Reclaiming Lost Dreams

As I write this I’m looking out over the San Andreas mountain range and Palm Desert.  The contrast between the arid wasteland and the rich fertile vegetation symbolizes the power of reclamation. What we nurture grows. 

It’s no wonder the topic of lost dreams and recovery go hand in hand. Reclaiming lost dreams can trigger a myriad of emotions similar to grief - sadness, loss, failure, anger and resentment. It’s human nature to avoid pain, numb out or allow our dreams to disintegrate into dust swept under a carpet.  Problem is, lost dreams tend to resurface and trip us up again and again. For many of us, family gatherings, births, graduations, marriages, news of a new home, vacation, retirement and other happy events can trigger painful memories.

Reality is some dreams we achieve and others never had the fertile ground needed to flourish. Holding on to melancholy for lost dreams or resentment over events that circumvented our dreams keeps us stuck in the past. 

The Robber of Time is the Past and the Future” Florence Scovel Shinn

Like most good things in life, reclaiming lost dreams takes time, effort and continuous cultivation.  Begin the process using incremental steps and being kind, gentle and nurturing to yourself along the way.   Here are some suggestions:

  1. Acknowledge Feelings - when an event triggers a lost dream a myriad of emotional pain can surface.  When this happens, recognize the feeling and be compassionate towards yourself.  Recognizing and welcoming feelings brings awareness and opens us to the process of healing.  A UCLA study shows when we name a feeling that arises like “Oh, anger,”, Oh, sadness”, we create the opportunity to rewire our brain for positive change.  

  2. Acceptance & Forgiveness- The truth is, we can’t turn the clock back and change events in our lives.  Release toxic blame and emotions by practicing forgiveness - this includes you too.   You may want to check out a free tool/worksheet offered by Colin Tipping for releasing anger and resentment called  “Radical Acceptance”.

  3. Gratitude and Appreciation - Joyful people are thankful for what they have and make the best out of almost any situation.  Feeling, journaling or expressing what we are grateful and appreciative of builds joy and resilience.  Consider a daily affirmation, meditation or prayer or other practice that invites gratitude and appreciation in your life for the dreams you have accomplished and ones ahead.

  4. Explore Possibilities - Try asking yourself  “Is what I am doing now aligned with my dreams?”  If it isn’t what steps can you take to identify and move towards your dreams. Often feelings of past failure and our fear of success can stop us in our tracks.  Find support and resources to help you navigate towards your dreams.    

  5. Redesign your Dreams - How do you envision your dreams?  What tools and resources will you use to express your dreams - on paper, written, drawn, coloured, spoken?  Who will you share your dreams with? Who will support you? Be specific, realistic and set timeframes that are achievable for you to successfully recreate your dreams.  Remember, when we do nothing, nothing happens. Start now.

  6. Celebrate your accomplishments! - Remember to pause. To take time to reflect on the dreams you have accomplished.    

The process of reclaiming your dreams takes effort, time and commitment. Reflecting upon and defining what’s most important to you at this time in your life and creating an achievable plan supported by others will help you to get there.  Go ahead, it’s OK to dream.


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Cultivating Mindfulness

Part of me feels like apologizing for not living up to my expectations, for feeling like I haven’t accomplished what I held myself accountable to achieve this past week.  To be honest, my “to-do” cup has runneth over. I’m feeling overwhelmed, cranky, perpetually tired and I’m sitting here feeling frustrated because I have no idea what to write about mindfulness that hasn’t already been written.  So, I’ve decided to share a recent story that I’m hoping might resonate with you.

Last Saturday, I hit the “screw-it” button and went mountain biking with my son and grandson although I had a huge list of things I needed to get done.  For me, mindfulness is giving myself permission to be in the moment and trust that everything else will get done - often easier said than done! I’ve spent most of my life forgetting this truth - it is always now. The sunny day, the opportunity to spend time with family, have fun and enjoy the moments. More often, I’ve chosen to prioritize my work “to-do” list.  My work ethic has contributed to many things I’m proud of in my life, but I have regrets too - moments that I will never have an opportunity to get back.

“When you are present in this moment, you break the continuity of your story of past and future.  Then true intelligence arises, and also love”- Eckhart Tolle

We often fail to appreciate what we have until we’ve lost it. Recovery is about giving ourselves permission to start where we are - perfectly imperfect, to increase awareness and start to make incremental changes in our lives. Cultivating mindfulness is proven to reduce pain, anxiety, and depression; improve cognitive function; and even produce changes in the brain related to learning and memory, emotional regulation, and self-awareness.  Connecting with breath, meditation, spirituality, nature, movement and listening to our thoughts and feelings are some of the ways we can practice mindfulness.

It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday, the mountains and my family were calling again to go riding and I listened and enjoyed the moments.  Mindfulness is not a passive practice. It takes courage and commitment to do things differently. What stories of your past or future are stopping you from being present in the moment? What steps can you take to cultivate mindfulness in your daily practice?

Each month at our SHE RECOVERS Sharing Circles Sea to Sky Group we focus on a different topic that supports building recovery capital and resilience in our lives.  Kim is a Certified Life & Recovery Coach and SHE RECOVERS Coach and facilitates the monthly circles. For more information or to join us, please visit Sea to Sky Coaching or contact Kim at kim@seatoskycoaching.com


 

Rob’s Corners at Garibaldi Provincial Park

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Focusing on Financial Awareness

September’s topic for our SHE RECOVERS Sharing Circles is “Focusing on Financial Awareness.  

Imagine a metaphor for your life in perfect balance as a car with four tires and a steering wheel. Each tire represents an area of your life essential to your overall well being, like your mental, physical, emotional, social, spiritual and financial well being, and the steering wheel represents you as the driver of your life. What happens if one tire has a slow leak or a flat?  What if this tire represents your finances? Everything is out of balance, right?

As women, we often find ourselves facing tremendous financial instability in our recovery journeys.  Addiction, divorce, health issues, unemployment, supporting family members and others areas in our lives can have a huge impact our financial wellness.   

As a woman, I’ve been down this road and understand how financial vulnerability creates unhealthy dependencies, low self-esteem and holds us back from living the life we want.  I’m still working on letting go of anxiety when I have to logon to check my online bank balance or credit card statement. 

Just as any addiction, negative behaviours or relationships hold us hostage, so can our relationships with money. The good news is, like all areas of life and recovery, when we are ready and willing to shine light, there is hope. 

Linda Parmar is a SHE RECOVERS Coach and leads the SHE RECOVERS Financial Balance program.  Linda recommends the following steps to help identify what you want to change in your relationship with money.

  1. Identify words that resonate with you when you think about money - write them all down

  2. Pick the top three words that indicate the behaviour you want to change/shift with money

  3. Choose the opposite behaviour you would like to achieve in your relationship with money (ex: behaviour to change=undisciplined, behaviour you would like to achieve=disciplined or behaviour to change = avoidance, behaviour to achieve = presence)

  4. With the new chosen behaviours that you would like to change, think of 3 small but significant steps for each behaviour that you can use to put into action to change your relationship with money

Here are some free resources to support your journey to financial well-being:

Choose Financial Independence - free resources and podcast

Afford Anything - free resources and podcast with host

We look forward to discussing September’s topic “Focusing on Financial Awareness” at our SHE RECOVERS Sea to Sky Sharing Circles.   For more information and to sign up for our sharing circles please visit https://www.eventbrite.ca/o/sea-to-sky-life-amp-recovery-coaching-23209266517 or request to join our SHE RECOVERS Sharing Circle Sea to Sky Group closed Facebook Group.

Kim is a certified Life & Recovery Coach and SHE RECOVERS Coach and Sharing Circle Facilitator.  You can contact Kim directly at kim@seatoskycoaching.com or at www.seatoskycoaching.com 

September’s Topic is “Focusing on Financial Awareness”

September’s Topic is “Focusing on Financial Awareness”

Developing a Positive Mindset

The way we talk to ourselves almost always determines how we are going to think, feel and react to external situations and events in our lives - negatively or positively.    

Most of us have experienced self-sabotaging thinking that has resulted in negative self-fulfilling prophecies.  So how do we shift our negative thinking and develop a more positive mindset? The good news is, we have total control over what we choose to think, feel and believe.  We can develop tools and resources to recognize when we are going down the road to self-doubt, fear, anxiety, depression (what AA calls “stinking thinking”), to challenge negative thinking and learn to focus on appreciation and gratitude.

 “Nothing positive ever came out of a negative thought”

On a recent road trip with my sister Cher, I noticed she had a photo of my grand-daughter on the dashboard of her car.  I asked her what that was about and she said “With all the heavy stuff going on lately, each time I get into my car I look at that picture and it brings me joy”.

We all experience appreciation and gratitude in different ways.  Some of us, like my sister, experience joy through thoughts and feelings evoked by seeing pictures, cards, flowers and other objects that create positive emotions.  Others are more kinesthetic and experience positive feelings through physical activities or touch like giving or receiving a hug, going out for coffee with a friend, shared activities, dancing, yoga, or creating beauty.  Others may find joy through reading, spirituality, journalling or walking alone in nature.

What resonates with you when you think about developing a positive mindset?  

Dr. Jean LaCour of the NET Institute for Addiction and Recovery Education suggests the following 6 Ways to Cultivate a Daily Routine of Appreciation and Gratitude

  1. Take 7 minutes each morning to write down what you are appreciative for in your life 

  2. Appreciate at least 3 people every day

  3. Look for the good in all situations

  4. Choose to be grateful for even the difficult and challenging situations that arise in your life.

  5. Carry a physical token of gratitude in your pocket, such as a rock, a crystal, or some other small object

  6. Remember to appreciate yourself.

If you’re up for more focused 28 day practice I highly recommend The Magic by Rhonda Byrne who teaches us how to apply sacred knowledge about the power of gratitude into everyday life.   I invite you to start today and notice how you are choosing to think, to feel and believe about events in your life and take action to develop a positive mindset.  

Sending you love and positivity in your life! Kim

PS - Sharing the JOY photo - proud Grand Mom!!

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Developing a Positive Mindset

When Less is More

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a movie that tells a twisted tale of morality based on four character flaws, gluttony, rudeness, selfishness and vanity. It’s a story of 5 children who win tickets to Willy’s Chocolate Factory and based on their moral behaviour during their visit, the one who demonstrates restraint, politeness, generosity and modesty inherits the business.

There have been numerous times in my life when I haven’t been aligned with my own internal moral compass. I’m still working on my spending habits. We inherently know overindulgence is rarely a good thing. Why then are we drawn to overdo chocolate, sex, drugs, alcohol, exercise, eating, working, shopping, perfectionism, material possessions and other areas in our lives?  Why do we move beyond a place of simply having enough to excess?

Often, a sense of internal dissatisfaction triggers us to seek external things to make us feel happy. This is the reward system of the brain in action - seeking to eliminate pain and enhance pleasure.  

So how do we seek realignment when we are overdoing it? First, recognizing where we might be overindulging is a good start. Cait Flanders, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of “the year of less” advises to start by taking an inventory of our lives. This can apply to a broad area, not just taking a look at what’s in our closets, cupboards and storage areas for excess, but our physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual behaviours too.

Research suggests that simplifying or decluttering areas in our lives can create space for us to be more creative, think more clearly and perhaps connect with what is truly meaningful in our lives - our sacred self.  What if we were to listen to our inner voices, identify what is truly meaningful and of value to us and begin the process of de-cluttering our lives?

Whole Life Recovery is about healing and finding supported pathways to mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual state of well-being. Recovery coaching is founded on two core beliefs: 1) there are many different pathways to recovery and 2) once recovery in one area is found, the solutions to many challenges facing individuals in recovery are found within themselves.

Kim is a Professional Life & Recovery Coach and SHE RECOVERS Coach. For more information please visit www.seatoskycoaching.com or contact Kim at kim@seatoskycoaching.com

WHEN LESS IS MORE