Dear Dr. Toni:
I hate the holidays. People are more unconscious in their driving, shopping, and general activities in their push to get to the next thing. If I could go away for the entire month of December, I would but I can’t. What do you suggest I do so I’m not such a Scrooge/curmudgeon this year?
The Bah Humbug Queen
As the sluggish economy drags on, unfortunately it has hurt charities who are dependent on people’s generosity at this time of year. In years past, it was a good balance to all the focus on the material side of the holidays. Now, not only are people not giving as much to non-profit organizations that support those less fortunate, they have less to spend in general and it has led to the skyrocketing of cheap addictions like the internet. However, one person who chooses to commit to living altruistically can make a difference.
Altruism, according to the Webster Dictionary means the unselfish concern for the welfare or well being of others. In my book, The LifeQuake Phenomenon, I discuss in the last chapter how this personality trait increases immune function, stabilizes neurotransmitters, and if practiced in balance with your own needs, leads to greater prosperity. The old ideas about being altruistic as something that requires self sacrifice are passe’.
This month is a great opportunity to focus away from what you can’t give your kids, family or friends and instead jumpstart 2011 by spending the holiday season of December giving your love away. When you want to yell at someone for being unconscious, shift into your heart and ask the question, “ What can I say here that is ultimately going to assist me in my well being after we part?” In the moment that we give in to reactive behavior, we can feel immediate relief but you will find you are more drained by anger than by using your breath to let the thought go and ask for a shift in your way of seeing the situation.
Choosing to focus your awareness throughout the day on being a stand for love is infectious. Just as when we are around someone who is angry or depressed, we can become less of ourselves, the opposite is also true. Smile when someone is reacting to their own self induced pressure.
Case in point, while I was waiting in line to purchase groceries, the woman in front of me was highly stressed. I thought she had forgotten her wallet as she leaned down to attend to her toddler in the stroller after paying for her purchases. I picked up the wallet to hand to her and she lashed out at me that she was coming back to get it. I stayed calm and loving and simply shared that I thought she had forgotten it and was trying to help. She then relaxed and responded by thanking me and apologizing.
Opportunities come up all day long to promote peace in the world. What are you doing today, to promote the well being of others and more joy for yourself?
Dear Dr. Toni:
I have been working in a prominent law firm with great benefits for five years. About a year ago, I started having these dreams in which I am no longer living in the city and am sitting in front of an easel and canvas outside a farm house. The canvas is blank but I have this peaceful look on my face.
The dream scares me because I have no way of supporting a life as an artist and yet I am really bored with my job. I do feel drawn to do something radically different and living in the country feels comforting but I can’t leave my job until I have a clear plan for what I am going to do next, not to mention health benefits.
What should I do, Dr. Toni?
First of all, I think it is marvelous that your unconscious mind is giving you messages. If you continue though, to do nothing with these messages, you will invite a crisis to force you to make the changes that will be authentic to your soul. Boredom is often the first stage of evolutionary change. It is a transition emotion. If we begin an inquiry into noticing what does interest us, our emotional tone will evolve. If we do nothing, boredom often devolves into depression and this is when addictions and illnesses often occur.
If you look at your life as a hero’s adventure, then dreams are meant to be clues to the direction of the voyage. Begin by taking day trips to places you feel drawn to where a farm house might exist. Notice how you feel when you’re there. Go to a small diner there or grocery store and reach out to the locals. By putting ourselves in the field of play, synchronicities can show up.
People can guide you to your next step that sitting at your desk or in your apartment you would never discover by yourself. And given that you’ve been receiving this dream for a year, once you do start to take action, before you go to sleep, ask to be shown the next step during the dreamtime. The blank canvas and peaceful look on your face can mean that this transition where you don’t have a “picture painted yet” can be a peaceful, easy process. When I work with clients by phone, I teach them how to stimulate dream recall and always have them record their dreams. Dreams can provide great guidance in times of transition.
Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist, career coach, public speaker, organizational consultant, and the author of the book, The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to Thrive (not just survive) in Times of Personal and Global Upheaval.
To submit questions for “Ask the LifeQuake Doctor” or if you would like to consult Dr. Galardi for SKYPE or phone coaching, she can be reached through her website at http://www.LifeQuake.net or 310-890-6832.