Sunday, November 28, 2010

Quality Time

One of the best things for me about the Thanksgiving holiday is the time my family is able to devote to nurturing our relationships. It is one of the times during the year that when you tell other people you have family coming in and you’re going to be busy with them—that you are granted a free pass to put off those other “pressing” matters for a moment. The only time we have is the present. And, when I’m given the blessing of my family all in one place, that’s all I’m able to focus on. And, while I like it this way, and I attempt to create this boundary of sacred family time on a daily basis…where the focus is my family (when we’re not at work and checking in or being plugged in to technology is not okay)...I wish we granted ourselves more leniency to give these relationships the attention they need on a daily basis. Quality time for me is one of the ways that my cup in life is not just half full, but brims over. It refreshes me when I am able to link back up with my family of origin in ways that are indescribable. It is such a joy to see them with my son and husband, and for us all to interact with my husband’s family too. The long runs and dance classes my sister and I were able to do together over the past few days did wonders for my soul…Playing soccer and football with the little one, okay, it was more like chasing the balls around up and down hills…but still, that precious outdoor time with my family…The time with my mom shopping and preparing the thanksgiving meal…The trip to the petting farm, s'mores, and the biting wind brought up memories of childhoods past, and the sharing of this tradition with new family members…Cramming everyone about the table to give updates in our lives and what’s most pressing on our minds coming from all over the country. We had deaths in both my family and my husband’s in the last year—and as we were saying our prayers of gratitude—I could feel them with us. In a way it is a marrying of the past with the present. There is so much busyness in our lives today. Why? There are good stressors and bad stressors, but often it seems as if there is no time to recover from these stressors. Why do we do this to ourselves? Our many to-do lists never seem to get shorter, only longer. Why? So let me get back to why quality time with those that I love fills me up to overflowing with gratitude and love. For me this “time” is the essence of life. It is what most of my memories revolve around; not grocery shopping, meal preparation, paying bills, working, house cleaning, etc. The hugs, belly laughter, and inane humor (which only your family understands), the stories, the playing, and enjoying each others company good moods and bad—it’s wonderfully rejuvenating. Why? I know the answer to this question…it’s because you can, because you are able, because you’ve been granted the time together. This quality time together for me is priceless. And, it helps me get through all those other days. Until we meet again. The sooner the better!

Now I know it’s not New Year’s yet (I wish a lot for many people on a regular basis—but this is a big one—and I’m putting it out there in print!), but my wish is that everyone who reads this finds that calm well of happiness. For me it’s quality time with those I love. For you, it may be something else. But, I hope you find it—and are able to tap into this well that makes you feel gratitude and alive with life. And, I hope you bottle it up for all those rainy days when it may be tempting to look at a half empty glass instead. Why do I wish this wish? So you always know you are loved, cherished, and that you are an amazing blessing.

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The Basic Ways We Change

There are three ways in which we can actively monitor ourselves so that we may change how we interact with our surroundings:

(1) Thoughts (cognitions)
(2) Feelings (emotions)
(3) Actions (behaviors)

When you are in traditional counseling sessions--the counselor uses a variety of theories that typically focus on one of these areas to help you make changes in your life. In the best case scenario the theory that the counselor is using is based on their training background/when they received their masters degree, as well as what the current trend is based upon research on the effectiveness of the theories in actual practice. However, we won't delve too deeply into theories and understanding methodology, because this site is educational and for you to understand more of how you work.

The activities that are posted and linked on this blog are to help give you immediate tools to begin actively reorganizing how you interact with your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

People that are aware that they can use their feelings and thoughts to influence their actions are able to control what happens to them. Novel idea? This is because they recognize that they can influence their outcomes based on identifying the emotions they are feeling, then choosing what thoughts they would like to focus on, and then putting it in to action.

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This week check out your skills on how much you know about how marriage impacts family life.

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