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Hello all. This is Kerri Ernstsen. Recently I have been reading a book called “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. I wanted to share some ideas that have helped me immensely. Here it is.
Every person carries a seed of enlightenment within them. You can experience a profound transformation inside yourself. This transformation can happen NOW, no matter who or where you are. This process draws attention to what is true in you, which is enlightenment, and to what is false in you, the nature of human unconsciousness and dysfunction.
As you read this book, it encourages you to stop and listen to your feelings. This is when you will come to the conclusion or truths that already lies in you, as you. You are not your mind . . . what is enlightenment? It is a deep, unshakable peace that can only be found within, and not some outside validation, security, or love. It is greater than anything the world can offer.
Thoughts can cause suffering. You can free yourself from the bondage of your mind, which is the only true liberation. Isn’t thinking essential in order to survive in this world? Perhaps you feel you would cease to be if you stopped thinking. 80-90% of most people’s thinking is repetitive and useless. It takes up so much energy, with all the “should’s and shouldn’t” thinking. As we grow up, we form a mental image of who we are. This is our ego.
This is how the changing works. Lets start with our thoughts. Instead of pushing your thoughts out of your mind, acknowledge them. Become conscious of it. You will find out what is behind or underneath the thought. Then you become in-tune with you deeper self. When you become used to this process, you will feel “gaps,” or moments of what is called “no mind.” You will feel a sort of loss, but peaceful. You grow spiritually, and identify a higher state of awareness and consciousness. You will feel a greater capacity to be “present.” This takes you beyond what you previously thought of as “yourself.” You will experience a new you.
Whether I have the beginning of a headache, the tight feeling in my chest when anxiety starts, the dark cloud of negativity or the smothering effects of feeling overwhelmed I have found that if I STOP what I’m doing, DROP on my knees to pray (physically or spiritually) and ROLL away from the difficulty I can usually stop it from escalating.
I have found that just as water dowses fire, doing one or all of these techniques work wonders in stopping the cycle:
- Cognitive therapy:
- EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or Tapping)
- Talk Therapy
Remember to STOP, DROP AND ROLL the next time you are headed towards an emotional fire.
Potts Christmas Letter 2014
In March Dan and I fulfilled a lifelong dream to go to Israel. When my Aunt Gloria and Uncle John invited us to go with them, we just couldn’t turn down the opportunity. Our favorite memory was the Garden Tomb. It is truly a sacred place. We were thankful we went when we did because the later unrest would have made it unwise.
May found us in Mapleton Canyon with the Tews as usual. In June Dan and I went to Fish Lake again with Doug and Darla. Fun. We enjoyed several trips to Cedar City including Noelle’s blessing.
We also enjoyed a 2 week visit in July visiting with our London friends, Nathan and Adiaha. We enjoyed many memories including a helicopter ride over that Grand Canyon, a rodeo, a Salt Lake Real game, Bryce and Zions National Park and many other activities
Our home improvements centered on remodeling our bathrooms.
Dan had his not-so-surprise surprise party in January even though his real birthday is in March. Lots of family and friends showed up for the event. Tiff and Adam even came up from Minnesota for the event! Dan continues to work at Northwest Pipeline and go to U of U football games and run some half marathons.
Patricia spent 10 days in Sweden for her friend, Lotta’s wedding. It was an incredible experience. She continues to serve as Ward Historian and works with Kerri with their speaking opportunities. They have a new website: ‘beatingblues.com’ that has been a wonderful addition to their service. She also was able to go up in a Hot air balloon with her mother this year to help fill one of the things on her mom’s bucket list.
Cindy teaches kindergarteners at Backus Elementary now. Mike continues to teach karate and be involved in the political arena. Kalli was the lead in the high school play THE WEDDING SINGER. She is also in Madrigals and driving now. Tiarra has been in two plays at Midvale Theater: Babes in Toyland and Thoroughly Modern Millie. She has recently landed a main part in Guys and Dolls. The boys have been involved in soccer and continue to be in Mike’s karate class. Michael earned his black belt this year as well.
Heidi gave birth to Noelle on the 8th of April and has been a ray of sunshine and hope. Heidi continues to do much with the SID’s organization. Heidi’s family’s big wow vacation this year was one week at a California beach house. Jason continues to work for the Forest Service. They are giving him experience in many areas and he now oversees the maintenance of the fleet vehicles. McKinley was in a Dr. Seuss play, Ireland was in gymnastics, Kezia loves her preschool, Link continues to be a big part of their family from heaven above and Noelle is a real charmer.
Tiffany and her family continue to live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They are planning to move into a new house in December. They enjoyed a Caribbean cruise for their 10th anniversary. Maddy loves to sing and play with her dolls. Grace is almost walking now and loos the spitting image of Maddy at that age. Tiff is doing well with her real estate job and through his work at Sleep Number, Adam is getting experience in a wide variety of way.
Trisha and her family welcomed Caden on August 6th. They now have 3 boys. Darrin continues to work at EBay. He enjoys having just a 7 minutes commute to work. Parker reads very well and is taking an online preschool course. Spencer loves to follow Parker’s lead wherever it takes him. Caden has a winning smile that captures all hearts.
Joseph continues to live and home and works for Otis Elevator Company now. He travels to Ogden at 4:30 A.M! He had a lot of fun working his booth at Comicon. He and his partner created real-looking plastic guns for Comicon Characters. Currently he is dating a nice young woman named Alicia.
Josie moved to Wyoming to work for the government as an RN who inspects facilities. She loves her job but wishes she could do less traveling. David works as a trucker. Alex graduated from high school and lives with her grandparents as she attends the U. Julia moved in with her sister in Salt Lake and the boys attend school in Wyoming.
We hope our Christmas Letter finds you happy and well.
Love from the Potts
She Carried On
By Patricia Potts
Dedicated to Margaret Millom
And so it was
That she carried on…
Despite the loss, despite the stress, despite the hills ahead…
She carried on
With fellow saints.
Onward, upward, with true grit and courage
Born of deep faith and countless hours and days
Of storing up the words of her Lord, the words of her leaders, the words of her heart
She carried on.
She tucked precious memories
Within the recesses of her heart…
And carried on.
Okay, I admit it. Worrying comes natural for me. In fact I will actually admit that at times I am addicted. When I became a parent then a grandparent my worrying accelerated. When my little ones lay cuddled in the warmth of blankets. I worried that they might suffocate. It continued when they went to school for the first time (all 5 of them.) . I would worry about whether the other kids would be nice or if my child would be a social outcast. On and on it went through the teen years and into adulthood.
Recently I became a worry wart when our soldier son who is serving in Afghanistan called to say he had hurt his back and ribs and was in a medical tent facility scheduled to come home. “Oh no” I thought “what if his injury is permanent? What if it is disabling? What if our 22 year old son comes home to live forever?”
Worry was my constant companion that day. Finally I got out my “Worry Wart” first-aid ideas and started to apply them.
- WORSE TO WORSE WRAP. I find it helpful to ask myself how I could survive if worse came to worse. I got out a paper and faced the possibility of having him come home disabled for life. I wrote what life might be like and included a list of the positive and negative experiences I might have if that were the case. As usual I found that if that was supposed to be part of my life journey, God would help me. Like Nephi said “I will go and do the things which the Lord commandeth for He giveth no commandments unto the children of men save he prepareth a way for them to accomplish the thing which he commandeth.” As I faced the possibility I thought of the help our family and our ward would give and I felt greater peace.
- BUG SPRAY. They say that where there is one ant there are many more nearby. I have found that once my “worry glands” get activated there are other worries that begin pouring in. I had been using Facebook messaging to keep in touch with Joseph nearly every day! Then for 6 days after Christmas we heard nothing. During that time, other bugs and worries popped up. Things like my relationship with family members, my housework, my office work etc. My worries snowballed and rolled down the mountain of my mind. Finally one morning I sat down and wrote all the bugs and worries I could think of then decided whether they were things I had total, partial or no control. After that I was able to prayerfully give them to the Lord or do something to resolve the worry/bug.
- I haven’t heard from Joseph-no control-I will pray for him
- I don’t feel close to my friend anymore-partial control-I can call and talk to her about it
- You get the idea.
- FRIEND THERAPY. Sometimes paperwork wasn’t enough and I had to find someone to brainstorm with. In my iPhone I have a list of people I can do this with. I labeled it “friend therapy” and included the names of people I felt I could confide in, brainstorm with etc. Often a friend can shed light and hope on a fearful situation.
- QUOTE POWER. My friend, Darla, helped me come up with a list of quotes that soothed and calmed my soul.
- What God brings us to, He’ll help us through
- God knows how things will turn out. I can trust in him.
- If worse comes to worse…it won’t be the worst
- All things work together for good to them that love the Lord
- Let them worship how where or what they may
- TRAIN TRACKS. I worried about what my son was doing or whether he was having problems with the word of wisdom and what he was doing with his time while laid up in the hospital. I used to believe that I was like the engine of our family train. I mistakenly thought that my husband and children were attached to me and that it was my responsibility to pull them all back to heaven. I now believe that after baptism we each have our own tracks to run on. The Savior is my engine and it is up to me to stay attached to Him. In this way I can listen to His spirit and keep on moving forward, calling encouragement to my husband and children and giving help when directed by Him.
- SAVIOR SAUVE. Darla told me about a Bishop who was very worried about the members of his ward. After much prayer and pleading with the Lord he was reminded that the Lord is aware of each person’s situation and was in the business of saving. He could do his best then leave them in the hands of the Lord. I could do the same with my worries.
- LIFE LIFT. James Jones tells the story of his relationship with his rebellious son and how he finally was able to turn his son over to the Lord and admit to him “This is your life” then stop trying to take it over.
Our Son is still in Afghanistan. We still don’t know the extent of his injuries or when or if we will see him next. But instead of feeling a source of fear, I feel trust. I recall Nephi when he crept into the city to get the plates not knowing how this was to be done; only knowing that he had a work to do.
As we move forward in this experience and others, we don’t know how this is to be done or if he will heal there in Afghanistan and resume his work. By the grace of God when faith replaces worry I am able to move forward (at least for this moment in the year 2012!)
For help with this and other kinds of emotional first-aid check out my FIRST-AID FOR FEELINGS book available at my website patriciapotts.com
By Patricia Potts
Too often I find myself doing the CTW dance (Counting the Wrong). I count the number of things going wrong instead of what is going right! I look at what I do and say that is wrong, pretty soon the negative multiplies and I see negatives wherever I look. CTW is like a dark-eyed monster with an insatiable appetite constantly demanding more and more to eat. He doesn’t have to look hard to find negative things so he can keep feeding all day long.
A few years ago our extended family went waterskiing. There were more than twenty relatives attending through the day. My niece Toni and her husband Mike were graciously running their boat so that everyone received a turn to water ski. At the end of the long day I gave Toni a check to help cover our portion of the gas for the day. Instead of just handing it to her quietly, I mentioned to my mother the amount we contributed. Afterwards I realized how prideful I had been to want to take credit and was so embarrassed. I found myself wishing that I could just erase my words.
A few days later my granddaughter asked her grandpa for money instead of me. She knew I was stingy with money. Again I was embarrassed about my money attitude.
The next morning I recognized that the house was messy, I had also misplaced a book and a phone number . . . the list went on and on.
About this time I realized that I was doing the CTW dance. I was counting the wrong in life when I needed to be counting the right. I was also reminded that I was not sinning in these things. I was just making human mistakes that I could learn from and then move on.
I knew I needed to counter my negative attitude by giving myself credit for what I did right: CTR. I did an about face and began to count anything that I saw or did that was right.
- 1. I was dressed before 7 a.m.
- 2. I put the milk away
- 3. I washed the table off
- 4. I lit a nice candle
- 5. I had enough money to pay our doctor bill and house payment
- 6. My husband has a good job
- 7. I have good health right now
- 8. …. (by now my attitude is better and I can start looking on the brighter, side of things)
I had a similar experience one day on the porch. One morning as I stepped onto my front porch, I looked to the west. There, above the mountains loomed dark, ominous clouds daring anyone to think of the day as pleasant. They seemed to form themselves into a defensive football team two layers deep, preventing my entrance to a good day. Turning, I faced the east. Above the snow-capped mountains hung hope. The sun had painted the sky with the brightest blue and the whitest white and it seemed to laugh at the darkness, declaring herself the triumphant winner. The light of hope won my attention, my devotion and my direction. As I face darkness in my life, I can remember that changing directions can make all the difference.
I find great power when I recognize that CTW is overpowering my life, I stop, change directions and begin to CTR (Count the right.) – My Journey from Darkness to Light by Patricia Potts pg. 102
By Patricia Potts
I have a dear friend who just lost twins at 20 months along. She lost her previous baby about the same time to down syndrome.
My heart hurt as I visited her shortly after her hospital stay. As we sat on the couch I felt her pain and sorrow as we watched her 4 year old son play with his toys…alone.
Her arms were empty and her soul was numb as once again we talked about the path that lay ahead. As I drove home tears fell and once again I wondered why it had to be this way. Why so many trials in just two years and then I remembered a lesson from my life long ago when I was pregnant and living through a devastating depression.
The Day Will Come
I glanced at the clock that read 2 A.M. then sat perched on the side of the bed in my nightgown, with my arms folded on top of my rounded belly. Quickly I wiped tears from my face and took a deep breath. As Dan placed his hands on my head I prayed for guidance, for help and for hope. Then through the power of the Holy Ghost the words Dan spoke through my Father in Heaven began to bless me, soothe me and teach me. They permeated our quiet room and my trembling ebbed as Father’s message entered my heart.
As I sat there I could visualize myself receiving a similar blessing before I came to receive my earthly experience. It was as though I was viewing a video of my past. I saw my Father placing His hands upon my head and felt a great love for Him and an immense respect as well as His deep love for me and His confidence in my ability to succeed. I could imagine my Heavenly Father telling me that I would have experiences on earth that I would need in order to return to Him again. Among the experiences He named was that of depression. Through the blessing I was promised that “one day this will be a blessing to you, your family, and all those around you.”
Dan completed the blessing in the name of Jesus Christ and I opened my eyes. Warmth and love replaced the shaking and fear. Dan and I embraced each other and wept. Although it was hard to believe just how this hellish experience with depression could ever be a blessing, at least now I knew that it wasn’t just a lack of character, a fatal flaw or a terrible imperfection…. It was part of my life’s experience that God somehow meant to use to benefit myself and others.
The blessing helped me in my recovery and gave life more meaning, making me want to live again. Knowing that my depression was something I had agreed to experience helped me to overcome part of my guilt. Although it didn’t by any means solve all the questions and problems that were swimming around in my confused head, it did provide hope.
-My Journey from Darkness to Light by Patricia Potts LDS version
Many years have come and gone since that dark night. I saw the fulfillment of the blessing as I have written books and spoken to hundreds of men and women about understanding and overcoming depression.
As I finished driving home from my friend’s house I had a quiet feeling that the loss of her babies would someday be a blessing as she reached out with compassion to others. I believe it could have been one of those “agreed upon” experiences.
Falling Into the Hole
My story begins last week at the Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida. My husband and I went to Disneyworld following his business seminar. I felt a headache coming on fast as we approached the France exhibit. I slumped against the wall onto the carpeted floor and told him to go ahead without me. I nursed my head while he was gone for a 20 minute presentation in the next room. During his absence I got some Excedrin and a coke, and then took my glasses off to rub my eyes. When Dan returned I was ready to take his hand and he helped me up. We walked and I felt thankful that my head was better but when I reached up to adjust my new $250.00 glasses I discovered they had disappeared.
“Oh no” I groaned,” I took them off to rub my eyes. “
While Dan ran back to the France exhibit, guilt began playing its well-rehearsed dance on the stage of my mind. After an hour of fruitless search and inquiries Dan returned to report that the glasses were gone. Ugh.
The last two hours at Disneyland were subdued for me. “If only” and “What if” swarmed in my head, threatening to resurrect my headache. Not even Disney’s fireworks blasted the fog from my mind. Dan tried to help by saying “Honey, these things happen. If they are lost, they are lost; we’ll just have to order new ones.”
But his words fell on deaf ears as my own self-talk shouted, “You are so stupid; you wasted all his time, now we’ll have to spend the money, make the time to get new ones.”
That night we got to bed past midnight and we had to get up at 4 AM to catch a plane home.
We managed to return the rental car and get in line for a security check in plenty of time, but when my backpack went through the scanner I was pulled aside. The officer found two unopened cans of pop. Double Ugh. When she rescanned the bag she also found suntan lotion. Triple ugh. In my frustration I also left my laptop and jacket on the ramp. Dan had to bring me my lap top and another woman asked if the sweater was mine. Quadruple ugh!
By now tears were forming, threatening to erupt right in front of the security officer. I felt as though I had fallen into my own private hole of stupidity lined with “ughs.” All I wanted to do was disappear before one more ugh landed on me. I plopped onto a chair beside Dan with my offending backpack. I dared anyone to look at me or say anything to me as hot tears finely escaped and fell from my unshielded eyes down reddened cheeks.
“Are you all right?” Dan asked
Without even bothering to look at him I responded through gritted teeth, “I will be!”
As we waited for our flight I put my head in my hands and wondered how long it would take to climb out of the hole this time. It felt five feet deep and very confining.
Climbing out of the Hole
There are many ideas that help me pull out of negative emotional holes. They are often as varied as the problem itself, but here are some ideas that helped this time around.
Prayer. Always needed
Sleep. if needed. I was able to get a few hours of sleep on the plane. Three more when we arrived home.
Friends. During part of the time Dan was looking for my glasses I used my cell phone to call friends and daughters so they could help me begin to put perspective on the situation. I was also blessed to meet a new friend on the plane.
Temporary Solutions. Pulling out a pair of old glasses once we got home allowed me to get back to semi-normal life instead of squinting until I could get new ones.
Recovery Meetings. I went to an LDS Recovery Support group. It helped me so much to be around people who are letting-go-and-letting-God
Music. I enjoy listening to Pandora. I choose my favorite inspirational artists and songs.
Exercise. A simple walk helped get the endorphins going.
CTR instead of CTW. It took little effort to count the wrong about myself but counting the right helped me climb out. It can be as simple as giving myself credit for having a driver’s license!
Cognitive Therapy. Paper and pencil can do wonders. A more thorough explanation can be found in my article: “Leafing Your negative Feelings Behind,” in Latter-Day Woman Magazine as well as my website: patriciapott.com.
Stress reducing supplements. I took Be Calm and Neurozone
Do something. Running to the store was helpful because it put my mind on something else
Laughter. Dan was laughing about the airport event within hours. It took me days before I could even smile about any of it, but when I did, a smile, laughter, and writing this blog helped.
Whether you have lost your keys or your glasses or done something else that doesn’t exactly qualify as a brilliant move, I hope that along with prayer these simple ideas will help you as much as they helped me. Life at the top of the hole is much more pleasant.
By Guest Blogger – Patricia Potts