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Annette McLean Counseling

Blog

Going with the Flow...

Posted on November 18, 2017 at 1:38 PM Comments comments (54)

 
What would it be like to stop resisting life and just allow it? I mean allow it all without a war in your mind or a plan or a witty comeback. Allow it without letting fear take over and control the show. Just. Let. It be. 
Renowned author, Michael Singer says in The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself,The truth is that most of life will unfold in accordance with forces far outside your control, regardless of what your mind says about it.”
I like Michael Singer but his words challenge me greatly. Because this letting go is not my “default”. It feels like going against the grain. Even when I try, fear creeps in. And it is clever. It is sly.  Sometimes, it even disguises itself as intuition.  Then I have to try to tease that apart too. Is this my inner knowing or just fear in a new suit?
And if not fear, sometimes self-righteousness walks on stage. “How dare he or she or they or the government or the president?”  The list goes on. And what makes this all the more challenging is that there is a place for righteous anger and a place even for fear. We need then both. At times…
So how do we let go and allow life? And how do we do discern the difference between our knee-jerk reactions and the next right action? Here are some of the ways I practice:
1.    Be still. Life cannot catch up if we don’t stop.
2.    Breathe
3.    Allow and notice whatever emotion is coming up.
4.    Find the emotion in your body. Notice where you are holding yourself tense or tight. Do it without judgment.
5.    Notice the story that fear or self-righteousness might be saying.
6.    Listen in the stillness and determine if this is a matter that needs your attention or if letting go and allowing are where you need to put your attention.
7.    Trust, because everything will probably be okay. It usually is, isn’t it?

8.    Finally, be gentle with yourself.  We are all on a path. No one does any of this in even close to perfect order. 

Acceptance continued...

Posted on June 21, 2012 at 3:13 PM Comments comments (26)

I really like this Rumi poem. It speaks so well to dealing with life on life's terms and rather than running from what life brings us, facing it square on, looking it in the eye without fear or malice. only then can we determine the best course of action. 

The Guest House 
This being human is a guest house. 
Every morning a new arrival. 
A joy, a depression, a meanness, 
some momentary awareness comes 
as an unexpected visitor. 
Welcome and entertain them all! 
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, 
who violently sweep your house 
empty of its furniture, 
still, treat each guest honorably. 
He may be clearing you out 
for some new delight. 
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, 
meet them at the door laughing, 
and invite them in. 
Be grateful for whoever comes, 
because each has been sent 
as a guide from beyond.

 ~ Rumi ~

"Why me?!"

Posted on May 20, 2012 at 4:39 PM Comments comments (16)
Along the same lines as my last post about "fear", I have been thinking a lot about "suffering" in general. The Buddha understood that some suffering is just part of life. He said something to the effect of us experiencing in our lifetime, ten thousand joys and ten thousand sufferings. Jesus said it slightly differently, "In the world you shall have tribulation." But similar to when we experience fear, most of us prefer to run and hide or numb our selves in one addiction or another. Often times, we try to find a reason or something or someone to blame for our suffering. What if instead of asking why, we just accepted what we were feeling even if it was pain or hurt or saddness. If we were not stuck in the blocking or blaming and just felt what we were feeling, perhaps it would be easier to find our way to compassion, forgiveness and even joy. 

Future Events Appearing Real!

Posted on May 9, 2012 at 11:29 PM Comments comments (37)
We talked in group tonight about fear. One of the women said she had heard fear described as "Future Events Appear Real". Wow, so true. What is it that makes us repeatedly hurl ourselves into an imagined and horrific future.  The Buddist teacher, Tara Brach said in a recent podcast (highly recommend her) that as humans we are hardwired for a certain amount of anxiety. That we all actually wake up about 10 times per night,(only the insomniacs remember it)and it is an old hard-wired survival mechanism. I guess our ancient ancestors needed to be sure a venemous spider wasn't sitting on their chest or a hungry tiger prowling a breath away. So basically to think we will banish fear completely is not realistic. But how often do we add "insult to injury" by criticizing ourselves for our fear or anxiety. What if we just were able to 
1. Recognize it. ("Oh yes, hello fear....")
2. Accept it. (no eating it away, drinking smoking, avoidance behaviors) 
3. Locate the story. What are my thoughts? What is fear saying about this situation? Is there a more balanced way to think of this?
4. Compassion. Real change only comes from treating ourselves, even our unrealistic fears with the utmost compassion.  Our self talk needs to be like a mother to a young child. We also need to feel the feeling. The current fear may be unrealistic or imagined or exaggerrated but fear is still there and maybe just connected to our helplessness in controlling the future or maybe connected to really old pain. We need to feel it. 
5. Healthy Detachment. This may be the hard part.  Allow and experience the fear without attaching to it. The part of you able to see that this is your old pattern,is the healthier part of you.  That part helps you see that you are more than your fear or anxiety and that you certainly do not have to be ruled by it. 
For those of us with a lot of fear, it is usually a very old pattern. Worrying gives us the false impression that we are contolling something we may really be helpless too. Think about your relationship with this primal emotion. Are you a fearful person, a worrier, a planner...What do you know about your relationship to this universal emotion?