Why I Love the Energy Therapies

What You Should Look for in Therapy

As a Life Coach and Therapist, I look for two elements in healing. I refer to these as the two E’s… Effectiveness and Efficiency. 

As for effectiveness, why waste your time and money on techniques and healing modalities that either don’t work, or aren’t best suited for your situation?

As for efficiency, how many hours in therapy do you want to spend? If you could go for the quick fix that solved your issue, what would that be worth to you? You see where I’m going with this. You need both E’s to get the job done. They’re both necessary.

When people ask about my typing skills, I say, “Take your pick… speed or accuracy.” They can settle for one, but not both. In the therapeutic realm, don’t settle. You need both.

So, why energy therapies? For one, our bodies are electrical. Your heart beats without instruction from you. We’re energetic creatures. We’re composed of matter. But matter and energy are interchangeable (E=MC squared). The body has an energy field that can become blocked or unbalanced. This creates symptoms.

Basically, energy therapies clear away the blocks and rebalance the body. Energy therapies work quickly. Sometimes one session is all that’s required. This is why I like these therapies. This is why clients like these therapies. They’re both effective and efficient.

What In the World Are Energy Therapies?

So, what are energy therapies?

The three I use are EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, The Emotion Code, and the Emotional Freedom Technique.

EMDR is a highly researched therapy used with Vietnam Veterans who returned from the war with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It was discovered by Francine Shapiro during a walk on the beach. As she was thinking about her worries, she noticed her eyes began to dart from side to side, and her worries began to subside. From this she developed EMDR, a therapy that treats trauma quickly and effectively. 

The Emotion Code was created by Dr. Bradley Nelson, based on the belief that unprocessed emotions become trapped in the body. Using muscle testing as a way to communicate with the unconscious, the trapped emotions are identified and released. 

The Emotional Freedom Technique was created by Gary Craig, a Stanford Engineer, who worked for the founder of Thought Field Therapy, Dr. Roger Callahan. Both utilize tapping on various points on the head and upper body to change emotions related to various events and traumas.

I’ll put my money on these therapies as the medicine of the future.

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My Favorite Pastime

My Faves

Do you have a favorite book? I have at least five…probably more.  My love of reading started early.  The summer I was 13, I read Gone With the Wind. (Living in Oklahoma, that could have been the title of my autobiography.)  Lazy summer afternoons were great opportunities for reading. 

My other favorites include To Kill A Mockingbird, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Book Thief, The Prince of Tides, The Lords of Discipline, as well as many others I can’t think of at the moment.

Why Reading?

What makes reading my favorite pastime? Maybe it’s the degree to which I get lost in the story. When I can’t put it down, that’s a clue. When I start the mourning process as I approach the final chapters, that’s another clue. I only wish I could remember all the books that met that criteria. 

Another advantage of books is their longevity and resilience. Books may change form, from hardcover, to paperback, to Kindle, but they stand the test of time.

Alzheimers Prevention

Books are good for your brain. They require you to create mental pictures. You get to be the director, creating your own idea of what the characters look like. Unlike television, you have the latitude to create your own images.

I’ll never forget my disappointment viewing the movie “Gone With The Wind” for the first time. My vision of Ashley Wilkes was a total disconnect from the character they picked to play him. 

In this way, movies leave no room for creativity. They create what they want you to see. Watching movies takes less brainpower. It’s passive…enjoyable… but passive.

Time To Chill

Reading is escapism. When I want to get away from it all, armed with a good book, I can enter another world entirely. My own stresses and troubles are temporarily put on hold. It’s both entertainment and therapy. What’s not to like?

I recently started a second blog entitled I Read the Book. You have to wait a while between blog posts because I actually have to read a book before I post. 

Check it out, though. One of my favorites may turn into one of yours.

I remember the first day of first grade. We sat huddled around the teacher, who pointed a long stick at the word “cat”, as we were taught the short “a” sound, and repeated the word cat with an emphasis on the short “a”. 

This method, as I learned, was called “Phonics”, and it gave me the ability to read almost any word because I can sound it out. I am so grateful for Phonics.

It’s the reason I can read.

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What Do You Really Want?

The Important Question

The first question I usually ask my Life Coaching clients is, “What are you wanting for yourself?” 

That’s a loaded question because, of course, we’re all wanting innumerable things. You could probably make a list of 50 wishes, or “wants” in the next 50 seconds…easy-peasy.

But what do you really want? What’s most important?

 Now, we get down to the meat and potatoes. You have to prioritize. What’s numero uno on your list? 

How Can You Know?

One way to figure out what you really want is to identify your biggest problem at the moment.

Once you’ve identified what you want, you can build your roadmap to attain this prized “whatever”. This means action steps. This is the opposite of wishful thinking, similar to how exercise is the opposite of sitting, which I hear is the new smoking.

Why Go It Alone?

Can you build your own roadmap? Or would you like someone to help you along the way…to serve as a listening ear, encourager, and accountability source?

As they say, “two heads are better than one.” 

Let’s cut to the chase. Maybe what you need is a Coach. 

Ok. You’re a mover and a shaker. Why would you want a Coach?

Yes, Why?

There’s a commercial on TV that says something to the effect,” An object in motion is likely to stay in motion, while an object at rest probably stays at rest.” 

I may not have the exact words, but you get the idea. Humans need motivation. A Coach provides motivation and keeps you accountable. This is why Mastermind groups work well. The members are accountable to each other. It’s harder to drift off course.

So, I guess what I’m saying is, as a Certified Life Coach, I’d love to help you stay on course. I’d love to see you achieve your goals. 

But first, you have to know what you want. Once you zero in, you’re on your way.

So, make a list. Dig deep. Prioritize.

What do you really want?

The Two Certainties of Life

You Guessed It

They say there are only two certainties in life…death and taxes. They’re both problematic. The truth is…you can’t avoid them, but you can save yourself a lot of angst in the way you deal with them. 

Take taxes, for instance. I know people who refuse to pay taxes. That’s like living with the ghost of Christmas Future breathing down your neck. Forgiveness may be a virtue, but don’t count on the IRS to be big on forgiveness. The IRS is like an elephant … it never forgets. 

Paying taxes is only one part of the fun of being an adult. I remember my first visit to the doctor as an adult. Not only did I have to deal with the anxiety of the visit, I discovered I was expected to pay for it! Wasn’t this my parents’ job? Maybe adulthood wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

But paying taxes is mainly an issue of responsibility. It only involves strong emotions if you’re dodging this duty.

Death, on the other hand, is a highly emotional issue. It’s so final. We know it’s coming, but its eventuality goes into the realm of repression and denial. If you haven’t put your affairs in order by the time you’re over a certain age, don’t worry…the funeral parlors will call you!

What Do I Say?

But what if it isn’t your own death you’re worried about? How do you deal with others in your circle who are in the process of grieving? It may be normal to want to avoid these people because you don’t want to say the wrong thing. After all, we’re not offered a class in Grief 101. You’re basically flying by the seat of your pants. 

After my mother died I recall certain people dodging me in the grocery store. I wasn’t offended. I knew the reason. They didn’t know what to say.

Why do we feel we have to have the perfect words before we can face someone who’s grieving?

The Truth

Well, here’s the truth. The grief stricken don’t need your words. They need your presence. 

At this time, you’re not the person who needs to talk. They need to talk. 

If you really want to help someone, be an ear. Just listen.

If you see them in the grocery, just say, “I’m sorry for your loss”. That’ll suffice. It just needs to be acknowledged. That’s all. In both cases, being responsible and compassionate is called for.

Death and taxes are inevitable. 

The Gifts of Introversion

Ever Heard of Rodney?

If you’re an introvert, you may feel, at times, like Rodney Dangerfield, the comedian who started every gig with the line, “I get no respect.” Let’s face it…you’re not an extrovert…never will be. You’re not the one dancing on top of the tables. 

Now, no one is totally an extrovert or totally an introvert. It’s a scale. A lot of people define themselves as part introvert and part extrovert. 

The Upside

But here’s the cool thing about introverts. First, they’re good listeners. Listening is a skill so important that part of my counseling requirements was to demonstrate “Active Listening”. 

After all, in a normal conversation, how many times are you half listening and half planning what you’re going to say next? That’s not actually listening…that’s conversational sparring. When you find someone who actually listens to what you have to say, you feel heard. You feel acknowledged. That person is a keeper.

Introverts are deep thinkers. Therefore, they’re capable of intimate relationships on a deep level. For this reason, they have fewer friendships, but probably know these friends more intimately. 

Introverts are rarely bored. Their active brains are constantly percolating. 

They’re naturally creative, and are usually full of ideas. 

 I once asked my ninth graders, “How many of you can entertain yourself when there’s no one around?”

I looked at the raised hands in the room. “You are the lucky ones,” I said. “You’ll never be bored.”

More Contributions from the Introverts!

For all the above reasons, introverts also make good CEO’s, and many are heads of companies and corporations. They’re good leaders. They make smart decisions because they listen to the opinions of their employees, and don’t make judgements in haste. They deliberate before deciding. Impulsivity isn’t a part of their toolbox.

If you’re an introvert, you have the power to make changes in the world. If you don’t believe me, here are a few famous introverts, and these are just the ones we know about… Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, JK Rowling, Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks, and Steven Spielberg, Steve Jobs may not have been an introvert. This fact is still debatable, but he was smart enough to partner with Steve Wozniak, who definitely fit that bill.

So, claim your gifts and embrace your nature.

You go, introverts!

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Are You An Introvert?

Are You In the Majority or the Minority?

I want to expose a fallacy, at least a fallacy in my own mind. Just because the majority outnumbers the minority doesn’t make the majority better, more superior, or right. It just makes them the majority. No group has a patent on correctness. Ok…maybe Snopes.

 It’s said there’s power in numbers, and I don’t argue with that. But let’s face it, it’s more fun to be in the majority. You have more people who agree with you. You’re in a bigger club. What’s not to like?

Introverts

This is where introverts tend to get the short end of the stick. Nature didn’t make as many. We’re in a smaller gene pool.

In my counseling practice, I rarely met an introvert who was proud of their introversion. In fact, they were almost apologetic, as if it was a personality flaw. 

Introverts are not extroverts. But they’re drawn to each other and often require each other’s company to feel complete. You’ve heard that opposites attract. Just look at married couples. You’ll often find an extrovert married to an introvert. But they have different needs and interests.

Parties

Let’s take parties, for instance. Extroverts love parties. The more people, the better. Extroverts are masters at small talk, and parties offer an endless audience of people.

 I now cherish my introversion, but it wasn’t always that way. I remember taking the Myers Briggs test where your personality type is defined. I was initially tempted to check the “I love parties” box because that’s how I wish I felt.  

So, here’s my take on parties, from an introvert’s perspective. I’m not a fan. I pretty much regard large parties the same way I feel about airplane travel…2 hour flight, ok…3 hour flight, tolerable…4 hour flight…get me out of here! But, before you judge me as a total dud, let me explain.

I have nothing against small gatherings.  But as far as large groups, I find trying to listen to more than one conversation at a time short circuits my brain. At these soirees, I can’t keep up, much less add to the chat. My only salvation is to corner someone and start a one- on- one conversation. Now, that’s fun!

 You know you’re an introvert if people come up to you at parties and ask, “Are you having fun?” That’s a dead give-away. Well, here’s the answer to that question. “If I’m still here, I’m having fun”. My advice to introverts is…  “take your own car”. That’s your ticket to a fun party.

 So, if you’re feeling apologetic about your introvert status in life, my next blog will be about the gifts of introversion. With any luck, it’ll change your world view.

The Gifts of Aging

You’re More Resilient Than You Think

One of the gifts of getting older is the awareness that time is your friend. You learn that few things last forever, and that you’re a lot more resilient than you give yourself credit for.

During your teens, a breakup can be a devastating event, throwing you into what seems like the depths of despair. The pandemic, with the school closures and social distancing, has been at least partially indicated in the teen suicides that have recently occurred. 

At this tender age, setbacks can seem like a life sentence. The agony is acute. Just knowing that time heals could be a balm, but let’s face it, that’s little condolence when you’re in the fray.

You’re Older Now

As an adult, health issues come and go, friendships endure and dissolve, and work issues can seemingly never end. 

Time, actually, is a double- edged sword. Our bodies decline while the depth of our wisdom expands. Maybe God planned this so we could start the process of detaching from our bodies, all the while recognizing that time is the great healer.

I remember my mother used to say “This too shall pass.” In spite of the patience required to wait, while we wait, patience is both our strength and our reward. 

Even so, the gifts of the spirit can be hard earned.

The Silver Lining

However, if I look back on the traumas of my past, there was always a “coming out on the other side” moment, even if I didn’t realize it at the time.

I’ve read we have a life review when we cross over. 

The good news is, you don’t have to die first. You don’t have to wait. 

Look over your life, both the agonies and the ecstasies, and maybe you’ll begin to view time as your friend too.

Inspiration or Perspiration?

Am I the Only One?

Last night I found myself obsessing over a minor complaint. I’m good at that…obsessing…spending the precious hours of my life making myself miserable. I remember the book, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson. It’s an old book with a message that never grows old. Much of what we obsess over is the small stuff. That’s why I refer to it as perspiration instead of inspiration.

There’s been a lot of research about the power of gratitude. In one randomized controlled trial in the UK, it was found that those who kept a gratitude journal for 21 days improved their sense of wellbeing and actually increased their gratitude, as opposed to the control group who reported a reduction in well-being during the study. 

In addition, it was found that more frequent prayer increased gratitude.

The study showed that those who prayed more often experienced increased gratitude 6 weeks later.

There’s even research- based evidence that gratitude has a positive effect on your health.

Here’s an Example

I’ll give you a personal example. In December of 2019, I took my cat to the vet. He had previously been diagnosed with kidney disease but his numbers were not alarming. During this visit, his numbers turned out to be extremely alarming and I was told he had less than a week to live.

The only way to extend his life was by hydrating him via a needle stuck under his skin. And I was supposed to do this! They tried it once in an effort to show me how to do it. He would have none of it…or should I say, we would have none of it. He didn’t like it, and my degree is in Counseling, not Veterinary Medicine.

I told them I was taking him home and setting up a Hospice situation, but no hydration. They agreed, and I love my vet, but she predicted he definitely wouldn’t live past January.

This was December, and the Coronavirus had us quarantined by March. Although I was in a hyper alert state over his health, I was so grateful to have Zachary, my baby, with me during this time. 

I truly believe my state of gratitude extended his life. He finally succumbed on June 1st. I believe a combination of gratitude combined with his will to live gave him 5 extra months. I was so lucky to have this extra time.

The Problem with Worrying

People obsess on their worries. As you know, if you’ve studied The Law of Attraction, what you focus on grows. 

I would guess gratitude isn’t the focus of most people’s obsessions. 

So, join me… In 2021, if we’re going to obsess, let’s obsess on the good things in our lives.

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Insomnia, Anyone?

Not Again!

Lately I’ve developed a pattern of waking up at odd times of the morning. This morning it was 4:48. It’s advised not to check the time, but my curiosity overcomes my adherence to rules. 

I don’t know why I do this. I’m almost always disappointed. It never says 7:00, and if it was 7:00 I’d know because the sun would be up. Instead, I stumble into the bathroom, stare at my iphone, work up the courage to look at the time, and grumble on my way back to bed, facing another night of interrupted sleep.

Can anyone relate? 

Now comes the fun part…getting back to sleep. After all, it’s only 4:48. I have time for at least two more hours of sleep… if I can get back to sleep. That’s a big “if”.

I can’t put all the blame on my bladder. Often, the culprit is my thoughts. I can’t shut them up. It’s like there’s another person inside my head who’s desperate for company, saying “Can we talk?”

My Strategies

I try to head off this chatterbox by saying the Rosary. That way, I’m in charge of my thoughts. Since I can’t find my real Rosary, I use my fingers instead of beads. I’ve managed to silence the chatterbox and enter the spiritual realm all at the same time. 

I once timed how long it took me to say the Rosary. That’s my competitive side rearing its ugly head. 

Timing the Rosary, really…is this a 5K?

Hello, Pema

iI this doesn’t work, I always have Pema.

Pema Chodron is a Buddhist nun who teaches about meditation. She has a very soothing voice as well as a sense of humor, so her CD’s are more interesting and entertaining to listen to than my own thoughts at 5:00 am. 

Each time I listen, I hear new bits of wisdom I hadn’t heard before. Last night, or should I say this morning, she told listeners to “keep coming back” whenever their own thoughts interrupted their meditation. So, that advice isn’t only for AA members. It’s for me. It’s for all of us.

That’s my toolbox…Prayer and Pema.

What’s in yours?

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Spiritual Musings

My Beliefs

It’s that time of year, Easter, and being so, I find myself thinking about spirituality. 

I’m not a churchgoer per se, but since I grew up Catholic and attended Mass at least six days a week, I’ve accumulated a quorum of prayers, incense, and sore knees.

At the ripe age of 11, I decided that reincarnation made more sense to me than any other explanation. 

In my mind, one life wasn’t enough. I could see the disparity between rich and poor, intelligent and not-so, and the many other differences between people.

 Why did some people suffer while others seem to skate through life untouched? Even at 11, I could sense the intrinsic unfairness of this. If kids care about anything, it’s about fairness. What child hasn’t shouted, “But that’s not fair!”.  

Many religious scholars claim there’s just one life. We live. We die. That’s it.

 But, if one life is all there is, where did original sin originate…in the womb? This wasn’t rocket science, just a simple if-then statement.

What Happened Next

As I grew older, I became interested in world religions. As a therapist, I was drawn to the practice of meditation. This is where I noticed a correlation between the Virgin Mary and meditation.

Interestingly, when the Virgin Mary appears to people, usually children, she requests people say the Rosary each day.

One day it dawned on me that the Rosary is actually a meditation, much like Transcendental Meditation.

Around that time, I attended a workshop in Santa Fe NM, and to my surprise, during one of the sessions, in walks the Dalai Lama with his entourage.

I quickly realized this was a once in a lifetime event for me, so I became ultra -attentive. I regarded this as a synchronistic event.

 His message was about compassion. I started taking the practice of meditation more seriously. If it was good enough for Mother Mary and the Dalai Lama, who was I not to hold it in high esteem?

But what was in it for me? 

The Remedy

Meditation is a balm for anxiety. I have always had a moderate degree of anxiety. My childhood was marked by a high degree of unpredictability, which acts like fertilizer for the development of anxiety. My counseling practice should be called Anxiety-R-Us.

 I’ve been drawn to any practice, no matter how conventional or “out there”, that relieves anxiety. Trust me, I’ve tried all I deliver on myself first. I consider this the acid test. I’m like Mikey. If it works for me, I’ll share the secrets.

I’ve run into people who don’t know their blood type, but I learned mine during physiology class in high school. I’m Type A. The other day I read that people with Type A blood are more likely to have higher levels of cortisol, and therefore, higher levels of anxiety. I’ve also read having Type A blood increases your risk of getting Covid. I know I SOUND like someone with anxiety.

All to say, I don’t think it was an accident that I ran into the Dalai Lama, and heard his message. God must have said, “Send in the big guns for this one.”

So, it’s Easter, the celebration of Christ’s resurrection…for us, a reminder that every day is a Resurrection. Every day is a new chance. 

That’s good enough for me.

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