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Cultivating Resilience Practice 6: Grit

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HEALTH & WELLNESS

Editor’s Note:

Bold Blind Beauty is thrilled to share with you snippets from Becky Andrews’ new book “Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal.” Adversity strengthens and builds resilience; Becky will share weekly practices to help us become more resilient. ~Steph

Hello All 

Thanks for following along in our cultivating resilience practices. If you have just joined us you can go back and read through all the previous practices. Each of them is important and has made a difference in my own life. I recall when I first began to lose my eyesight, my mom said to me you have every right to feel angry about this. Her simple validation of my feelings made such a difference as I moved through the feelings of grief and loss around my vision loss. The anger didn’t stay around a long time and in part because I was given permission to feel and process it. Practice one:  Give yourself permission to feel.  

I reflect back on learning the practice of self-compassion (Practice two in our cultivate resilience). In difficult times to respond with compassion for ourselves and that experience leads to resilience. The memory of being denied access to a clothing store. It was hard. It can be exhausting at times to be that advocate. To recognize that self-compassion gives us the energy to continue to move forward.  

In our third practice, we’ve talked about is recognizing our strengths. We all have incredible character strengths within us just waiting to be utilized during our challenging times. When we implement them in our challenges, they become an incredible force for good. Our Signature Strengths are both essential, energizing, and effortless.  If you haven’t, take the questionnaire at: www.viacharacter.org

Our fourth practice was the awareness and practice of healthy boundaries. As a blind woman, the importance of establishing boundaries is essential for me. It’s important for me to know I have healthy relationships where I can give and receive.  

This week our practice is Grit. We made it to practice five in our cultivation of resilience. That takes grit. Persistence.  Perseverance. Willingness to continue to show up. Grit is that determination that keeps us going. To keep moving forward. Sometimes when we are pushing through experiencing a challenge, we may not recognize the grit that we have within us. Take a pause and reflect on a time when you showed grit. 

Grit is having the courage to push throughno matter what the obstacles are, because it’s worth it.

~Chris Morris

It’s There  

Today a client said to me, this is really hard. We sat there for a moment and then we started talking about the grit of her pushing through each day. It felt good she said to acknowledge that. She has been exercising her grit muscles and sometimes they get sore and need a pause as well as recognition for the workout. I’m a runner so I appreciate anything that can be related to a running metaphor.  

So, take a pause this week and recognize and honor your grit. It’s there and is a part of your resilience cultivation. 

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring great.

~Theodore Roosevelt

About The Author:

Image is described in the body of the post.
Becky Andrews

Becky Andrews is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Small Business Owner – Resilient Solutions, Inc, and founder of the Daring to Own Your Story ™ Retreats. She is also the author of Look up, move forward – her memoir of Losing her eyesight and finding her vision.  

You can follow her at:

Workbook: 

Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal will be out Fall 2020. Email Becky at becky.lpc@gmail.com to be on the waiting list or preorder.

Image Descriptions:

  • Header: Photo of a woman scaling a mountain wearing a long white dress and rock climbing gear on her back and around her waist.
  • Becky is sitting on outdoor steps next to her guide dog, Georgie, a gorgeous yellow lab. 

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Cultivating Resilience Practice 5: Mindfulness

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HEALTH & WELLNESS

Editor’s Note:

Bold Blind Beauty is thrilled to share with you snippets from Becky Andrews’ new book “Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal.” Adversity strengthens and builds resilience; Becky will share weekly practices to help us become more resilient. ~Steph

Hello All 

Sending my love as I take a pause to write this next post. We are all being stretched at this time in so many different ways both collectively and individually. It is a time of cultivating our resilience. As we reflect back on the practices we’ve discussed and how they can help us during this time. 

  • Practice one – give yourself permission to feel. Feelings have one ambition to be felt. I appreciate Dr. Mark Brackett’s book: Permission to Feel. He gives us the guideline: RULER
    • R = recognize emotion;
    • U = understand emotion;
    • L = Label the emotion;
    • E = express emotion;
    • R = regulate emotion. 

      So much more we can talk about on the power of honoring our emotions and then choosing healthy actions to support us in our journey. Take a pause and listen to your feelings and what you need at this time. I know my feelings have been all over the place this week. I have felt such grief and loss, a deep sense of self-awareness as I am learning more how to show up; gratitude; uncertainty; calm; anxiety … What a time of so many emotions!
  • Which leads us to our second practice we talked about that of Self Compassion. Be compassionate to yourself as you would to someone else. Look at what you are experiencing right now with compassion.
  • Our third practice was to recognize and utilize our strengths. Oh, how I love this area and could go on and on! If you haven’t yet, take the test at www.viacharacter.org. Remember your top signature strengths are what will help you navigate a challenging time. They are our go-to that is effortless, energizing, and essential. I reflect on that last one.  They are essential. Even in our challenging times – we so need to be able to utilize that strength. 
  • Then last week we talked about Practice four – Boundaries. A gentle reminder that we need to step back. To set boundaries. To say no. To say yes to what we need.  

Practice 5: Mindfulness

Today practice five is some of my favorites. The practices of Mindfulness: Savor, Gratitude Visit. They come from work as a positive psychology life coach and my learning from this field that I find so helpful.

Mindfulness:

is that awareness of the present moment with acceptance/curiosity – not judgment. Mindfulness can be practiced at any moment of the day. It is simply bringing awareness to the activity. It invites us to notice what is happening while it is happening.

When we are mindful, we are able to be aware of our internal narrative and not get lost in it. If we are mindful of our struggling, we are able to attend to it and respond with compassion.

Mindfulness asks – What am I experiencing right now? Upon which Self-compassion can ask, What do I need right now? 

Put simply, mindfulness consists of cultivating awareness of the mind and body and living in the here and now. 

~Bob Stahl & Elisha Goldstein

Incorporating a practice of even 10 minutes of mindfulness in the day can be such a cultivating resilience practice.  This can be done while you are walking, eating, meditating, driving, or simply taking a pause.  

Mindfulness can increase our resilience by enhancing our self awareness/insight, improving our mood, helping us to decrease anxiety and depression, improvements of physical health, enhanced ability to deal with chronic health conditions, improved interpersonal connections, other ways it has helped you: _______________________________

Practice for this Week:

Mindful eating: Take time to focus and be fully present / mindful as you are eating.

Mindful breathing: At any time you can take a mindful breath – stop what you’re doing and feel your breath.  Conscious breathing is the most common mindfulness technique.  

Mindful Walking (Set the timer for 5-10 minutes if you’d like. Some people find it helpful to know the time is being kept while meditating.)

  • Find a quiet place in your home where you can walk back and forth at least 20-30 feet at a time or in a circle. Make the decision to use the time to cultivate moment to moment kindly awareness. 
  • Stand still for a moment and anchor your attention in your body. Be aware of yourself in the standing posture. Feel your body.
  • Start to walk slowly and deliberately. Notice how it feels to lift one foot, step forward, and place it down as the other foot begins to lift off the floor. Do the same with the other foot. Feel the sensations of lifting, stepping, and placing over and over again. Feel free to use the words “lift” “step” “place” or another word that feels good to focus your attention on the task.
  • When your mind wanders, gently return to the physical sensations of walking. If you feel any urgency to move faster, simply note that and return to the sensations of walking.
  • Do this with kindness and gratitude. Your relatively small feet are supporting your entire body; your hips are supporting your whole torso. Experience the marvel of walking.  
  • Move slowly and fluidly through space, being aware that you’re walking. Some people find it easiest to keep their attention below the knees or exclusively on the soles of the feet. 
  • When you reach the end of your walking space, pause a moment, take a conscious breath, remain anchored in your body, and reverse direction.
  • At the end of the meditation period, invite yourself to be mindful of body sensations throughout the day. Notice the sensations of walking you go on to your next activity. ~Christopher Germer, The Mindful Path to Self Compassion.

Savor: 

Attempt to fully feel, enjoy and extend our positive experiences, appreciate fully.   

Now can be a positive time to savor a past experience. Going through a past memory that brings you joy and sharing it. Take a pause to savor a present moment. Combined with mindfulness this can be a beautiful practice to savor the sunset, a conversation with a friend, a moment of a positive experience.  

This week write about a moment that you have savored.  

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Gratitude Visit:

This visit is designed to help you take the time to acknowledge something that another person has done for you. It has positive, resilient lasting effects on both the giver and the receiver of gratitude.  

The Gratitude Visit image text is in the body of the post.
The Gratitude Visit
Here are the steps:
  1. Think of someone who has been especially kind to you / influential to you that you would like to thank. Chose someone with whom you could arrange to have an in-person/ virtual /or social distance meeting at this time.
  2. Your task is to write a gratitude letter to this individual.  Take some time to sit down, reflect, and write a letter. Be specific about what he or she did for you and how it affected your life. Let the person know what you are doing now and how their efforts impacted your life.
  3. Now arrange a time to read your letter out loud to this person — over the phone/facetime/from social distancing/or in your home.

Directly following the gratitude visit answer these questions:

  • How did the other person react to your expression of gratitude?
  • How were you affected by their reaction?  
  • Take some notes of your experience.   
  • Take some time to savor.
  • Take some time to do a Gratitude Visit.  

Share your experience with us. Better yet… join us for our Cultivating Resilience Group to share in the discussion.  Email becky.lpc@gmail.com for details.

About The Author:

Image is described in the body of the post.
Becky Andrews

Becky Andrews is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Small Business Owner – Resilient Solutions, Inc, and founder of the Daring to Own Your Story ™ Retreats. She is also the author of Look up, move forward – her memoir of Losing her eyesight and finding her vision.  

You can follow her at:

Workbook: 

Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal will be out Fall 2020. Email Becky at becky.lpc@gmail.com to be on the waiting list or preorder.

Image Descriptions:

  • Header: Photo of a woman savoring a cup of coffee as she cradles the cup in both her hands.
  • Becky is sitting on outdoor steps next to her guide dog, Georgie, a gorgeous yellow lab. 
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Cultivating Resilience Practice 4: Healthy Boundaries

Red and white "Do Not Enter" Sign posted on a road

HEALTH & WELLNESS

Editor’s Note:

Bold Blind Beauty is thrilled to share with you snippets from Becky Andrews’ new book “Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal.” Adversity strengthens and builds resilience; Becky will share weekly practices to help us become more resilient. ~Steph

When we learn how to become resilient, we learn how to embrace the beautifully broad spectrum of the human experience. 

~Jaeda Dewalt

This quote strikes me each time I read it with the depth of its meaning. To cultivate our resilience takes us to a place of beauty, connection, and a deeper human experience. Thanks for joining me in this journey of cultivating our resilience. I think of it as a muscle that we are called upon to strengthen throughout our lives. Certainly, now in this time of added collective challenges and losses we are experiencing the call to cultivate our resilience.  

Let’s review our cultivating resilience practices thus far.

And now, we are on to Practice Four: Setting Healthy Boundaries

Surround yourself with people who are supportive to you in your journey.

There is a universal need:  to feel I am of worth, my feelings matter and someone really cares about me. When we feel understood, validated, and cared for it fuels our ability to be resilient.  

What is a boundary? It is the limits we set with others and for ourselves of what is okay and not okay for us. Unhealthy boundaries involve a disregard for your own and others’ values, wants, needs, and limits. Setting boundaries can be challenging at times. This quote by Brene Brown reminds me of the kindness of clear boundaries both for ourselves and others.    

“Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment “ 

~Brene Brown

Healthy Boundaries are important anytime. When we are experiencing challenging times they are essential.  Boundaries are about giving and receiving. When you need help, it’s also okay to ask for it. When you have support and ask for it, it’s a proactive and prosocial behavior. And, as you are able to you are also able to offer help as you can.  

A few questions to reflect upon as you look at your boundaries.  

What do you want to say yes to? What boundaries do you need to put in place to put these yes’ into place? Is there something you need to say no to in order to create space for the yes? These are some questions to reflect upon as we look at boundaries.  

This is a helpful guide on boundaries from Dr. Dana Gionta:

10 Ways to Build and Preserve Better Boundaries

  1. Name your limits. You can’t set good boundaries if you’re unsure of where you stand.
  2. Tune into your feelings.
  3. Be Direct.
  4. Give yourself permission.
  5. Practice self-awareness. Boundaries are about honing into your feelings and honoring them.
  6. Consider your past and present.
  7. Make self-care a priority.
  8. Seek support.
  9. Be assertive. 
  10. Start small.

Another list that I find to be very helpful in giving ourselves permission to establish the boundaries we need is the Assertive Rights list. 

Assertive Rights:

  • I have the right to be treated with dignity, compassion, and respect at all times.
  • I have the right to make my own decisions about the course of my life.
  • I have the right to have dreams — and to work toward making these dreams come true.
  • I have the right to feel good about myself as a person and as a woman.
  • I have the right to choose who will be my friends, whom I will spend time with, and whom I will confide in.
  • I have the right to make mistakes.
  • I have the right to change my mind.  
  • I have the right to be happy.
  • I have the right to ask for what I want.
  • I have the right to follow my own values and standards.
  • I have the right to express all of my feelings, both positive and negative.
  • I have the right to say no.
  • I have the right to determine my own priorities.
  • I have the right not to be responsible for other’s behavior, actions, feelings, or problems.
  • I have the right to my own needs for personal space and time.
  • I have the right to be in a nonabrasive environment.
  • I have the right to change and grow.
  • I have the right to have my needs and wants respected by others.
  • I have the right to be uniquely myself.

Taken from A Women’s Workbook: Mary Ellen Copeland, M.A., M.S & Maxine Harris, PhD

Perhaps you are wondering. Yes, these are good but how do boundaries help us in our cultivation of resilience? They are so important! If we have not created the space to honor ourselves – our emotions – our boundaries with kindness and compassion… it is hard to become transformed from our challenges. We are continued to be stretched.

There is much we cannot control. Identifying our boundaries and what we need to put in place for healthy relationships and healthy boundaries is in our control each day. It’s not easy. It is courageous and can take a lot of work. It is worth it. It is resilient.    

I would love to hear your comments about this important topic.

About The Author:

Image is described in the body of the post.
Becky Andrews

Becky Andrews is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Small Business Owner – Resilient Solutions, Inc, and founder of the Daring to Own Your Story ™ Retreats. She is also the author of Look up, move forward – her memoir of Losing her eyesight and finding her vision.  

You can follow her at:

Workbook: 

Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal will be out Fall 2020. Email Becky at becky.lpc@gmail.com to be on the waiting list or preorder.

Image Descriptions:

  • Header: Red and white “Do Not Enter” sign posted on a roadside.
  • Becky is sitting on outdoor steps next to her guide dog, Georgie, a gorgeous yellow lab. 

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Cultivating Resilience Practice 3: Strengths

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HEALTH & WELLNESS

Editor’s Note:

Bold Blind Beauty is thrilled to share with you snippets from Becky Andrews’ new book “Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal.” Adversity strengthens and builds resilience; Becky will share weekly practices to help us become more resilient. ~Steph

Practice Three:  Utilizing YOUR Strengths in your resilience.  Being authentically you.  

Checking in as we share practice three of cultivating your resilience. I hope you are giving yourself permission to feel (practice one.) Then, practice two to offer ourselves self-compassion and nurturing through our challenges. We could spend so much time sharing further about these two practices. However, for the sake of space, we will go on. (If you want, join me for our course — to learn more!  Details below.)   

We will introduce our third practice today. This practice is about being authentic to you and your strengths. It is about utilizing the strengths that YOU possess in your resilient plan. We all have strengths that can help us navigate the challenging times. Strength focus affirms our potential and it resonates with our authentic self. Sometimes when we are in the midst of that difficult time we may not recognize these strengths. They are there and unique to us. Take a pause and reflect on your Character Strengths. 

The 24 character strengths are: 

Appreciation of Beauty, Spirituality, Gratitude, Hope, Forgiveness, Humility, Prudence, Self-regulation, Citizenship, Fairness, Leadership, Love, Kindness, Social Intelligence, Bravery, Persistence, Integrity, Vitality, Creativity, Curiosity, Open-mindedness, Love of Learning, Perspective, and Humor. 

You may recognize your top strengths from this list and how they have helped you in a time of challenge. There is an excellent, free test: the VIA Character Strengths to understand what your strengths are:  www.viacharacter.org. After taking this test, your Signature Strengths (your top five) will be identified. Dr. Ryan Niemiec explains in his book: The Strengths-Based Workbook for Stress Relief, “Character strengths are the positive parts of your personality that define who you are and help you reach positive outcomes. They make up what is best in you — when you are at your best, your character strengths are right there helping you along the way. When you are suffering – overcome by stress, facing difficult emotions, or lost in an argument – your character strengths can be unleashed.”  

So, let’s take a short break while you go take the free character strength test: www.viacharacter.org (The website has amazing resources and information at a later time you can peruse if you like.) 

Welcome back :)! 

Now, to explain further. Your top five strengths are your signature strengths. These are the strengths that are the most energizing and easiest for you to use. They are the ones we can rely on to help us cultivate our resilience. Dr. Niemiec indicates these are most likely to involve the three E’s  Essential, Energizing, and Effortless.   

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is
not enough, we must do.” 

~Goethe

We can know our strengths, we can understand our strengths and then the real benefits come when we put our strengths to use and utilize them in our resilience plan.  

So, this week choose one of our signature strengths and use it in a new novel way, no matter how small each day.  

Some examples may be – someone shared that one of their Signature Strengths is the appreciation of beauty. So, working from home at this time, she created her workspace as a place of beauty. This increased her resilience at this time and was effortless, energizing, and essential for her. Another example may be if someone’s top strength is the love of learning. This again will fuel them during a challenging time to increase their learning. A client chose to take an online course during this time of increased time of isolation to connect with others and also give himself an opportunity to use that strength of learning. Another client used her top strengths as affirmations for her. “I am grateful. I am a leader. I am kind. I am love. I am fair.” Our signature strengths resonate with us and are grounding even in challenging times.  

There is so much we can do with our strengths. They are within us. They are our guiding force to utilize in challenging times. Remember they are what is energizing, essential, and effortless for us.  

  • Strength spotting. Take a moment to pause and think of your strengths and spot them in you. Notice how you are using them and acknowledge specifically in journaling or sharing with someone you trust. 
  • Strength priming. In preparing for a challenging time – reflect on one of your strengths you can bring into that moment. For example, preparing for that presentation. If gratitude is one of your top strengths, you may find it helpful to prime with the character strength of gratitude and acknowledge to yourself for a moment the sense of gratitude for being there able to deliver this presentation.  
  • Tend to the end. Each evening take note of what went well in the day. Be specific as you reflect on the good things that came about in the day. Then, ask yourself what part you played in that good thing happening and what strength you utilized in this process.  
  • A meditation to help. Pause. Take in a deep breath. I am (fill in with a signature strength). Breathe out visualizing how this character strength will help you in this day.

Cultivate Your Resilience Telehealth Course Info:

Cultivate your resilience, telehealth course, 6 sessions – every other week, beginning Tuesday, June 9th at 6 PM MST, $25 for full course; Group facilitated by Becky Andrews, LCMHC.  Email Becky at becky.lpc@gmail.com to join us. Group limited to 10.  

Summary

As always, our first concern at Bold Blind Beauty during this global pandemic is the safety of all. Leave us a comment with your strengths and how you utilized them this week.  

About The Author:

Image is described in the body of the post.
Becky Andrews

Becky Andrews is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Small Business Owner – Resilient Solutions, Inc, and founder of the Daring to Own Your Story ™ Retreats. She is also the author of Look up, move forward – her memoir of Losing her eyesight and finding her vision.  

You can follow her at:

Workbook: 

Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal will be out Fall 2020. Email Becky at becky.lpc@gmail.com to be on the waiting list or preorder.

Image Descriptions:

  • Header: Multicolored, multi-fonts, word cloud image from http://www.viacharacter.org consists of all the character strengths identified in this post.
  • Becky is sitting on outdoor steps next to her guide dog, Georgie, a gorgeous yellow lab.