Monthly Archives: September 2020

Sep 29

Basic Instinct

By Celeste DeCamps | General

"My inner voice needs a cocktail."

I'm having trouble finding my intuition. I know it's around here somewhere, probably hiding under the bed. I'm letting myself be bombarded daily with bad news. If I'm not on my phone, then I'm on the computer. All of this noise is cutting off my internal voice. A voice that I rely on to help me navigate my place in the world. Decisions on the direction of my career, people that I can trust with my ideas, and how to keep moving forward are somehow lost on me right now. Luckily, there are ways to get back my gut instinct.

The little voice inside us is a real thing. Scientists have discovered that the feelings we have in certain situations elicit a physical response. It could be the hair rising on the back of our necks, goosebumps on our arms, or a feeling in our stomach. I can't tell you how many times I looked back on my life and wished I paid more attention to my hunches and warning bells that went off in my head. It would've saved me from a lot of heartbreak.

Research shows that our experiences, combined with our rational thoughts, helps our intuition work. There's a positive light that seems to shine within us when we feel good about a decision that we've made. The opposite is true when we feel a pain in our abdomen about a possible judgment call we "know" is somehow wrong.

When we need to make a snap judgment in a situation, our best bet is to go with our first idea. When we have time to mull over an important, possibly life-changing choice, we need to give ourselves time to listen to our inner dialogue.

Our instincts work better when we're in a good mood. We're more open and calmer to pay attention to our feelings. When we live in our minds, we can argue forever about our next plan of action. It leads to frustration and anger. Poor choices are the result.

Taking a long, quiet walk helps me unplug. I focus on my breathing and relax. I find meditating, yoga, and dance work to relive the anxiety that I know is building up. Self-talk gives me a chance to hear what my concerns are out-loud. Practicing mindfulness has a centering, healing effect. It helps me from worrying needlessly. I'm very good at worrying even though it has yet to prevent me from facing challenges.

We can't stop the news of the world from happening, but we can set limits on how much we ingest. We need to take time for ourselves to listen to our inner voice. It takes practice, but it's worth the effort. Our intuition is an integral part in guiding us to make the right choices, finding the best people to hang out with, and preventing us from possible regrets.

I know I can coax my inner voice out from under the bed. I have to promise that I'll stay in the here and now, be grateful for all that I have, and offer it a cocktail.

Sep 22

Fast Forward

By Celeste DeCamps | General

"I want a fast forward button to know how all of this will end."

I've wanted to fast forward my life for as long as I can remember. I planned my wedding and my funeral when I was six years old. On my first day of nursery school, I was already looking forward to graduating from high school. When I was in my first semester of a four-year college, all I could think about was starting an exciting career. When I began my television job, I wondered how big my retirement party was going to be. It may be normal to dream of the end game, but I do it with everything.

When I get ready to enjoy a night out with friends, I'm thinking about the close of the evening. In my mind, I'm home, back in my pj's. I like planning and being thrilled about a party or a trip. At the same time, I can't wait for the event or vacation to end. I imagine myself relishing a memory before it's happened. The problem I'm having with this speeded up timeline is, I'm not staying in the moment. I want the finish line without participating fully with the run.

I want to know the future and how my story turns out. I don't bother with psychics or fortune-tellers because I know my free will can alter my course at any time. I believe I have choices that can shape my destiny. I'm searching for a direction that will lead me to my purpose for this lifetime. I think this is the main issue. What is the reason for my existence on this planet? If I could get a glimpse that all will work out, maybe I could relax and dwell, happily, in the now. I realize this is cheating. I want the answers to the test because I'm not sure I'm studying the correct subject matter. Did I somehow miss a course of action, and now I'm doomed to wander aimlessly through my life?

I'm practicing being more mindful, and meditation helps. When I stay present, I'm aware of my breathing. I feel calm. The nervous energy that is always with me takes a break. When the feeling of not "being enough" comes over me, I stop and embrace it. The more I hold onto it, the sillier the notion becomes. I focus on my work or the person in front of me. I'm getting better at paying attention to the opportunities coming my way. I realize the foundation of all my experiences continues to build, and I can help others. When I'm working with someone to find their voice and create their message, I feel my best. I don't feel the need to rush their progress or race through the time I have with them. I've come to believe we are all here for various reasons, but in the end, it's to benefit each other.

I still want a sneak peek of the meaning of my life, but I'm not in as much of a hurry. When I do catch myself trying to decide where my ashes should be scattered, I bring myself into the present. I put on my favorite music, and I dance. I smile and appreciate all that I have right here, right now. 

Sep 15

The Crab Effect

By Celeste DeCamps | General

"When You're Ready to Take that Leap of Faith, Trust Someone Will Be There to Catch You."

I learned a long time ago to say "Yes" to any opportunity that came my way. I didn't worry about whether or not I was qualified or had the right job experiences. I had other people around me that did the worrying for me. I would hear, "Are you sure this is something you really want to do?" "Other people deserve this title more than you." "I don't think this is the right time for you to be experimenting with a different course of action." I'm sure they all meant well. I wanted to think that my future was important to them. I understood, quickly, that wasn't the case at all. I began to realize that they were projecting their fears onto me. They couldn't see that taking chances was the way to grow and find success. They were too afraid of failure. This phenomenon is called "The Crab Effect."

Picture a bucket of crabs. One crab decides to try to climb the wall and escape. Just as he reaches the top, the other crabs pull him back down. Instead of working together and seeing an opportunity to survive, the crabs keep each other from breaking free. They refuse to let one of their own take, what they believe to be, an unnecessary risk.

Many people find it hard to be a cheerleader for their friend or family member who wants to move in a new direction. The idea that someone wants to venture out on their own, be it self-improvement, relocate to a new city, or try for a promotion, seems too much of uncertainty. Instead of being supportive, a sense of hostility results instead. Phrases are thrown around to cause self-doubt to the person looking to improve themselves. "What makes you think you're special? "How can you leave the rest of us behind? "Don't you see how many other people are doing what you want to do? "You can't be successful, because you're not good enough."

It's not easy to have family and friends discourage you from reaching your goals. It's hard enough to convince ourselves that we deserve better in our life. I've found that once I set out for a different adventure, people came out of the woodwork to guide me. I've always trusted that I will get the encouragement I need when I stay focused on a new project. Suddenly, I'll find the right people who will offer advice, connect me with others who can help me, and find programs to further my education.

It's critical to surround ourselves with people who see and appreciate our talents. My tip, join a mastermind group where you'll be able to bounce ideas off each other. The internet is an excellent place to start. Find a community that is open to new members. You can try Facebook or LinkedIn. Many groups are now doing virtual meetings. You can connect with people from all over the world and ask for help. You may also find a mentor who will be happy to advise and keep you on track. It never hurts to ask people that you admire for guidance. Look for someone working towards a similar goal and ask if they would like to join forces with you. You can help each other stay accountable for the plans that you've laid out.

I don't believe that our loved ones deliberately keep us from pursuing our dreams. Their reluctance to step outside of their comfort zone should not be the reason that keeps us in the same bucket. Our choices for what we want out of life is up to us. I would rather learn from my failures than look back on my life with regrets. When you're ready to take that leap of faith, trust someone will be there to catch you. 

Sep 07

Relationships and Growth

By Celeste DeCamps | General

"Marriage: A lifetime commitment to convincing the other person that you're right."

I'm celebrating nineteen years of marriage. Time still gets away from me, so like everything else, it doesn't feel that long ago. I can picture the day of my wedding as if it happened yesterday. When I start to look back over the years, I realize that I've come a long way in myself and my relationship with my husband, Eric. I once foolishly believed that self-improvement was a solo job. The reality is we learn more about ourselves and others when we are in a committed relationship.

I grew up with brothers and sisters. We learned the value of sharing early on. We had to find ways to compromise and get along regularly. It wasn't easy. We had some terrific fights, and perceived injustices happened all the time. Our parents didn't want to be constant referees, so we heard the phrase, "work it out" a lot. Little did I know those three words would be the saving grace for my marriage.

My husband grew up with a sister who was eight years older. She was more of a mother than a sibling to him. He didn't have to share or compromise with anyone. There wasn't anyone to fight with. Oh yes, marriage was going to be a piece of cake for him.

The fantastic thing about marriage is the need to be right in all things. Play the video back, and you can plainly see that I was correct in my actions and words, and Eric was not. Of course, if my husband were writing this, it would say, "Celeste was wrong, not me." I took a friend's great advice, and I read the book, "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" by John Gray, Ph.D. It helped me understand that our experiences shaped our perceptions and opinions. Our disagreements, many times, stemmed from miscommunication. Each of us taking a stand believing that the other person was not listening or understanding our side of things. Our past is always with us, and that can color our position. It can make us dig in and not allow us to see another point of view.

Over time, we got better about not jumping to conclusions and taking the other person's feelings for granted. We try to avoid getting defensive when we have disagreements. I've had to learn to open up and be vulnerable. I talk more about my upbringing, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Eric has become more communicative about his past experiences as well. We've gained a better understanding of each other, and in turn, we have grown individually. We have learned to "work it out."

Working on my marriage has resulted in understanding myself and others in a whole new way. I've learned to be a better listener. I want to hear about a person's upbringing, where they come from, and understand their perspective. It's easy to misunderstand other people's intentions, and they yours. I'm willing to talk about myself more and not be as guarded as I once was. I know I'm a constant work in progress, but it's nice to have someone who wants to take the journey with me.
Happy Anniversary, Eric!

Sep 01

4 Tips For Better Brain Health

By Celeste DeCamps | General

"Dance for your body and your mind."

I'm reading more and more exciting studies on brain health. The best part is that we can improve our brain cells at any age without any expensive equipment. No electric shocks are needed, after all. It is possible to develop new brain cells and reduce our risk of developing dementia.

If you want to be more focused, creative, and improve your memory, keep reading. Otherwise, stop right now and ignore the rest of this article.

Excercise. Of course, exercise is the best way to reduce stress and stay fit, but it also can grow new brain cells. Research has shown that when we engage in physical activity regularly, our brain activity increases as well.
From Harvard Medical, "In a study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning." Walking, running, and swimming all help in keeping the neurons in our brains active. Dancing is a great way to encourage neuroplasticity because learning different techniques strengthen new neural connections. Plus, it's the best way to exercise and have fun at the same time.

Diet. Hard to believe, but hamburgers, french fries, and cookies are not a good diet for a healthy brain. To keep our waistline and our minds fit, go for fresh fruit, nuts, and leafy green vegetables. I just read that researchers have found a gene in some people that makes vegetables like broccoli and cabbage taste bitter. You may be one of those people, but you're not off the hook. There are sweeter tasting vegetables like carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes you can eat. Try roasting a variety of vegetables or create colorful salads. Keep the consumption of red meat to once or twice a week and add in some grilled fish. Research has shown that a plant-based diet may help slow cognitive decline.

Meditation. Relieving anxiety and calming the mind has terrific benefits for our brain. When we practice mindfulness and reduce stress, we're also preserving our brain's neuronal cell bodies known as gray matter. Gray matter is essential for learning, memory, and compassion. There are various meditation practices that you can find on the internet and apps that you can download for free. When you take a moment to take in slow, deep breaths, you're doing your body and your mind a favor.

Sleep. Too many of us have a hard time getting a good night's sleep, but it's vital for our brain health. When we sleep, our brain gets rid of toxins that build up during the day. We wake up feeling refreshed and focused. Our cognitive skills increase, and we are in a better mood. To help your chances of getting some shut-eye, here are a few ideas. Unplug from all electronics. Keep your room cool and focus on your breathing. Let your body sink into the bed. When your mind starts to wander, think of a three-word mantra. I am sleeping. I am comfortable. I am safe.

We're all dealing with uncertainty right now, and it has us on edge. Our health and well-being are everything. Take time out for yourself and exercise. Get the whole family involved in making nutritious meals. Meditation will help you get a good night's sleep. Connect with family and friends, and have some laughs. Stay safe, stay well.