Flow with the Seasons of Your Life

Shortly after birth of my son in 1975

Shortly after birth of my third child, my son, in 1975

When my children were young we discovered what it meant to flow with the seasons of life.  My husband and I had full-time careers, but our four children were at the center of our planning.  It was our childrearing season. We flowed with that season.

When we remodeled our kitchen we asked the designer to put in a work island. He cautioned us that our space didn’t allow for the preferred clearance around the work island. I insisted that we move ahead, however, because while the designer was thinking of a place for meal preparation and eating, we were visualizing it as a family center. 

We were right.  On week nights it was a wonderful spot for completing homework assignments and craft projects. On weekends it became the family cooking center. Sundays after church we’d experiment with new recipes from the  food section of the newspapers. The kids enjoyed  chopping, grating, measuring, pouring, of course, taste testing. One of those recipes was such a hit with us that decades later it is still our favorite dish.

I successfully completed the season of childrearing and have enjoyed a number of other seasons since.

Right now I am in a season of mourning.

My 40-year-old son, Herbert Thomas Brown, III,  died of a massive heart attack on January 24, 2016. He is the beautiful baby I’m holding in the image above. I learned in my grief support group that grief and mourning are not the same thing. While “grief” is the internal thoughts and feelings I have about my son, “mourning” is expressing how I feel on the outside, like talking about him here, crying, and celebrating his life on anniversary dates and throughout the year.

 

A video posted by Flora Brown (@florabrown2u) on

Even though at times I feel like I’m trampling through a strange new land without my familiar landmarks, slowed by tears and pain, I’m staying open as I continue to move forward on my unique journey through grief. Joining a support group is one part of my mourning and puts my grief in perspective, encouraging me to move at my own pace and in my own way to my eventual healing.  

Another help has been reflective moments and meditations like the one below. 

Your life, too, goes in seasons.

Throw your energy and efforts into the season you are currently living, rather than fighting against it. Resist the temptation to look back to a season that has passed or forward to one whose time has not come. Be fully in the season you are in, completing the activities that go with it. 

Perhaps you are in your spring season, attending college, completing an internship, entering a new relationship, or reinventing your life. Open yourself to all the potential of the seeds you are planting in this season to create a firm foundation for the time when you will bloom.

Or perhaps you are in a cold and damp wintry season, at the end of a job, facing a scary medical diagnosis, feeling the loss of a relationship or  the start of an uncertain new way of life. Examine what you need to remove from your life and what you need to gather to expedite the growth. Be patient with yourself as you grieve the loss or embrace the change and know that the new growth that is not yet visible is forming and preparing you to emerge to a full harvest.

To curse the season you are in is not productive. It makes you stuck and resentful. The worse part is you miss the beauty and gift of your current season and its potential for happiness. Notice the season you are in and flow with it.

What season are you in? What are you doing to flow with it? Tell us in the comments.

What Happiness is Not [an excerpt from Color Your Life Happy, 2nd edition]

Happiness

Happiness is not the absence of sadness. Quite the contrary. Happy people acknowledge sadness and allow themselves to feel it. They choose to not be crushed by it, but instead learn from it and move beyond it.

Happiness is not the situational emotional high you feel when you win the lottery or get a new car. These are short term. You probably don’t get the same thrill from your new car a few months later as you did the day you drove it off the lot.

One of the customers at my manicurist shop had an appointment just before mine every month. She was always cheerful and full of lively conversation. When I’d mention my upcoming vacations, she’d always offer tips on places to visit in the locale because she had already been there. She enjoyed movies, visiting casinos, shopping, and spending time with her many friends and family. She was so much fun I always looked forward to seeing her. You can imagine my shock to learn that she had stage IV cancer and was almost always in physical discomfort and pain from chemotherapy and other invasive treatments. The only time I’d ever seen a hint of sadness in her was the day after her brother died. When I visited her in the hospital a few weeks before she died, she was hooked up to multiple tubes and still, when I walked in her room, she threw open her arms and welcomed me with a big smile.

I remember this beautiful soul whenever I begin to feel down or sorry for myself. Like the speed bumps on the road, these times cause me to slow down. I accept where I am at the moment,  acknowledge my feelings, and use those times to grow stronger, more creative, and more grateful.

How about you? Share in the comments how you handle the sad bumps along your happiness journey.

 

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This is an excerpt from Chapter 1, Opening Your Mind to Happiness in Color Your Life Happy: Create Your Unique Path and Claim the Joy You Deserve, 2nd edition. Pre-order your copy(ies) at http://coloryourlifehappy.com before October 3rd and receive an autographed copy when the book is released on Amazon and other major booksellers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surprising Benefits of Setbacks

ColorYourLifeHappy.com/blog

Imagine beams of sunshine pouring through your bedroom window awakening you. You unfold your arms into a satisfying stretch and throw back the sheets. You spring to your feet looking forward to a wonderful day.

You haven’t opened your mail yet, so you don’t know that you didn’t get the job whose interview you thought you’d aced. Instead of deciding what to wear on your first day, you’re going to spend the day job hunting again. Worse of all, once again you’ve got to figure out how to stretch the few dollars left in your bank account.

Every adversity, every faliure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.
~Napoleon Hill

No matter how hard we plan or try to avoid it, we all encounter adversity, failure, and setbacks. These occurrences are inevitable. Our challenge is handling them well until we manifest the good outcome we want.

This is easier said than done because as humans we love to look in all the wrong places for solutions.

Is Your Solution a Mask or Cure?

When we get a headache we search for an aspirin. When we spot a pimple we want to apply an ointment. And when someone rejects us we want to lash out at them or spend time hating them or getting even.

When we try to solve what we see as problems with external solutions we engage in futility.

Think about the common cold, for example. We’ve heard many times that there is no cure and yet we spend millions on cold cures. Along with prescribing a cure the doctor advises drink liquids and get plenty rest.

When the cold runs its course it goes away. All the cure activities we engaged in for several days just kept us busy masking the symptoms, but didn’t cure the cold. It was a matter of time.

We have a choice about how we view everything that happens in our lives.Tweet: We have a choice about how we view everything in our lives. [Quick tip] http://ctt.ec/6BXDr+

Is This a Major Setback or Divine Setup?

When we aren’t selected in a job interview we may decide it’s a setback, when in fact it may be a divine setup for a better job.

When we miss a plane, we may decide it’s a setback causing us to delay a vacation or be late for a meeting. In fact, it may be a divine setup sparing our lives from a plane crash or making us available for a more positive event.

The next time something happens that you would normally see as a setback, pause to look at it another way.

Chances are it’s not the end of the world. Consider that a Higher Power is at work putting you in a situation that will lead to a better direction than you expected.

The next time you perceive something as a setback, pause for a moment. Look for the lesson, the blessing, or the seed of a surprising benefit of your setback.Tweet: The next time you perceive something as a setback, pause for a moment. Look for the lesson... [Quick tip] http://ctt.ec/6BXDr+

Feeling Stuck Right Now?

Self-confidence and high self-esteem help us go after our dreams and reach our goals. Unfortunately, some things we experience in life weaken our self-confidence and cause us to feel stuck and defeated. Discover ways to manage your fears and take self-improvement steps in my ebook Getting Unstuck: How to Get Your Confidence Back and Follow Your Dream. It will help you regain self-confidence, get unstuck and feel motivated to resume the activities that will bring you success.  Download your copy in minutes. If you don’t own a Kindle device, no problem.Get the free Kindle app for your tablet, computer or smartphone at http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000493771

Enjoyed this post? Be sure you’re on the Color Your Life Happy list to receive other encouraging articles like this. Sign up at the top of www.coloryourlifehappy.com/blog and get a free book as well.

Image courtesy of FrameAngel at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Going Through v.s. Going Around

vicandjazzy2In her blog yesterday, Being Joy-Being Enough, blogger Joy Tanksley so generously shared about  her day.  It started off upbeat but took a downward turn when she let a negative comment about her introductory video dampen her spirits and almost ruin her day.

I set out to encourage Joy by leaving a short comment, but as I wrote, an article spilled out. From Joy’s experience I got reaffirmation of the importance of going through painful feelings rather than trying to go around them, so I’m sharing the full comment I left on her  blog.

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Hi Joy,

I applaud you for shar­ing your feel­ings with us because we all strug­gle with dips in mood and con­fi­dence when we receive out­side crit­i­cism. The sad­dest part is that it works to unearth our self-criticism often hark­ing back to past mem­o­ries such as you men­tion about your cheer­leader days.

When we share your story it helps us get in bet­ter touch with ours.

You were so wise to have stayed with your painful feel­ings by cry­ing, reflect­ing and ana­lyz­ing. We are often too quick to stuff our pain and cover it over with tem­po­rary feel-good. Look at how it empow­ered you and now your read­ers for you to have “gone through” rather than “gone around”.

I love your spirit and energy, and espe­cially am happy that you decided to bypass per­fec­tion and take pos­i­tive action instead. The best part about blog­ging is the oppor­tu­nity it gives us to share our mag­nif­i­cence with the world with­out hav­ing to con­vince an exec­u­tive board or cre­ative team that we are wor­thy. Many peo­ple are wait­ing to hear the uplift­ing mes­sage that you and other life coaches share. You are help­ing to heal and empower the world in a way that’s never been pos­si­ble in his­tory until now.

The harsh crit­i­cism from this trou­bled stranger hurt at first because you’re human, but look at the les­son that you learned from it that you now share with us who need to hear it also. Anyone and any­thing that tries to con­vince us that we are not ok, that we’re not enough is lying. We each came to the world to share a spe­cial gift. Like each lily in the field we are dif­fer­ent, but beau­ti­ful and pow­er­ful in our own way.

I’m guilty of start­ing my day on a high some­times, and then let­ting someone’s off com­ment or my own self-criticism dampen my spir­its and send me spi­ral­ing into ugly guilt or shame. Because I grew up with such strong insis­tence from my par­ents and elders that I be a “big girl” and “toughen things out”, it’s not easy for me to cry. When I do, how­ever, I ben­e­fit tremen­dously. I think of tears as wind­shield washer that clears the win­dows of our soul, enabling us to see what was blocked by lay­ers of muck.

Of course your video is per­fect for con­nect­ing with your clients, not every­one in the world, but your right­ful and perfect-for-you clients.

Keep danc­ing and being joy­ful and help­ing us do the same. It is your mis­sion. Thank you for accept­ing it.

Blessings,

Flora

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I hope you now agree that going through painful feelings when they crop up (and they will,)  is better than trying to go around them. After all,  when we go through there is a clearing on the other side full of hope, joy and renewed energy.

When Things Get Tough, Brace for Impact

womanathleteEvery year at the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, CA, an individual of  distinction is selected to be the Grand Marshal.

On January 1, 2010,  the 121st Parade Grand Marshal was Captain Chesley “Sully”  Sullenberger III, the celebrated hero who landed the U.S. Airways Flight  1549 in the icy waters of the Hudson River in New York, NY in January  2009.

His ride in the Rose Bowl Parade leading thousands of  flower-bedecked floats was a lot more fun and stress-free than when he  safely landed in full view of many New Yorkers, saving the lives of 155  passengers and crew.

In one of many interviews, Sullenberger admitted that  he had always wanted to see the Rose Bowl Parade in person.

He certainly  got his wish, and how!

What makes Sullenberger an overnight hero is not just that he made a  successful landing and averted a disastrous crash. He is celebrated  because when faced with a startling dilemma, he assessed the situation,  made a decision and braced himself and his crew for impact.

The ending could have been very different, of course, but Sullenberger could not hesitate while he pondered indefinitely.

Most of us will never be faced with the heart-pounding scare that  must have gripped Sullenberger that day, but we will all be faced with  some situations that require us to brace for impact.

Like Rosa Parks whose refusal to surrender her bus seat to a white  passenger in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955 unwittingly sparked the civil  rights movement, you may one day discover yourself in a new role that  you never expected.

Most of us, of course, are not faced with tough situations that are  as dramatic and far-reaching as those faced by Sullenberger and Parks.  But our crises can be devastating, nonetheless.

You may have lost your job, your life savings or your hope. To  survive these you must take similar actions to the heroes mentioned  above.

Assess your situation, determine what you can do right now, then use  immediate tools and resources that can help you and take bold action.

You may never be called upon to save a nation or a plane load of  people, but if you can brace for the impact of your personal adversity,  you can emerge successful.
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