“Ask The LifeQuake Doctor” – Vision Magazine
June 2009 issue
Dear Dr. Toni:
I have an upper management job in a great company and am experiencing “survivor guilt”. So many of my friends have been laid off from their jobs. I get several calls a month or week asking for referrals for jobs or introductions to others — from friends, friends of friends, or former colleagues who may be desperately searching for work and are relying heavily on networking. But each person has only so much political capital to expend: When is ok to say no? How do you say no? When should you help? What kind of help is easy to provide, and what should you consider more carefully? How far should you go to help?
We are living in desperate times. According to the Bloomberg News last week, it is predicted that the third and fourth quarter of this year things could worsen. I believe that a positive function of a time like this is to bring us together. Americans reached out to help each other during the Great Depression and yet when we were in an economic boom during the 1950’s the black list became a guise for anti-semitism and prejudices of many kinds. People got scape-goated if they had an independent feeling about how the country was being run. I don’t think the focus at this juncture is to look at your political capital. The key is to use discernment as to whom to refer to whom.
Here are some tips:
1) Say no when you have history with the person asking for help as having put your reputation at risk in the past. ie., Poor work habits that led to them getting fired from a job you used your contacts for them to get.
2) Say no when they are asking you to refer them for something you know they are not qualified to apply for. Once again, using your resources judiciously.
3) Say no when, what they are asking for help on, will be in direct competition with a request you need to make of your contact in assisting you in your own career transition.
4) Say no if whom they want you to connect them with is not someone you have a close enough relationship with to justify making a recommendation and have it hold any weight. In other words, don’t pretend to know people intimately that you don’t really know and set up disappointment for someone desperate for work.
When it feels right to say no, do it directly, but with compassion.
If someone is calling you and are in desperate straights and have a family to support, and they are well qualified, do whatever you can to help them. Connecting people with each other always serves in the long run. If you put good karma out into the world, it will always come back to support you at a different time. In my book, The LifeQuake Phenomenon I write a whole chapter on the benefits psychologically, physically, and financially of acting altruistically as a matter of course. We are being called in these times to expand our resources to help one another, not to contract and hold on tightly to what we have. Generosity is its own reward. The key question is not what is strategically best but what does your gut wisdom tell you about whom to connect to whom.
Dear Dr. Toni:
I lost my job a few months ago and am going through what feels like a major transformation. Now that my old career identity is over, I notice that I don’t feel connected to my old friends. I also can’t afford the same social expenses they can. I am afraid to let go of these relationships because they are the only friends I have right now. How do I handle saying good-bye to people I don’t feel connected to anymore?
Dazed and Confused in Los Angeles
Dear D and C:
First of all, congratulations! I am not saying this cavalierly. It is important to mark this event with a celebration so you don’t spin out into fear. As your old identity is falling away, your old life is going to feel alien. There is new life forming, it’s just still underground in your psyche. That feeling of being in the desert is a powerful transition into fuller self expression and it takes courage to be naked and alone, so to speak. However, we are never left with a void for very long once we make authentic choices. Begin to explore going to social functions that are free of charge or have a nominal fee. Peruse the Los Angeles Times or Whole Life Times for events. Volunteer part time while you are job searching. People who volunteer their time may be the like-minded individuals you are seeking.
Be patient. I call this time in my book, “The Cosmic Barbecue”. Your ego may experience some discomfort when you are in between lives. It may be that you are being called to be in more internal exploration that you didn’t have time for while working in a career. I have lots of free articles on my blog that can also support a time a transition: http://www.LifeQuake.net/blog
Spend time in quiet every day and ask your inner wisdom to show you what your next step is. Once your career re-crystallizes, this time for befriending yourself you may never have the luxury for again.
Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist, public speaker, and the author of her new book: The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to Thrive (not just survive) in Times of Personal and Global Upheaval. Dr. Galardi is forming an eight week group this summer for those wanting to get unstuck from old habits. For those seeking private consultation, she can be reached at 310.712.2600. To submit questions for “Ask the LifeQuake™ Doctor”, contact Dr. Toni Galardi through DrToni@LifeQuake.net (no period after the Dr).
This is my third blog on the shadow side of social communities.
I read an interesting article on the marketplace blog, see link below about how social communities may be infringing on the writer’s life, in terms of productivity. The author of this article took a break from her internet addiction and found she was meeting her deadlines more effectively. I would have to agree with her. For me though, it is not about the distraction so much as a style change. Taking the time to go on facebook or twitter seems to dilute my creative focus because of the change in one’s voice and orientation. You begin to sound very clipped and superficial in your attempt to be pithy enough for the characters allowed. Between texting and tweeting, how lazy does it make us as writers?
So here’s a tip for assessing if you have an internet addiction.
1) What feelings come up if you don’t go to facebook, my space or twitter for a week? Now, withdrawal from cyberspace communities is not like trying to kick smack. Your body doesn’t start to shake as you detox. You may however notice yourself getting more irritable or bored with the conversations of every day people in your life, you know, the people with whom you haven’t invented a dazzling new persona.
2) Are you getting more done in your life? ie. housework, career deadlines, etc
3) Are you getting out and socializing more?
4) Has your excuse for not having time to exercise disappeared?
5) If your social community time was mostly spent at work, are you looking at what is missing in your work now, that you were using them for to distract you? For example, is it time to look at exploring your life purpose? Do you want the work you do to have more meaning for you?
For those who think they may have a social community addiction, do you really have the courage to do this one week of withdrawal and discover a more fulfilling life? I want to go on record with this. I do not believe that everyone who is on social communities for fun are addicts. That is the purpose for the self inventory I provided above. People drink wine without being alcoholics. It has to do with whether it is a device for avoiding certain feelings that is the issue. Enjoy your surfing as long as it doesn’t interfere with “what is at hand on the ocean floor” of your subconscious mind. If you distract yourself for too long, you may not always see the tsunami coming in time…
Dr. Toni Galardi is a psychotherapist, public speaker, author, recovering internet addict, and career coach. She can be reached at 310-712-2600 for consultation.
A friend of mine, Martin Rutte who co-wrote Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work contributed to my new book The LifeQuake Phenomenon. One of his pet projects is a foundation he calls Project Heaven on Earth. One of the steps is to think back on a time when you experienced heaven on earth. Allow your body to fully remember what that felt like. I was feeling a little low today so I decided to think about that and what came to me when I did this exercise today was my wedding day. Now, what is interesting to me about that is I am now divorced and have been for a number of years. I married young and outgrew the relationship after 8 years.
Although it ended painfully, my mind chose to remember this particular day when I was very happy and in love. So often, when things end in our lives we forget there was a time when we did have a piece of heaven. Inherent in the disintegration of something that is no longer viable is chaos. The stress of life being out of our control can lead us to react as though we were now in hell not heaven. So, how do you create heaven inside whatever chaos is going on in your life today?
Begin by training your mind to look for evidence of heaven. Where is the heaven in your relationships? Where is the heaven in your job search if you’ve lost your job? Where is the heaven in your body if you are confronting catastrophic illness? If we look for evidence to support that life has gone to hell in a hand basket, we will find it. If we look for evidence that there is grace, we will find it. Once you have found the evidence for heaven on earth in your life, repeat the affirmation, ” I am living heaven on earth now.” Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist, public speaker and author. She can be reached through her website, http:www.LifeQuake.net or her office at 310-712-2600 and is on twitter.com/lifequake and facebook.
I read an interesting article in “The Trib” today. For those who live outside the midwest or media world, that is The Chicago Tribune. It appears that according to Keilman we intellectuals are also dumbing down.
Technology and books: Is the novel too much for our technology-addled brains?
“The price of my relentless Internet use became clear the other day when I pulled a well-reviewed novel from a library shelf and all I could think was, “Man, this thing is heavy.”
I have to agree with him… painfully. I am noticing how little patience I have now for anything that takes too long. It has to grab me in the first couple sentences. Norman Mailer would never have become a famous writer if he was just starting out now. I do notice one thing, though. When I meditate, my nervous system slows down and I change out of poor impulse control and inner chaos and find that as I am more centered, I respond more peacefully to the world around me. Perhaps the publishers of all the great novelists need to include a meditation CD with their books for those literate enough to want to read great writing!
Dr. Toni Galardi just wrote her first book, not a novel on assisting people in overcoming the fear of change. In her blogs, http:www.Lifequake.net/blog she gives her readers lots of free exercises and information from her book.
See the products page for the whole CD.
Implied in the words “stress management” is the idea that the key to calm is controlling your stress. As an advocate of prevention, I know that the key to managing stress is having the ability to handle whatever is being thrown at you – to say yes to sudden change. Easier said than done, right? As great as the best breathing techniques are for anxiety when breakdowns occur, there is a better way, a shortcut you might say.
What if you didn’t go into fear and resistance at all and thus have to do the extra step of clearing yourself?
Here is a five minute technique from my book and CD The LifeQuake Method. As you are waking up in the morning before coming into full consciousness, set an intention that you will say yes to whatever happens throughout the day. This does not mean agreeing to injustices hurled at you, it means simply responding, rather than reacting to the crisis. In your mind’s eye, experience yourself in the flow of life events. Whatever you do when you get out of bed: make the coffee, pick up the house, feed the dog, etc you will do gracefully, peacefully, devoid of frenetic rush you may find yourself usually falling into. Imagine having your first meal with the focus on really tasting what you are eating and letting it nourish you.
Now imagine you are driving to work or if you work from home, sitting at your computer and something happens you didn’t count on like coffee spills all over your desk, someone cuts you off in traffic, etc but you stay remarkably calm. Now imagine an even bigger upset, something you really have been afraid might happen like losing your job or a big client. Feel the feelings that come up around this, now breathe into them until it releases and declare that something amazing is going to come from this. Repeat this phrase again, “something amazing is going to come from this”. Now scan through the rest of the day and all the task you have to do, imagining yourself doing them with joy and gratitude. Imagine your state of being having an infectious effect on all you come into contact with even in the midst of a crisis. Now imagine getting into bed, scanning the day you just finished, amazed that on a really challenging, crisis driven day, you claimed peace as yours. Now, open your eyes, and feel your body moving with great agility and light footedness. Believe it or not, this is all you have to do to have an impact on world peace, not to mention your nervous system and over all health.
Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist, author, and public speaker. She can be reached through her website at http:www.LifeQuake.net
We are living in amazing times. Crisis driven, economically challenged, and now epidemic threats are all around us. And yet, it is possible to be healthier, wealthier, and more psychologically agile than ever before.
You probably think I’m crazy for saying this but here is why. If you follow these seven steps, your chances of thriving when everyone else is buying into mass hysteria (and lowering their immune systems by worrying) will be exponentially greater.
1) get seven to eight hours sleep a night. we live in a sleep deprived nation of people who think it makes them superior by bragging they can subsist on 5-6. In evolutionary terms, our bodies are wired to wind down after the sun sets and wake up when it rises. When you follow this natural rhythm instead of sitting at your computer until 11 PM, you will have the restoration that sleep brings in the morning and a stronger immune system.
2) eat foods that have lots of mineral content. Leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are the best. The more alkaline your diet is the stronger your body will be. The most acidic foods contain sugar. red meat is also highly acidic so eat lots of veggies when you eat them for acid/alkaline balance.
3) moderate exercise. Any exercise that takes you into exhaustion at the end will deplete your adrenal glands. These little glands that sit on top of the kidneys are critical to immune health. If you feel your body is especially tired, substitute restorative yoga and walking in the sunshine for 30 minutes a day. Vitamin D that we get from the sun really supports immune function.
4) Speaking of which, extra vitamins such as a good B complex, vitamin E and 3-4 grams of Vit C are also supportive of your immune system. Many people swear by organic medicinal mushroom complex (which can be obtained from any number of nutritional supplements companies) as the source of their strong immune system.
5) Keeping your blood sugar stable through adequate amounts of protein throughout the day nourishes your adrenals as well.
6) Managing stress. Stress is the biggest drain on the immune system. The best way to manage stress is to be aware of your response to sudden or unexpected changes and resist the temptation to resist. Say yes in the form of acceptance to whatever is before you. The best way to economize our emotional response to challenging moments is to breathe consciously right into the place in your body where you are reacting. Often, that is our gut. As you breathe in, push your stomach out and as you breathe out, allow your stomach to contract. do this twenty times, three times a day and it serves as an emotional colonic to releasing stuck feelings so you dont take them to bed with you.
7) Meditating for fifteen minutes or listening to a guided visualization every morning can help carry you into a centered place throughout the day and then you don’t have to do the extra work of clearing yourself of reactive feelings later on. a great time saver! My CD,The LifeQuake Method is very helpful for those of you who have trouble meditating.
In summary, the key here is to eliminate fear and anxiety as much as possible. When you are rested, well nourished, and relaxed, your brain thrives and is able to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances like having to spin on the head of a dime. Times they are a changin’ and they aren’t going to slow down any time soon so it is just common sense to make sure your body, mind, and spirit are thriving.
Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist, public speaker, author, and columnist. Her first book, The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to Thrive ( not just survive) in Times of Personal and Global Upheaval is now available through her website www.LifeQuake.net or various online book stores.
There is no doubt that we are in challenging times.
Being a good parent requires so much more of the typical American mom and dad than in any other previous generation. With both parents working at some point in a child’s life in most households, there is a lot to juggle. Women have a fraction of the testosterone that men have and yet are expected to perform at both work and home at very high levels. When we empty out of testosterone, we start using adrenal fluid and this is what causes adrenal exhaustion, immune deficiency and life burnout.
So here are some tips for the whole family in coping with daily stress and hopefully preventing catastrophic illness.
In summary, the simpler your lifestyle, the better it is for everyone in the family’s mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well being.
With more than 500,000 jobs cut in January alone, loss of employment is becoming more common than any of us would like to admit. However, if you look at temporary unemployment as an opportunity rather than a loss, you’re more likely to be back on your feet in no time. Here are five tips for anyone looking to get back to businesses quickly and painlessly:
1) Initiate or maintain a healthy diet. The stress of a loss of income and identity can stimulate a lot of anxiety which is very challenging to the immune system. In times of stress, some people turn to sugar which is the worst culprit for lowering healthy bacteria in your gut and promoting upper respiratory infections. Keeping an exercise routine will increase endorphins which also strengthen the immune system. Feeling physically strong supports mental acuity and well being.
2) Write a first draft of your resume and congratulate yourself on how much you’ve already accomplished. Sometimes the crisis and pain of sudden unemployment triggers an onslaught of feeling inferior to others who still have a job. Remember to celebrate your small achievements along the road to success.
3) Ask yourself if this happened to force you into a new direction. Consider the possibility of creating a business from home. Look at your resume and see if there is something you are skilled in from your past experience and also have a passion for, but didn’t have the guts to risk doing for fear of failure or financial limitations.
4) Volunteer at a non-profit organization while you are either job hunting or creating a new business. An avocation can turn into a vocation. While I was working for a company in downtown Los Angeles, I incurred an on- the- job injury and while I was in rehab, I volunteered at an agency that educated the public on sexual assault issues. An opening occurred for the director position that was paid and I got the job. This led to my decision to go back to school and become a psychotherapist. Sometimes, what appears to be the end of your life is but a fork in the road.
5) Enlist the aid of your community: family and friends. Let them know what you are looking for and give them the opportunity to be of service. With the Internet, we are living in times that are truly six degrees of separation. You never know who knows who. Ask, ask, ask…