I have been in the midst of great changes. Ironic, right? The reinvention coach and mentor for empowered change is living another great transformation. Well, that's me at the moment. The inevitable changes of life are happening and I am choosing some more. Fears are being faced. Vulnerabilities are being exposed. Beliefs are cropping up to be digested, reframed, thrown out and turned into fuel for forward movement. With these changes and transitions, more time on my own has led to a sense of loneliness. Or so I thought...
I am on my own in a new place, another stage of life, in unfamiliars on many levels. The thought "I'm lonely" has been making surprise appearances consistently, and I'll admit not to my liking. Initially, I took this thought as fact and started the dip into momentary depression or sadness. Lonely! Oh no. The idea of loneliness set me into fear mode, like loneliness was some goblin guaranteed to turn me into stone, a scarlet letter on my chest, code for "you're unlovable." Left unchecked, the thought "I'm lonely" would quickly become a belief with a disempowering association. Through the practice I've cultivated, I didn't plunge into a dark hole when I definitely could have, believing loneliness meant something was wrong with me or where I was going. Instead, I asked a few of the right questions and turned the looming thought into a great insight.
So, I feel lonely. Okay.
Is that really true?
Are you really lonely?
What does lonely even mean?
If I am, is that such a bad thing?
What else is true?
What's the gift of going solo?
These queries got me to pause rather than run with the initial thinking, thoughts that would undoubtedly lead me to mean self talk and defeatist mentality. Ah, that precious pause. It does wonders for anything. Stopping to breathe gave me a moment to see where I was, actually looking at where my feet were and assessing the facts of my present situation. Reality check! Asking my inner wisdom a few questions and sitting with the answers that came, I became delightfully surprised to find that I was not lonely after all. Yes, I was alone. That was true. Yes, I had thoughts of missing someone and experiences of another time. That, too, was true. What else was true? I was tapping into independence on new levels. I was healthy and whole on my own. I know how to be with myself and live a meaningful life, one morning or afternoon at a time. I actually love being able to choose on a whim where I'll go and what I'll do, a benefit of being independent and in my own company. So, I'm alone, what will I do now? Dancing in the kitchen, yoga moves in the living room, clips of The Office while making a smoothie, changing my mind mid move, silence while meditating, the world is mine to choose as an independent woman on a mission to live fully and love myself completely. The options are endless, what fun!
Looking at my concept of lonely, I transformed the definition into something neutral and eventually elating. Left unchecked, it would hold power over me, and who likes to be controlled by a thought or feeling? With a willingness to explore what frightened me, it became just another word I could use or not. Talk about freedom! When the thought "I'm lonely" came, it means I'm not tuned into my relationship with a higher power or myself. Feeling alone is an invitation to befriend myself in simple ways, to turn up the music and dance, to do something that nurtures my spirit. Being alone does not equal loneliness. Neglecting the amazing relationship I get to have with myself is what feeds loneliness. Talk about a reframe. Challenging previously unquestioned beliefs is where the gold lies. This question and answer session shook me up in the best kind of way. The downer became an upper. Loneliness turned to luscious aliveness as I chose to delve deep and shift my thinking.
Loneliness is just a convenient label, for spaciousness, sacred self time, independence. The negative connotation placed on being alone is silly when I really look at it. As a few of my clients with children would remind me, having a minute alone to go to the bathroom is precious let alone an entire afternoon! Don't get me wrong. Being alone all the time isn't healthy, nor is it why we are here in human bodies. Connecting with community is life affirming, validating, pleasurable. No doubt.
"My people" near and far remind me to stay the course when fears crop up or I feel wobbly. I cherish them more than words, those close to me and part of my previous chapters. This being said, an inability to be alone and content in the solo moments is such a shame. Some of the most meaningful, spiritual, fun, endearing, heart opening moments I have experienced have been when I am in my own presence. Turning inward then reaching out to others is the foundation for the strongest friendships and bonds. Love mastered inside makes it possible to share with others and stay centered in yourself at the same time. Know yourself and you'll attract the tribe you've been waiting for.
The next time a sense of loneliness moves through your mind, take it as an invitation to a party of one with you, turn that music up and start dancing, curl up and read a book, light the candle, draw a bath, do what soothes your spirit and lights your soul on fire. In other words, do something just for you & be kind because you are amazing. Being alone is something so often taken for granted & is really worth celebrating. The longest relationship we get is the one with ourselves, might as well make it an incredible one. What is one thing you'll choose today to cherish your self?
To Enthusiastically Alone Living & The Tribes that Inspire Independence,
Do you want to feel more comfortable & content in your solo time? Message me to find out how.
What do you do when life interrupts your best laid plans?
Things seemed to be going so smoothly. I mean really smooth.
I felt happy, on point, breaking through fear and experiencing what I dared to ask life for both in personal relationships and my professional life. Then there was a hiccup. Let me be more direct, then there was a slap in the face. Smooth sailing came to a screeching halt, at least that’s what I thought.
What had I done wrong?
Did I not use my tools?
Was I deluded to believe that things were working out?
The hiccup, trip up, back track into old beliefs and self blame turned out to be another wake up call. Jealousy, fear, insecurity, second guessing, self blame, survival mode, a sudden stall to what felt nearly too smooth, thinking it’s all gone to hell. Life interrupted? Or was it something else??
I had a choice to make.
Was I going to see this unexpected event, finding out about something that rubbed up against some of my great fears - as my downfall or opportunity to rise above?
The “crisis” label forming, red flags...oh yes, I know where that doom and gloom thinking takes me. It is not comfortable and I KNOW that it doesn't have to set the stage, especially not if I want to live in a place of balance, peace and satisfaction. I want these things and I do live with them most of the time. Life interrupted, can be just a simple interruption of life. Perhaps any hiccup is a reminder to show me just how much choice I have in how I live. Turning the attention back to me has been proven necessary. Truth be told, the focus on who I am in relationship with others was taking center stage. With compassion, devotion, celebration, tenderness, embarrassment and honesty I came back to myself with intention. Balancing the scales and feeding my inner resources brought me to new clarity. A bonus has been detachment from what others say, think, want or do. I get to choose how to be in any situation, just as others do.
Slowing down, meeting basic needs, feeling the feelings, taking care of me, relying on those in my inner circle, slowing down again, recognizing fears, talking about them, having real talks with trusted allies, slowing down (yes, again), using what I have to soothe anxiety so that clarity is possible. Moving at lightning speed in the whirlwind of heightened emotions and thoughts leaves little to no space for a fresh perspective. This is why the toolkit is so important. These are the tools that turn me toward solutions. Keys to open me up, to invite me to step beyond the story, circumstance, warped and one sided belief, or “crisis” rabbit hole. What lies beyond fear’s "limited vision" is a greater clarity and strength than you might imagination.
Looking between the black and white thinking, I now see that change does not equal crisis, disappointment does not mean everything has been a sham.
Crisis = Plot Twist.
Choosing to see how I am being taken care of in the midst of difficulty, is vital. Maintaining calm and seeing from a broader perspective, when details are triggering old beliefs and feelings that I’d rather not be with, is an art that comes with persistent practice. I have survived countless hurts, moments of overwhelm and debilitating fear. By asking a few simple questions, stepping back from the feelings, beliefs and assumptions that seem to be ultimate - other possibilities become visible. This past week has been a return to simplicity for me. Am I hungry? Am I tired? Do I need a pep talk? What is this feeling trying to tell me? What would I choose if I knew how loved I am? What lies beyond this fear?
When you think you've arrived and you get knocked down, life is intervening. Slow down, breathe, check in with your feelings, ask what else is true [beyond what is going on between your ears], seek support from trusted and trustworthy allies, distract yourself in healthy ways and ask important questions.
In asking myself these questions and practicing self care in simple ways, I see this hiccup as a blessing. Yes, there is pain, insecurity, awkward energies and some sadness. There is also strength, recognition of love, faith and tenacity. I am growing through this, whatever the outcomes are. Devoted to myself, I am choosing to see how life is taking care of me beyond any circumstances. It is a choice. This is peace. This is bliss. This is possibility.
Life interrupts us on occasion but that does not mean you have to feel the full weight of a Life Interrupted. Slow down. Feel the ouch. Breathe. Stay curious. Love yourself. Move on.
Life interrupts. Take it as a love nudge.
I am in a space of flow, of success, of abundance. Every day is bringing with it more blessings, answered wishes, new experiences inviting me to step in and shine.
Life is good. Scratch that, life is great.
Amidst change, both unanticipated and long awaited, I am stepping up to the plate. I have been rolling with this feeling great-ness for a handful of days now comfortably, even happily. Claiming my strengths and learning a lot about myself as well, I have been present and vibrantly alive. To be honest, it has been surreal. Slowly and subtly I began to notice shadowy thought patterns creeping in. Do you know these with the same familiarity as I do? The sly, sneaky, passively condemning, coyly bullying gremlins” Things are good now but you know the other shoe is going to drop, don’t you? This can’t last forever…
Setting off a string of similarly negative thoughts, my go with the flow, trusting and elated self started to shift into the skeptic: This is probably too good to be true, I better not get used to this, is everything really okay or have I been fooling myself?
These thoughts, if entertained, can and will likely lead to self sabotage and a self fulfilling prophecy. I know they have for me. If, on the other hand, they are identified, questioned and called out for what they really are (just big, scared bullies), they can and will dissipate and fade away.
The truth is, the other shoe doesn’t have to drop. Things do not have to “go wrong.”
It is perfectly safe, acceptable and marvelous to experience continued success, positivity, and pleasantness even when challenges arise. The belief that after some success (in whatever ways you define and experience it) there must come drama, tragedy or lack is what I have come to call the upper limit problem. When life is going smoothly, it becomes uncomfortable or intolerable and sabotage enters in on an unconscious level. Self sabotage can happen before we know it and cause a train wreck where we had been sailing along, leaving us asking flabbergasted, “What just happened?!”
There are a number of authors, speakers, writers and spiritual traditions that speak to the upper limit problem in their own voices. I particularly enjoy how this is described in The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.
The common themes that I see in these discussions on hitting an upper limit with problems include fear, faith, and choice. Disbelief that it is safe or acceptable to experience what we desire leads to behavior fueled by the depleting states of fear or even terror. When fear comes, we can either believe it without question and follow it blindly into whatever dark corners it leads, or we can choose to question it and feed the faith instead. In short, we can become conscious. With awareness enters choice. We can choose to feed faith instead once we see the thoughts or behaviors for what they truly are: fear. Choosing faith means believing in the goodness of life, in our inherent right to have positive experiences, participating in the process of learning and growing and transcending our former limitations.
As much as it can seem like there is no choice, especially when fear has a strong hold on us, the truth is, the choice is ours. The fear will come. This is just part of being human. What we do with it when it arrives is what dictates where our path leads.
As the sneaky, sabotaging, trickster of a fear came in with “the other shoe is going to drop, don’t get too comfortable here” I met it with a formula I’ll share with you here. Here it is: I acknowledged it, questioned its validity and looked for what else is true. In this brief and powerfully transformative exercise this is what I came up with: Life will bring what it will bring. Right now, life is full of blessings and I am choosing to enjoy them. Even when I get nervous that this will not last forever, I remember that change is the only constant so more new experience is surely on its way. If this, too, shall pass, well then I am going to savor it while it’s here!
After getting in touch with myself, I asked a few simple and powerful questions:
Why am I afraid of feeling good?
Is there something I can do today that will support my feelings of safety?
If I saw this success, joy, and abundance as gifts sent to me from a loved one, how would I receive them?
Am I willing to release the fear and feed the faith?
How will I take care of myself if the other shoe does drop and things go wrong?
In what ways can I love and accept myself through all that I encounter?
Lastly, I returned to the practice that grounds me and lights me up simultaneously. The Gratitude List.
Being so in my head can get overwhelming, so returning to my center is vital after this type of self exploration process. Pen in hand, I grabbed a piece of paper and started listing my “thank you, life” items. The page was full before I knew it, and not just of the external experiences I have been graced with. Interactions with family, the fragrance of tuberose at the market, fresh picked blackberry tasting on the sunset walk, the smile of that loved one and other moments filled the page, too.
Letting life be, whatever it is, is the exquisite privilege and ongoing challenge of a lifetime. Good, bad, difficult, easy, fabulous, aggravating, inspired, ho hum, sacred, mundane, the list goes on. Whatever you are going through, just remember, it will change. So why not take it for all that is being offered now? Today, this hour, this breath, will never come again. The path could turn in an instant, what I know for sure is that right now is what we’ve got. Whether the shoes are on tight and cozy or have been flung off by the tidal wave of life, hang in there and join me in the High Tolerance for Feeling Great Club. It really is the place to be.
See you there,
Shifting seasons into Summer brings more light to us in the Northern Hemisphere. With increasing sunshine and more daylight, there is a lightening up of much more than the atmosphere. The dresses and shorts are out! School is out of session, people of all ages are invited to holiday and spend time outdoors with family, friends and community. There are barbecues and festivals, farmers markets and concerts. Invitations to mix it up from the sometimes monotonous day to day routine are everywhere. Summer reminds us that engaging new-ness is the spice of life. Whether during a specific season of the calendar year or particular stage of life, turning off the auto pilot and choosing something unfamiliar or out of the norm is revitalizing and invigorating.
As the light increases in the physical world, there is a readiness in me that is also rising and growing in visibility.
I’ve been waking up to what’s next for me. I feel changes happening and more coming. Have you, too? The call to spice up the routines and roles has me identifying intention, setting goals, and exceeding them in many aspects of life. Professional opportunities are finding me, new clients are seeking me out, my skills are wanted and being valued, the courage to discontinue habits and patterns that no longer empower me is strong, personal relationships are flourishing, I am inspired creatively, the list goes on.
I’m living some of what I only hoped for last season and beyond. How did it happen?
I mixed it up! The art of trying something new is the spice of life after all. I was ready for a change and stepped into it. I was became ready for something new to set off a domino effect of other new and fulfilling experiences. I realized to get something new I’ve got to do something new. Pretty simple, right? It took me a bit to grasp onto just how profound this statement is when put to practice. Letting go of the familiar routine can be challenging, scary, unsettling. I know!
Recent example: I was invited on an impromptu camping trip to a place just outside of Yosemite National Park. Beautiful, majestic, all inclusive trip away for a few days.
Who would turn this down, you might be asking. The answer: me. My initial reaction was, “I can’t, I would have to find a place for the dog, cancel this, reschedule that…” Excuse, excuse, excuse to stay in my comfort zone. The auto pilot answer was sure to get me more of the same: staying home in a routine that was fulfilling in areas and also ready for some major revitalizing. Who couldn’t benefit from a holiday?
Before answering, with what can only be described as a habitual reaction, stopped me in my tracks. “Just say Yes” swam through my head, drowning out the excuses for long enough to get my attention.
So I listened. I said Yes. I have learned to trust my gut through some painful lessons of ignoring this wise inner guide. Saying yes meant letting others support me, to give up control. I allowed others to watch the dog, packed a bag (well, two and some bedding to be exact – I am not the lightest packer, but who is really?) got out of my comfort zone, gave the auto pilot five days off and had a peaceful, meaningful and play-filled getaway with family. For days I was I was fed in ways nothing else could: new experience. I rarely looked at a clock, read on grass surrounded by trees three thousand feet above sea level, wrote pages and pages of the book I have been grappling with more recently that is due out by Fall (can you feel me smiling from here?!), soaked in some sun, hiked by streaming water, listened to bull frogs, tag teamed my nieces with sunscreen and mosquito spray, and laughed. The simple choice to try something new, to choose a different route and expose myself to unfamiliars, brought me face to face with the power I have to mix it up. Saying yes to getting out of my comfort zone is key, while maintaining basic safety, necessary boundaries and self care of course. I chose to be teachable, to let go of control, to open myself to unfamiliars, to practice flexibility. I spiced it up!
How are you called to mix it up and let the new swing in?There are ways to do this available to us all, everyday. Here are a few methods I use to spice things up on a regular basis:
What might enter in when the art of trying something new is nurtured? Go ahead, spice things up. What’s the worst that could happen? Letting out a few laughs, showing those pearly whites, maybe shedding some tears, looking silly or strikingly brilliant while creating new neural pathways (our brains love them some learning, after all). It’s what we’re here for so go out and get it, you spicy thing you.
This article is published in Simply Woman Online Magazine here.
Balance: How often do you hear, see or say this word? I, for one, hear it a lot. From childhood learning, to meal planning, health magazines, doctor offices, board rooms, food labels, therapists, teachers, bosses and world news, the term is widespread. We can use the word often, but when it comes to defining it, I find many are at a loss. As a Balance, Wellness and Movement Coach, I guide others in the quest to define and create their life on their terms. Rediscovering and defining for ourselves what some basic terms and concepts mean to us as individuals is the key to living authentically and meaningfully. This balance thing is no exception.
For a long time the concept of balance eluded me, too. To be honest, sometimes it still does. I have often wondered "does this balance thing even exist? And if so, who has it?" This initial curiosity has set me on a journey that continues daily, no end in sight yet.
In looking more closely at this all elusive state, I discovered some of the ways I have defined balance. I have equated to stillness and calm, success and perfection. This is a nice theory, a grand ideal, and a trap when I attach to it. Balanced living might include all of these things, though it is not dependent on them. Balance is not a state of complete stillness, as I have thought most of my life and until now, assumed, and become quite frustrated over. Looking at this belief now, it appears more like death to me. Accepting that I had been confused in previous interactions with balance allowed me to rediscover what it is in my life.
If balance isn't what I thought, what does it even look like? How will I know when I'm living it? Am I just waiting for someone else to tell me I have arrived at it?
Asking the question "what is balance to me?" while weaving in the tool of curiosity brought even more questions. Question, question, doubt, frustration, question, comparison... and then I had a revelation.
Sitting on one of those almost too fun to exercise with bouncy balls of all places, I noticed how when I got still and found my center, to remain there, upright and erect, I had to make continuous small adjustments to my legs, back, abs, and arms. A lot was being asked of me: my breath and focus were required as I kept these systems working together to keep me “balanced." This working to stay centered did not feel stressful or agitating, it did ask me to focus and stay committed. "This was it, balance!" poured from my lips, and then I tipped off and met the mat. I had met balance for a moment. My physic al body was not completely still though it might have appeared so from the outside. This moment on the yoga mat remains with me. A simple exercise with profound teachings.
Balance is not what I had previously thought. In an instant, my definition broadened and so had my experience of balance. No longer stagnant and fixed, I was free to explore balance in new terms. Stay curious and the answers will come.
Such is the way balance shows up in my day to day life. Accept the imbalance, ask meaningful questions and assess the situation from the inside out. Bring to awareness one area of your world that feels a bit off kilter. Get in touch with the situation or relationship and apply these questions to it:
Feel into these statements and practice how it will be to actually strike the balanced life you so desire. In celebrating the process of finding our own balance, new insights become available that were hidden from view when we were in resistance mode.
The idea that balance has to look a certain way will keep it in our future, never in the here and now. And who wants to wait for balance? I know I don't. Some equilibrium now and ongoingly sounds wonderful. As long as we stay in the "if...then" and "when...then," our power to choose the reality we live remains in the hands of others: other people, institutions, and circumstances.
My definition of balance is one that continues to grow, change and reveal itself in new ways. While I still wonder how balanced my life actually is, when I ponder on the balance thing there is a peaceful presence that definitely hasn't always been there. Putting to practice the tools of acceptance, curiosity, assessment and application (trying things out) have changed my relationship with balance into something rich, menaingful and rewarding. Balance is something unique to each of us, undefinable by anyone else. Continuing to identify what balance means to me has become fun as I've taken the pressure off and given myself a break for not being perfect. Both of these are daily spiritual practices. I might not be perfect, I definitely tumble, and there are areas of my life that are beautifully in balance right now. These are worth celebrating! And learning from for that matter. Where we are in balance can direct us to find balance and live it in the areas that are ready for a newfound centeredness. Take a moment and learn from your successes. Practically applying what has worked for us before is a simple and efficient way to attain our goals.
Ways to communicate with that balance thing and strike it where you want it include: make small adjustments, look for what's already working, practice adaptability, flexibility, patience, letting go of assumptions, have trust in your process, take the lens off other people's balance or lack thereof, shake the constantly available opinions of others, following your intuition, ask those you admire how they strike the balance they do.
Explore these concepts and apply them to your day to day when you want to find balance again. Remember, balance, like us, are continusouly growing and changing. Allow the balance of yesterday to transform into something equally satifying.
Remember, there is no one way to live in balance. Freedom comes from knowing what works for someone else might not work for you. We are all in this together and only you can discover that glorious formula for balanced living perfectly tailored for you! Question those assumptions, explore your world, stay curious, get on the bouncy ball, be gentle with yourself and find your way to balance as it is showing up today.
Ready, Set, Go, I believe in you!
Have you ever played with dominoes? Something I have been mesmerized by since childhood is creating a path around the living room and beyond, setting up hundreds of dominoes in a winding line. The pieces wrap around the room, circling furniture and man made obstacles, all lining up one after the other. Forming the path is a process, setting intention and planning out the route ahead only to tip over one piece and see the path change. One domino sets the rest in motion, the power of that one small piece fascinates me still. When one piece is touched, the whole line is shaped and shifted. The slightest touch of one domino changes the game for all the others.
We all lead by example. We all set the path in motion, like the lead domino we influence hundreds of others in any given day. There is no way to know how one small choice, action, word, thought, intention, smile, smirk, wave or tear will influence the world as we and others know it. Every choice matters, however small it seems. Each of us has a responsibility, to live with awareness and choose the example we will lead with. Having such awareness can seem daunting sometimes, as can the reality of personal responsibility. The wonderful part of this domino effect thing is that it comes as much from doing what gives us joy as it does doing the conscious and responsible thing. There is so much room for joy. Haven't you been around someone who is enjoying the moment so much it rubs off on you, too? We touch one another every day. How we do this is ours to choose.
Our domino effect is never ending. The choices we make, how we treat ourselves and others, is shaping our path. Acknowledging that I have a responsibility to the world around me is humbling and empowering. I am part of a greater whole, what I do matters and I am just one among many. I choose my attitude, I lead by example, I how I effect others is mine alone and I can always choose again. I have no idea how much my choices influence others. What I do know is that I’d rather err on the side of kindness. If my smile will help someone else out, why not smile? After all, it takes less effort to smile than it does to frown.
What you do matters. If you knew your choices in this next thirty minutes would alter the lives of others for many moments to come, what would you do? Thoughts and intentions create our experiences, so choose wisely. Take a minute and ponder, explore, & decide how you’ll tip the stack o’ dominoes in front of you.
Go ahead, it's your turn.
I can barely wait to see what you set in motion,
"Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end." -- Scott Adams
Something I have been thinking about a lot lately is what it means to have an open heart. This is no real surprise in February, the month full of reminders about love, and that I will be leading a workshop on just this topic next week. Heart shaped everything, flowers, red and pink galore filling the aisles and inboxes. There have been many years where I am unenthusiastic about Valentine's Day, chocking it up as a Hallmark created holiday that brings more pressure than relief to people in regards to their love life. This year is different. I am noticing the abundance of love all around me. This has come with a pretty simple shift: I have broadened my love definition. The advertising and decor has not changed. My perspective has. Expanding the idea of love from the romantic kind (that this month commonly brings into sharp focus) into the universal kind has opened my heart in new ways. With this shift in focus, I am really enjoying this month with all its splendor and taffeta. Stepping back from the idea that romantic love and partnership is the end all be all for happiness (yes, I am popping that fantasy bubble yet again), that anyone not in a relationship is excluded from having fun this month (false!), is a pastime. Acting on these beliefs will surely close the heart.
It is natural to close the heart, especially when there has been hurt. I know this as much as anyone. Who hasn't felt disappointment, loneliness, heartache, sadness, despair and frustration about love? There is a time for stepping away from the buzz of the world, going within, licking our wounds, shedding tears and nurturing the inner self. Closing the heart can be an act of protection and safety. It is when the heart stays closed, caring for the self turns into hiding from the world, and the mind shuts to new possibility that life lacks vitality and meaning. From here, a closed heart becomes a death sentence of sorts. We must reopen to life, dare to experience love again, and step out from the familiar realm of isolation. When it is closed, there is no space for healing to enter. When the heart is open, healing happens and joy can flow easily.
Making peace with where you are, single (or "an individual" as my dear friend Lura once proclaimed) or in a romantic relationship or satisfying partnership with another person, is a step in the direction of enjoying this day dedicated to love. Acknowledging the pressure this season can bring about how things "should be" and choosing to see from another angle can lead to a place of softening, a liberation, an open heart. I know it has for me. This relaxing into what is has put me in the perfect position to see the many ways love is present in my life. This shift in perspective has become a wonderful game of noticing the love and joy strewn throughout the world right now. The smiles on my nieces' faces, laughter with co-workers, the curiosity of my dog, growing gardens, bundled up walks on the beach, gorgeous sunsets, jumping in puddles during the rain, the door held open by a stranger, holding my Grammi's hand, the list goes on.
In asking the question, “What does it mean to have an open heart?" these are just some of the answers that come to mind. When I look at love from the lens of daily miracles, things that bring me a sense of comfort and connection are countless. There is more than enough, more proof of love and reasons to be than I can count. There is so much love, to give and to receive. With an open heart, I am taking notice of the beauty and joyous potential in current situations and circumstances, counting blessings and celebrating the experiences within life now. From this perspective, I have stepped into a kind of romance I didn't know possible. I am letting life love me and I am loving it. I am choosing to have an open heart. What about you?
Is your heart open to enjoy how love is present in your world today? What will it take to open your heart and let luscious love in a little bit more?
If you want to open your heart more today and need a boost, here are some of my go to's you might try:
- ask different questions
- look at familiar things with new eyes
- act as if you are what you want to be
- wear something fancy "just because"
- be with animals
- be with children
- just laugh
- order something new on the menu
- move that body: yoga, dance, etc.
Living with an open heart is a courageous act. There are risks of saying Adios to shutting life out. The satisfaction, bliss and joyful play that come when we open up make the potential risks worth taking. Don't you agree?
Love is all around,
Today was a fabulously trouble-free day. Simple pleasures and productivity met as I showed up for myself and others, gave and received, checked a few to do’s off the list and took a stroll in the sun. The majority of the thoughts I was entertaining were encouraging, or at least neutral, and I felt gratefully at peace. It was a full day, no problems in sight.
Then, all of a sudden, things came crashing down. My muscles and head started aching, I discovered a drenched kitchen floor and cracked pipe under the sink, a full bottle of shampoo dropped on my toe, then came the conditioner. The phone started ringing, the dog barked at what, I cannot tell you, and I felt overwhelmed. My thoughts took a turn and I was questioning whether I am, in fact, doing enough, if everything is okay. The inner critic was well energized and giving me her three cents. The calm and content was out of sight and I wanted it back. Now. Initially bummed and discouraged, then I remembered one of my tools, a technique that brings me back to center anytime and anywhere. I went back to basics.
First, I stopped. Right there in the kitchen amidst the water, ringing and barking, I took a long, slow, deep breath.
Then, I asked what to do next. “Put a bucket under the sink” was the guidance, so I followed it; Simple, straightforward, helpful.
Next, I checked in with my body. What did I need right then and there? Was I hungry? Was I angry? Was I lonely? Was I tired? (HALT) Check & check. I was hungry and tired. So, before anything else was addressed, I made a snack and sat down to eat it. By now, the phone had stopped ringing, the dog was sitting by my side, and my mind was quieter. Yes, the floor was wet. Yes, there was a mess. Did I like it? No.
But how important was it really? [A life saver question I ask often] A wet floor stays wet for a few more minutes or I rejuvenate a body and mind that work for me twenty four seven? Did I want to prioritize cleaning it up and put off the basics of self-care? Yes. Instead, I added my name to the top of the to do list! In ten minutes or less, the things to tend to were all addressed. I checked in with the thoughts and questioned their validity. I reminded the inner critic that she is safe and I am in charge. No need to worry, inner critic, seriously. I said a few affirmations, slowly and genuinely, feeling them soothe my sore spots with each word. I drank a glass of water and took some vitamin C. I sat in silence and let the food fill me, rubbing my feet gently and intently. I took a time out and returned to a place of peaceful presence. When I got up, the wet floor was no big deal. In less than ten minutes! The situation hadn’t changed, my perspective had. Checking myself changed everything.
Have you had one of these moments, or maybe a few? What if you checked yourself more often? How might your perspective and experience change?
Give it a try and get back to basics.
Don't you notice a difference in your state of mind, body and perspective already?!
Go ahead, check yourself!
Here's to you,
Whether I think I am prepared for something or not, life brings it. In the past month, I have had many encounters with unexpected memories and recollections, synchronicities and surprises, challenges and quantum leaps. What I have concluded, yet again, is that when something is in front of me (or within me for that matter), I am ready for it. If it is happening, I am ready and able to meet it. No exceptions.
This belief has been tested and strengthened preceding and following my recent trip to Thailand. Lingering doubt that I can handle all that comes was squashed in one challenging, emotional, surreal and liberating afternoon this week. Within the course of five hours, I found a planner from high school, empty ring boxes, a wedding invitation, the declaration of love heart pendant from my first beau, and a journal with reflections and confessions on years’ worth of experience. In this same afternoon, I drove past a great love I had not seen or spoken to for some time on my way from the market. Reminders of love, life, change and turbulent growing opportunities kept presenting themselves. This was a day! Why is it that all of this comes at once, like a line of dominoes, one leads to the other and to yet another. What led me to be ready for all this so close together? Was this a call to reflect or let go, or both? Thoughts paraded with banners reading “this is too much!” while emotions beamed with shades of vulnerability, sadness, nostalgia, playfulness and honor. The one question I asked in the midst of these thoughts and emotions brought me back to serenity and curiosity:
What is the gift here?
This question itself changes the terrain from panic from the past to peace in the present. I remember a lot. Sometimes this feels like a blessing. Sometimes it does not. The reminders of connection I have shared in previous chapters of my life called me to choose; follow the path of emotions and thought or pave another way. Acknowledging my readiness to handle, survive and even thrive in any circumstance opens me to experience the magic, gift and growth in it. By the end of this particularly memory packed afternoon, I had shed a few tears, chuckled a few laughs, and landed in immense gratitude. I have expressed love freely and received caring passionately in relationships. I still do, now more than ever, with myself. Ready or not… Ready or not!
Your turn: If you’re human, something is showing up in your life, internally or externally, that has you questioning your capability or the outcome. Right? Perhaps some fear crops up when you think about that family dinner or missing the deadline for FedEx to deliver by Christmas.
Find or create some space to be reflective for a few minutes.
Take a seat, take a walk, take a bath and bring this situation to mind.
Notice what emotions and thoughts rise as you do. Remember to breathe, allowing any sensations to rise and fall in their own way. What surfaces is presenting itself to change, why not let it?!
Now ask “What is the gift here for me?” Take a few long, deep breaths and open to what you hear, see, smell and taste. If there were a gift, what could it be? If there were many gifts, how might they be showing up? Play with this, allowing the sensations to transform into guideposts for where you are headed.
I believe in you, you are ready.
So… what do you want? My guess is a gift. Who doesn’t love a present from time to time?
With Blessings & So Much Gratitude,
This article is featured in Simply...Woman Magazine at http://www.simplywoman.com/ready-or-not-life-is-coming/
This has been one full year for me and for a while there, the dreaming was dormant. Moving through major transitions and finding myself in new ways through them all, I am grateful to say that I have resumed dreaming elaborately. I have prayed consistently, worked rigorously, released faithfully and shown up for recovery vigilantly. The path has been paved and I am walking it with dignity, respect, service, and more joy and peace than I could have anticipated. Dreams are taking shape: Reinvention + Recovery Coaching is developing, close friendships are being nurtured as new relationships are coming in, writing continues on projects that light me up, I am even leaving for an overseas adventure this week! There is nothing to worry about, everything is taken care of, life is good.
All great news. Right? Absolutely! Then why am I writing this you might be wondering? I have been graced with so many blessings. I am in a state of no problems. And I am feeling anxious. This trip has me so excited and tense all at once. I have the freedom to explore Thailand for a few weeks where I will be completing a yoga certification program. I am thrilled to be learning more about my body, mind and spirit so as to guide others in this intimate self-exploration. I have been linked with this community of kindred spirits and complete permission to unplug from business and technology. This is what I have wanted and it is here, and I am unsure how to be with it. To let in the dream come true.
Can you relate to any of this? Are there goals you’ve set only to lose steam as they are coming to fruition? Have you ever set yourself up for something fun, extravagant, meaningful only to arrive in the experience of being with it and unsure of how to really let it in? It’s almost as if the push to achieve takes the spotlight when the achievement itself is waiting in the shadows.
This is just silly, I know it is. Why work towards something and then not enjoy it?
I have been through a lot this year and deserve to unwind and experience a dream come true. We all do. Anyone and everyone can tell me that it is more than appropriate to take time off and have an adventure, validate my choices and encourage me to enjoy what is. All the well meaning, uber loving, supportive and honest feedback from those around me is incredible (I thank you beloved friends + family!) As appreciated as it is, none of this love from others can make me relax into accepting and enjoying what is. I have to believe that I am safe in and worthy of living a life I love. It comes down to worthiness and trust, yet again.
This seems so daunting. I feel frustrated, anxious and guilty. None of these are states I want to stay in for very long. So, I’ve been asking, where do I go from here? I know what to do. My Inner Wisdom knows. The answers are in me, so now it’s just about letting them guide me.
Here are a few of the tips my Inner Wisdom gave me to try. The results have been stunning, as they often are when I take her lead.
Take off the filter: Find the feeling states (frustration, anxiety, guilt, etc.) and give them a voice. What do they have to get off their chest? Journaling with these feelings can reveal what is actually needing some extra attention inside. No filtering necessary, just let it out on paper! If you don’t feel comfortable keeping the pages around after, have a ritual and burn them in a fireplace or send them to the shredder with love.
Shake that tush: Yes, I grabbed the hula hoop and started swinging. Redirecting the frenetic energy from my head down to my body turned the state of disempowerment I was in into something completely different. I went from lethargic anxiety to playful aliveness in two minutes flat! My head was just full; this physical movement was just the release it needed.
Answer me this: Complete these statements with the experience being resisted in mind.
If I weren’t afraid, I would …
I hold back because …
What I need to feel worthy is …
How I can give this to myself is …
I can’t help but smile when …
One thing I am loving about myself is …
One thing I am loving about life is …
How I choose to feel in this moment of grace is …
Tap Tap Tap: Have you heard of EFT? The Emotional Freedom Technique has been a source of empowerment for me since hearing about it, learning it, then actually doing it. Whether on a walk with the dog, in traffic, or lying in bed at night, this simple tool brings me back to my Inner Wisdom (and this is a place I love to be). If you are ready for some relief and realignment, trying tapping!
This was the formula: Taking a few minutes to be with myself, returning to the tools and techniques I have learned and used, daring to get honest about what is actually happening versus what my mind is concocting, nurturing the tender places within and sharing it with others. This was the result: I reconnected with the safe space within, peace returned, joy reignited and I even started packing my suitcase! I like this equation.
How will you get to the safe place where dreams can be lived without apology?As usual, I'm here for you + with you and excited to be embarking on this together. Here's to dreaming the dreams and living them, too!
In the Flow and Taking Flight,
Darcy Helene Meehan
As an advocate of Reinvention + Recovery, I work with clients to achieve balance, alignment and purpose in all areas