Putting the CL on that ASS!

A Bernie's Daughter Thing


Mental Health and Well Being

The Ego . . . Friend or Foe?

compassion-857727_1920One morning my daughter woke up in a panic.  She said she was terrified. She’d had a bad dream and apparently this dream rocked her to her core. Even though she knew it was a dream, and even though she knew the most likely cause of the dream—she’d watched a scary episode of a TV show UniKitty, she was still afraid.  She didn’t want to walk around the house until the sun arose or until I walked around with her. First, I had to make sure that I turned on the lights before we entered a room.  I didn’t get upset with her though.  I happily obliged her.  I understood her fear.  I could remember being a child and being afraid of the toilet flushing.  I would have this overwhelming need to rush to my bed and hide under the covers before the toilet completed its cycle.  And while I knew it wasn’t a logical fear, it was one I held for many years.

But beyond that, I understood because in that moment I felt as if I was able to witness the ego in the flesh.  Many psychoanalysts and psychologists from Freud to present have defined and redefined what the ego is. The ego is essentially our identity that is constructed of the thoughts and beliefs we hold about ourselves.  In the spiritual sector, and other sectors for that matter, the ego can get a bad rep.  Check your ego and humble yourself.  Don’t be so egotistical.  Don’t let your ego rule you.  These are just some examples of the warnings we receive regarding our egos.  We’re sold an image of the ego as a savage dictator and brat, hell bent on feeding its own desires well past satiation.  And sometimes that can be true. Sometimes the ego can operate like a toddler.  It can want what it wants without any regard for the consequences.  It can be bratty.  It can be ruthless in its pursuit to feel better.

But what if it’s more than that?  What if the ego isn’t actually a dictator?  What if the ego is actually just like my daughter this morning? Simply scared and asking for attention? What if our ego is actually asking us to shed some light in the darkness to illuminate those shadow parts of ourselves?  We tend to look at ourselves through cloudy lenses. We grade ourselves with high marks when we do those things which are pleasing to us or when we feel good.  When we don’t feel as good, or we feel we’ve misstepped, we tend to fail ourselves.  Perhaps our ego is our loving friend who is guiding us to look beyond the surface of what we see and to see ourselves fully as we are, without judgment.  But since we humans can be more than a bit stubborn, we don’t always take heed at its first nudging so it has to work harder to get our attention. It has to get louder. It has to start kicking and screaming.  Those are the moments where we are at what we deem to be our worst.  Those are the moments we look as if we are out of control. We’re fearful, angry, short-tempered, arrogant, and maybe even more than a bit selfish.  Those are the moments that in spite of knowing the fear is illogical, we refuse to walk around our familiar home until our mom walks with us and turns on all the lights.  But instead of it being about us getting out of control, perhaps we can consider that it’s more than that and that’s just the moment when we have the opportunity to gain control and begin to take the steps to accept ourselves. It’s the moment we get to turn on the lights to see things and ourselves as they truly are and not as they simply exist in our minds, which gives us a chance to accept ourselves and grow.  That’s a pretty radical thought, isn’t it?

Ego, just a three-letter word and yet so interesting. If we did not have an ego, we would be lost. Feeding it too much we would also be lost.

Lida van Bers


Happiness Really Does Come in a Jar!

Merry New Year!  I hope the year is off to a great start for you.  I hope your holiday season was filled with love, warmth, comfort and all the things that make your heart swell. As for me, I spent my holiday sick. And I mean sick.  I was literally sick for 7 whole days *cue Toni Braxton*. Then I woke up feeling miraculously well and like my old self on New Year’s Day. So I’d say my 2018 is off to a great start.

Upon thinking about things, I’ve found that 2017 wasn’t so bad either.  Sure there were some world wide upheavals and tragedies. No, I didn’t get everything I wanted and there were disappoints. But in the grand scheme of things, 2017 was pretty darn good. How can I say that? Well, a jar told me so.  My jar. My happiness jar to be exact.

I can’t remember now where I saw this, but I saw someone talk about keeping a big jar for yourself. They recommended that you decorate the jar how you like and call it your happiness jar. Each day, you write a note about the things, people, places, or whatever that made you happy in that day. I keep a gratitude journal so I figured this was along the same lines so I figured, why not? and decided to give it a try.  I found the perfect jar and I decorated it just the way I liked.  And then the note taking began.  I didn’t start until May, but I figured that still gave me plenty of time to begin to take notes for the year. And I was right.

Last night I actually went through all the notes and I’m so glad I did.  I had 8 months worth of happiness stored in my beautifully decorated jar and it allowed me to see and take in so much.  My happiness notes allowed me to see that it really doesn’t take a lot for me to be happy. I’m quite happy with the seemingly “simple” or mundane things in life.  There were several things that made me quite happy (repeatedly).  Here are the highlights of my happiness from 2017:

My Fizzle. There were many notes about how happy I was to play with her, watch movies with her, snuggle with her, walk the dog with her, or just chill and be with her.

Food.  Like seriously. I was happy as a clam about food in 2017. Especially chocolate (if you know me this is no shocker). I was surprisingly happy about grocery shopping AND cooking. Now if you know me you know cooking is a shocker. I cooked more in 2017 than I think I ever have and I actually enjoyed it.

Following in my Daddy’s footsteps, mani/pedis seemed to make me quite happy. I talked about those a lot and was really happy about it.

Paying bills. Now this one took me by surprise. But as the year went on, I began to gain an appreciation for simply being able to pay my bills. I was able to shift my perspective from Man this is due! or Damn now I have to pay that! to simply Thank you for the use of this and Thank you that I can now pay for its use.

Working out. I have never really put much thought into whether I enjoyed working out. I just did it because I enjoyed the health benefits. But 2017 helped me to gain an appreciation and love for working out simply for its enjoyment. To quote Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods, Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill their husbands.

Yoga made me very happy.  I was made especially happy by hip openers. It is said that our hips hold a lot of our emotions. I’m guessing the hip openers helped me to release a lot. Either that or I’m preparing for some stuff. I’ll allow myself to be the only dirty birdy with that thought.

Meditation. I began my meditation practice again last year and it made a profound difference in my life.  I became more peaceful and calm. I also strengthened my relationship with myself and my intuition.

Giving to others. I’ve always been a giver. Reading my happiness notes helped me to realize how much joy it brings me to be able to pour into others.

Walking. I walked a lot in 2017 and I enjoyed every bit of it.  It made me happy to get out in the fresh air and walk.

Cleaning and decluttering my house. In May I had what I can only describe as an out of body moment and I began purging and cleaning my house.  It turned out it wasn’t a passing fancy. I actually enjoyed the process and I have kept it going ever since.

Reconnecting with my family. 2017 brought me closer to my family–particularly my dad’s side of the family.  It felt really good to gather with them and laugh and fellowship and have fun.

Showers. Apparently 2017 provided me with some of the best showers I’ve ever had because they made me quite happy. I talked about the wonderful showers I had taken quite often.

My Ulta reward points. Thanks to all the shopping I do at Ulta, I had tons of reward points which made it possible for me to get so many of the wonderful things I love at Ulta at discounted prices.  That truly made me happy.

Getting out and about.  I was more social in 2017 than I’ve been in a long while. I made new friends whom I love and had a ball with, spent time with old friends and had a blast. I even got out by myself and had fun.

I also recognized that I learned a lot in 2017 and I didn’t learn through pain. While not every moment of 2017 was wonderful, I can’t say that it was a painful year.

I learned the art of detachment. I recognized how to hold my desires without attaching to the outcome.

I learned how to believe in myself and love myself and actually like myself.

I learned how to appreciate and forgive myself and how to stop criticizing myself.

I learned how to see myself as beautiful, and dare I say, even sexy.

I learned that it’s just as important to receive as it is to give. More than that, I learned how to graciously receive–to allow others to pour into me because I am worthy of it. And I must admit that it felt great to let others pour into me.

I learned to trust myself, thereby extending that trust to the Universe.

I learned how to listen to my body and rest when it called for it without feeling guilty.

I learned thatI don’t need to constantly “do” to be productive.

I learned how to truly stand in my own power. I said No and Enough so much in 2017 and it felt amazing!

I learned that no matter how sh*tty a day is, there’s usually at the very least one thing to make me happy or smile in that day.

I learned that no matter how “tight” or “sticky” the situation felt at the time, some kind of way was made me to get me through–whether it was through my own means or through the help of others it always appeared.

I highly recommend you get yourself a happiness jar. I found it so much more helpful than I imagined. It was so nice to spend the day going through each note and being reminded of the wonderful moments, people, places and things that made me happy.  I think one of the most profound things keeping this jar has done is allowing me to realize that life is so much more than the few memories we attach to and allow to tell our story.  Were there disappointments in 2017? Of course. But keeping this jar shifted my mind and heart to a space where I didn’t attach to the disappointments and hurt, allowing them to color the rest of my life.  My happiness jar forced me to start to look for reasons to be happy instead of looking at my lack, or finding reasons to be disappointed. Through keeping this jar I learned that life is so full. We just have to be open to seeing it. With keeping this jar I learned that the point isn’t whether the jar is half empty or half full. The point is more about what’s filling the jar.

Not For Play

Happy Friday!  I hope all is well in your world.  Normally, I like to keep it light and bubbly, but today’s topic doesn’t really allow for that.  I’m talking about depression.  It’s a very real thing and one that we too often sweep under the rug.  Either we have it and we don’t think anyone will help us so we wear a mask and act like all is ok until we crumble under its weight; or we see those suffering from it and deem them weak, or attention-seeking and tell them they need to “get over it.”  That’s now how this works.  That’s not how any of this works.  It’s one thing to not understand. It’s an entirely different thing to not care.  Just some food for thought.


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