better at it.  So, I’d like to share what I’ve learned about rejection.

1. It’s necessary for success. In the last week, I’ve heard this come out of the mouths of many successful people from best selling authors, to movie stars, to business owners I admire (or if I’m honest, sometimes envy).  The idea is to be proud of your own courage, and then to get curious about why things didn’t go the way you wanted.  Explore the truth behind your rejection and you’ll get better at what you’re trying to do. 

2. It HURTS sometimes. Even when we put our big kid pants on.  When my friends had plans without me, it took a little bit of time to work that out.  But when rejection hurts, working it out is necessary.  If we don’t work it out, we end up shrinking and contracting from our lives.  We start to play it safe and we stop showing up.  Or we passive aggressively punish the people who we feel rejected by.

3. It can be a blessing. Sometimes I want something so badly, I fail to listen to my intuitive voice telling me it’s actually not right.  Not the right relationship, not the right career choice, not the right living space, not the right speaking gig, etc.  When something in your life doesn’t work out and you feel rejected, please get curious once again, and have faith that the universe has your back.  Usually, there’s something better than you could’ve dreamed just waiting for you. 

4. When I REFUSE to reject myself, rejection from the outside has less power.   Having self-compassion, commitment and true love assures that no rejection from an outside person or entity can determine your path.  Sometimes, we are rejected because we are in the wrong zone, or we’ve done wrong.  Most times, however, the reasons people reject us have nothing to do with us.  If there is no constructive feedback for you to consider, from a VALID source (meaning someone who respects you and has integrity and compassion), feel free to remind yourself of how lovable you are.  Feel free to remind yourself of your gifts, your wins, and your true essence.  Stay loyal to yourself, ESPECIALLY when others are not. 

As I’ve considered my own relationship to rejection this past month, my hope is that you do too.  I’d love to see more of us commit to living courageously, as Brene Brown invites us to do.  I’d love to see more of us loving ourselves enough to truly connect to our gifts and then offer them freely (but not for free) in the world.  If you, like many others, struggle with rejection in your life, please consider finding a worthy coach, mentor or therapist who can help you develop a better relationship with it so that you can add your shine to our world that so desperately needs it right now. 

 


Erin Amundson loves helping people reconnect to their natural technology by decoding the language of dreams.  She is a healer, a depth psychologist and an entrepreneur who specializes in teaching people how to identify and remove barriers to success and make friends with their subconscious mind.  As the creator and founder of Natural Dream Technology, Erin knows that hidden beneath the surface of your conscious mind is a uniquely talented visionary, and she wants the world to benefit from your contribution.

After several fights with her own subconscious mind (and a re-occurring nightmare about skipping classes and failing), Erin finally surrendered and followed the wisdom of her natural technology to get a second graduate degree in Counseling at Regis University.  A life-long follower of dreams, Erin now began to learn the language of the subconscious as she slept.  Just as Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs and Steven Spielberg all experienced, Erin began to recognize in her dreams that her best work is to help you reclaim your connection to your own natural technology through dreams and the subconscious.  She has been teaching, facilitating and engaging in dream work with ambitious professionals ever since. 

Erin currently practices as a depth psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado and via the internet around the world.  In addition to her dream work, Erin is a certified past life regressionist, an intuitive astrologer and a lover of travel, snowboarding, deep conversations and cooking delicious food, all of which she enjoys practicing while she sleeps.

People House: a Center for Personal and Spiritual Growth