Archives for stress

Why Hypnosis? Answer: Disruption – For Real

Meditation by Johan Bergs on Flickr

Eight years ago I watched a video during my pregnancy called The Business Of Being Born. Learning about the cascade of interventions and how they can lead to further complications was frightening. I vowed to give birth under as many natural conditions as possible, avoiding all potential UNNECESSARY medical interventions, including, but not limited to an induction, epidural, vacuum, episiotomy, and C-section. I was already seeing midwives at a birth center. A client who was a midwife convinced me of its safety and the dedication of the staff at this particular birth center, which was right across the street from a hospital. I decided I needed some help keeping my body AND mind working in my favor, to control my environment internally and externally as much as possible, so I invested in a $500 5-month course called Hypnobabies.

It worked, not just once, but twice. I might not have been too good at staying calm and relaxed the first time, stretching labor with Daisy to 5.5 days with back labor. Even so, I delivered naturally, without drugs (not without pain; I was just able to manage it,) and without any other interventions. I’m certain that had my plan been to deliver at a hospital, they would have induced me when I showed up the day after my due date and labor slowed down rather than send me home, even though it was perfectly safe to labor at home as long as it took, since my water had not broken. The midwives, however, sent me home, advised me to get sleep if I could, and I came back two days later with much better progress. Daisy was born 5 hours later perfectly healthy.

During the second time, I was more effective at USING the contractions (reframed as “pressure waves” during the program but I reframed them again to “progress waves” for the 2nd birth) to accelerate labor to active labor; I delivered Adelaide within hours at the birth center, without drugs and interventions.
The course was actually training me in self-hypnosis so that I could induce hypnosis with the drop of a finger. This turned off my conscious mind where all my fears are to allow my subconscious to be a better partner to my body and allow things to happen naturally.

So, I already had a great confidence in hypnosis and had invested in courses and CDs for other things after that, such as increased focus and intuition. I have been studying related topics, such as neuroscience, guided imagery, creative visualization, meditation, etc., focusing on scientific evidence of efficacy in much more depth since then.

It’s not what you see on TV or at shows. It’s not mind control; it’s natural.

Ultimately, here is why I finally became a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist:

As my clients have grown more willing to allow me to talk about other areas of their lives, I have grown ever more acutely aware of how intertwined our career is to other realms of our lives and vice versa. If a client was not able to land a job using the best practices, it was often because of an issue in another area of life.

During this epiphany, I realized that I need to be MORE than just a career coach if I want people to get where they want to go. I saw this in my own life too: A breakthrough in one area will start a cascade of positive impacts. Conversely, a limit or problem in one area can bleed into other areas of my life, holding me (and you) back from having what we really want in life, and wasting days of our lives that we could be happy, but instead we feel miserable and powerless.

The good news: Our mind is immensely powerful, and there is a lot that can be done to leverage the mind to create the change that leads to happiness. However, out of all the modalities I studied and tried over the years, hypnosis is the fastest way to access and leverage the mind’s power.

Why? Because hypnosis works with the subconscious mind, where we learn, store memories, operate automated body functions, and program habits.

Too many coaches focus on motivation and willpower. Some people are naturally inclined to be willful, but too many more have to fight the brain’s natural inclination to resist change. Without hypnosis, achieving change for the majority is a struggle. It’s an unnecessary struggle. Hypnosis makes change easier, meaning you have to rely less on willpower to overcome the mind’s resistance. Instead, the mind is working in your favor!

My sense of urgency to help MORE people create meaningful change NOW has continued to grow, as has my desire to impact more realms of life than just career. AND, if I can help you become your best self (which I can,) you can then also bring the best out in others, and then there are optimally creative and powerful minds working on the big issues together.

Also, the more I learned about the applications of hypnotherapy, the more I thought about current epidemics that it can help tackle, besides career disengagement, like:

>> Mental health issues, since most of the mass shooters and suicide victims were found to be on psychotic drugs for conditions that can be relieved by hypnosis (in conjunction with proper Psychological treatment)

>> The opioid crisis, since hypnotherapy has proven successful in alleviating chronic pain

>> Obesity-related disease, since forming better eating and exercise habits is integral to proper weight management

>> Stress-related diseases, which may as well be all of them since stress decreases your body’s own ability to heal itself

I really could go on and on….

What Science Supports This?

Besides what I mentioned above, a lot!

In the 1800s, before chloroform and other anesthesia, the surgery mortality rate was 80%, and patients died most frequently from infection, shock and/or fear. Hypnosis was attributed to lowering the fatality rate for surgeries by 10%. (10 years later ether was found to be 90% effective and hypnosis was abandoned.)

The American Dental Association includes hypnosis among methods dentists and dental students can use for pain control and sedation for patients undergoing dental procedures.

Freud, before he founded psychoanalysis and created a branch between psychology and hypnosis, studied at an elite school for hypnosis.

Hypnosis was accepted by the British Medical Association in 1892. In 1958, hypnosis was accepted by the American Medical Association as an ORTHODOX medical treatment. In fact, medical doctors and psychologists committed to helping patients find relief from a variety of conditions and chronic pain refer patients to hypnotherapists. It works in complement to boost the efficacy of standard medical or holistic treatments.

American Psychology Association has endorsed hypnotherapy as an effective method for pain relief, treating anxiety, forming good habits, and breaking bad ones, such as smoking. The British Psychology Society published a paper as recent as 2001 citing “convincing evidence” that hypnosis is effective for the same.

Other scientifically proven applications for hypnotherapy:

  • Improves memory – This is why meditation and hypnotherapy is now sometimes taught to post-graduate students
  • Dizziness in advanced cancer patients – Of the many symptoms that decrease quality of life, dizziness is one of the biggest, and it can put the patient at risk of injury, leading to further decreases in quality of life
  • Palliative care (end-of-life care) – Reducing anxiety can prolong life while also making the last days more comfortable and enjoyable

Why now?

Have you ever lost a loved one to an untimely death? I have. Two years apart my sister-in-law died at 51 and then my nephew died on his 28th birthday. We don’t know how much time we have. I see the pace of change accelerating, and I want to do everything I can while I’m on this earth to keep the trajectory going in a positive direction. That’s my calling; it’s my mission. It compels me.

Have I Changed Careers or Turned Against Coaching?

Absolutely not! I still believe fully in coaching and the advantage of having an objective guide to help identify blind spots so that you know for what to receive hypnotherapy. Plus, hypnosis is just one of many tools now in my tool belt, and it is not a cure-all (or a cure.) It still has to be applied responsibly and appropriately! There are things from my coaching experience that have taught me that what appears on the surface can be very different than what lies beneath. Some hypnotherapists without this experience may take things at face value, and treat only what appears on the surface, when what lies beneath is at cause and, potentially, in need of greater medical, psychological or specialist expertise. I will continue to qualify my clients as good or bad candidates for my solutions, because it is of utmost importance to me that they get what they came to me for: meaningful change.

Ready for change NOW? Schedule a session!

Corporate leaders: How many employees do you think are putting off doctor’s appointments, leading them to miss more work days in the long run, or failing to adopt healthful or successful habits? Invite me in for a workshop for dramatic improvements in collaboration, creativity, performance, and productivity.

Ella Fitzgerald / You Do Something To Me

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5 of 7 Methods of Overcoming Self-Limiting Beliefs for Career Breakthrough, Part 2

Stella 4 by Abir Anwar of Flickr

 

Don’t be too surprised to discover that there have been deep-seeded beliefs that have been making decisions for you. This is a blessing and a curse of our brain. The most important thing to realize is if these beliefs are serving our optimal growth or inhibiting it.

I shared 20 limiting beliefs that I discovered about money, wealth, abundance and worthiness. This was critical for me to uncover, because while I had a record year last year and feel I turned a corner in my business that will enable me to bring game-changing solutions into the world, I would have already liked to have these solutions into the hands of the people who need them to move forward in their career. Then they would already be making a bigger, more meaningful difference to the people they lead and the causes they move forward.

I also shared 3 of 7 methods I have learned from mentors, coaches, and even healers from over the past nine years to overcome limiting beliefs that direct our actions and become habits that run on autopilot unless we interrupt and replace them. We might as well start there:

 

Interrupt, replace, reinforce

Like a couple of the methods I shared last week, Dr. David Bach’s simple yet effective method incorporates the mind-body connection, but starts first with an awareness and manipulation of your physiology, rather than your mindset. His objective is to help us stay in the “zone,” or “flow” of high performance consistently, but it will start very gradually as you practice and become more mindful, building good habits as you go.

As his first volunteer, I was skeptical that I would find it so easy. I came to an event where he was speaking in a state of frustration and disappointment with me. At the time my daughters were three and four, and had tested my patience prior to leaving, making me late, which always makes me frazzled. My patience failed. I absolutely hate leaving my girls on bad terms. I was less interested in how to be a business superstar, and more concerned about being a nurturing, patient mom who did not inadvertently instill limiting beliefs in my daughters (though I feel at some level I am bound to – I already teach many of these methods to them).

He had me come up and reenact what I was like when I was the “ugly” mom, as I called it. There, in front of mostly strangers, I had to reveal how I am that makes me the most ashamed. For the sake of my daughters, and science, I bent over at the waist, pretending my knee and thigh high daughters were standing in front of me. My lips pursed, my eyebrows narrowed toward my nose, my pointer finger shook, and with a raised voice I asked a common question, “How many times do I have to tell you to do XYZ before you actually do it?!” I looked up at the 45-50 or so people there to find that they were looking at me just as my daughters do, a bit frozen and afraid. Face flushed and hoping for some mercy, I was very anxious to put an end to this horrifying display and be told the solution. First, he pointed out my body language, how I was standing, and my closed off, jerky movement. Then he asked everyone to notice my strenuous facial expression and tone of voice.

Then he had me reenact what I’m like when I am in the flow with my daughters. I had to remember a time when I felt like I was “winning” at parenting. Sadly, I realized that these moments were few and far between. I did recall, however, a time in the past week when I figured out how to inspire my girls to cooperate and complete a task joyfully by turning it into a game. I stood up straight, even leaning slightly back, I was talking with a smile, and my eyes, also smiling, were wide with excitement as I explained the rules of the game, as well as the prize, in a higher pitched, but softer voice. Again, he pointed out my body language, facial expression and tone. It was the same posture that I tend to embody when I am speaking, singing, or teaching – tasks that I enjoy and when I feel most in the flow.

For one last demonstration, he asked me to ask the same question of my daughters, with the same tone of voice, but while I was maintaining the body language and facial expression of the second reenactment. It made me giggle. It felt so unnatural. He pointed out that it was impossible to be both at the same time. I have since learned from other teachers that you cannot be in a positive state of mind and at the same time be in a negative state of mind. You can switch back and forth, but this is why when you are scared, if you think of something that makes you happy, the fear disappears, at least temporarily while you hold the happy thought.

So his technique is to notice and manipulate your physicality to mimic the same physicality you embody when you are in the flow, every time you notice you are not in the flow. Just like any new habit, it will take repetition to reinforce, and you may find it harder to practice under times of stress. You may even choose NOT to practice at times. Be forgiving of yourself, as feeling bad about relapses does not at all contribute to improvement in any way, but forgiving yourself (and others) has been scientifically proven to improve your body and mind chemistry.

The point is to gradually increase your awareness and practice until it becomes automatic. New habits will seem impossible at first, as your brain resists change, and there will be a stage where you will question your desire to continue, even as you start to see benefits. If you persist, however, you will eventually reach a stage where it just feels natural, and you no longer have to work to perform your habit. Hal Elrod broke habit forming into three stages – unbearable, uncomfortable, and unstoppable.

If you have anxiety or depression, while this is not a cure by any means, it is an exercise that will help minimize the secondary and tertiary physical repercussions of those conditions.

 

Timeline Therapy

If you identified beliefs, but have struggled to remember the moments and events that generated them, or you remember the moments, but they cause you great grief, trauma, or fear, you will want to find a certified or licensed practitioner of this approach (I am not, yet). There have even been successes using this method to alleviate and eliminate allergies.

Like I shared last week, many human performance optimization professionals insist that you have to confront the source of pain before you can really move forward and create a new future. Timeline therapy is like mental laser surgery where, while in a trance state, you float backward through your timeline to hone in on those moments you may have buried or find hard to confront to reframe the event and create a new belief that services your highest good.

Again, you will want to engage a licensed professional, especially if these moments are traumatic. Be under someone’s care. I will just outline some of the steps involved in timeline therapy.

  1. Close your eyes and, with eyes closed, look up slightly (this induces an alpha brain wave state)
  2. Take a deep breath in; without breath, visualize 3 three times; Repeat with 2, then 1
  3. Count down from X to 1 (depending on your experience with meditation)
  4. Without analyzing, imagine you are flying above your timeline and you have located the moment this anomaly was born
  5. Move to the time 15-minutes before it happened
  6. Think of three OTHER possible meanings or causes this event could have
  7. Choose one that serves you best and drop it, as if you are downloading it, into the timeline in place of the event that caused the anomaly
  8. TEST: Does this anomaly still resonate as true?

 

Next week I will share the two final methods of this series, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. In fact, I have a list of 30+ different exercises, some of which are meant to activate the Law of Attraction, though all are intended to help you achieve breakthroughs in your performance and results. I will eventually share them all, and I am currently deciding if I will share these in a second 30-day transformation e-book, if I will include them in a 30-day or 3-month online group course, or if I will hold local live events and focus on one method per event. I may wind up doing a combination. If this interests you, please share which venue you prefer.  Also share if you try any of these methods and your results or lack thereof.

 

Drama is Alive and Well on Facebook

Results for Pinterest search for "negative people"

Results for Pinterest search for “negative people”

 

Sometimes, we have to “cut the fat.” Success teachers of every kind will advise you to eliminate negative people from your life, though they recognize that it’s not so easy to do.

 

“You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.”

― Joel Osteen

 

“Rich people associate with positive, successful people. Poor people associate with negative or unsuccessful people.”

― T. Harv Eker

 

“Toxic people will pollute everything around them. Don’t hesitate. Fumigate.”

― Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

 

Even Deepak Chopra can only offer strategies to deal with certain types of negative people and promotes avoidance of other types whenever possible.

 

Because social media has transformed our social lives into data that can be tracked, avoidance can get pretty tricky.

 

At a Facebook workshop I was teaching to a group of real estate investors, a question unrelated to business was asked: “If you un-friend someone, will they know?”

 

The answer: They aren’t notified, but there are many ways to find out. I described how they will see you comment on a mutual friend’s or family’s post and they might go to post on your profile or send you a private message and notice that there is an option to friend, as though you aren’t already friends.

 

Thanks to God’s uncanny timing, I saw this post by an unnamed friend yesterday:

 

“So, today, I found out that one of my friends in real life had ‘unfriended’ me some time ago on FB. This person is an ultra left wing liberal, an ardent Obama supporter, and we would often get into it when they would post memes and misinformation that were either pro Obama or anti-Republican… I was wondering why I was no longer seeing any posts from this individual, and noticed a comment from them on a mutual friends post. I wanted to congratulate them on something that had recently happened in their life, and was going to message them, when I realized it said I should send a friend request…What I find so amusing is that I have NEVER unfriended someone because I disagree with them politically…If you only keep friends who agree with you, if you can’t defend your position against someone who is well informed on the issues, your life is going to be pretty boring, and you will never expand your mind to new things. I still love this person, I was quite surprised by this behavior. I guess I just won’t love them on Facebook anymore! Just sayin!”

 

And a comment….on Facebook…regarding the evil of Facebook:

“I think FB is the worst thing they invented; people fight, argue, break up, all of this stupid site, and when peoples feelings get hurt, instead of trying to discuss the situation, then the texting begins, i cant take the drama, the BS, and all the crap that goes with it, so I hear ya, and I know how it feels; i get taken off as a FB friend for less then that, and I take people off too for whatever reasons, its all this stupid FB stuff, sometimes i take my page down for a time, cause i dont want to see all the negativity, and I actually feel better without seeing it, just saying too.”

 

Is this an added layer of social rejection? Is it better to remain blissfully ignorant about what people say about us behind our backs?

There were three or four workshop attendees who were hesitant to expose themselves to potential ridicule and undue drama. When you see an emotionally charged exchange like this, it’s hard to blame them.

 

I made the argument that fear is a powerful and justifiable emotion, but we have to carefully evaluate how much we let it make decisions for us. Because, really, what’s worse? Limiting our success and stifling our growth, or not being liked and accepted?

 

Here are a few authors who actually did it – they left Facebook for “good:”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/elizabethlopatto/2014/06/30/you-should-quit-facebook/

Why I quit Facebook and we are sharing much more than you think

 http://theradicallife.org/the-real-reason-to-quit-facebook-and-10-what-ifs

 

Celebration…And Stress Management

September has just whizzed by, and so has the past year, hasn’t it?

I just celebrated my 1st wedding anniversary … Yay!  It’s another big milestone since my divorce a few years ago, after my 26-year marriage fell apart.  I’m so much happier now … happier than I ever thought I could be!  It’s amazing how life can be so much brighter after navigating a life-shaking transition.  (I hope those of you currently going through a tough transition will take comfort knowing how wonderful life can be on the other side.)
A major factor in my happiness is how I’ve learned to manage and reduce stress in the past few years.  I’ve been sharing many of these techniques with my coaching clients.  Last week, I took the time to compile my stress management tips into an article.
In celebration of my 1st anniversary, I’m sharing my article with you:

 

10 Tips to Manage and Reduce Stress … Without Alcohol, Drugs, or Chocolate

 

Relax by Scarleth White from Flickr

Relax by Scarleth White from Flickr

As busy people, stress has become such a huge and omnipresent factor in our everyday lives.  At work, we’re under more pressure than ever to get results because of the stagnant economy and because downsizing has resulted in fewer people available to get the work done. Our email boxes are overflowing.
At home, we’re spending less time having fun and doing activities that we love, and we’re getting less sleep than we need.  We’re addicted to our mobile devices delivering messages to us 24×7.  Crankiness abounds.  It’s affecting our physical health too.  And the stress is even higher if we’re going through a life-shaking transition such as a career change, relocation, separation, divorce, or death of a loved one.
Sound familiar?   OK, then take a deeeeep breath.  Here are 10 tips to help you manage and alleviate stress … without alcohol, drugs,or chocolate.  🙂

 

1.  Recognize the difference between pressure and stress.
Pressure is imposed by external sources such as events or other people.  Stress is created by internal sources, i.e. it’s self-imposed.  We generate stress by the way we react to the pressures in our life.  This is an important distinction because we may not be able to do anything to eliminate the things causing the pressure, but we can certainly learn to control how we react to it,thereby alleviating stress.  The following Tips #2-6  are about how to manage how we react to external triggers.

 

2. Stop beating yourself up.
The biggest cause of stress is when we beat yourselves up over something we did or didn’t do.  We are our own harshest critics. If you find your inner critic shouting “I shoulda,” “I coulda,” or “I woulda,” that’s a sign that you’re beating yourself up.
Separate yourself from your inner critic.  Know that your negative self-talk cannot undo the past.  It’s only making you feel bad. Use positive self-talk and affirmations to shift your mood and energy.  Know that you did the best job you could, based on the information and resources you had at that time, and that you learned your lesson and will do better next time.  Be gentle on yourself, and move forward.

 

3. Accept what is.
 
Is cross-town traffic grid-locked when you’re late for your appointment?  Are the jackhammers across the street so loud you can’t hear yourself think?  Is the mother of the screaming toddler on your flight doing nothing to calm him down?  Is your ex-husband taking calls from his new girlfriend while you’re trying to have an important conversation with him?  Is your blood pressure rising, just reading this paragraph?
An ancient Buddhist proverb says:  “Pain is inevitable.  Suffering is optional.”  It means that sh++ happens and you can’t do anything about it … but you can choose whether you’ll let it bother you or not.   Things bother us when we tell ourselves that “Something’s wrong” or “It’s not supposed to be this way.”  Re-frame the situation.  Don’t let those things bother you.  Just accept them as being “normal,”  even if they’re not.  Maintain an even keel.

 

4. Re-set your expectations.

Annoyed because your employee missed another deadline?  Upset because your sister never returns your phone calls?  Feeling overwhelmed because you thought you would be much farther along on your big project that you committed to have done by next week?
When your reality falls short of your expectations, you feel disappointed, unhappy, overwhelmed, or stressed.  Sometimes, the best way to deal with that is to re-calibrate your expectations:
  • Realize that your employee works at a slower pace than others. You can either give him more time, or take other actions to manage his performance.
  • Accept that your sister may not value staying in touch as much as you do.  Don’t take it personally when she doesn’t call you back.
  • Forgive yourself for your project delays and allow more time in the future for unexpected obstacles.  (And stop beating yourself up.)   Take big projects and break them down into smaller, more manageable chunks.  Don’t be such a perfectionist.  Other people don’t expect you to be perfect, so don’t pressure yourself to be.
5. Notice what you’re worrying about.
What are the things you most worry about?  Which of them are things you have some control over?  Which are things you truly cannot control?  What benefit are you getting by worrying about these things?
There is a famous prayer that goes “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  Focus on the things you have control over, and take actions to make them better.  Let go of worrying about things that you can’t control, including trying to change other people’s personalities or behaviors.
6. Avoid people and situations that upset you.
Notice what triggers you.   Is it rush hour traffic?  Or certain people who exude negative energy?  Your ex?  The maddening crowds?  Store employees who don’t understand the meaning of customer service?
The more aware you are of what triggers you and how you react, the more you can avoid those situations.  Set boundaries to protect yourself and your sanity.  Learn to say “no” when people demand your time.  Take a different route to work to avoid heavy traffic, even if it might take a little longer.  Minimize contact with people who are toxic, even if they’re family members.  It’s not worth the aggravation.  Instead, surround yourself with positive people.
7. Write it down.
Our brains are running at light speed all the time.  We get brilliant sparks of genius at the most inopportune times.  We’re constantly thinking of all the things we need to get done or all the things we need to remember.  Our mind is in a constant swirl,even when we’re trying to sleep.  No wonder we get stressed out.
Carry a small notebook everywhere you go.  Keep it on your bedside table.  When you think of something you want to remember, write it down.  By downloading it from your brain, you have more mental space and calmness so that you can focus on being present.
8. Give yourself the gift of peace and quiet.
Give yourself some quiet time every day to rest your mind.  Focus on the positive things in your life, and be grateful for them.
People who practice Transcendental Meditation say that they can re-set their minds with just a 20-minute deep meditation twice a day.  Even if you don’t practice TM, you can benefit from meditating every day or just engaging in quiet time.  For more tips on meditating, see our February 2013 article:
http://wingsforwomen.net/3809/manage-stress-through-meditation/
9. Take care of your body.
Prolonged stress will tear up your body and upset your natural rhythms of health.  Your body will rebel by getting sick when you’re on overload, forcing you to rest.  Your immune system will suffer.  You’ll get high blood pressure or ulcers. In extreme cases, you’ll be susceptible to serious diseases or even cancer.
Commit to a regular sleeping schedule so you can re-charge your batteries.  Drink lots of water.  It’s amazing what water does to enable your body and brain to function properly.  Eat well balanced, nutritional meals.  Cut back on caffeine and sugar to avoid mood swings and energy crashes.  Keep your body moving with regular exercise, especially yoga or cardio exercise.  Take an invigorating Zumba dance class.  Vigorous exercise generates endorphins, the natural “feel good” chemicals in your brain.  Take a relaxing hot bath.  Get a soothing massage.  Most importantly … Breathe!
10. Engage in fun and enjoyable activities.
Even if you don’t have much time to spare, devote some time each week to do things you enjoy.  Have fun.  Celebrate small successes.  Keep a sense of humor about things that are going awry.  Laughter is the best medicine!  People have even been known to cure themselves of cancer by engaging in serious laughter.
Life is too short to be stressed out all the time.  Breathe.  Smell the roses once in a while.  Keep a positive outlook on life.  Take care of the #1 VIP … YOU!! 
I hope you found these tips to be helpful, especially Tips #2-6, which are about how to manage how you react to external triggers.  If you feel challenged in this area, consider investing in some coaching.
For a complimentary consultation to explore how coaching can help you, fill out a brief request form here:   http://bit.ly/WFWStrategySession
To a joyful and more fulfilling future,Keiko Hsu
Award-Winning Certified Life Coach,
Business & Executive Coach, and Transition Mentor
Wings for Women®
San Francisco, CA

Learning to look around.

Heidi, Karen, and Mary Kate

From left to right, Heidi, Karen, and Mary Kate on Heidi’s porch Thursday, Sept. 19,  2013.

In my last blog, I went on a limb and wrote about how I changed the way I was thinking about my stress. I talked about a ski mountain metaphor and the moments at the end of the slope where I can look back to see what I’ve accomplished to take pleasure in crazy busy days, i.e. “The pleasure that I can take from this, is that split second I have at the end of the trail, the end of the day, the end of the week, when I look back up the mountain and take pride in the steep, icy hill that I conquered.”.

Well, that’s really self-centered. Maybe I did need that intensively introspective time to get my head in order, but now that it is, I can’t help but notice the other people in my life who make my life happy. I see that there are moments throughout the day, times when perhaps instead of “bounding down the hill at full force”, as I put it in my last blog, I stop on the slope to talk to people, or times when the ice is too much and I start sliding and someone catches me. Maybe I should lay off the metaphors but I can’t help it :).

Let me tell you what I mean. Thursday morning, I woke up early to my friend telling me that she broke up with her girlfriend. My empathy was immediately called to action and I took her and her puffy eyes to the drive through of Dunkin Donuts, listening and doing my best to console her. We came back to the house and sat on my futon until 11:15.

Directly after she left, I got a text from Mary Kate saying that she was in the parking lot and would be coming to my front door in a minute. The plan was for Mary Kate and Karen to come to my house so that Mary Kate and I could start consulting the other for information about our experience to begin writing each other’s résumés. Mary Kate and I did this for a while and when Karen got here we all sat on the porch and continued. At a certain point, we needed a break and I said, “Who wants coffee?” We ended up sitting outside on my porch for three hours with coffee talking non-stop. We fluctuated between talking about Epic Careering, to Ursinus, to the mainstream media, to funny things that happen to us. I lost track of time being in such stimulating company and conversation.

Two weeks ago, in my last blog I was plowing down the mountain to cope. After doing this for a while, I began to realize that I need to look for the people who are skiing down with me and enjoy the interactions I have with them, like when Mary Kate and Karen came over. This, even more than that moment at the end of the slope to look back, is the pleasure I can take from this busy life. And isn’t it better to look back on what you accomplished with a group of people who all helped each other accomplish it?