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Some Inspirational Sharings

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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Yoga Principles

Since I was in my early 20s yoga has been a part of my life in one-way or another. At some points it was loyalty to a yoga studio, other times it meant rolling out my

yoga mat in my bedroom and practicing, and other times on a mountaintop or the edge of the water at the beach. I even incorporated yoga into my thesis in my graduate program. The beauty of yoga is you can do it anywhere for as little or as long as you want and still reap some benefit. Heck, I take a minute or two in between clients to get into a pose for refocusing or clearing my mind before my next client.

The principles of yoga are endless so I acknowledge this simple blog post will not do the depth of yoga its justice. But what I do want to share are the basic lessons that my yoga practice and teachers have taught me that directly relate to life’s lessons and practice as well:

  • Yoga is a practice. There is no finish line. Each day you show up to your mat and practice with intention.
  • There are no comparisons in yoga. Whether you are in a room of fellow yogis or by yourself, your body and practice is all that counts. There is no benefit in comparing your practice or pose to any other person.
  • Set intentions. Every class you set an intention. Did you show up for strength? Acceptance? Stretching? Grace? And with that intention you engage in your practice and do not deviate from that intention.
  • You accept whoever “showed up” on your mat that day. Maybe it is a version of you that is tried. Or maybe you are feeling strong. Or maybe your muscles ache. Whatever it is, you accept that body and treat it with grace.
  • Taking stillness. The importance of stillness is invaluable. At the end of very practice you lay in stillness and allow your body to absorb the benefits of your practice. Stillness also allows you to connect your mind and body.
  • When you get into balancing postures it is critical you stay focused. If you allow your eyes to wonder or your mind to compare to others you will inevitably loose your balance.
  • Wondering eyes leads to a wondering mind. Stay focused on your what you’re doing.

Whether you practice yoga or not, try to incorporate these concepts into your daily life. I know it has helped me practice grace, self-compassion, balance, and intention on and off my mat each day.

Namaste. XO

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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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Always be up for a Challenge!

In light of my last post related to finding motivation and having courage to take on new challenges, I wanted to write about how to stay grounded in the midst of this crazy thing called “life”. Our society has made it a way of life to be “busy”. How often when people ask us how we are doing, we respond with “busy” or “crazy” – or even the kicker, “I am crazy busy”. I don’t know about you, but I do not like being or feeling crazy or busy! I enjoy being engaged. But not crazy or busy. So why have we accepted this as a way of being? Correction – it is not being – it is a way of doing. We are doing without being. I talk to clients about this concept often. My clients will ask, how do I “be”? My response starts with a discussion related to engaging in our lives, our words, and our behaviors with intention. And to start this process we have to be grounded.

So what does all this look like?

First, set an intention for yourself. This can change and be fluid or it can be consistent. My intention – or mantra – for each day is:

Be kind to yourself and others

            Be patient with yourself and others

Without fail this intention offers me pause and contemplation before I engage. Here are a few common times where it helps me that maybe you could relate as well:

–       If judgment of others or of self creeps in – I stop and ask myself if I am being kind to others or myself.

–       If I am feeling short with my children or  overwhelmed the perpetual to-do list – I stop and ask myself if I am being patient with myself or others.

–       When self-doubt creeps in – how am I talking to myself? Is it coming from a kind place?

The intention offers us an invitation to slow down and interrupt the busyness and the craziness.

The other part of grounding oneself is taking time for you. I ask clients to start with the 2-3 minutes a day of challenging yourself to sit quietly. Be still. Eyes closed. Accept the thoughts that come in and out of your mind. Some might be thinking, Abigail, this is called meditation. Sure. Maybe it is, but I find when I ask clients to “meditate” initially there is a sense of fear or doubt if they can meditate (*More on this topic in another post). So for now, just try to find 2-3 minutes a day to be quiet. Be still. Eyes closed.

So the CHALLENGE:

2 week challenge to begin to invite grounding into your life:

– Set an intention for yourself each day. Maybe it’s the same each day like mine or maybe it varies for what you want for yourself that day. Be creative. Be positive – for example, steer away from telling yourself not to do something. And always be kind in your intention.

– Offer yourself 2-3 minutes a day of sitting quietly, still, and with your eyes closed. (Set a timer if you have to, so you stay engaged in the exercise rather than the time. Trust me when I say, it can be uncomfortable at first).

I challenge each of you to do this for 2 weeks and let me know how it goes. How you feel. I promise it will not disappoint!

 

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Let’s Do This. Share Your Story

life tools - Piron Counseling

Let’s Do This!

Thank you to Home Depot for the slogan of “Let’s Do This”.

Ever have the project that continues to be on your to-do list for months… maybe even years? Well, that is this blog for me. When I started my private practice 6 years ago I had high intentions for blogging and offering my clients and others a place to go to, to share my thoughts and insights. Well, as it turns out, starting a private practice, raising two children, and supporting a traveling hard-working husband takes up more time than I budgeted for. Such as life. And I would not take back one moment of being available and present to my personal and professional life. And by the way, I am still taking on all those roles, just finding more balance in the process.

That being said, a few weeks ago I commenced a new decade in my life. I was fortunate enough to go away on a wellness retreat/ conference in Arizona a few weeks prior to my birthday. Part of my intention of going on this retreat, called revitalize hosted by mindbodygreen, was to get out of my comfort zone, be inspired, be challenged, and develop new relationships with like-minded people. All of my intentions were met… actually exceeded.

Throughout the three days in the desert, I had a few different experiences with fellow “revitalizers” that encouraged me to share more about my journey and in the words of a beautiful woman who I was fortunate to have a reiki session with, said, “you have light that you are not spreading to the depths you are capable of”.  So at the time of departing, my inspirers had me promise that I would start to write and “share my light”. And so here I am. Writing. I’ve asked myself my intentions for writing. Who I am writing for? And the conclusion I have come to is the power of sharing. As a therapist, I believe in the healing power of sharing our journey. Our stories. Our experiences – positive or negative. So here is my attempt to be vulnerable and share in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same. There is opportunity to learn and grown from one another.

Lets Do This!

*Feel free to always contact me with questions, comments, feedback, and of course, I always love your stories!

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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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