Saturday, April 4, 2020

Words of Wisdom for Tough Times.

RHYS BOWEN: I had planned something quite different for today. A bit of humor. But then I realized what a great resource I had to share. My son is a life-coach and healer and has been giving daily talks to help us get through this horrible time. So I asked him to share some tips today.

DOMINIC QUIN-HARKIN
 The Next Home-Based Gym – Your Journal

Although our days are consumed by hours of “productive” stay-at-home activities—Snipping nose hairs, glaring out the window like an uninterested cat, making snacks out of peanut butter and banana—Who knew you could find so much enjoyment out of these? But then you start to notice a noise. You check the hallway, the kitchen, outside your window, but nothing’s there.

So you pick up your book and read, or you pick up your computer and write. And usually, these activities can behave as a glorious escape from the “Real World”. As you are immersed into another world of murder, fantasy, dystopia, or passion, it all seems to be comforting, relaxing, and sometimes titillating. But then you put down the book, you put down the computer. And in the silence, it starts again.

And you finally close your eyes and start to become completely aware that some of these noises are coming from your chest area… your sinuses, your forehead…and your hands are shaking. This is your emotional body trying to express itself. Tension across your forehead and a pit on your stomach lead the charge, but there are a slew of other emotional states just chomping at the bit to get your attention.

In this extraordinary time, we are being forced to BE indoors, BE with a few other people only, BE alone. And guess who else is with us?? Our thoughts, fears, and worries. We have to finally BE with ourselves, and all of the internal communication our bodies have been doing to get our attention. Our emotions are right there, and they’re begging to be recognized and expressed. Our emotional states right now are one of fatigue and exhaustion.

And what are we doing to recover mentally or emotionally on a daily basis to keep us balanced? What habits or tasks do we have for mental or emotional maintenance? If you look at an athlete, after a long day of practice, he or she ices for 20 min, stretches, rotator cuff exercises, core work, ices again, knowing that this is what is necessary to perform tomorrow at the highest stakes.

And reading about psychoses and syndromes doesn’t help. We’ll spend so much time talking about an emotion to ourselves, our therapist, our friends, and our families, that sometimes we’re just too damn smart for our own good. We talk ABOUT our emotions as though we’re 2 parents talking about a child when the child is sitting RIGHT THERE.

Emotions are like little anxious children in a classroom raising their hands frantically, waiting to be called on. And as we ignore them, they get louder, and louder, and louder. They fill our muscles, our tissues, our organs; and toxic emotion is the source of Dis-Ease in the body.

So, in order to get our mental/emotional states back to a place of strength and calm, we need to create a recovery period, with exercises to do, on a daily basis, in order to maintain and reach an optimal health. Something to do today, so we can feel good tomorrow. Journaling is one of those exercises that will support your mental health, clear some of that emotional sludge that seems overwhelming.




Journaling Techniques –
To form a nightly recovery routine, Journaling can be a very healthy and effective way to manage your emotions, and to release them on a daily basis. Journaling can be a lengthy process if you choose it to be. It can also be a very simple process, consisting of only two sentences: What I liked about today, and how I’d like tomorrow to go. These are very easy ways to get your mindset in a healthy way to recover and be ready for the next morning. But if you'd like to have more in-depth tools to help releasing some of the emotions that have been bubbling and squeaking inside of you, then here are some tools that can focus on releasing the held emotions and mental thoughts that I've just been begging to be recognized and let go.

Write Fears and worries   - What I want instead
When you recognize your fears and worries, in effect you “call” on them to let them be recognized, so they can put their hand down and subside. My mother expressed worry that she never wanted to write her fears at the possibility that they come true. My response was that “In your head, they’re already true.”. Also if you take these BIG FEARs in your head, and write them in very small print, then you can begin to see that they are really nothing more than some squiggly lines on a page. And if they’re still big, crumple up the page. And if they’re still big, then burn it (safely) in your fireplace.
 Writing fears and worries give you a chance to see them and then focus your mind and what you would like instead.
On page 1,
“I am scared that_______________ (the virus will grow, I’ll have no toilet paper, etc.)”
“I worry that _________________ (one of my family members get ill)
On page 2, write how you would like to feel instead.
“I would like to feel _____________ (confident that we’ll get control of the virus / trusting that I’m safe from my sanitation behaviors)”
“I would like to have faith that our family will be taken care of”

I was speaking with my mom on the phone who has never journaled, and after the 1st night, she said she had the best sleep she’s had in a long time. My father chimed in to say “what on earth did you do to your mother for her to sleep so well?” I told him to write his fears, and he said, “I already have 2 beers.” “No, Dad, FEARS. Write your FEARS.” “Why do I need to do that when I can have 2 beers, and I sleep just fine?”

Emotional Piggybank – Withdrawals and Deposits
If you can see your mental/emotional state as a balance in your mind-body, with negative thoughts, people, articles and experiences having a negative value. Then look at the moments of joy, smiles, small victories and abundance, and those have a positive value. At the end of the day, do you have a negative or positive value? The goal is to use the journal to make Withdrawals and Deposits. Withdraw all of the negative thoughts, fears, and experiences from your day. And when you deposit, deposit all of the “Positive Evidence” that was a part of your day.
Withdrawals – “I’m afraid that… I’m worried that…” That interaction with my neighbor, yuck, that news conference made me angry.
Deposits – “I ended up cleaning the yard today. I cooked a good meal. My kid thanked me. I had a great walk with my family. I just love my wife, she’s really being a trooper. I’m so grateful that we have toilet paper and food.”
By doing this, you can get to a positive balance, and day by day, little by little, knowing that each night, you’re withdrawing those negative experiences so you can start the next day with a better balance.

What Ifs? And What would I Do’s? - Writing the Story to the End-
If you are a writer, then you already have a good imagination. I can probably guess that you are some of the best worriers out there. Worry is a waste of a wonderful imagination. It takes real creativity to think I’m not home yet because an oil tanker crossed the center divider and …. “Oh, you’re home…”
 The problem with worries is that you start thinking the worst case scenario, but then you stop. “Oh I shouldn’t think about that.” But you already have. It’s in there. But it’s missing a hero, and an ending.
One of the techniques I use with my clients is to write out the rest of the story.  The following was an interaction I had with my wife going through the process with me.
“I’m afraid that you will get ill with the virus. And then you'll get worse. And then I'll have to take care of you. And then you'll pass away. And then I’ll have to bury you. And then I'll have to be by myself. I'll have to figure it out where you left all the passwords and how to pay the bills.”
And I say, “Would you still have your mother and sister?
“Yes.”
“Would you call them? You would have support through this?”
“Yes I guess I would.”
And I ask, “Is that as bad as you thought it was?”
“No, not as bad.”

IFs and BUTs
This connects to your underlying conditions on being happy, or of being in acceptance of your situation. If we are in a state of resistance where we are, then it's hard to see where we can get to from there. But using If’s and But’s, you're looking at restrictions you have on your happiness. When you say “I would be much more confident that we're going to get through this, but, I just don't have faith in anyone in government.” Just by saying this and putting down your IF’s and your BUT’s down on paper, you allow your conditions to be recognized and release them. And as you release them then you get to more of a state of acceptance of where you are with a direct road toward your happiness, without all the conditions that we as humans can put.

Making Commands

The last thing I’ll talk about today is called Making Commands. When you make commands, you are telling yourself and the universe how you would like your next day to go. By saying, “I command my day to flow with ease and Grace tomorrow,” then you were telling the world that it wouldn't just be a nice option, it means this is something you really want and you want to the universe to know that. Not only that but you're telling yourself that you really want it. Try making a few commands of how you would like to feel the next day, the type of success you'd like to have, how you would like to respond to people who are angry at you or frustrated. Just by putting down on paper how you like the day to go makes it very easy for you actually to achieve that..

In all, these are just tools that can be used any given night as a part of a recovery routine. If we can be so purposeful about when we get up, what we eat, what exercise we do, then we definitely have the ability to be mindful about what words we say, what emotions were holding onto, and how we want our next day to go.   When this happens we can start focusing on our health from an inside-out approach, and not just the physical outside-in view. And then very soon we can look forward to sitting in the silence, and just hear silence.

RHYS: I hope these are as helpful to you as they are to me. Dom and his wife Meredith post a new walk and talk every morning that I share on my Facebook page. Here is his info


Dominic Quin-Harkin is an Energy Healer, Massage Therapist, Life Coach, and speaker. His focus is to bring awareness and coping skills of mental and emotional states, and the psychosomatic effects emotions have on the body. To learn more, you can see his postings and teachings at 





52 comments:

  1. This is wonderful, Rhys . . . .

    Thank you, Dominic, for the thoughtful, wise words . . . your journaling instructions will certainly help to calm the fear and put a bit of sanity into dealing with the upheaval all of this has caused in our lives. Your insight is inspiring . . . .

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    1. At the end of the day, there's only so much we can control, like our mind... and sometimes that even feels out of control. these are fun techniques to get our minds to start doing our bidding and not the other way around... be well.

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  2. Thank you Rhys and Dom. In these hard times, I am often glad that I am old and have experienced a long and -- mostly-- happy life, but I worry about my children and grandchildren, my friends who are doctors and nurses out there on the front line, and pretty much the whole world. Whatever made me think I was responsible for the universe?

    Today I am going to find one of those blank journals and start to write, mostly following your suggestions but probably going of on my own tangent.

    Or not.


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    1. Today is perfect day for some tea and a good journal page...

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  3. First thought: What a beautiful man. Thank you Dominic for your insightful words. I am a visual thinker and see emotions as animals (denial = ostrich anger = lion) and so on. I see worry as a sheep that knits endlessly from its own wool. It thinks it is doing something useful, but it is not.
    I am using Facebook to post mental health questions. Interesting when asking about stress, about 10 people shared there experiences. When asking about self soothing, only 3 replied. We need your gentle voice and suggestions.. Please keep up the good work.

    Rhys: We are all in this together. Thank you for the week of introspection and sharing. So very healing. May we all be calm, may we all find peace.

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    1. Worry is a sheep that knits endlessly from its own wool. Oh —I have never heard anything so profound. Thank you.

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    2. Cora Lee I agree with Hank. What a profound image. As a worrier I’ll write this in my journal!

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    3. Thank you for your response. The image was born on Nome Street. First time published. Glad it helps.

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    4. Coralee, I am a visual thinker too. Thank you.

      Diana

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    5. Dominic Quin-HarkinApril 4, 2020 at 5:07 PM

      Those are beautiful images. I love the ostrich (head in the sand)... All of these emotions serve their purposes and are beautiful. Even anger when expressed properly is a fantastic catalyst for change. It's just too bad that so many people judge and avoid anger at all costs.
      I've been doing daily videos with my with on FB and Insta; each day a different coping strategy, and I'm finally getting the knack of being on camera and getting it in 1-2 takes.

      Thank you for the kind words

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    1. Oh, Margaret, I'm so sorry for the tragic loss to your family.

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    2. Margaret, I am so sorry. So very sorry.

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    3. Oh no. I’m very sad for your family

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    4. So very sorry to hear your sad news, Margaret.

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    5. I'm so sorry to hear this news, but glad you were able to be with family via Facetime.

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  6. Thank you for sharing Dom and Mer with us, Rhys. Their walks and talks are very comforting and centering.

    And I've really needed that kind of bolstering lately. I'm usually the glass-nearly-full kind of cockeyed optimist who sees the silver lining in every cloud, but it's gotten awfully cloudy lately, so just like the rest of us, I've needed every bit of help I could get.

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    1. There are definitely clouds, but at least you have a group like this to hold the umbrella for you.

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  7. Thank you so much, Dom (and Rhys.) I will read this over and over. Honestly I thought about journaling, but I was fearful of putting those emotions on paper—thinking it would make them more real. But now I am thinking about the balance. Thank you!

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    1. Absolutely. To be toe-in-water, try it without delving too much. Try "positive eveidence" and "How I want tomorrow to go". ALSO, forgot to mention in post, avoid using the word "NOT" (as the universe erases it, and you attract the object of your focus.) "I do not want to attract mean people tomorrow" = you're seeing ALL the mean people.... Re-word to "I want to see only high-vibrational people." (My wife and I said that before a going to a wedding, and only 1 couple talked to us... hahaha, was just fine with us)
      Thanks for the kind words.

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  8. Rhys and Dom, what Hank just said. I've journalled for years, but it seemed scary to write about the world right now. Today's post gives me a blueprint for getting through today and facing tomorrow. Thank you!

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    1. Sure.. as I said to Hank, toe-in-water just writing something, is just as good as jumping in and exploring every single emotion we have. It's different for each person

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  9. Yup, I'm up nights, too.
    I've never been a journaler. When I'm upset or worried I make lists. But I wonder if the effect isn't the same. It's like taking the worry and putting it out there, on paper, and even if not in so many words, conceptualizing a plan to deal with it. Problem is, today's worries are so out of one's control. Thanks so much for sharing this Rhys, Dom.

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    1. It is the "out of one's control" that makes it so terrifying, Hallie.
      Stay safe, stay well, everyone.

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    2. Lists can sometimes compound the problem w/ added obligation to check-off, if your mind reads it as something it "has to do" instead of just something I choose to do, or something to focus on

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  10. Talk about a message from the universe! I started with the daily newspaper today before opening Jungle Reds. The paper had an article in it about how many people are turning to journaling in the current situation, and it started me thinking about reviving the practice. Dom's words have clinched it for me. Thank you Dom and Rhys!

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  11. Dom, you are right, I am one of those reading right through it. I'm reading all the soothing, feel good stories that I never thought I'd become so satisfied to read. One of my main activities every day is to read this blog, and to comment if I get here early enough in the day. So many of the things you say ring true.
    This is a most unusual global event and it won't end simply or completely for a long time. The uncertainty of what the future will be is maddening.
    My home life is excellent and my husband and I have been a cooperative team dealing with the day to day. I have not journaled since I was a child. Reading your wise suggestions, it may be time to try that once more.
    Thank you Rhys, for sharing these wise nuggets and thank you also for the excellent stories that take me away from my self and the troubles of humanity for hours at a time. My book (Four Funerals etc.) did arrive yesterday, as ordered, and I'll begin it later this weekend.

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  12. Thank you Rhys and Don for sharing. I started and stopped a journal last weekend. Your words have inspired me to give it another try using some of your suggestions. I was bogged down in writing all the bad so I’m going yo try your suggestion of “Withdrawals and Deposits.”

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    1. yes. Try just the positive for a few days. choice of perspective...

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  13. Really enjoyed the column today. I’ve listened to many of Dom’s videos and I find them helpful. I had almost the same exact conversation with my husband as Mer did with Dom. My husband was supposed to deliver an eulogy at a funeral 2 weeks ago. We live in the Bay Area so we have to be careful. He was insisting on going to the funeral and I was getting really nervous and anxious. Finally, I told him that I was afraid he would be exposed to the virus, bring it back home, and we would both get it. He thought about it overnight and arranged for his brother (who is 10 years younger) to read the eulogy. I think they should have cancelled the funeral Mass, but they held t anyway and practiced social distancing. Now you can’t hold a funeral with more than 10 people in attendance. Thank you, Dom, for your sensible advice.

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    1. I'm so glad that those conversations are being had among couples.

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  14. Wonderful advice, Dom, and very comforting. As other's have said, you've made me think about returning to journaling. It's been a while and I know I must have a blank book here somewhere. Stay well and safe.

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  15. Best part of my day are the Dom and Mer talks!!

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  16. The only time I kept a journal was sophomore year at SRJC and then it was an English requirement. I like it part of the time. Maybe I'll try again, it might help reduce those 3am wakings. Thank you sharing.

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    1. absolutely. try just a few sentences at a time, w/o feeling obligated to have a page requirement.

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  17. Dom, welcome to Jungle Reds and thank you for these tips! This post is very timely! I try focus on what I CAN do instead of wasting my energy worrying about things that are out of control. A wise friend was telling me about how her boyfriend is always worried and she said that it is a waste of energy to worry.

    Wondering if "FEARS" sound like "BEER"?

    Please stay safe, everyone!

    Diana

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  18. Dom, your videos with Meredith are so comforting and inspirational. There's a sweetness to them, too, that you two exude towards one another, bringing a joy to the heart. I'm so glad that your mother brought you to visit here at the Reds today. I confess that I don't journal, but you've certainly shown me what the benefits can be, especially during this stressful time. The withdrawals and deposits make so much sense, because we too often dwell on what's bothering us and overlook what's right and good in our world. I also love the idea of "commands," and I know from experience that this works. However, I've gotten out of practice with commands, and your reminder is going to be such a help to me.

    As well as a soothing wisdom, your sense of humor is evident in your approach to life, Dom. I will use John's fears and beers conversation with you whenever I need a smile today. Thanks.

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    1. Thx Kathy. I know what Mer and I have gotten through in our personal struggles, and journaling has provided so much peace and balance. And I'm notorious for writing very little, and Mer does "Automatic Writing" which is pages at a time, but very soothing.

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  19. Rhys and Dom, thank you for this today. Dom, I've been watching your videos with Mer and am finding them very helpful. I'm an on-again-off-again journaler. Ten days ago I picked I made one entry, then got side-tracked and haven't touched it since. I think you've given me a way to approach it so that it doesn't feel like one more obligation. And I'm still giggling about John and the beers!

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    1. Thanks so much. and yes, that is a typical answer from my dad. I'm expecting my mom to be ordained a saint any time now after 50+ years with him...

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  20. Thank you, Dom and Mer! This is wonderful. I love retraining my brain to deal with all of this (waves hand at everything) from an inside out place. I am going to work on my commands and stop being so passive! Fabulous!

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    1. Yay! sometimes we can be a little too polite with asking for what we'd like, right??

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  21. Thank you all for the kind words and encouragement. I'm used to using my voice and working with clients in person face to face. This event has forced me very quickly in the direction I've been wanting to go as a writer and speaker (wanting to help more than one person at a time). I guess my emotions and inner critics were telling me I'm not ready, I haven't written enough, I haven't finished my book yet, that idea is half-baked...

    Well, Necessity has called, and I'm loving every day writing, scripting, filming and posting.

    But most of all I loved most my first "argument" with my editor(Rhys) for cutting my post. I called and said, "How Dare You?!?!?"
    (I put up a good arguments and got a paragraph put back in though). I believe her response was "Welcome to the world of being a writer, kid." tough love, huh...

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  22. Rhys, thank you for inviting Dom as a guest to share tips about dealing with emotions. A friend is teaching her children about emotions. They watched the movie Inside Outside on Friday.

    Diana

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