The Dragonfly Forest

They have been given names such as devil’s darning needle, ear sewer, horse stinger, skeeter hawk, and the snake’s servant. Actually, Dragonflies are beneficial, peaceful, and stunning. You are a Dragonfly if you are: ADD/ADHD, dyslexic, dysgraphic, Asperger’s, NLVD, autistic…

Monday, November 30, 2015

Motivational Monday seek your own adventure

As the weather gets colder and the winter is approaching it is easy to lose yourself and your goals.  Instead of being motivated to keep after your goals you may decide it is better to curl up with a good movie or book.  Now is the time to focus again on what you would like your life to look like - where do you want to go in your life, what do you want to do?  So on a cold brisk day, take some time out to write down a list of at least 3 goals you want to accomplish before the end of 2015.  Come on, get off the couch and get this done then you can go back to that movie or book.  

Tomorrow once you have had a full night to think about your 3 goals focus on one and go for it right now - head out on your adventure to achieve this goal (either figuratively or literally). 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Cartoon Saturday - Thanksgiving too short!

I struggle trying to understand how we, as Americans can spend one Thursday being grateful and giving thanks then spend the next four days on materialism.  

I wish we had a simpler life where we spend days appreciating people in our lives and the things we already have.  Instead we are pushed into consumerism!  

Friday, November 27, 2015

3 ways to celebrate your goals!

While on your hero's journey you will have some adventures where you will work harder and face more challenges. You will set out on a quest that is almost impossible. You will put in a lot of effort and energy.  You will give it your all -- every ounce of your blood, sweat, and tears!  You will eventually reach your goal and achieve something you at times thought you'd never conquer. 

People in your life are aware that this was a hard adventure and you worked diligently to reach a goal.  Finally, you reached this goal and expect that these people would be as excited as you. You will expect them to want to celebrate to the same degree that you want to celebrate. 

The thing is, not everyone will be excited for you.  Some of these people will be jealous and that you reached a goal that was hard because they know they will never reach that goal.  Some of these people will be so caught up in their own lives that they will not even be aware of how hard this goal was and how important it is to celebrate; so they will do nothing but say "hey congratulations."   

Hopefully, chances are you will have a few people in your life that will actually be as excited as you are about achieving this goal and be willing to throw you a party, announce it to the world for you, buy you a small token/gift to honor the event, or take you to a special lunch/dinner. 

There's also a chance that you will not have anyone in your life that will step up and celebrate this goal you worked so hard to achieve. You must always remember that Fairy Tales do not exist.  No one will come to slay the dragons or assure that there is a big feast to celebrate if you are the one that slays the dragon.  Therefore, YOU must be your own hero.  

So make sure that YOU give yourself the kudos you deserve. Don't wait for someone to celebrate your hard earned goal because this may only lead to disappointment and heartbreak.  Take control over your celebration as you took control over earning this achievement! 

Here are 3 things you can and should do to give yourself the affirmation you deserve!

1~ Send out your own announcements so you can let everyone know.  Some people may perceive that it is bragging if you share with them that you earned a degree, opened a business, started a new career, or won a battle with an illness/injury but don't let that stop you.  There is nothing wrong with sharing your accomplishments with the people in your life.  Don't post it on a social media post ~~ make it special by sending it via mail!  

2~ Reward yourself with something very special and meaningful.  Here are a few ideas: a piece of jewelry (special charm, ring, or pendent related to the event), a piece of art work, a plant (something hearty & will last long), a book, or you could even get something pierced or a tattoo.   It doesn't have to cost a lot of money it just has to be something tangible so you can keep it forever to remind yourself of the hard work you put into your goal and that you achieved this goal!  For example you could collect beads for each goal you reach and a very special bead for major achievements and keeps these on a string.  

3~ Take some quiet time alone to reflect on your hard work and achievement.  This can be sipping a glass of wine, beer, or even coffee.  You can do this alone at your favorite restaurant, outside at a park, or at your own kitchen table.  Reflect on how much effort you put into this goal and how you finally reached the end destination.  Say to yourself "I'm so proud of you~~ you did it!"  Take as long as you need to soak in all what you have done and then start thinking of your new goals.  Remember that what we focus on we expand and life is not about the end destination but about the journeys we have along the way.  So start making plans for your next hero's journey.     

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ways to deal with unwanted advice, judgment, and opinions from family and friends during the holiday season

 It is the holiday time again and I think it is important to discuss ways to stay positive when feeling judged by family and friends.  Sometimes others do not understand what it is like to be a Dragonfly or to raise a Dragonfly which leads to unwanted advice, judgment, and opinions.    Comments can range from the covert "Where is his/her coat?" to the more overt "My child would NEVER do/act like that."  or "If they were MY child they would behave." 

First, remember you have the power to choose how you will react do not let them control your behavior with their words.

Second, know that you will NOT change a person's opinions or beliefs unless they are open to changing these opinions and beliefs.  

Third, try one of these tactics depending on what is said:

  • Explain instead of defend: "Oh I thought you knew my son/daughter has [Asperger's, Autism, Dyslexia, ADHD, Dysgraphia...].  His/her behaviors/choices are related to the way the brain is developed.  There's actually a lot to learn about [diagnosis] if you are ever interested I'll share some of the research with you."
  • Use sarcasm: "Oh, my child has [diagnosis].  What's your excuse for being rude?"  Or, "I'm so glad to know that your parenting skills are so great and your children turned out perfect.  God probably knew that you couldn't handle challenges so He gave you calm and compliant children.  God knows I'm strong and therefore He gave me these extra special children who needed a great parent." 
  • Use humor:  "Yep, my son/daughter is working on his/her superpowers.  He/she has yet to master the ability to break windows with his/her scream."  
  • Ignore the comment and change the subject:  "Oh, hey, I saw on Facebook that you just got a new job what are you doing now."  Or "That's a beautiful sweater where did you get it?  Don't tell me you made it yourself."  
Fourth, you need to know these opinions, judgement, and beliefs are often said out of ignorance, insecurity, or rudeness.  Sometimes people really thinks they are being helpful, but most of the time people just believe that their opinions of parenting are the "correct" way and yours are wrong.  Remember Confirmation bias (see previous posts for details on this)

The key is to NOT take these thoughts, judgments, and opinions personal.  YOU are doing the best you can do and that is all that is needed.  You do not need to listen to the advice of others cause YOU are the expert - not them!  

Here's a great cartoon that I think is very funny and could make people more open and accepting.  

**Note - I am not pushing meds so please no negative comments on how meds are not the solution.  I just thought this was funny!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Cartoon Saturday - Soccer Mom

 Being a soccer mom is sometimes a full time job so for all those other sports mom's out there - this is for you:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Understanding the brain- The McGurk Effect!

Freaky Fun Fact Friday!  We can't always believe what we see and hear.  Do you know about the McGurk Effect?  Watching this video to learn all about it - hmmm interesting right?  This is why it is difficult for some people to fully understand what people are saying and can cause miscommunication.  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

What brain are you?

The Sequential Brain VS the Spatial Brain
One is NOT better than the other ~~
Just different!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Spiritual Sunday- How to show love

Take some time today to show your love to others.  We sometimes get caught up in our own lives that we forget to show others in our lives that we love them.  This is not showing them in ways that you would want someone to show you love - that's the Golden Rule.  If you are a follower you know that I don't agree with the Golden Rule, instead we need to practice the Platinum Rule (Why We Should NOT follow the Golden Rule).  

Today, pay attention to what the other person wants and treat them how THEY want to be treated.  If you are not sure how that person defines love then watch how they treat others (or you).  If they listen to you intently then they perceive this as a loving act so you should listen to them intently.  If they want to spend time with the people they love then that is how they will feel loved.  

The key is to focus on the other person's needs from the other person's perspective - NOT your perspective!  Think about what this cartoon shows:

This is not a sign of love but a sign of egocentric thinking.  

So, today, please focus on the needs of someone else as a sign of love but do not do it with the expectation of getting something in return.  Show love to just show love and no other reason.  It will make your life better!

Here's one of my favorite quotes!  Everyone deserves to love and be loved.  Have a great Sunday my Dragonfly Friends!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Love all of you!

We are all complex.  We have in us both a dark side and a light side.  Some people in our lives don't want to ever see our dark side. For you that person may even be yourself.  What we have to do is love ourselves as a whole not just specific parts of us.  You are worthy to be loved for who you are - all of you. Take time today to embrace yourself - all of you!  

Monday, November 9, 2015

3 questions to answer to live your own life - Motivational Monday

Here’s a great quote that I use to bring me back to reality ~~  “Stop giving your life away to other people.”   Sometimes I get caught up in living unconsciously just doing what is expected of me as a wife, mother, counselor, business woman, and motivator.   I forget that it is very important for me to live authentically – putting me and my needs at the top of the list so I am not living my life to just please others. 

I’ll admit that this isn’t easy, especially if you are a parent.  Parents need to put their children at the top of their lists but we don’t need to let them control our lives.  I know this is difficult.  I’m the mother of three very active children that require a lot of support, transportation, money, time, energy, and guidance.  I have to be an active part of each of their journeys which could, if I allowed it to happen, completely consume my life. 

I sometimes get off of my path and lose my way so I pull out Steve Maraboli’s quote and remind myself that it is my life and I don’t have to give it away to others.  I deserve to live my own life. 
So how do you live your own life without giving it away to others?  Here are 3 questions you need to answer for yourself to get YOU back on your own path – or for the first time on your own path.

1- What makes you happy?  This question is huge and hopefully the answers are endless.  There is a lot of research over the decades on ‘happiness.’  The results of these studies provide us evidence that happy people have more satisfying relationships and marriages, have higher success (larger incomes & job satisfaction), better health, and live longer.  The problem is many people don’t even know what makes them happy.  Yes, they know of a few things that make them happy but have never really delved into the question about what happiness means to them and investigating what makes them happy.  So start answering these questions for yourself.  Don’t answer that winning the lottery would make you happy – yes, that probably would because you would be free to do more things that make you happy but what are THOSE things?  I also want you to exclude material items in your list of things that make you happy.  Material items do not make us happy.  We become happy because the material items gives us a specific feeling – what feeling are you trying to obtain?  What makes you light up?  What do you enjoy doing?  What do you enjoy experiencing?  Make a list and make sure it is long!!!  Get to know yourself! 

2- Are you saying yes when you want to say no?  Are you doing things with the wrong intentions?  Often we do things with the wrong intentions.  We agree to helping with a committee for the wrong reasons – because we want to appear as helpful, we feel guilty because no one is stepping up, we are forced to do something… the list goes on and on.  We are giving away our time and energy to others but feel resentful in the end.  Sometimes this may need to occur because it is a part of your job (professionally or parenting) but don’t let it get out of control.   The negative emotions of anger, resentment, bitterness may build up if you keep giving away your time, effort, and energy to a group, committee, or even to another person.  If you are not feeling some pleasure and happiness from the exchange than you need to rethink why you continue to engage.  This doesn’t mean you give up supporting others it just means you need to put up some boundaries.  Don’t allow yourself to be used!   You deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.  If you think that others will respect and appreciate you because you are always giving than you are very wrong.  People will continue to take advantage of you and your own happiness may actually go down.   

3 – How much do you put your needs and desires first each day?  I know some people who give so much of themselves that they hardly ever take care of their own needs.   So each day you need to do at least 3 things for yourself!  Put you first!   You can eat something you want to eat, watch what you want to watch, go somewhere you want to go…. again the list should be endless.  Do something that makes you happy.  This doesn’t mean it has to be selfish.  Maybe you can pay it forward anonymously in some way or do something special for a loved one.  The key is to make decisions for yourself at least 3 times a day. 

Finally, remember that you deserve to live a happy life.  Yes, you really do!      

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Spiritual Sunday - 3 ways to protect yourself

I missed out on Cartoon Sunday yesterday due to intense pain from a previous injury resulting from a car accident way back in February.   When in pain it is sometimes hard to see that there is hope that the pain will ever end.  To survive we must learn ways to protect ourselves from other types of pain such as emotional pain.  

In order to protect yourself remember these 3 things:

1- You don't owe anyone an explanation as to why you can't do something.  If the person is in your life and knows that you are in pain than shame on them for expecting you to do things you are not capable of doing.  Don't feel guilty that you can't do the things they normally expect from you.  You must get better.

2 - Love yourself!  You need to treat yourself as you would treat someone you love very much.  Put yourself first.  If you are a person who always puts others before yourself you will not heal and then others will just expect you to take care of them only - if that happens go back to #1 and remember you don't have to explain just focus on healing!  

3 - Finally, do really focus on healing.  Being in pain can be stressful and if you are focused on how others are expecting too much from you or how others don't seem to even care about taking care of you than you are NOT focused on getting yourself better. Focus on the things that make you feel better physically and emotionally.  

The more you focus on your own healing, let go of the guilt that you can't do the things you normally do, stop expecting others to care about your pain and needs, and treat yourself with love and kindness you will get better faster.  

I know these steps are hard to do but you can do it!  Just put on an armor and protect yourself.  

One final note - if people in your life do not respect that you are in pain (or ill) and are not willing to take care of you then they don't need to be in your life.  These people only want to use you for what they can get.  Relationships should be supported both ways!  


Monday, November 2, 2015

5 ways to help someone in chronic pain - emotional and/or physical

Many people are in chronic pain.  This pain may be physical or emotional but it is pain and it is real.  

There's no such thing as a pain meter that can actually tell how much pain the person is experiencing.  I sure wish that there was such a thing because when other people are not feeling the pain themselves they often do not understand.  

For the person experiencing the pain it becomes even more painful to hear comments from others that minimize and/or disregard this pain.  People in pain don't want your advice.  We have already researched everything possible because we don't want to be this way.  We don't want to hear about your pain if it is nothing like ours.  Yes a paper-cut hurts but unless you are dealing with this pain everyday for an extended period of time you really don't understand.  

We know that you are trying to make things better and you feel helpless so here are 5 things you can do and say to someone with chronic pain. 

1.  Validate~  Sometimes all that needs to be said is... "I believe you," "I see how hard you are trying and you are being so strong," and "Thanks for taking some time to talk to me or be with me, I appreciate you spending some of your energy on me."  

2.  Don't ask--DO~ Instead of asking "what can I do" just do something.  A person with chronic pain is used to being ignored when they share their pain and ask for help.  It puts the person in chronic pain on the spot to feeling more helpless by making them come up with ways others can help them.  Instead do something for them they might struggle with doing themselves.  Instead of making them a meal you could give them a gift card for a take-out meal, if they have kids - take them somewhere or transport them to and from places, look around and see what the person isn't able to complete themselves and just step in and help out.  People with chronic pain don't want to impose on others so just help!  

3.  Listen & I mean really LISTEN~  People often say...  "I'm here to listen" but when the person starts to share about their pain, troubles, anxiety, depression... the person doesn't really listen.  The reason is because no one really wants to hear these things.  So if someone starts to share then really listen - use reflective listening. Reflective listening is making sure the other person feels heard and validated.  If you are giving advice or sharing a story about yourself or someone you know that is NOT reflective listening.

4.  Learn all you can~  Learn about the other person's condition.  If you really care about this person you will take the time to research their condition on your own.  The more you know the better support you will be.  You may think you understand about depression and anxiety but you probably really don't know as much as you should.  You also probably don't know much about hidden disabilities/illnesses so do your research.

5.  Remember we often wear a mask~  The smile we wear on our face is there because we need it to function everyday.  It is often there to hide what is really going on.  If a mask is not worn than others don't want to be around us at all and we are not only in pain but now alone and in pain.  Look beyond the mask.  Don't assume that just because we say we are "fine" and wear a smile on our face that we are not in pain. 

Chronic pain is real and wrecks havoc on the mind and body.  It takes a lot of energy to function on a daily basis.  It is exhausting! People in pain don't want to be in pain but they do want to be understood and supported.