The LifeQuake Blog
Posts Tagged ‘the lifequake method’
Yesterday I was contacted through Facebook by a guy from Torino, Italy who has the same last name as me. I accepted his invitation to be his friend given we have the same name. I was slightly amused by the fact that although he’s married, he listed one word under the “Your interests” category: women. But if you understand Italian culture, you don’t judge.
Anyway, he contacted me again today inviting me to be a part of the Galardi Family where 30 people all named Galardi were listed. At first, I almost didn’t accept. Although I do business under the name Galardi, my legal last name is Gagliardi but people don’t know how to pronounce it correctly in this country (phonetically it is pronounced Gaul-yar-dee). When I started doing media appearances twenty years ago I shortened the name so it wouldn’t be pronounced Gag -liardi.
But in looking at all these pictures of people with my current last name, it made me think about how the word family is changing. Now with Facebook, we really are connecting with each other all over the world every day and the idea of a global family is no longer just an ideal concept. We are meant to transform our definition of family as we make this global leap in evolution. The evolutionary biologists tell us that we are all connected to ancestors in South Africa. So I decided that whether my name is Galardi or Gagliardi, I am connected to these people in Torino. The irony is that my grandmother’s second husband John Sorgini was from Torino. Although we were not blood related, he was the only paternal grandfather I ever knew. Six degrees of separation…
Dr Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist and Change Expert. Her new book The LifeQuake Phenomenon is available through her website www.LifeQuake.net or the online bookstores. To contact Dr. Galardi for a consult, call 310-712-2600.
It has been said by many that food, the right food has great healing powers. It is also said that if you want to pull out of a depression or the blues, give of yourself to others. Now I have definitely had days where I was down in the dumps and by working with a client I felt better after. Who knew that cooking could also pull you out of a low moment?
For the past three years I have either been working on writing, editing, or marketing my book and have not been entertaining. Given how much time I spend at my computer, I began having regrets this morning that I had planned a luncheon at my house for four friends… on a work day. As I was rushing around cleaning, I kept muttering to myself I must be crazy to have taken this on in the midst of several deadlines I had for articles. I continued this inner dialogue walking to and from the market until I got in my kitchen and started chopping the tomatoes, pressing the garlic, and boiling the water for the pasta. Suddenly I became a different person, a familiar person, but one I hadn’t met for a while – I call her my “Italian mama” sub-personality. I was in heaven. As I played Romanza on my Ipod, I began to feel ecstatic.
My girlfriends arrived. I got up and down a million times to serve them and could not have been happier as we broke in my new Crate and Barrel dining room table. As I was finally sitting and enjoying the meal with them, I had the thought that cooking for others is really therapeutic for me. I had been feeling burned out by functioning so much in the intellectual realm and was out of balance. In spite of the fact that it added a lot of work to my day, I was so much more joyful at 3:00 when they left. As someone who believes in what I call “divine coincidences”, I thought it was an interesting omen that as we were finishing, a hummingbird came to the window. In Indian Medicine, the hummingbird brings the medicine of joy. How fitting…
Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist and the author of her new book, The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to Thrive ( not just survive) in Times of Personal and Global Upheaval.
The first step in learning how to stop worrying begins with prevention so that you don’t have to do an unnecessary first step in having to undo the habit to begin with. Even if you come from a long line of worriers and have a propensity toward the behavior you can still enlist habits that will minimize the tendency to begin with. So begin with looking at your health habits and set an intention for sticking to a balanced diet.
Eliminate highly caffeinated drinks (coffee, black tea, and red bull) that will heighten anxiety if you are in a highly stressed circumstance. Sugar also intensifies the nervous system and causes mood swings. It is important that if you are going through a LifeQuake or are prone to worry, that you make sure you eat a balanced diet of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. When people cut out complex “carbs” as a way of losing weight it reduces serotonin, the neurotransmitter that keeps us calm, so by making sure that you eat brown rice, sweet potatoes, and whole grain pasta, you will keep your brain well balanced.
Another very important health habit that helps to prevent or reduce worrying is getting eight hours sleep a night. If you make it a habit of not watching the news or any television programs that have a violent or negative emotional tone in the evening and you spend thirty minutes decompressing before getting into bed (taking an Epson Salt bath, reading books with an uplifting message, meditation,etc) you will find that your nervous system will allow you to sleep more easily through the night.
3) If you are awakened by worrisome thoughts, get out of bed. Go into another room and sit in a comfortable chair. Bring your awareness to your breath. Now, scan your body and notice where you are feeling anxious. Is it in your chest, your throat, your head, etc? Bring your breath to the place you are holding the fear and ask to be shown a symbol for the feeling. For example, it might be a broken down shopping cart. Ask the symbol, what is it afraid of? The answer might be – of being homeless or of not being able to buy food for your kids, etc
When I work with clients, sometimes they don’t know why they are worried. Scanning your body for where you are housing the worry and asking for a symbol makes it easier to get an answer. Our subconscious mind operates symbolically more than with words which is why our dreams are fraught with symbols.
Once you have a sense of what you are really afraid of, ask for a symbol that represents peace and trust. Trust is the antidote for worry. You cant worry and trust at the same time. So, say the symbol for trust is an open hand. Imagine the open hand replacing the broken down shopping cart in your body. Breathe into it and then place it inside your heart with your intention.
Now ask your heart for one message that will help resolve your fear. For example, if your worry is that you are going to lose your job, now that you have brought calm into your body, ask your heart what action step do you need to take on this issue. Should you be pro-active in looking at other career options right now, for example. People often sense months in advance that they might be in for a big career change but instead of taking action they put their head in the sand and hope the tsunami isn’t going to hit them.
Another tip for dealing with worry is from my book The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to Thrive (not just survive) in Times of Personal and Global Upheaval. I call it Name that Fear. Make a list of five things you are worried about. Do the exercise above with breathing into where you are storing the fear. Now exaggerate the feeling. Make it even bigger. Tell yourself to worry even more about the issue. Give yourself permission to really intensify the feeling. The feeling will lessen simply by you giving it permission to get even bigger. Now next to the list of five things you are worried about, put your pen in your non-dominant writing hand and write a solution to the worry. By placing your pen in its non-dominant hand, you open the brain to more expansive options.
Some of our worries about moving into transition for example may come from childhood and we need to go back to the original experience and relive it with the feeling of safety. Think about all the times you have succeeded at things you were at first worried about. Now ask yourself, How old you were when you first started the pattern of worrying? Bring the successful adult you back to the first experience you had of being in a new situation where it was a traumatizing or painful event.
For example, see the six year old you at school for the first time. Imagine the adult you being with the six – year – old child protecting him or her from harm.
Surround yourself with positive people who think expansively and creatively and remain trusting even at times of uncertainty. Worry is infectious but so is happiness so if you tend to be a “worry wart”, stay away from negative people as much as possible.
And lastly, learn how to meditate. There are countless books on meditation techniques on the market and if that proves too difficult, go to my website, www.LifeQuake.net/products and buy The LifeQuake Method CD. There are guided meditations that can help break the worry habit and if all that fails, there is always PASTA!
When I was a college instructor for psychology majors, I taught an entire semester on the Jungian approach to dream interpretation, so distilling this into a few paragraphs is an interesting challenge. My favorite use of dreams involves using them to prepare for life changes. After you have done the emotional work that I wrote about in the previous articles, your subconscious mind will be more apt to give you a warning dream because it recognizes that you want the information. If we are afraid to face that change is coming and we numb ourselves out in various ways to avoid the truth, most probably we will not receive warnings from the soul that a cycle is ending. Further, even if we do, we probably won’t recognize the message.
Let’s say you are ready to accept that change is coming and you wan to use your dreams to get information. Pay attention to symbols that represent crisis: for example, tornadoes are a message of upheaval but, this symbol may be showing you that if you go to the eye of the storm, you can get the peace you need to hear what steps to take next. Earthquakes represent a structural change. Either you need to build a better emotional foundation or you may be called to physically move. When I work with a client, I give them several tools for dream recall. Here is one that can be helpful: keep a pad of paper or blank book by your bed. Before going to sleep, put the date of the next morning on it and write three times while saying it aloud, “ I am remembering my dreams when I awaken in the morning.”
The key with dream interpretation lies in the emotional tone of each scene of the dream. If you have a dream where your house is on fire, for example, but you are very calm or even joyous in the dream, this may be an indication that in spite of a radical change to your foundation, you will experience profound and beneficial transformation. I love working with dreams. I have assisted many people in preparing for their life to change in such a way that they were able to avert disaster.
In my new book, The LifeQuake Phenomenon I share with my readers stories of people, like Martin Rutte, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work who intuited from a dream to sell his house. The Northridge earthquake occurred three days after he and his wife moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Yes, dreams can save our lives if we are willing to listen and begin an inquiry with ourselves on where we need to make changes. Of course it also helps to have a coach who can look at the material with you and determine the meaning that most fits with you and your destiny.
Dr. Toni Galardi is a psychotherapist, author, public speaker, and is the columnist for Vision Magazine’s, “Ask the LifeQuake Doctor”. Her recent book, The LifeQuake Phenomenon, is available now at www.lifequake.net.
Factually speaking, we’re in the last days of winter. The spring equinox officially begins in the western hemisphere at 4:44 AM PDT Mar 20. However, when I listen to people in my private practice and community, I sense that Spring is going to be delayed this year so I am continuing in this blog to give you tools for what to do in your own personal “winter of discontent”. In my book, The LifeQuake Phenomenon, this is all encapsulated in chapter two as stage two of a LifeQuake.
There is a feeling in the country of anxiety and emotional paralysis. Everyone is waiting for the next guy to stimulate the economy. Now, I’m not saying go out and spend money you don’t have to get the economy going. What I am saying is that if you feel frozen to take any action in your life, change from within. Go even deeper into non-doing. Spend 15 minutes a day in quiet. As you inhale, bring the oxygen all the way down into your gut. As you focus on your breath, put your hand over your heart and imagine your hand is a wand of light that is radiating all the fear you are feeling, transforming it into peace. Now, go to the top of your head with your awareness and set an intention for your crown to open and receive light from the universe – the sun, the air, all of nature, etc. Believe it or not, you can be inside your office or home and still have access to this source. Once you feel calm, ask the question, what is one thing I can do today that I don’t normally do that will support my life?
The temptation when we feel paralyzed is to self soothe through food, sex, alcohol, surfing the net for hours, etc. While in stage two, so much amazing healing work can be done if we allow ourselves to turn within for comfort; simply by partnering universal consciousness with our own breath and heart. Tomorrow I will give you some techniques for remembering your dreams and using the dream recall to prepare for change.
Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in Santa Monica, Ca and is the author of the newly published book, The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to thrive (not just survive)in Times of Personal and Global Upheaval.
In part two of this series on preparing for change I gave you a tool for observing your life and beginning to acknowledge that a cycle of life is ending. In the Mar 8th blog, I instructed you to keep tabs of what interests you now as a contrast to what has become stale, boring, and not life giving. Over the next few weeks you have the opportunity to notice not just what is ending but the vague glimpses of new interests and passions.
In this blog the focus is on something Americans have an almost phobic fear of -death. At one time, the three things one never spoke about in public conversation were sex, death, and money. Well, now that you see on day time tv what was only possible in soft porn films, sex is most definitely out in the open. One never discussed salaries in polite conversation and now people talk blatantly about what they lost in their stock portfolio as if they are talking about yesterday’s news. And yet, confronting death is something people do only when forced to through a diagnosis or tragic loss. There is death inside of natural life cycles that we also resist.
In the Native American tradition there is a saying “It’s a good day to die.” It was used when a warrior went forth into battle with dignity and acceptance of his fate but I use it as an opening to emotional release work with my clients when the battle we are confronting is the negative ego that is resisting change. Ask yourself the question, “ What beliefs am I holding onto that need to die?” What needs to be released from my life that no longer supports my growth? For example, perhaps it’s the way you’ve made your living or if you’re an entrepreneur, the marketing techniques you have used in the past for your product. If you lost your job or sales are down for your company, it may be time to let an old method go. Companies are famous for continuing to put out a product using a tried and true marketing strategy only to find it isn’t reflecting the needs of the consumer. Think General Motors, for example.
Anyway, the next task in preparing for change is to look into your life at what is defunctional – obsolete – and get rid of it. Spring is coming. Is the soil in your garden made up of elements that can produce an abundant crop or do you need to get out there and weed out the beliefs that are suppressing your fertile soul? If we make every day “ a good day to die” we can surrender to change and produce a new world where everyone has clean water and goes to sleep with a full stomach. It is possible…
Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist, phone coach, and author of her new book, The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to Thrive (not just survive) in Times of Personal and Global Upheaval.
In yesterday’s blog I gave a technique that can assist you in preparing for change. Transforming the misperception that change means loss is the first step in recognizing when it is time to make a change. Once you have changed this core belief into one that allows you to embrace change as gain, you can then proceed to step 2.
Step 2 involves observation. Observe everything you experience in your life all day long in terms of the emotions they trigger. The first stage that begins the onset of a LifeQuake (the chaos that comes with your soul awakening to its next level of evolution) is boredom. When a cycle of our lives is closing and we cannot grow any longer in the form that it is in (ie. relationship, career, health habits, etc.), the first symptom that shows up is boredom. On the emotional tone scale, ecstasy is at the top, despair is at the bottom, and boredom is in the middle. Boredom is considered a transition emotion. If you begin to assess what you are bored with as well as what interests you now, (instead of trying to artificially stimulate excitement through sex, drugs or alcohol for example), there are clues to your next destiny.
By observing where your emotions move up the emotional tone scale from boredom to let’s say, mild interest you can see what is beginning to enliven you now. When I work with a client either by phone or in person, I always suggest doing this exercise for three weeks. Keep a tape recorder or pad of paper with you and quickly make a note of billboards you are drawn to, colors that attract you now, television programs, movies, conversations that you found particularly compelling, etc. Next to the description of what you were interested in, note the specific feeling it evoked.
After three weeks of observing what interests you in your life now, enlist the aid of a friend or coach to assess what connects the dots of your interests and write a paragraph describing a kind of vocation or lifestyle that would most enliven you now. Place it on your desk and spend five minutes a day envisioning yourself inside the life that best represents some or all of the elements most common to the theme you discovered when you connected the dots of your interests. You don’t have to know specific details such as the career that most expresses what gives your life meaning. It is enough to envision a kind of environment you want to work or live in, such as with a team of people or outdoors in nature and then allow the feeling you want to have inside that career or relationship to emerge and feel it with every fiber of your being, for five minutes. Although it may seem far away, ‘the visionary life” cannot be had until you dare to dream it. In the next blog, I will discuss how to acknowledge and dignify the dying of the life you are still in that is coming to an end.
Dr. Toni Galardi, better known as “The LifeQuake Doctor” is a change expert, psychotherapist, and columnist. Her new book The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to Thrive (not just survive )in Times of Personal and Global Upheaval is now available through online publishers and through her website www.LifeQuake.net.
Yesterday I was interviewed by a news anchor and was asked the question, “How do you prepare for change if you don’t know change is coming?”
I pondered this question (not because I didn’t have an answer), but because I had so many answers that I didn’t know how to put them in a single sound bite for TV. So, I‘ve decided to devote a few blogs to this subject matter.
When you can remove the belief in your consciousness that change means loss, you are more apt to listen for the signs that a cycle is completing in your life and change is coming even if you don’t know what that specific change needs to be. In your childhood, if change always brought crisis or pain, you may have a deep subconscious resistance to major transitions. The irony is, that if you don’t change the belief around this, it can become a self-fulfilling prophesy. If your coping strategy for adapting to change is to avoid the warning signs by numbing yourself out through substances or outer distractions, then what you bring in is crisis driven transition. A slew of parking tickets becomes a major car accident, for example.
One technique for transforming the fear of change is to spend a few minutes every day with your eyes closed. Ask yourself the question, “Is there some area of my life that has become defunct, no longer functioning for my greater good?” It could be your job responsibilities, the form of exercise you do, your sex life, etc?
Now focus inward toward your body.
When you think about changing that routine, what feelings does it bring up? Where are those feelings located in your body? Now, take five minutes to simply breathe into it by placing your left hand (this is governed by the side of the brain that elicits our intuitive creative self) over this area. Allow your hand to get warmer. Now send an intention into your hand of unconditional love. Think about all the times you have used your hands to express love toward family members or a pet and then transfer that same feeling of complete acceptance you have toward others you love toward the place in your body where you hold fear of change. Then end this practice by repeating to yourself, “I am safe and secure. Change now brings me gain.” Do this repetitively, for several weeks until there is no more charge on making a big change.
Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist and life transitions coach who has written a new book that assists people in overcoming the fear of change and creating a life of meaning and joy. The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to Thrive (not just survive) in Times of Personal and Global Upheaval is available through her website, www.LifeQuake.net. For those seeking personal consultation, she can be reached at 310-712-2600.
There has been a lot of press coverage on couples staying together for economic reasons that were planning to divorce prior to the recession, including Anderson Cooper’s piece on CNN. I even received a call from New York Times reporter on this subject.
Truth be told, I am consulting with a couple who are sleeping in separate rooms and claim to be together for their son, but I surmise that the real reason is economics. I did a session with their fourteen-year-old son and he is completely dismayed as to why his parents are still together.
It got me thinking; is there an upside to people hesitating to divorce these days?
Yes, in a perfect world you shouldn’t live with someone you don’t love anymore, but, perhaps, these challenging times provide a way to rewrite the contract so that you live in a more tribal or community way rather than an ideal we have of romantic love.
Two cases from my practice illustrate how the current economic climate can help or hinder people staying together.
In one case, a couple came to me separately and, although the husband wanted marriage counseling, the wife did not. She was not in love with her husband anymore and had previously had an affair that he knew about. Her reason for staying was their child but as therapy progressed, it became clear there was more here. She knew the value of their home had diminished drastically and was concerned about what she would end up receiving in a property settlement, given the current economic decline. Her solution was to avoid her husband at night, spending hours at her computer watching YouTube videos. My treatment approach with this person was to work on her boredom at her job and help her discover a passion she could turn into her vocation of destiny so that money was no longer her consideration for staying.
In the second case, the couple I was seeing was fighting a lot because of money stressors, but it was clear to me that, although they had threatened each other with divorce, there was still a lot of love left in this marriage. So, we worked on downsizing their lifestyle and being more creative with their finances, spending more time at home with each other and their children and, soon enough, the fighting diminished significantly.
So, as you can see, change and crisis management as it applies to marriage can sometimes mean changing the contract and sometimes it is time to revoke the contract and trust that with greater authenticity, your life will thrive as a single person.
Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist, columnist, and author of her new book The LifeQuake Phenomeonon: How to Thrive (not just survive) in Times of Personal And Global Upheaval.For more information, visit www.lifequake.net.