Ellie Holbrook, MA, LPCC, RYT200 is…

…A Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor:  Ellie counsels women, men, adolescents, and professionals from all walks of life. She is committed to the well-being of her clients and dedicated to helping them meet their unique individual life and wellness goals as they optimize their personal satisfaction in life. As a coach, Ellie specializes in the art of positive living.

…A Registered Yoga Teacher:  Ellie is a certified yoga instructor, registered with the Yoga Alliance at the 200 hour level.  She is currently engaged in advanced teacher training.  Ellie teaches daily yoga classes at Satsanga, her studio, in Spicer, Minnesota.

…A Co-Founder of Satsanga:  Ellie, and her partner Ashley Christianson, are co-founders of Satsanga, a gathering place in which individuals gather to share the company of the “highest truth” through various means of study, practice, and reflection.  The ultimate goal is to assimilate the meaning of these personal truths into one’s daily life.  At Satsanga, we welcome you to join us in the practices of Yoga, Ayurveda, and Holistic Well-Being.

…A DONA-trained birth doula: Ellie is a DONA-trained birth doula. She is enthusiastic about childbirth, and passionate about supporting expecting women and their families.

Redefining the Holidays

November 19th, 2014

For the years that I have been writing this column, I have typically written a holiday submission that has focused on finding gratitude, grounding, and balance amidst the hustle and bustle of holiday stress.  And while this subject still has great merit for many of us, life circumstances have helped me realize that this topic has inadvertently overlooked those of us that do not experience the holidays in the same way.

 

So, this year, rather than focusing on the “overabundance” of the holidays that many of us relate to, I would like to make a shift and highlight another perspective.

 

…Traditionally, the holiday season views holiday happiness as time spent with family and loved ones.  And while this may be true for many, it is not true for us all.  For, in truth, holiday happiness depends much more upon our personal perspectives and experiences, much more than who we spend our time with.

 

Yet, when we spend the holidays alone, this is much easier said than done,  for if we find ourselves alone on the holidays, it is ever difficult, yet ever so important to remember that being alone does not have to equate being lonely.

 

So, with this in mind, consider the following the suggestions to avoid feeling lonely this holiday season:

 

First and foremost, redefine your expectations of the holidays:  Liberate yourself and know that there is no reason whatsoever that you cannot enjoy yourself and find meaning in this holiday season, no matter what your circumstances.  Make this time, whoever you spend it with, count.

 

Extend invitations:  Be proactive, and do not assume that everyone has plans, and know that many people look forward to a change of holiday-pace even if they do. If there is something that you would like to do, and you would like to share that time with others invite them to join you.

 

Accept invitations:  Again, be proactive.  Assume that the invitations you receive are sincere, and accept them if they sound appealing.  If they do not, graciously decline, and accept ownership for your decision to do so.

 

Redefine company:  Regardess if it is your own company, that of a beloved animal, or something else that is not human, do something special and out-of-the-ordinary with the company that you have.

 

Reflect:  Use this time to reconnect with yourself in a different way.  Reflect on your resolutions, your intentions, and your direction.  Absorb the silence and use it to your advantage during this time of solitude.

 

Indulge:  Indulge in yourself, and indulge in others.  If you have the desire, give yourself a treat of some kind.  And also, consider how you may give of yourself to connect with and benefit others in a way that is unique to you.

 

Be creative or productive:  What have you been  meaning to do with your free time?  Whether that is creative or productive, invest your resources into that project, and it is likely that you will find a sense of fulfillment. 

 

Get away:  Explore a change of scenery, whether that is near or far.  Travel, no matter how you define it, takes on a whole new meaning and introduces you to a whole new word when you are flying solo.

 

Ellie Holbrook MA, LPCC, RYT200

 

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Nothing is Permanent – Another Schedule Update!

November 11th, 2014

Yoga and Meditation Schedule

Monday

8.30-9.30am: BodyBlend

After School- 5.00pm:  Yoga for Kids

5.30-6.30pm: Deep Tissue- This class will no longer be offered as of November 24th, due to schedule changes

5.30pm-7.00pm: Intro to Yoga Series – Beginning Monday November 24th

Tuesday

4.30-5.30pm: Lower-Body/Creative-Core – Beginning Tuesday, November 18th

6.00-7.00pm: Yin Yoga- Beginning Tuesday, November 18th

Wednesday

6.30am-7.30am: Sunrise Yoga

5.30-6.30pm Astanga Flow

Thursday

6.30-7.30am: Mysore Practice and Meditation – Coming soon! Please email to express interest

5.00pm: Meditation

5:30-6.30pm: Happy Hour

Friday

8.30am-9.30am: BodyBlend

10.00-11.00am- Gentle Flow

12.00-1.00- Midday Flow – Coming soon!

Watch for schedule updates, as we will also be offering many special interest classes, workshops, self-study groups, Yoga Nidra, Karma Classes, and other events.

*We are EXCITED to announce that Ashley will begin her Intro to Yoga Series Monday November 24th from 5.30pm-7.00pm.  This six-week series will provide students with an in-depth foundational knowledge of yoga asana, breathing techniques, and other yoga practices.  To reserve your spot or obtain more information, email Ashley at satsanga139@gmail.com

All yoga classes are $10.  There is no need to preregister for class, unless posted otherwise.

Please email satsanga139@gmail.com to learn more about private and small group sessions, Restorative Yoga, Yoga for Emotional Balance, and holistic-wellness coaching services.

Class Descriptions

Astanga Flow:  Astanga Yoga is a challenging and vigorous style of Hatha Yoga.  Astanga Yoga consists of the same asana sequence that moves students from pose to pose, paying special attention to unwinding and aligning the entire body to increase both strength and flexibility and to enhance overall health by incorporating breath control, isometrics, and internal focus.   Astanga Flow is open to practitioners of all levels.

BodyBlend:  Much like Hot Yoga, students of this challenging class will practice in a heated room and will engage in deep, targeted breath and body work to build strength, increase flexibility, and improve the overall functioning of the body.

Deep Tissue:  This class will feature a yoga practice that complements the more dynamic and invigorating yoga movements  Postures are be held passively for longer periods of time to access a safe and positive stress in the deeper tissues of the body.  This practice will restore and maintain the natural mobility of the physical body and tune into the energetics of the body’s meridians to encourage emotional equilibrium.

Gentle Flow:  Open to all levels of students, this class will move at a gentler pace than other more intense classes.  Gentle Flow provides a supportive environment for students to relax, restore, and open their body and mind, while releasing stress and tension throughout the body by uniting the breath with body movements and offering modifications to traditional poses.

Happy Hour:  Happy Hour class is open to students of all levels and will incorporate a variety of asana/yoga poses and practices.

Intro to Yoga Series:  This 6-weeks series class will provide students with an in-depth, foundational knowledge of basic yoga asanas and basic breathing techniques.  In addition, this class will incorporate short meditations that will focus on healing herbs and fostering a connection with Mother Earth.  This class is intended to be fun and light-hearted, and all will be welcomed with open arms!  Intro to Yoga is the only class that requires pre-registration, as space is limited, and it is our desire that you to commit to these six weeks to begin to absorb the many wonderful benefits yoga has to offer. 

Lower-Body/Creative-Core: Here we will emphasize grounding ourselves with Mother Earth.  This class will include a creative flow of poses that focuses on the core and lower body. These poses will bring about flexibility while strengthening and toning the core. Suitable for all levels, come to class prepared to build strength with an open heart and mind. 

Meditation:  This 30 minute class will introduce students to a new meditation technique each week.  Following brief discussion and guidance, students will then have the opportunity to explore each technique on their own, or practice a meditation technique of their preference.  This class is $5.00 per time.

Midday Flow: Coming soon!

Mysore Practice and Meditation:  Mysore is a self-directed practice that is rooted in the Astanga Yoga system.  Students attending this class will have the opportunity to practice at their own pace, yet have the personal guidance, support, and assistance of the instructor, if desired.  This class is open to all levels of students.

Prenatal Yoga:  Prenatal Yoga is designed to address the very unique physical and emotional needs of the expectant mother.  This class will infuse yoga poses, breathing techniques, and childbirth education to help mamas tune into their bodies, themselves, and their babies before, during, and after childbirth.  Prenatal Yoga is taught by Ellie, a Registered Yoga Teacher and DONA-trained doula.

Sunrise Yoga:  Sunrise Yoga is open to students of all levels and will incorporate a variety of asana/yoga poses and practices.

Yin Yoga:  Yin Yoga is designed to gently lengthen, heal, and improve the connective tissue within the joints of the body.  Flexibility of the joints and connective tissues is where we derive the the feeling of ease and lightness in the body.  The poses that will be incorporated in class are designed to to be passively held for longer lengths of time, allowing the muscles to melt into the body and relax into what we yoginis refer to as the “Goldie Locks” place.  Additionally, Yin Yoga works directly with the meridians, or energy channels, of the body, increasing the flow of energy throughout the body.  This is comparable to personal mini-acupuncture treatment!  As always at Satsanga, come one and come all! This beautiful and relaxing class is suitable for all levels. 

 Yoga for Kids:  This fun-loving and free-spirited class will introduce young ones to the various aspects of yoga, including asana, meditation, and other yogic practices.  Children, teens, and parents are welcome to attend Yoga for Kids, and Pre-K kids must be accompanied by a helper over the age of 12.

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Breaking the Cycle

October 29th, 2014

Albert Einstein, the genius that he was, has been credited for once saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
…While most of are not actually insane, many of us can relate to this quote, because there is truth behind it. For if we are to be honest with ourselves, we must admit that, from time to time, we fall in to patterns that do not work for us. And as frustrating and discouraging as this can be, it is for good reason, because every dysfunction has its function, and because sometimes meaningful change requires the repeated learning and practice of difficult lessons.
So, if you are like the rest of us, and you are noticing negative patterns in your life, consider the following questions to help initiate positive change:
What are my patterns?
As they say in the 12-Step Program, thefirst step is to recognize that you have a problem. Or, in this case, a pattern. What, cycles, and trends seem to continuously play out in your life? What is going on in your life when you find yourself lamenting, “I always…” or “I never…”. When you hear these words echoing in your own ears, listen, reflect, and prepare to break a cycle.

How can I be accountable to myself?
After identifying that there is a pattern in your life that you would like to break, you must take accountability. Even if you struggle to own the problem, own the fact that this is your life, and empower yourself to make a change. Problems are not solved by blaming other and making excuses. They are solved by taking responsibility for the change that we would like to see, even if we are not responsible for the circumstances we find ourselves in.
What am I feeling?
Once you are able to identify your emotions and see them as signs and guideposts of what is going on within you and around you, you will be able to get off the emotional roller coaster that you have found yourself on and instead take a better look at what you are feeling, why you are feeling it, and what you want to do about it.
What lesson is to be learned?
No matter the situation, there is something to be learned. Find the value in the hardship.
What can I do differently?
If you want to make a positive change in your life, know that you need to make positive choices, and sometimes this means doing things differently than you normally do. So, think about how you typically react to a situation, and instead, choose to respond. This can be uncomfortable, but when practiced with intention and mindfulness, it can be powerfully transformative.

 

Ellie Holbrook, MA, LPCC, RYT200

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The Way We Do Anything Is the Way We Do Everything

October 15th, 2014

While in session with a client last week, I repeated the following quote: 

“The way we do anything, or one thing, is the way we do everything.”

Upon my saying this, both my client and I had to take a moment to reflect on the meaning of this statement.  At first, I silently chided myself, thinking, “Where did you even hear that?  That makes no sense.”  Yet, after letting these words sink in for another moment, and applying them to myself, I realized that is, in fact, true, and whoever it is I heard this from knew what they were talking about. 

In many ways, the many aspects of our lives may not seem to echo one another.  But this is likely because many of the aspects of our lives, on the surface, are more easily contrastable then comparable.  Yet, if we are to dive deeper and look at the themes that play out within and throughout our lives, we will see that this statement is true…

The way we do anything, is quite actually, the way we do everything.

Think about this for a moment, and apply this statement to your own life, and you will see for yourself.      

…To really see the truth of this statement in your own life and personality, consider the following questions:

Do you relate to the cliché, “when it rains, it pours”?  And on the contrary, do you feel like when one area of your life is going well, relatively speaking, so are the others?  Do you find that you keep running into the same problems in life?  Perhaps you procrastinate or tend to take on too much at one time.  Do you tend to fret over things that are not within your control?  Are you often on the defensive or do you struggle to say no, speak up, or advocate on behalf of what is important to you?  Perhaps you are more likely to “cut and run” or simply bow out when you have had enough of something? Or, maybe, none of these statements resonate with you, and you are able to identify other themes in your life that seem to be uniquely yours.

Yet, whatever these themes are, the truth of the matter remains that the habits we practice in one area of life eventually carry over into other areas. 

And this can work for or against us.  For, if we struggle in one area, we are likely to struggle in another.   Or, in contrast, our strengths will transcend these same boundaries, and we benefit.       

…So, as you read this, perhaps take a peek and examine yourself in your life right now and reflect.  As you do so, inquire.  How are your relationships?  Your passions and purpose?  How’s your career and your finances?  Your self-care and personal interests and goals?  Where do you do well, and where do your frustrations lie? 

Most likely, you will see themes.  Which is where the magic lies.  Because once you become aware that “the way you do anything is the way you do everything”, you will have the insight and empowerment to change everything at once. 

Ellie Holbrook, MA, LPCC RYT200

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Yoga and Meditation Schedule

October 12th, 2014

Yoga and Meditation Schedule

Monday

8.30am-9.30am: BodyBlend

After School- 5.00pm:  Yoga for Kids

5.30-6.30pm: Deep Tissue

Tuesday

6.30-7.30pm- Prenatal (Subject to Change)

Wednesday

6.30am-7.30am: Sunrise Yoga

5.30-6.30pm Astanga Flow

Thursday

6.30-7.30am: Mysore Practice and Meditation – Coming soon

5.00pm: Meditation

5:30-6.30pm: Happy Hour

Friday

10.00-11.00am- Gentle Flow

12.00-1.00- Midday Flow – Coming soon!

Watch for schedule updates, as we will also be offering many special interest classes, workshops, self-study groups, Yoga Nidra, Karma Classes, and other events.

All yoga classes are $10.  There is no need to preregister for class, unless posted otherwise.

Please email satsanga139@gmail.com to learn more about private and small group sessions, Restorative Yoga, Yoga for Emotional Balance, and holistic-wellness coaching services.

Class Descriptions

Astanga Flow:  Astanga Yoga is a challenging and vigorous style of Hatha Yoga.  Astanga Yoga consists of the same asana sequence that moves students from pose to pose, paying special attention to unwinding and aligning the entire body to increase both strength and flexibility and to enhance overall health by incorporating breath control, isometrics, and internal focus.   Astanga Flow is open to practitioners of all levels.

BodyBlend:  Much like Hot Yoga, students of this challenging class will practice in a heated room and will engage in deep, targeted breath and body work to build strength, increase flexibility, and improve the overall functioning of the body.

Deep Tissue:  This class will feature a yoga practice that complements the more dynamic and invigorating yoga movements  Postures are be held passively for longer periods of time to access a safe and positive stress in the deeper tissues of the body.  This practice will restore and maintain the natural mobility of the physical body and tune into the energetics of the body’s meridians to encourage emotional equilibrium.

Gentle Flow:  Open to all levels of students, this class will move at a gentler pace than other more intense classes.  Gentle Flow provides a supportive environment for students to relax, restore, and open their body and mind, while releasing stress and tension throughout the body by uniting the breath with body movements and offering modifications to traditional poses.

Happy Hour:  Happy Hour class is open to students of all levels and will incorporate a variety of asana/yoga poses and practices.

Meditation:  This 30 minute class will introduce students to a new meditation technique each week.  Following brief discussion and guidance, students will then have the opportunity to explore each technique on their own, or practice a meditation technique of their preference.  This class is $5.00 per time.

Midday Flow: Coming soon!

Mysore Practice and Meditation:  Mysore is a self-directed practice that is rooted in the Astanga Yoga system.  Students attending this class will have the opportunity to practice at their own pace, yet have the personal guidance, support, and assistance of the instructor, if desired.  This class is open to all levels of students.

Prenatal Yoga:  Prenatal Yoga is designed to address the very unique physical and emotional needs of the expectant mother.  This class will infuse yoga poses, breathing techniques, and childbirth education to help mamas tune into their bodies, themselves, and their babies before, during, and after childbirth.  Prenatal Yoga is taught by Ellie, a Registered Yoga Teacher and DONA-trained doula.

Sunrise Yoga:  Sunrise Yoga is open to students of all levels and will incorporate a variety of asana/yoga poses and practices.

 Yoga for Kids:  This fun-loving and free-spirited class will introduce young ones to the various aspects of yoga, including asana, meditation, and other yogic practices.  Children, teens, and parents are welcome to attend Yoga for Kids, and Pre-K kids must be accompanied by a helper over the age of 12.

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No Need To Explain

September 10th, 2014

Several weeks ago, I posted an article that I had happened across addressing our “need” to explain or apologize for who we are and what we do, despite the fact that these explanations and apologies are not at all necessary.

And even while this is an unnecessary expenditure of energy, it seems that most of us have fallen into this trap a time or two throughout our lives in an attempt to help people understand where we are coming from.

Yet, in reality, we owe these explanations and apologies to no one. Especially when we feel self-assured in our life choices. So, the next time you feel compelled to “explain” or “apologize” for yourself in such a way, remember that you do not owe this to anyone for anything.

And, in particular, you do not owe anyone an explanation or an apology for…

….YOUR LIVING SITUATION.

Whether you are cohabiting, crashing on a friends’ couch, renting a transition home, or paying entirely too much for the roof over your head, you do owe anyone an explanation for where you lie your head down at night or why. If you are fully aware of your living situation and why you are making that choice, know that it is yours to make.

… YOUR LIFE PRIORITIES.

Because we are all unique individuals, we all have differing beliefs, priorities, and values. And more often than not, some of these things will not agree with the people that matter most to you. Yet even so, you have come to hold these things close to your heart for a reason. And for those reasons alone, you need not explain yourself.

…NOT BEING SORRY.

Simply stated, we do not have to apologize for the things that we do not feel sorry for.

… REQUIRING ALONE TIME.

Each one of us has a different need for solitude and a different need for socialization. Neither is right nor wrong, and both are natural and necessary.

…YOUR THOUGHTS ON OTHERS’ PERSONAL POLITICAL, AND SPIRITUAL VAUES AND BELIEFS.

We need not agree with everything everyone believes. Likewise, we need not share these opinions if and when we do not feel compelled to do so. Do not compromise or water down your own personal convictions for the sake of conformity and pacifism. Rather, learn to disagree or remain silent with acceptance and grace.

…NOT AGREEING WITH EVERYTHING THEY SAY.

Learn to find a way to politely disagree, decline, or opt out of something when you feel the need to, and you will find peace. Remember that asserting and advocating on your own behalf is no more and no less than an act of self-care.

…YOUR PHYSICAL APPEARANCE.

You physical appearance is a combination of nature and nurture, genetics and lifestyle, and it should not be made a determination of your self-worth.

…YOUR FOOD PREFERENCES.

Unless you are requiring others to eat just as you do, you do not need to explain or apologize for your diet and food choices any more than you need to explain or apologize for any other preference you have or the other functions of your body. Let it simply be a matter of feeling good.
…YOUR SEX LIFE.

If you are your partner are both consenting adults, let the discussion of your sex life end here.

… YOUR CAREER OR PERSONAL LIFE CHOICES.

I have found that many of our personal and professional choices are a reflection of “where we are right now”, and these are choices that we make for various reasons at various times throughout our life. If you know why you are doing what you are doing, let that suffice.

…YOUR RELATIONSHIP CHOICES.

Single, married, divorced, or otherwise. This is your choice, as determined by you and your truest self, regardless of your relationship status, and because of that, you need not explain this status to anyone else that is not involved.

Ellie Holbrook, MA, LPCC, RYT200
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Yes and No

August 13th, 2014

As August fades into September, and summer into fall, I often find myself thinking about the upcoming school year and finding a renewed focus on the needs of my children and the children that I work with. Today, as I reflected on our summer and began to look forward to the months ahead, I could not help but to realize that we do not have very many lazy summer days left, and I found myself day-dreaming about how I would like to maximize the time that we do have left together before school begins. In doing so, I began reflecting on parenting in general, and in particular, the things that we say “yes” to and the things that we say “no” to…

…As a mother first, and a therapist second, I have always believed that children need to hear the word “no”. Children need limits. Children need structure. They need to learn to self-regulation. They need to be taught to appreciate the importance of positive and negative consequences in life. And as parents and care providers, it is our job to instill these values and help them learn such priceless lessons.

Yet, as a therapist, and especially as a parent, I also believe that children need to hear the word “yes” just as often as, if not more than, they need to hear the word “no”. Children need to hear that, yes, they are good and they are loved. They need to be told now and then, that yes, we will play with them and do what they want to do. Yes, we have time and no, you do not need to hurry. They need to hear that, yes, their feelings are valid. Their questions deserve answers and the fact that they are right now and then needs to be affirmed. Children need to know that it is ok to act their age, be human, and be a kid, and they need to feel free and be encouraged to be themselves.

Just as much as children need limits, structure, discipline, and regulation, it is equally important that they be given stability and security, validation and reassurance, support and encouragement, and unconditional love. And really, we as adults, are no different, are we?

So today, if you are a parent or you have children in your life, I would like to simply reflect on how you interact with these beautiful beings. Ask yourself what lessons this interaction reinforces. Think about what balance currently exists in these children’s lives, and ask yourself what they need more of from the world, and what do they need less of? And most importantly, do not underestimate the influence that you might have on these amazing creatures.

 

Ellie Holbrook, MA, LPC, RYT200

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Does This Even Matter?

July 16th, 2014

Over the years that I have written this column, I have often spoken to the importance of maintaining “perspective”. www.teststarter.com
In doing so, I have stated that our perspective on worldly issues has the power to transform, or at the very least, influence our

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lives in very profound ways. Yet, not surprisingly, maintaining an objective, insightful perspective is often easier said than done.

So the next time you find yourself struggling to find perspective on a life issue, consider the following fifteen questions…

1. Is this issue going to matter in a year from now? Can you recall your biggest problem one year ago from today? Is it still an issue? More than likely, it is not. If it is, it is obviously important.

2. What aspects of your current life would you be grateful for had you had them five years ago? Isn’t it interesting how some of the most simple things, such as relationships, loved ones, careers, seem to be the greatest blessings?

3. Do you care more about this situation, or just how it “makes you look”? When life delivers a blow to our ego, we often get caught up in our heads and fret over the opinions of others, causing more suffering for ourselves than necessary. When we can release this, we are able to see what really matters most to us. And what doesn’t.

4. Name five things that are basic for your survival that you do not have to think about. Ask yourself if your basic needs are met: Do you have a place to sleep? A meal on the table? Can you pay your rent each month? If not, what things in your life do you need to shift in order to have these things?

5. What would your life be like if you di not have these things? Take a moment just to imagine what this would be life. And take a moment to be grateful for the things that you do have.

6. What is a huge life crisis that is no longer a concern? The answers of this question should highlight nor only the temporary nature of things, but also, the evolution of our perspective as we grow.

7. What compliments have you received lately? Can you even remember? Can you remember the offenses? Embrace the kind words of others and let that highlight your gifts. Discard unkind words, or transform them into something to learn from.

8. What do you have in this moment that you will never have again? Appreciate the fact that while you might not have everything that you want in this moment, for better or for worse, you do have some things that you will never have again.

9. If you could say one thing to yourself of five years ago, what would that be? Take that advice and apply it to today.

10. Do you dislike certain people? What do they have to teach you? And, what do they reflect back to you?

11. Practicality aside, what would make you happier than anything else? What about the answer to this question can be manifested in your life at this time?

12. What do you do when nobody is looking? Who are you when you’re not trying to be something to someone else? When are you most yourself?

13. What of the past year do you actually remember? Most likely, you most clearly recall how a few isolated instances outshine the minute-to-minute moments.

14.Can you recall any times in your life when you thought you were at the point of a break down, when really, it was a break-through? Most likely this will happen again. When it does, give life time to explain itself to us as things unfold.

15. In the grand scheme of it all, does this small instance, this moment, really matter?

 

Ellie Holbrook, MA, LPC RYT200

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What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet, Love

June 25th, 2014

I was recently moved to reflect on the phenomenon that is love, and the transformational, motivational, and influential force that is it is, regardless of the form that it takes or the relationship it takes place in. In my opinion, love is perhaps the most powerful force in the entire universe. Just think of the impact that its presence and absence has had on your life.

…As you reflect on what this means to you personally, you will likely come to the realization that not only is love a feeling, but it is also a behavior.

With this thought in mind, consider the following behaviors of love, and think about how they have been manifested in your own life, remembering that love, like life, is a practice…

Respect: True love, no matter the form in takes, does not exist without respect. This includes honoring and valuing your loved one, treating them as equal, being considerate, and communicating, verbally and nonverbally, with love and respect in mind.

Kindness: Kindness, of course, takes many forms. It includes, but is not limited to, warmth, helpfulness, comfort, and well-wishes. It involves thoughtfulness, reaching out, and extending oneself with another in mind.

Empathy: Empathy involves demonstrating sensitivity and understanding, and showing an attempt to see things from your loved one’s perspective. It does not equate agreeing with them or relating to them, but having the willingness to considering and validating their experience.

Interest/Connection: Taking to connect, inquire, and share interests is important, as it is an act of bonding, and attending to the innermost aspects of an individual.

Compassion: Compassion, like empathy, conveys sensitivity and understanding and the importance of a loved one’s experience. Compassion is supportive, soothing, and helpful.

Self-control: As humans, we may be tempted to act on our emotions, even when it is in the interest of our relationships not to. This involves the avoidance of taking things out on loved ones, controlling behaviors, speaking mindfully, and acting out of love, rather than getting carried away by other temporary feelings.

Appreciation: It is so important to show that we have appreciation and gratitude for those that we love and all that we do.

Tolerance of Differences: We are all different. We like different things. We do things in different ways. This is okay, and as such, it should be tolerated and respected, at the very least. The melding of two different worlds may take tolerance and balance, but it can most certainly be done so without judgment and hard feelings.

Forgiveness: Forgiveness is a difficult process, as it involves letting go and working through difficult feelings. Yet it is important, as it allows for humility, growth, and progression. Without forgiveness, a relationship is stagnant.

Integrity: Live in accordance with your values, and you will model

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love and everything else that you hold to the highest esteem. When you compromise your integrity, you compromise yourself.

Set yourself aside: Love involves us. But it is not always about us. Rather, it is a melding of individuality and togetherness. As such, it is important to know what is your “me stuff” and what is your “we stuff”. This means checking your ego, insecurities, and hard feelings.

Ellie Holbrook, MA, LPC, RYT200

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And then what?

June 11th, 2014

Some years ago, I wrote a column about a concept I like to refer to as “horrible-izing”. If you do not reca this column, or you are not familiar with the idea of horrible-izing, it can be defined as one’s tendency to focus on the worst of things.www.teststarter.com
For example, a person may be engaging in the act of horrible-izing if they overemphasize the negative side of life. Likewise, those that horrible-ize are those that tend to perseverate, ruminate, and cannot help themselves but to worry about worst possible outcomes, the dreaded “what ifs”, and may even view undesirable situations as the “end of the world”.

If we are honest with ourselves, most of us must admit that we horrible-ize from time to time, particularly when we are feeling anxious about an upcoming situation or have encountered troublesome circumstances. When this happens, we fall into the trap of thinking about how badly things might go, how awful it would be for us if these events actually did occur, and we forget to take it one step further and consider what we might actually do should these things really take place. We might even get so wrapped up in this catastrophic thinking that we convince ourselves that our life might even be forever altered in some devastating way.

With this definition in mind, take a moment to think about something in your life that is upsetting or unsettling to you. Perhaps

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you are facing a transition in a relationship and you are unsure of how to move forward. Perhaps you have committed to something that you are now rethinking. Perhaps you have recently encountered a situation in life that you are unsure of how to handle. Or, perhaps, you tend to experience smaller triggers on a more regular basis and you have become accustomed to feeling reactive, tightly wound, or shaken

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up. Or, maybe, something entirely different has come to mind
Regardless of what came to mind, reflect on how you think about those things, and take a moment to horrible-ize. Think about the worst of the worst, and sit with those thoughts.

As you reflect on your thoughts, I am willing to bet that you stopped short at the worst case scenario, going no further to imagine how you would actually deal with these circumstances or what other alternatives may actually take place. And if that is the case, I would like to challenge you to change your thinking. Rather than focusing on the bad things that could happen, take one step beyond these thoughts and ask yourself, “And then what?” How you might live through and overcome such obstacles? If you tend to horrible-ize, make this your new habit. Rather than obsessing about the possibility of something bad happening, ask yourself how probable it is that your worries come true, and consider how life would actually look should these things happen. How might you live through such terrible circumstances? What would life be like then? And, would it really be so bad? And finally, which of these thought processes would you rather invest your energies in to, remembering that your thoughts and your perspective on life will always be your choice.

Ellie Holbrook, MA, LPC, RYT200

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