view from the rooftop

Say What You Mean

We were fortunate to be able to spend Christmas with some friends on the rooftop of the house we live in. They loved the view and the sunshine. I was asked, “Are you guys up here all the time?” Without thinking I replied, “We are too busy.” Being an avid reader of this blog, a guest called me on my response. “Either you are lying or you are a hypocrite. Aren’t you the life coach who creates her life her way? How could you be too busy?” He was right. I wasn’t too busy. We were simply choosing not to use the rooftop. The truth is due to short winter days, it is too dark to have dinner on the rooftop and we simply don’t think about it other times. (We’ll explore this more next week.)

The question is, why did I respond with a flippant untruth instead of expressing the reality of the situation? I realized I was saying what I thought they wanted to hear. I was responding how “normal” overwhelmed people would respond. I was keeping the spotlight off me and downplaying the blessings I have in my life. But why? Why am I driven to keep myself small? Why am I inclined to say what I believe others want to hear instead of speaking my truth? Why am I unintentionally lying?

view from the rooftop

The real question, however, is not “why” but what am I going to do with this information. How am I going to change the way I speak to better serve me? Here are a few things I am committed to doing this new year to reclaim my truth and my life.

Think Before Speaking

When I was asked about rooftop usage, my response was out of my mouth before I realized it. How many times are our words kneejerk reactions instead thought-out responses? Just like during anger or stress, before speaking I plan to take a breath. This will give me time to consciously choose my words, ensuring my words match my intention.

Speak My Truth

Instead of saying what I think others want to hear or saying what I think is the “right” and “normal” thing to say, I will speak my truth. Even if that truth is not popular, I am committed to expressing my truth, my words, my way.

Express What I Want

The biggest realization about this incident was how I was unknowingly creating a negative attitude and experiencing a less than ideal life with my response. Instead of saying, “I am so blessed to have this amazing view and want to resume my morning meditations up here,” I joined the mantra of our modern world expressing the lack of time, being overwhelmed by responsibilities, and the belief that life is hard. This year I am committed to speak only the words that create the world I want to live in. I will abstain from sarcasm or negativity. My words will show appreciation, abundance, hope, and joy.

What would you like to change for yourself in 2017?  How would you like experience life differently? Join me in saying what you mean and meaning what you say, or share with us your intention for 2017 here.

happy new year

How to Really Make Things Happen in the New Year

Every year I provide insight into how to make the most of the New Year. In the past I have written about:

happy new yearThis year I’d like to explore how to make things happen by not making things happen. Much of what we do in Western Society is by force and sheer will. We are the courageous pioneers. We have a strong work ethic. We have even devoured the concept of Law of Attraction where we create a vision of what we want and through our focus we make it happen.

But what if we didn’t have to make things happen? What if in doing less we received more? What if we had this whole no pain no gain thing wrong?

Instead of focusing on outside manifestation – writing down goals, creating plans, creating our vision boards – we instead focused on inside channels. Do you know someone who was amazing at earning money, but never seemed to be able to keep it? Or someone who could lose large sums of weight, but it always seemed to come back? Or the person who always met the most amazing romantic partners, but could never sustain a relationship? These people were all focusing on the exterior – the money, the weight, the partner. What they didn’t work on was their inner self, and without that inner work nothing they ever create will remain.

To make lasting changes in your life, it is first important to work on your inner self. The goal is to have a clean inner channel of thought and energy within you to use as your guide. What does that mean? It means to remove all the anger and hate within you. It means removing all the fear of the future. It means fully loving and accepting yourself. It means accepting those around you as they are. It means being fully in each and every moment. Once you have removed all of the negativity from your thoughts and emotions, you are left with a positive emptiness in the center of your body; a clean shaft between your mind and your heart. This is the channel that helps you receive. And it is the way for you not to make things happen but to allow your best to come to you.

Think about times when you are not as productive. Were you clear-minded or were your thoughts muddled? Were you acting consciously or unconsciously? Were you acting from a position of expectation or fear? When we are not our best is when our internal channels are blocked with anger, hate, fear, worry, and anxiety. When we are productive and in the flow, we are confident, hopeful, expectant, loving, compassionate.

So how do you make things happen without making things happen?

Release: Release the fear and the hate. Identify what your worries are and who or what is making you angry. Notice how it feels to be angry and fearful. Ask yourself how the anger and fear is serving you (note: they usually aren’t). Write down all of your fear or anger then tear up and/or safely burn the paper releasing you from it.

Stay in the Moment: Fear lives in the future and anger lives in the past. To keep them from entering your mindspace again, stay in the present moment. Use your five senses to fully be awake in each moment and stay present.

Ask: Take the time to get clear on what you really want. The goal is to find the experiential value you want – peace, excitement, love, confidence – not the physical world manifestation. If you can only think of the physical thing you want, explore how that thing will make you feel; the feeling is what you truly desire. Every day focus on these feelings you want to experience and be open to them appearing in the best way for you.

Discern: Throughout the day notice if how you are thinking, believing and acting is bringing you the emotions you want to experience. If not, how can you shift to be more in alignment with what you desire? The same goes for your choices throughout the day. When opportunities arise, don’t look at what you “should” do but instead ask if accepting this opportunity will bring you the emotional experience you desire.

When you release what doesn’t serve you, are in the moment, are clear about what you want to experience, are expectant you will receive what is best for you, and take the time to consider your behavior and options versus your desired experience, you will begin receiving what you really want – without all the effort.

If you want to learn first-hand how to live and receive differently, contact me to learn more about one-to-one coaching and upcoming retreats.

the way

Are You Truly Living?

A friend recommended I check out Emilio Estevez’s movie, The Way, as she had taken the same pilgrimage outlined in the movie. Devotees and others walk the 500 miles of the Camino de Santiago from Saint Jean Pied de Port France to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain believed to be the final resting place of St. James. One of the first lines we hear between real life father and son is incredibly powerful.

“You don’t choose a life, Dad, you live one.”

the wayHow many times have we heard, “You have to live the life you chose” or tell ourselves, “I am stuck with this life.” Life is a noun, it only refers to one point in time; my life right now. But truly being alive is not a static. Life does not stand still. Life is in motion. Life does not remain the same every day or every year. To be truly alive we need to meet the definition of life which is “the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.”

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to see if you are truly living:

Do you have a Capacity for Growth? Are you still growing? Are you improving your mind, your body, and your spirit? Or have you become like an old, dried up tree; rigid, brittle, frail, and decaying?

Are you Active? Are you out and about meeting the demands of the environment and daily life? Or have you become sedentary and isolated? Are you participating in activities that support your physical, social and psychological well-being?

Are you adapting to Continual Change? Consistency and sameness help us feel safe. But the truth of life is that it is ever changing. We like routine to make us feel safe, yet change is really the only safety. Change means we are alive.

We all get in a funk every so often. We feel stuck and unable or afraid to make changes. We become exhausted, especially in the winter, and find ourselves lacking movement and motivation. We become stressed and fearful when there are too many changes. We long to choose our life; to put a pin in the board and say, “This is my unchanging life. This is how it will be now and always.” In doing so however, we are no longer living our life. Life has become something outside of ourselves. We are disconnected from life and living.

It would be very easy to hide in a life here in Mexico. I could sit in the house, work on the computer, and be disconnected from everything outside the window. Instead, I am consciously living my life. I am continuing to grow by learning Spanish, the value of pesos, and to understand measurements in the Metric system. I am being active, not just by (hopefully) taking daily walks but also jumping at opportunities that come my way.  Instead of saying no thanks to opportunities because I “should” complete this or that, I take advantage of new experiences and people to meet when they arise. And I am embracing change. Everything is new to me – big changes to almost every aspect of my daily life. Instead of trying to get things back to the way I experienced them in the US, I jump into the new and see how the new changes me – usually for the better.

Do you find yourself choosing or having a life, but not really living it? Why not make a resolution in the New Year to truly live life. Here are a few ways to help you get back into the act of living your life.

  • Sign up for a class, go back to school, or find ways to get out of your routine and be exposed to new cultures and new ways of thinking.
  • Get moving! This does not only mean exercise, but it means taking advantage of opportunities which come to you.
  • Accept and embrace change. Instead of reacting to change with fear or anger, can you find the gift of growth and experience being offered in each of life’s changes?

As always, if you would like support in releasing the life you choose and learning to really live, contact me about personal sessions or retreat weekends. Buen Camino!!

change

Moving Forward Through Ups and Downs

Do you have a goal which seems far away? Are you working toward something but keep hitting obstacles? Are you uncertain you are on the right path? Have you lost your path and are not sure what is next?

Lately many of my clients have been going through a confusing, frustrating, up and down time. Nothing seems stable any more. What used to be is gone, but what is next has not yet shown up. As our brain loves the familiar, it senses change as a danger knocking us into the blur and cloudiness of stress. Now not only are we dealing with the changing circumstances around us, but we also have to contend with a mind and body which are not functioning at their peak.

How does one more through the unknown?

changeA few foundational tools will help you to move through the unknown with less stress and more clarity. Here are a few ways to help you through transitional times.

Create a Daily Routine

You may not be able to affect all that is happening around you or the timing of changes. You can, however, control a portion of your day. Uncover grounding tools that work for you. This could be meditation, walking, a bath, knitting, or some other State of Gray™ technique. Make sure you dedicate at least 15 minutes every day to this practice. This time will be your touchstone for keeping you centered. For those Type A’s in the group, it is something you can control and check off your list every day. The result is a feeling a centeredness which will help you navigate the rest of your day.

Be Kind to Yourself

When we are stressed and not in control of circumstances around us, it is very easy to reach for our addictions. Soothing our stress with caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, or our security blanket of choice is simply using a bandage. Our comfort foods may feel good in the moment but they often result in issues afterwards. Caffeine to wake us up leads to a drop later in the day. Alcohol at night leads to a restless sleepless night. Be kind to yourself by eating whole foods, getting enough sleep, and moving your body. When the body is fed what it needs, it can be an ally against our stress. Plus, taking time to nurture our body takes us out of our worrisome minds at least for a moment.

Focus on the Known

When we have a goal or when our future is uncertain, our focus is on what is next. We can not control what is next. We can not know how the future will turn out. We can not know how the next step will affect us. Focusing on the future leads to worry and therefore more stress and cloudy thinking. Instead, focus on this moment. What is this moment is great? For instance, you can be grateful you found this article or you can be grateful for having technology allowing this article to come to you. You can be grateful you had breakfast or a car that took you where you needed to go. Whenever the stress of what is next is controlling you, take a moment to write down 10 things for which you are grateful for right now in this moment. It will release you from the stress of the future and turn off your cloudy thinking.

If the next months are like the past few, many more curves, shifts, and U-turns are in our future. Hold yourself strong against the sea of change by centering in a routine, feeding your body what it needs, and focusing on the good in each moment.