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Category Archives: Inspiration

Facing Fears

Over the past few months I have been challenged with decisions and opportunities that have brought up vulnerability and fear in this process. I have had to dig deep into my vulnerability with fear and being “enough”. When I was a teenager my parents gave me a plaque that read, “what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” Fast

forward 20 years later and my daughter has the same quote sitting on her desk. This quote has stuck with me over the years and continues to be a reminder for me that I cannot be afraid of failure or mistakes. My parents always encouraged new experiences and placed importance on “getting out of your comfort zone”. It was a lesson that I was not going to see the true value in until I was older. I found small successes when I took risks, traveled, sought out adventure… As time passed, my courage to get out of my comfort zone grew. And with each act of courage came a growth in confidence and self-awareness.

I would be lying if I did not say it was extremely difficult to practice this each day. I imagine a bell curve and think when I was younger the stakes were pretty minimal. I thought I was invincible – as all teenagers do. Now in my 40s and towards the top of that bell curve the stakes are higher. I have more to risk, more to lose. Here I am a therapist who aims to encourage, inspire, motivate, and support my clients (friends and family too!) but why is it so difficult to practice when it comes to getting out of my own comfort zone? Every time I sense impending change or challenges (which by the way, is quite often), I ask myself the question, “what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” I ask this to my clients when they are struggling with decisions. If someone told you this would work out, would you do it, would you engage without fear? Typically, the answer is, yes. Everything we want is on the other side of fear.  It is the uncertainty that creates vulnerability that can paralyze us and keep us from striving for the opportunities and goals we want in our lives. And the number one way to conquer vulnerability is to have courage in the face of it. Vulnerability is fear, it is uncertainty, it is change. I believe in the power of courage. I teach the power of courage. But when it comes to practicing courage I am the first to be compassionate at how difficult it is.

During times of vulnerability it is critical for me to get moving. I typically do this through running or yoga, which allows me to connect my mind and body together. It allows me to move through energy and thoughts that no longer serve me. I am able to re-center myself. This time also creates the positive and encouraging thoughts that provide the courage to face whatever it is I am fearing and let go of the need for certainty.

This quote by Nelson Mandela sums it up for me: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” The goal is to not experience fear or failure. The goal is to overcome it. The goal is to be resilient in the face of fear or failure. We rarely learn and grow when things go perfectly. We learn when we fall, when we take risks and we learn when we have the courage to get back up  and keep going.


*As we all know, sunrise is my favorite time of day. The stillness and coolness of the morning air is invigorating.

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Setting the Stage

Each morning it is important to set a stage for the day ahead.

Typical scenario: the alarm goes off at the latest minute possible to maximize sleep, already rushed, your jumping out of bed and typically immediately engaging in your “morning routine”, which if I had to guess is rushed and likely on auto pilot. Look at phone, look at emails (stress sets in – and you are already behind), make coffee, pour coffee, shower, get dressed in whatever hanger hits your hand first, maybe grab breakfast on the go (if your lucky), oh, and if you have kids add 4-5 more steps into this routine in the same amount of time. Yikes! Think about this for a moment… In some ways you are starting your day playing catch up already. To me, this sounds like setting a stage for a tough day.

If you had asked me 3 years ago to wake up before the sun, I would tell you you are crazy. I was also staying up to watch my beloved Jimmy Fallon each night, which typically put me to bed around 11pm or later. The universe offered a change when my daughter, at age 10, had tennis practice starting at 6am. Yes, you read that right. While initially this brought me so much angst – waking up so early, how would she handle waking up that early and play tennis! But I have to say; this was one of the best things that happened to me. It forced me to start a routine of waking up early and engaging in my day from a place of mindfulness, quiet, and strength. While she would go play tennis, I would go the gym, yoga, or take a run with our dog. This time offered me so much and started my days with a completely different perspective of what I wanted out of each day. It offered me time to think about the clients I would engage with during the day, it offered me time to build inner mental and physical strength to engage in my day, and best of all it set the stage for the day I wanted to have.

I encourage all my clients to do the same. Maybe they can’t offer themselves an hour – but even 10 minutes of sitting quietly before they open emails and begin their day, a short walk, a 10-minute stretching routine, whatever you can fit in is better than nothing. I challenge each of you to do the same. Toni Robbins said, if you don’t have 10 minutes a day to give to yourself, then you have no life. I believe this wholeheartedly, if your life is so packed with work, kids, errands, etc. and you don’t have 10 minutes for yourself, then you have an invitation to re-evaluate your life.

 

*photos of a few of my favorite sunrises in Boise, ID

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Setting Intentions

I hope this finds each of you fulfilled after a happy holiday season. My family and I just returned from 10 days in Florida visiting grandparents. We enjoyed the warmth of the sunshine and the presence of family. Now we head back to Boise to enjoy the winter white landscape and close out 2017. The end of the year is a wonderful time for reflection. This is also the time of year people create “resolutions” for the year ahead. I personally do not believe in “resolutions”. I believe in setting intentions for the year ahead. I do this after much reflection of the previous year and finding patterns in areas in my life I want to embrace more and areas in my life I could shift direction.

Growing up my family had a tradition that rather than resolutions, we chose one word to set an intention for the New Year. So for example, I have picked words such as balance, patience, adventure, growth, and patience and balance again and again 🙂 Isn’t that what we typically all need more of in our lives?!?! One year in my teens I chose the word “fun”. I am pretty sure I was not lacking fun at that time in my life, which I suppose signifies the importance I place on incorporating fun in your life! I might have to reincorporate this word back into the mix. You are never too old for more fun!

 

This year I have chosen the word: ACCEPTANCE

ACCEPTANCE of myself and others

ACCEPTANCE of uncertainty and discomfort I may feel

ACCEPTANCE of inevitable change

ACCEPTANCE of changes personally and professionally

ACCEPTANCE of what I have in my life and what I cannot change

And my mantra will continue to be my intention:

Be kind to myself and others

Be patient with myself and others

 

So whether you set intentions or a single word, or both I encourage you to do so with thought, reflection, growth, and positivity as a foundation. Often times people look in the past with regret. “I wish I would have….” Or “I wish I had not….” I talk to clients about not living with regret. The best way to cure regret is to change the behaviors or mindsets that created regret. Change is scary and messy at times. But it is also inevitable and necessary. Change = GROWTH. So as you consider what you want to change and add more of into your new year, do so with courage, kindness and openness. And continue this process throughout the year, not just at the beginning. Write it down. Come back to it. Adjust it, practice it, and embrace it!

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

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Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving!

Let me start by saying Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. A holiday that is a about giving gratitude. What a beautiful thing!

As I have been on my own journey working through my discomfort with uncertainty, anxiety, and letting go of the need for control, I have found that practicing gratitude is the ultimate antidote to these struggles. Each day I find time to honor my gratitude for all that I have in my life and all that surrounds me. There are many different ways to do this. My practice includes a gratitude journal, taking time to meditate, or being in nature or on my yoga mat. If you think about it, you cannot be grateful and anxious in the same moment. They cannot coexist. If you are practicing gratitude it requires you to be in the present, which as we all know is a gift to ourselves.

Often times we long for what we don’t have. We wish we for material things and relationships in our lives. This is living in the future, which is where anxiety is fostered. This tends to leave us in a place of disempowerment. However, if you shift those thoughts to ones of gratitude you become instantly empowered.

On this Thanksgiving holiday I wish each of you and your loved ones a special day celebrating all we have to be grateful for! Sending warm wishes from the sand and ocean in La Jolla! And continue to practice gratitude each day…

*A lovely thanksgiving tradition:

My husband’s family has a wonderful tradition that his Uncle graciously organizes and puts together. The tradition stands that each family member (3 generations) writes down his or her “thankfuls”. Each family member sends it to his Uncle prior to the holiday and then he puts them all together by oldest to youngest and each Thanksgiving holiday we have the opportunity to read and share each family member’s thankfuls. It is such a beautiful tradition. I welcome each of you to do the same in your own families to give the opportunity to share where we find our gratitude.

 

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Taking Time to Reset

resetting with a run - Piron Counseling

I woke up this morning feeling overwhelmed, irritated at small things, a bit of a pit in my stomach. Honestly, I’ve felt sort of “off” all week. Maybe a full moon hangover (even though it was a week ago, full moons have an effect on me)? The time change? The shift in weather? Heavy work load? All of the above? Regardless, I knew I needed a reset and to ground myself.

So I set out where I clear my head- nature. I started to run on my favorite trail with my pup. As I ran, which is a moving mediation for me, I debated whether to go to the top of the trail or not. Mind you the top of the trail is quite a climb and longer distance that I typically run on any given day. The dialogue that went through my head was – “honor what you need at this moment. Whatever you decide is enough and make it be enough”. As I continued through these thoughts I kept running. I knew in my gut I was not finished working through what I needed to accomplish out on the trail. I had to remind myself of my intention of running today, which was to clear my head, reset, and re-ground myself. I still had energy to move through. I still had thoughts to work through. As I kept going the last stretch of this trail is a rather steep hill, lovingly called “heart break hill”. I paused at the bottom and took a deep breath, glanced upward and kept on going. That was the push I needed.

resetting life - Piron Counseling

As I kept climbing and gaining elevation I felt the gentle wind and cooler air temperature on my face that you feel when you gain elevation. As I reached the top- I am greeted by my favorite and most meaningful pile of rocks (pictured). These rocks carry so much symbolism for me- more on that another time. In the midst of this pile of rocks there was one that was more flat and smooth than the others.

It offered me the perfect place to sit down and breathe deeply. To reset. And ground myself. And actually, where I wrote most of this entry.

Life gets busy. Life can get hectic. Ideally I’d love to avoid it- but sometimes it’s unavoidable. Typically, we try to “power through” the busyness. Or accept the busyness as a way of life. I have accepted that that is not a way of life for me and during those times of being overwhelmed is when it’s most important to come back to what grounds you as a person. Honoring what you need and be intentional about it.

Maybe a good start is by hearing someone speak on it. How about even more inspiration HERE.

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An Evening With a Different Turn

dinner with family - Piron Counseling

I am a mother of two amazing children- but like all children they come with their ups and downs. Currently our “issue” of the week is my daughter’s sensitivity to some friendship issues at school. I came home this evening after a loooong week of work- by the way, do not feel sorry for me- I love what I do and Thursdays are my Fridays because I have inherently worked Friday in as my day off and self-care day.

Needless to say, obviously what I do is to help others work through their struggles and gain strength. Tonight, I came home to continue what I do for work and figure out a way to incorporate it into my daughter’s needs and her current struggles. Admittedly, I did not feel like cooking so I asked my kids if we could have a “date night”. This was while my daughter was crying about her “horrible” day, my babysitter (who I depend on heavily to keep my work schedule) was informing me she could no longer work afternoons due to a change in her school/ other job schedule, and my husband is out of town all week. Wheh.

The kids and I headed out to dinner. As we began our discussions about how to help my daughter work through her struggles and be the “best she can be” (as we say in our family), our conversation slowly shifted from negativity and what was going wrong to focusing on how we can learn from the times of struggle. This shifted our conversation to exploring the times each of us had struggled the most, been the most discouraged, made mistakes and not dwelling on those times – but rather how we rose above them. How we learned from them. I pointed out to my six and eight-year-old that it is not about winning, or getting the A, or having the most friends, it is about growing and learning from getting a bad grade, or losing the big game, or the feeling when you feel alone. It is about learning from those moments and learning how to overcome them rather than get stuck in them.

I found myself in an evening that started with exhaustion and feeling a little overwhelmed as a parent and questioning my own parenting, to feeling encouraged and invigorated to be working through and talking through these important struggles and growth with my children. It reminded me that barriers and frustrations should be seen as opportunity rather than setbacks.

And enter one of my favorite words: resilience.

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Resilience and Accepting Your Mistakes

resilient children - Piron Counseling - Ben White via Unsplash

When you get stressed and overwhelmed, what is your reaction? Is it to take it on? Withdraw? Give up? How do you process stress and adversity? Who taught you how to cope with stress? These are all valuable questions to consider and model healthy coping for our children and ourselves.

In my recent spare time I have found myself perusing recent TedxTalks for inspiration and new ideas. If you are not familiar with the TedxTalks, I encourage each of you to become acquainted. These talks offer wonderful perspective on an array of topics and social issues. This recent TedxTalk was on the topic of resilience by Dr. Sam Goldstein. One of my favorite books, which I recommend to many of my clients, is the Power of Resilience also co-authored by Dr. Goldstein. Dr. Goldstein reminds us of the potential of teaching our children resilience and the acceptance of making mistakes.

It is worth the 10 minutes of your time. Promise.

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Mayo Jar and Two Cups of Coffee

golf balls in a jar - Piron Counseling

A friend shared this with me awhile back and I have always held on to it as I loved the message. So often we become so focused on the small stuff we lose sight of the meaningful people and purpose in our lives.

The Mayonnaise Jar and Two Cups of Coffee

When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full.  They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things–your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions–and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else–the small stuff. “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your  spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first–the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

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Maintain Your Relationship

Maintain

This post is related to couples counseling. I always had a wish that couples would come in for counseling when things were great and take time to explore why they were great and how to maintain that greatness and connection.

Unfortunately too many times couples wait until their relationship is disconnected or in crisis to come into counseling. Somehow “counseling” has earned a bit of a stigma – (enter the whisper of a friend) “oh, you’re in counseling”. As if it is a sign of weakness that you’re in counseling. I am here to set the record straight. Counseling is not a bad thing. Counseling is not a weakness. Things do not need to be bad to come in for counseling. I see counseling as a gift. It is a gift of growth, connection, and self-awareness.

Many couples come in for counseling and explain that their relationship was great when they first got married. Similarly, you don’t buy a brand new car and then never change the oil or need to maintenance it. Marriage (relationships) is no different. Yes, your marriage is likely blissful when you first get married – it is brand new! But the reality is you need to continue to maintenance your marriage to make it feel like new over time.

This relates back to my previous blog. If you’re connected – stay there – stay checked in and maintain that feeling. Yes, there will be challenges in every relationship. But if you and your partner are connected you will know how to work through it together.

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Check-in Time

It’s the time of year that we all take vacations – one of the questions we always ask the hotel, “What is check-in time”? Well, if your asking me, I will tell you check-in time is all the time. When was the last time you checked in with yourself? With your spouse or your partner? With your kids?

“Checking in” is critical.  This is a window to self-awareness. This is an invitation for growth and exploration rather than criticism.

I ask all my clients to “check-in” – if you’re a parent, ask your children, “How am I doing as a parent?” or “How would you describe me?” If you’re a partner, ask your partner, “How am I doing as your partner?”

I encourage everyone to take time each day to check in with yourself- whether it is through meditation, sitting in a quiet place, listening to music, exercising, through spirituality or religion – take the time for yourself whether it is five minutes or an hour to be present and in the moment. Walk away from the phones, tvs, magazines, etc and simply ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I being the best I can be for myself?
  • Am I being the best I can be for others?
  • What could I do better?
  • What have I done well?
  • What areas am I willing to change?

 

If you’re reading this, I challenge you to try this for one week. Be present. Be checked-in.

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