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The Joy of Evolving

The original goal for my blog was to write from my heart with a desire to encourage and inspire people in their life journey. 

And I just wanted to write. Because I love writing.

I’m not sure that I’m any good at it but it gives me joy. And thus, this blog began. A journey of my heart.

In the few short months of its existence, my vision has expanded. At first I wanted to inspire by sharing little glimpses of my heart and life and journey. But I realized that along with a desire to inspire, I wanted to share mental health tips and tools with my own stories of what I am learning as I use them.

There is an aspect of vulnerability that I am allowing myself as I write and share. I do so because I want others to know that we are all human.

I am experiencing my own evolution in real time as I post and share.

And then it occurred to me…

You see, I have the MOST AMAZING team that I am blessed to work alongside.

These amazing women have heart my friends. The genuine kind. Authentic. The real deal. ❤️

And the wealth of education, career experience, life experience is immense. I learn from them every day. They inspire me. They challenge me. But most important, they love, accept and support me, their fallible leader. And I like to think I do the same for them. 

So, I have invited them to share with you dear friends. We may cover topics like parenting, early childhood, autism spectrum, ADHD, addictions and recovery, resilience, mindfulness, lifestyle tips and tools, and more. I will support them and celebrate their blogging adventures.

I will be asking each of my team to share a little about themselves. I want you to get to know them as I do. ❤️ And I will dedicate an area of the blog to each, so you know where to find them. ☺️

I am so excited for what is to come. 🌈

Stay tuned dear ones! 

Blessings,

Christine

 

I Want More of That! What Happens When We Apply the “I Think I Can!” Mentality

I have been hard at work with my colleague of late. Our recent project is learning and developing the technology to launch a Self-Care Support Group for educators.

We’ve had to learn about launch sites, internal/external links, landing pages, yada yada yada. My head swims. At the end of a work session I literally am left with brain fog.

I often look something like this…

Have you ever felt like this when working on a project? Or just with life in general?

I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone here. And as I do so, I am working equally hard on myself.

This is what I am learning.

We call it a “comfort zone” for a reason. Doing new things and pursuing new goals and dreams is bound to be uncomfortable, frustrating, painful…

You get the picture.

But I am now settling in to the discomfort. I am learning to be okay with it. I am accepting this as part of the process.

This is a REALLY big deal for me! It has helped me push through my “non-starts”.

This has helped me to move beyond paralyzing self-doubt. And move into “I can do” this thing.

This mentality my friends, is invigorating! And contagious!

A specific action that I am learning to apply with this “I think I can” mentally is:

I am CELEBRATING each little victory! I take a moment to feel good about each new success!

This too is a REALLY big deal for me.

What is happening is:

I am enjoying the journey!

I look forward to tackling the next piece of my projects.

I feel joy.

I feel a sense of accomplishment.

I feel a sense of pride in hard work.

I feel good about myself.

The flip side of that coin was feeling stuck, beating myself up for what I didn’t understand, wanting to believe in myself but giving in to self-doubt.

Try applying these simple tools 🛠 🧰

1. Settle into the discomfort of being out of your comfort zone. It’s part of the process.

2. Celebrate your successes EVERY.STEP.OF.THE.WAY!

You will begin to grow, develop new skills, and gain confidence.

I get REALLY excited about learning and growing! If you know me, this is what happens when this happens. 😂

My motto continues to be… “I want more of that!

Won’t you join me? 😀

Blessings dear ones,

Christine Nicklaus

BUILDING RESILIENCE: ONE SIMPLE TOOL YOU CAN BEGIN TO DO TODAY!

FILL YOUR JAR,
FILL YOUR HEART, FILL YOUR LIFE

This year, like so many, I have had my challenges navigating life and a business through the pandemic. You are not alone dear ones.

I would like to share my favorite, most effective tool.

Hint… it has to do with filling the “empty jar” in my mind with positive thoughts, gratitude, and reframing my experiences.

Honestly, I can say that I continue to experience peace and joy in the midst of stress, worries, challenges, and setbacks.

Let me share an example:

In the beginning of our state wide “stay at home” order, our dishwasher died and our wash machine did not drain all the water leaving the clothes a big sopping mess.

Rather than complain, which I wanted to mind you, I switched my thoughts to the following:

Thank God I am healthy and can wash the dishes myself. I am grateful for warm water, soap, and the food I was able to eat on my dishes.”

When I went to put my laundry in the dryer, I thought:

I can’t imagine the women of ages gone by that had to do all their laundry by hand. Thank God for the energy to wring out my laundry 🧺 by hand and the dryer that will dry the clothes I am blessed to wear.

Forgive me if this sounds “Pollyanna-ish”. But truly, it made a difference in my outlook and my ability to cope with these two inconveniences.

Let’s consider the opposite approach for a moment.

I can’t believe it. What a time for not one, but TWO appliances to go on the fritz. This just stinks. I think the whole world is against me. Ugh! Grr!!!” Insert 🤬😡😤 here.

I found myself actually frowning and furling my brow just typing those thoughts.

Even that realization makes me thankful that I did not take that approach! You see, I, like everyone was adjusting to everything that the pandemic required of us. It was not an easy time.

Setting our minds to choosing our outlook each day, boosts our mental and emotional resiliency to handle large and small challenges.

For those that are skeptical, I simply ask you to test it in your life.

Start with a Positive Word/Thought Jar.

Do it for a month.

Pause and reflect.

If you experience a positive difference (lowered stress level, more positive outlook, increased overall sense of well-being), repeat. ☺️

Blessings on your journey dear one,

Christine

EMPOWERING YOUTH DURING THE PANDEMIC

www.linkedin.com/posts/unicef_mentalhealth-activity-6739176490740531200-3dHK

The pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for all ages.

Not only are the tips included above empowering to youth, they are empowering to parents as well.

Furthermore, it can be advice for anyone juggling a life that has switched to so many daily functions taking place from home.

Let’s add a few more examples.

• It all starts with being in tune to our children and youth. If we see our youth struggling, sit down and have a conversation with them about their life. Listen with your heart and validate their experiences.

• Rather than telling your youth what to do to address their struggles, work together to come up with solutions. This is a life skill that will last them long past the pandemic’s end.

• Keep the lines of communication open. Help them evaluate how their solutions are working and give them the emotional space to make mistakes. This is a time period that everyone has had to learn to adjust. Some solutions work. Other solutions flop. And that is okay. Providing unconditional love and support allows youth to know it is alright to make a mistake. It also teaches a viewpoint that encourages learning from our mistakes. These are often the best life lessons.

• Telling our youth that their routine and structure is important is far less effective than living a life that models the same. Youth pay attention to everything and the old adage, “Do as I say not as I do.”, does not fly with them. Our words need to match our actions.

• Communicate your own struggles and how you are working through them. This allows our youth to see that they are not alone.

• Celebrate their successes. We all need positive reinforcement and it goes farther than ever these days.

• Tell your youth (and children) that you love them and are proud of them. Self-doubt is rampant among everyone these days. Don’t assume they know it. Even if you are not in the practice of saying it, now is your opportunity to grow as a parent. Your discomfort in speaking it is an investment in your youth’s sense of self-worth.

• Practice gratitude with them. Begin a habit of sharing something you each are thankful for each day. Don’t repeat the same one. This improves thinking skills and helps challenge negativity. The more it is practiced, the more things we can identify. This promotes wellbeing and improves overall quality of life.

May we love our youth and lead them by our example today. ❤️

Blessings dear ones 🍁

Christine

REMEMBERING THE GOLDEN RULE: ARE YOU THE ONE?

MAY WE BE “THE ONE” FOR SOMEONE TODAY ❤️

Last week, the day before Thanksgiving, I went to our large retail hardware store. When I was in the checkout line, I witnessed a young teenage girl in tears and the adult manager comforting her. She told the girl, “Take a break, go to the bathroom and gather yourself. Remember, people that act like that are usually unhappy with themselves or with something in their own life. Don’t take it personal.”

I was instantly moved to compassion for this young lady. And because I have an innate curiosity, I couldn’t help but inquire. “Is everything okay? Was a customer unkind to her?”

I entered into a conversation with my checkout clerk and this manager. Mostly I just listened. It was as if my questions unleashed a flood within them both.

They went on to share a number of different experiences:

• We get yelled at.

• We get called names and sworn at.

• We have people get right in our face and want to fight us.

• We’ve been spit on.

• We have parents engage in this kind of behavior in front of their children (of all ages).

As if all of this was not enough, they went on to add, “This is a daily experience for us.” A DAILY EXPERIENCE!

I felt their emotion in my heart that night and I feel it just as strongly this morning as I write this.

Just by listening, I was able to validate their experience. I can not honestly imagine enduring that kind of treatment on a daily basis.

I can’t tell you how much this grieves my heart. Does it bother you? I hope it does. I really do. Because our words and actions have an impact on others.

Have you witnessed situations like this?

Have you been on the receiving end of such actions?

Have you been the person to treat others in this manner?

I grew up watching television shows like, “Little House on the Prairie” and “The Waltons”. Both shows took place in eras gone by.

Every episode held messages of love and kindness, helping our neighbors, doing what is right, honesty, integrity…

These shows made a positive impact on my life. I still watch reruns and feel a sense of nostalgia every time.

I can tell you that the experience I had last week is the most polar opposite than those depicted on a weekly basis on those beloved shows.

I can also tell you that I LONG for a return of love and kindness.

I suppose I am writing this more from the need to soothe myself. Because my heart literally hurts when I think of that young high schooler (who by the way was only in her second or third week of training).

I want to ask us all (and I say us all because I am not perfect and will never pretend to be), to return to the Golden Rule.

“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

And may we remember the teaching, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Oh if we could just return to functioning in this way. What a different world we would live in.

I know the current culture around the world has created hardships that no one is immune to. But love heals, not hate. Kindness soothes where anger enflames.

I implore us all to think before we speak or act. The old adage, “Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me.”, could not be further from the truth.

So I ask us today to consider:

WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE?

Oh that we would all choose love. Won’t you choose a simple thank you, a smile, a kind word or simple gesture? And may we remember that we never know what another is going through.

Blessings dear ones,

Christine

❤️ LOVE, MAY WE ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE ❤️

LOVE, MAY WE ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE

I have a confession to make. I live in America and it absolutely grieves my heart to see such division among us. My heart literally aches. 💔

Right now all that I see is a huge divide among us. It is an Us vs Them mentality. It doesn’t matter what side anyone is on. It is literally Us vs Them.

I also see a nation hurting. It makes me think of something Joyce Meyer talks about often in her books, “Hurting people, hurt people.”

Because of the work that I do as a mental health counselor, I see so much hurting from so many root sources: trauma, abuse, mental health, addictions, health problems, broken relationships/families, and so much more.

These are heartbreaking stories and they are the very real lives of our dear clients.

I ALWAYS say, “It is an honor and a privilege to walk along beside someone on their journey of healing, growth, and recovery.” And I mean that with all sincerity from deep in my soul.

Why would I share this? Because I’m meeting someone where they are at. I am focused on the very real state of their heart and mind and life. I am moved to compassion every.single.time. ❤️ I know what it is like to hurt after all. We all do.

And it occurs to me now. How do we heal the heart of our nation? We do so by no longer looking at Us vs Them. We look past Red vs Blue. We do this by looking at the humanity within all of us.

We all experience hurts. We all laugh. We all experience love. We all experience loss. We all are part of a family, even if it is a family of our own choosing.

I can’t help but believe that if we all begin to look into the eyes and the soul of the person before us, we could see beyond what is the primary thing on everyone’s minds these days.

If we look at each individual as the people that we all are, we might see someone whose heart aches over a family member whose is battling addiction. We might find common ground as two people who have lost a beloved person so dear that both our hearts are breaking. Perhaps there are two folks who are both stepping out to start a new phase in their careers. Maybe there are two new parents celebrating the birth of their precious child.

Oh dear ones, these are our common experiences. These are our connections. This is my heart connecting with your heart because we share a common joy or sorrow or nervousness or excitement.

A common component of recovery in a Twelve Step program is service. Ultimately why this is a vital part of recovery is because it gets us outside of ourselves. Instead of me, me, me, it switches our focus outward toward what we can do for others. There is a beautiful miracle that takes place in that person’s soul. It makes one feel good! It makes a person feel a part of something bigger than oneself.

The quote below comes to my mind.

Be the change you want to see in the world 🌎.”

And we can do just that by beginning to connect our hearts again. May we begin to look at how we can love each other again. Simple acts. Kind acts. Random acts. These can heal the anger, the hatred, the divide.

I hear so many say, “I am so tired of this!” I don’t even have to qualify or quantify that statement.

So let’s get tired together today and every day moving forward!

I am going to offer up a challenge. May every person who reads these words, find one way to be kind to someone today. Do it. And do it again the next day. And the next.

See what happens within your heart.

I will do this. And I vow every day to share a brief blog about what I did and how I feel about it.

Won’t you join me? We can heal our divided nation and our world by connecting one heart to another. Over and over again. I TRULY BELIEVE THIS.

The time is now dear reader ❤️

Blessings (and connections and love),

Christine

MAY WE CHOOSE LOVE, ALWAYS LOVE

www.facebook.com/110653686291709/posts/646558339367905/

THESE THINGS DO NOT DEFINE US

www.linkedin.com/posts/mhr-newmexico_mentalhealth-behavioralhealth-wellness-activity-6726818280838873088-4Du-

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