Arthroscopic Surgery or Ignore the Pain?

As with most of these moments, I was having a conversation the other day . . . . and after I made a comment, I heard myself say “That would make a great blog post!” So, here I am again sharing something that originally was said in passing and that I realized upon reflection was actually quite profound.

How many of us have had some type of physical injury – whether a twisted ankle, torn cartilage in the knee, messed up shoulder? I know some of my earliest memories are of bumps and bruises – some of my own doing and others at the hands of my siblings or friends or maybe even the playground!! Many of these bumps and bruises, especially as a child, healed over a short period of time and most without leaving evidence that they were even there. As I’ve gotten older, the bumps and bruises hurt worse, take longer to heal, leave more evidence and sometimes don’t seem to heal at all or come back at just the slightest twist or turn in the wrong way. Technology has gotten better over time and now we can drop by the hospital for a quick out-patient arthroscopic surgery and minimal to no physical therapy to rehab.

I wonder how many of us look at our emotional life with this same perspective?  A few bumps and bruises as a child at the “hands” of our siblings, friends, parents?  Did they really heal so quickly as our physical bodies?  They certainly didn’t leave any physical evidence that we were wounded or hurt?  I would even go so far as to suggest that the wounds and the pain from our emotional bumps and bruises went deeper than any of our physical ones and that they were permanent  . . . while leaving absolutely no trace that they were ever even there.  Maybe a tear here or a harsh word spoken in retaliation there – but no lasting evidence.  And just as a torn piece of cartilage in our knee irritates us over time, just below the surface, until we can’t stand the pain and aggravation anymore . . . so too our hurt feelings, emotional wounds and injustices sit right below the surface, pushing our buttons, controlling our emotional reactions to people, circumstances and relationships.  Until one day, if we don’t take action and have emotional arthroscopic surgery, our emotionally injured “knee” gives out and life stops “working” for us.

I have been on a conscience path of personal growth and inner healing for over a decade now and every new book and seminar and speaker has added a piece to the puzzle for me . . . and I have been thoroughly enjoying the journey!!  And I know that I will continue to enjoy the journey towards becoming the best Kristina I can be for the rest of my life . . . as one of my mentors always says, “I will not arrive until they put the first shovel of dirt on my casket.”  And I plan to live the rest of my days exploring and learning and discovering new things on this wonderful adventure God has put in front of me.

With all of that said, I am excited to have discovered another piece to the puzzle at an inner healing seminar I attended a few weeks ago!!  I discovered a “surgery” practice that actually allows us, with the guidance and assistance of the Holy Spirit, to go into the place of the wound and heal the wound forever!  It is not ugly, messy surgery either . . . it is beautiful, graceful, arthroscopic-style surgery that is guided by the hand of God as if He is looking at the video screen and what the camera is projecting and He is showing and telling us what to do to heal the wound . . . what a wonderful gift this new piece of the puzzle is!!!!

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Do good things ONLY come in small packages?

I remember when I was growing up my mom used to tell us that good things come in small packages – this was her way of explaining small gift boxes, me being the youngest & smallest of the family and many other things.  The other day, on a coaching call with one of my clients, I was reminded of this saying . . . and that good things come in all kinds of different shapes, sizes, colors and even smells!

We were taking about different life events that have happened recently and things that are coming up in the near future and I made a comment that went something like “God amazes me at how He makes gifts out of things that are wrapped in crap.”  We chuckled at my comment and then I paused and realized how silly and yet profound what I said really was.

How many times do we have unexpected, “crappy” events happen in our lives and we dwell on what could have been?  Having only been in Colorado Springs for 5 weeks now and having seen 2 tornadoes, a hail storm (yes, in June!) and the most destructive fire in Colorado history – this last one I had a front row seat for off of our balcony that faces west & Pikes Peak – it is fair to say that moving here has not quite been the experience I initially thought it would be and yet within all of these “smelly” circumstances, God has brought amazing gifts – for me and for others.

As I sat on my balcony, inhaling the smell of smoke and tragedy, watching the side of the mountain burn, I saw the tragedy of people’s homes, belongings, pictures, mementoes being burned to ground . . . and yet all I could see was the opportunity that sat in front of my new community.  I watched the news to see almost all of the displaced evacuees staying with family or friends – not in hotels, motels or the centers that had been set up in high schools.  I saw people reaching out to house pets, move livestock, provide food, water, clothing and other needs to strangers.  Firefighters from all over the nation and every branch of the military came in to fight this massive firestorm . . . and at no point was there a lack of communication with the public.  Three times a day at a minimum, the united task force shared information via press conferences – even if the update was simply “we don’t have any new information.”

The fire is out now and it is time to rebuild . . . destroyed homes, smoke damaged homes, displaced families and more lay in front of our new community . . . truly a “crappy” looking and smelling package.  Is there a gift wrapped up in the middle of this?  We have 346 homes that need to be rebuilt, the Flying W Ranch – an icon within the Springs – is committed to rebuilding after being burned to the ground, a community united and committed to supporting each other any way possible, families blessed with realizing that having each other is more important than their material stuff, new friends created through coming together to support each other and the community, blocks within the neighborhoods staying in the same hotels or areas in order to provide support for each other and keep their own sub-community together .  .  .

What do you think?  A blessing or a curse?  A gift wrapped in really stinky packaging?  I am leaning towards the last option – I see the Phoenix rising from the ashes – stronger, more support, more beautiful than ever . . . and the burn scar across the face of the mountain?  A reminder that God can turn even the ugliest, smelliest, destructive event into something beautiful, blessed and strong!!!!!

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Inner peace and balance – is it possible?

I am 30 days out of an 8-day intense personal growth seminar – the Hoffman Institute – and believe that I am finally starting to come back to earth.  In the past, I have been described by people close to me as “compartmentalized” – meaning that I separate the different areas of my life and the people in these areas from each other.  Fair to say that this description resonated with me and with the awareness, I have made a conscious effort to combine my worlds . . . there is a Seinfeld episode that comes to mind, for those fans out there – the one where George’s universes collide.  At a certain level, that is how I have felt – that if all of my different universes were to meet then it would be a miniature nuclear explosion with all of the emotional and relation fall out that comes with it.  Amazingly, none of this has happened yet . . .

Going through the Process at Hoffman, a theory was introduced that completely aligned with this compartmentalization – only on an internal level.  Hoffman theorizes that we are made up of a Quadrinity – Spirit, Intellect, Emotion and Body – and that we learn to separate these 4 aspects of ourselves over time in order to survive and cope.  Just as we can learn to create healthy boundaries, communication, etc in our external world, Hoffman theorizes that we can do the same internally between our 4 quadrants.  Don’t worry – we aren’t talking multiple personalities, just simply different aspects of our complete personality.  If you are open to exploring this theory – keep reading . . .

The gift that keeps on giving for me?  Tools that actually align these 4 aspects and teach them to “communicate” with each other and actually make requests of each other and how to seek guidance from the Creator if there is confusion or a disagreement between any of the 4 quadrants.  With this new ability to communicate internally, I have discovered a level of peace and alignment that I do not remember ever having experienced in my 41 years of life.  And the more internal harmony I create, the more peace shows up in my external life – in relationship, in ease of accomplishing my goals, in doors of opportunity that appear before me, in setting boundaries, in communicating more effectively, and more!

Reflecting back, I am reminded of Gary Keller telling us in our masterminds that “balance” does not actually exist . . . only “counterbalance” . . . applying my new awareness of the different internal quadrants, I find this to be incredibly accurate.  And in creating open and honest internal communication and agreements – I have been able to create and maintain a peaceful counter-balance over the last month . . . and with the support and tools provided through the process and our community, I believe it is possible to continue my journey with peace and harmony – inside and out!!

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Story or Testimony?

This last week I volunteered as a staff member at one of my favorite leadership & personal growth seminars.  I have been part of this specific seminar 14 times now in the last 22 months and every one is always different – different students, different volunteers and me being in a different space in my life all contribute to me creating new value for myself every time.  Its like reading a book or watching a movie over & over again . . . I seem to read or hear something new every time and find myself asking myself how I missed it the last time!

Well, this seminar was not different.  I heard something “new” and it has completely changed my perspective on things.  Within this specific organization, there are 5 levels of seminars that can be attended and they all build one upon the other.  Throughout all 5 seminars, mention is made about “story” and how it is important to leave “story” out and focus on results.  At least that is what I have previously heard . . .

What I heard differently this last week came as a result of one of the students asking a specific question of the facilitator.  The question was something like this: “I have always been taught to share my story as it is builds value when enrolling people in my business.  Yet here you continue to tell us to leave our story behind.  Please clarify.”  The answer blew me away and I will do my best to communicate it effectively here.

“Whenever a person feels the need to share his or her story in order to justify, defend or rationalize a choice he or she has made, then this is just a story.  When a person is sharing his or her experience in life from a place of giving back or building value for another, this is a testimony.”

My question for myself now is am I defending myself or am I coming from contribution?  It is amazing how much I can leave out when I stop justifying, rationalizing and defending and how much value can be built from simply sharing my heart . . . . .

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Dance Partner for Life . . . .

Update – February 26, 2012

As I went back and read this post and applied to my future with my own precious Dance Partner for Life, I realized how blessed I am to have found such an incredible man, who is willing to take on all of these roles in my life, to the best of his abilities, and to do such with total love, compassion and understanding in his heart!!

In an exercise last month I had the opportunity to share with someone near and dear to my heart what love looks like to me.  The exercise is set up so that one person asks the other person the question again and again after each response until time is up and then the roles are reversed.  Every time I have done this exercise, or something similar, the questions are always different so I never know what’s coming – fun, right?

Well, this time the question was “What does love look like to you?”  As the answers were stated and the question asked again, I slowly shifted from thinking about the answers to feeling the answers . . . some would say I got out of my head and into my heart.  The last answer I gave before time was up, was “A Dance Partner for Life.”

Dance Partner for Life sounds beautiful and romantic on the surface yet over the last month I’ve spent time reflecting on what this truly means to me and I am taking this opportunity to share my reflections and insights from a much deeper level . . .

When dancing ~

The man leads . . . hmmmmm, you mean I’d let go of control and actually trust someone else to make decisions about what direction to go and what steps to take to get there?

The man’s role is to make his partner look good . . . so now I want a man who puts me first?

The man sets the pace . . . back to that concept of surrendering and giving up control?

The woman follows . . . whether its in steps, spins or direction, I’m back to trusting my partner to keep me safe?

Committed dancers never stop practicing . . . so now I get to always be improving?

Committed dancers seek new steps, dances & moves . . . great – no taking it easy & being content here, huh?

Dance Partners develop an incredible non-verbal communication style and move with ease and grace – even when one partner makes a mis-step or falls.

Imagine a relationship that looked like this . . . what shifts can you make within you to bring this gift to your relationships?

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Who are you giving your power to?

Think of a time when you had a clear goal or intention that you were committed to accomplishing . . . maybe a job you wanted, a certain result in a relationship, an amount of money you wanted to create – anything.  Do you have it in mind?

What result did you produce?  Did you accomplish exactly what you wanted?  If you did, what did the path look like to get there?  Was it exactly what you thought it would be or did you have the opportunity to “adapt and overcome?”

If you didn’t accomplish what you wanted, why not?

Here’s the story that I generally make up when my goal all of a sudden changes or isn’t accomplished – “Can you believe that person didn’t see things my way?”  “I asked for support and everyone just walked away”  “The boss just wouldn’t listen to me” . . . and 1000’s more over the last 40 years of my life!

Reflecting this morning on the areas of my life that I am not where I want to be, I reached a new level of awareness around how much of my power I give to other people in my life.  For example, I wrote my first book at the end of 2010/beginning of 2011.  The book was in a very rough draft form and my friends kept asking when it was going to be published.  My story?  “I don’t know where to find an editor”  “I don’t know anything about getting it published”  “I am not sure if there is a market for the book” . . . Really, Kristina?  So now my goal of being a published author & impacting the lives of 1000’s is on hold because God didn’t drop an editor and/or publisher at my doorstep?

Funny thing is, God ended up dropping an editor on my doorstep and thank goodness I recognized the gift!  Now my manuscript was at the editor & I was still being asked the question – when is your book going to be published?  “I am waiting the editor” was my response . . . Seriously?  Talk about giving away all of my power!!!

So now my answer is simple – I am committed to having my book published on or before July 4, 2011.

Here’s the thing – what if the editor doesn’t work out?  What if I have challenges getting my book cover designed?  What if there are challenges in any one of the details that are involved in publishing a book?

Do I give up my power to the circumstances & people or do I stand in my power and, no matter what, do I keep my commitment?

What about you?

What areas of life are you giving up your power and allowing people and circumstances to control your results?

Not sure how to break the cycle and take your power back?

Start being someone different & watch your results change as well!

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Are you planting seeds that will reap a harvest you will enjoy?

For those city folk out there, you may have to use your imagination on this one . . . for me, having grown up on a farm, this is one of my favorite analogies and lessons.

Have you ever had a moment in life where you gain a new awareness of how other people perceive you and it is not how you thought you were showing up?  What did you do with this realization?  Did you go victim and blame it on others or did you take ownership and decide to shift and start treating people differently?

Let’s say you choose option B – start treating the people in your life differently – and from a sincere place within you . . . how did your friends, family, coworkers, boss, etc react?  Did they look at you like you were crazy?  Did they go into resistance and resentment – wondering why you all of sudden were listening to them when they had been giving you this same feedback for years?  Did they hold back waiting to see if it was a temporary change?  Maybe, over time, they accepted that this wasn’t a change but a transformation (see earlier blog post) and your relationship improved?

What causes these different reactions and responses?

Let’s look at our hearts as a farmer’s field and the words we speak & actions we take are like the seeds the farmer plants in this field.  For the sake of this analogy, let’s say our less than effective behavior (how’s that for being politically correct?!) is cotton seed and our new, transformed, way more effective behavior is corn seed.  And if you are a farmer, please don’t correct me if corn and cotton don’t grow in the same season or environment – lol!  🙂

Years ago, our farmer started planting cotton seeds in his field – why cotton?  Because this is all he ever knew.  His father planted & raised cotton, his grandfather planted & raised cotton, his great-grandfather planted & raised cotton, etc etc.  So, our farmer plants cotton.  Well, when cotton seeds are planted, guess what grows?  You guessed it – cotton plants and then cotton is harvested and the cycle starts all over again.  Here’s the kicker – the farmer planted one field of cotton and harvested 30, 60 and 100-fold what was actually planted.  Hmmm . . . . do you see this showing up in some of your relationships?

Our farmer saw it showing up also and started getting tired of always producing cotton.  One of our farmer’s friends suggests to him that maybe if he tilled the soil, freshened the soil and then chose to plant corn seeds, maybe he would produce a different harvest.  So our farmer, excited about this amazing opportunity to produce new results, tills the soil, aerates it and does all the things to prepare it for a new crop to be planted.  He plants his corn seeds that were provided by this amazing & inspirational friend and waits for his harvest with bated breath!  When harvest time comes, the farmer goes out to check out his new crop and he is amazed and disappointed all at the same time.  He sees that some of the new crop of corn grew and is ready for harvest . . . and he is sooooo excited!  He also sees though that there is cotton growing up among all the corn!  What’s this?!  He seeks his friend and asks what kind of corn seeds this man sold him?  Why is cotton mixed in with his corn?!

The friend explains to our farmer that because the field has had cotton planted in it for so many years, residual cotton seeds are still in the soil and our farmer can expect to see this every harvest.  The good news?  Over time, the cotton will diminish as long as our farmer consistently tills the soil between crops, prepares the soil and plants corn seeds.

What is our life lesson in this?

Whatever our farmer wants to reap, he must first sow it – and he must give the soil time to recover from any seeds that have previously been planted.

Same in our relationships and our heart – whatever we want to receive from others, we must first give . . . and if we’ve given things in the past that weren’t that great, we must give other people’s hearts the opportunity to heal from the wounds that may have previously been inflicted.

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