ACT and The Still Small Voice of Calm

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!

Q:  How can I make my life less dramatic?

A:  Make time to listen to the still small voice of calm.

Image result for inspirational picture quotes

There is a danger that we can become addicted to dramatic events.  The adrenaline rush, the heightened emotions, the body primed for fight or flight, all this can get us hooked!

We might say that we like the quiet life, but the quiet life can start to pall.  We might say that we like the old familiar, but the old familiar can begin to look stale and boring.  Variety may well be the spice of life, but if we are constantly looking for stimulation, always on the look out for the next best thing, ever-ready to become part of a drama, either our own or somebody else’s, this could be a sign that we are unwilling to spend time with ourselves.

It is only by spending quiet time with ourselves that we have a chance to find out what really matters to us, to check in that we are on the right path.  We can only hear the still small voice of calm if we create some time and space to listen.  ACT reminds us of the importance of values.  Our values are that still small voice of calm.  They have something important to say.

I wrote “THE STILL SMALL VOICE OF CALM” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Do you have too much drama in your life?
  • Do you make time to listen to the still small voice of calm?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

POEM FOR TODAY

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THE STILL SMALL VOICE OF CALM

 

It maybe that life’s tricky, we must re-negotiate

A relationship that’s sticky, that has troubled us of late,

And it maybe we’re uncertain how to plot a better course,

Well if that’s the case our values can become our best resource.

Maybe we’ve been neglectful, or forgetful, lost our way,

Let life’s latest little dramas overwhelm us for today,

And we look around bewildered, “How did we get so lost?”

Well the truth is without values as our compass that’s the cost.

For life always will send dramas, either stark or in disguise,

Sometimes we’ll see them coming, and sometimes to our surprise

We’ll get caught up in the mayhem when there’s drama everywhere

And forget a value’s constant, if we look for it it’s there.

And so, if life is all dramatic let’s remember we’ve a choice,

We can let it overwhelm us, or be still and hear the voice

Of a value that will tell us if we’re really doing fine,

Or if for now we’ve lost our bearings and it’s time to re-align.

And if re-alignment’s called for let’s not tarry over-long,

Keep on going on the wrong path if it’s not where we belong,

For though drama is enticing it can do a lot of harm,

If it’s drowning out our values and their still small voice of calm.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed “THE STILL SMALL VOICE OF CALM” please pass it on, and do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

Thank goodness for ACT in the midst of a drama; thank heavens for ACT in the heat of a crisis.

Mindfulness is one of the core processes of ACT and it is Mindfulness that can lead us to the still small voice of calm wherein our values lie.  When drama comes in the door that is the very time when we need our Mindfulness skills the most.

For a great over-view of The ACT View of Mindfulness head over to Russ Harris’ great site at actmindfully.com.  If you want an introduction to Mindfulness it is clear and accessible, if you want a reminder then it will give you a boost.

When we are in the midst of a drama, either real or imagined, it is very easy to become overwhelmed by difficult thoughts and feelings, very tempting to let go of what really matters, ie our values, to succumb to the powerful urges and surges that drama creates.  How reassuring it is to know that there is another way.  At actmindfully.com we are reminded that:

 Mindfulness is a mental state of awareness, focus and openness – which allows you to engage fully in what you are doing at any moment. In a state of mindfulness, difficult thoughts and feelings have much less impact and influence over you – so it is hugely useful for everything ……

If you want to learn more about Mindfulness Skills actmindfully.com is a great place to visit.  It leads us to that part of us that is so often hidden, ‘the observing self’ or ‘pure awareness’ wherein lies so much of our personal power.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

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ACT and Values Revisited

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  Something unexpected just happened.  I don’t know what to do next.  What now?

A:  Check in with your values.

Life is all about change.  Nothing stays the same.  When we are in a comfortable stage when everything is going well we want to hang on to it.  When we are in an uncomfortable stage we want to get rid of it, preferably as soon as possible.

Sometimes we may feel tossed about by life, at the mercy of external events which shake our foundations.  The temptation then is to resist, to fight back, to struggle.  We may want to deny the new what is but that will get us nowhere fast.

ACT reminds us that no matter what happens to us in our life, no matter what externals come to disturb us and upset us we always have something to see us through.  When we know what our values are and are true to them then no matter what life throws at us we have an anchor to cling to.  When everything else is changing our values stay the same.  They will carry us through.

I wrote “RIPPLES” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Have you discovered the power of your values?
  • How have you used values to carry you through?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

If-we-reach-out-for-our

POEM FOR TODAY

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RIPPLES

A sudden something happens, a seeming out the blue,

And it delivers something different and the world that we once knew

Is now reeling for an instant, we’re in unknown territory,

And we must give things chance to settle as they will eventually.

When a stone is tossed all careless then an impulse is begun,

It will gather a momentum, we must let the ripples run

And be prepared to wait all patient as the shock waves gather pace,

Until they dwindle in the distance and then vanish without trace.

Oh it takes a bit of doing, standing back, creating room,

Watching on from a safe distance as the chain reactions loom

And being ready for resistance, and resisting it as well,

And not becoming overwhelmed as all the ripples surge and swell.

Oh yes it takes a bit of doing, but if we our lessons learn

We can stand firm within the current waiting for the tide to turn,

And if we reach out for our values, they sure footing will provide,

So though the ripples swirl around us we can take them in our stride.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “RIPPLES” please pass it on, and do leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

If you need some help in clarifying your values and differentiating between values and goals then Russ Harris’ video is well worth a look.  I have recommended it before but it is so entertaining and clear that I couldn’t resist recommending it again.  So if you are looking for clarification look no further.  Check out the video.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-I-will stand firm

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

ACT and Letting Go

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  Nothing seems to be working.  I’m stuck.  Now what?

A:  Let Go!

surrender

Learning to let go is a central premise of ACTLetting go of trying to control our uncomfortable feelings, our difficult thoughts.   Letting go of our stories, our preconceived notions, our judgements.  Letting go sounds like it should be a huge relief, but so often we still struggle.  Paradoxically it can be more difficult to let go than to hang on.

Learning to lay down the rope, to lie still in the sinking sand, to choose to leave the battle field while the war rages around us.  These are metaphors that ACT uses to show us that there is another way.  When we are constantly trying to force solutions we do not give things a chance to work through naturally.  When we are tempted to interfere prematurely we cannot know how things would have developed otherwise.

Taking no action is still an action.  Sometimes taking no action is the wisest course.

I wrote “A NATURAL UNFOLDING” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • What do you think about letting go?
  • Is inaction a positive action in your life?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

When-we-see-the-bigger

POEM FOR TODAY

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A NATURAL UNFOLDING

We tell ourselves such stories, all the must dos and the shoulds,

All the times we fail to nurture all those tender little buds,

The new project just emerging or the daydreams bearing fruits,

We’re so bound up in our stories that we choke them at their roots.

We may fail to give them growth time, it’s results we want and now,

So we forget that hibernation incubates the seeds somehow

Until they’re ready for the blooming, it’s a natural process and

If we understand when to let go then God can take a hand.

And then we won’t be driven by stories that just masquerade as real,

We will know they’re only words made up and words we can repeal,

And when we see the bigger picture and we learn to leave some space

Then things begin to start unfolding at a far more natural pace.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “A NATURAL UNFOLDING” please pass it on, and do leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

For the control freaks amongst us it can come as a bit of a shock to realise that in ACT terms:

“Control is the problem, not the solution.”

There is an interesting article, A Non Technical Overview of ACT, written by Russ Harris at thehappinesstrap.com entitled:

“Embracing your Demons:  an Overview of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.”

It explains the fundamentals of ACT in layman’s terms and is well worth a read.

I particularly liked the part about Control.  If you want to read more about the “quicksand” and “struggle switch” metaphors and the concepts of “clean discomfort” and “dirty discomfort” this is the place to go.

It was a timely reminder for me.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-I-will flow

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments.  How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

ACT and TIME OUT

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  Everything’s getting on top of me.  What can I do?

A:  Take some time out.

This post is inspired by the Blogging 101 Day 13 Assignment, Try a Blogging Event!

I am participating in  Writeful Mind’s Feel-Good Friday.

“Feel-Good Friday is all about promoting self-care and “me-time”, which  we can all use when the stresses of life get to be too much.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

And so here we go …….

We live in such a busy world.  24/7 it never stops moving, it never stops demanding, it never stops!  And we can get caught up in all that movement, all those demands, it can get to a point where we feel that we never stop either.

But ACT reminds us that our spirits need time out, we need time out.  We were built for contemplation as well as action, we were built for reflection as well as constant doing.  If we feel that the world is crowding in it is time to make some space, if we feel that we are drowning in a list of things to do, it is time to STOP! and consider whether what we are doing is actually worth doing.

Taking time out is a great way to develop our mindfulness skills, to increase our awareness and to consider whether what we are doing is taking us in the direction that we want to go.  Are our actions in line with our values?

Sometimes when we are at our most busy taking time out may be the best thing that we can do.

I wrote the poem “TIME OUT” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How good at you at taking time out?
  • What things do you do to help you to relax and reflect?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

Its-good-to-take-some

POEM FOR TODAY

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TIME OUT

 

It’s good to take some time out and to give ourselves some space,

To remember what’s important and our values to embrace,

For it’s easy ‘midst the hubbub to become so much engrossed

That we’re acting without thinking of what really matters most.

Yes it’s good to take some time out and catch up with long lost friends,

Maybe stirring of the heartstrings as a thing of beauty sends

Us a message to be still now and just drink the beauty in,

Yes it’s good to re-connect with what is happening within.

For our time is very precious and sometimes we need to see

If the way that we are spending it’s the best that it can be,

For it’s not a resource infinite, e’en now it’s running out

So we’d better use it wisely whilst our time is still about.

And so let’s take a bit of time out and not look at it with guilt

For it’s worth its weight in gold if on it better lives are built,

And just a bit of space created gives us change to re-engage

With the things that really matter, no matter what our age.

 

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “TIME OUT” please pass it on, and do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

Dr Russ Harris is one of Australia’s foremost leaders of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and I refer to him often on this blog.

If you want to find out more about him and what he has to offer then visit him at his wonderful website ACT Mindfully.  You will not be disappointed!

Which brings us to the ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-some-time

 

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

ACT and the Value Driven Life

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q: My life has lost its sparkle. How can I get it back?

A: Return to your values.

 

If we’re honest it’s not so much our life that loses its sparkle as we stop doing the things that bring that sparkle into our life. Yes??

Life doesn’t just sparkle of its own accord.  We have to do the stuff that makes it sparkle.  And that stuff isn’t always that obvious.

It might, for instance, seem obvious that a sparkling life would be full of life’s goodies.  Therefore anyone who has plenty of money to buy those goodies would necessarily have a sparkling life.  Yes??  Well no, we know that’s not always true. A quick look around the people we know and those that we don’t, celebrities and otherwise, is enough to show us that money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness. Well we know that really don’t we?

There is enough research out there to show that spending a lifetime in pursuit of increasing one’s spending power is not necessarily the route to the sparkling life.  Well if not money, then what?  If not a sackful of life’s goodies, then what?

In ACT terms living a sparkling life is much more equated with living a life based on our values.   Obviously then we need to find out what our values are, and that’s not always easy.  However, if we want our lives to sparkle then it’s important that we invest time to discover what is important to us, what we want our lives to be about.

Once we know that, then we can shape what we do, our actions, around what matters, our values.  When they match up then our life will start to sparkle again.

TIP FOR TODAY

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How have you been able to use your values to make your life sparkle?
  • If your life lost its sparkle how did you get it back?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

POEM FOR TODAY

Pebbles in the Stream

PEBBLES IN THE STREAM

Throw a pebble in the stream and watch the ripples run,

That’s what happens with an action, with a something that we’ve done,

It will have its repercussions, sometimes bad and sometimes good,

So if we are doing something let’s do something that we should.

It may be a call to action is at times best left ignored

When we’re feeling over anxious, over tired or just plain bored,

Or maybe we’re indecisive, and it then can do no harm

To withdraw for just a little ‘til we start to feel more calm.

And the question to be asked is if next morning we’ll be proud

Of an action that we’ve taken, and if not it’s disallowed,

And if we’re unsure of the answer let a value shed some light

On the act we’re contemplating, and we’ll soon know if it’s right.

And so if we prize loving kindness let us get it in our head

That a sharp retort or petty jibe is better left unsaid,

And if we say independence is a treasure to pursue

Then we’ll have to do the things that independent spirits do.

And the list is pretty endless, for all lives with values teem

And they’ll always know which pebbles we should throw into the stream,

And although life may seem easier when values we ignore,

It is the value driven life that always sparkles more.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “PEBBLES IN THE STREAM” please pass it on, and do please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT ……….

It can be difficult clarifying our values, but given their importance it is well worth the effort.  ACT literature is full of useful techniques to help us to work out and prioritize what really matters to us.   Because I am still reading

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by Oliver, Hill and Morris, their examples and worksheets are freshest in my mind, but I have also used Russ Harris’ excellent book too.

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Which brings us to the……

ACTivation POINT!

SO …………………………..

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT. I am on a journey. I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

 

Corinne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACT and Values and Goals

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

 Q: What’s the difference between a value and a goal?

A: A goal is a signpost, a value is a direction

  

A goal is not a value, a value is not a goal. It is helpful to know the difference.

When we talk about goals, we are usually talking about things we want to achieve, things that indicate that we have succeeded, signs that we are on the right path.  So we might say that we want to get a degree, become a best-selling writer, get married, have children etc, etc. These are all goals. They have an either or quality to them. We can tick them off our list as we achieve them, or not. A goal is a sign that we are on the right path, but it is not the path.

A value is the path. A value is the direction of travel.

When we talk about values we are talking about demonstrating things that are important to us, showing what purpose is meaningful to us. So we might say that creativity is important to us. Well we don’t have to be a best-selling writer to be creative. We can find many ways in our lives to be creative and we can choose to act in a creative way right now.

Or we might say that having loving relationships is important to us. Maybe we won’t get married, maybe we won’t have children, but we can still have loving relationships in our lives. We can choose to act in a loving way right now.

So a goal is not a value, and a value is not a goal. Goals can be helpful, goals can be motivating, but if we are over-focused on goals our lives can feel pressured and restricted. Values, though will always be our friend. They will infuse our lives with meaning and they will never let us down.

In ACTivate your Life

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it is suggested that we ask ourselves these two questions about our goals:

  1. What purpose is this goal serving?
  2. What will it enable me to do that is meaningful?

The writers say that hopefully this can clarify the purpose for pursuing a goal because sometimes we can become so focused on achieving goals that we lose sight of the purpose.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How good are you at differentiating between a value a goal?
  • Has living a goal fixated life caused problems for you?
  • How has living a value driven life made a difference in your life?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

POEM FOR TODAY

The North Star

VALUES AND GOALS

 

It helps to differentiate a value from a goal,

For they serve a different function and they play a different role,

So a life that’s goal fixated will have different things in store

To a life that’s value driven, that has values at its core.

It is true that goals for many are the order of the day,

“What today can I achieve?” are the first words we often say,

And the list is unforgiving, for as goal fixators know,

There is always more to do when we let goals dictate the show.

And yes, we get a sense of order and a purpose to pursue,

In the goal fixated life there’s always something we can do,

And it can be most rewarding, as achievement often is,

But what happens when we don’t achieve and end up in a tizz?

For some goals are unobtainable, and failures we’ll perceive

When life slaps us in the face and what we want we don’t receive,

Or the disappointments stacking as another goal we miss,

When we buy into the goal driven life we buy into all this.

Which makes a case for putting values at the core of life instead,

For they’ll never disappoint us, they’ll just help us forge ahead

In directions always meaningful, our very own north star,

For though our goals may come and go our values just stay where they are.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed “VALUES AND GOALS” please pass it on, and do leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT ……….

I am a member of the

ACT Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Community

If you are interested in ACT you will find lots to interest you there and I recommend that you visit often.

Dr Russ Harris has posted a great animated video there about

Values Vs Goals.

I loved it and it inspired this post.  Take a look.  I am sure you will love it too.

Which leads us to the ……

ACTivation Point!

So ……………………….

Just for today

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT. I am on a journey. I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

 

Corinne

 

 

 

 

ACT and Comfort Zones

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q: What’s so wrong with comfort zones?

A: A comfort zones’s a prison if it’s one we have outgrown

Oh how we love our comfort zones.  After all they are so comfortable, so reassuring, so predictable. We know where we are, there are no surprises. Oh yes, we do venture out sometimes but it is always nice to know that if the going gets tough we can retreat to the old familiar. Taking chances, exploring the unknown, risking failure may not come easily to some of us. So we decide it’s better not to try. We miss opportunities, our lives get smaller.

Sometimes though, something happens unexpectedly and, like it or not, we are unceremoniously turfed out of our comfort zone and that can be extremely uncomfortable. There may be no way back or, even if there is, it may be that the comfort zone just isn’t comfortable anymore. A comfort zone once breached is never the same.

In ACT terms comfort zones are pretty dangerous. Change is the stuff of life and it doesn’t do to get too comfortable, too complacent. We are all likely to get turfed out of our comfort zones sooner or later. Being human it goes with the territory. How we deal with it, ah that’s the thing. In ACT we are encouraged to accept the uncomfortable feelings that inevitably accompany change as being natural and normal. We are encouraged to step out of our comfort zones. This is how we create a vital, rich and meaningful life.

How about you?

  • How do you feel about comfort zones?
  • How do they operate in your life?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

POEM FOR TODAY

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COMFORT ZONES

Maybe we’re on the brink of an exciting sort of thing

We can feel our brains start buzzing and a hum is happening

We catch glimpses of a future full of promise clear and bright

‘Til a little whisper warns us that things may not turn out right.

It’s the dampener we’re used to, the doom merchant we know well,

How he loves to pour cold water and to sound the warning bell

To remind us that excitement is a risky route to take,

Heaven knows we might fail, God forbid make a mistake.

So it’s easy to be thwarted, it is simpler to retreat,

To take comfort in a comfort zone than hazard a defeat

And for a while we’re spared those feelings that accompany the unknown,

But a comfort zone’s a prison if it’s one that we’ve outgrown.

And so the next time we are starting an exciting kind of thing

And we feel our brains start buzzing and a hum is happening

Let’s resist that old doom merchant and refuse him to appease,

Because we can’t know what will happen ‘til that risk we’ve dared to seize.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed “COMFORT ZONES” please pass it on, and do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go ………

A final word from ACT

Russ Harris is one of my favourite ACT authors. He has many best-sellers to his name and has been instrumental in making ACT accessible to the mass market. “The Happiness Trap” is perhaps his best known book and rightly so. It is wonderfully entertaining and gives the reader a comprehensive overview of Acceptance Commitment Therapy.

However, it is “The Reality Slap” that I found personally the most illuminating. Russ Harris tells his own story and how a personal trauma turfed him, an ACT guru, unceremoniously out of his own comfort zone. What happened next inspired the book and I recommend it to you.  It is a wonderful read.

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Bad things do happen to good people, life does rear up and slap us in the face and comfort zones, in the end, do turn out to be precarious, so best not to get too comfortable!

Which leads us to the ……

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………

 

recite-sabv23

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

I am a student of ACT. I am on a journey. I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes.

Corinne