Fear

Everyone has moments in life that bring forth feelings of fear. I have experienced fear a lot in my life, especially in this last year. I felt fear when taking all my final exams for college, licensure, and certification. I felt fear when I started a relationship with a new man. I felt fear when I decided to leave my job and accept a new one in a new town. I felt fear when I put my house up for sale and moved in with the new man in life. I felt fear while trying to complete all my paperwork correctly for my PLPC and the supervision application. I have felt fear in the waiting for everything to move forward and fall into place because I am not the most patient person. It is hard to let life flow naturally and not push or force it. The fear causes me to want to rush things and just get to where I think I should be in order to feel stable, but the truth is, sometimes when we push things it just causes the time to move slower.

I know the universe knows what I want and the more I worry and doubt the more the resistance builds and the longer it takes. The struggle is rooted in the fear. So how do I let go of the fear? How do I trust that everything will move into place as it is suppose to? How do I let go of the worry and doubt and just enjoy life in the moment? It takes practice and self-awareness. When I start to feel frustrated or even panicky about things and the pressure seems to be building, I take a deep breath and repeat the mantra, everything is always working out for me. I take the time to meditate or write out a description of what life looks like for me after everything falls into place. I focus on how far I have come and give thanks for all the good in my life in this very moment.

It is easy to let your mind and body react to fear and if you just stay on auto pilot, the worry and doubts will take you down the rabbit hole. Then, before you know it, you are feelings anxious, depressed, and sick. Addressing fear starts with practicing good coping skills, self-awareness, and pulling yourself back into the present moment. Worry puts the focus on the past and the future, things we cannot change or things that have not even happened yet. Allow yourself to just focus on what you can do in the moment that pushes you closer to your goals and the type of person you ultimately want to be long term. Not a temporary fix or relief like drugs, alcohol, food, careless spending, random sexual encounters, gambling, or countless other escapes. Often these escapes feel good in the moment but only exacerbate the problem and take you further from your goals and the true self.

In what areas of your life is fear holding you back? Are you practicing good coping skills, self-awareness, and staying present or are you allowing yourself to go down the rabbit hole of worry and doubt? Take time to reflect on how you are feeling and what you can do to help yourself reduce the stress in life by attacking the fear through good practices. It is good to check in with yourself daily, mentally, emotionally, and physical and begin to keep notes on how you uniquely react to fear and stress because it can be very different for everyone. There are no cookie cutter symptoms. Once you become more aware, you can catch it earlier and begin a more preventative and maintenance protocol through the coping skills, self-awareness, and being present.

With love, happiness, health….

Stacy

Resilience

Over the Summer I have experienced many changes. Understanding what to expect in the face of change can lessen the stress we experience and move us toward a better place. However, it is not always easy to know what to expect no matter how much we plan and prepare. I graduated with my Masters in Mental Health Counseling, passed my CPCE and my NCE and finalized my last Summer class. Gave notice at my job and started training someone to take that position while accepting a new job and started the application process for my PLPC and Supervision. All while trying to sell one home and move into my new home. Then I got Covid!

I have felt the whole process has been challenging and stressful emotionally, mentally, and physically, but here I am with Summer near an end and Fall just around the corner. I love Fall and cannot wait for the cooler nights, warm fires, and hopefully a more simple way of life. I am living in the country with no visible neighbors in sight and I love the peaceful feeling. I am ready to be able to just focus on my work as a therapist and not have to worry about tests, papers, homework, and all the extras of going to school and having a job at the same time. I admit that I had become so stressed and wrapped in all the changes that I was not taking care of myself…not exercising regularly, drinking enough water, or taking my vitamins and this ultimately would lead to me getting Covid. Looking back I am thankful that I was between leaving one job and starting my new one and did not miss any work with the sickness. I have been able to have some time off before starting this new chapter and I can see the blessing even though it has been stressful. Through all of this I am proud to say that learning how to be resilient has been a key asset in my life.

Characteristics of resilience is to remain optimistic and a flexible perspective by learning from the past and allowing adversity to create strength within. Acceptance is a big one because it is a big part of counseling others through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and helps to focus on areas that can be controlled instead of what we cannot. Self-confidence helps to see we have more control than we may realize and look inward through insight to help us understand why we may perceive or feel a certain way. Understanding ourselves better can help build perseverance and a good sense of humor, to keep trying in the face of adversity and be able to laugh even when life is hard. At the end of the day you may not be able to control everything that happens but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Resilience is important to help prepare for change and adjust to what will be a new reality and everyone responds differently to change, moving at a different pace and sometimes I felt very stuck along the way. Today I finally felt some progress, feeling more myself after being sick and gaining some energy to tackle some projects, make phone calls, and send emails. It feels good to finally be getting back to some degree of normalcy in my new reality. I hope everyone else has had an amazing Summer.

With happiness, health, love and resilience,

Stacy

Change

Well it has been a while since I have taken the time to sit down and write. A lot has happened so far this year and left me feeling like I am treading water. Where to start? I started the new year off single and focused on finishing out my master’s in mental health counseling. School was my primary focus. In April I passed CPCE and then my NCE and in that month I also had a date that went really well. In May I graduated and in June I got offered a new job in my home town. I would have never imagined moving back to my small home town at this stage in my life but I knew I wanted change. The guy I started dating just happened to live in my hometown and my parents still reside there as well. With my mom being ill off and on for the last year, I decided to accept the job, give my notice and move back to where it all started. As I began to spend weekends there I started to feel this magic of the place I had left behind so many years ago. So many things had changed but some things never change. As my love for the place where I was born and raised was rekindled a new love was also starting. Everything felt different but also comfortable…like I was finally coming home where I belonged.

I have started packing and moving all my things, started training someone to take my place at the current job, and listed my house for sale. All of my investments in my home and my education are coming full circle. I am moving to a beautiful farmhouse on 120 acres just 10 minutes from the beautiful Current River in Southeast Missouri. The rolling green pastures are dotted with cattle that meet up with a beautiful blue sky in the middle of the Mark Twain National Forest. I am able to hike, kayak, go boating, side-by-side riding, and jump on the back of a Harley and feel the wind in my hair. This is the life I have been working so hard for. The changes are coming fast and everything is falling into place beautifully. I have taken a position as a therapist at the small town family clinic to help those in the local community. The new man in my life happens to be the county Sheriff and as I write all of this I realize my life sounds a bit like a Netflix series, like Virgin River or something. I am okay with that…I am excited about what the future holds for me and realize I am not afraid of change anymore. In fact, I am embracing it.

With love, health, and happiness to all…

Stacy

Ask, Then Allow

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Many times in life we focus on what is right in front of us, which may include things we don’t want for ourselves. We become so focused on the misery of the moment that we lose sight of the bigger picture. The desired goal seems so far away. This is when we must be self-aware and remind ourselves that we are focusing too much on the negative and we must back away from the whole situation. Control seems to be a big issue with many of my clients. They want to know who, when, what, where, and how things will happen or change for them. This is not always possible. Learning to accept things in the moment and find something to be grateful for, (even if very small) is the best way to change the flow. Just tipping the scale to the positive side just to 51% is all it takes.

If you ask for what you want and then just sit there tapping your foot getting frustrated that it isn’t happening you are not helping the situation. Ask it, believe it is done, and then go on about your day doing things that bring you joy and don’t think about it again. I admit this has been a struggle for me and I am actually going through this process in my life right now. I am learning to just accept and allow and not have it all figured out. I am learning that the more I look for ways to find joy in my day the better my life will flow in my desired direction. I do my best not to talk about negative relationships of my past when I discuss dating with my friends. I do my best to only think of the things I enjoyed about each person and how I would like to have those things in a future relationship. I look for things I love, things I enjoy, people I care about, things that make me laugh and smile, and I just surround myself with feelings of comfort. Some days this is easier than others but when things do get hard I find that counting my blessings, no matter how small, that can tip the scale in my favor. From running water and indoor plumbing to my daughter and my pets, I am grateful for many things in my life.

We must learn to ask and then allow. Not try to force it, figure it out, and control it, and beg and plead, just have faith and allow it to flow to you. I often use the visualization technique called leaves on a stream. I picture myself walking down a beautiful hiking path and coming upon a stream. The colorful fall leaves float down from the trees and land on the stream. As thoughts of negativity try to creep into my mind I lay them on the leaves and watch them float away getting smaller and smaller. This helps diffuse my mind from the negativity of the moment and allows me to make room in my mind for more important and positive thoughts. Its accepting the thoughts and not trying to stop them but allowing yourself to have the thought and understanding that our thoughts are not facts and they do not define us. Acceptance and allowing life to flow while being flexible with your thoughts and feelings takes practice but in time you will start to realize that we are often making it much harder than it needs to be.

With love, health and happiness

Stacy

Alone

10 Things That Happen When You Start to Enjoy Being Alone

Alone: having no one else present, on one’s own. The definition of alone sounds a bit lonely at first. I have found out recently that lonely to one person is not necessarily the same for another. The truth is, I like being alone and it takes a lot for me to truly feel lonely. This recent discovery came after my long-distance relationship ended. I knew he was not handling the distance well but I also knew he had other issues he was working through that had nothing to do with me and maybe that is the real key to being alone and being okay. I am happy with myself, my path, my life in general. I am ready to accept another into my world and share it but I don’t have to have someone. I think sometimes people are lonely and any warm body will do to keep from dealing with the thoughts and feelings they are avoiding. Being alone means sitting with those thoughts and processing your shit. Being alone means not having to constantly be entertained because you have interests that keep you entertained. I can read, research, cook, clean, watch TV, garden, tend to my pets or plants, organize, write…spend days doing things that do not involve another person. I understand this may not be healthy after some length of time, but the ability to do it and not feel lonely is healthy.

I go out to lunch with friends, have coffee, get dinner and drinks, and other activities in my life. I visit my parents farm and interact socially. I am not a hermit. I think the key word here is balance. Balance includes a healthy variety of friends and family and alone time. If you are not getting quality time socializing with others that can be bad but not having the ability to be alone is also bad. This recent relationship had many warning signs that grew over time. It saddens me because it also had many wonderful qualities. It is hard to let someone go when you see them struggling, especially as a therapist. I have to remind myself that it is not my job to fix him. We agreed to be friends and here I am on a Friday night wondering what is next in my book of life? I admit, I am tired. I am starting to make peace with myself and my goals and become more and more comfortable with the idea of remaining alone. It seems dating and relationships have lost their magic for me. The times when couples would be miles apart and only write letters and get the occasional phone call but still stay in love are long gone. Attention 24/7 is often desired. People have no patience or grit to hang in and work for long term goals. Instant gratification and keeping score of who gives what and how much can often be the bigger focus than learning someones heart and their hopes for the future.

It is disheartening but I have not lost hope, but for now I do believe I am quite happy just being alone.

With love, health, and happiness

Stacy

Alignment

Align yourself with people that you can learn from, people who want more  out of life, people who are stretching and searching and seeking some  higher ground in … | Quotes to

Sometimes the ones we love the most seem to be the ones that pull us out of alignment with ourselves. Then I think, if we were ever really in alignment why did we attract their negativity? That is when I am reminded that the work is not about anyone else, as long as I am staying in my own lane, focusing on being my best, finding my true happy place, well…then I will feel good about life and remain in alignment. I remind myself of my values and goals and ask myself if what I am doing and the thoughts I am allowing to fully form are supportive of my end game. Are the people I am surrounding myself with and the words they are speaking to me supportive of my end game? Often times we cannot control the situations that come our way or the people, but we can choose how we respond to them. This is where the real power lies.

I have found myself trying to find positive, common ground with a person who just seems to focus on the negativity of each situation. When I make an effort to have a positive conversation about things the response often starts off with a negative statement followed by a slow backing up of how they are making the best of it anyway. My first instinct is to challenge and call them out on the negativity but often that is met with a either more of them trying to say it really isn’t that bad and how they are making it work anyway, as if it is some great chore they are suffering through. So I have stopped challenging them on their thoughts. If a person chooses to treat each day like chore and take on the role of victim of their own situation (that they chose), then they really have no one to blame but themselves. I no longer feel it is my job to argue or talk them out of this mindset. If you are unhappy with how your life is going then take action to change it. If you continue to stay in the same situation and make no effort to change then stop complaining about it.

People often want to point fingers and use others as a reason for why they are in the situation they are in, never taking full responsibility for their choices or lack of making a solid choice. When you are out of alignment and feeling negative the first place everyone should look is within. Unfortunately, the first instinct is to point fingers saying “you talked me into this”, ” I stay because I love you”… comments like this are simply cop-outs. Nobody talks anybody into anything unless that person already wants to do it themselves. Staying because you love someone even though you are unhappy in the situation is a lie to yourself, because love should not feel like a sacrifice. Look within and discover the real reason why you feel unhappy and stop blaming others.

True alignment starts with taking responsibility of your own life and not blaming others or trying to fix others. Emotions are a guidance system and if something feels off then be brave enough to ask yourself why and do something about it the first moment you feel it. It could be as simple as changing how you respond to a person, like I stopped challenging a friend on their thought process. I realized my need to challenge them was to get them to see things the way I see them and that is just not possible. We often spin our wheels trying to get people to understand us in life only to realize that most people have to just learn on their own. We complicate relationships often because we feel complicated within. How we treat others is often a reflection of how we feel about ourselves in any given moment. Take a moment to pause and really be self-aware of how you feel and why you respond to people and situations the way you do. Taking inventory may lead you to making some changes which I like to call re-alignment. This is something everyone should do daily. Mindfulness check-ins can help us stay value focused so our choices throughout each day are moving towards the type of person we want to be, an aligned individual.

With love, health, and happiness,

Stacy

Accomplishment

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

I have been working full time while completing grad school. During this process I have had many ups and downs and in January I will start the final year in my degree, take my state license, and start my supervision hours. I have many emotions about this next year but mostly I am just ready to complete the process and finally be fully licensed and practicing on my own. The education and licensure process to be a therapist is a long one but so worth it. I often find myself in the “hurry up and wait” limbo. I wish to be at some point in the future where I believe life will somehow be better or easier. When I think about it I realize I have done this many times in life and for different reasons. There are many good things in the works for the future that will come in time and it is important for all of us to remember to be more present. Basically, do not wish your life away. Enjoy each moment to the fullest and appreciate the process.

I am currently navigating my first long-distance relationship and he is in the Army. Around the time he is set to retire I will be finishing my supervision hours and become fully licensed. We didn’t plan it that way, but I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. We attract people, places, things, and situations in life and I think my positive focus on my hopes and dreams for the future have brought me to this point in life with purpose. In my relationship we both are working on self-growth in addition to our careers. This distance in our relationship has its good and bad aspects but at this point I would say mostly good. It allows me to more easily focus on my education and career while still making plans for my future. It forces the relationship to move slow and for us to get to know each other in every aspect and really communicate.

Instead of pushing for the big end game take time to appreciate the little accomplishments along the way. Yes, it is good to be goal oriented and re-evaluate to make sure you keep your eyes on the prize, but not so much so that you fail to notice all the beauty of the present moment. As we move into the Christmas season and the New Year take pause to reflect on everything you have been through, good and bad. Really focus on the accomplishments and appreciate the present, slow down, breath in the moment. Do not rush through the holidays or get distracted by the commercial and gift giving aspects of the season, really take time to appreciate who and where you are in this moment in life…in history…because there will be a day when you will wish you could do it all again.

With love, health, and happiness,

Stacy

Healthy Space

Make Space to Grow as Individuals in Your Relationships

In my current long-distance relationship we have officially navigated through 3 months and have begun our 4th. Even though much of this new relationship has been discovering each other through technology like phone calls, FaceTime, and text messaging, we have also managed to spend at least one week each month in person. So far he has had more leave time and availability to travel than I have so he has been the one coming to me. My first trip to him will be this month for Christmas and I am excited about being able to see his world. Long-distance relationships have a bad reputation with most people and my current boyfriend was resistant to the idea. I didn’t push my thoughts on it because I never really navigated a long distance relationship before but I think anything is possible if you want it bad enough. After a week of great conversation and uncanny connections in life we decided to give it a go and focus on each other.

In this process so far I have found myself struggling with a healthy balance of space. I know at first you may think…what do you mean you are struggling to find a healthy balance for space? You are in a long-distance relationship, you should be getting plenty of space! Well, with technology I find that my new and wonderful boyfriend loves the idea of being on the phone with me everyday throughout the day and FaceTime any time we are at home and even when we sleep. At first I found this charming and super attentive and a great way for us to really get to know each other. He called it virtually living together. I found myself feeling a little overwhelmed. The big positive with our relationship is the comfort to be able to talk about anything. The communication is great and we have managed to navigate our differences very well. I honestly do not believe the comfort level would be the level that it is if we had not been on the phone with each other as much as we have. So with that being said, it brings me back to that healthy balance.

I am in graduate school and I have a full time job, friends, family, a home, and the need for just me time. We have started creating space and time to do things without always being on the technology with each other. In the beginning I can see where constant communication throughout the day can help create a level of understanding and trust but over time it can feel suffocating. I felt guilty when I had these feelings because I had prayed so hard for a good man who loves me as much as I love him and here I am asking him to give me some space. I felt conflicted at first but then I took time to really think about it. Creating a healthy balance is important and actually more beneficial to the relationship. This last visit together was a great example of how too much time together can actually have a negative impact. With Covid19 we didn’t really leave the house at all and spent 10 days together. When he left to go home we talked on the phone basically reviewing the week and we both agreed, we felt more like an old married couple and not a new, exciting relationship and it was concerning for both of us. I thought of a quote from the movie Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts, when James Franco’s character says: “you haven’t even given me a chance to miss you”. I think creating some space and having lives outside of each other creates an eagerness to talk and share later. The reason it felt so fun and alive in the beginning is because we were learning things about each other. When you spend every moment communicating about your day all day then what is left to share and learn? In order to be excited to see and talk to each other you have to go some period of time without seeing or talking to each other, even if its just a normal work day. Creating space helps create space for individual growth and experience which creates two stronger and happier individuals which in turn creates a strong and healthy relationship and who doesn’t want that?

With love, health and happiness,

Stacy

The Divide of Parent and Child

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Today is election day and as I watch news reports, read headlines, and listen to conversations as I go about my day I see many different values, thoughts, feelings, and ideas being expressed. In a phone call with my daughter I realized that she would vote differently than I and it was a moment of hesitation in my mind. As a parent I have worked hard to teach my one and only daughter to think for herself, have her own thoughts, ideas, and feelings and trusted that her morals, values and character would grow from seeds I have planted along the way. So when I first heard this information I wanted to challenge her, but I stopped myself. In that moment of silence I simply said, okay. I realized that my job was done well, that my thoughts and opinions were not pushed upon her, that she had become the strong independent woman I wanted her to be, and that she was deciding for herself. I know my daughter is smart, loving, and capable, and a young woman with her own dreams for the future that may be very different than my own. I trust that any choices she makes moving forward is a choice that she is willing to take full responsibility for and some of the choices I may not agree with and that is okay. As my daughter transitions into adulthood I know that she is finding her own path and I am proud of her constant desire to learn, explore and grow. Division of child from parent is a good thing, it means you did your job and they are ready to leave the nest. Even if they may take a different path than the one you had planned for them, love them anyway. First a parent must give a child roots to grow and then we must give them wings to fly.

With love, health, and happiness,

Stacy

How Busy is too Busy?

My Top 5 Health And Fitness Tips For Busy Women and Moms •

I am a full time office manager for a busy private practice counseling center. I am also a full time graduate student getting my masters in mental health counseling. I am also doing my practicum at my private practice site location where I am the office manager, which includes not only my regular office duties but now, also seeing clients. Not to mention all the other responsibilities I have in my life right now, a teenage daughter, a long distance relationship, and paying my bills, taking care of my pets…well, you get the point. Each day I play the roulette wheel of life to figure out where my focus will be to make sure I am giving my time to the most important projects and people. This has become a delicate balancing act, attempting to keep all the balls in the air and not letting them all fall completely to the ground.

I know I am not the only one who is doing this juggling/balancing act each week. Luckily I can see the light at the end of the tunnel with my graduation in May and my final internship next Summer. Supervision hours will start this time next year and before I know it, I will be successfully navigating my business plan for the future. These steady stepping stones are even more clear to me with my new relationship added into the picture. I have met a man who is military and on a similar timeline to his retirement. About the time I complete my supervision and become a fully licensed counselor he will be retiring from the Army and moving back to Missouri. This three year plan sounds like a long time and a lot of work but I can look back and remember when I was just finishing my BA in Psychology. So this brings me to the current evaluation of my busy life. How busy is too busy?

I have a new relationship I am navigating and even though we both have so much in common and similar long term goals, there is a distance between us that just makes things feel more complicated. As I am learning what kind of counselor I want to be I am also learning a new relationship and becoming more clear on how I see my future five years from now. When I think of how busy and stressed I am I realize that there is an end game, all my stress and everything making me so busy is for a purpose. I believe that purpose is what makes it easier to tolerate and more manageable. So my answer is, when busy is too busy is for you to decide. Are the things that make you feel so damn busy all the time really worthy of the stress? Are they projects and people you are investing in for the betterment of your future? Then it is not too much, it is not too busy, its worth it. I am a strong believer in re-evaluating our goals, routines, habits, and even relationships on a regular basis. If you are feeling overwhelmed and just too busy, then it is time to see if you can bring yourself peace of mind with your current choices or are there some things that need to go? Because you are never really too busy for your priorities in life.

With love, health, and happiness

Stacy