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Kid’s & Stress: Need I Say More???

May is almost here!  Many of us are breathing a sigh of relief that our children or grandchildren are graduating.  Then there are some of us with young children who never think the day will come.  We love our kids, but there are days that we want to scream (and sometimes we do!)

Been There, Done That
I’ve been there, done that and in spite of myself, I am blessed with two awesome adult children.  There are still times where I scratch my head after blurting out my unsolicited advice, only to get a snarky reply.  After all, I know better and they should what to listen, right?
With it all, I know I did a great job (right kids?) but there were words said and some behavior I wish I could take back.  I know that I am not alone- well have all acted out when at our wits end.  What happens?  Our stress escalates and we feel guilty and angry at ourselves for losing it. There is no rewind button.

So What’s the Solution?

I am not an expert at solutions beyond what I teach but I would be remiss if I did not introduce you to my colleague parenting extraordinaire, Randi Rubenstein– Randi is the real deal, tell it like it is powerhouse.  She helps parents stay calm, cool, and connected during heated moments with their kiddos. Attaching one of her articles Here.

Even if you are not a parent of a school aged kid, this is a great read.  I am sure you know someone who needs to read this!

 

 

My Request:
For those who have had the rug pulled out from under them…

STRESSED OUT TRAILBLAZER WANTED
for taking charge, enjoying life- even when life has flipped you the bird,
patient with the process, and willing to try new ways of doing things,
teachable, and knows quick fixes don’t work.
Gutsy enough to take on what life has thrown at them, no hiding, no disappearing,
ass-kicking ready to move forward, no matter what.
Here are some comments from a few private clients:
“I feel that so much of what you taught me has become hardwired. I am so thankful for your guidance and friendship – you truly changed my life”
“I will tell you that I have enjoyed working with you immensely and credit much of my growth to our sessions together. Your help has been invaluable.” 
“I now incorporate Ellen’s “Custom Calm” techniques in my daily life knowing that sickness, sadness, & stress will still come into my life-but I am equipped with the tools to tackle the situation and live a good and happy life.” 

Interested?  READ MORE

If you are serious about hearing more, please answer these few questions and send your answers to:  ellen@customcalm.com

  1. What the heck is going on?
  2. How is it impacting your daily life?
  3. What have you tried to help yourself? How did it work for you?
  4. What are you are hoping to receive by us working together?

 

Warm regards,

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Stressed Out Trailblazers: We Want You!

Yea, it’s springtime!  You know what that means?  Holidays, spring cleaning, change, newness, and fun (let’s not forget Atlanta pollen too!)

Been Thinking…
I am ready for some newness of my own. Time to shake things up in my work. As I pondered what that newness might look like, I began to think about my previous clients and what really solidified lasting change.  Slow, steady, easy, breezy practices and concepts.  Then I asked myself the question, what helped to hardwire the change?  ACCOUNTABILITY!

My Light Bulb Moment
Ahhh, the light bulb just went off. How much more fun and effective it would be for clients if I worked with them in a semi-private setting.  Yes, accountability is the key and what better way to gain accountability than have a buddy to keep you on track.

So, here is what I am looking for: Two sets of private clients to work in a semi-private setting. It can be with a buddy or not. Are you one of them?
If I were writing a newspaper ad to find you, it would look like this:   Help Wanted:

STRESSED OUT TRAILBLAZER WANTED
for taking charge, enjoying life- even when life has flipped you the bird,
patient with the process, and willing to try new ways of doing things,
teachable, and knows quick fixes don’t work.
Gutsy enough to take on what life has thrown at them, no hiding, no disappearing,
ass-kicking ready to move forward, no matter what.

 

Check out a few comments from a few private clients:
“I feel that so much of what you taught me has become hardwired. I am so thankful for your guidance and friendship – you truly changed my life”
“I will tell you that I have enjoyed working with you immensely and credit much of my growth to our sessions together. Your help has been invaluable.” 
“I now incorporate Ellen’s “Custom Calm” techniques in my daily life knowing that sickness, sadness, & stress will still come into my life-but I am equipped with the tools to tackle the situation and live a good and happy life.” 

Interested?  READ MORE

If you are serious about hearing more, please answer these few questions and send your answers to:  ellen@customcalm.com

  1. What the heck is going on?
  2. How is it impacting your daily life?
  3. What have you tried to help yourself? How did it work for you?
  4. What are you are hoping to receive by us working together?

My thoughts
In my heart of hearts I know that working together you will achieve tangible results that keep you rocking and rolling with positive momentum.  Whatever you do, stay connected and keep yourself accountable in every area of life. It’s more fun that way!

P.S. For those who come to the Cancer Support Community in Atlanta, I will  be teaching a workshop on April 18th and every Saturday in May, except Memorial Day Weekend.  Join me!

Hope to see you soon.

Warm regards,

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Perfection is Overrated: That’s Great News for Me!

The back story
A former client sent me wonderful comment about my last newsletter. If you have not yet read it, check my blog.  She wrote:  I LOVE S’mores!  I feel that so much of what you taught me has become hardwired. I am so thankful for your guidance and friendship – you truly changed my life. 

Now, that is an amazing testimonial, wouldn’t you agree? You would think I would take that in and kvell in the gift she gave me.  I did for a moment and was grateful for her response.  But then, I took a turn-  I replied and thanked her, then added a comment that I had made a typo on the title (no looking back please J)  Oy, why would I do that?  A compliment can be difficult for many, and I see I am still one of them.

She gave me a perfect response: Perfection is overrated.   

My thoughts
We tend to be tough on ourselves when we make a mistake.  We also tend to dismiss a compliment pretty darn quickly.  I wonder why this is?
There is some odd notion that we must do things perfectly or we look “less than.”  Think about it.  The feedback she gave me was a gift, yet my focus was on letting her know I made a mistake.  Really Ellen?  The awe of improving someone’s life vs. an extra letter in a word.  Hmmm, that is a no-brainer, yet I got caught in the trap of perfection.

The concern about my error (that she did not even notice) clouded my ability to take in the lovely affirming note she wrote about my work.  I took what was an opportunity to really appreciate my gifts and chose to focus on my small error.

  • I get tripped up in trying to look a certain way and to make a mistake makes me seem less professional.  What the heck is that about?
  • Even though I am getting much better, it is still my tendency to dismiss a compliment.

One day soon
One day, I too will get new behavior around this issue “hardwired” as she has.  Even when I get tripped up, I will remember her wise words:    Perfection is overrated…
Thank you my student, friend, and teacher. You are one smart cookie!
Write your comments on my blog. I love to hear from you.  Also, stay tune for some exciting new programs.

P.S. For those who come to the Cancer Support Community in Atlanta, I decided to share the Saturday yoga class with another instructor.  Will see you on April 1st– no kidding!

Hope to see you soon.

Warm regards,

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What Gives You Relief from Our Crazy, Chaotic World?  Yes, You Heard Me Correctly- S’mores!

I planned to write a funny post about a recent experience, but after hearing about Wednesday’s terror attack in London and the killing of a Jewish Family in Paris this week, I am not really in a playful mood.  One of my daughters just left London, so it hit home even more.

My heart is heavy from the hatred in our country and world.  I do not want to turn into the fear based, angry person I had become just a few months back.

I ask myself, what do I do now?  How do I help heal the world besides donating time and money to causes I care about? How can I write a solution based post, when feeling this way?

The answer is- practice what I teach (boy, that’s annoying!)  I need to find a way to fill up though out my day, even when I have no time- and so do you.

My S’mores experience is an example:

I was at a bonfire event this weekend. For those who do not know what a S’more is, you are missing out.  Marshmallows roasted over a campfire (a fireplace will do), a chocolate bar, and a graham cracker.    I could have slapped it all together and wolfed it down, but chose not to.  This is what I did:

I got my ingredients, picked out a good stick, put two marshmallows on the stick, put stick over the fire, watched the marshmallow get bubbly and a bit burnt (that to me gets the marshmallow gooey in the middle), take the graham cracker, break it in two, put my chocolate bar on the cracker, and then take both crackers, make a sandwich, and squeeze the marshmallow in between until it comes off.

Yes, quite a production. Now for the best part- take a bite, (rather than putting it all in my mouth at once-tempting I know), chew, get messy marshmallow all over my face, and continue the process.  When finished, lick all the goo off my fingers. This brought back childhood camp memories.  Now that is a meditative, uplifting experience.  As I sit and write about it, my heaviness is lifting.

 

Simple, lifesaving moments

We need this level of simplicity.  Life is challenging and at times chaotic and frightening.  Everyone is affected. It is not about avoidance, but about balance.  Without the mundane moments of enjoyment, it is easy to get pulled into the muck and tough to crawl out.

It is all happening now

My feeling of sadness over the terror in London, memory of my S’mores experience, the sound of my dog chewing her bone, the smell of my lunch, is happening right now- got the picture?

So, my point? Make a decision each day to be aware of things that you find uplifting- even for a moment.  The moments add up and give you the balance you need to find some joy or sanity each day.  Simple- yes, Challenging-yes, Practical and Possible- Absolutely.

And if you have not yet indulged in S’mores, give it a try! 

Leave a comment about what you find uplifting in your day

Hope to see you soon.

Warm regards,

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Controlled Chaos:  Now That’s What I’m Talking About!  

Ellen Sichel:
Controlled Chaos Personified

I admit it- I am a Shark Tank fan.  One episode I watched two women in the beauty industry pitch their product: Controlled Chaos-  It gives those with curly hair a softer curl, controls frizz without the stiff product feel.  They were passionate, real, fun, and a bit chaotic- they eventually got a deal. I loved the founders and product name and can totally relate (way beyond my hair!).  I too can be chaotic and am sure you can too.

As for my hair, it is basically curly when cut properly, yet most of the time I blow dry the curl out.  I do not enjoy this chore at all (even when trying some mindful drying!)  Why, you might wonder do I participate in this hot, annoying ritual?  To look a bit tidier and more professional, especially when I speak.  I was raised with a more conservative look- neat and controlled.  Hmmm, this sounds really nuts to me as I write this.

Well, times have changed.  I am now committed to going curly- apply product, shake, and go.  I will even get my haircut to maximize my curls.  I have included a selfie (not my best.)  You might be wondering where I am going with this blog and what this has to do with stress management and calm living. Okay, here goes…

Control does not work
It creates rigidity just like a sticky and unnatural hair product designed to make hair behave.

Chaos can be fun when it doesn’t take over
Chaos can look natural and playful.  I have been trying (not too successfully) to behave- to keep some reserved air about me- after all, I teach calm living- right?  Boy,that too sounds lame.

This is why Controlled Chaos appealed to me.  It is the perfect combo.  Control without the edge, without the rigidity, without forcing-  It is natural and relaxed, mixed in with some play .It is both anchored and free.

You do not need curly hair to relate to this. Take a look at how you show up to life.  Are you showing up as-is, or are you running your life from a place perfection and frustration.  This is much of what underlies stress.  Fighting who we are.

Yes, I am still in my Inciting a Riot phase of life.  I will be a bit curlier, but know if I feel like it I can choose to style my hair (I am beginning to sound like a Barbie commercial- curly Barbie, dressy Barbie- Oy.)

Now it’s your turn
I hope you can come along and put a bit of Controlled Chaos in your day. For those of you who love the chaos, go ahead- after all calm living is not about being this Zen flower.  It is more about learning how to mix the two- tame your chaos, don’t get rid of it.

For now, notice where you are trying to stay socially acceptable or feel embarrassed when you try something a bit out of your comfort zone.  What stops you?

I would love to hear from you.  Leave a comment if you would like.
P.S.  More curls to come after my next haircut and yes, I did order the product!

Warm regards,

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I AM INCITING A SELF-CARE RIOT!  For Good Reason

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Back Story

I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of caregivers and professionals who are dealing with high stress events in their lives.  As I was teaching and listening to their stories, what came to light was the unyielding demands many have upon them.

When I asked one women what she loved to do that she can no longer do, she said: I loved to cook.  You might be thinking, that is easy enough for her to do- you are wrong.  This woman work is taking care of an Alzheimer’s patient throughout the day.  Now you might be thinking, well she can cook when she gets home- wrong again.  She comes home and takes care of her three children. Barely time to breathe.  This, I am sad to say is the reality for many.  Work all day in a demanding job, only to come home to a full evening of responsibilities.

When I responded, what I did NOT say was – you must find time for yourself.  That is what we hear over and over again and frankly, I am sick of it.  It is not helpful and leaves people feeling hopeless and unheard.

Realistic Response

I asked her if she goes to the market to shop for food.  She said yes.
I asked her if when she goes to the market could she go to the produce aisle and take a moment to look at the colors and textures of the fruit and then smell their aroma.

I went on to suggest a few other actions:

  • To pick a piece of fruit that she had never had before and purchase it.
  • To take a moment and walk by the flowers, look at the colors, and smell the aroma.
  • When home to put on the cooking channel, even if she has no time to watch, she can hear the sounds and conversations in the background.

You get the picture?  She did, and said yes she could and would do what I suggested.  As she said it, I noticed her eyes were a bit brighter.

In other words, when at the market, be at the market.  For this woman, that might be her only opportunity for her to enjoy what she loves- maybe not in the same way but still filling the well even just a bit. Think of it as taking a short vacation at the market!

Simplicity works.  Simplicity is effective and simple opportunities occur throughout the day, every day.

My Riot

This is the riot I want to incite.  A riot of stopping the useless fluffy suggestions that are given to people who are dealing with high stress or dealing with daily health issues of their own to “take time for themselves.”  Get clear- they do not have the time!

I am ready to take on and transform what we think self-care looks like.  I want to teach people how to fill up bit- by-bit, drop-by-drop in a way that works for them.   All it takes is a bit of willingness to consider the possibilities- and there are lots of them.

Hope to see you soon!

Warm regards,

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Are You Up, Down, or Both?  It’s Enough to Make You Crazy!

Super Bowl Insanity

I watched the Super bowl a few nights ago and was immersed in the highs and lows of the game.

Feelings of excitement, anticipation, frustration, and huge disappointment all occurred within a 3.5- hour time period.

I even turned into an expert on how to coach a game- after all, I have watched football before! To help ease my pain at the loss of my Atlanta Falcons, I stuffed my face with my husband’s decadent chocolate pecan pie (definitely worth the calories.)
After the game, I decompressed, slept, woke up and did what I always do- my routine.

What Changed
Really, nothing had changed.  I was still Ellen, up and down with the challenges and joys of life.
Day to day, we face uncertainty and fear in our tumultuous world, yet we still go to bed, wake up and do our daily routine once again.
As I write this, it can seem pretty boring, yet there is something comforting about this.

The consistency inherent in my daily routines helps keep me grounded and sane (most of the time!) 

There is something important here- the need for grounding, especially in times of uncertainty.  I think it is the simplicity.  It is a coming home.  When I feel out of sorts, I need to remember to come home.  It might be a breath, a mundane errand, or some other sort of simple activity.  It is an “undoing”, rather than more doing, reacting, or forcing.
There is a book of poems by Danna Faulds that I read from when I teach my gentle yoga class.  The last stanza of a poem is on point:

This life, this extraordinary
imperfection, this moment
just as it is, this is all I’m
here to receive. The infuriating,
limitless simplicity of the day-to-day
living holds everything
I think I’m missing.

My Point

Yes, life is very complex, yet there is simplicity that we can embrace.  I know I am getting more esoteric than usual, but this rings so true. Allow your daily routines to help anchor you.  Stay as present when doing them as you can.  This way, when you go out to engage your world, you will have more of yourself to give.

Warm regards,

 

 

 

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My Anti- New Year’s Resolution  Enough Resolving, Act Already!

I recently read an article written by one of my mentors and she always leaves me feeling inspired.  What I love about her is that she has the guts to stay true to who she is.  That is what makes her

work so darn amazing. In my work, I think of myself as keeping it real as well, and with that said, I have to get something off my chest about New Year’s Resolution newsletters:


I Hate Them! They are boring, redundant, and most are full of nothing and not particularly helpful.

This got me thinking… why do most resolutions not work?
Research Needed:

I decided to research this phenomena, and take a look at the definition of resolution.

Resolution: A firm decision to do or not to do something.  Okay, so it is a decision- let’s look that up.
Decision: A conclusion or resolution reached after consideration. So it’s about consideration- let’s check out that definition.
Consideration: Careful thought, typically over a period of time.

Are you seeing a pattern here? Getting the picture?  Think and consider and decide, Oh my!

Hello, where is the ACTION???

Where is the part where you are actually doing something?

That is what I want to stand up and scream about (Okay, these days there are many things I want to stand up and scream about.)  Do something already!

My work is based on action, not resolution- change only comes from action.  You cannot think your way or get ready to get ready to change.  That, my dear reader is a big cop out and keeps you stuck.
I challenge you to act, no matter how small it is.  One of my actions is to get back to writing.  I love it, it is therapeutic, and I hope it helps others – even it brings a smile to your face.  The truth is, I write for myself- it is good for my soul.

What can you do today that is good for your soul?  Do not resolve to do it, don’t consider it, don’t make a decision-  Do something, anything- not later- Now

Have an Un-Resolution, action-filled New Year!

Warm regards,

 

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My Anti- New Year’s Resolution  Enough Resolving, Act Aleardy!

I recently read an article written by one of my mentors and she always leaves me feeling inspired.  What I love about her is that she has the guts to stay true to who she is.  That is what makes her work so darn amazing.

In my work, I think of myself as keeping it real as well, and with that said, I have to get something off my chest about New Year’s Resolution newsletters:

I Hate Them! They are boring, redundant, and most are full of nothing and not particularly helpful.

This got me thinking… why do most resolutions not work?

Research Needed:

I decided to research this phenomena, and take a look at the definition of resolution.
Resolution: A firm decision to do or not to do something.  Okay, so it is a decision- let’s look that up.
Decision: A conclusion or resolution reached after consideration. So it’s about consideration- let’s check out that definition.
Consideration: Careful thought, typically over a period of time.

Are you seeing a pattern here? Getting the picture?  Think and consider and decide, Oh my!

Hello, where is the ACTION???
Where is the part where you are actually doing something?

That is what I want to stand up and scream about (Okay, these days there are many things I want to stand up and scream about.)  Do something already!

My work is based on action, not resolution- change only comes from action.  You cannot think your way or get ready to get ready to change.  That, my dear reader is a big cop out and keeps you stuck.
I challenge you to act, no matter how small it is.  One of my actions is to get back to writing.  I love it, it is therapeutic, and I hope it helps others – even it brings a smile to your face.  The truth is, I write for myself- it is good for my soul.

What can you do today that is good for your soul?  Do not resolve to do it, don’t consider it, don’t make a decision-  Do something, anything- not later- Now

Have an Un-Resolution, action-filled New Year!
Warm regards,

 

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Good Riddance 2016: Don’t Let the Door Hit You in the Butt!

 

This has been a very troublesome, painful year and we were all impacted.

Personally, I retreated from just about everything and am now crawling (okay, blasting) back out- yes, I am alive and well. My decision not to write and work with clients was a symptom of what was going on personally and worldwide.The truth is, I had nothing to give.  The political climate turned me into an angry, sad, fearful, person and all my practices were not enough to fix it.

This got me thinking…
I need for it to be okay to feel crappy, angry, sad, frustrated, scared, and confused.  My resistance to what I was feeling and my judgment of myself as a professional was pulling me down even more.

This too got me thinking
It is okay for me to ride the wave of all my feelings and still be the upbeat, proactive person I know myself to be.

Still more thinking (too much time off gets me thinking a lot)
It is time to shake things up.  To stop doing what is no longer working and make space for what is to come.  Here are a few first steps:

1.  I will write blogs again twice a month to start. I promise to keep it real.
2.  After February, I will no longer be teaching my evening class at the Cancer Support Community.
3.  I have taken a 10 hour per week job helping a non-profit coordinate their events. Stay tuned.
4.  I will only spend my time with those who are in alignment with my core values.
5.  I will no longer put myself out to those people and organizations who take me for granted.
6.  I will build my business in a way that feeds me.  No more focus on $$$ and more focus on what makes my heart sing. Stay tuned.
7.  I will be politically active- I will not “get over” prejudice and injustice, but do something about it.

One last thought…
These changes are just the beginning. I am cleaning house- no more clutter in all areas of my life (Robert and the kids, you can stay!)
I will not be a victim of our chaotic world.  I will take action and get back to being the powerhouse I know myself to be.

Wishing us all a peaceful, proactive, and joyful New Year.

Warm regards,

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