- You cannot stop thinking about your new idea or new job. This may feel exciting at first but then reality sets in and you feel overwhelmed and depressed.
- You are constantly looking at what everyone else is doing and thinking that their path is the bomb! The self-comparison can begin to feel burdensome.
- You feel burned out and resentful with your current situation.
- You ping pong back and forth between two ideas, your inner critic kicks in and tells you that both are bad options which puts you back to square one.
- You start to think in all or nothing terms….for example, maybe I should just quit my job and move to Montana to start a farm!
- You start to rationalize that maybe feeling underwhelmed; uninspired and bored is just the way it has to be.
- When you start to brainstorm new ideas for yourself, your inner critic steps in very quickly to tell you all the reasons why the new idea will not work out.
- You know that there is more to life!
- You start to set all these manmade timelines up in your head to procrastinate putting your dream in motion…for example, I can suffer for another year, make money and then I will make the change.
- You begin to make other people the problem…
- One day you recognize that your excitement is greater than your resistance and you take action!
So are you ready to take the leap?
Yesterday, I realized that I had been driving around for 2 days with my low gas light on in my car. (According to my friend Denise, the fact that I wait until the last minute to fill my tank is information for a whole other blog!!) Every time I saw the light, I got that panicked feeling in my belly that my car was going to run out of gas in the middle of the freeway and I would be THAT person causing a traffic jam. Yet, just as the uncomfortable feeling would start, I would replace it with a belief that I could put off going to the gas station for just a couple more miles so that I could run that extra errand and put off the boring chore of pumping gas.
Finally I rolled into the gas station on fumes and took the 10 minutes out of my day to fill my tank. As I was standing in the warm sunshine, I took a deep breath and recognized this activity not as a dreaded "must do", but rather a valuable opportunity to ground my feet into the earth, straighten my spine, take a deep breath and come into the moment. It was my time to actually incorporate a mini mediation into my day and after I was finished at the pump, I returned to the car calm and happy. I had actually filled up two tanks....my car's tank and my own!
For those of you who find it terribly hard to take 30 minutes to meditate, try this. Reframe the routine mini activities in your day as precious opportunities to come into stillness and the present moment. Waiting in the grocery line, driving to work, walking the dog or taking a shower could all be mini-mediation moments. So stop putting off filling your own tank up because you think you do not have enough time or patience. Seize those little moments and release your inner zen.
Over the summer, I had the good fortune to take a tennis class to learn new things about a game I love. I went into it all ready to show the instructor my wicked ground strokes! I clenched down, gripped the racket and literally tried to kill the ball. After about 75% of my shots went into the net or way outside the lines, I got frustrated. What the hell was going on? During a break I asked the instructor what she thought the problem was. She immediately told me that I was working way too hard. My grip was too tight and I was losing all my power with my supposedly intense stroke.
SHE THEN GAVE ME A TIP THAT I AM TAKING INTO EVERY PART OF MY LIFE: THE LOOSER YOU STAY, THE MORE POWER YOU WILL HAVE.
WHAT? I’ve always thought that staying loose meant that you weren’t taking things seriously. The more clenched, busy, and proactive I could be, the better. The more I focused on meeting others’ needs, the more I would be liked.
The delusional belief behind all of these thoughts went something like this…. the harder I work, the more worthy I am. I must push and overextend to be good enough.
And this belief has brought me success…I did well in school, built a successful career, and have a wonderful family and friends. But as I woke up to this toxic message, I realized that every time I overextended in dance, I got hurt. When I tried too hard to connect with people, they backed away. When I put others’ needs first, I often misread what they actually wanted, and almost always ended up abandoning myself.
This way of living was tiring, leaving me achy and burnt out! And the worst part is that it was blocking the support that wanted to come into my life.
So, since that fateful day on the tennis court, I’ve been experimenting with my coach’s principle of working less to have more power. It is so subtle, but when I practice it one small choice at a time, I find many opportunities every day to loosen my grip on life and experience flow. The benefits are instant and available to all of us.
What working LOOSE looks like:
-WAIT. I try not to act until there is a genuine and actual reason to do something. When I feel an idea emerge, I write it down and it helps me determine whether it’s driven by fear or urgency, or if it truly comes from my heart. When I have clarity, I can prioritize.
-RELEASE. When I do not know the solution to a problem, I release it for a while instead of ruminating and forcing an answer prematurely. Asking for help from my higher self and then turning over the problem brings enormous freedom.
-ACCEPT SUPPORT. I say yes to help and embrace compliments when I receive them. A tight grip is often critical and unforgiving. Accepting kindness from others helps us to be more loving with ourselves.
-STAY IN THE MOMENT. When I’m working with a client or a group, I work hard to stay open and present instead of always thinking about the next topic, or how I could or should respond.
-REST. I take breaks and let myself relax when the time is right instead of filling every second with something practical.
-HONOR COMMITMENTS. I start on time, end on time, and honor my boundaries. These simple commitments are within my power, and they give me something I can always feel proud of.
-DETACH FROM OUTCOMES. Before I offer help, I consider whether the person really wants help, or if I am offering it because it makes me feel better -- and more in control -- to fix things. Offering support and then letting go is a liberating way to truly help others.
Working LOOSE does not look like:
-Planning for people when they do not need my help.
-Overextending and doing extra to look good or seem more worthy.
-Jumping into action too quickly for the short-term satisfaction of feeling productive.
-Judging others for their decisions when they differ from mine and forgetting that everyone is on their own path!
-Staying busy when others around me are chilling and enjoying themselves.
My questions for you are:
Where can YOU loosen your grip on life a bit?
Where can you harness your energy and resist the temptation to overextend?
Where in your day do you silently accept more responsibility or work than is really necessary?
How many relaxing little breaks can you build into your day?
Where can you say “yes” to more help and accept compliments?
First of all, I hope you are all having a summer filled with moments of relaxation and sweetness. It has been quite a while since I last wrote for my newsletter and it feels wonderful to reconnect with you all!
So I am a planner. I consider myself one of those organized people who has heavily scheduled days with most of the time slots filled with work, chores or social get togethers. And with all the research that I have read warning me about the dangers of over scheduling, I do it to myself daily. But for the last couple of years I have silently observed how forces greater than myself often times interject themselves into my schedule to shuffle things around for the betterment of my life.
This week was NO exception. I had scheduled a full work day for Friday even though my kids are still out of school and I was going to scramble to make things happen. Yet I packed my day full, trusting that somehow I would make it through alive! By mid-week my Friday clients notified me that they would have to reschedule. My first reaction was to feel a bit frustrated….I had blocked this time off and turned down other plans and god forbid that I would have a more open day! Thursday my son came down with an “aggressive” rash all over his body and by some miracle I was fit into a very booked up doctor on Friday. FRIDAY! This was the day that was supposed to be jammed packed with work and it opened up so that I could have the attention that was necessary to take care of my son.
Now looking back, I could say this was just a coincidence or I could also reflect on how this last minute reorganization was a blessing in disguise. On a much larger scale, this is an important awareness to bring to bigger life changes. For instance, how do you react when a friendship shifts or when you experience a breakup or job change? Do you cling to resentment and victimhood, or can you get calm and really look at what new opportunity this could present to you in your life. Perhaps you may have been creating a situation that was not the healthiest and it got changed up to ultimately align you on a more authentic path.
I am not suggesting that you stop planning your life, but my invitation for you is to think about the ways that you can surrender a bit when things get changed up. Instead of resisting what is, can you look for the hidden opportunities that await you? Can you trust that your life is being reorganized for something that you could not rationally know beforehand?
The next time someone reschedules on you and a block of space opens up, relax….you may be pleasantly surprised!
Happy end of summer,
Happy New Year and welcome back to regular life.
It’s funny, for months during the busy fall period I daydreamed about Christmas break and the slowed down pace that it would give me. I wiped the slate clean of work for the week after Christmas, booked a get away with the family in the wine country and was all prepped for NOTHING to do but sleep, eat, play games and read.
And then the craziest thing happened. My long anticipated vacation arrived and all I felt was anxious and antsy. I started to feel bored and began suggesting a whole new set of possible plans that included errands, social get togethers and excursions we should take. My book stayed closed as I repeatedly checked my e-mail and Facebook like an addicted rat wanting its next dose of a drug. It did not take long for my family to get very annoyed with me. Just RELAX and CHILL they shouted at me.
And then it hit me this year….down time and relaxation are incredibly uncomfortable because I am forced to FEEL all the feelings that I usually push down with busyness, work and addiction to technology. Detoxing off my distractions is even more intense this time of year because the holiday to-do’s whipped me up into a productive frenzy. YET, when I force myself to stay with the discomfort of slowing down for a day or two, I literally cross over into a world where I experience parts of myself that lay dormant when I am in “doing” mode. I daydream, laugh, connect with my family and I sleep! I relish in the smallest things like watching my boys play catch under an Oak tree.
All the research shows that we have lost our ability to be still. This is a real bummer because only when we are still do we allow our brain to make the powerful connections that lead to creativity, innovation and happiness with ourselves and others. How many of you feel like you go through withdrawals from technology and busyness when you create breaks in your life? How many of you sabotage the slowdowns by keeping yourself distracted with what you think you should be doing? How important do you think it is for your spirit to have a rest now and then? If you do then you need to go to STILLNESS BOOTCAMP. Here are some of the workouts…
-Stare out the car window instead of looking at your phone.
-Stand in line at the market with your feet planted in the ground and stay present.
-Set the timer for 10 minutes, close your eyes and breathe.
-Watch this amazing video by Tiffany Shlain on the power of daydreaming.
If you stay with BOOTCAMP STILLNESS I guarantee this will be a more fulfilling, creative and emotionally satisfying 2015.
I was working with a client this week and we were having a fantastic conversation about releasing her negative old, fear driven stories so that she could create space for something new to grow into her life. She immediately shared the big ONE she wanted to release. (Usually people have a whole list, including myself!)
I was so curious to know what the One Big Hairy Beast of a story it was going to be. She said it was the always present, extremely cruel and heavy voice that hates her body. It was the voice that was always there putting her body down and telling her that unless she lost weight or stayed fit, people would think less of her. It had been with her all her life and she was SICK OF IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She then continued onto share that some of her other inner critic voices about needing to work 24/7 and fear of failure had really diminished once her first child came into the world. “I told them to shut-up because my priority of being a mom was more important than working late each night.” She had successfully created space from a fear based voice that used to keep her overextended at work, however she could not shake this crusty old message that haunted her about her body.
I told her that it may be hard to believe but that this remaining negative story had nothing to do with her body. It really was the inner critic’s last chance at keeping her small so that she would not venture into the unknown of taking new risks in her life. It knew that she always would listen to that message about her weight. It was literally the GO TO, SLAM DUNK message that her fear would use to get her attention, keep her distracted and ultimately paralyzed..
As we talked about this further, she began to see that this old message about her body that used to seem SO REAL was actually a LAME and OBVIOUS attempt of her inner critic to keep her safe. I asked her what would happen if she stopped feeding that old story? Without hesitation, she described the amount of energy she would reclaim each day. When she began to imagine her spirit, her truth and creativity EXPANDING if she refused to get fooled by her fear, it suddenly became laughable that the inner critic would get her attention in the same way again.
For many of you, including me, the inner’s critic favorite way of grabbing our attention is by flinging body hatred bombs at us. However, this may not be the repetitive, harsh message that speaks to you on a daily basis. Maybe it is about failure, being lazy or not a person who follows through on their ideas. Whatever your fear message may be….TAKE NOTICE NOW….it is not going to fool you anymore….NO MORE! Your spirit has way too much good to accomplish on this planet and your inner critic is just scared of seeing what your highest self can create.
NOW GO FORTH AND KICK SOME ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Last month I won a three hour session with a professional organizer and what she showed me was more profound than any clean and organized cupboard (even though that is nice!) She taught me that in order to truly create new order you must take out all the CRAP in your drawers, files and cupboards…look at it closely, decide what you want to keep and what you want to throw away or donate and then, only then, can you start to put it back into place. I thought that this is exactly what needs to happen when we want to make long lasting change in our personal and professional lives. How many of you want change in your life…real, true, fulfilling, aligned change? And then how many of you look at your current situation and because it is so overwhelming choose to look the other way or just rearrange the items of your life without really taking it all out to see what you are dealing with? Rearranging may give you a burst of something new, but over time your situation will settle back into the same dysfunctional rhythm that feels stuck. This is SO common because fear and denial usually stop us from really taking out all the shit to do a thorough examination!
Right now I have clients going through divorces. I have clients who got fired. I have clients who are depressed with pain in their bodies. AND these very same people have made a decision deep down inside to no longer just rearrange the items in their lives to look a bit neater. They are actually taking it all out, feeling the shock and discomfort to see the mess and slowly but surely doing the work to clean it up. They are looking at their finances, being honest about the times they said yes, when they wanted to say no and are getting real that blaming others is no longer working. They know that this pain will eventually liberate them to have new systems for success. The divorced person will soon be free to align back to her truth and find new love. The unemployed person will untangle himself from the old stories that kept him small so that he can find a new job that is fulfilling. And the depressed woman will start to set new limits and boundaries in her life so she can work and have time for the other things that bring her joy.
Where in your life are you truly ready to shift? How can you take the time to DE-clutter in a thorough way so that your internal stories and systems can be put back together in a new order that creates success? I am not saying that it will be easy, but I do promise that amidst the junk and dust there will be gems waiting to be discovered!
Today I ran into a friend at the coffee shop and she was telling me how much she missed the summers she experienced as a kid. Remember that first day of summer vacation when it seemed like there was endless time to take a break from the pressures of school, lounge around, play with friends and BBQ? She continued on to say that she was looking forward to her one week trip to the mountains, but at the same time she was feeling stressed because work was so busy. Right then and there I said, “Commit to your vacation!” YES! Commit to your vacation. In this day and age with all the technologies that can keep you plugged into practicality, it takes serious discipline and commitment to keep your summer vacation a sacred time of rest and non-practical endeavors. All the research shows that when you take a committed break from work and do something completely unrelated, you recharge your batteries, your creative thinking sky rockets and you can strengthen the bonds you have with important people in your life....
...Your vacation becomes POTENT with POSSIBILITY!
With that said, if you have a special trip planned away for the weekend or for a week, I invite you to make a declaration to yourself that you will put two feet in the boat and honor your vacation. Ask yourself what a committed vacation looks like. For me, it was extended blocks of time away from my phone. I brought a stack of page turning novels that kept me so occupied, I rarely thought of e-mail. It meant a nap a day and lots of focused, fun time with my family. It meant movies and eating out. In the first couple of days it was hard to unwind, but by day 2.5 I could feel the bliss of the vacation taking effect! I slowed down, was more in the moment and began to forget that being on e-mail was important.
When I returned from my break, I felt different. I was calm, energized and not frazzled. I literally felt like my brain cells had been refreshed! It took me a while to catch up with my pile of to-do’s, however, I never looked back at my vacation wishing I worked more rather than played. Instead, I was filled up with lots of sweet memories with my family. And those naps were the BEST!