Well-Being

Ungrateful and Pissed Off? A Curmudgeon’s Survival Guide for Thanksgiving

Ungrateful and Pissed Off? A Curmudgeon’s Survival Guide for Thanksgiving by Rachel Alexander{6:00 minutes to read}

Don’t look now, but here comes Thanksgiving!

When you are already in survival mode, a holiday can add insult to injury. If you are bracing for the holidays as a newly divorced family, maybe spending your first Thanksgiving without your kids or extended family, “celebrating” anything can seem absurd. Forced festivities can increase the sense of what’s missing and highlight not only what you are not grateful for, but what you’re actually pretty pissed off about.

During the holidays there is an expectation or even social insistence that you feel one thing when you’re actually experiencing quite another. That disconnect can be difficult to tolerate much less navigate. Here are just a few recommendations to normalize this experience and help us all get through the holiday intact.

1. Take it in small bites; which is also good advice for your digestion on this holiday anyway. How you may or may not be feeling this holiday is no indication of how you will feel in a week, a month, or for any other Thanksgiving hereafter.

Be invited to back away from a sense that this experience is prescient of the rest of your life. It is just right now that needs to be dealt with. And deal with it we will!

2. Trying to force yourself to feel anything other than what you’re actually experiencing tends not to work. It also tends to be a way of devaluing and negating yourself, and that’s something most of us do not need a repeat experience of.

Rather than forcing yourself to contrast how you would like to be or feel with how you actually feel, put your attention on being kind to yourself as you would a dear friend or beloved pet. Keep this simple. Check in with yourself frequently. Make yourself a cup of tea. Even treating yourself with more patience by giving permission not to rush is a kindness we rarely afford ourselves.

3. Do something that will distract and give your overstimulated emotions a break. Whether that’s watching a funny, stupid, scary or thrilling movie, or hiking with a group through the woods, do something that introduces another aspect of your capacity and emotional range. This can help create internal space and balance in a way that focusing on what’s wrong cannot.

4. One of our best resources is our own bodies. A simple, effective way to ground yourself and manage difficulty is through bodily awareness. A little bit of movement and physical activity can be enormously helpful. Even tapping your left then right foot several times while bringing your attention to the sensation of contact with the ground beneath can help stabilize run-away emotion. The body returns us to our connection with the earth and this moment.

5. Be here now. Focus only on this moment; this hour, what you’re doing now, staying away from a global interpretation, because our minds tend to go there when we’re feeling distraught.

6. Finding our way to gratitude when feeling like a curmudgeon is more like it. Let’s interact with gratitude by keeping it small and specific:

What am I grateful for right this minute?

It might be that you have a cell phone. It could be that you don’t have a cell phone. It could be that you have feet, if you have feet, or that you have a car that you were able to drive wherever you needed to go. It could be that you’re able to breathe easily and are over last week’s cold.

The act and importance of gratitude has more to do with reorienting ourselves to experiencing the fullness of what we already have rather than doing an actual tally. It’s a shift in how we relate to what is already here for us. It can be simple and basic; the sun rose and the moon is still held in the sky.

Or perhaps it can be wildly inventive. I for one am grateful I’ve never had to undergo an exorcism or be aboard an alien spacecraft (although some who know me may think that’s how I arrived here). I’m grateful not to be a giant octopus or sardine (they may be perfectly joyous but I think I would be cold).

All of these are just suggestions to help you navigate if you’re having a rough go during the holidays, particularly during Thanksgiving, when you might be put upon to identify what you appreciate.

This is holiday first aid.

If you’re having a marvelous holiday, good on you! You can disregard all of this. Feel great and rejoice! Extend extra kindness to those who need it.

Wishing everyone peace and love, now and in the future. A grounded, supported, and above all gentle Thanksgiving to all.

Rachel AlexanderRachel Alexander
Alexander Mediation Group
119 West Valley Brook Rd
Califon, NJ 07830
(908) 832-2305

 

Mindfulness and “Self-in-Presence”: A Tool for Divorce Mediation?

{5:18 minutes to read} How do we get present?Mindfulness and “Self-in-Presence”: A Tool for Divorce Mediation? by Rachel Alexander

Last time we looked at the importance of mindfulness and getting present, so how do we do it?

Practice, practice, practice!  And, softly, softly, softly.

One suggestion: set an alarm on your smartphone to sound a gentle tone several times during the day.  When you hear it, simply bring your awareness back to yourself and your body, perhaps offering yourself the gentle prompt: “How am I right now? How am I feeling just now? Where is that located in my body?” It’s very simple, and takes less than a cluster of seconds. It’s merely taking a pause. A simple checking in, noticing, without trying to rectify, manipulate or adjust anything.

Grounding techniques also encourage mindfulness. Simply tap your feet on the floor, left then right, several times until you are able to bring your awareness into the feel of your feet in your shoes, stockings, and on the floor beneath. Simply paying attention to the sensation can bring one back to the present. Physical exercise, meditation, prayer, yoga, and time in nature all help bring us into conscious awareness. Anything that helps our senses return to our surroundings and our attention return to our bodies reorganizes us to the present.

Mindfulness and “Self-in-Presence”: A tool for divorce mediation?

Ann Weiser Cornell and Barbara McGavin, inventors of Inner Relationship Focusing, developed the term and concept “Self-in-Presence.” They suggest that “self-in-presence” is required not only to experience a “felt sense” (a bodily experience of something not yet articulated, at the edge of one’s awareness) but for meaningful personal change to occur.

What is “self-in-presence?” It is a state of grounded, non-judgmental awareness. It is the ability to turn toward whatever is arising in you: experience, thoughts, emotions, and so on.

This is similar to the “observer” self in Buddhism and mindfulness practice. There is an awareness of the body in space, on a chair, in contact with the world around it. There is a focusing attitude of “interested curiosity,” a turning towards oneself in the way one would turn towards a lost child or young animal upon first meeting. This is an approach of care, a slowing down, an attuning to. It brings a listening intent. It keeps company with.

We are in self-in-presence when we can acknowledge our internal and external environment with a compassionate curiosity, a befriending, a welcoming of everything exactly as it is.

To summarize:.

  • Simply turn toward yourself exactly as you are in this moment — do this by pausing and bringing your awareness to your body and breath now, and in any moment you remember.
  • Notice that you are having an experience and see if you can get a sense of it in your body. See how that might feel different than the sensation of being indistinguishable from the experience you are having.
  • Practice keeping company with yourself — your feeling or your perception — rather than identifying as it. When you notice yourself having a strong reaction, you are already expanding, as you are now both the one experiencing something and the one observing the experiencing.

Try taking this further by changing what you say to yourself from “I am _______ (furious, thrilled, overwhelmed) ” to ”something in me is _________ (furious, thrilled, overwhelmed).” For example,“I am angry” becomes ”something in me is angry.” By experimenting with this linguistic shift (which I learned from Ann Weiser Cornell), you create more space for the vastness and complexity of all of you.

Regardless of how overcome we feel by a particular sensation or feeling at a given moment, we are each — always — much more than any one thing. This is also called “disidentification.” You are not your emotion, or only your emotion. By making this shift, you invite the more of you that can notice the angry (or activated) part without merging with it. The you that can keep company with all of what is occurring for you.

Once we are in (indeed, are) this expansive, observing space, we can be both with ourselves and one another differently. In this way we welcome wholeness, healing and conclusion.

Special thanks to Ann Weiser Cornell for her comments and suggestions on this article.

Rachel AlexanderRachel Alexander
Alexander Mediation Group
119 West Valley Brook Rd
Califon, NJ 07830
(908) 832-2305

 

Mindfulness and Mediation

Mindfulness and Mediation by Rachel Alexander{3:30 minutes to read} In some spiritual practices, a bell sounds several times a day calling the observant to prayer. Like a mindfulness bell, it brings the devotee back to what is important: her God; her Self; the precious here and now.

When people are not in the here and now, they are in a default-geography of past and future. A space that does not, in fact, exist. The past no longer exists and the future similarly has not yet been born. It is the landscape of fear, unconsciousness, muddled and circular thinking. It is where unhappy, historic narratives are recited, churned and finally stagnate into algae-clogged swamps.

It’s the habitat for loud, punishing declarations. “I’m getting an attorney/walking out/telling the children what you did.”

This is the place of Nothing Good Happening.

When people are in the conflict of divorce, repeating reactive behaviours, the inclusion of mindfulness practice helps slow things down. Slowing down makes one observable to one’s self. Slowing down helps one catch up with oneself.

Like slowing down film footage in order to see the material more precisely – to glean what is otherwise unobservable, or slowing down the car when finding your way through a foreign neighborhood – we slow down when emotions are high and what we are doing matters.

Mindfulness slows us down so we can make better decisions, fewer mistakes, and take the appropriate level of care. Counterintuitively, slowing down helps us ultimately pick up the pace sooner.

Getting divorced without mindfulness is like holding a board meeting with most of the members absent. The decisions made will be less informed. The required quorum might not exist, so no decision reached will hold.

Einstein said: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Shifting gears into an aware, thoughtful space immediately shifts people from causing problems to resolving them. When divorcing clients are attuned to themselves, they can better:

  • Simultaneously observe and engage, interact purposefully;
  • Access their innate intelligence;
  • Identify authentic wants and needs;
  • Regard the other party with clarity and spaciousness, experiencing relief; and
  • Cooperate to problem solve and co-parent.

When people are fully present, they have access to their best selves. They are not ruled by what is old and outdated – be it behavioral patterns or “unfinished business” that continually surfaces and runs away with them.

Mediation is about listening purposefully and intently. This can only take place in the present. Almost every mediation client identifies the breakdown of communication as a primary catalyst in the collapse of the marriage. Listening is how conflicts get resolved. It’s the balm for emotional abrasions.

So how do we get present? More on that coming up in our next blog.

Rachel AlexanderRachel Alexander
Alexander Mediation Group
119 West Valley Brook Rd
Califon, NJ 07830
(908) 832-2305

 

Curiosity: The Little Word that Could

 

Curiosity: The Little Word that Could | Rachel Alexander

{5:80 minutes to read} Curiosity: A simple word that can unlock possibilities, shift paradigms, and free us from the bondage of our own “rightness.”

In Focus Oriented Therapy, we are called to settle into the here and now, sense into our body, check in with ourselves with a “childlike curiosity.” This invitation, this language, has amazed me. I have become enthralled with the concept of curiosity! It asks such a complete departure from unconscious living. It holds an almost touching possibility of compassionate attention.

I am curious about how effective an approach of curiosity could be in divorce mediation. Could curiosity be a golden key to unlocking conflict?

In conflict like divorce, people often contract into rigid positions, false certainty, their own “rightness.” Rather than the actual conflict that needs resolving, the immovability of the parties itself becomes an obstacle to settlement. With this stiffened, positional attitude, negotiation is impossible. Thinking is usually black and white, unnuanced, inflexible.

Resolution requires a movability, a spaciousness. I propose that curiosity provides that.

We can introduce curiosity by shifting slightly, and approaching first ourselves with a “childlike” and “interested” curiosity. What does this approach look like? It is similar to the way we would approach a frightened little child whom we had never met. It is how we might approach an injured animal we wished to aid. We don’t race towards it. We assess, move slowly, check in with the little one as we move closer. We don’t yet know what is wrong, what is needed, or even if we should get closer. This brings a living, aware and open attitude. It requires a continual checking in with our own internal sense and our sense of the other. It makes room for both. It implies our acknowledgment of the unknown.

Curiosity allows us to back up a bit from the entanglement and immediacy of the situation. It loosens our grip and asks us to observe what is taking place before engaging. This is anathema to how we tend to be when we are threatened, angry, deep into a conflict.

With curiosity, we regain our composure. We change stances and become more of an explorer, a visitor in our own situation. We want to see what’s going on, within and then also without. We don’t need to assert, change, judge, fix, condemn. We merely need to look into what is occurring.

If we become curious about the other:

  • What makes the house so important to her?
  • What is this experience for him?

We begin to listen and relate differently. Our attention turns. Our approach becomes more of a listening observer.

This doesn’t mean we give up ourselves and cave in to the demands of the other. Quite the opposite. In this place we are stronger and more effective because we are more present. We are more fully there, have more of ourselves “online,” accessible and thus can more fully assess what’s needed. We settle and slow down a bit. We start to inhabit a more comfortable, attuned separateness, as well as make possible a more helpful engagement.

In conflict, a genuine curiosity into what the other is up against, what she is hoping for, what he is struggling with, a shifting to understand the other immediately introduces a tone of respect and concern. Still from a safe distance. A humanness emerges. In this space, a space when the parties acknowledge the other’s otherness, their own wholeness and separateness, possibilities emerge, blood pressure drops, and settlements form.

Here is an example. A painfully introverted friend recently had to go to a large networking event, alone. She knew no one going and was filled with dread. We introduced curiosity. Instead of looking at herself from the outside, a stance which engendered self-consciousness and anxiety, she adopted an attitude of curiosity into what would be happening around her. Who are these other people attending the event? What are they there for, what are they all about? Could there be something of value, perhaps even something fascinating or precious to be discovered in conversation? Cloaked in the thick buckskin of curiosity, she would enter the event with greater ease; an explorer, with clear intent and interest. Curiosity can anchor us when we enter the unknown.

Curiosity is not obsession or fascination. It doesn’t grab, demand, insist. It is light and careful, perhaps even cautious. It is an approaching with a light touch, an asking, a checking into. It is the antidote for stuckness, meanness, holding fast. An appropriate and helpful stance to hold in conflict, divorce and certainly in mediation.

Rachel AlexanderRachel Alexander
Alexander Mediation Group
119 West Valley Brook Rd
Califon, NJ 07830
(908) 832-2305

Rachel “Andy Rooney” Alexander—An Op-Ed Blog

Rachel “Andy Rooney” Alexander—An Op-Ed Blog by Rachel Alexander{3:18 minutes to read}

Why is everything so truncated and terrible these days? Why can’t we have something that works well?

Years ago, we had our credit cards swiped by store clerks. Then, we had to swipe them ourselves, and now we have chip cards, allegedly for our protection, that require considerably more time to process. Since I started using my chip card, I’ve had my first security breach. Chip credit cards—take longer, more complicated. Horrible!

So, what I want to say is that everything is being abbreviated to something worse than its original.

For example:

Actual in-person visits were replaced by telephone calls; phone calls were replaced by emails; emails (and conversations) have been replaced by text messages; text messaging has been replaced with emojis; breaking-up has been replaced with ghosting. And so on.

That’s a lot of replacing of things that actually worked well in their original form.

So, I have a proposal. Why don’t we just keep on truncating everything into oblivion?

In New Jersey, we’ve gotten it down to two seasons—winter and summer. Remember how we used to have four seasons? How last-year! Spring and autumn, while admittedly favorites of many, are time consuming.

And why do we need to have all 12 months of every year? Why don’t we just cut out the excess and “bottom line it,” as my dad would say. Let’s save time and only have two months: January and July. That way we don’t have to waste our time living out all those months of the year, celebrating religious and secular holidays and the birthdays of our children and loved ones. We can just cut out that pesky inefficiency; cut those pork-barrel months and cut to the chase.

This will also resolve our pursuit of longevity. One need only reach age 30 to have lived 360 years! Looking only a fraction of one’s “age.” Sounds to me like two problems solved!

If Great Britain can break from the EU, shouldn’t we keep pace and break from the planetary system altogether? I mean, who needs the whole moon circling the Earth and Earth circling the sun thing? Why should our schedule be so contingent on those two? Who is the sun to be so revolved around? Why not call it quits with nature and do our own thing, which will maximize efficiency. It will minimize quality of life, true, but you can’t have everything.

AND, we will be living greener because we no longer need as much paper for calendars.
This has been Andy Rooney in for Rachel Alexander.

Rachel Alexander

Rachel Alexander
Alexander Mediation Group
119 West Valley Brook Rd
Califon, NJ 07830
(908) 832-2305

Divorce: Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When to Fold ‘Em

Divorce: Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When to Fold ‘Em by Rachel Alexander{5:36 minutes to read} Recently, a young man, Dave*, called the office, reeling from the discovery of his wife’s infidelity and, even more so, from the lies she told to cover it up. As a divorce mediator and family law attorney, it’s not unusual to receive a call from someone experiencing painful emotions. This young man wanted to schedule an appointment as soon as possible and begin an action for divorce. Dave was shaken, triggered and emotionally hijacked. He was in crisis and aiming to push through it into action.

When a person calls inquiring into mediation on the bruised and blistered heels of a triggering event, my first goal is not to schedule an appointment. My first goal is to introduce a calmer, slower pace so that the reasoning part of the brain—the left or rational part that goes offline when emotional flooding occurs—is invited back into the conversation. I know crisis, and when someone is in the midst of it, it is definitely time to take action, but it’s often not the action first identified by the person in crisis.

Starting a mediation process should not be a reactive, reflexive decision. People who enter into the process or schedule an appointment immediately after a provoking event are often not ready to proceed. Once they have regained their equilibrium, they typically call to cancel. Those that get as far as the first appointment usually don’t make it further. They aren’t in the right place yet.

Often a one-time bad act or traumatic event results in a phone call to a divorce mediator, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to divorce. Nor should it. As I conveyed to the young fellow on the phone: divorce, as an option, isn’t going anywhere. It will be available should you need it, but it’s not your only choice.

There are times when divorce might be the right option, but it almost never needs to be the first one.

Launching into a divorce, before having a chance to process what’s happened, may be hasty and harmful. When done as a way to strike out or demonstrate anger, it is typically met with a retaliatory attitude of hostility and aggression. Things get stirred up rather than resolved.

Allowing a settling, both within and without (i.e. internally and situationally), and providing yourself the kindness of time, can be a way to show yourself compassion and begin the recovery from the incident.

Give your feelings a chance to catch up. It is always of value to allow the rational brain to come back on board before you launch into any action. Marsha Linehan calls this “wise mind.” It’s the state when both the emotional/intuitive brain and the reasoning/rational mind are equally engaged. Linehan recommends making no decision until you are in wise mind. Having the benefit of your whole self, calm and grounded, before making a major decision or taking a significant action, is worth the wait.

The next day, Dave called back. He said: “I’m going to wait a bit and see how I feel.” He said: “I realize I was feeling out of control, acted upon, powerless. Racing to get to a mediator and start the process was a way to try to regain control. I’m going to sift through things a bit more.

Dave was demonstrating strong insight and clarity—signs that he was already in a more centered place—and he was, in fact, taking quite conscious and meaningful control in his decision to give himself time. The choice to slow down and settle was the action needed. This does not mean that he won’t decide to divorce, only that if he does, he will be deciding from a conscious, centered place.

Even though the illusion that by pulling the trigger, any trigger, is taking control, it isn’t. It’s reacting, which is simply an extension of being acted upon. Or out of control.

Spaciousness in considering things and compassion towards oneself in times of crisis are usually the right actions, subtle and undramatic as they may be. This may be more uncomfortable in the moment, but it lays the foundation for a more positive, honest outcome.

When in doubt, pause, breathe, and keep company with yourself. Lao Tzu said: “Compassion towards yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world.” For each one of us, that could be the first right act.

*Any incidents referencing a client are fictionalized for educational purposes and do not refer in any way to actual people or situations.

Rachel Alexander

Rachel Alexander
Alexander Mediation Group
119 West Valley Brook Rd
Califon, NJ 07830
(908) 832-2305

Ode to Validation: The Actual Contents of the Milk of Human Kindness

The Path to Validation Is Through Our Ears

{6:48 minutes to read} Validation is the yeast of a marriage. Without it, whatever you are cooking falls flat. Without it, you may find yourself wandering in the [proverbial] desert for 40 years with nothing good to eat—on a God-imposed, low-carbohydrate diet.

Ode to Validation: The Actual Contents of the Milk of Human Kindness by Rachel AlexanderValidation holds hands with respect, discussed in the last article, Validation—How We Speak Is How We Love. Validation requires a recognition, an attunement, and an interest in what the other needs. While it sounds rudimentary, it’s so integral to our attachments and how we feel about one another that it’s worthy of our attention. Continue reading Ode to Validation: The Actual Contents of the Milk of Human Kindness

Validation—How We Speak Is How We Love

Validation—How We Speak Is How We Love by Rachel Alexander{4:24 minutes to read} There is a saying that goes, “In heaven, there’s no talking, because men invented heaven.” OK, just kidding. The parable actually is that in heaven, everything is perfect, so speech is unnecessary. Everyone is content, fulfilled, and attuned, so no one need ask for anything.

On Earth, we speak because something’s agitating us, and we need to express it in order to address it, communicate our need to another, be understood, or be acknowledged. We also speak to process things that affect us, to sift through and unravel our experiences and their impact, and to gain understanding.

Often, we need to express that something is wrong.

Often, we speak to connect to another. Continue reading Validation—How We Speak Is How We Love

How a Divorce Support Group Can Help You

Getting a divorce could have a profound impact on the rest of your life. Going through a divorce alone is not necessary.  Divorce can be an emotionally traumatic event, especially if your marriage involved conflicts that were heated and protracted.  Participating in a divorce support group could help you recover a sense of normalcy and even a sense of self.

A good divorce support group is a community of people.  While they begin as strangers, an appreciation and friendliness quickly forms.  After you join a group you soon sense that you are not alone.  There is comfort in the company and understanding of others.  Regardless of how many friends or family members you have, a support group can be a great ways to enhance your resources and find peers going through the same process.  

At a group meeting you can listen to the stories and experiences of others.  You can gain new insights and fresh approaches to the issues you face.  Although each divorce experience is unique, many people find that sharing their situation and listening to others brings relief.

There is something inherently healing about participating in a group.  It fosters a sense of belonging and connection that can be evasive during divorce.  The listening, sharing, and unconditional positive regard group members share can be especially healing for divorcing people whose relationships, particularly recently,  often lacked the gentle respect available in group.

Is a Divorce Support Group Right for You?

Divorce can feel lonely, alienating and stigmatizing.  Participating in a group can be antidotal.  By being with others in similar situations, your own situation begins to be normalized.  No longer must you feel like no one understands.  Often group members nod in recognition when they hear one another share.  

Instead of operating through this strange and confusing time in a vacuum, a support group can help orient its members, providing a point of reference that can help shape the individual’s experience.  

For all of these reasons,  I offer a divorce support group, open to clients and the community alike.  My co-facilitator is a colleague and friend, Sharon Buck, LCSW.  Sharon is a therapist specializing in processing grief.  Together we run the monthly support group at her office in Chester, NJ beginning at 7pm on the first Monday of the month.   I will include a link to the meet-up.  

A key way to help you through your divorce, and avoid the emotional and financial turmoil that come with litigation, is to have your divorce reach a resolution through mediation. If you want to learn more about divorce mediation, contact our office today.

The Big Freeze: Overcoming Inertia What To Do When You Can’t Do A Thing

The-Big-Freeze-DPLIC-199x300Everyone’s heard of fight or flight, but what about freeze? One of our responses to fear is freezing which is an inability to take any action whatsoever. Part of divorce and marital separation is overcoming a sense of overwhelm in order to face multiple daunting tasks.

As a primitive coping response, freezing may have served us at a time when non-movement and a slowing of all our bodily functions meant evading a stalking saber tooth tiger. In our current environs, freezing is somewhat less useful. Nonetheless, old habits, particularly biologically based ones, die hard. With important matters requiring deliberate and informed action, such as divorce and separation, it’s important we manage our “freeze” response.

The Myth: When faced with an overwhelming task like:

  • Reentering the job market after years of staying home
  • Leaving the safety of a relationship that is unhealthy and has gone on years beyond its natural life

it may feel as if the task ahead is as daunting as pushing a boulder up a mountain. As a matter of physics (or some such incomprehensible science), all you have to do is begin. Once you begin, even for a collection of moments, momentum kicks in and you are no longer alone. Your force meets the force of inertia, and what was a boulder is transformed into a manageable and even cooperative, bouncing soccer ball.

Here’s how:

Be kind to yourself

Create an environment that fosters relaxation and effectiveness. For example – make yourself a cup of your favorite tea, put on clothes that you like to wear, turn on music that lifts your confidence, etc., prior to beginning.

Schedule a time

Block off a finite period of time in which you will do some work on the given task. Hold the time for this purpose alone. Even if you are unable to write a word, review your resume, read a page, do one internet search, it’s okay. The task is to make space and begin the discipline of accomplishing the goal. Accomplishing this “small” piece of the task, and, importantly, not faulting yourself if that’s the only portion accomplished, is creating a new pattern and ultimately creating movement. Also, demanding less of yourself actually (paradoxically) fosters a less threatening environment for accomplishing more. Set a timer and do 10 seconds – once you begin, the momentum will take over.

Do less

Ask less of yourself. The goal is to get yourself to begin. The second five minutes are much easier than the first. It’s unkind and ineffective to abuse yourself into beginning by telling yourself you need to do 12 hours at a stretch or it’s no use beginning at all. Nonsense! Self-criticisms and judgements create an impossible atmosphere to begin anything.

When facing a challenge, it may seem like you need to do the whole thing on your own. Not so! All you need is to begin.

What helps you to “thaw?” Please feel free to share your strategies in the “Leave a Reply” box below.