HOLDING BACK ::

HOLDING BACK

SELF-SABOTAGE

Why would you hold yourself back from the things you want the most in life? Why would you do the opposite thing of what you say you want and need? Have you heard the term self-sabotage? It causes major road blocks and I see people caught up in it daily in my coaching practice. 

Self-Sabotage Sinks our dreams -We think what stands in our way of success or actualizing our dreams resides outside of us. The blame and responsibility are out there (the weather, finances, time, situation, job, friends, partnership, your dog) but never you nor I. It's not my fault that I don't have what I want or need. Unknowingly we have taken on the role of the victim to the circumstances of life.

One of my goals this year is creating a fiscally well version of me. I want financial freedom. After taking a money mindset class, it dawned on me that I was the one preventing myself from obtaining this goal. I was irritated, curious and confused at why I was doing this. 

Fear of unknown or fear of fabulousness?
Turns out, fear of the unknown held more power than discontent of current moola situation. Ugh. So here is the formula to break out of the self-sabotaging circuit. 

  1. You deserve this brand new version of yourself.
  2. You are safe. (repeat this 10x's)
  3. You are safe in your new version, circumstances, job, relationship...fill in the blank with your particulars. 

Still not fully convinced? This will seal the deal. Ask yourself if this was your last day here on earth would you have regrets at not attempting this? Would you feel disappointed that you didn't take a chance or explore it? If not, then good news. You truly didn't want it as bad as you thought AND have saved yourself lots of time and energy in the chase. However, if would have regrets then you know exactly what you must do. 

Cash in your chips of mediocre for adventure. Today is a beautiful opportunity. Why not try something new? Why not strive? Why not feel uncomfortable for the possibility of fabulousness? What do you have to lose? 

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RELEASE YOUR STORY ::

 

STEP 2: RELEASE YOUR STORY

Last week we looked at STEP 1: HOW TO HEAL. By the act of observation (without judgment) you can look at all situations in your life and emotions inside and allow for acceptance. Not a easy thing to do, but you did it and can continue to do so.

Onto STEP 2. As a wellness coach and behavioral change expert,  I start by listening to people’s stories.  As I hear them speak I have come to understand how much their past impacts their present lives.  We believe our own story that we tell. We all have one, yes, even you. It may be that you were left and unlovable, or that you always have bad luck in finances, or perhaps it is that you can’t find the right job. We all have a “story” that we repeat inside and to others. So what, what’s the big deal? Why does it matter?

  1. Your story defines you

  2. Your story keeps you stuck

  3. Your story boxes you in the current state of your life

When we have a story, it affects how we feel, act and interact with the world around us. For example, there is women I will call Jojo, who is brilliant, intelligent, gorgeous, financially stable and successful in her career. However, Jojo love life is a mess. She dates men that treat her horribly, cheat on her, steal from her and even emotional abuse her. She wants more than anything to get married and start a family. Yet, she can’t seem to find anyone to date, other than these types of men.  She asks friends and family, and co workers to set her up. But nothing ever pans out. She might even go out with a few men, but always comes up with a reason it didn’t work or why they were not a match. So what gives?

On the outside, you would think why is this amazing women single and only dating jerks? But Jojo starts speaking, you can see that she doesn’t think much of herself. She has carried with her a story of past hurt, sadness, abandonment and fear that keep her away from the exact thing she wants. Her past of being left by her father when she was too young to even recall, her mother's stories and watching all of the boyfriends that came and went throughout her childhood set a tone for her that JoJo thinks is the truth about men.

Of course, it’s not. Its HER story. The false story would come to conclude the follow: men are scary, men will leave, men are not to be trusted.  JoJo continued to attract the exact opposite of what she desired into her life. When Jojo, started to do take stock of the inner landscape of her emotions and acknowledge what was there for her (step one), she was able to see and observe that hurt and pain from the past.

Now that she understood it was there, she could choose a different story, but first she had to release the current one. One problem, she didn’t know how to do this. She did therapy, read books, primal scream technique, vitamins, supplements, exercise...yet it wouldn't’ budge. She felt hopeless and one day she realized she didn’t know how to do it. Feeling hopeless, she broke down and prayed for God to lift this story. She asked for healing of her past that she herself could not do on her own.

It was then when she let down and released it all and admitted her own lack of ability to make it better was God able to step in. He is a gentleman and waits for our invitation. Only then did the deeper healing begin. This type of situation is so true for thousands of people whom I have coached.

Complete surrender is needed for healing to begin.

Of course, we must do our own ability and power to live a healthy lifestyle, making good choices and changing the things we can. But there are things that we simply can’t do alone. When we feel hopeless or powerless, know that God doesn’t want you to suffer, he wants to take over for you. It's not your job to heal yourself, only the divine is able to do so.

By releasing our story we are  letting go of the circumstance of our life.  We have awareness and admit to the parts of our life we are at loss of how to change, This is where the beauty happens. We hand over our inability, confusion, circumstances and God takes over.

So this week, release your story. Let go of everything that has been holding you back from the life and person you were created to be.

Next week, STEP 3: DREAMY LOVE LIFE

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HOW TO HEAL ::

Sticking with matters of the heart this month I am offering a three part series that will look at HOW TO HEAL. Over the next 3 weeks a new step will be released. Future steps include STEP 2: RELEASE YOUR STORY, STEP 3: DREAMY LOVE LIFE.

STEP 1: HOW TO HEAL

So what if you have done all the work around your diet, exercise, sleep, therapy, alternative methods, functional medicine, tinctures but you’re not feeling the love in your life? Or what if you are the vision of healthy, but you just don't feel good on a regular basis? 

You know there is something more to life, but you can't quite get at it or reach it...This subtle space is something many don't spend time in much. It's uncomfortable and frustrating. It is also something I see everyday in my patients. Disconnection between mind, body, and spirit that is essential for true freedom (and healing to take place). Perhaps something happened along the way for them that they stopped. The just decided this is good enough and they are living a comfortable but empty life.

I know first hand how this feels and it is challenging to place words to describe the exact experience, but I will try.  You can see the life you want but are behind an invisible wall that keeps you stuck. For me personally I can see l the areas of my life that were thriving except for that same area again. Like a scab on your knee that keeps getting broken open..

So what do you do?  

Acknowledge your hidden spot of pain, frustration, sadness and know it's okay for it to be there. Don't try to change it or  fix it. Don't analyze it. Just observe it. Think of it like the sky. What color is it today? Is the sun out? That shade of blue, cloud coverage?

Take the next week for this step of ACKNOWLEDGMENT. By noticing those inner spaces in your heart, you are making step to heal it. Remember you are not a feeling or emotion. You are not a circumstance or situation. You are not a job title, age, salary, appearance...

Write down what is in the hidden spaces in your heart. Know that love covers it all and for true healing to take place it takes courage to be vulnerable. That is your goal this week.

Next week :: STEP 2: RELEASE YOUR STORY

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YOU ARE BE(LOVED) ::

Valentine’s Day remains my favorite holiday. It could be all the varieties of pinks, reds, sprinkled sweets, or our civil duty to eat chocolate! Maybe it is the fact I am a wholehearted  romantic that truly does believe that love conquers all.

Wherever you find yourself today (single, married, committed, divorced, separated, widowed) know this, YOU ARE LOVED. There is such incredible kindness in this world I experience daily. I see it on the light rail, at the grocery store, in parking lots, even online. The spirit of wonder and awe  is present and alive everywhere  just waiting for you to notice each day.  

But what if you have experienced a true disappointment and feel lonely, depressed  and are questioning if hope lives?  It can be hard to dust yourself off after a heartbreak, loss, or a broken dream. You are not alone, we all have been there. So understand that you are in great company of millions. There are days and times I feel very alone or even question whether finding a soul partnership is possible. But here is what I know:

These states  cause us to pause and ask ourselves, what do we really want? We realize how important relationships are and it pushes us outside of our comfortable zones of “safety” because we seek a deeper life than what we presently have. Honestly, it is doubtful we would take these steps on our own without that desire of love that is built into us.

I have been looking at the connection between safety and love. Some of us have deep scars that cause us to think of love as something scary. Although we want it, we are fearful of letting it fully into our lives. One of my closest friends is currently on the cliff’s edge of safety in her relationship to her partner. They want to get married but she is unsure. She has to decide whether she will take a chance and jump into the unknown of love or stay where she is (wanting evidence or a promise it will all work out).

I too relate to the need to protect myself, because the world seems unsafe and others can not be trusted. Of course, this is not true but it can often feel that way when we hold back on truly living because we are afraid. Remember that you can never be in fear and love at the same time. You are either operating out of LOVE (which is safety, trust, vulnerability) or FEAR (protection, isolation, holding back).  When we feel alone/lonely we are living in the lie of fear that when we are alone we are not loved or loveable.  There are times when we are most alone while in a bad marriage, there is no around to listen to us or we are surrounded by crowds of people. True love comes from allowing fear to melt away and trust that love has our back as we pursue relationships. This doesn’t mean your love life needs to look like what Hollywood demonstrates on the big screen.

So far my biggest love in life has been my sister, I haven’t ever felt the deepness of connection and radical acceptance by anyone else on the planet like she offers me. I also have three nieces that fill up my love tank in a way that is pure goodness. I used to think that to experience love daily in life I needed to be in romantic partnership or married. It’s so false, love is accessible to everyone right now no matter where you are at.

Affirmations to beloved (right now):

  1. I am worthy of love.

  2. It is safe to be loved.

  3. It’s okay to share my heart with another.

  4. When I love others, it fills me up.

  5. When give love, I get love.

Don’t hold back today. Use this year’s love celebration day to  kick off a new life without fear controlling your decisions. Instead offer others love because you are loved.

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KICK OUT STRESS ::

KICK OUT STRESS ::

What can I do to be less stressed?

One of the most common questions I get asked as a health coach is, “How can I realistically manage stress in everyday life while things are, well... crazy, busy?”

We all know our hectic lifestyle isn't going away soon. Packed social calendars, kids with equally complex schedules, endless to-do lists...we work, we socialize, we have deadlines. I get it that managing your stress is just one more thing to add on your to-do-list that you simply don’t have time for. So what can we do?   

Here are 5 ways to halt stress in its tracks that are free, easy and you can do anywhere/ anytime!

1. SAY NO.

It's okay, I promise you won't lose any friends or be cut out of the PTA. Here  in the Midwest we especially like to please and help our neighbors even if it’s at the expense of our own mental health. Make your decisions based on your desires not out of any obligation-which only breeds resentment, guilt and yes more stress. If the desire simple isn’t there, then  maybe it is a sign you are overbooked. Taking care of yourself is just as important as your fellow woman/or man.

2. BREATHE.

We do it every day but 80% of people aren't diaphragmatically breathing which is how we intended to. Most of us chest breath (not allowing for the breath to follow down into our bellies). Chest breathing not only gives less oxygen to our brain (nobody needs that) but can also create anxiety or bring on a panic attacks. Did you know even just 3 deep breaths changes our brain chemistry and allows for our bodies to switch gears out of fight/flight/freeze mode into restoration…ahhh

3. CHANGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS.

Stress can feel like it's outside of us as if it is something happening to us. However perception is where it actually resides. Ask yourself if you are planning for a good day or not. Of course we cannot change certain life situations but what if you chose to be happy despite the storm. Or simply decide to be thankful for all the friendships your life is rich in. Stress is something about our future that we worry will go wrong. So daydream on your future going well instead and feel that invisible pressure melt away.

4. SMILE.

Every time you smile you bath your whole body in chemical reaction of serotonin and oxytocin which is what makes us feel calm, centered and happy. Now don’t fake it but just recall a funny SNL skit or think of dear friend, it’s easy to bring up a smirk. Not to mention we use more muscles to scowl and you don't look as attractive. ☺

5. POWER OF TWO.

Whenever I’ve had it with life I phone a friend. Having someone in your corner can be just what you need to reset your mindset and blow off some steam. Stepping away from our own lives and fully engaging in someone else can increase your gratitude for your life and all the gifts you do have. Plus, how fun is it to connect with someone that knows you and accepts you even while in a hoodie and a pair of converse?

We all have stress but it doesn’t have to have you. You have a choice every day to live your best life possible. Don’t waste any moment on feeling taxed by pressure or deadlines. If you want to dive deeper check out all the resources below or schedule a visit with your health coach.

Say goodbye to stress and hello to happiness.

SOME OF MY GO TO STRESS KICKING RESOURCES

FAILURE CAN FREE ::

I am in recovery. I used to be a perfectionist. I had to always sound right, look good, and be good (I never was, but wanted to be).

Crash and fail. I failed all the time. I finally got sick of masking my flaws and pretending to be something I simply was not to the outside world (umm, PERFECT). I would only show the real me (scars and all) to a few trusted friends. I was terrified that if people saw the real me they would run for the hills.

In my trying to be perfect I missed upsides of failure. Get ready to learn all the beauty of being imperfect and what failure can offer you! Failure can free you like no other, check out these 5. 

1. Failure makes you know what you don’t want

I used to to smoke cigarettes throughout my teenage years. I thought I was so Audrey Hepburn. But after a while, I wanted to stop and I couldn't. I tried again and again to quit but each attempt no matter the amount of vested attempts I found myself beyond frustration with each failure. Each time I promised myself I'm done and again I would wind up looking at the same wall of failure but a bit more self-judgement and overall discouragement. I have seen this pattern run through other areas of my life too. Despite the tools, knowledge, motivation I wasn't able to shift away from this pattern or make any real change. I knew I didn't want to live this way anymore. It wasn’t’ working for me.

2. Failure is needed in success

Even though I had heard this said before I didn't really “get it” until I lived it. Each time you fail you are preparing for success, like a dress rehearsal, you are working out the bugs. You are seeing what works and what clearly does not. You also get to see new ways of doing things that are far better than what you thought.

3. Failure makes you long for more (lots more)

Each time I fail I know that I'm getting closer. That this next attempt and go around might be the one where I finally launch into orbit. I have never been a “cold turkey” person with anything. I need time to process. Time to contemplate. When I fail, I realize how badly I long for more, for success. It’s like a shot of ump into your system to push past the fear of failure to believing you can and will succeed..

4. The pain that you feel when you fail means you have changed

When you start to make changes and you are trying out new things (and failing) you will often experience pain. This is also good, because it validates your transformation. You entered a spot that I call the “in between”. You are not yet to your promise land but haven't let go of the old self either. This is proof you are making progress and you are now moving through the dark space.

5. Scars are cool

When we live life fully and give it our all, we will get some bumps, bruises, and battle wounds. Every warrior has them. Most people keep theirs covered to the outside onlooker. But on closer inspection you will see them. I don't trust perfect. I like a lived-in life, it is far more interesting. Plus, you've have some damn good stories to share later.

Remember, just keep making attempts. You don't have to do it all at once or do it alone. You won't ever do it perfect and even Einstein knew this one, you must fail to get it right.

What if we shared our failure as proof that we are changing. What if you fail and celebrate it instead of hiding it. You are on your way. And remember that if at first you don’t succeed, it's only proof that ARE changing and that is SUCCESS!


 

 

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DREAM DESTINY ::

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You have a purpose. You have a destiny.

Do you ever wonder why we have such distant dreams and desires that seem to remain no matter what you do. There are some things that can be just a phase or fascination but they lose the shiny factor and we move on. Other areas of my life, the desire just remains so intense that I often wonder where I start and it ends.

I love story.

Since I was young I have watched  films. It started with renting them from the library on VHS tapes of fables and fairytales. Then it moved into devouring several a week as reward for chores around the house. Now as an adult, I stream them regularly as a bedtime ritual or even treat myself to the full  experience in a theater with real butter on the popcorn without any interruptions. So is it any wonder that I write scripts and screenplays? Nope.

You have a story.

When I tell people I am lifestyle coach they often fail to see the connection between the two worlds. Film + Coaching, I see them as the same. It’s all about story. Everyone has a story, everyone. Your story is different from mine. Your story is the perfect story for you to tell. Don't question its moral or thesis, or if it's a story to be told. It most definitely must be!

Common story.

Do yourself a favor and don’t fight the desires that keep showing up for you. They are inside of you as part of the beautiful nest of gorgeousness that is uniquely you. I can’t tell your story the way you do. You know when someone is telling their own story because they are emoting. You can’t take your eyes off them. You feel filled up their passion and it leaves you with inspiration.

My friend, Ollie is a wordsmith and makes words melt and dance in a vocabulary that leaves me wanting more. My niece Bella came out of the womb with rhythm. Sara sees the connections in all things. Katrina is a visionary. Rach sings. Andrew makes coffee. Tabby designs. Carol organizes. What gives you strength? What fills you up? What do you lose time in?

Share your story.

According to Denzel Washington we are to use your gift (dream) is by sharing it. Washington also speaks to dreams being without goals are the most devastating. If we are to dream, we must move into action through discipline and consistency. Without this, it’s a recipe of unfulfillment.

I encourage you to commit to a plan so you can truly live that dream inside of you. If you feel overwhelmed, you don’t have to. That’s why I do what I do. I’m here to help you break it all down into a plan that feels exciting and inspiring allowing you to be successful in reaching the finish line of your true destiny!

Today is the day. Start living your destiny. You were born to do it. So get started today. What are you waiting for? 

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BE POSITIVE ::

That’s just the way it is. I can’t help that my life is mess or control the situation at work. I would be happy if only he would just get his life together. I would be less stressed if I made just a little more money. It’s not my fault I would tell myself. I can’t help it. That’s just the way it is.

I see how much power I gave to the whims of happenstance.

The majority of us function in this way. The world moving at warp speed and we can feel powerless over our circumstances. We come up with a very specific idea of what “good” looks like for our lives. When the world doesn’t deliver these circumstances..well then watch out, we are not happy!

Almost 3 years ago, I met an amazing person, Barbara L. Fredrickson at the Leadership in Healthcare in Coaching conference held at Boston’s McLean University Harvard Medical School. Fredrickson, director of Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology PEP Laboratory where she studies positivity has proven the practice of thinking positive extends our life span, improves our health, wellbeing and resilience. Not only does it feel good to think good, it actually changes us for the better by creating new connections in the brain chemistry and perception.

What if you want to feel good but can't kick the worry habit?

The simple truth is we all have stress (the good, bad, and ugly), but having life events doesn’t mean you have to be ho-hum. It’s a matter of perspection. If you choose to think differently about these circumstances, you being to see things differently. Radical, I know. Okay, I didn’t say it was easy, but here is the thing -it really works!! If you don’t believe me, reference some of Fredrickson work.

Try this on for an everyday example. Someone cuts you off in traffic, you spill coffee on your brand new white shirt all while running on your way to very important meeting that you are now late for.  All signs point to a horrible day ahead, right? Nope.

You get to flex your positivity and stop the chain reaction.

You can decide to stop it right there. Whether you use affirmations, humor, surrender, meditation, or blasting some music, you are the only one who can shift yourself out of the moment and change the momentum for the rest of your day and life.

Let's be honest. The world and our life circumstances are not going anywhere. The sooner we can figure out how to feel better despite the outcomes and enjoy the moments is when you truly start to live life. Giving yourself the grace to think positive is being good to you. Because life isn’t about living when circumstances are perfect. Life is about choosing to embrace living fully right now regardless of your situation.

You have a choice to live a beautiful life.

Wanna start today? If you have more questions, I have answers. The life you have been dreaming about is truly possible for you. All you have to lose is a tight jaw, stress headache and lots of extra worry.

I believe people can and do change, I see it everyday. The answer to a life without stress controlling you is simple, be positive. 

**Barbara Fredrickson is teaching a free course online on positive psychology. Sign up here

 



 

JUST LET GO ::

What can you let go of?

There is nothing I enjoy more than creating more space. Truth be told, I’m the girl that loves organization. The act of getting rid of stuff that I don’t use, passing things onto my friends or the community at large makes me giddy. Generally speaking, I like traveling light with less physical stuff and more experiences. But ask me to let go of something emotionally...well that can be a different story.

Are you loyal to stuck-ness? 

I am umm, crazy loyal to my friendships, situations, even familiar feelings that I have outgrown. It’s hard to let go sometimes. We carry around these past experiences and emotions that obviously do not fit into who we are anymore. Like a pair of jeans that I am  clearly not  going to rock in anytime soon, I think.. maybe, one day. Even though I like the idea of adventure, I struggle with letting go and fully jumping into the unknown. Sometimes our body sounds the alarm of, “what in the world would I do without this?” Sometimes we feel anxiety about letting go. I’m sure you’ve had that moment when you took  something off  your donation pile  thinking, “maybe I should just hang on to this a little longer…” We hold on hoping, perhaps it will fit or be stylish again.

The truth is we have to release our past before something different is available for our future.

Easier said than done, right? Here is my question to you. What are you holding onto that you have outgrown? Are you living in your past of what you were? Does most of your joy come from things that happened already? What stories do you continue to tell over again (that you are sick of hearing yourself)?

Every time you let go you get a gift.

When you release it, it creates space for something new to be born or reborn. A new connection, relationship, new job, new habits and yes even your new favorite pair of jeans! There is no harm in revisiting your past. I like to reminisce and recall the crazy times of my youth and laugh it up with family ridiculousness. But if you find yourself living there perhaps you are afraid there isn’t anything better coming? I enjoy the comfort found in the familiar. Our bodies and minds like repetition and consistent patterns (especially in this ever changing world). And I love plans, but I am talking about when you are stagnant and afraid to move out of the safety. You don’t need to be afraid of living. Most of my life I was afraid to reach out into the unknown and I regret those years. I never look back at those times and say, hmmm, glad I spent all those year “safe”...

Your life is about being present (right now).

No, you don’t have to do something radical or spontaneous. How about choosing to laugh out loud today rather than complain about that same old situation, you know the one all your friends are so familiar with they could quote you. Just for today, let it go and see how it feels. The freedom you will experience will be so much stronger and powerful than the regret and woes that have you feeling heavy. Let go of what you are holding onto that is keeping you stuck emotionally. I promise, whatever the fear is you have, it's safe to let go and live a life with internal freedom.
 

SURRENDER ::

I used to view life as a battlefield. I would push, pull, force, stretch, exhaust myself to keep up (not only others but with my own ridiculous expectations). Little did I believe that getting what I wanted could be easy, relaxed, peaceful, simple. I was taught anything that you  achieve would be done with blood, sweat and tears and extreme resilience.  

Little did I understand how I could release it all AND get what I want. What's the trick? There is none. Just surrender, and I don't mean becoming passive or giving up. Actually, I use the word surrender in a completly different context.

  • Surrender is about releasing our joy into our lives NOW.
  • Surrender is about melting away things we no longer need.
  • Surrender is knowing there is divine plan.

It's like riding "shot-gun" in a car. You don't have to worry about steering or watching traffic. You can sit back, listen to tunes, stare off into space or even fall asleep and rest. All the while, you are in transit to your ideal destination. You are making progress and fully enjoying yourself in the process, it's the best case scenario.

I remember when I lived in San Francisco, taking the Caltrain to work each morning. I loved being able to sit and read for 30 mins twice a day on my way to work. I knocked off more books during that 3 year stint of time than anytime in life. I let myself relax and be fed while in transit. What ways could you release and surrender into being nurtured?

  • Surrender is about truly loving ourselves and one another.

When I let down and just accept myself what I am really saying is "I am okay". When I say this to myself and honestly mean it, I give myself the permission to be fully in this moment. I am enough right now. I don't have to do anything else further. Not complete that degree, lose that last 5 lbs, get that job, finish that project. I am whole and full RIGHT NOW.  When you do this, it gives radical transformation for others around you. Even people you don't even know. People feel that you are alright-alright and they have permission to follow suit. So you letting down is really a gift for others to do the same! By loving yourself up, you are not only feeling wonderful and great..so is everyone that comes into contact with you.  Now that is beyond fabulous. 

  • Surrender is changing the way you see the world. 

When we deem the world as a scary place, we feel the need to protect ourself against it. But what if, you think of the planet as friendly, helpful, gorgeous, filled with beauty and synchronicity? When the world with goodness my shoulder drop, my jaw releases and I breath a deep sigh. Life is meant for us to fully experience the adventure, not trudge through suffering. When we are anticipating the worst case scenarios, we are unable to fully see all the magic around us, let alone be a part of it. So begin to connect the dots, see the connection, see kindness outside of your window, see the gentleness in nature, witness the compassion, expereince the humor, partake in creative expression.  

Surrender to all of the beauty that is waiting just for you. 

 

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HOW TO WAIT LIKE A PRO ::

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HOW TO WAIT LIKE A PRO ::

I have a question. How do you wait like a pro? What to do while you wait? Big hint, it’s not twiddling your thumbs.

Have you ever had something you wanted so bad and felt like you were a 2 year old. You just couldn't wait? Like a little kid in the back seat of a station wagon headed out on a family vacation. Not even 5 minutes have passed until, “Are we there yet?”

I am horrible at this. Always have been. But as I go on each day I realize part of the beauty of life is resilience and this involves being patient (i know I said it, the P word). Ugh. So what do you do when there is just time that is needed before your brilliant plan is hatched or revealed? You have done everything in your power, control, and then some. Now like a batch of brownies in the oven, you wait for it to bake and for dark chocolate to melt into the gooey warm deliciousness. How do you keep yourself glued together until the big drum roll...moment? Like most things in life its all about the head space.  Anticipation is good thing. Not knowing can also been known as adventure and people people pay good money for this. Amusement parks, horror films, working vacations or safaris.. is what it’s all about. I know, it can been tricky to keep the right mind set in check. Here are my favorite of what I do.

Do the right thing (while you wait)  {tweet worthy}

First just do what you need to do to stay on course. It’s easy right before the big moment to feel all excited and nail biting can ensue. But this is the time to make sure even more than ever to keep on track. Keep doing your thang! Keep in tip top shape, getting your workouts in, hitting the pillow early, eating enough veggies and protein, doing the therapy, drinking your water, whatever you magic healthy lifestyle choices that keep you in your best form (enter here).. Keeping yourself in top form now is so important to combat and protect yourself against stress. So keep on keepin on baby.

What is anything you have been putting off (do it now while you wait)

While you are waiting (and knowing that your beautiful gift in the mail on it’s way to you) what needs to be done? What about some early spring cleaning or sending out those thank you cards you have put off, or donations to take the good will?  Now is the time to tackle those projects and keep your body, mind and spirit occupied while you keep knowing that it’s only a matter of time until the big pay off.

Time is a gift. (enjoy life while you wait) 

It’s rare we every have extra time and to be wishing away our life is just plain silly. Our whole life is just a blink and being given time is truly a gift. So love yourself up. Get a massage, take a bath, watch a movie, actually see your friends, laugh, play and restore. What may seem like an inconvenience is God’s perfect timing. {tweet worthy} This may be just be a well deserved and needed reset or rest your body and spirit has craved. So don’t waste it but jump in.

This is your life, right now. (even while we wait)... {tweet worthy}

What if we lived it to the fullest right now?  Start today and join me in living fully RIGHT NOW!
 

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BE SEEN ::

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BE SEEN ::

Are you hibernating or hiding out?

Being brave is not easy. It take practice. For some of us even after practice it still doesn’t come naturally. My friend reminds me that extroversion is preferred in our society, but that 50% of us are naturally introverts.

I have a secret. I have been hiding the true me. I have been hiding the real me from the world and more importantly from myself. {tweet the truth}

I have grown familiar with not being seen.

This is not my default state but I’ve remained small, able to be overlooked, fly under the radar, be a dark horse. It has taken me considerable effort to be seen, and, more importantly, to show myself. Of course there have always been some people to whom I would reveal parts of myself, when it seemed safe, really really safe. Like “speaking up” when everyone else was already chiming in and ranting after a few glasses of wine (when it would not likely be remembered later), or making a request/demand when I was sure I couldn’t be refused or denied.

They say fight or flight yes?  Well I am the master of flight.  Call me an escape artist.

Flight means to run or escape from an event that may seem intimidating, scary or unfamiliar.  The issue with flight is that it is all about misguided protection and not about productive motion. Not only do I have running problem, I do it in many ways.

Sleep. Slumber is good for us. But how much sleep is enough? When does sleep go beyond resting and restoring to become unhealthy? I have always been able to drop and give ya zzz’s pretty much anywhere. It drives my friends who can’t sleep a bit mad. But what looks like taking care of myself (sleep), can actually be about hiding from reality, not wanting to look at what I’m afraid of. I simply get tired and close my eyes to the issue in front of me.

Business. Who is NOT busy right? Everyone’s schedule is as packed as can be. But isn’t it crazy how when you’re in love you suddenly have time for phone calls, text messages, or a weekend trip to Sedona? In a time where we can kill time with the endless texts/facebook/linkedin/emails, not to even mention “productive” activities like doing a load of laundry or crossing off a few items on our never-ending to do list. It’s easy to fill our life with doing. We can easily make ourselves look “important” by simply just getting busy. The constant moving can feel productive or that I was somehow achieving something. I noticed, I would come late and leave early to events. Just being somewhere and not having “something to do” or “busy-ness” made me feel uncomfortable. It meant I had to simply “BE: and that was vulnerable for me to be still and present fully in that moment. You know, scheduling things so close that I would need to just rush off, or by checking my smartphone while in line rather chatting with someone instead. I had no idea I was cheating myself on truly connecting with others.  The truth is we do have enough time for what we need and want. It’s easy to make excuses otherwise, but only you are the designer of your life and lifestyle and schedule. So when I found myself blaming others, my schedule, traffic or fill in the blank.

Isolating. This one is especially tricky for an introvert. I need time to fill my tank and to do this I must be by myself. But, there there are times when there is something going on that I want to do but don’t. Like going to a friend’s art or show opening, a movie or social event. Even though I wanted to go I found myself at home instead, solo with the tv on, yet again, wasting hours watching back to back episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix.

Defeat- accepting status quo. When life is unsure and we get hit with a series of roadblocks or bumpy terrain, it’s easy to throw in the towel and say, this is “good enough.” We are biologically built to survive, so grabbing for the lowest hanging fruit rather than truly reaching for we really want (and deserve) can seem justified, right? Every time I make a decision based on “good enough” I don’t feel good. There is a unsettled emotion inside of me.  Mediocrity is not what it’s about. You and I are created for greatness, to expand our selves and stretch across the sky. {tweet that truth} The stars are our example of this. Astronomer, Edwin Hubble was critical in discovering the the Universe is expanding! We are created to continue to expand and grow and not just stay small. I am speaking beyond outcomes but rather about how we feel about the choices and how you are living your life.

How are you hiding? How do you witness other people ditching out? What antidotes are hiding out? (I seriously want to know)!!!

Playing it small is as ridiculous as asking the stars in the sky not shine. Its our purpose to live big and fully. Being seen is not for wimps. But think of it this way, When you allow people to see you, you give the world a gift only you can! {tweet that truth} 

Do everyone a favor and share you today, be seen.

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BE BRILLIANT LIKE EINSTEIN ::

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Like most people, I have my share of celebrity crushes, but most of the influencers who make me swoon happen to be dead, though what they created is very much alive.

I was looking over some of my favorite, go-to inspiration sources and came across one of those mentors from the beyond: Einstein. I’m no scientist and I’m certainly not a mathematician, but much of what Einstein wrote about can help us daily.

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” ~ Einstein {tweet it}

Who doesn’t have complete awe when we look at what one individual brought to our world and society. Obviously, Einstein is one of my role models. Many of the things I especially appreciate about him are not that well know. So yes, he crafted the general theory of relativity, but struggled to learn French. Brilliant and even studious in math, he had a relentless disregard for the status quo, conformity and dogma. He broke the rules, tested limits, bucked authority and often changed paths, or even quit something, in the middle. I make many of my decisions with my gut. I’m well informed, but ruled by instinct and intuition. My sister makes a plus and con chart, weighing out every option when making decisions. She crunches data, looks for statistical findings, and relies on “the facts.”

These are both valid ways to make a decision. But, what happens when your gut and “the facts” aren’t lining up? What DO you do when all that evidence (“the facts”) point to NO but your heart, your soul, your inside dances and screams toward YES!

Over the last year I have been taking huge personal and professional risks. I left what I thought would be my dream job: a well compensated position pioneering a new wellness approach for primary care at Mayo Clinic, a highly esteemed organization. It was an amazing job with great benefits and connections, all the facts said stay. But, my heart said go forth and create your own program of wellness, and offer it up to the masses in the way you feel it would be most beneficial.

Logic doesn't always work. It doesn’t always lead you to the “right” answer. I’m not saying don’t look at the evidence, or throw out practicality, but also don’t underestimate the power of inspiration and creativity. Maybe something that you want to do isn’t the most practical thing, maybe it doesn’t even look doable. Sometimes when we make a bold decision the power of our imagination kicks in and we find ways to make it work that we would never have come up with using logic alone.

I’m a visionary. This is not a brag or self promotion, it’s just the truth, and it is both a gift and a curse. I often see trends or have insights years before the hit the public vortex of media. I rarely share these pioneering thoughts until, well, now. Because, why not?!

“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift.” ~ Einstein {tweet out}

Nature is one of the most powerful healing elements. Have you ever had that experience where you actually notice the beauty of your surroundings? I mean truly connect with it? Most days we rush around too busy to notice all of what is happening in this natural world all around us. We miss out on it. Nature is gorgeous and amazing and happening around us all the time, even in the inner city. We are connected to, inspired and taught by our environment. Get out into it, or get it into your house. Be in awe, be curious.

Maybe you’re not a “nature lover.” No matter. You can connect to nature’s healing power. Anyone can. Just give it a minute. Bundle up and brave the weather for a brisk walk. Open up your window and let the bird song and spring breeze in. Pick up a leaf or a rock. Wonder about it. Be part of nature. It’s healing.

When we are contemplating decisions we look inward, but it’s good to take time to reflect outside of ourselves. Sometimes what we see outside changes the way we think, feel, and act. Give yourself that gift.

“When the solution is simple, God is answering.” ~ Einstein {tweet it baby}

For years I practiced yoga with a dear friend (she now lives in Paris with her husband) and I remember her saying this to me time and time again: the best decision or solution is most often the most simple. It’s not the one steeped in drama, details, or the one with a well-laid-out but complex and maybe even rigid plan.

Have you had those moments where you push your “solution” or  your “desire” into a situation? I know I have, and I can tell you how it worked out...bleah. When we surrender and allow the situation to have its own miraculous unfolding, it happens in way far beyond what you or I could ever muster, manage or plan for.

Sometimes the answer is just simple and we make it complex and hard.

“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” ~ Einstein {tweet it out}

How often do you make a decision in any given day? Thousands of options are ahead of us and we navigate our days with the past tucked under our wings. I see myself repeating things I have done before, or attempt to remedy a situation using what worked for me in the past. We use a different in the energy, and have access to a different mindset and plane of thinking when we are solving a situation verses when we are in a situation. When we are struggling through something and attempting to bring some kind of order to what might look like disorder, it can bring up some anxiety or fear and send us right into survival thinking, locking us out of using those higher planes of thinking and being (another one of my dead mentors, Maslow, came up with this revolutionary way of thinking called the Hierarchy of Needs). This is totally normal, but not very helpful. Only when we can see for ourselves that all things really will work out do we start to see something bigger, and use resources that are in our reach to move us past just surviving. With a bigger perspective, my friends, we can reach past the lowest hanging fruit and get to that apple at the top of the tree that we REALLY want.

Be your own Einstein today and show your brilliance. {tweetable}

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ARE YOU HUNGRY? ::

I know most of my posts have to do with emotional health and feeling good. This week I wanted to share with you a secret (I’ve been writing a book!) and offer a sneak peek. One of the things I have been writing about is food. We all need it for energy and our brain and bodies need fuel to function. Simple enough, right? Sure, but then if we know food is about function, why is it that there is so much food addiction?

For those of us who work with food and wellness, it’s no surprise our society is more overweight than ever before (I’ll be writing more about this soon). The reality is that even though we have more information and knowledge than ever before, in a reality, food allergies and sensitivities, and emotional disorders ranging from depression to ADD are on the rise. What gives?

We are hungry for and actually starving for a nutrient dense diet. {tweet}

Some many clients that would be considered obese laugh when I they hear they are actually starving. How is that possible? Think about this scenario. A person who is always hungry, looking for something...even after they eat. The question is, what are they eating? The state of our food is embarrassing. The nutrient load is incredibly low, our grocery aisles are stacked with GMOs (mostly in packaged foods), and hybridization has left us with strange fruits and veggies. Who needs an orange the size of a head? And then there are the chemicals in and on our food. All of these things together don’t allow for the brilliance of our inner systems to actually absorb food. Instead they respond as if the food we eat is foreign and potentially harmful.

Many people say, “I can’t afford to eat organic” or “I don’t have time.” Well, I agree, it’s challenging at times, but can we really afford not to? After an incident with a walnut ladden russian tea cake over the holidays, my niece recently found out the she is highly allergic to tree nuts. Overloaded and overstressed, her little system started to shut down and go into shock. Real food does not do this. Our body is looking for the real deal. Nutrient rich, whole, natural foods clicks into our cell’s receptors like a lock and key, nourishing us on a deep level. At the very least, buy organic for the fruits and veggies on the dirty dozen list. You can download an app to help you remember which ones are on the list. For more insights on eating a nutrient rich diet, follow Chris Kressor. His weekly emails are full of insights and new science on eating for health.

We are hungry for connection.

So lets’ say you ARE eating right and you are still hungry. You buy all the right foods, you eat well, and are taking care of yourself, and still you find yourself plowing through nuts or a bag of pita chips when you know there isn’t any way you could NEED more food. It’s all about connection, baby. Food is one of our very first comforts. Think of a nursing babe. Not only is feeding one of the first things we do, but it’s one of our first ways of communicating. Early on we form a strong association between physical and emotional nourishment. Food is delicious, delightful and we need it. And, food can also be a soother when we would rather not face a situation or feel an emotion. Food is an effective distraction. But, using it as a crutch just leaves us empty.

I found that when I really understood what was motivating me to eat, I was no longer inexplicably hungry all the time. Explore your own relationship to food and emotion with Karen Koenig’s the Food Feeling Workbook.

So, next time you go for a second helping or midnight snack when you know you don’t need it, ask yourself, “what is it that I really want?” It could be touch, or a good chat with a friend, or even confronting something you’ve been avoiding. Feed yourself with the love that you need and deserve. {share the goodness}

We are hungry for happiness

You’ve got a gut feeling, turns out that’s not just a phrase, there’s a real gut-brain connection. Scientist are now confirming that our brains are more influenced by our bodies than we had thought. There was a misconception for years that our brain’s emotional chemistry–the happy hormones like dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin–was made in our brain (because that’s where it is found), but it turns out this is untrue. These hormones are born and bred in our tummy, well, our intestines, actually.

There’s a lot going on in our gut. If we don’t have the healthy bugs (you know, probiotics) in our gut we not only can’t digest and absorb the nutrients from our food, but our bodies also can’t create those happy hormones for good emotional health. So if the environment in your gut (your gut’s microbiome) is not a friendly place for the good stuff to grow, you may suffer from mood swings or even weight gain.

Taking a daily probiotic is one step toward good gut health. Eating a nutrient rich, low carb diet, like a paleo diet, is another way. Robb Wolf came up with the paleo diet after a number of near death health issues. He found that what he was eating was actually killing him.

Think you might have gut issues and want to explore more? Find a functional medicine doctor in your area or follow Robb Wolf who co-founeded the paleo movement with Mark Sission, biochemist and biologist.

We are hungry for safety

When we have fear in our bodies, our sympathetic nervous system has two options: fight or flight. If we cannot escape the situation, we have to fight, or so our body thinks. Of course this is all instinctual. We don't actually know that this is happening. It’s hardwired into our bodies. So, when we feel afraid we seek protection. Sometimes we arm up by getting the hockey stick out, others times we do it with food. Taking on weight creates a layer of “don’t look at me,” or “I can’t feel what you said,” or “I don’t need that kind of attention.” It’s your bodies way of trying to help. Sometimes help is not helpful. In reality the weight gain causes a loop of self loathing and frustration, not to mention health issues. If you don’t feel safe, rather than run, call up a good therapist and start sharing. If you don’t feel that brave yet, start with a friend or journal. Let it out before it eats your aliveness.

We are hungry for satisfaction/reward

Weight is also wait. When we are overweight, we are actually putting something off. What do you want but are afraid of stepping into? Don’t delay. Do the thing you are denying yourself of right now. It’s amazing how we can sabotage ourselves from getting the exact thing we desire. Just decided to stop waiting and start living now. You don’t have to do everything at once, but take just a small step. One email, 5 minutes on the treadmill, skipping dessert, you get the picture. This is your life, and start living it up fully. {oh, yeah. tweet that!}

You don’t need to radically change diets or lifestyle overnight, but you deserve to know that you can set yourself free. Here are a few places to start:

  • DO: Eat and shop the perimeter of your grocery stores where the real food lives
  • DO: Eat less processed, boxed, packaged whenever you are able
  • DO: Eat up your connection to friends, family and fun daily
  • DON’T: Skip a daily dose of healthy probiotic with bifidus on empty stomach.
  • DON’T: Stuff your underlying issues around body image, safety, and old tapes of fear.
  • DON’T: Waste one more day weighting/waiting...

This is your life, my friend. Go live it.

 

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LOVE LANGUAGE ::

 

It is officially love day! Okay, even though I am not big into the commercialism of Valentine’s day or any holiday for that matter. I do appreciate the notion to set aside a day as a celebration of love {oh yeah, baby, love, tweet love.} I also dig the opportunity to tap into the collective love feast–a simple reminder to drop into the space of sharing goodness with one another and ourselves. It doesn’t get any better than that, does it?

 

If you are single does the idea of Valentine’s makes you cringe, or maybe make you look to start a revolution like Amy Pohler’s Galentine’s Day?  Let’s be honest, we don’t think of this day as a single’s holiday. It can be frustrating if you don’t have a romantic partner. You might even feel like somehow you have failed in love and your singleness is proof. WRONG! Or it can bring up feelings of blah (or worse) if you aren’t exactly that happy little couple. Even if you have a great relationship, sometimes all of the expectations and media around V-Day make you feel like you are doing it all wrong. I would like for you to explore and expand your idea of love. Go beyond the concept of romantic love or partnership and think bigger, WAY bigger. {share that love}

 

Love is so much deeper than romance, sexiness and coupling that the media and marketing world portrays. Beyond affection, love is also defined as devotion, admiration, belovedness, the unselfish or benevolent concern for the good of another and a person’s admiration of God. Kind of squashes the 50 Shades of Grey references a bit, doesn’t it?

 

Not convinced? Let’s take it one step further. Think about how our need and desire for love is hard wired into every single one of us. I don’t know about you, but I know I feel good when I am fully understood, listened to and gotten by other people. But what happens when we engage in this way and experience love within our bodies. What is love? What ways do you love? How do you know you are being loved?

 

Even in love we have our autonomy. Find your own love language. {tweet}

 

Make a your love list.

 

What makes you just melt? What drops your shoulders and allows for a belly exhale in relief? What makes you feel so appreciated? Important? Valued? Excited? Energized? Take just a few minutes and write spontaneously. Put your list somewhere you can see it regularly. Maybe on your bathroom mirror, or the dashboard of your car. Love is all around you.

 

Learn your love language.

 

You might have heard someone talk about the 5 Love Languages, one way to look at how we give and receive love. Do you know what yours is? Just like communication, we all have different styles and preferences that work for us. Maybe you’re a gifter, or you don’t care much for presents but really love to spend good quality time with a friend. There are ways we prefer to share love, and ways we especially feel love. Like touch, kind words, or a shoulder to cry on.

 

When I see my friends, I want to give them a hug–this just lights me up. I also feel good way down to my soul when someone affirms who I am with words. This verbal validation and support not only feels good but feeling love, letting kind words, or someone’s act of love towards us can actually create healing throughout our whole body. Let the love soak in.

 

Whereas my dad, for example, is not prone to showing his love through words. I can count on one hand how many times he has said the words “I love you” to me. Does that mean he doesn’t care? Absolutely not. He’s a doer. You know the type, he shows love by doing things for you. His way of giving love is through “acts of service” (enter in fixing my car, helping me move, paint, move again, lift heavy things, more moving). For him, changing a flat tire is just as good as saying, “I love you.” He also receives love differently than me. If I want to love him up, I bake him cookies, make him food, help him cross off the tasks he has on his honey-do list. I could tell him up and down how much I love him, or give him a hug, but that just doesn’t fill him up like doing things for him would.

 

When I see people struggling in relationships it often comes down to a love language communication error. Once we get clear on how to love each other and ourselves- confusion often evaporates.

 

So, on this day that is all about love, lean in. Use the day to discover what love looks like for you. Celebrate your uniqueness, your own love language. Find out how all the people you love like to receive love and then give it to them that way. Learn a new language today, the love language of your partner, friend, children, parents or maybe even your co-workers! You’ll be surprised how much love is all around you all the time.

 

Live love, and see what happens. {sweet sweet tweet love}

 

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CAUGHT THIS ::

CAUGHT THIS :: You Caught my vibe right?

So, turns out that what I have known intuitively to be true my whole life is now scientifically validated. A few days ago I caught the tail end of an interview about widows and widowers on NPR, I was about to change the station when I heard scientist Nicholas Christakis (professor at Harvard Medical School) say, “we find emotions are being spread like any other virus.” {tweet!} Oh yeah. You know it. Brilliant. But I’m not the only one who has experienced this. You have, too.

"Everyday interactions we have with other people are definitely contagious, in terms of happiness," says Nicholas Christakis, a professor at Harvard Medical School and an author of the study.

It’s like this: you walk into a room and, before anyone says a word, you immediately catch the vibe of the room. Maybe you feel comfortable, there’s a warm and welcome feel, or you experience judgement, or catch a sense of worry. Maybe it’s not that clear for everyone, but haven’t you ever had that gut feeling before a meeting starts like, “yes, this is place I want to be” or “hell no, how do I get outta here?”

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the beyond amazing film called Flight of the Butterfly (if you are in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro it is part of OmniFest at the Science Museum, a series of 5 large format films on until February 19th). In the film there is shot of a single monarch butterfly, thousands of feet above the ground, migrating for the winter months. This fragile creature uses her antennae, a complex navigation device, to gauge and track the exact placement of the sun. She picks up signals from her environment and is so innately tuned in to what her antennae are telling her that they alone will guide her 2500 miles from where she was born to a single hilltop in Mexico where she will hibernate along with millions of other monarchs who all made similar journeys. In case you didn’t catch that, a butterfly, thousands of feet above the ground uses subtle clues from the sun to make her way thousands of miles from her birthplace. So, that makes me wonder, if this tiny insect is picking up on signals, and these signals are what guide her, are we so different? What signals are we getting, and how do they affect us? What if we could spread happiness or laughter or peace?  What if it passed between people just like a disease?

It turns out our vibes and signals are not only present in our interactions with friends and family members, but are our also in our environment. We catch the signals from our greater community just like a monarch butterfly catches signals from the sun. If that is true, that we can catch these signals from our environment, then does that mean that they have form, like a virus, or energy, like the rays of the sun? What if happiness is a physical element that exists outside of our body? Is it made of atoms? Does it have a cellular structure? How does it pass between one person and another?

We don’t know how, just yet, but scientists are theorizing it has to do with mirror neurons. When you smile at someone their mirror neurons activate and they automatically smile back. Ta da! A smile infection. Dr. Emma Seppala, social connection genius, explores this process in her work as the Associate Director of the Center for Compassion at Stanford. {tweet!}

It turns out that we are built to catch other people’s vibe. Not just the sense of the room, but we are highly tuned in to the five people we spend the most time around. This is not necessarily our five emotionally closest people, but the ones we are actually around the most...think work environment! The health, attitude, financial stability of those five people are a strong predictor of our own health, weight, lifestyle and wellbeing. Even our earning potential is related to the average income of those five people. Interesting, right? So, could their influence on us (and our influence on others) be more than peer pressure, but actually transmission?

Yes. And, it doesn’t stop at transmission by proximity.

According to Christakis, this effect extends beyond people we come into direct contact with. It reaches out into our network.  “When one person becomes happy, the social network effect can spread up to 3 degrees — reaching friends of friends,” he says. So, your happiness may, indeed, result in a ripple that puts a smile on the face of Kevin Bacon (you know, we’re all only ever 6 degrees away from Kevin Bacon….or anyone else, for that matter!).

So what you are feeling and experiencing RIGHT NOW is not only affecting you, but your community and all those people’s peeps, and those people’s people’s peeps as well. Whew.


Here is my question, and challenge, for you. Do an experiment this week to see how your happiness or lack of it changes the people (and things) around you. Don’t say anything or even tell anyone you are doing it. Whether you take on smiling at strangers, giving compliments, or talking positively about yourself and others, spread the love and let’s see what happens. Keep asking yourself, “what vibe am I spreading?” {tweet that!}

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BEAUTIFULLY BOLD ::

BEAUTIFULLY BOLD :: Get and show off your confidence

What is confidence? It seems that for some people their level of self doubt is almost non-existent, especially in comparison to the rest of us on the planet. Where does it come from? Is it a genetic trait passed on through generations, like a chiseled jaw line? Or, something more random than that, just the luck of the draw that some people have it, but others don’t? What if confidence isn’t inherited or the whim of fate?  What if it can be fostered and grown? If there was something you could do to create, build and grow confidence? What if there was a magic formula? I have good news! Read on.

I have a friend who, ever since I have known her, just exudes a level of boldness and inner self worth that leaves me in utter awe. She is a marvel. Nothing seems to shake her, make her question herself or waiver–even when being challenged. After several years of friendship, and a few glasses of wine, I broke down and asked her, “What is your secret? How are you so confident and sassy? Do you not truly care about what others think about you?”

Her answer was simple, clear, concise and confident (of course).

“Of course, I care what others think about me, who doesn’t? ... But, I care more about feeling good than pleasing others.”

Great perspective, right? Isn’t this the point of view we all want? Most of us “know” that this way of seeing the world is powerful and freeing, and we want it for ourselves, but why is it that when it comes time to live it, everything changes? It seems like at that moment when we want to choose ourselves and be bold, we cave and choose to please others, look good, or just hide out. I see choosing ourself over others as a move of confidence. {tweet that, baby!}

Then, I think, there are two questions: Can we grow confidence and self esteem? And, if we can, how?

Confidence = the familiarity of repetition. Confidence = the power of habit. Confidence = feeling and living your best self. {tweet that, baby!}

Repetition is one way to build confidence. Being persistent, practicing consistently, and not accepting “no” are key to the confidence building strategy that Dr. Ivan Joseph shares in his TED Talk, “The Skills of Self Confidence.” Just like anything else we are good at, being confident in something new takes repetition. Nothing comes overnight, it takes dedication, discipline and consistency to build a new skill or behavior. Think about learning a new language--whether that be French or HTML--you can’t really cram for it. It’s the slow and steady, daily attention to learning new vocabulary and grammar, and then practicing using it, that wins in the end.

We can use decision-making to choose the habits we want to form, use willpower to get the habit started, then - and this is the best part - we can allow the extraordinary power of habit to take over. At that point, we're free from the need to decide and the need to use willpower.

Gretchen Rubin

If you’re not already familiar with Gretchen Rubin she is a the thought leader on happiness and habit. Rubin has studied how habits are formed and also how they are maintained. Its not just about just desire, although it starts with there, its actually about what makes it stick. (check out my post on habit).

We often think too radical–that change happens all at once. Sure, we may have an “aha” moment that immediately opens up a new perspective, but moving it from an insight into a new way of being, forming a new habit or a new neural pathway, is a slow and consistent thing {tweet!}. Confidence isn’t talent, genetics or a special secret knowing, it’s simply the result of starting and building a habit, skill or knowledge.

“Women applied for a promotion only when they met 100 percent of the qualifications. Men applied when they met 50 percent. Evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men—and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence.”

Katty Kay and Claire Shipman talk about women and confidence in their book the Confidence Gap. They discuss how women have more self doubt where as men level of inner self talk seems to differ.

Confidence is where your deepest desires and strengths meet. Confidence is really about feeling amazing and not being so hard on yourself–having compassion for your weaknesses while you focus on what you are great at. I think true confidence is about faith.  Faith and belief in ourselves enough to trust our intuition  our creativity and live a life with awe and wonder.

What could 2015 be like for you if you resolved to be your most risky, awesome, confident self {tweet it out loud!}?  What if you were able to be in your dream–to own it, revel in it and build it–not allowing what others think to affect how you live your life or make your decisions? What if you allowed yourself to feel good and enjoy? How much goodness can you stand?


 

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MAKE IT STICK ::

HABIT :: How to make it stick

With a new year comes a reset button. The slate is wiped clear and we step into a fresh dream of how our ideal life could be. This year I will… (fill in the your desire here). By January’s end our resolutions are gathering dust. You may find yourself snoozing instead of hitting the gym, or you start to give in on that 2 glass of wine rule and have an extra one before bed (just this one time...right?).

But some people seem to have so much more staying power. You know, “Perfect Patty”, your coworker that seems to be on a roll with her daily lunch of healthy salads and taking the stairs. What actually makes the difference to those that keep on track with a new goal and are successful?

When our shiny new resolutions begin to slip it’s easy to think things like: What is wrong with me? Why can’t I do it? Do I just need more will power? Do they just want “it” more than I do? Do they have more support?  If I had more money to hire a fancy personal trainer? Or an assistant to manage my crazy schedule, THEN I would be successful.

I work with people to make lifestyle changes, and when we are successful, these changes make big positive impacts across their life, deepening a sense of purpose and building a strong foundation to go forth and be even more awesome. I want to make that difference with people so, of course, I am always nerding it up on new brain science around habit, routine, structure, and what we are now finding about why we do what we do and why we don’t. Here is what I found.

Willpower is so yesterday

Put down the bat of self disapproval and shame. Turns out, what was once thought of as low will or being lazy is just lack of planning. Planning can be packing our lunch the night before rather than in the am as we rush out the door. It an also look like a new schedule or bringing the gym shoes to the office so we have no excuses. We are either setting up our environment for success, or we’re just mindlessly going with what was already in play. We can plan and create an atmosphere that is physically conducive to making the changes we desire.

Make a plan for success and failure. Plan it.

Plan for what will you do when it fails.  When you oversleep (or umm push snooze 5 times), or you have a sick kid, or a deadline that is dropped in your lap. What is your plan for that? What we often define as failure (relapse, falling off the wagon, repeating old patterns we are comfy in but miserable are all part of what being successful looks like. It teaches up how to dust ourselves off and keep going. Most of life will not go as planned, so having the “oh sugar backup” is where it’s at to getting our well deserved success. {tweet that, baby!}

Track it to change it.

Powerhouse digital companies know this about us, we need a lot of cues to change our behavior, and so they are coming up with resources to help us win. Seems everyone is wearing a smart devices that measure, track, time and measure our efforts. Tracking can be helpful to show us how we are failing and well, that’s successful. We no longer use the power of will but now can use consistency and accountability.

Remember, a new habit is new and you are in fact learning and there is a curve to this so allow for it. We can measure it with complicated technical devices or use a pencil and paper, it really doesn’t matter.  The key is consistency.  How you create the consistency is what will offer you the results you wish for.

Again, and again.

So if its not really willpower then what is it?  Turns out it’s simple a matter of repetition. We are what we repeatedly do, says Aristotle. What we all want is to turn our new habits into automaticity, action without thought. What can I do to have automaticity alive and well in my life? According to top scientists and the wisdom of sages throughout history, it’s all about consistency.

Let it sink in.

Give it time. How much time? How much exactly until a new habit become hardwired? Some say a mere 21 days,  I have read and heard everything under the stars from the range of 21 days to 180 days. So what is the magic number, really? And why? When you are giving everything you got to making change, it would be nice to know when we can expect our pay off. Just like everything else in life, it depends on the individual and the depth of the dive, or complexity of the habit. Simply adding a fruit to your daily diet may be child's play for some, while exercising consistency could take a bit more effort. So, allow for your own timing to come forth and enjoy the journey.

How to make it stick?

Plan it, measure it, and then just repeat and let it sink in. Soon you will have a new habit you don’t even have to think about = now that is awesome. {tweet that, baby!}

 

 

 


 

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BODY TALK ::

BODY TALK :: 

I'M SORRY, WERE YOU TALKING? I CAN'T HEAR YOU.

Did you know that our body mind and spirit work together to reflect what is happening with each other? There is whole field of science the studies it called somatics. I have seen this happen in front of me time over time through the coaching process. One of my coaching clients was struggling with self esteem and confidence at our first meeting, and it was evident by how she held herself before she even spoke a word. Her head was dropped, she was slouched over, her back was rounded, her eyes often down cast. The message her body was sending to the world (whether she knew it or not) was that she wants to hide, be small, go unseen.

Only months later, I sit across the table from a confident vibrant gal. She has boldness that manifests in the a tall posture, her head is held high, shoulders back and down. She physically appears taller, larger, and has so much joy it is evident. The remarkable thing is, it’s the same woman, but if you had met her in both scenarios, you would never make the connection.

Somatics was founded by Thomas Hanna (1928–1990). Hanna was known for his ideas around Sensory-Motor Amnesia, a situation in which the body forgets how to move normally. But, what does somatics mean, exactly? Soma is “the body as perceived from within.”  Cool, huh? Somatics comes from the Greek, somatikos, which stems from soma, the body.

Greek, shmeek...what does it really mean? As much as we try, we cannot separate the inner and outer landscapes of our body.

Hanna's ideas were based on those of Hans Selye and Moshé Feldenkrais. They believed, and built practices around, the idea that there is an innate and intuitive interconnection of body to our mind/spirit. Our body is telling us our story all the time. Are you listening? It’s the most fascinating story of our lives. Here it is.

Your body, your posture, and your energy is constantly communicating. It is telling you (and the whole world) what is really going on. Do you know what story you are telling? Are you confident, happy, self assured, and easy going. Or, maybe something else.

Think about the body in the context of dating. Why is that two equally attractive women can enter a bar and yet one is hit on and approached by men while the other is not. Or, why is it that we are put off by one individual but feel interested or drawn in by another, regardless of how they look objectively?

Of course there could be a host of reasons why this could be. But, have you ever felt as if your inner message or dialogue is being translated by your body and broadcast for all to see (and have you ever received someone else’s message, regardless of what they are saying with their words)? Well, that is what is happening whether or not your are aware of it. We are sending messages whether we are aware of it or not.  So, what are you putting out there?

Part of being self-aware is being aware of what you are saying with your body. It’s often an area of challenge for individuals that are especially logical, left brain dominant, or rely heavily on their intellect functioning. We all have parts of ourselves that we are more confident in displaying or more comfortable in, and those other parts of us are speaking, too.

Our body not only communicates but has memory. Peter Levine has been been a pioneer in our decade of such findings. We are finally making that mind/body connection in issues like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or anxiety disorders, and pretty much anything that the body/mind/spirit experience as a shock to their combined, integrated and whole system. For some people it takes something big, all encompassing. such as battle in a war, a near death experience or accident, where others may find something more subtle and intangible–like an emotional blow–is what knocks them flat. It could look like abandonnement from their father, an emotionally abusive relationship, or being bullied as a child.  We each have a different experience of what is traumatic. It has nothing to do with strength, or will power. Things you won’t understand at first, seemingly simple or small things, can be a mind/body/spirit turning point.  

These wounds run deep and the body holds them until you are ready to process them more consciously. For some, this maybe sooner than others. Other people hold on to trauma for years, and sometimes the body protects itself by not allowing the conscious mind to process these traumas.  Remember our bodies main job is protecting us and loving us up.

Fibromyalgia is often one of these situations where there is physical pain without an know cause. As something that is not easy to see, not easy to test for, and is often caused by something non-physical, it has left modern day conventional clinicians baffled. Syndromes like Fibromyalgia and other mind/body syndroms are rising to the surface and gaining more credibility in our society. The stigma that has been around emotional trauma, and the physical dis-ease it can cause is lifting. There is more awareness and more insights about these issues as we continue to recognize this intense mind/body connection.

The body has memory just like the mind, and when we allow for these memories to come forth, we can release them and allow for more space of new memories and goodness into our lives. As a gal that has lots of memories in this bod of hers–having overcome my share of anxiety, stress and a handful of near death experiences and medical interventions–I want to share what has allowed for levity and sweetness in my mind and my muscles.

Get your groove on!

Movement and dance can help you become more self aware and let that body wisdom do its magic. It is very healing to move our bodies for several reasons, but using our bodies to fully communicate and express ourselves is an important piece in creating that somatic connection and integrating our whole selves fully.

Get in touch

Massage and touch is another one of my favorite things to do in general, but also is powerful in creating healing on deep level. It not only frees up physical blocks in the body’s connective tissue, and brings oxygen to all of our cells and decreases inflammation, it also releases the hormones of connection, love and trust (oxytocin). If you aren’t getting regular touch (like weekly), then save up and get yourself to a good bodyworker. Touch is healing and also deepens the mind body spirit connection.

Stretch it out

Stretching is ahhh so good. Taking time out to give your bod a good old ringing out is both cathartic and good for ya. I remember back to when I first started to take yoga. At that time of my life I was running, doing, spinning to survive. In that dizzying time of life yoga was the only time I was still, other than when I was flat out in bed, exhausted. We would have a great workout of challenging poses and I found that I could feel emotions move up to the surface not only when I was still, but especially in my breath. Somedays it was frustration, sadness, or extreme joy—and it always surprised me. Many people say yoga is the only way to get in touch with our deepest selves and let those buried emotions out, but I think it’s just one way of doing what people have been doing for millions of years. Breath + Moving = Health.

Give it a breather

You can push through exercise, or running or life and fail to really sigh or breath. But when you let down and do the deep breath combined with movement like pilates, or barre or stretching and watch the healing begin. Seriously. Taste the richness of deep breathing and exhaling

I used to exercise, lift weights and move through my day while holding my breath.  I would be tense and rigid, ready to react and stuck in fight or flight. Then, I started to breath, I mean not only take in air but exhale and let it go along with releasing it fully from my lungs. Wow, what a difference it makes. I had no idea I had not been breathing properly. Once I became aware of this, I was able to watch for it and check in with my body through the day. So, when things get busy, and stress starts to flow, I do a quick check in and see how I am inside of my body.  Am I feeling tight and where are my shoulders? Then I take a big breath, and let it go.

Breathing is supply of oxygen and also the source of relaxation. When we take a big breath, a sigh, we are giving our bodies the message of “hey, it’s all good”, “you are a-okay”, “you have enough” verses what not breathing does. So now you.  What gives you the full exhale?  

How do you feel when you are breathing and releasing and emptying your lungs?  How can you remember to breath today?  See how it makes you feel to breath deep down and exhale every bit of from your lungs.

Have a sit (or stand) in

Test out new ways of body posture and see how it changes how you feel inside. We can change our mood, our outlook, even our ability to complain or gossip by just changing our posture. Try it on next time you find yourself engaging in a regular complaint. Check out how you are using your body and do something radically different, like putting raising your hand or standing on one foot. You will find the complaint vanishes, or your mood changes. Change your body and your mind/emotions will follow.

Talk it out

Just because your pain cannot been seen by the human eye does not mean it is not real and having a real affect on your life. If you had a broken bone you would go to the doctor to have it set, or if you hit your head while playing and needed stitches (like my niece did recently) you would get the care you need, and you would do it now. When there is an emergency you don’t wait for tomorrow. When you are bleeding you go to someone who can help. It’s the same when you can’t see it on the outside. Just because you aren’t bleeding doesn’t mean you aren’t experiencing an emergency. Don’t wait for it to magically go away, tell someone. Your doctor, your friend, your family member. There is love just waiting for you an accessible, so reach for it dear one.  

Your body is always routing for you, speaking to you and loving you.  

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