3 Tips to move to Acceptance

How are you? Now that we are back to near lockdown conditions in Trinidad and Tobago and we are seeing a surge of Covid – 19 cases and unfortunately an increase in the number of deaths, I need to ask, “How are you?

I reflect on how felt in 2020.  

I was nervous, I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t think.,  I was annoyed Every time someone said to me “Oh I attended a webinar “or “I am learning this and that,” I thought how annoying. 

 I was restless I felt very confined. Days turned into night in a blur and I was not doing well.

This time in 2021 I am much better with the lock down situation even though the days are still a blur. 

 I have been through 2020. I know what to expect and I have learned a few things. 

I have learned to be gentle with myself this time 

I am comfortable with this lock down. I know that there is nothing that I can do to change it and all is well in my world.

Its is a decision that I made, I survived 2021.  Back then the idea of curtailed movement, masking and constant hand washing were very, very strange .  Now my muscle memory has kicked in because I have done this before.

My body and my brain have registered this event as something familiar.  I no longer fear it, because it is no longer new. 

Yes it still is strange and in some ways very familiar. 

I also notice that I am more hopeful than I was last year.

I have no inkling to return to the normalcy of pre-covid.  I remain excited about the future knowing that after the pandemic some things will have changed forever.

I accept that this is where I am. I would admit that at times, I watch myself to see if this is real or  if I am pretending.

I know that some of you are not on the same page as I am and that’s ok. 

In 2020, I was certainly not where a lot of my peers were.  I ended 2020  really disliking the word pivot.  

All around me people were saying pivot and I was like really.

Instead of pivoting , I stood still. 

What most people don’t understand is that before we can  pivot we need to be still.

Think of netballers or basket ball players.

When they get the ball they don’t move. One foot remains planted on the ground even as lift the other and turn. We need to be still before we can pivot .

You got to have a foot on the ground before you can pivot.  

If you are staying still good for you, then maybe you are getting ready to oivot.  You can’t move and pivot.

I’m sharing this to say to you that it’s perfectly ok if you are anxious and worried.  I get that. 

It’s not easy for any of us.

A lock down affects all of us. 

Some of us are still attending get togethers. Some of us are still having people over and some of us are pretending that things are as they were before the pandemic hit.

If you’re pretending that your life doesn’t have to change and that you can go ahead doing as you were before the pandemic, then you are resisting change.

Some of us are keeping busy because we don’t want to stop and deal with the negative emptions that we may be feeling.  And there are a lot.  There is the depression, the frustration, the despair, the hopelessness a, the sadness and .the fear It a lot 

This is a difficult situation.  It can take an emotional toll on you and we can’t run from the feelings 

Think of it this way when we run away from a problem we are also moving away from the solution.  

We have to go through the difficult patch to emerge on the other side. Avoidance does not work

We have to accept that this situation is out of our control and look for ways to enrich our lives even as the pandemic rages.

We are all in pain and we don’t have to suffer because of it.

Pain is a natural and inevitable condition for humans, and we can choose whether or not we will suffer.

I an inviting you to Acceptance. I am inviting you to make an active choice to allow unpleasant experiences to exist, without trying to deny or change them.

Acceptance is a method of encouraging action that will lead to positive results.

I am inviting you to sit with the unpleasant feelings, to be present with them and accept them.  Let the sadness wash over you, you can take it. Cry if you need to.  Feel the anger swell up in you and punch a pillow or yell into it.  You can take it, Shake if you must, run if you must just feel it.

Believe it or not when you allow yourself to feel the feelings you will begin to be more comfortable with the feelings. Now that you have felt the feelings you can move beyond them by trying these three tips 

1. Reframe

We can’t always change what we experience, but we can change how we think about these experiences. We can choose new ways of viewing the same situation. I like to make the reframe a game and wonder how can I look for what’s good or neutral about the situation.  I say to myself, “I love to be out and about and I like breathing more.

Instead of saying “I feel confined staying at home doing the same things day in and day out,” I admit  that I am having a difficult time staying in one place. And I say to myself that it will soon be over. 

2. Trust the process 

The more we fight against the restrictions they harder the disease will seem to rage and the more that we will feel hopeless and overwhelmed. None of us has the power to change the regulations nor can we change the fact that we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. Look around the world, there are lockdowns every time there is a surge in cases.

When we accept a situation and let go of our need to control we will feel like a weight has been lifted off our shoulders.

We have to embrace and make friends with the situation.  We can move from feeling stuck and trapped into a place of recognizing “what is” and what can be done about it. 

3. Choosing Purposeful Action 

What actions can you choose to move forward in a positive, productive direction? 

We have to create the positive experience for ourselves. No one is going to do this for us.  What is your daily routine? Does it contribute to building a positive experience?

I journal how I feel most days.

Speaking to a mental health professional or a therapist or a counselor can also assist you to deal with your feelings.

You can also chat with friends who understand.

With these 3 tips I really want to support you to get through this difficult time.  It’s not easy and it’s not impossible to get through this.

It may sound silly but we can decide to accept the we are in a lockdown situation.  We are not in a unique position this is happening all around the world, and my hope is that you get through it.

Which of the three tips can you apply in your life?

My intention is to fuel you leadership spark so that together we can change the systems that we live work and play within.

Life Signs

When we want to get somewhere, we punch in an address on the GPS, follow the instructions and look out for the signs and landmarks that indicate that we are on the right track. If we get off-course, then the GPS gives a warning,  recalibrates a new route and sets us on another path to our destination. If we ignore the warning and continue along, then chances are we will not reach our destination – at least not at the estimated arrival time.
It’s the same with life. We know where we want to go, we set a path, and we follow the signs. The signs either tell us to keep going or give us a warning that we need to make some changes. When we heed the warning, we set another path and when we don’t we drift further from our destination. Just as the GPS, keeps telling us that we are off-course, so too with the signs – they get bigger and louder telling us that we need to make a change.

I know this very well, since I recently received some neon signs telling me that I was heading in the wrong direction. The first sign came early in the journey and I rationalized it away. “ It’s Ok. It’s a random event, nothing to do with me.” The second sign grabbed my attention. It was more dramatic than the first with much more negative connotations and yet still I dithered. My resistance went up and I began to whine, “Why do I need to make a change. I did nothing wrong.”  Every rational reason that I gave myself felt wrong, and sounded untrue, yet I persisted.  After that incident, the signs were everywhere – at the doctor’s office I overheard conversations pertinent to my situation, a chat with a stranger revealed even more information – all telling me the same thing “Give it up. Make a new plan. You are way off course.”

Reluctantly, I faced the truth. I was on the wrong path, and needed to recalibrate to get to my destination.

I gave up the fight.  I took the pain and made a new decision which is not without it’s demerits. I haven’t yet found my stride in the new situation and there are no familiar landmarks. That’s Ok. There are no more signs and the road ahead seems clear.

What signs are you ignoring?

Maxine Attong is the author of two business books – Change or Die – The Business Process Improvement Manual and Lead your Team to Win. She is a speaker, coach, Organisational Development consultant and of course an accountant.

Heart Moments

I have been saying “Yes” a whole lot more in 2015. Thus far it has led me to interesting people and places. I have been excited and thrilled by what unfolds in the moments that I expect nothing and open myself to the experience.
Yesterday one of the persons that I said yes to was explaining how she felt about me. She identified what emotions she felt as we interacted and explained how some of her assumptions changed as our relationship deepened. As she shared I realized that I could not participate in the discussion, since I could not tap into any feelings about her. I sounded unconvincing as I explained that I like her, I enjoy the time that we spent together, and I look forward to spending more time with her.
As I walked away from that exchange I realised that I fooled myself into thinking that I have been fully present in each moment that we shared. I can recall the places we have been to, the conversations that we had, the experiences that we shared but I could not associate any particular emotional response to them.
Today, I admitted that I have not been fully participating in the moments. I have been an observer, watching the stories go by, without being vested in the outcomes. I have been riding the waves and not dipping into the ocean. I have been gazing starry eyed at that moments, enjoying the thrills while being disengaged.
Today I realized that I cannot truly experience and engage in the moments and the people without my heart.
Today I reaffirm my commitment to being in the moment. I am saying yes to the moments with my heart.

How do you engage in the moments? With heart or head?

Three Travel must haves

As I packed my bags she watched me. She walked over just to the edge of the suitcase and peered inside to see what I was packing. When I was finished she made her assessment. “I have something for you.” She ran inside her bedroom and brought out her grandmother’s robe. “Take this,” she offered, “so you can be comfortable.” Her mother intervened, “That belongs to your grandmother, and you need to return it to her.” Undeterred she returned to her room, and brought a purple stuffed animal that folded into a pillow. “Take my pillow,” she offered, “So you will be comfortable.” I thanked her and she placed the pillow inside the suitcase.
She danced around a bit, then said, ” You need something pretty.” She returned to her room and brought me a little bracelet that she made over the holidays and placed it on my wrist. She then commanded that I take it off and placed it in a beautiful mirrored jewelry box. This she put in my purse.
“One more thing,” she sang. This time she offered a trophy with some pink hooks hanging from the handles. “What’s that for?” I asked. She shrugged, “It’s just a trophy for you. You know, a prize” This she placed in my suitcase and stood by for me to zip it up.
Her gifts to me are what I will treasure and remember about the trip. I will always ensure that when I am traveling that I pack something comfortable, something pretty and remind myself that I am a prize.

I got the joy

Today I woke up in a startlingly happy mood. I did not even have coffee and I was buzzing The first note that I sent out this morning was greeted with the reply “Wow, you are in a great mood.”
Throughout the day, it continued. I was just happy, I could feel it. It was tangible, palpable and alive.
This was a strange feeling for me. To experience pure joy on waking up, and to sustain it through the day, especially when there was no stimuli was involved. No party, no one next to me, no gifts, no alcohol, no drugs or other stimuli, no change of routine; yet there I was experiencing a moment of bliss and pure joy.
Throughout the day the feeling kept me company, just below the surface. Nothing grand happened today but I engaged in conversations when I normally would not. I hugged someone who resigned, and I was generally more present and aware of the people around me. I got involved in chats and engaged in light, playful banter and at times I was playful and even mischievous. All my exchanges were done in good taste, all in a spirit of lightness, all with a freedom from repercussion.
Even now as the day is winding down, I am still in this tangible, palpable good mood. The feeling stayed with me for the day and I can still feel it.
I started the year 2014, with questions about joy. How to find it? What it feels like? Now 16 days before the end of the year I experienced it. It is an amazing experience and I want more.
Now I am curious. I want to see how long the mood lasts and how long it will feel like this. For a moment today I thought about examining this fully so that I could understand the triggers for the feeling, thinking that maybe I could flip the switch whenever I needed to. My joy determined that was not a good strategy. Instead, I am riding this wave of joy, enjoying the feeling of it and when it lands I will be right there to see what happens next.

Have you ever experienced Joy? What triggered it for you?

Being in Budapest. Blog 55

I have spent the last 11 days in the beautiful city of Budapest.  During that time I have worked in teams, visited some amazing places, drank some extremely good wine and have had the opportunity to confirm my human connections.

Now as I am at the end of my stay I am starting to think about my home, my job and my routine.  In the midst of all this splendor I am making decisions about where I left off and how to get on with my life. I feel a rising impatience to get back into the swing of things and to push for the goals that I want to achieve before the end of the year.  As I write, I am noticing the language and the words that are being transferred from my mind to the page – impatience, swing, achieve, and push.  These words suggest movement outwards away from myself into the world, they suggest an effort by me to move from one place to another.  I realise that I these words are part of my pattern and habit of going, going, going.

I made a split second decision to just stop and enjoy my last day in Budapest tomorrow and not project and think about all the things that need to be done when I get home.  They will be done, when I get home, they are important and will have their place in the sun.

For the rest of my short time here I am committed to be in the Budapest moment, not the New York or Trinidad moment, not in the work or the house redecoration moment.  Whatever I think about for the next 30 hours will only be about what is in front of me in Budapest and nothing else.  Only what I see and hear in the moment will be the things that occupy my mind. All other thoughts will be chased off and shut down so that there is only room left for what is in front of me.

A bit of a challenge, and I am up to it.  Being in the here and now takes practice so where else than Beautiful Budapest to practice a new habit.

What distracts you from enjoying the moment?  How do you practice being in the moment?