This Is Not How I Thought My Life Would Be
Sept. 3, 2023 – We can plan out our lives thinking we have control over that plan. There is nothing wrong with doing this. It is natural to think that you will start a family, build a business, have a long, happy marriage, or enjoy a wonderful retirement with your partner.
When everything goes according to plan, we feel good and even empowered. However, sometimes life throws curve balls that disrupt our well-thought-out plans.
You may want to have a family, only to discover that it just is not happening. If you can afford it, you may choose fertility treatments. Sometimes that does not go well either. A life that was planned around children seems impossible unless it is desirable to adopt.
This is so difficult for many. Some reset their plans and goals. They may choose, for ex-ample, a life of travel. Despite their disappointment, they can still have a rewarding life.
You may have financial goals, but have them disrupted by a pandemic, for example, or a bad investment. You may have planned to work until a certain age, counting on that in-come, but then illness may sideline that.
‘Til death do us part’ may not be how it turns out. If both decide to move on, then they feel they have control and continue creating a new life. If one or the other does not want this, especially if it comes like a bombshell, it can be completely disorienting.
Accidents or death can destroy the beloved picture we had of our life. All of these circumstances are more common than we would like. We do not like to think about things going wrong, so we do not plan for all eventualities.
A helpful exercise is to imagine what a “plan B” would look like. I did this exercise myself many years ago. I asked myself what I would do in the unlikely event that I lost every-thing. I concluded I would volunteer on one of the Mercy Ships that take medical aid to impoverished countries. I would have a roof over my head and be with good people.
Without having even thought about a “plan B,” people can live in a state of shock and disbelief, coming completely immobilized when their plan is disrupted. Of course, we do not want major life changes, but they do happen.
We purchase life insurance to protect ourselves financially if things go wrong. Having alternative plans just “in case” is like having psychological life insurance. In my experience, what people struggle with most after a life-altering event is “What will I do now?”
At that time, they are too overcome with loss to think about the future. Make some notes about what you would do if your partner left you, or passed on, and what you would do if your financial picture changed. Consider what you will do if you do not get pregnant or if you have health challenges in the future.
This is not fun, but once you have done it you will be more prepared for whatever comes.
You will also feel gratitude for your life right now, and hopefully savour every moment.
Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning psychologist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books, CDs or MP3s, visit www.gwen.ca. Follow Gwen on Facebook for inspiration.
Accepting . . . It Wasn’t For You
Written by Lisa Whiteman
Sept. 11, 2023 – The 1000 Mile Challenge was not the only place and time in my life I have felt the struggle and been stuck in the hurt locker. Like everyone else I have been hurt, cheated, lied to, shamed, had so much dirt thrown at me, and struggled so much I couldn’t begin to understand why it was happening or how I was going to get myself out of it. This is one reason I always felt my age and life experience would serve to help me on my journey through Atlantic Canada’s hardest snowmobile ride. Sure the other women wanting to compete were younger and their sleds were bigger and faster, but could the younger woman continue riding when her hands were numb, because I did. Could the younger woman in her early twenties continue through blinding snow because I did. If not for experiences that taught me resilience, and the ability to fight through discomfort and see something to the end, could I have kept going? The times I stood staring at myself asking, why does this need to happen to me? Why do I need to constantly learn the hard way or take the long way around things? Why can’t I take a short quick easy route for once and just reap the rewards? The biggest question of all and the cause of so much frustration, why do I constantly need to be tested? The peace I gained when I learned this one simple ingredient; things never happened to me, they happened for me and if they weren’t happening for me, they were happening through me. Experience I was gaining, and courage and strength I was gaining may not have been to teach me a lesson or force me into a life I hated, they were happening for someone else through me so that one day on their journey I could be there with an experience that could help them. Learning a skill in life perhaps they were not strong enough to learn to help themselves, so this lesson took place through me in order to help someone weaker. Don’t look at it like the lessons are always for you, look at it as a lesson that you were strong enough to learn in order to help the next person in line. Accept that it isn’t always for you and the lesson is a gift being sent to someone else, someone younger, someone weaker, or someone so focused on survival in other areas they lack the capacity to learn something new and need you to help them. Go outside yourself, leave your ego and accept that perhaps that thing that happened that doesn’t make sense yet wasn’t for you, and open yourself to the possibility that it is for someone else.
Ask A Therapist: On Going to Therapy
Q: I don’t really understand why people go to therapy. How would I know if therapy is for me?
A: For people who have never been to therapy, it can be hard to understand what all the fuss is about! The first step might be recognizing that people come to therapy for a wide range of reasons and that therapy treatment is designed to fit the specific needs of the client so it’s not one size fits all!
In general terms, people might reach out for therapeutic help when they feel stuck or when they can’t make sense of what they are experiencing – mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, or relationally. Clients might feel overwhelmed, confused, depleted, anxious, sad, numb, or lonely and they need to find a way to navigate that emotional landscape.
One common reason that people might seek help is due to a lack of emotional regulation; that is, their reactions are disproportionately connected to their day-to-day experiences. If you are reacting more intensely than a situation warrants you may be in hyperarousal; whereas, if you are noticing apathy or disengagement where emotion would be expected, you may be experiencing hypoarousal. A therapist can help a client understand where those reactions may be coming from while also supporting new pathways and strategies for healthier responses.
Going to therapy can be motivated by goals that you are trying to achieve but feel that support is needed to successfully do so. One person might be working on boundaries at work or home, another person may be lacking motivation to take care of their own needs, someone else might want to navigate a life transition in a career or relationship, another client may be struggling to make a difficult decision, while a different person may be navigating a change in their beliefs or experiencing fatigue as the caregiver of a loved one. Therapy can be a tool to help manage the stressors and challenges of so many of life’s experiences and to equip people to live well in a complex world.
Psychotherapy, like other healthcare treatments, can be accessed for proactive and reactive reasons. Perhaps it is most commonly accessed – at least initially – due to a mental health or interpersonal crisis of some kind but many clients stay in therapy at varying frequencies to prioritize ongoing mental health. In the same way that you would go to a doctor for regular check ups, many clients – even after a more intense season of healing – will decide to come at regular intervals to be sure that they are checking in with themselves and their wellbeing in order to maintain their goals.
While most people come to therapy because they are struggling, therapists are thrilled to take clients beyond just surviving a crisis to learning how to thrive and maintain mental health. If you are curious about therapy for any reason, reach out today to ask your questions and to see if therapy is the right next step for your health and wellness.
Covey Wellness Centre is a local spot for all your mental health and wellness needs. We are a team of mutli-disciplinary psychotherapists working out of our beautiful and serene space at 12B Stone Street. Our wellness bookshop – which smells and feels like a spa – is open to the public every day except Sunday. Please visit CoveyWellnessCentre.com and submit the form on our Contact page to book an appointment or to inquire about our products and services or simply drop by for a visit! Follow us on social media @coveywellnesscentre, SUBSCRIBE TO OUR PODCAST, and download and follow at Eventbrite for the latest updates! We can’t wait to welcome you to CWC! We are here for you.
SEEK PEACE TODAY AND WE WILL HAVE PEACE TOMORROW
International Day of Peace – September 21 – “ACTION FOR PEACE”
Sept. 5, 2023 – In 1986, the world celebrated the International Year of Peace. Activities abounded and conferences were held. Awareness was heightened. Thirty-six years have passed and the world is in more travail than ever. Every facet of humanity is being challenged.
I participated in many activities during that year and what became apparent to me was that very few people were aware of that celebration, or at least appeared to be too busy to be concerned with it. Are we more concerned with it today?
In the response to the question, “What do you think about world peace?” the most frequent answer was “It would be nice but I don’t think it is possible”. Why is it that our society is so sceptical about the one sure thing in life. Time and time again through the ages it has been told that peace will come to earth.
“…and they shall beat their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Isaiah, 2:4
“….He will live in supremacy over this earth to its ocean bound, having conquered it not by the scourge, not by the sword, but by righteousness.” Buddha (c. 560-480 B.C.)
“The believers are but a single Brotherhood: so make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear Allah, that ye may receive mercy.” Qur’an 49,10
Many of us who follow religious beliefs choose to disbelieve in these prophecies. Is this not a direct denial of our religion? If we truly follow our faith should we not be taking an opportunity such as International Day of Peace to investigate and share solutions to this global concern?
We must begin to realize that it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to contribute to the promotion of world peace. We are the peoples of the world. We govern our own lives and our own destiny. If each and every one of us decided that our destiny should be world peace, we would have peace tomorrow.
We must begin to search out the truths of our beliefs. We must begin to eliminate our prejudices which only lead to strife and discord. We must begin to educate all our peoples for lack of education only leads to prejudice and injustice. We must recognize women and men are equal: “The world of humanity has two wings – one is woman and the other man. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of woman becomes equal to the world of man in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be.” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 29). We must eliminate the extremes of poverty and wealth. We must establish a world language so communication and consultation can begin to flow with better understanding.
When we say, “I am only one person, what can I do?”, reflect on some of these ideas of what you can do. Remember, you are the government; you are the peoples of the world. “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem”.
We invite you to join us to celebrate the International Day of Peace, bringing your thoughts and ideas to share. Let’s be part of the solution! For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
“ACTIONS FOR PEACE”, Presented by Ed Milewski
Thursday, September 21, 7:00
Midland Public Library, 320 King Street, Midland
By: Darlene Paterson
by Annie Warner Donnelly
In 2013, a small 80-page book written by Katia Garcia Reinert, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, was published. Called “Ten Choices for a Full Life”, it includes the following chapters:
- Say Yes to Physical Activity Out of Doors.
- Say Yes to More Plant Foods.
- Say No to Tobacco.
- Say No to Alcohol, Drugs and Any Harmful Substance.
- Say Yes to Filtering What You See and Hear.
- Say Yes to Adequate Rest.
- Say Yes to Healthy Relationships.
- Say Yes to Forgiveness and Gratitude.
- Say Yes to Unselfish Service.
- Say Yes to Time with God.
Some of these chapter titles don’t need much explanation. The one I want to focus on today is #7. Here’s a key point: “The positive impact supportive relationships have on our health might be due in part to their effect on one’s immune system. One study found that people who had numerous friendships didn’t exhibit the symptoms of a cold despite being infected with the virus. Another study noted an increase in the number of killer cells and antibodies found in some members of an elderly population after a weekly visit by relatives and close friends. Supportive relationships, then, may reduce the number and strength of illnesses experienced.”
Here’s something to think about: “Researchers at the University of Virginia took thirty-four students to the base of a hill and gave them heavy backpacks. Then they asked the students to estimate the steepness of the hill. The students who were there with friends gave lower estimates of the hill’s steepness than did those who were there alone. Even more interesting, the longer the friends had known each other, the less steep the hill appeared to them.”
The author added: “God created us for community. He made us so that we function at our best in the nourishing companionship of friends. Reserve some time each week to give – and receive – the benefits of friendship.”
The author recommends these ideas for building healthy relationships:
- Make time for one-on-one interactions in person with those we care about.
- Respect each person’s individuality and become a good listener.
- If we want to make good friends, be friendly; don’t push our ideas on people.
- Allow others to share their thoughts without judging them.
- Avoid giving advice before we are asked.
- Share meals after we silence the television and social media.
- Family-style worship connects people through increasing their spiritual well-being and their relationships with God and with each other.
- Forgive one another.
- Don’t hold on to bitterness; it will damage your health.
- If you are feeling lonely or isolated, reach out to someone.
- Make a new friend by offering to help someone in need.
- Be the first to smile and reach out in a friendly way to someone.
May God bless us as we build healthy relationships by loving others as He loves us. May God bless this book’s author for providing this timely information. Amen