Storing Strength for Dark Days Ahead

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Toxic people and negative beliefs, when they show up, bear gifts of sadness, self-doubt, and the nemesis to so many, shame. Like the dead mice that our local stray cat leaves for my gracious neighbors who feed her, these gifts are unwanted and make us grimace when we discover them waiting at our front doors.

It’s here where I’ll teach you to use what’s been gained for those darkest days of the soul.

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In my final blog for the psychological shedding series, I’ll discuss how to go about storing all the strength you identified for your life in Week 4: Harvesting Positive Life Choices. This storing activity will provide you a resource during periods when you most doubt yourself and your worth, as well as all those other mind tricks we humans play on ourselves.

It’s been quite a journey over this series!

I showed you how to identify areas of your life that deserve to be shed in Part 1: A Time for Psychological Shedding.

In Part 2, Letting Go of Rotten Things, we covered how to go about the task of dropping those life areas that don’t belong.

Part 3 (the one with the cool fire picture for the cover) was about clearing things so that they don’t show up and re-contaminate your life. See Clearing Away of Old, Dead Parts of Self.

Part 4 showed you how to begin recognizing and claiming the positive parts of your life.

My hope is that these exercises have felt…fruitful! Of course, it’s easy to feel positive in the middle of cool, fun, artsy self-help work. To this end, I hope you’ll do plenty more of it! Read books, listen to whale songs and pan flutes, watch 35 years’ worth of Oprah shows, and of course continue following my blog.

It’s harder to stay in the positive when those rotten fruits that you swept away attempt to return. Toxic people and negative beliefs, when they show up, bear gifts of sadness, self-doubt, and the nemesis to so many, shame. Like the dead mice that our local stray cat leaves for my gracious neighbors who feed her, these gifts are unwanted and make us grimace when we discover them waiting at our front doors.

It’s here where I’ll teach you to use what’s been gained for those darkest days of the soul. Onward with our storing activity.

Things you’ll need:

Paper

A writing instrument

Your stacking exercises from Part 4

Take a look once again or otherwise bring to mind the positive, self-affirming parts of yourself that you listed in the naming and stacking of fruits for Part 4.  For each fruit you listed, it’s now time to consider when and how you’ll use this. Try these sentence stems, “When I’m feeling_____/when ________ shows up in my life, here’s how I’ll use ______ (your positive).”

Here are some examples of how that might look for storing:


If You Dropped a Rotten Belief

Maybe you had a belief that was old, rotten, and really creating some sadness and insecurity in your life and relationships. You kicked that from your life in Part 3 with the agility of a French FIFA- winning soccer player. Now you’ll use the positive fruit you identified in Part 4 as a resource.

For example, if a fruit you dropped was in feeling like an outsider in your own family, but you enjoy painting and listed “I make beautiful art” as a positive fruit of your creation, a storing for you might look like:

When I’m feeling like an outsider, here’s how I’ll use “I make beautiful art”: I’ll treat this as an opportunity to make a new color story for my work. I’ll surrender the moment to my love of creation, allowing shapes and textures to come to life. I’ll be with my art until I want to be with people again. I know the hard days come…but my art is there for me when this happens! I’ll trust it as a process of going within so that I can emerge when I’m ready. I get to choose how to take care of me. I’ll remember to eat and get rest so I can fuel my energy. 

[I recommend adding the eat and rest thing if these are problems for you during creative periods. This is an issue for many artistic people. If you take medications, remember to note these as well.]


If You Dropped a Rotted Relationship

Many of you selected to drop a relationship’s hold on you. This may have been a break-up that you’ve grieved for a long time. Note that if you’ve experienced a painful breakup and are acutely aware that the holidays hold particular stress for you, you’ll want to make your storing plan quite soon.

Using a breakup example, perhaps you wrote as a positive fruit, “I have real friends who love me.” In this case your storing of that love can result in something like:

When my grief about Sam shows up in my life, here’s how I’ll use “I have real friends who love me”: I will CALL Sharon, Veronica, Jeff, and Myron! I’ll say yes to the Thanksgiving invite, and in fact, I’ll reach out ahead of time to see if Veronica’s invite still stands (and because she loves me, I already know that it does!) I’ll also ask Jeff for that therapist’s name he said helped his sister through her divorce; and in fact, I’ll try and get an appointment as soon as I can so that I have a therapist during Christmas.

Sounds like a great plan to me for someone moving through the grief of a breakup!


If You Dropped a Behavior

Let’s do one more, here.

If you decided to drop something like “taking everything personally” or “making it all about me,” in life situations, here’s one for ya. Let’s imagine you listed “the house I bought” as a positive fruit for your life, in which case your storing might be:

When taking everything my boss says personally shows up in my life, here’s how I’ll use “the house I bought”: I’ll remind myself that I am a smart and resourceful individual who can be successful in my life. I’ve made a lot of good decisions for myself and will make many, many more. I’ll remind myself that someone else’s problems aren’t about me; and never were. Maybe his life is miserable, maybe he’s had a rough day. Maybe he never learned how to talk to people. I’ll know myself and trust myself so that if matters with my boss get out of hand, I’ll talk to HR, I’ll buff up my resume, and I’ll try to keep in mind that I am already successful. 

That’s a double affirmation of one’s strengths and the ability to make an affirming career choice!


Bringing it all Together

The point of all this storing work is to really help you during periods of doubt, shame, hurt; realizing all of the resources you’ve pulled together for your life and that represent you in all of your ability to create, to love, to be.

I hope you’ve had as much fun and insight with these exercises as I’ve had in crafting them for you! It’s an honor to have people read, share, and respond to my ideas that I cook up like fresh greens and cornbread in my kitchen.

Follow my blog in the next few months, as I discuss topics like seasonal affective disorder, thriving through the Holidays, and more!

Peace to all, and happy shedding!

Harvesting Positive Life Choices

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This week’s emphasis is about celebrating those healthy fruits of life and harvesting their potential for us. It’s about time, right? We spend so much time, so much energy focusing on the things that are sick and need fixing. Worse yet, we just exist in the stuff, feeling mired and unable to create change for ourselves. How important it is to celebrate ourselves, our lives, all that we are, all that we do.

In Part 4 of 5 for my psychological shedding series, I’ll provide you with tools for harvesting all of the positive gains you’ve made in your life. This will help you see and feel your life force with greater clarity and purpose, allowing you to move away from the tendency to re-create the old, negative, rotten situations that you discarded over Parts 1-3: A Time for Psychological Shedding,  Letting Go of Rotten Things, and Clearing Away of Old, Dead Parts of Self.

For this exercise, you’ll once again need:

A sheet of paper.

A pen or other writing implement. Maybe something colorful? It’s your tree. Work those branches in this harvesting, y’all!


The Setup

Bring your tree to mind.

Remember in Week 1 (link) when we identified your tree and you listed those positive fruits at the top of tree and the rotten stuff on the lower branches? In the previous exercises, I showed you how to identify, drop, and clear away the most rotten fruits of your life.

 

 

 

Today, our attention will focus on those positive fruits you placed at the top of your tree.

Once again, draw the tree with the positive fruits, paying more attention to the beauty, the robustness of the positive aspects of your life.

As you bring your attention to the positive things about your tree, I hope that you’re noticing more that’s fabulous in your life that what was visible to you in Week 1. Give yourself the time to draw as many of these positive fruits as come to mind.

 

 

 

Spend some time noticing that big beautiful tree, resplendent in the many positive fruits that you’ve made happen for yourself.


Harvesting

Select three of the fruits from your tree for our harvesting exercise.

Draw the fruit with its name, and list the many things you associate with it: the positive vibes, the affirming awareness that you made a great decision, the cool and joyful aspect of it. If you notice fun sensations in your body (butterflies in the stomach), go with that too.

 

 

 

 

Remember to complete the exercise for your top three fruits. No need to spend time agonizing if you have 4-5 ripe for harvesting. Go with these.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Stacking

Draw a line under the column of fruit and the amazing qualities you identified with each. When you add them all up, what do you notice is possible for yourself? Give yourself over to whatever feels real, and circle, star, confetti, color, and whatever else you want to signify your statement of all that you’ve made possible through your positive actions. Notice how good it feels to be in this space and name it in a way that feels real for you.

 

It’s a powerful thing to own our voice and make a decision to proclaim the power of our positive life energy. I hope you’ll continue to reflect on the amazing fruit from your harvesting, and select additional positive fruits you listed as you see fit. There’s no end to what can be stacked, here.

In Week 5, the final blog for the psychological shedding series, “Storing Self-Love for the Dark Days,” I’ll show you how you can overcome life challenges by drawing from these positive experiences we’ve worked to identify.