Posted by Ellen Sichel on July 11, 2012
I am in the last stages of my first book. After meeting with my editor I was raring to go on my final edits. My plan was to spend a few hours in the early evening to forge through it. That was my plan, however the universe had a different idea—a strong storm followed by a power outage! My book would have to wait. I had a choice–do I want to stay calm about this shift or do I want to be upset and angry?
I close to enjoy the change. After the storm cleared, my husband and I took our dog for her evening walk. We passed neighbors socializing with one another whom we had never met. It was as if there was a snow day from school and the adults came out of the woodwork. The lack of power changed everyone’s plans as most would have been on their computers or watching television.
Interacting with one another is not done on a regular basis. We save it for times when our regular routines are not available to us. There were two lessons last night:
- We are creatures of habit and it takes some effort to make the shift to do something different.
- Do not get too attached to your plans, because they can change in an instant.
Go with the ebbs and flows in life and you will find many new opportunities available to you.
Now, off to finish my edits!
What do you do when your plans are derailed? Do you try something else, or get frustrated by the change? Let me know in the comments below.
Posted by Ellen Sichel on January 16, 2012
Lately I have spoken with many who are caring for a sick loved one or aging parent. There is one thing that they all have in common: They deeply care and love the one who is struggling.
We want to fix the situation or make them see how they can help themselves, with no avail. We wonder why they will not do what they need to do- we know if they did, they would feel some relief. We get frustrated, angry, depleted and sad and try again and again to get them to do what is needed.
The one thing we need to remember is that we are absolutely Powerless over the other person.
It is their life and their path and nothing we do or say will change them. The only thing we can do is to remember that we are powerless and once we know this, we can let go of what we want them to do, lighten up and meet them where they are at. Your shift in attitude will empower you and your relationships.
Let me know in the comments below how realizing you are powerlessness can help you.
Posted by Ellen Sichel on September 5, 2011
Your mind has a life of its own and is the culprit of much frustration and physical tension.
We have previously explored three attitudes, that when cultivated will help calm agitated thoughts.
- Friendliness toward the happy.
- Compassion for the unhappy.
- Delight in the virtuous.
The 4th attitude is what I perceive as the most challenging: Disregard toward the wicked.
When we run into people that are rude or mean, we usually get our guard up and judge or get angry.
To retain our undisturbed state:
- Remember that you have had times when your behavior was inappropriate and harmful.
- Do not take the persons behavior personally, even it is directed toward you. Keeping this distance helps you ignore the behavior of others which will make your life much more peaceful.
- Their behavior might not change, but your response makes all the difference to your well- being.
Give this a try next time you encounter someone who is behaving cruelly or inappropriately. Let me know in the comments below how your state was and if you were able to make the shift to disregard their behavior.
Posted by Ellen Sichel on July 25, 2011
Phone calls that require waiting or complications can trigger frustration and anger.
When we encounter these situations it is challenging to remain calm and patient, especially if the person on the other end is rude, unhelpful or slow.
We take it personally,and the consequence is physical tension and emotional anxiety.
It is a more productive interaction when you are calm and centered.
Next time you have this kind of call, try this:
- Bring your feet under you and feel your feet grounded on the floor.
- Take an easy inhale allowing your belly soften and then slowly let it out, a minimum of three times
- Know that you too have been rude or confused when asked to do something- this will give you some compassion and patience
- Remember that the situation is not a personal affront
- Keep the situation in perspective and know that it is one small part of your entire day. Take a breath and move on.
Let me know in the comments below what you tried and how it worked for you. If nothing helped, let me know what you think happened?
Posted by Ellen Sichel on March 11, 2011
It’s just a banana!
Years ago, as my husband, daughter and I were driving home from her art class, as we went under an overpass we heard a loud thump. Something had hit our car, splattered and cracked our windshield.
As we pulled over, saw something had mashed and were speculating about what could possibly cause that kind of damage. I speculated; “it might have been a cantaloupe or watermelon to do that kind of damage”.
My daughter took a look and came back reporting that it was a banana!
I was outraged that someone purposely threw a banana, (probably frozen) on our car!
After some time reacting, talking about the velocity, I began to ponder what the message was. Following a few moments of contemplation, I announced that it was probably a sign for us to slow down and take things easy.
With this, my wise husband replied: “Maybe it was just a banana!”
I still smile at this as I see the truth in how complicated the mind makes things. It takes us out of the here and now. So from time to time, when I get too esoteric, my husband will remind me; maybe it’s just a banana…