15 – CURE Panic Attacks

Panic happens because one gets scared and holds their breath. The longer one holds their breath, the more the panic increases. In truth, if one were to pass out, the body would immediately resume breathing. It is the frightened mind that has one panicking for air BECAUSE they are forgetting to exhale.

Solution

Say out loud for an entire exhale (until you run out of breath) “Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha…”

Why does this work?

By saying aloud “ha-ha-ha-ha-ha” you are exhaling, and the body is no longer terrified you are going to die. The body automatically does an inhale after you exhale. It’s when you won’t exhale, there is no room for a new breath. For without any conscious effort, the body will automatically inhale. Now that the panic is over, you have the energy and wherewithal to deal with the problem that scared you. And it doesn’t seem nearly as bad as dying, so you feel empowered and more confident, as well as more clear-headed for having taken a big breath.

14 – Appreciation Epiphanies

— Jack Canfield and others suggest starting each day with appreciations, and I determined to stay out of my two-month funk, so I began with the basic litany:

I appreciate having electricity.
I appreciate having running water.
I appreciate having a house.
I appreciate having a husband.
I appreciate having a comfortable bed.
I appreciate being alive.
I appreciate my two daughters who are wonderful.

After five minutes, I began to get bored so wondered if I could keep doing appreciations and be productive. The result fascinated me.

I appreciate that I have so many ideas I can’t do them all.
I appreciate that many of my ideas would be fun but are expensive and even impractical.
I appreciate that my husband and I have different opinions.
I appreciate that what is important to me isn’t important to my husband.
I appreciate that I get bored easily.
I appreciate that I love challenges and love coming up with ideas.
I appreciate that some of my ideas truly excite me, but might result in causing others harm.
I appreciate that I care hugely about everyone and everything.
I appreciate that I’m smiling.
I appreciate that I don’t know what to do to remodel our house.
I appreciate that I am interested and willing to make the house more to my liking.

For an hour I walked the neighborhood, appreciating that some people fix up their houses and some don’t. I appreciated that some may not have the time, money or interest. During the walk I had epiphanies of what I could do to our house that made me laugh or ponder.

I shared with my husband what I was doing and he said, “At least it makes you light. That’s a nice change.” Then he appreciated me and broke into a grin. I’m still smiling and laughing an hour later, even after dipping after hearing about drama and mayhem.

I appreciate that I’m a sensitive soul and get upset hearing all this drama and anger.
I appreciate that my husband can almost laugh at other people’s craziness.
I appreciate that I get a bit crazy hearing other people’s craziness.
I appreciate that I only want to feel laughter and joy.
I appreciate that life is so much easier and productive when I come from appreciation.
I appreciate that I manifested a playful, fun, adoring marriage after two hours of non-stop appreciations.

I APPRECIATE JACK CANFIELD, HIS TEAM (ESPECIALLY PATTY AUBREY) AND MY CLASSMATES FOR HOLDING A SAFE PLACE THIS PAST WEEK WHILE I SLOGGED THROUGH UPSET, ANGER, FEAR, PRIDE, DEPRESSION, OVERWHELM, INADEQUACY, etc.

I appreciate that I never gave up even though I was afraid I might.
I appreciate that I gave myself a long leash to entangle myself.

I appreciate that this morning I got up almost immediately and didn’t let myself fall back asleep implying that what I do doesn’t make a difference, that I can’t improve my life, that I shouldn’t care and not even try. Part of me didn’t want to get up and in truth, I vacillated three times because I didn’t have enthusiasm, didn’t have a plan, and considered escaping back into dreams. But my quiet voice said, “Get up,” and while part of me worried and doubted, a stronger voice said, “You are not going to slip into depression; get up, get dressed, make your bed, make the other bed, do appreciations.”

And voila! My husband and I have laughed and enjoyed each other. It’s rare my brain is quiet, so learning how to keep calm is a huge leap in growth.

I appreciate that tomorrow this technique may not work for me.
I appreciate that if it doesn’t, I will find some new latest greatest way to bring myself back to joy.
I appreciate that I need joy more than the average bear, or, I’m just more aware and determined.
I appreciate that I am a joy expert and have a skill that’s fun to teach.
I appreciate that not everyone wants to unleash their joy.
I appreciate that I’m often wrong.
I appreciate that I love being the Pied Piper and the tune I use to attract a following is joy.
I appreciate that I have no idea who I’m going to meet or who is going to resonate with my ongoing quest to find and spread joy.
I appreciate that I’m getting older.
I appreciate that I’m getting wiser.
I appreciate that I have a husband who encourages my becoming happier and immediately responds by becoming happier, too.
I appreciate that not every day is great.
I appreciate that dips are potholes to try to go around, but if hit one, to just appreciate that pothole for showing how I didn’t react fast enough to detour around it.
I appreciate that my old computer is still working.
I appreciate that I am a joy junkie.
I appreciate that I get so joyous that I don’t want to do the mundane like cook, clean, grocery shop, unpack.
I appreciate that I am a good cook.
I appreciate that I have a house to clean.
I appreciate that I have a husband who likes my cooking.
I appreciate that I like organizing.
I appreciate that grocery shopping especially in Bedford, a half hour drive along a beautiful lake.
I appreciate that we have a house that has a pond three houses away.
I appreciate that the waterfall two blocks away is bigger than ever.
I appreciate that I get so excited about new and different that I’m easily distracted and don’t finish projects.

I appreciate that you have read all this.

Love and Hugs, Kathryn

11 – Happy Drunk

This post is to test whether I make sense drunk. I’ve been drunk only a handful of times and never to the point of passing out or vomiting. Yet it took so many tries to get into my website that I’m afraid I’ve lost what I wanted to share. Yet I had the patience to persevere, meaning that I haven’t been able to access my website because I got so irritated that I gave up in the past few weeks, which is why you haven’t heard from me. That’s not to endorse drinking, but again, citing this an experiment.

Most people I’ve known drunk have been sad drunks or angry drunks. However, Canadians like my husband are amorous drunks to the point of saying “I love you” and kissing me in public, both typically not comfortable nor common actions shared in public.

So it surprises and delights me to find I am a Happy Drunk. I’ve had two vodka-mint-raspberry drinks; one was enough to know I was in no shape to drive; two had me barely able to keep my eyes open, yet my auditory skills seemed heightened. This post is to test whether that while I cannot walk a straight line nor barely navigate stairs that my mind is lucid.

The new title of One-a-Day Joy seems the most suited for my upcoming book. Why? Because I need help every day!!! It’s like I well remember being born a joyful creature and resent and get frustrated when my joy is thwarted. Hence, most every day I need a new way to find joy. As blasphemous as it sounds, God hasn’t been enough nor have anti-depressants nor have techniques that worked brilliantly the day before.

My life has been a quest of finding new ways to find JOY today.

TODAY’S JOY: Spending $200,000 dollars.

Inspired by Abraham-Hicks’ book The Processes (Ask and It is Given – Part II), they advise to imagine spending money. They believe that the psyche doesn’t know the difference between spending the money in reality versus spending it in imagination.

They purport that to attract money one must be willing and ready to receive it, and imagining spending money puts one in a state of such joy that one is ready to receive money in actuality.

I cannot describe the joy it has brought me all day spending this sum a dozen times. It is the largest sum I could tangibly conceive of having in my hands. It has made clearer what I really want to spend my money on and more importantly, how just the thought of buying is enough to bring me joy, that I don’t actually need to make the purchase.

1. Taking my daughter and her husband for a $50 dinner = 4,000 times.
2. Assuming it costs $300/hour to rent a helicopter = 667 hours of flying = 16 weeks of flying 40 hours/week… can you imagine the joy of flying so many hours in a helicopter? I’ve flown straight up waterfalls in Maui, over San Francisco Harbor and the Grand Canyon, out to Catalina Island, over volcanoes in Kauai and New Zealand; it’s always bliss.
3. Buying 5,000 Mimosa Trees — paradise to imagine lying amidst a large meadow of such glamorous trees.
4. Buying 100 Macbook Air computers (11 inch, 2 lbs.), keeping one and gifting 99 to others.
5. Putting the down-payment on a house in Santee, California.
6. Putting the down-payment on a house with a view of water in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia within the city limits that pleases my husband, too.
7. Traveling the world on a cruise for a year, both me and my husband.
8. Gifting the money to cause that would do good.
9. Going to a remote area where $200K would truly change their lives.
10. Renovating my home AND putting in a down-payment on a house in Santee, CA.
11. Handing a dollar to two hundred thousand people and hugging each one.
12. Giving $400 to the first 500 people who came to see my one-woman show called “A Funny Thing Happened When I X-rayed Myself.”
13. Giving $40 to the first 5,000 people who came to see my one-woman show called “A Funny Thing Happened When I X-rayed Myself.”

There are more, but with even just those daydreamed while attending class, I spent $2.6 million dollars.

Previous processes had me stuck at spending $500K. Yet it was so easy to imagine spending this sum of money. It gave me joy in a way that delighted me. That sounds profound. Joy always delights.

Advice to you: Take your bank account, or the amount you could borrow, and imagine spending it over and again in all the wild and fun ways you can imagine. See if it doesn’t bring you joy.

Why is JOY so vital? Joy makes priorities clear which makes decision-making easier. When Joy fills the bored hours, the sleepless hours and lifts one from the depressed hours, the time is well spent and enjoyed. Joy makes life interesting and more colorful and often more productive.

JOY is your best friend in bad times, in bleak times, and in alone times. Joy works whether you believe in God or not. Joy is always there if you are willing to see it. Joy never abandons you. It is you that abandons JOY.

Let me know your reaction to this post. If you liked it, tell me why.

I need feedback.

Hugs and joy, Kathryn MacIntyre

9 – Sobbing to Thriving in 26 Days

I remember the moment I realized it’d been 26 days that I’d stopped crying.

I wrote my daughters, “It’s still summer and I’m already cold, hahaha I love to start the day on my computer on the deck, but brrrrrr…. my ankles are cold!”

I loved the deck especially since I’d added five flower baskets — it was my outdoor desk — and while I was shivering from the unusual snap of cold weather that had locals complaining, and even though I was now very apprehensive about enduring my first winter in Nova Scotia considering I needed furry boots to sit outside on that first day of September, I was loving my life.

More than that, I wasn’t missing China! How was that possible? China was now officially relegated to my past life. My future was so enterprisingly entrenched in Nova Scotia that I was eager to start each day and expectant that more good was to come. I loved my future!

How did I go from sobbing to thriving in 26 days?

1. Made the decision to stop crying for one year, realizing it takes time to make new friends and build a new life.
2. Decided that that wasn’t enough, that I had to make Canada be even more great big huge, more outrageous and more wonderful than China or else I would resent my husband FOREVER!
3. Decided if I could not legally work in Canada until I attained Permanent Residency that it would be a good time to finish writing my book: Joy for Dummies.
3. Hired a writing coach to keep me accountable, to be a reader who would give constructive feedback, so that I would finish this book.
4. Alisia (my editor) found my writing inspiring. To have an impartial reader was a new experience. To have my words quoted back to me was a brand new heady experience that inspired me to write more and write better.
5. I started sending Alisia vignettes of my life in China. She loved them and said, “This has to go in your book.”
6. I joined Curves for Women, and while gyms intimidated me, this did not! In fact, women exchanged recipes while working out, recommended movies to see and discussed the weather. I even began to sweat (which until then had been unilaterally opposed to doing).
7. Going to Curves almost daily got me meeting people, making friends, out of the house and MOVING. Have you ever noticed how just getting busy doing something usually makes you feel better?
8. Started listening to the Principles of Success by Jack Canfield – this book lifted my spirits and directed my thinking and got me energized!
9. Realized my life purpose: to spread joy!!!
***I use my joy, compassion and vitality to inspire and build confidence, and to elicit joy to create a world where everyone is calm or exuberant and creatively doing activities that nurture them and make people smile and feel good. – Kathryn MacIntyre, author and motivational speaker***
10. Listed 100 things want to do/see/feel in next 20 years per Jack Canfield’s book – and that was FUN! It got me excited about the future!
11. Listed 100 victories – wow!!! Again, per Canfield’s book and felt so surprised and validated that even in times of feeling down, I’d been succeeding!!!
12. So many more victories I could have listed.
13. Realized I focus on my failures and mistakes rather than my successes!!!
14. Got excited about my future!!! Was not sad to not be returning to China.
15. Had four sets of overnight company in one week.
16. Made blueberry pancakes four mornings.
17. Started 10-day Transformation with Jack Canfield.
18. Day 1: Five things want to change most in this next year.
19. Had so many epiphanies – listed so many ideas took 3 pages.
20. Day 2: Took 100% responsibility for my unhappiness.
21. Vowed to watch less TV and write more.
22. Excused myself from company watching a movie and spent a wonderful 2 hours writing!!!
23. Day 3: Gave up blaming others for my unhappiness.
24. Wrote new thoughts to replace negative thoughts.
25. Day 4: started Daily Victory Log.
26. That’s when it hit!!! Wow!!! I’d done so much since landing in Nova Scotia on July 27th.

In 26 days – I’d accomplished so much!!!
I’d gone from sobbing to thriving!!!

5 – Ask for Help!

Why do we pretend to be brave when we are barely holding together?

Why do we smile when our world has crumbled?

Why do we rarely ask for help when help would alleviate our pain, struggle, grief, confusion, hardship,  flagging self-esteem, money troubles, etc.?

  1. PRIDE is a gremlin that hog-ties our feet and wire shuts our mouths.
  2. SHAME is a bigger beast that swallows us up until we hope to become invisible.  Or dead.

SHAME is the cancer of pride.  Toppling from being right to finding out you’re wrong can be a devastating belly-flop.  Not willing or not able to be wrong can lead to a lifetime of denial, being defensive, blaming others, shaming others, and causing volcanoes of anger.

What if SHAME is the root of all problems?

  1. Always keep an ace for emergencies.
  • For many years that was a beloved therapist.  Just making an appointment buoyed me to where I felt calmer and stronger.  In essence, I’d been thrown a life raft to hang onto until I could get help in person meaning I no longer felt overwhelmed and incapacitated by life.
  • Life coaches are a great resource.  They don’t focus on why you are the way you, they focus on getting you where you want to go.  They are positive, encouraging, usually knowledgeable about things you don’t know or will give suggestions where or who to reach out to.
  • Audio books that build confidence, including but not limited to this list.  Listen to them working around the house, exercising and even sleeping especially if wake a lot at night.  Resting with eyes closed, and mind and body still, is almost as restful as REM sleep.  Plus, hearing encouragement bolsters confidence helping you to sleep more soundly.  Soothing words lull us back to sleep.
    • The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
    • The Astonishing Power by Esther Hicks, Jerry Hicks
    • Ask and It Is Given by Esther Hicks, Jerry Hicks
    • Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins
  • FREE YouTube videos by Abraham-Hicks
  • Friends, family, mentors are often struggling with their own life issues, so don’t take it that they don’t like you or that they don’t care if they can’t or refuse to help.

HELP is only a phone call or an audio book away.

3 – Stripped Identity

We landed in Nova Scotia (Canada) on July 4th, and I left three days later for California to visit my daughters and to attend a Feldenkrais class.  Yet for the first time I didn’t enjoy myself; I didn’t smile, didn’t participate in class, went turtle and avoided classmates.

That last day, I sobbed.  It meant returning to Canada.  I had hoped that because classmates had their eyes closed during the ATM (floor exercise) and that if I didn’t make any noise, and because I was at the back of the room that maybe even the teacher wouldn’t notice me.

I felt bereft, like my identity had been stripped away.  Without China, I was no longer cool or interesting.  I was a has-been.  My future loomed as endless days of cooking, cleaning and watching TV.  I had hoped love would be enough, but once again it wasn’t.

My teacher asked what was wrong, and I darted to the bathroom in a panic to get hidden before tears broke like a dam.  As soon as I was composed enough to return to the classroom, an assistant asked if I was okay, and I gave him a double thumbs up with a huge smile, as in LEAVE ME ALONE.

The next week, back in Nova Scotia, crying was my sport and hobby.  I was dashing to bathrooms like battling Montezuma’s Revenge for it’s always worked best for me to grieve alone.  And it was grieving.  I LOVED teaching in China.  Now I was in a country that wouldn’t even allow me to work until I had permanent residency.

I applied for volunteer jobs, but even they wanted a police criminal check, letters of recommendation, a resume, pages of paperwork like for a real job, and three interviews … all to clean cat litter boxes in an animal resort!

Hot showers became my best friend to calm and cover up the noise of the sobbing.  I felt a bit desperate, confused and surprised at my disintegration.  I thought I’d prepared myself well for this new chapter of my life; I’d researched and listed three pages of activities and clubs to get involved with and yet the tears hit like a tsunami that wouldn’t end.

Was it only three days?  It felt like three weeks since I’d been back from California, but in truth that was how long I’d been intermittently sobbing.  But that third night getting into bed, feeling the tears swelling, I resolved:  “No, I will give it one year.”  Meaning I wouldn’t cry anymore for it takes time to make new friends and settle into a new place.  The tears evaporated.

It was like that decision shifted my focus to stop bemoaning the past and start living in the present. However, the next day, I had an epiphany:  I had to make Canada be more wonderful and outrageous than China or else I would resent my husband forever.

He was ready to retire; I wasn’t.  It chaffed to call myself unemployed, but that beat using the word retired.  Canada has strict laws that if caught doing any infractions, permanent residency (PR) will be permanently denied.  I wanted PR because from the moment you apply, you have medical coverage.  I’d been covered in China through my job, and the cost for coverage in the States was a lot, especially for a girl who wasn’t working.

I decided to hire an editor to help me finish my book, Joy for Dummies, for it would make use of the time I couldn’t be gainfully employed, but hopefully would eventually make money and give me a new career.   I’d started the book eleven years earlier, long before going to China.

An editor would keep me accountable for I have a history of moving onto new projects when get bored or overwhelmed.  Best of all, I would have a reader.  It truly sucks to write thousands of pages which no one reads.  I literally have boxes and computer files full of  vignettes, poems and two novels, all of which I’ve never taken the time to submit for publication.

The book morphed into something grander than it began.  Alisia Leavitt was a sensitive editor who culled out the best of me.  She inspired me to reveal my shame, sharing feelings I’d never articulated.  It was heady praise to have quoted back words I’d penned; she called some of the pieces like poetry.

Now I had a new identity:  I was an author writing a book about joy.

Now I had a future that excited me, that loomed greater, bigger, even more huge and wonderful than China!  Especially since I presumed that I could and would become a motivational speaker.  Teaching joy brought me tremendous joy, so the prospect of going on the road teaching it thrilled me to the core.  I began to thrive and embrace my new life.  I’d always loved the forests and lakes of Nova Scotia, but now it felt like HOME.

 

 

 

 

1 – Preparing to leave China

Giving up teaching in China turned me inside out. I had hired two life coaches to make the transition easier because I was overwhelmed with the task of reinventing myself for the sixth, seventh time? I’ve changed careers a dozen times and moved 30+ times, but between my great-niece dying and then not being able to work in Canada until I had permanent residency, I was crying daily.

Barbara Wotherspoon is a longtime mentor and friend and coached me through the personal side of life, so I could as best as possible attend to my job and marriage from April to June.

But eager to plant seeds for a new career, I hired Emily Benson. While she usually only coaches boutique owners (such as LuLaRoe consultants) she agreed to take me on privately and would soon dub me as “her client from the future” for she was eager to work with people like me.

Emily got me to narrow my focus down to finishing my book “Joy for Dummies.” I had started compiling exercises for Rolfing clients in 2006, but now I had dozens of meditations and exercises to add. Teaching Oral English, I had to create my own curriculum and had decided to teach them something that might improve the quality of their life WHILE teaching verbs, vocabulary and grammar. After eight years and teaching 8,000 classes and 4,000+ teens and adults, I had extensively tested out my theories about joy.

It became obvious that while I could not teach anyone how to be happy, I could teach them how to find joy. Last year’s 10th graders — about 200 students — all claimed that they felt better after doing my joy meditation.

But where was my joy? Ducking into restrooms to silently sob had become my life. I hid my tears from my husband as best I could, but I was not fun to live with. Everything that had worked in the past did not lift my spirits, so I went in search for new ways to find joy. That’s when this book went to a whole new level and changed my life.