Weathering the Storm!

For those of you who live in Southern Alberta you will understand where I am coming from. We just received an early, heavy winter storm and most of us were taken by surprise by the heavy, wet snow that blanketed our environment.  As I frantically worked in my backyard to save my tree from losing major branches under the weight of this heavy snow, I reflected on the fact that this tree and it’s struggle to hold the weight of the snow was similar to my experience in life in the past years.

I arrived home and went to my backyard and noticed that the single tree I have was majorly being pulled down by the weight of the falling snow. As the tree still had all of its leaves the accumulation was just too much weight for the tree to handle. I knew I needed to do something! I was feeling a sense of panic as it was still snowing outside and the tree was continually getting weighed down. I didn’t want to cut the tree… I had been nurturing it for years! I had rescued it from aphids’ infestations numerous times, brought it back from the brink, not to mention the countless arguments I had with my husband who wanted to cut it down. I had fought for this tree and I was not going to let it die because of this storm. This led me to the decision I had to cut off some of it’s beautiful branches in order to save it. I am someone who finds nature naturally beautiful and I do not like to mess with it unless I have to, so this decision was not an easy one for me.

 

Weathering the Storm!

 

When I took the shears to the first branch I hesitated… I really didn’t want to do this but I felt like I had no choice. I had to cut. So, I did, …. SNIP…. and the first branch fell to the ground. As silly as it sounds I felt bad for the branch that now lay at my feet I had taken away it’s source of life and now it was doomed. Taking that in for a second I turned to the tree, sucked it up and made another cut, all the while still feeling this sense of urgency as the snow was still falling. The next branch I took on was a huge one. It took a lot of strength and effort on my part to get this huge branch dissected from the tree but when it fell, the main branch bounced back up. This was a welcome sight as I now could see the good that all of this tree trimming was doing for the tree overall. So, despite how it was losing parts of itself, it was gaining a stronger foundation. I continued with less hesitation now. Soon my mother arrived with a saw and we ended up taking off some huge branches and every time we made another cut, the tree bounced back against the weight of the storm. After an hour, I had pruned my tree taking off some major branches and overall, I had saved the tree. I was cold and wet from doing this work in the midst of the heavy, wet snowfall. There was a sense of satisfaction as I looked at the branches laying on the snow-covered ground but also a sense of sadness for the parts of the tree that were now dying.

 

Weathering the Storm!

 

This experience really brought out a lot of self-reflection in me.  About how this tree is a direct reflection of my life over the past couple years. I too had been hit by a big storm, and in the midst of the storm and after the storm I had to make some pretty hard decisions on what I was going to let go of so that I too could survive. Even as I write this, I can see more correlations in this experience. It was like the universe had provided me with this opportunity of tree cutting to see my life play out and recognize that I had made the right decision. Trimming things out of my life that were dragging me down was the best thing that I could have done for myself.

When I started with trimming the tree and revaluating my life, it was not easy to let go of these old beliefs, these old patterns of behavior and these old stories. In fact, it was quite difficult at times. Most of them had been in operation in me for years and I had learned to accept them. They were functional or at least I had made them that way, but now I was given this opportunity to release them! They no longer served who I wanted to be – who I had really always wanted to be. This visual of the tree branches being pulled down by the weight of the snow was exactly how I was feeling in life I was holding myself back and weighing myself down by outdated stories that I kept telling myself. Just like with the tree, the first cut was the hardest but once I started and could see some improvement then it became a little easier. There were some branches that were really big as they were wound into so many aspects of my personality. These branches took a lot of perseverance and strength to let go of. Some of these things that I found the hardest to get rid of in my life took as much mental strength to let go of as it took physical strength with the tree.  And just like in my life, there were some branches I couldn’t do on my own. I had to put my trust and faith in others to support me and, luckily, I have an amazing support network that was up for the challenge.

 

Weathering the Storm!

 

Just like the tree, I was faced with something that could potentially have ruined me. But instead of just giving up, I grabbed the shears and started taking off the things that were holding me down. I am happy to report that my tree survived the storm just as I have survived the storm in my life. And both my tree and I are stronger now, probably stronger than we have ever been. As I stood there looking at the pile of cut branches and felt such a sense of accomplishment, I had saved the tree and I had saved myself! Sometimes the universe gives you a storm that looks devastating, one that looks like it could literally take you down, and in the end, it turns out that the storm was exactly what you needed. It was not something to fear or hide from but rather an opportunity to do some trimming!

I hope if you find yourself in a storm, that you take a second to realize that it may look bad at the moment, but it doesn’t have to be as devastating as we are anticipating!

 

 

5-Star Living

When I decided I wanted to pursue coaching it was for completely altruistic reasons. I had been in a helping profession for years and I had noticed the shortfalls in the system so I really wanted to help people on another level, a deeper one. A level where they could feel empowered in their own lives. What I didn’t realize is that it was going to change my life, too!

It’s Crazy!

I started out on this path a few years ago and, when I look back now, I can barely recognize the person I was back then. I have undergone such an amazing transformation, one that I never even realized was possible. When I started coach training, I was not only being taught how to help others, I also participated in the same activities. I was learning the same tools and having the same sessions as I now provide to my clients. In the beginning, I was under the impression that I was self-aware and pretty well educated in personal and spiritual growth – and I was – but now I have come to realize that I was probably only about 25% aware! There were so many things that I had just surrendered to as being a part of who I was, stories I accepted. What I know now is that theses stories, patterns, beliefs and thoughts were really holding me back in life and I didn’t even know they were playing out! Crazy, right?!

It’s amazing when I look back now on how I was participating in my life. I was completely oblivious to the potential and, to be honest, I wasn’t really in a bad place, I was enjoying my life… somewhat. So how do you know what you don’t know? What I mean is, how can we understand that something is not all that it could be when it is a part of the life that we live and that we simply accept as that…just life!

5-Star Living

 

You Don’t Know, What You Don’t Know

I had a similar experience when I was first diagnosed with thyroid problems. I talked to doctors and they told me that with my levels where they were, my thoughts and body were in a state of hyper drive. Which was evident in the fact that my hands would tremble all the time, but I was used to it and it started so slowly that I just became accustomed to it… it was me. The thing is, it wasn’t until I started on my healing with my naturopath and my mind and body started to slow down, my levels started to come into a “normal” range, that is when I realized how fast things were before. And that ‘s the same experience I had with coaching. Like I said I went in it to help others and what I got was never even in my frame of reference. One of the strongest examples of this was my level of confidence. I thought of myself as ‘confident enough’, it’s not like I was completely shy, and I was ok with that! But now, looking back, I would say that my confidence level was at 10% and now I am more like at 85%. Back then, how was I to know that there was more? Sure, I saw and read about others who had more confidence, but I just accepted that they were anomalies or had something special that I did not possess!

Happiness

The same can be said for my happiness. Prior to coaching (and prior to my husband’s passing), I would have ranked my happiness at 75%, what I realize now I was functioning at maybe 15%, and presently I would say I am more like at 90%. What an unbelievable difference! But again, how do you know what you don’t know? Oftentimes we just operate on auto-pilot and, because things aren’t necessarily in a state of chaos or trauma, we continue to operate on auto-pilot, as it is serving our needs. That’s the thing, it is just serving our needs. There is potential for so much more, beyond just the basics. It’s like the difference between a meal at a 5-star restaurant compared to a fast food joint. The fast food is meeting our needs and is ok we are surviving but…WOW…the 5-star restaurant, now that is living!!!   And that is something I think a lot of us don’t realize – we are living the fast food life when we could have the 5-star life! I realize this now and most days I enjoy 5-star living. There are times when I slip back into fast food living but I have the tools, awareness, support and vision to move through this with grace and a sense of curiosity.

5-Star Living

 

That is the beautiful thing about life. The more aware you become, the more options you have and the more you want to learn and grow. It’s a pretty cool place to be in, for sure.

Coaching was the opening for me to create this life for myself, but that doesn’t mean that was the only way. I do feel though that coaching with a good, professional, aware coach is one of the most empowering experiences one can have. I know I have personally watched clients blossom into a life that was never even on their radars previously. It is such an honor to watch them claim their power and move forward in life with a passion, conviction and purpose! One thing I tend to hear a lot is “Why did I not know this before?” And I agree! Why are we not taught this vital information? It is an injustice for sure!

 

Reflection

Looking back now, I can recognize there was always this quiet whisper from deep inside me that I wish would have been louder. At times it would whisper “there is more”. It was because of that whisper I think I sought out the people living the 5-star life.  These inspiring authors, teachers and speakers told me I could have it all but to be honest I never really believed it. I had participated in their courses and read their books and watched shows that would give me a glimmer of this life, but eventually that glimmer would fade. I did learn from them, but it just wasn’t totally clicking. I was usually left feeling that this was just the way it was in my life. I didn’t doubt they had created this life for themselves, but I believed that was their life, obviously not mine.  I am by no means saying these attempts at personal growth were a waste of time, rather I think they provided a great foundation for me. The thing that I was missing was I was often in my own head doing the work, therefore stuck in the same old thinking patterns and that is why (I realize now) I wasn’t able to take flight. I am so grateful to all of those authors, speakers and presenters for their inspiration and laying the ground work because I finally get what they were all talking about! What I realize now is that I really do have the power within me to live that 5-star life, we all do!

Though I ascribe to a “no regrets” life and I recognize that things happen when they are supposed to, I can’t help but wonder where I would be now had I known all of this in my 20’s. Perhaps the seeds were planted in my 20’s and they just didn’t start to grow until now? Either way, I am grateful for where I am!

I am not going to tell you it is an easy path but really, in life, is anything worth the time and effort really easy? If it comes too easy then we are robbed of the opportunity to really enjoy the spoils of our efforts.

5-Star Living

My sincerest wish for everyone reading this is: No matter how you find it, I hope you find the thing that catapults your life from fast food to 5-star! And I suggest if you hear that whisper, listen and seize the opportunity, it’s so worth it!

Expand Your Comfort Zone!

We all have a comfort zone and, if you think about it, it’s kind of like an elastic band. Inside the circumference of the elastic lie the activities, people and situations that we feel comfortable participating in and with. This would include things like work, our circle of friends, our usual hobbies or activities, our usual restaurants and even usual places we travel. The things that lie in our comfort zone are things that – you guessed it – we feel comfortable with. They are known to us, we understand them and there are really no surprises with them, that is why they are comfortable. These things are great, but on the other side of the elastic lies the rest of the world. The people we don’t know, the activities we have not done, the situations we have not been in, as well as the things we fear or have avoided. Although it is vital to have places where you feel comfortable, there is a whole other world outside of that comfort zone. That other world has the potential to provide us with some amazing experiences.

Expand Your Comfort Zone!

My Realization

Recently I became aware that my comfort zone was shrinking and the circle of things I found comfortable was becoming smaller and smaller. The big eye opener for me was when I went to leave on a trip to Arizona with one of my dearest friends. When I booked the trip, I was excited as I love to travel and explore (or at least I had). But in the last three years my life has been full of changes, so I found comfort and solace in my home and near surroundings. I had been on weekend trips and a few other longer holidays but not much in the last year. As the day neared for me to leave, I observed that I was starting to feel anxious. I didn’t think too much of it, as trying to get things packed and sorted for a trip can sometimes be stressful. The day I was to leave on the trip arrived and a swell of anxiety filled my body. I was in what I would equate to a small panic attack. I did my usual grounding exercises and tried to feel into the emotions… nothing was working! To be honest, it got so bad I even contemplated cancelling the trip as the thought of leaving was so overwhelming! Thankfully, I had made a commitment to my friend and I take those pretty seriously. That value forced me to continue with the plan, despite the anxiety. As I drove to meet my friend, I was flooded with emotions to the point I started to cry uncontrollably.  I used my self- awareness skills to try and investigate what was going on and to get myself grounded, but it wasn’t working. So, I resigned to let the tears come and I cried for almost the whole drive. I’m not really sure what I was crying for, but it was there so I let it flow. During this time, my thoughts were swirling with self-doubt, guilt, fear and anxiety. On one hand, I felt silly because I knew that I wanted to do this, but on the other hand the emotions were just so strong. I found the further I got away, the calmer I started to feel. When I did meet up with my friend (whom is a great support) I completely broke down again. The first hour and half of our journey was spent by her supporting me and me releasing and speaking all the guilt, fear and anxious thoughts I was having. Then just as quickly as the tears came they dissipated. I was now feeling relief. It was at that point I realized I had let my comfort zone get way too small and what I was experiencing was the result of finally stretching my comfort zone.

I say all that to state that we have a comfort zone for a reason. But when that comfort zone becomes too restrictive, it’s time to start considering making some changes and stretch your elastic!

Expand Your Comfort Zone!

 

Stretch your elastic!

Stretching your comfort zone can be a scary thing. That means we have to venture beyond the known, beyond the expected, into unknown, unfamiliar terrain and that is anxiety producing. I think all too often our comfort zones stay stagnant or even shrink because we get busy in our lives. On top of that, I think that so many of us are stressed and overwhelmed in our day to day lives that just thought of adding a little more is too much. But the thing is, just like me, if we let our comfort zones get too small then we miss out on some pretty amazing experiences.

Since my realization of my shrinking comfort zone, I vowed to stretch it out! The experience served as a huge eye opener for me! Since then, I have started pushing myself to get out more and meet new people. Trying new things and having new experiences is pretty cool! I am now feeling much more capable of handling the new and much less stressed me when faced with new opportunities.

Expand Your COmfort Zone!

What Now?

How do we do it? How do we stretch our comfort zone? It’s easy, depending on the type of person you are. You can take baby steps or you can really push yourself as long as you are trying something new. For example, it could simply be visiting new restaurants, trying a new sport, participating in new social activities, meeting new people, volunteering…anything that gets you trying something new. And if you are really adventurous you could travel to new places, take weekend adventure trips to new destinations, join that yoga or art class that you have avoided, write an article for your local paper or maybe really challenge yourself to face something you are afraid of like swimming if you have a fear of water, or joining toastmasters if you fear public speaking. Whatever level you choose to stretch your comfort zone, any and all will help!

 

Expand Your Comfort Zone!

 

The Result

When we stretch our comfort zones we feel a rush of exhilaration, a sense of completion, a sense of accomplishment and a well-earned respect for ourselves. Even if the activity is not all you thought it could, be you still did it and that is the important part! Each time I go out of my way to stretch my comfort zone I realize how truly strong and capable I am and I am inspired to try even more new things. Once you start you just want to keep going! And isn’t moving forward and finding your happiness the point of life?

So, if you have found that your comfort zone is becoming too restrictive, believe in yourself! You have the courage to stretch your elastic band! Remember, an elastic band stretches before it breaks, so go out there and stretch it…even if it’s only a little bit!

Top 5 Ways Coaching Moves You Forward

Coaching is getting a lot of attention lately. It is on the rise and, from personal experience, I can see why! This observation not only comes from my own personal experiences, but also from working with clients. What I have noticed is that coaching is extremely successful at moving people forward in their lives. Here are the top 5 reasons why I believe coaching is so successful at helping people move forward into a life that they love.

1. It’s your wisdom!

Coaching is not about telling you what to do or what not do in your life, rather it is about creating a safe place where you can explore yourself. Through thoughtful questions, a professional coach can listen beyond the words to hear your internal guidance or wisdom. What I mean by this is, coaches are trained to hear not just the words, but the meaning behind them. They grab those little pearls of wisdom that are hidden among the chatter that goes on in our minds. I once heard that our intuition (internal wisdom) is like a pebble dropping in the ocean. Amongst all the other thoughts that are running in our minds, it’s no wonder our intuition is so hard to hear. And that makes it difficult to hear. In coaching, the coach is trained (if professional) to listen past the noise and hear those pearls of wisdom and then feed that information back to you. So, when it comes to making decisions about your life, it is your own wisdom that is guiding you to the right choice. I have heard clients say, “But I don’t know the answer”, but in the coaching conversation with focused and thoughtful questions, the answers just come flowing out. Most people who experience this are surprised that they had that wisdom inside themselves. I believe we all do, we just need the tools to be able to listen past the other noise!

Top 5 Ways Coaching Moves You Forward

2. Fill your tool belt!

Coaching provides you with tools that you can use in the future. It gives you insights into yourself and your unconscious programming to help you recognize them in the future. These tools are priceless! You become truly unstoppable when you are able to listen to yourself and recognize the ‘tapes’ that play in your head. You have the power to choose to listen to the ‘tapes’ or to change them. It is like being given a manual to your unconscious that you can use when needed. Not only do you understand yourself better, but you start to see the world around you differently. You are able to gain new perspectives on yourself and the world and that is powerful!

3. Build confidence!

I think one of the biggest things is the doubting mind that we all have. We can talk ourselves out of pretty much anything. Even when we know it is good for us, we have a million and one reasons why it can’t or won’t work out for us. We start to question our ability to make good choices, but what is really happening is we are losing trust in ourselves. Coaching is so successful because it is a starting point to rebuild that trust. When you no longer doubt yourself, you are much more capable of facing the challenges of life head on because you know you are capable. This is an empowering step in the coaching process when you begin trusting yourself, you become more willing to take risks to get the life that you want.

Being able to trust yourself is the key to building confidence and when you have the confidence that you are fully capable of, again, you are unstoppable!

Top 5 Ways Coaching Moves You Forward

4. Based in the present, looking forward.

The very nature of coaching is all about moving forward! It focuses on the present and the future – where you are and where you want to be – instead of where you have been.  The only time we look at the past in coaching is to see if the patterns and beliefs you have learned in the past are still serving you. This is very different from therapy where the focus is around healing the past. In contrast, illuminates how the past is replaying in the present. I have heard numerous times from people “I don’t want to focus on the past, I just want to move forward”. That is not to say there is no value in healing the past if that is what you need, but if you are wanting to move forward then coaching is the choice for you!

5. It’s all about you!

Coaching is like a dance between the coach and client. There is no preset formula, as everyone is unique, and coaching honors that uniqueness. This means that things move at your pace and it focuses on what is happening in your world right now and what is affecting where you want to be. There are times when a client may be on a certain path or have a goal for a session, but when the conversation starts it becomes clear that there is something else unfolding that is more relevant than the planned topic. In coaching, the coach follows along with the conversation to get to a desired outcome, based on the individual. This means that what is relevant to the client is the focus of the session, so whatever is stopping you from moving forward is addressed in the present moment.

Top 5 Ways Coaching Moves You Forward

Life coaching really is all about moving forward. It recognizes the contributions of the past and addresses the situation in the present so that you are able to move forward to reach your goals. If you have never experienced it, it is hard to explain how amazing this experience is. For me, it is because of the wonderful coaches I work with that enable me to get out of my own way and create a life that I want and love. The insights I have gained into myself are truly beyond anything I ever thought possible and the personal power and confidence gained from this has been beyond my wildest dreams.

Recognizing Compassion

With the natural disasters happening around the world, I am reminded this week of how we as a culture, and as individuals most of the time fail to notice the good and compassionate side of humanity. Most times, it takes a tragedy like what is happening for us to start recognizing the compassionate actions of others, this is especially true in the media. Saying this, I am not trying to minimize these wonderful acts of compassion, rather I am pointing out that it is really only in times of tragedy that we give these acts a lot of attention. I believe that, on a daily basis, all around the world there are similar acts of compassion happening yet we fail to recognize it. Instead, we focus on all the struggles and problems, rather than spending a minute to recognize all the good that is out there.

 

Globally

We do this on a global scale as well as on an individual basis. Why is it that we let the positive slip by us, instead we focus on the negative acts? On a global scale, you can see this daily by watching the news. They tend to focus on the negative acts of humanity and skim over, or altogether skip, the compassionate acts. This is why I choose not to watch the news! On the rare occasions when I do catch it, the stories focus on the doom and gloom and the negative aspects of humanity. I have even noticed when there is nothing new and negative happening, the stories then try to remind us something negative from history. This is crazy! It feeds our fears and negative bias, and we soak it up. No wonder there are so many of us that struggle with being negative! I do understand the need to be aware of what is happening in the news, but what I am missing is a balance. Because as much negative happenings as there are, in my belief, there are also equal or even more acts of compassion and positive humanity happening too!

Recognizing Compassion

Individually

That is on a global level, but looking at an individual level it is the same case. When most of us run through our  day, we focus on all the negative things that have happened… the person who has cut you off in traffic, the coworker who was rude, the partner who was insensitive and so on. We forget about the person who gave us their parking spot, the coworker who brought your favorite cookies, the spouse that made dinner so you could attend a yoga class. We take these things for granted and instead of celebrating the things that enriched our day, we focus on the things that went wrong.

If you need further proof, look at your casual conversations with others, for example, those who work in customer service. The usual conversations revolve around how bad the weather is and who is suffering because of the latest horrible act of humanity, or the suffering of others. I notice this all the time with others and have even caught myself doing it. However, I have now made a conscious effort to change these automatic responses.

With all this negative focus, no wonder so many people are in bad moods! Doom and gloom all around and we focus on it.

As I have mentioned numerous times, we are hardwired to notice the negative for safety reasons, but that does not mean that is all we can notice!

Recognizing Compassion

 

So, what do we do about this?

What would happen if we all made an effort to minimize the negative and recognize the positive? There would be a radical shift in our perspectives! If we all started trying to get a more balanced view of humanity I think we would see others not as someone who could potentially cause us harm, but rather as another human being who is capable of compassion.

Our view of humanity would shift from one of fear and negativity to one of inclusiveness and compassion. Think about it, if 75% of things you heard about a new coworker or neighbor was negative, how would you feel about this person? Well, of course you would probably be fearful of them to some degree. You would be on guard when you met them and chances are you would maybe even avoid them. This is exactly what happens in our world because we hear all these negative things. We expect that others can’t be trusted and we need to be on guard around them. What an epic change we could create in our world if we could all expect the best from others instead of fearing the worst!

If you want to make this shift, challenge yourself to start noticing the wonderful acts of humanity around you. Being aware and recognizing them will teach your brain to search these experiences out more often!

Challenge Yourself

On a personal level, you can remember to count your blessings, practice gratitude for acts of compassion, acknowledge the good in others and yourself. Acknowledge what you notice and talk about it often. If you find yourself going down that old familiar route of a negative bias, then consciously make the effort to recognize something good. I am not saying completely ignore the negative, but doesn’t it make sense to focus on what you want?  If you want a more positive life then focus on that. There will be negatives for sure! You will get cut off in traffic, someone will be disrespectful, there will be acts of aggression and examples of the harsh side of humanity. That is a part of life, but wouldn’t it be nicer to be able to let those events pass and instead focus on the acts of compassion you have experienced instead?

My heart goes out to all of those who are suffering now, especially all those affected by these natural disasters. May you find peace, compassion and healing!

Thank you! Louise Hay

I had a different blog planned for this week then I received the news that a woman I admired passed away. Louise Hay was an inspiration to myself and millions of others and I am sure her many works and foundation will continue to be for years to come. To honour her this week I decided to share my favorite Louise Hay quotes. If you have not had the opportunity I would highly recommend her books.

I hope you find these as inspirational as I do!

Thank you! Louise Hay

 

Thank you! Louise Hay

 

Thank you! Louise Hay

 

Thank you! Louise Hay

 

Thank you! Louise Hay

 

 

Thank you! Louise Hay

 

Thank you! Louise Hay

 

Thank you! Louise Hay

 

 

Thank you! Louise Hay

 

And lastly….

Thank you! Louise Hay

 

Thank you Louise Hay for all you have done for myself and the millions of others that have benefited from your wisdom. May you rest in peace.

A New Reflection – Transformation Mind, Body & Soul

I had an interesting experience in my yoga class the other week. I noticed my shadow when I was doing a pose and at first glance I didn’t even recognize it! I found this interesting, as over the past three years I have been doing a lot of work in the area of personal growth and spiritual awareness. It was at this point that I realized that I didn’t recognize my reflection because it was new, I was new!

 

A New Reflection

 

Looking back over the past three years I am proud of the steps I have taken to move my life in a new direction, a direction towards creating a life that I love. It has been a lot of work and at times it has been difficult but it has been all worth it…I have a new reflection!

Seeing this new reflection has reminded on a literal level how our bodies carry our experiences. What I have found is once I started to sort through all my old patterns and beliefs, my body physically started to change.

I see it clearly now that as I was physically, emotionally and psychologically letting things go, that no longer served me, I was changing., my reflection had changed!

On an emotional level, I used to get quite teary at times, it was like my emotions were pouring out of me. I understand now that as I was at maximum capacity for stuffed emotions and, when something happened slightly emotional (that really wasn’t that significant), my emotions would run over. I no longer do this! Instead, I have learned to feel through my emotions, I used to stuff them down, so as not to appear weak and emotional, I can see now how unhealthy for me that was. This is something I think a lot of us do. When we stuff our emotions, they don’t just go away. They build up in our bodies and, at some point, we just explode. Perhaps that looks like anger, maybe it’s self- abuse, a “nervous breakdown”, or maybe it is acts of numbing; which I think is most common. On the surface, we may look like we are coping, but really, deep down, we are suffering! Now, that I allow my emotions rather than stuff them, my reflection now shows a less stressed more flexible, happier person. And that is pretty cool!

 

A New Reflection

 

Perhaps the biggest way my reflection has changed is psychologically. I have learned to love and accept myself; this has probably been the hardest. I have learned that the thoughts running through my mind are not an absolute … I have a choice! I have learned that “I am who I am”. What I mean by this is I have learned to embrace the shadow aspect parts of me. The ones that I was previously, desperately tried to hide. I did this because I worried I would be judged and I was scared to show them. Now, I have learned to be compassionate with myself, to tame my perfectionist, befriend my inner critic and challenge myself. This awareness has been the most profound in my life. If you would have asked me three years ago if I even thought this level of self-awareness and happiness was possible, I would have doubted you! I believed this is just how life is but I realize now that this is just another story our minds tell us! It is not an absolute truth. I think a lot of us play the tape that there is something fundamentally wrong with us, and therefore we hide parts of ourselves and wear masks to try to prove to others we are OK. Without a doubt, this is what I was doing in the past, and it led to a very stressful, unhappy life. The thing is I didn’t even realize how unhappy until I started doing this work. When I stopped playing the tape that something is wrong with me, and I really started to see things clearly then I understood what real happiness was.

A New Reflection

So, going back to my new reflection I am proud of the work I have done, I am happier because of the work that I have done and I embrace this new reflection! I am now in a much better place in my life. I know that I will continue to grow and learn, but now I am doing it from a place of curiosity and strength rather than a place of thinking there is something wrong with me and “I need to be fixed”.

This voyage is something anyone can do! I am no different than any of you. If you are willing to put in the work, willing to dive deep into yourself and willing to question your perceived reality, then you too can have a new reflection! Trust me, it’s so worth it!

If you are ready to get a new reflection, join me for a supportive body transformation class. Over the 7 weeks, you will be to given the tools you need to build confidence, love yourself for who you are, and get a new reflection! Ready for your new reflection, just click here. 

Finding Grace in the Grieving Process

There is a lot of great information out there on the grieving process and how to get through it. I am not going to talk about how to get through it, but rather how to grieve with grace. I think oftentimes we make things harder on ourselves, in this already difficult time, and this is my personal and observed experience of how to make things a little less stressful.

Embrace your emotions.

I think one of the things that I have heard over and over from people who are grieving is that they try to control how and when the emotions come. I think this is a fundamental error. When we try to control our emotions, not unlike an unruly toddler, they will tantrum until they get the attention and respect they deserve. When we try to control them, we are refusing ourselves the very necessary cleansing that they are there to do. I think this is why some people get stuck in the grieving process. They are not ready to face the emotions and, therefore, continue to stuff them. I recognize that this is difficult and the emotions at times feel like they will swallow you up. The thing is, when we try to stifle them they end up doing just that. When we feel through them, they lose the power and they are released. When they are stifled or stuffed, they will demand our attention and, the more we stuff, the louder and stronger they get. Therefore, my suggestion is when they surface, feel through them. Trust that you will be ok and allow them to be released. You deserve to grieve and you are right in how you are feeling at that moment.

 

Finding Grace in the Grieving Process

 

Allow others to support you.

Too many times we try to be strong in our grief we perceive that we are on our own. We all have people in our lives who can support and love us through the loss, so let them! No matter how big or small people want to help and support you, most times they are just unsure of what they can do so they fear they will say or do the wrong thing. Don’t be afraid to turn to others for support, ask for what you want and allow others to show their compassion. I believe this is not a sign of weakness, rather it is a sign of true strength. Naturally, we are social beings and we need our tribe especially in times of sorrow.  I suggest reach out to those you trust and allow them to support you in whatever way that may be. It could be something as simple as going for supper or perhaps it is support with the figuring out logistics around your loss. Whatever you may need, ask for it. If they are true members of your tribe they will be there no questions asked.

 

You don’t need to be strong.

It’s ok to show weakness! It is human and we are absolutely entitled to be weak at times. Too many of us feel like we need to be the strong ones, like we need to hold it together, and we judge ourselves for showing signs of weakness. I understand we view being weak as vulnerable and it absolutely is a very vulnerable place to be, but that does not mean that we are weak. In fact, it means that we are brave enough to face our story with grace, honesty and the natural vulnerability that is associated with loss. When we are too consumed with appearing strong, we tend to stuff our feelings and keep to ourselves. In the end, we prolong our suffering because we are not really dealing with it. Instead, we are merely postponing it and, in most cases, making it that much more difficult to deal with when it does surface. Be strong, be brave by owning the vulnerability that is associated with loss. If not now, then when?

Finding Grace in the Grieving Process

 

Live in the present.

I found in my grieving that the hardest days were the days where I was not in the moment. I was either looking back with regret or nostalgia OR I was in the future forecasting how different and scary my life looked without my husband. The easiest days were the days that I stayed present. I know that it is easy to get nostalgic or to worry about the future, especially when you are faced with a whole new life, but the sooner you can bring yourself back to the present, the better off you will be. Enjoy your memories or learn your lessons from the past but don’t dwell there. It is natural to think of the past or grieve for the loss of future plans, but when we stay in that space for too long we lose touch with the present. There is no amount of regret or worry that will change your loss, but focusing on the past and future will surely prolong the grieving. I would constantly have to remind myself to be present, which meant being present with my feelings, my new reality and myself. Being present is definitely a part of, and goes hand in hand, with allowing your emotions. Be in this moment as hard as this moment is!

Own your grief story.

What I mean by this is everyone grieves in their own way. There is no set timeline or perfect picture of how grieving should look. I found that at times I would judge myself for grieving differently than others. I would question “Am I heartless because I am doing ok today?”, “Am I stuck in the grief because others are doing ok?” When I was in this place I would criticize my grieving, which made things that much more difficult. Your grief story is your grief story, whether you move through with ease or find yourself stuck in a certain stage, it is absolutely alright. Trust, you will process things at your speed and capacity. Don’t add to your suffering by comparing yourself to others, good or bad.

Side note: I would like to add to this that if you feel like you are stuck and can’t move past then definitely reach out for support. If you are moving through, but not at the pace you would expect, stop judging. Be kind to yourself and have compassion for the serious work you are doing.

 

Finding Grace in the Grieving Process

Find gratitude.

Although this is a difficult time and you may wonder what on earth could I be grateful for, then that is the exact reason you should try to practice gratitude. Practicing gratitude has an amazing power to lift our spirits; it shifts from negative thinking to something more positive. I had already been dabbling in gratitude practices before I lost my husband and, through my grieving, I started a daily practice. Each night I would find at least 5 things to be grateful for.

Somedays it will be easy, somedays it may be a struggle, but the rewards of practicing gratitude are so worth the effort. No matter how big or small there is always something to be grateful for.

Grieving is something that we will all go through in our lives to some degree. It is a difficult process on its own, so we don’t need to add to it by making the process any harder than it already is. These suggestions, from my experience, are a way to find grace in the grieving process.

 

Finding Grace in the Grieving Process

 

For those of you who are currently grieving a loss, much love healing and compassion for you in your process!

Embrace all of you

Embrace All of You!

I am taking the opportunity this week to both introduce you to my new service, as well as talk about owning your gifts. Both these topics fit together for me. While my new service of flower essence readings has been a long time in the making, it has been a process to move past the fear and embrace and own this gift.

 

Embrace All of You!

 

I have been doing flower essences for my friends and family for a while and I completely enjoy doing them. It all started when my husband was ill and we were working with a couple of spiritual healers. They were helping both of us with the enormous work of spiritual cleansing and balancing. I won’t go into too much details here about that but, along with the work that we were doing with them, they taught us to use flower essences to help us release old energy blocks and bring in helpful energies to assist us in the journey. Together, my husband and I worked through our blocks in various areas. The more we worked with the flower essences, the more we enjoyed it. We were both amazed at the accuracy of the flowers that came forward. As was my Woody’s character at the time, he was skeptical at first. But the more he could see how the flowers that were chosen suited and helped him, the less skeptical he became. As I was the one who was doing the pendulum work and figuring out which flower essences to bring in, I was able to see that they were always “bang on” correct, and exactly what my what my husband and I needed at that point. Although my husband still passed, I don’t feel that had anything to do with the inefficacy of the flower essences or the spiritual work he was doing. As the Integrative Doctor we were working with stated, sometimes no matter how much we do to heal the body and soul, some things are just left to fate. What I did notice from doing the flower essences with Woody, is that they assisted him in completely changing his life in a short time. He went from being a completely skeptical, doubting, powerless “victim” of circumstances (in a way) to becoming a completely present, loving, accepting person. I know that the flower essences were essential in this transformation. They allowed him to create the curiosity to do some real soul healing.

As an observer and the one who was tasked with using the pendulum and determining the flower essences for both of us, I felt so connected and grounded when doing them. There was no possible way I could have made the right flower essences come up. This gave me a real sense of being connected to the Universe, which brought me comfort throughout the journey, and still does.

After Woody passed I continued to use the flower essences to help me with my healing. Why not? After all, it was such a great support during that stressful time. The more I used them with myself, the more I learned to really trust in the wisdom and accept the healing energy they were providing.

 

Embrace All of You!

 

At first, mainly it was family that requested this service to assist them with energetic blocks or issues they were going through. I found I really loved doing this, I loved to see how them bringing in the powerful energies of the flowers helped them in their lives. I loved being able to provide this service.  I soon started to offer it to friends as well. At this point I never really considered offering this as a service, as I was scared to really put myself out there. I feared I would be judged on my beliefs and a common theme for my inner critic would chant “They are all going to laugh at you!” Because of these messages of fear, I reserved this gift from the Universe to only help those who I knew and trusted.

With the help of these same people and some fabulous coaches and in my journey to embrace all of who I am, I decided to step out and offer this as a service. I still have some fears about totally putting myself out there in this way, but with all the love and support and encouragement from friends, family and the Universe guiding me in this direction, I decided to own my skills!

I don’t think I am alone in this.

I think a lot of us have parts of ourselves that we keep hidden from the world for fear of being judged or rejected. A talent or strength that we suppress because our inner critic voice tells us that if we pursue this part of ourselves it will turn out badly.

Perhaps you have a talent or hobby or strength that you would love to share with the world. Perhaps there is something you love to do and when are doing it you feel a sense of absolute joy, yet you do not pursue it. When we suppress these parts of ourselves, we are denying who we really are. We feed the inner critic and we fall victims to the fear. The thing is, we create such elaborate stories in our minds that we keep ourselves small. This, in my opinion, is such a shame! I completely understand buying into the fear and I have witnessed some of the bravest people I know hide parts of themselves – parts that I see as amazing gifts! Yet they (myself included) keep them hidden.

What to do now?

There is no magic formula to help you embrace all of who you are. It takes awareness, perseverance and courage to step out of your comfort zone and embrace all of who you are. The first step in doing this is recognizing what these hidden parts are. With a child’s like curiosity ask yourself what is something I love doing that brings me joy? Am I embracing that part of me fully?

A good clue indicating that you are hiding your gifts is when loved ones have advised you to pursue your gifts: “You are so good at ______, you should ________”. For example, maybe they are telling you that you are a gifted, cook, writer, artist, counselor, athlete, singer, healer, comedian…. (the list is endless). You may toy with the idea, yet the fear voice of the inner critic quickly follows telling you “You are not good enough to put that out in the world” “You will not be accepted or will be judged”, “You are not a chef, author, artist, athlete, comedian, healer or singer”. Whatever the limiting message is, it is at this point that you have the choice to listen and stay small OR move past the fear and find a new level of joy. Only you can decide, but if you are ready, your next move is to pursue this gift one step at a time.

 

Embrace All of You!

 

The funny thing is, once you have the awareness and can understand the fear voice of the inner critic is just that –  a voice. It is not the absolute truth. You can then move forward a lot easier.

So, whatever it is that you have been hiding from the world, take that chance and really show yourself. Embrace all of who you are.  The world needs your gifts!

As for me, I am embracing my gift of providing flower essence readings and, as scary as that felt, it now feels liberating and amazing to have embraced another part of me!

The 5D’s that Will Change Your Life

Life is ever-changing. There are many situations that have the potential to move our lives in another direction. I have found that there are five stressful situations that are completely life changing – the very nature of them turns your life upside down. I call these the 5Ds and when you go through one of these your life is forever changed. These events are Death, Divorce, Dumped Downsized and Diagnosis. The one common thread between all of these is they result in you suffering a loss that is significant, so significant that you are forced to reevaluate your life. This week I want to talk about how these five stressful situations change your life forever, the good news is, how they change your life is up to you!

The 5D's that Will Change Your Life

Death

When we go through the loss of a loved one, our lives are inevitably turned upside down. In this case, there is the expected grieving process, (which I have talked about in other blogs), and then there is the inevitable need to redefine your life without that person being a part of it. This is a scary step, looking forward and realizing your loved one will not physically be there. In my personal situation, all my future plans were no longer a possibility, at least not in the way I had been planning, as they were all tied to my husband. This is the case, to some degree, I believe most deaths. When a loved one passes on, all the future plans that were envisioned with them are just gone! This can be extremely hard to adjust to and I feel that, in my case, that was one of the hardest things to reconcile. I had to rebuild a whole new life without my husband. If you have been through the death of a loved one I am sure you can relate to this confusion and apprehension about the unknown future.

 

Dumped or Divorced

The second D’s kind of go together – Divorce and Dumped. I class these two together because they are similar in the nature of the loss, loss of a significant relationship. When you have gone through these D’s, life is again all a mystery. Supporting clients through the rebuilding process after the end of their significant relationship, I have found that not only do they have to rebuild their lives without their partner, they also have feelings of betrayal, trust and judgement to cope with. Sometimes they are even forced, for family reasons, to face the other person on a regular basis. Therefore, not only are they going through the grieving process for the loss of their relationship they also are dealing with a lot of self-doubt in the form of ‘should haves’ and ‘could haves’. The rebuilding process for someone who has gone through this type of loss inevitably travels through a path of forgiveness (at some level) – forgiveness for themselves and the other person, which can be extremely difficult.

The 5D's that Will Change Your Life

 

 

Downsizing

This D involves the loss of a job. This may not seem like much for someone who has not gone through it but losing our job is incredibly stressful.  We spend a lot of our time and energy at our work. This means that for most of us, it is not only a job and a paycheck that we have lost, but also our social and self-identities which are intricately tied to our vocation. Think about it. For most of us even if our day ends at 5:00 we can still be caught thinking about that upcoming project, that client or that sales pitch late into the evening. Also, because we spend so much time at work we have associates there that we socialize with. When we lose our job we not only need to find another job we are also forced to redefine ourselves socially and reevaluate our self-identity, too. This can be very difficult especially if the downsizing came as a surprise or if we don’t have an explanation for why it happened. We inevitably start to question our abilities. This questioning then leads to a lot of self-doubt which is very stressful!

Diagnosis

The last D is . A diagnosis means the loss of our state of health. To whatever degree doesn’t matter, we go from a good state of health to a worse state of health. This is not just physical diagnoses but mental diagnoses also. When we receive a diagnosis, there is an adjustment period, where you question “Why me?”. This is natural!

Whatever the diagnosis may be, we have important choices for our future that need to be made, and this is extremely stressful! The choices we make affect all areas of our life. When my husband went through this, he grieved for the loss of his well-being, he tried to make sense of the situation, he moved through the feelings of helplessness. After this adjustment, he moved into a place of empowerment where he took active steps to work within his diagnosis. The journey for someone who has gone through this D is a path paved through a redesigning of your life that will best work towards your health goals.

The 5D's that Will Change Your Life

 

 

Although all of these losses are different on the surface, they are very similar in the paths to rebuild. All of these D’s impact every area of our life. Whether the loss is family, career or health, every other area of your life is inevitably impacted too! That is why these five situations are so stressful! Unfortunately, there is no quick fix, no “one size fits all” solution that will return your life to balance. This is why everyone’s journey looks very different and involves completely different roads. The only similarity is that they involve the complete rebuilding of your life.

Now What?

In my experience, my best advice for any of you who are going through one of these D’s is, this is an opportune time to get to know yourself intimately! It is an invitation for you to understand who you are, authentically! If you are up for this deep dive into yourself the rewards are endless. When you understand who you are and when it comes to the rebuilding of your life ‘post-D’, you will be able to rebuild a life that suits you, that excites you, a life that you are passionate about. I am not going to lie, this is not an easy path, but it is not as difficult as most of us imagine and it is well worth the effort!  If you are ready, a good first step on this path is to journal around the questions of who you really are and what you really want! Once you get this clarity, the next steps become much easier!