The Power of The Pause in Decision Making

Sometimes the only way to move forward is to stop doing and re-evaluate. Going around in circles keeps you busy but it does not get you far. When you pause, you take the time to see clearly what the circumstances are around you and what is coming from your own mind, through your thoughts. You can not influence external events, however, you can choose to change the elements within yourself.

Stillness is Necessary for Growth

Manifestation is the flow of energy to create a desired outcome. Sometimes the energy is strong and clear, other times it feels elusive. The energy is forever moving, even when you are not. As with all periods of growth, stillness is necessary. Don’t overlook this part of your journey or minimize its importance.

Think of yourself like a seed. You are full of potential but need the proper condition to grow. The seed requires nutrients, water and the correct temperature to sprout. When this happens, under the surface, germination occurs. The seed becomes a physical manifestation of a flower. As you can’t force a seed to flower, you also can’t force your process to happen quicker.

Divine Timing

There are two types of timing, Divine timing and ego’s timing. Divine timing ensures all is unfolding according to our highest and best good. Often we don’t understand why certain events happen or why we have to wait. It is a humbling experience to accept we cannot control time, no matter how much we want to. The ego’s timing requires immediate responses and movement. This works well when it corresponds to Divine timing. Sometimes it does not.

Forcing the process or flow of energy, through ego’s timing creates frustration, suffering and impatience. Over time, these states lead to inflammation and dis-ease.

Feeling All the Feels

Pausing causes you to come in contact with all the feelings you experience waiting. It is normal to feel upset, angry, disappointed and even hurt. Feel all the feelings and release them. Write them out, talk to a friend or trusted counselor. This process will allow you to get in contact with your higher self.

Your Intuitive Self

When you develop a detached awareness, you go below the surface level of thinking and feeling, to actually “knowing.” Here you will find your intuitive self, who knows what is the best course of action for you. Unlike the ego, who pushes you forward aggressively, the intuitive self guides with a gentle hand. There are times you will need the ego energy and other times it can work against you. Only by slowing down and pausing, will you discover the answer and direction you need to take.

Once you are grounded, centered and detached, you can separate the outside world’s energy from your own. It is at this point, you will know without a doubt, what your next step is- if any. Trust in the process and in yourself. You will learn when you distance or put a pause on an issue temporarily, you will gain the perspective you seek.

What is your experience with the pause?

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

How to be Peaceful in Any Storm

How many times have you wished you were in a different situation? Your storm may come in the form of unrest due to a societal or political event, a specific person who acts chaotic, an illness which disrupts your life, or even an accident.

While you are being tossed about by the winds of change, you look for a quick fix or solution to get out. We all have fallen into the trap of believing life will get easier when you reach a certain destination or goal. Do these thoughts sound familiar? I will be peaceful when I am rich, complete my degree, feel healthy or have better relationships. No matter what external force is causing disorder in your life, you can connect with peace now.

Your distress comes from within

Reaction causes an attachment to the person, event or circumstance and dis-empowers you. Many believe if I just can get my anger and outrage out onto someone else, I will feel better. Some psychological research indicates the more you sit with and express anger, the angrier you feel. Too much anger can keep you stuck.

Anger is a healthy signal indicating something within yourself needs to change, not the other person. People are more receptive to listening when you speak, calmly, from a place of power. Learn how to observe your feelings without getting enmeshed with them.

Peace, like happiness, is not achieved by focusing on what is missing or lacking. Your monkey mind’s thoughts jump around looking for scarcity, judging others and even yourself as wrong. When you wish or try to control others, you resist what is here right now. Let me ask you; What if you could be peaceful in this very moment, with all of its ugly warts and imperfections?

It is not the event or your current circumstances that cause overwhelm, but rather your thoughts, feelings and the stories you make up about it. You assign meaning because you are afraid of living in the unknown. Here is the kicker; sometimes the change you crave is the one you fear the most. If you could sit in this space, wisdom would emerge. Many times you avoid this experience and replay worn out scripts from the past.

What if… You could trust, you are where you need to be

Often when you stop and breathe, you acknowledge how safe and protected you are. There is a greater power at work. The truth is we don’t know what this moment is in the big picture of Life. This does not mean you need to sit around and do nothing. There are experiences to have and lessons to learn in this day. Accepting life as it is, heals you and allows new insights to reveal themselves to you.

Moving forward

Whatever is happening in your life or not, it’s okay. Embrace this extraordinary time and find your peace because it is right there inside of you, just waiting to flow.

You may also be interested in these blogs:

How Can I Get Happy?

How to Regain Balance When Your World Falls Apart

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach who helps sensitive souls not just survive but shine. She is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now at http://www.lisahutchison.net

How to Walk Through Grief with Grace

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I woke up on the seventh anniversary of my Mom’s death, feeling depressed. Each year is different, some are a mere hiccup while others feel more intense. It has been awhile since an anniversary has hit me this hard.

This year and summer have been rocky for me. A good friend of mine died in February, I let go of many relationships, which no longer resonated with me and many family relationship dynamics have shifted.

Today, I decided to be by the water. I have found great solace at the beach in the past and knew it would help me shift into a different energy. One of my favorite places to walk is The Grace Trail in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Finding Grace in Grief

I have walked the Grace Trail many times. It is a meditative walk that asks five questions along the journey. Grace Trail was created by Anne Jolles to help her cope with the personal challenges and struggle of having a son in combat in Afghanistan. Since then it has helped thousands of people. I will share each stop with you so you can virtually travel through this blog and answer each question in your own mind.

What am I Grateful For?

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At the beginning of the trail, I start with a past and present gratitude. I am grateful to have witnessed the miracle of my Mom moving her thumb after a severe stroke because not many people get to witness a miracle like that. You can read more about the marvel of a single movement in this article from Reader’s Digest called 7 Miraculous Stories About the Power of Healing Prayers . Coming back to this moment, I took a page from my Mom and stated, “I am grateful to be alive today.”

What do I need to Release?

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A way down the trail, I find release. I let go of life needing to be a certain way. If 2018 has taught me anything, it is this. There is a higher plan at work, even when you do not see it yet. The Serenity Prayer is a great tool to aid in releasing what you cannot control.

 

What is calling out for Acceptance?

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Walking up a short hill, I come upon acceptance. I accept life as it is and remember everything is as it is meant to be, even if I don’t understand it in this moment.

What is my next Challenge?

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Walking down the hill and coming back around, I find challenge. I thought of a couple of challenges or places I am growing. The one which steps me most outside of my comfort zone is self-publishing and more public speaking.

What can I Embrace as possible?

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Moving forward with confidence in my step, I embrace. I fully take in this present moment, trusting all is as it needs to be.

Feel free to share your journey through this blog in the comment section below.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach for empaths and artists. She specializes in working with professionals who get drained from their helping efforts, refill and recharge their energies. Get her FREE gift 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now! at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Here are some additional resources about the Grace Trail:

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You can walk the trail anywhere, anytime, with anyone by just showing up and asking the questions shared in this book.  Buy it here at Amazon

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Grace Trail® Hope Cards: 57 cards to wake up your life! 150 questions worth asking, plus beautiful images to nourish your curiosity and provide encouragement. Buy them at Amazon here!

Lisa Hutchison is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. She receives a small payment from Amazon when you purchase through these links- at no additional cost to you. Thanks!

5 Benefits of Meditation that Restore Your Energy

“Our world needs more time to wonder and reflect but there is too much fast paced constant distraction.” – Mister Rogers.
 

We live in a complex world with a lot of stimuli flooding our senses each and every day. It is easy to get caught up in the whirl of activity around and within you. For empaths and HSP (highly sensitive people), the feeling of overwhelm can engulf you due to your ability to absorb energy from the people, places and things around you.

Here are 5 specific ways meditation restores your energy

  1. Reduces Stress– The act of focusing your mind, relaxes your entire mind-body-spirit system. When you meditate, you decrease stress hormones called epinephrine and cortisol. These hormones are activated by a part of your brain known as the amygdala. It is this part of your brain that reacts to stress and trauma causing you to go into a fight, flight or freeze response. In an eight week study (2011), Lazar found the amygdala got smaller through meditation and mindfulness. The participants reported spending an average of 27 minutes each day practicing mindfulness exercises. 
  2. Calms Racing Thoughts– When you observe your bodily sensations and the stimuli around you, it slows the thoughts. One 2013 research study called Mindfulness Training Improves Working Memory Capacity and GRE Performance While Reducing Mind Wandering found that just a couple of weeks of meditation training helped people’s focus and memory during the verbal reasoning section of the graduate record examination (GRE).
  3. Increases Your Patience Meditation may increase your empathy for others. By consciously focusing on your breath, you learn detachment. Detachment or letting go naturally gives you more patience as you become more responsive rather than reactive. In a 2011 study Loving-Kindness and Compassion Meditation: Potential for Psychological Interventions  It is hypothesized that “loving kindness meditation may be particularly useful for targeting interpersonal problems such as anger control issues, whereas both compassion meditation and loving kindness meditation be particularly useful for treating relationship problems, such as marital conflicts, or counteracting the challenges among care giving professions or nonprofessionals who must provide long-term care to a relative or friend.” 
  4. Maintains a Mind-Body Connection– When you slow your breathing down it can sync up your mind and body. In a 2016 study called Entrainment of chaotic activities in brain and heart during MBSR mindfulness training it was found  “the chaotic activities of the brain and the heart became more coordinated during Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training, suggesting that mindfulness training may increase the entrainment between mind and body.” 
  5. Improves your Sleep– Your body and mind become more relaxed through a meditation practice which can help you let go, release and get a better quality of sleep. In April 2015 a study called Mindfulness Meditation and Improvement in Sleep Quality and Daytime Impairment among Older Adults with Sleep Disturbances was published.  It was found that those in the mindfulness group had less insomnia, fatigue, and depression at the end of the six sessions than those in the sleep education group only. 

My story

Meditation has saved my sanity as an empath. It not only has helped me let go of other people’s energy but also reconnects me to my soul. Without meditation, I am impatient, anxious, overwhelmed and more easily focused on the negatives of life. When I slow down, relax the body and release excess energy, I feel at peace, rejuvenated and myself again.

I am honored to have written, recorded and created an MP3 recording just for compassionate professionals like you called Renew and Heal: Releasing the Chaos Meditation.

I know how difficult it can be to let go of the craziness around you when you care so deeply. This energy of stress gets absorbed deep within your system causing fatigue, irritability and impatience. Now more than ever compassionate souls are being called to stay centered and grounded despite the chaos of our daily world and life.

I invite you to purchase your copy today here: Renew & Heal Meditation Releasing the Chaos 

Be as good to yourself as you are to others!

Renew & Heal Meditation-Releasing the Chaos

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach for empaths and artists. Her specialty is working with professionals who get drained from their helping efforts, recharge and renew their energy. If you would like to learn more about Lisa and her practice visit www.lisahutchison.net and pick up your FREE 10 page e-book called 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos From Your Life Now! 

Are you making up stories? Anxiety’s influence on the mind

We all subconsciously make up stories that are not even true about other people and ourselves. Sounds outrageous, right?  Even though you may be disagreeing with me right now, I hope you will sit tight and read on.

How does such a thing happen to educated spiritually minded people? When a person feels stressed out the brain releases hormones, such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine. These hormones encourage anxious irrational thoughts to develop. Ever heard of the term, jumping to conclusions?

Your brain also does not like a vacuum. When facts are missing, it fills in the blanks. The problem is when you assume a negative intent is happening when in fact it is not or you take it in the opposite direction making a situation more positive than it actually is. Where does the brain get this extra information? It goes to your past experiences vault and picks a memory with a positive or negative association.

The risks of reacting

The problem with reacting to negative thoughts and stories is it isolates you and keeps good people at a distance when you are incorrect. When you assume the worse in people, you lose your trust in yourself and others who have good intentions. Slow your roll, and assess the truth of what is going on before moving forward. You could be right, yet you could be wrong.

On the other side of the coin, you may be too trusting. Seeing the world through rose-colored glasses sets you up for a big fall when reality hits because no one and nothing is perfect. Empaths get stuck in this one when they imagine a person who has hurt them did not mean what they did or said. Being in denial put you at risk from people who act abusive to you.

Assuming the worst

Recently, I had a conversation with a person who did not want to hear my “no” to her request. I became like a robot saying multiple no’s again and again. The humorous part of it was that we were both stuck in this irritating moment. Finally, something kicked in and she moved onto someone else.

A couple of weeks later, I received a phone message from the same woman requesting to call her, yet she did not say why. As I listened to the recording I heard her demand to talk to me and said out loud in an angry voice, “I am not doing that.” Luckily, I chose not to respond in that moment. I recognized that I was triggered from our first exchange and every other person from my past who did not respect and honor my “no.” I let it go and listened to the message again the next day. Wouldn’t you know it, I heard it differently because she didn’t demand to talk to me like I thought she did.

Assuming more than what is

I have had experiences of verbal and emotional abuse from those I thought loved me. I built up in my head glorious stories of how kind and great they were. A part of this problem was they were narcissistic and I was uneducated about what that meant. These people had an exaggerated sense of self that I played into without questioning. They thought they were great and I absorbed that energy empathically, fully agreeing to it. When I was educated about these types of behaviors I still found I was susceptible to being manipulated at times. Many of us are, even the best of professionals, please do not feel bad when this happens to you. The goal is to pick up on the cues sooner than previous times in order to set your boundaries and protect your energies.

My wish is for everyone to see and hear clearly what is. 

There is no substitute for psychotherapy which is the best way to unravel the stories of our lives. I have developed some tips in the meantime to help you get out of this habit.

  • Practice the pause and use mindfulness 

The more you are under stress, the worse the stories become in either direction. In order to see reality more for what it is rather than a reflection of your past experiences, do not assign it any label. Watch and observe the behaviors of others. Mindfulness is about being in the present moment which means leaving your assumptions at the door. The truth about a person is revealed through time, be patient and see what develops before you fill in the blanks. When you catch yourself assuming, be kind with yourself. Understand that this is an indication that you need more stress management, awareness and self-care.

  • Use cognitive refuting (a fancy term for questioning your thoughts)

When you have a thought that feels irrational, don’t accept it, question it! Ask yourself the following;

Is this thought true?

Are these thoughts based on fear or love?

What is another possibility here?

Does this belief connect or disconnect me from others?

You may also enjoy this YouTube video on this subject: Your mind’s ability to tell a false story

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach who works for empathic healers and artists. She helps you recharge your depleted energies and increase your awareness and skills. Her thought-provoking sessions remove the blocks that help sensitive souls not only survive but shine!  Click here for your FREE 10 page E-book called 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now! 

 

 

 

 

How to Maintain Your Energy When Helping Others

Holding the space is a healthy way of interacting with others who are hurting, without getting depleted energy wise. It is a type of boundary for sensitive healers that benefits both parties because you are not getting entangled or engulfed in another’s emotions. Trust is built through the consistent action of keeping limits on the energy being exchanged and not on the words that are spoken.

How does it work?

Holding the space is about mindfulness. When you are in your body, in the present moment you become a witness to what is happening. Sounds simple, it takes practice to be in this frame of mind and a lot of people cannot offer this because they don’t remember how to slow their energy down. Being hectic, anxious and on the go with your thoughts and actions has become a habit for many people today.

It means letting go of the ego who thinks she knows best and allowing the feeling process to unfold without trying to fix it or make it better. Feelings don’t always make sense, drop any judgments as to what is the right or wrong way a person can express themselves. Remember these 3 words; Listen, allow and be present.

Choose carefully who you allow in your energy field to help you heal. Trust your instincts and get recommendations from others that you trust. I have been blessed with friends who also happen to be therapists, like myself, (no surprise) who hold the space for me. I hold the space for them and for all of my clients. We have learned that there is a time and place for professional suggestions but also a time to be silent and in the moment. By saying minimal at emotional times of releasing, it lets the person know you are with them and that she can share the pain that is in her heart. This is empathy in action! If you feel compelled to say something, validate what she is saying by rephrasing important points and ask her to tell you more about an important part of the story.

What are the benefits?

When a person receives the space, you feel seen, honored and acknowledged for who you are, not who someone wants you to be. In the heart space, you are comfortable in your skin and who you are. This helps you maintain your energy while you are healing and helping others.

It has to be all about YOU!

Whenever I say it is all about you, empaths cringe. The last thing an empath wants is to be considered selfish or self-absorbed, like that could ever happen. Focusing on you is about being healthy. In order to give space to others, you have to work on yourself. This means getting your own healing and therapy in order to take care of yourself and your energy first. Therapy helps you uncover patterns and learn about your gifts and how they work, in addition to setting boundaries and being assertive.

Claim your space

As a sensitive person, are you taking up enough space? Often empaths close off their physical space in an effort to protect from other’s energy invading your thoughts and feelings. You may find yourself sitting with crossed arms or hunched over. This type of protection works temporarily to a point, unfortunately, over time you close yourself off from receiving the good stuff, meaning love. I recently read Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges By Amy Cuddy:  a great resource to show you how to take up more space through power poses with lots of  interesting research and case studies(if you are into that kind of stuff like I am). For those that are interested, you can buy your copy by clicking the title link for the book.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC also known as the therapist’s therapist, actually works with all sensitive and compassionate healers/helpers. Whether it is an angel card reading or counseling session, Lisa holds the space and gives you useful information that helps you protect your energy in your life’s work and personal life. To learn more and GET 8 Simple ways to Release Chaos visit http://www.lisahutchison.net