lysle

ParentTip: The Mayhem of May!

Photo by    Aaron Burden    on Unsplash

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

The month of May is often fraught with a unique blend of moments; the kind of moments that elicit intense highs and lows that can end up making parents feel scattered, overwhelmed, and all over the emotional map. Sometimes we refer to this feeling as an emotional rollercoaster. I certainly feel those peaks and valleys, and for years I have noticed that other parents do, too. It makes sense though, when you step back and take a look at the type of moments that get packed into this little month. Graduations! School parties! Finals! Proms! Summer internships! New jobs! Packing for camp! I could go on and on... as a parent, you get the picture.

Although the constant commotion can become overwhelming, I think each moment individually matters in a notable and remarkable way to each of us. These milestone moments are saturated with growth and meaning, whether your child is a toddler, teen, or young adult. The month of May is an extraordinary time where bittersweet endings and exciting new beginnings overlap and get entangled. It is a time for greetings and goodbyes, each of which are laden with complex, mixed emotions, whether that be a fear of letting go or an eagerness to do so. No wonder a parent can feel all over the place!

This post goes out to parents at the close of May and the opening of summer. May you find comfort in knowing that your heightened emotions make sense, and that you are not alone. Summer is on the horizon. Parents, you are almost there.  May the breath of summer bring a respite from the mayhem of May!

LifeTip: Decisions! Decisions! Oh My!

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This time of year is fraught with decisions and not just what gifts to buy, who to have holiday meals with, or how to reconcile the year-end bookkeeping. Underneath all the minutia of details is often an undercurrent of deeper questions connected to that nagging sense of knowing the new year is ever so close and hoping that THIS year is THE year . . . the year to conquer all those habits that keep you from living the life you’ve imagined. Many of us start the year off strong, determined, and resolute in our goals, only to find our hopes dashed as the realities of life creep back in and resolutions fall to the side. I think it’s probably safe to say this has happened to all of us, at least once!

I think it’s a conundrum. The new year represents this major launching pad for intentional renewal and transformation but in reality is usurped by the hectic happenings that are so part of the end of the year.  Knee deep in holiday shopping, traffic, parties, family drama, and the like we hastily declare resolutions that in the end don’t even begin to reflect who we are, what we really want, or what we could reasonably achieve. Often they reflect culture, family, or what our best friend or romantic partner is doing. It’s as if all the chaos of the end of the year robs us of the chance to tune into those deeper currents of what could be (for the next year) that are rumbling within.

How do we deal with this conundrum, especially given the fact we are already in the frenzy of the holidays? How can we get tuned in so we can make more meaningful decisions/resolutions that stand the test of time? Following is a short but useful exercise to help you get in touch with your core values. Core values are deeply held beliefs that represent the essence of who we are, the truth of that inner being within. We each have our own unique set and while many may have a vague sense of what they are, clarifying and naming them can have a profound effect on decision-making. Decisions made through the lens of core values will naturally be more in line with the inner you. And, being more in line with the inner and real you brings about a more centered and happier you. It just makes sense, right?!

Try the short exercise below. Identify your core values. And, with your next dilemma, whether it’s how and who to celebrate the holidays with or a potential life-changing resolution ask yourself if it supports or goes against one of your core values. Try letting your core values act as a roadmap to guide and resolve both internal and external conflict. Experiment. Have fun with it! Even if you have to make a less favorable decision you will likely find meaning in that decision, making it, perhaps, a little more bearable. Many of my clients find that it works.

Happy Holidays and Happy 2018!

LifeTip: Can Taking the Time to Be Mindful Actually Free Up Time?

Photo by  Harry Sandhu  on  Unsplash

Photo by Harry Sandhu on Unsplash

Mindfulness is the intentional and active state of being aware and present – basically it’s getting out of your head and into the moment.  It’s about connecting to yourself, others, and the world around you. At heart it’s about cultivating consciousness through the use of the very thing that keeps us alive, the breath. I avoided it for years, thinking I had to be Buddha like to succeed! The very notion of mindfulness sounded not only impossible but also grueling and certainly I didn’t have the time for it. What I discovered, though, is that mindfulness can be done anywhere, in your car, on the bus, on your daily run or walk, even while eating or talking with a friend. And, it can look however you want it to look, eyes open or closed, standing, moving, or sitting in lotus position cross-legged on a mat . . . your choice. The idea is to begin in a way that is comfortable for you, just not so comfortable that you fall asleep!  

While the formal practice of mindfulness, mindfulness meditation with eyes closed in lotus position, is considered the optimal posture it can be excruciating and intolerable for some, so much so that one might quit before ever really starting. In the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness is not about getting anywhere else — it’s about being where you are and knowing it.” So why not set yourself up for success and do what works for you by starting right where you are.  It does take practice and time but let’s look at that a little more closely.  You might just find that it’s worth your time.

So, what’s the big deal? Why practice mindfulness, you may ask? You may resist, like I did. But here’s the bottom line - it’s a paradox - taking time to be mindful can actually free up time. Absurd, right? How can adding something to your already overscheduled day create that illusive thing we all yearn for, more time?  It makes sense, though, when you consider what neuroscience tells us about mindfulness and the brain. What studies show is that mindfulness literally rewires the brain. And, it rewires it in a way that improves focus, memory, clarity of thinking, and the ability to manage emotions. It has the capacity to decrease stress, anxiety, and depression. Even more compelling is that findings show mindfulness can enhance happiness and overall well-being, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

So, imagine just for a moment how much time you might free up if you were less stressed, anxious, and/or engulfed by the blues.  Imagine, too, how your use of time might look were you focused and better able to regulate the ups and downs of life. Study after study shows that the health benefits gained from mindfulness abound. Perhaps more time, not to mention quality time, is yet another reward?

Curious to know more? Check out these videos. Be ‘mindful’ of the fact that there really is no one definition or one way to cultivate mindfulness.  See what resonates with you in this very moment!

The powerful secret of your breath -- Romila “Dr. Romie” Mushtaq, MD

Dan Harris: Hack Your Brain's Default Mode with Meditation

Meditation 101: A Beginner's Guide Animation

Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness

Andy Puddicombe, All it takes is 10 mindful minutes

For practical steps check out Mayo Clinic’s guide to simple meditation here.

 

ParentTip: Taking Time Out to Nurture YOU Can Nurture Your Whole Family

This post goes out to all those parents delving into the frenzy of fall. The following poem by Virginia Satir, a well-known psychotherapist and pioneer of family therapy, is a poignant reminder that being present is truly at the heart of raising a healthy family.  Read it, soak it in, and post it in your kitchen or family room – wherever the heart of your house it.   Let it shine light on your day, inform your conversations around the table and in the car, and gently tuck you in bed at night.  

How different it is to be with a nurturing family! Immediately I can sense the aliveness, the genuineness, honesty and love. I feel the heart and soul present as well as the head.

I feel that if I lived in such a family, I would be listened to and would be interested in listening to others, I would be considered and would wish to consider others. I could openly show my affection as well as my pain and disapproval. I wouldn’t be afraid to take risk because everyone in my family would realize that some mistakes are bound to come with my risk-taking~ that my mistakes are a sign that I am growing. I would feel like a person in my own right~ noticed, valued, loved and clearly asked to notice, value and love others.

One can actually see and hear the vitality in such a family. The bodies are graceful, the facial expressions relaxed. People look at one another, not through one another or at the floor, and they speak in rich, clear voices. There is a flow and harmony in their relations with one another.

Members of a nurturing family feel free to tell each other how they feel. Anything can be talked about~ the disappointment, fears, hurts, angers, criticism, as well as the joys and achievements.

Nurturing families show evidence of planning, but if something interferes with the plan, they can readily make adjustments. This way they are able to handle more of life’s problems without panicking.

In a nurturing family it is easy to pick up the message that human life and human feelings are more important than anything else. These parents see themselves as leaders, not bosses, and they see their job as primarily one of teaching their child how to be truly human in all situations.
— Virginia Satir, A Healthy Family

*Life balance as a parent can be challenging! Taking a moment to nourish you can reduce stress and anxiety as well as open up new pathways for living. Want to grow, learn, and foster healthier ways of relating to yourself, your partner or co-parent, and your children?  Join a parent group at GT Therapy Group this fall. Learn more about parent groups here and sign up to join us in connection this fall. 

Photo by  Tim Marshall  on  Unsplash

Meet Lysle

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“Meaning makes a great many things endurable – perhaps everything.” Carl Jung

Meet Lysle: I believe people seek meaning and contentment in their lives.  I am passionate about self-discovery, life transitions, identity, spirituality, and life purpose. Who am I? Where do I belong? What is next? How do I break free from rigid roles, deep-rooted patterns, and old ways of thinking that no longer work? With creativity, curiosity, and hope these are the questions I like to explore with clients, no matter the age or stage of life.  From adolescence through adulthood we strive for growth and happiness, ponder our deepest selves, and seek our place in the world – as human beings it is our nature to evolve, develop, and grow.  In a sense we are always becoming, always emerging into that person we are meant to be.  Yet, life is messy, uncertain, and complex with no single belief system or way to live; tragedy, trauma, transitions, and life interruptions arise.  Growth stops.  We get stuck.  We lose sight of who we are and what we want.  I like to help clients sift through the messiness of life and regain a sense of vitality, purpose, and meaning. I firmly believe there is meaning in the messiness!  

My approach is holistic with an emphasis on personal transformation through exploration of one’s inner resources.  I help clients tap into the natural wisdom of the mind, body, and spirit.  I incorporate tools to integrate and foster connection between the unconscious parts of oneself and the present moment.  By honoring the “here and now” while at the same time taking a deeper look at past experience we can illuminate a new path forward. Expanded consciousness that brings about change is built through intentional cultivation and deeper knowledge of oneself; real and lasting change begins with awareness.  Suffering stands to be a part of life but when we begin to unpack our suffering in the presence of a trusted other we can shift our thoughts, attitudes, and ability to manage the ups and downs of life.

I am a Licensed Master Social worker and psychotherapist under the supervision of Tammy Linseisen, LCSW, ACSW.  I incorporate modalities from both Western and Eastern traditions drawing from depth psychology, attachment theory, family systems theory, relational psychology, and body-centered therapies such as Yoga.  I believe in the power of healing through connection and consider the therapeutic relationship a powerful and transformational relationship that offers a sacred space for growth and change.  At heart, I believe meaning and joy can be found amidst the messiness of life!  

*Keep an eye out for our expanded group offerings that will begin in September.  These will include parent groups, LGBTQ and non-binary groups for teens, college student groups and other adult groups. Get on the list to be the first to hear about all our new offerings!