Sunday, May 29, 2016

Wake Up to Live! Live Life Before Death

Live Life Before Death

It's easy to let each day pass by as though you have all the time in the world to live and to do the things you want, but, sometimes, that day leads to weeks and then months and maybe even years.  Life is always busy.  Our work and personal commitments and expectations are even greater today than they were in the 80's.  Stop for a minute or two and take a deep breath.  Where are you right now?  Can you get present?  Be here and now, just for a minute.  Now listen...don't act as though you have a thousand years to live. Mark in your calendar with a big fat felt pen what your hearts desire is, what your heart bleeds for. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Wake Up to Live! Desires, Fears, and Regrets

Life Is A Dance With Desires and Fears
Or Will You Live Life With Regrets

I had lunch with my son yesterday and we had some great conversation about life.  We talked about our desires, our ambitions, and our fears.  In deep conversation, I found ourselves jumping from our deepest desires to our deepest fears.

Life is a dance, or sometimes I say a balancing act, between what you desire most and what you fear most.  Do you want to take a risk at that new job?  It excites you, but you also have fear of the unknown.  Do you want to go back to school full time, like me, at the age of 50? You get these immense butterflies of excitement and nervousness in your gut, but then you feel that dread saying "what if I don't make it?" or "can I really do this?"

Big decisions are hard decision, but the decisions you don't act upon are the decisions you regret later in life. My son reminded me of an interview a nurse did with a group of elderly dying patients.  Here are the top regrets:

1. I wish I lived a life true to myself and not what others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard and spent more time with family and friends.
3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I chose to be happier.
5. I wish I traveled more.

These are only just a few of the regrets.  Since then, many interviews have taken place and these interviews have revealed many more regrets.

Every time I make a decision, I always think about Tony Robbins analogy which is, When I am sitting in a rocking chair at 80, 90, or 100 years old and I am looking back at my life, what do I see?  Am I happy with the choices I made?  Do I have an amazing story to tell my grandchildren (or others)? Or are my memories filled with regrets?

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Related Links: Choices Don't Exist In A Vacuum; Thrive Rather than Survive

I invite you to leave a comment below.  Let me know how you liked the post and what sorts of posts you would like to see more of. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Wake Up to Live! Make Peace With Your Past

Make Peace With Your Past

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

I bled all my life up until I was in my early 40's.  My choices, my emotions, and my behavior were all stained by the wounds of my past.  Food, alcohol, and drugs were all a part of my choices to drown the hurt and the pain, but, eventually, I realized that none of these delusional  bandages worked. Besides, my children were getting older and they started speaking the truth to my face; that's quite a rude awakening when you want to stay in denial.  It was not only denial that kept me in the dark, though.  I didn't want to feel the pain again, and I knew this was exactly where I had to go.  Eventually, I did go back to feel that pain. It was bloody hard! but the biggest reason I went back was for my children, pure and simple, and a little bit for myself. 

In order to go back and make peace with your past, you need a reason--a BIG reason to want to heal the pain of your past. This big reason will also help you endure the healing process.  Whenever I wanted to give up, whenever it felt like I couldn't endure the pain anymore, I went back to the thoughts of my children and how I wanted to be as a mom.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Wake Up to Live! Doing the Right Thing

Doing the Right Thing

Sometimes doing the right thing is the hardest thing.  Do you have a circumstance in your life that you know in your heart that if you leave it is the right thing to do, but you also know that it will be the hardest thing you have ever done?  I can think of a few myself where I didn't do the right thing for some time.  Being in violent relationships: allowing myself to be abused while my children watched and allowing family members to abuse me while I stayed silent since I was a child.  It is not easy, and it may take years before you can take that step to do the right thing, but if that is on your mind regularly, it is bound to change.

Things you can do to build strength from within.

1. Reach out to friends, neighbors, motivational seminars, and self-help type lectures (without disclosing anything to anyone because you might not be ready to do this) or reaching out 'and' asking for support and guidance.

2. Call a counsellor or therapist for yourself.  Interview a few before you make a commitment.  My psychotherapist, a few years back, stated quite clearly to me that there are good counsellors and there are bad one's.  I,too, have come across some pretty shady one's that would more likely hurt than help. Don't give up. Even in the worst conditions, it is possible to keep an outlook that things can and will change.

3. Do you know a lawyer or a friend that knows a lawyer? Get some legal advice.  I can tell you that there are good lawyers and bad lawyers.  For some reason, I came across the bad one's giving outrageous advice!  Be cautious and be courageous. Just because these lawyers have a degree, it doesn't mean they all have your well-being in mind and give you the best advice.  They all grew up with their own issues.

4. If there is a drug or alcohol abuse issue involved in the relationship, who needs the support?  This, for sure, needs to be addressed immediately for anything to change!

5. Keep at it. Walk, meditate, journal, read great books-just don't take them as absolute, or pray, for example. Do what you need to do in those moments.

Remember, too, that sometimes within that relationship things change.  Amazing things are possible!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Wake Up to Live! Rape Victims Coming Forward

Why Does It Take So Long for A Rape Victim to Come Forward?

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh
This morning I received the BBC update that Bill Cosby will stand trial on charges of sexual assault. He is accused of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand, although more than forty other women came forward with similar accusations.

I don't know any of these women's stories, but I am glad to see that justice is being served with a trial for rape.  What I do want to know about is...why does it take so long for a rape victim to come forward? 

Barbara Bowman, for example, one of the accusing rape victims stated in The Washington Post (November 13, 2014) that she received a dismissive response from others so she was convinced that no one would listen to her.  In the Independent news article on November 20, 2014 written by Tim Walker, it stated that some of Cosby's accusers remained silent because they felt intimidated, ashamed, and scared.  One in particular, named Dickinson, stated that she was afraid of being labelled a slut or a whore sleeping her way to the top.

I can tell you from my own personal experience of being sexually assaulted twice, once at the age of 13 just after I entered grade 8 at McNicoll Junior High in Penticton, B.C. and again at 16 when I was at Pen-High, that getting sexually assaulted whether by a high profile individual, a white-collar or some blue-collar individual does not make you feel or do anything differently.  The reaction is still the same!

I came forward regarding the rapes when I was about 43 years old.  I reported the incidents to the West Vancouver police since I lived in that community at the time, and a case file was open at the Penticton RCMP branch. It was about the time when my two youngest children just moved away to attend university.  It took me, from the first assault, 30 years before I came forward.  I was busy with my coaching and counselling practice and studying psychology part-time.  It was also at the time when my own therapy was coming to an end, and, honestly, I believe that is was all the inner work that I did that freed me to come forward and finally reveal the truth of what happened.

So why did it take me, now a rape survivor, so long to come forward?  Initially, I was embarrassed, ashamed, and humiliated.  I felt like an idiot that I didn't fight my perpetrators off.  I felt weak and stupid. I felt as though it was my fault.  At the same time, I didn't speak up about the rape because when I spoke up about the childhood sexual abuse at the age of 5, my voice was 'slammed' down.  I was told I was a liar and I should never speak of such a thing again!  So, then, why would I speak up about a rape that happened 7 years later. My belief was that no one would believe me, and then I would be accused that it was my fault.  Did I need to feel anymore shallow than I already did?  No.  So I kept this secret for many years. Absolutely not telling another soul.  Over the years, I kept it so far down my throat that even I almost started to believe it didn't happen, but I started gagging on it.  My behavior, my choices, and my emotional reactions were a dead give away that something was wrong inside.

Still, what made me finally come forward and talk about the rape?  It was for my children, and I finally realized that it was the 'right' thing to do.  Through the work of healing, it took me a few years before I felt strong enough to endure the back lash that may come with speaking up.  Healing was my preparation, and it made me strong because I finally began to see how distorted my way of thinking was regarding the sexual assaults and the chronic childhood sexual abuse.  This distortion, me believing that it was my fault, had to be cleared up.  Now I put the blame where it is supposed to be rather than on myself.

It may take a long time for a rape victim to come forward regarding her or his sexual assault experience, but by taking so long to come forward after the heinous crime has been committed does not make the story invalid! Every woman or man has their own reasons for coming forward at a later date.  Do not persecute them once again for how long it has taken them to come forward.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Wake Up to Live! You Are Worthy

Wake Up to Live! You Are Worthy 

Wake Up to Live by Desiree Leigh
How many times have you resolved that your value is based on someone's ability to see it?  Perhaps, you don't actually acknowledge this consciously, however if you take the time to reflect on this question, maybe you will find out that you really do base your value on someone else's ability to see it.  

Many of us see our value only when someone else sees it.  Take, for instance, how many friends you get on Facebook; how many Likes you get for your post; what your boss or professor says to you or doesn't say to you at work or university, respectively.  Many of us will deny that this (the examples I have mentioned) does not affect how we feel about ourselves (our worthiness), but I'd like to call their bluff.  

There is a negative effect when we stay in denial.  When we deny this to our authentic Self, nothing can change from within.  Our value, thus, will always be based on someone's inability or ability to see it.  It is one thing not to acknowledge your distorted self-concept in public, but if you don't acknowledge this current truth to your self, you stay in the dark and what you want or hope to change cannot.

Once you realize and accept your distorted belief--once you put it in the forefront--which could be that your value does decrease if someone does not see it, you now have the ability to change, to reprogram, what is distorted to the correct version.  This process is actually quite simple, but it takes work; it takes effort.  The acknowledging itself is usually the struggle.  It's moving past denial and speaking the truth to what is 'really' happening inside your brain--your thoughts.  

In order to Wake Up to Live Life fully you must be honest with your authentic Self.  This can be the most humbling process you will ever experience, but it is worth the effort! 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Your Untamed Spirit

Your Untamed Spirit?

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Do you remember your untamed spirit?  The one you were born with. If we only looked at life as a blank artists palette (or a playground) ready to be created by our heart and imagination, perhaps we would not tug, pull, or hang on to the things that are not really ours.

Life's traumas, like sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse, or growing up watching domestic violence, will try to restrain us, but we must heal and know how to manage what has happened. We must learn to uncover true happiness.  When we are able to do this, life opens us up like the lotus flower emerging from a murky pond becoming that exquisite beauty.  This awakening or awareness or enlightenment, whatever you would like to call it, is like a rebirth; it truly is if you have done the work. 

You are then free to roam without a cage.  Free to dance with life. Free to live with abandon. Free to love as you've never loved before, and I am not specifically talking about lovers. And, free to be wild with your untamed spirit.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Journey of 1000 Miles

The Journey

Wake Up to Live by Desiree Leigh
A journey of 1000 miles is a statement for any goal.  This could be for speaking up about injustices like childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault. It could be about healing from past abuses; taking that step to call a counsellor or therapist.  It could be about saying, No, you can't do this to me anymore! It could be about self-care.  What ever your first step is, it is a first of many to come.  Be courageous and brave as you already are. Don't give in, and don't give up

Monday, May 2, 2016

Emotional Attachment to Thoughts

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Emotional Attachment to Thoughts, 
and How It Affects Your Goals
It is important to know what you don't want, but it is most important to know what you do want.  To find out what you want, it's good to eliminate what you know you don't want. This is a way to clarify what you do want.  What happens to many of us, however, is that we continue to focus on what we don't want.  I believe that we (society) learned to do this habit for generations, and, as you my already realize, when a pattern is instilled for many generations, in order to change it, it takes constant and diligent reflection or conscious awareness.

Take a look at what you are focusing on.  Is it what you want or is it what you don't want?  If you are focusing your emotional energy on what you don't want, most likely that will come in to play in your life.  As well, focusing on what you don't want clouds the ability to see what you do want.

Remember how emotions work; psychology research tells us so.  When we attach strong emotion to a thought, those memories--those thoughts, are always at the forefront.  We never forget them!  So, why not attach strong, positive, and passionate emotion to what you do want.  Events and circumstances in life will then present themselves in such a manner, because the strong, positive, and passionate emotions have attached themselves to those desired thoughts, to achieve your destined goal.

Life is not always this simple and complete, nonetheless.  When things--situations--come your way that are unexpected, unpleasant, or unwanted, remember to breath and let those feelings, emotions, and body sensations pass because, once again, we are talking about emotions, and if you let those emotions heighten uncontrollably, the unwanted circumstances always seem to remain longer and/or morph into something greater.

It is also important to remember that achieving goals is never a straight line because we are not perfect or uniform in our desires.  We are human.  We are always changing, morphing into something new.  So be flexible and adjust your desires accordingly when needed by continued reflection.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh