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The Inner-Observer

By: Donna R. Wood, Existential Coach

People-watching is a fascinating pastime that millions of people enjoy on the daily. You see them on the park benches, in the shopping malls, and sitting at al fresco tables along the marketplaces of society. Observing others is something people have done since the beginning of humanity as a survival tool. It was a means of reading the body language of someone new in the midst to determine if they were friend or foe, or sizing up the enemy in times of trouble.

Observing others is a skill that we learn from birth. It comes natural and with ease. However, observing ourselves is another matter entirely. It can be awkward and uncomfortable. Developing the inner-observer takes practice.

The inner-observer is the part of ourselves that allows us to witness the thoughts and feelings we have, without judgement or involvement; otherwise known as, not getting into our feels.

This part of ourselves is what allows us to make conscious decisions, during stressful or painful moments. For example, the old adage, “It’s just business”.  Business people have to make difficult decisions after much consideration, or sometimes on the fly. Successful people make these decisions by not getting caught up in the emotions. They know what lives in their skin. They understand that feelings might get hurt; perhaps even their own. However, they make the decision, and then move forward.

When we live from our emotional dimension of being, we create an imbalance in our lives.  This is the danger of jumping on the “follow your happiness” bandwagon. Being happy all the time is not possible, and it’s not natural. We have our four dimensions of being to help us to shift with the ebb and flow that is life. When the four dimensions are balanced, our inner-observer can see clearly, and our conscious mind can make decisions that allow for the best outcome.

Tip for Developing Your Inner-Observer:

  • Use mindful breathing techniques to relax.
  • Once centered and relaxed observe things as they are; without attaching a story to it.
  • See your reaction as it is in the present moment.
  • Adjust your reaction accordingly and appropriately to the situation.

When we are relaxed, our mind opens a space that allows us to see things as they are, not as we wish them to be. We can be fully present in the moment, which is the key to the inner-observer that is always in the present.

Letting Go – Becoming an Empty-Nester

By: Donna R. Wood, Existential Coach

We spend a minimum of eighteen years as parents, feathering our nests, taking care of the children, and running a hundred miles a minute, all to ensure that our children are well taken care of and their every need is met – physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

As we enter into the Spring semester of high school, many parents are facing one of the iconic moments in their lives – the moment they become empty-nesters. The proud, smiling faces hide the heart-wrenching actualization that this chapter of life is also coming to a close.

There is no sound in the world more surreal than the final closing of the door. We find ourselves in an empty house or apartment that seems so much bigger than it once was. The only sounds being those we make ourselves.

The vast emptiness of the home expands into the abstract of life. The questions start to form in the depths of the night.

  •          What do I do now?
  •          How will I fill my day?
  •          What is important?
  •          Do I still have a purpose?
  •          What is my purpose?

 

Our lives don’t end when our children leave home. You would think we would know that as our parents survived our own departures. Yet, we struggle. It would be more concerning if a person didn’t struggle with the change.

The truth is that becoming an empty-nester requires that we allow ourselves the time to grieve the loss of our parenting role in their lives. Once they become adults, we have to let them live, grow, and master adulthood – without our interference. As much as the Mommy or Daddy in us wants to be there to hold the safety net, and smooth the rocky road for them, our children will experience failure, no matter how much we don’t want them to. We have to take on the role of the advisor or mentor, anything less is a disservice to their overall well-being and ability to handle life as it is.

Looking forward into all the possibilities can be energizing and exciting. The future is a canvas waiting to be painted, a story yet to be written, an experience yet to be had. The attitude with which we approach the future is the key to the unveiling of ourselves.

 

I have been an empty-nester for eight years. It’s been an exhilarating time in my life.  At first, I wasn’t sure of my path or direction. I assure you, no matter what stage of empty-nesting you are in, that it will get easier with time. You will find an entirely new and different relationship with your child(ren). It will be the time when you find that your adult child is now one of your oldest, closest, and dearest friends.

You Can’t Do It Alone

I only ask to be free. The
butterflies are free. ~Charles Dickens

by: Donna R. Wood

Like the butterfly, we create our own prisons; and
like the butterfly it is only through our own fortitude, will, and desire will
we free ourselves. The butterfly has an advantage; it breaks through the walls
through instinct. It just knows at the right time that it must emerge and fly,
or it will die. Contrary to popular belief, butterflies are not social insects.
They live each day flitting to and fro, alone. (The great Monarch migration is
not a social activity.)

People, however, are social creatures. We do not
just desire the company of others, we need others. We seek out those who think,
look, and feel the same way we do. This can serve in one of two ways: freedom
or continued imprisonment.

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those
who you want with you, and those who you don’t. Who do you want on your team?
Those who would rather see you miserable like they are? Or, those who are
willing to lift you up and carry you with them? My mother has told me, since
the time I was young, “Surround
yourself with useful people.

A few years ago, I got my wings clipped on both sides by people whom I had grown to trust. This threw me into a deep chasm of self-doubt, fear, second-guessing, and mistrust. I found myself spiraling out of control, until I heard the bars of my self-made prison clang shut behind me.

In a brief moment of survival instinct, I sought
out the key to unlock the door. I made my cry out into the world, and the key
was thrown to me by an unlikely benefactor. Sometimes, although another
possesses the key, it is not their responsibility to unlock the door. In fact,
they can’t. Especially if we are clutching the door shut with all our might,
covering the key hole. He threw me the word, betrayal. I knew the second I
received it that my whole world was about to crash down around me. I knew that
the walls were about to implode and I was going to be crushed under the rubble.

Knowledge is power. That one simple word was the
power that I needed to take action, or be lost to the ruins of my chrysalis.
Asking for help is not in my nature. I was brought up a boot-strapper much like
the rest of the people my age in North Dakota.

At this point I was so broken and comfortable in
the midst of my chrysalis; I had to make a decision. I took the key and sought
out another who could help me learn to use it. It turned out the key that was
thrown to me was the master key to my life. It unlocked a lot of doors that had
been closed years ago, although the toxicity from those events had been seeping
through the cracks into my life the whole time.

If you do not take another thing away from this
posting, please take this: You can never be free until you clean up the toxic
waste from your past – and even from your present.