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Your Problem – A Good Problem to Have?

There’s our heroine, our hero; beauteous and brave, triumphantly traipsing along when Lo! Adversity lands. That crosscurrent appears – family crisis, job change, health issues, money meltdowns, long slow slog periods that seem like they’ll suck the spark from your soul.

At first our heroine thinks, “Oh no, a problem. That’s not supposed to happen.”

Wait, is it? Not supposed to happen? Really?

Think on this. In every really good story you know, the ones that keep you glued to your seat and smiling for hours, very soon into the story, a PROBLEM always emerges. A big one.

When Dr. Eleanor “Ellie” Arroway in the movie Contact starts her science career investigating the possibility of alien existence, she runs into quite a few problems. Any of these may have derailed the best of us. Funding issues, egoic and short-sighted bosses, and a mysterious transmission from the planet Vega including images of Hitler and a repeating sequence of prime numbers. Our heroine is not perfect – in fact, early loss of her father due to a premature heart attack makes her driven and intimacy-avoidant. You have to have a few interesting subplots, after all. Plus, look at how this trauma with her scientist dad serves to strengthen her bigger purpose …

In stories, that adversity crosscurrent is not only a given, it’s the critical rub that contributes to a compelling story. The common first response to problems arising may be, “Wait, this wasn’t supposed to happen.” But if you do a Take II, and look at the bigger picture of the story, and of human stories, this irksome problem may be just the sandpaper needed to create the next brilliant piece of evolution.

For my clients, it’s become very clear that in the bigger picture or perspective, these crosscurrents end up being the perfect invitation to transformation. Well, provided you don’t succumb to the distraction and seduction of the dark side. That’s another story, right?

What story would you like to create? What stuckness seems insurmountable at the moment for you or the world? Let me know in the comments.

The Right Turn for Grief: Finding your Way through the Pain

Lion’s gulch, CO

Jack’s face was tight as he voiced his anger and resentment. It was all wrong how he lost his cousin, and how his relatives were handling things. This shouldn’t have happened. He would be staying in his room, or he might lose it on them. After a half hour of venting, finally he admitted, “I failed him”. The tears came. A different energy, more vulnerable. Yes, let that come. His face softened, though the sadness had its own heartbreak. And as the echo of “I failed him” sounded, it rang false. No, he didn’t fail his cousin. That’s the mind trying to make sense of things. Yes, he did regret the end of their connection; he wished he could have done more. He’ll miss him. Allowing the tears in the venting was more of the truth of the matter.

If you’ve had a loss, sudden or expected, whoa. Talk about disruption. Life stops. Time stops. Even work or other sacred routines suffer instant paralysis. You pull over to the sidelines, while the world keeps running on, keeps Continue reading

Seven Hidden Risks that Improve Prognosis after Heart Attack, part 2

This is part 2 of the article, Seven Hidden Risks that Improve Prognosis after Heart Attack. See part 1 here.

Risk #4) You are stressed about finances or work

We spend a large percentage of our time at work, so it makes sense that this is an important area to consider in viewing your health picture. Work brings up finances, and this is another common area of stress for many people, even wealthy ones.

The area of income can feel hard to change. Similar to unhappy marriages, people decide to stay at unsatisfying jobs because change can be so daunting. Though again, in the long run, avoidance of the truth or indecision multiplies stress. Better to try small actions and see if this helps.

Possible Actions: Continue reading

Seven Hidden Risks that Improve Prognosis after Heart Attack, part 1

This is part 1 of the article, Seven Hidden Risks that Improve Prognosis after Heart AttackSee part 2 here.

There’s nothing like a sudden heart attack to push you to make lifestyle changes you’ve been contemplating for months or years. A diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, cancer or other serious illness can really up the ante to get you over the motivational hump. Improving diet and exercise, quitting smoking, moderating drinking – these are well known risk areas to change for better health. But what about lesser known risk areas that can negatively impact health, whether it’s the health of the cardiovascular system, or recovery from any health challenge?

At my day job, I assess people’s ‘psychosocial’ health after a heart attack. Psycho-social means the psychological and the social sides of life. Research isn’t completely conclusive, but there’s enough evidence to identify trends and Continue reading