And Life Goes On

There are many changes happening in my life, some by choice, some by necessity, but in the end, it all comes down to me and how I see my life unfolding.

Being positive is one of the choices I made a long time ago, and it has been and still is a pillar of how I live my life. It helped me tremendously over the years and is a true blessing with my present health challenge. I remind myself every day that there is nothing which cannot be improved by a positive outlook. Sometimes it takes more than just reminding myself, and then I seek help through meditation and reading. But I always get there and can again feel balanced.

We all have hurdles to overcome, and it is solely up to us how we handle them. Do we become bitter, resentful and blame others or circumstances? Or do we have hope and faith that we can overcome the obstacles? The present might be painful and disheartening, but if you look to the future with a positive attitude, you will find something which you can look forward to and which can strengthen your hope. And then you can maintain positive thoughts that move you to a better place. This is not easy. It takes courage and strength to take responsibility, to admit that in the end “the buck stops here”!

We are the only ones who can bring change, and sometimes we might not be able to, like for example in the case of an incurable health challenge. But we still have choices and can decide if we want to be a victim or a martyr, or if we want to enjoy every day to fullest as long as we can. Of course, it can be tempting to blame someone or something, but what will it achieve? Blaming doesn’t change anything, it only makes us more angry and more negative. And we miss out on the joys of our life’s journey.

I have learned that life goes on with or without me. I can be dragged along screaming and fighting, or I can be a willing participant and enjoy the ride, no matter what. After my mother died when I was 17, I lived through some difficult years, I was definitely dragged along protesting and fighting all the way. I didn’t know any better then, but I still remember how painful and stressful it all was. There was very little happiness. Thanks to the gift of spiritual teachings and teachers, who assisted me in learning how to forgive, to open my eyes and my heart, I was able to leave those negative times behind and to see the beauty of life again. I still practice these teachings and they allow me to keep my balance and positive attitude.

Enjoy life to the fullest!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

Resist and Resistance

There are many areas in our lives where resistance is required and welcome so reform can take place. Looking at history, resistance was often the beginning of change. It is not so much a question of whether you share the philosophy behind the resistance, but about the energy it can create.

However, as a life coach, I would like to consider resistance from the perspective of our own personal lives. Let’s imagine the following scenario: You hear or experience something you don’t like, and which is painful. A spontaneous and natural response is to resist, to push back against the unpleasantness and pain. But does resistance help? Resisting and pushing against makes the unwanted stronger, and it affects you emotionally. You cannot avoid thinking about the experience, and it occupies your mind. You become increasingly more stressed, and if you cannot stop this process, you can even become physically ill. Your joy slowly disappears, and it feels like wearing dirty glasses that give a distorted image of yourself and your surroundings. And the question then becomes, “What can you do to get out of this vicious spiral?”

Personally, I like to use meditation and mantras. Imagine your body being blocked by wearing body armor. Nothing can pass through unless you remove the resistance, so that light, love and wellbeing can flow again. How can you do this? One way is to breathe deeply and repeat the mantra, “let resistance go and love and wellness flow”. Visualize the blockage dissolving and being replaced by a stream of light, love and wellbeing. The more often you do this, the stronger you become, and eventually there will be no need to resist or to push against. You are back in balance.

There is nothing wrong with getting emotional and feeling hurt as long as you don’t dwell too long in that stressful place. Kick, scream or do whatever you need, and then utilize meditation and the mantra above so that harmony can come back into your life.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

 

 

 

 

Advent

A friend sent me a Jackie Lawson Advents Calendar, and it brought back vivid memories of enjoying this lovely gift last year, as well as my childhood memories from many years ago.

Advent was a very important time for me in my youth, not only because of its religious significance but also because of the family tradition, which I enjoyed tremendously.

Four Sundays before Christmas an “Adventskranz”, a wreath of fresh pine with four large red candles, was placed in the middle of the dining table. On the four consecutive Sundays before Christmas one candle was lit, starting with one candle on the first Sunday and ending with four lit candles on the Sunday before Christmas. This year the fourth Sunday falls on Christmas Eve which will make it very special for me since it was my Mother’s birthday.

In Germany we gathered around the Advents wreath each Sunday evening to sing and pray. It was very spiritual and festive, and I have fond memories of those special times. When Christmas finally came, I was pumped and ready, and the anticipation built up over the Advent was palpable in me.

Advent also brought the “Advent calendar” which served to count down the days to Christmas. In postwar Germany, chocolates and sweets were rare, and the calendar was a special delight because behind each window was a small chocolate, and my joy at finding a sweet treat during every day of Advent was immense.

Traditions are important. They keep our cultures and memories alive. Having lost my mother at 17, and immigrating to two countries with different ways of celebrating, I maintained a few traditions in my adult life. Advent is one of them. Our wreath is not fresh pine, but it adorns our breakfast table and while we don’t sing, Steve and I meditate in the gentle glow of the candles. It is very peaceful and brings joy into our hearts.

It doesn’t matter what traditions we chose to maintain. The objective is to find something which resonates within us and makes us feel alive and connected to our origins and who we have become. Why is this important you may ask? I believe that in order to live a centered and balanced life, the past and present need to flow harmoniously together. Just a few cherished memories can allow us to achieve this goal.

Advent is a great time to get into our spiritual mode and avoid being consumed by all the hustle and bustle of the holidays. I wish you a most enjoyable holiday season.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

Staying Positive

We are now living in a world where negativity seems to overshadow everything. Just turning on the television can make me depressed. People often seem to be on edge and short tempered. We can decide if we want to run with the herd, or if we will consciously fill our life with love, joy and happiness.

This is not as t as one might think, although it does take some effort. I know how I want to live the rest of my life. I will not listen to the bickering, doomsday preaching, blaming, finger pointing, and rough language. I am focused on a future filled with kindness, compassion, love, and empathy. I still watch the news, but I don’t linger there, staying just long enough to learn what is going on in the world. Then I go on with my life knowing that there is a bright future ahead, that things will work out, and that good ultimately prevails. I avoid blaming and judging and remind myself that there is no way to know why someone behaves in a certain way.

Meditation, mindfulness and affirmations are key to remaining positive, and I use them throughout the day and under any circumstances. Sometimes just counting to 10 before replying or reacting can be a great help. I practice this regularly and my life has become much easier and more peaceful. I listen, but I do not necessarily internalize what I hear. I respect other’s opinions and beliefs, even if they feel foreign and unreal. And by focusing on the good in everyone, even tense relationships can become pleasant.

Facing serious health challenges every day, I quickly realized that I don’t want to spend too much energy worrying and trying to change people. I really cannot change anyone. The future is uncertain for everyone, but I envision it bright and shining. By focusing on hope, optimism and faith, I remain positive and live in joy and harmony. Staying positive is and has always been a supporting pillar in my life.

Happy 4th of July!

Silvia Coggin, CPF
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

 

 

 

Meditation

MeditationUnder “Food For Thought” on the NotJustCooking.com website, I wrote some time ago about Prayer and Meditation, that essentially Prayer is asking and Meditation is listening. I believe very strongly in this but we often forget to listen after our prayers. It is only in the stillness of the mind that we can hear an answer. It is not necessarily a voice; it can be an intuition, a feeling, or just a vibrational awareness.

Meditation is a very important part of wellbeing, it helps us to find balance and to release unwanted thoughts and feelings. When I taught yoga years ago, I always ended my lesson with a meditation. My students loved it. I gave a brief guided meditation followed by music and breathing. I believe that to feel whole one needs to address the body and the mind.

Meditation has been practiced since antiquity and there are multiple traditions and ways. We are all different and are not attracted by the same things. That’s why we have to find the discipline which speaks to us and which allows us to relax and let resistance go. It really doesn’t matter if you like guided meditations, complete silence or music. You might want to lie down, sit comfortably or even engage in a walking meditation. One thing is important and doesn’t change: you have to be comfortable, breath deeply and regularly and let unwanted thoughts and feeling flow away. Watch them but don’t hold on or think about them. Breathe deeply and invite better feeling thoughts. The more you practice, the easier it gets, and then the day comes when you can meditate under any circumstances. Just the breathing will help you not overreact to an unwanted situation. For example, clearing your mind and attracting positive thoughts will assist you in not responding to or mishandling a challenge. This is not a traditional meditation, but I use it when necessary in congested and frustrating traffic, in a meeting when things become too emotional, just to mention a couple. But you cannot forget to follow up later with a deep meditation so you can release the stragglers, which might have lodged in your mind without your noticing them.

I will always remember a meditation practice that a yogi I worked with used when he was traveling. He settled in his seat in the airplane, closed his hand into a fist during take off and very slowly, one couldn’t see the movement, opened the fist and his hand was fully open when the plane landed. It was mind-boggling, and although I tried it many times, I was never able to even come close.

Meditation can become your constant companion and assist you in maintaining your balance and wellbeing more easily, no matter what!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

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