my secret formula to shift overwhelm into action

O-ver-whelm: To overcome completely in mind or feeling; to cover or bury beneath a mass of something; to overthrow.

For me, I had a recent bout of overwhelm creating my first public speaking event. I had spent a month and a half trying to write it with very little progress. I was just over a week away from presenting it, and although I had been writing daily, I still didn’t have an angle that I was satisfied with. I was also taking a business course, working on 2 workshops, planning a retreat, and managing my regular teaching and coaching schedule. I was paralysed in overwhelm and it was blocking my creativity. I was really starting to panic.

Then, I was up at 5am to teach my early classes on Thursday morning, and it dawned on me to ask myself some important questions. I mean, I have led many workshops and retreats. I speak all the time as I lead my students, I’m usually totally fine in this field. So what’s so different this time? I asked myself: what am I believing? And guess what? The story I had created about this event was that it had to be “perfect”, and my past events I took on the attitude of “let’s see what happens”. “Let’s see what happens” feels more like more of an experiment, takes the pressure off, and has space for creativity. But perfect! Who can do that? I sure can’t! The other big problem with “perfect” is that it implies only one thing, one way. “Let’s see what happens,” could have multiple creative solutions.

As soon as I figured out the story there was BIG freedom and I was incredibly inspired! I couldn’t wait to get back from teaching to get writing. The outline, story and message became clear, and the whole 2 hour talk was written and edited within days. Magic happened. So why do I tell you this story? Because we don’t see our own stories when we are in the midst of it. Below is the process I use when I’m in the thick of it, and it works every time. My hope is that this will empower you too!

1)      Notice that it’s here.

This is the first step to working with overwhelm is to recognize that there is overwhelm. Open to it. Feel it in your body, notice the tension, the heaviness, and that this feeling of overwhelm is here while holding it with some curiosity rather than needing to fix it. You might experience it as a headache, fatigue (I get personally get tired as a way of dissociating), tension, busy mind, hopelessness, paralysis, or any number of ways. What you want to do is actually notice that this is here without getting your panties knotted up all over it, and making it a problem. Make it not so personal. It’s just what’s happening right now.

2)      What’s the story?

Ask yourself: What am I believing right now that is creating this feeling? Once you’re able to see the story for what it is, you have power to do something about it. If you are believing the story blindly you’re already sunk. You’ve decided to believe that this is the way it is. However, if you make space to look at it, you might see something deeper, more interesting, and meaningful there. One of the greatest gifts yoga and meditation have given me is the ability to look at my own mind without getting caught up in all the BS it produces. When you can see the story for what it is, you can work with that.

3)      Get it out of your head and make it real.

Write down everything that you are believing needs to be done. Once we get into a place of overwhelm, one of the things our mind does is grab onto everything that it can to support the story it has created to prove its case, and the mind can amass a lot of stuff! When you write it down you make it real. The overwhelm is no longer a looming undertaking created by the imagination, but something concrete that you can take a better look at and then you can evaluate what needs to be prioritized and what to let go of.

4)      Focus on the 1 or 2 things that will make the biggest impact.

Take off most of what’s on your To-Do-List. The most effective people have very small To-Do-Lists, because they are focused on what they need to do to get their desired result. Most of us are guilty of creating To-Do-Lists that don’t serve anything but being busy. Managing overwhelm is about getting crystal clear on the 1 or 2 things that are impactful and meaningful and making them happen. Take everything else off, and if that feels too scary, tell yourself that it’s just off the list for now. The most important thing here is to get you moving towards what’s going to make the biggest difference without getting bogged down by the little things that really don’t matter.

5)      Visit your worst case scenario.

I personally like looking at what my fear is telling me. When my fear is making a lot of noise, I choose to view it that I should take a look closer and see what the big hairy deal is all about anyways. The fear of looking at it is often the more overwhelming than the actual scenarios your fear will express. Especially, when the likelihood of the worst case scenario is usually pretty slim. Fear is asking for your attention because it has something important to tell you. You don’t have to do anything about it, but you should honor it. Fear is actually a good thing because it’s trying to look out for you and keep you safe.

6)      Take action.

If there’s one thing that you can do to make a dent in overwhelm, it’s to do something. Anything. Move forward. Staying stuck makes it worse, reinforces the story, and gives it your precious power. Remember the definition of overwhelm is: “To overcome completely in mind or feeling.” Action will dig you out and set you free.

“Through the doing, thy will be done” – Tina Hnatiuk

Now, I want to hear from you: Do you agree? Do you have anything else that should be on this list? What is your best method for moving through overwhelm?

If you liked this article, please share it! Forward it to a friend who might need it, share it on Facebook or Twitter. We all need every bit of support we can get, and you might be the one to get that message across to someone who really needs these tips today. After all, we’re all in this together!

Much love to you my dear friend, I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Love and Light,

t

i’m exposed, no really i’m in a bra

oh my gosh it’s out there…fear and the sweet spot

Above is the cover of this months Pink Magazine, and you guessed it, I’m all over the cover in a bra and pants in a challenging pose. This is something I never thought I would do and here’s why. 1) I never dress like that in practice or class. 2) I never thought I would ever have the chance to be on the cover of a magazine. 3) I’m really quite modest about my practice and myself.

When I was approached to be featured in Pink I was over the moon thrilled and flattered for the opportunity. I actually jumped up and down and screamed like a crazy person to be accurate.Then, a few days before it was coming out the fear set in, and here’s a little bit of what it said to me:”Now that I’m out there people are going to judge me. Who am I to get this kind of attention, I’m nobody. Other people deserve this more than me. Do I look fat?” Yup, I climbed right on board the crazy train. Thankfully, I didn’t stay on it long enough to have a total freak out, but I did ride it briefly.

Here’s why I’m sharing this with you: we will all have moments when we are challenged, afraid, and feeling less than and it’s what you choose to do despite the fear where your freedom lies. I remember a quote from Ryan Leier that has stuck with me “There’s the fear that keeps you alive, and then there’s the fear that keeps you from living.” Which are you embodying? I chose to step into a place of power and gratitude. Power to say “Yes, this is me out there, and it’s scary and vulnerable, and I can still own it.” Gratitude to everything and everyone that made this opportunity possible, and for the magical wild ride this life continues of offer me. I am so blessed

Now, I would love to hear from you! Please post a comment below to share your experiences of fear and how you got over it.

If you liked this post, please share the goodness around!

i’m a pink magazine cover girl!

I am so excited to share with you my joy of being chosen as Pink Magazine’s cover story! I cannot even tell you how excited I was when I was asked to be the feature and now the anticipation before the magazine comes out Wednesday April 2nd. Truthfully, I have a few mixed emotions about it coming out. I’m of course unbelievably flattered and over the moon excited for the opportunity, and also some vulnerability as the day gets nearer.

For those of you that know me well, this comes no surprise to you that I’m not a showy person and don’t care for my picture taken. I’m not the yoga teacher you will find all over instagram or have a lot Facebook pictures of me doing yoga. Even the way I teach yoga is instructional rather than demonstrative. Rarely will you find me doing the yoga poses I am teaching, unless I need to get open enough to demo a more challenging pose later. It’s just not my style, and this has not been my comfort zone…yet.

Now, my poses are being made more public than they ever have before to a viewership of 88,000 I’m told. Whoa! Its a strange and wonderful place for me. What I can tell you, is that they turned out really beautifully. I got to work with an amazing team of professionals and I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with them. Each one of them made me feel at ease, and really wonderful through the whole process. Everyone should have a chance to work with them and feel like a rock star for a day!

Thank you Courtney Larson for offering me this mind blowing opportunity. She also helped fix my hair and clothes when they got in the way for the pictures. She in a fantastic graphic designer, beautiful woman, and a heck of a yogini. I love her.

Jessica Reimer is the talented free lance writer from Paper Plane Communications who wrote my story. She put me at ease right away and made the process feel transparent, warm, and so much fun! So much fun in fact, that we hung out for coffee later that week! If you ever need a writer, she’s your gal.

I had an equally rewarding experience with the editor Moe Itani, and photographer Darrol Hofmeister from Sharp Shooter Photography. They are amazing at what they do and knew exactly how to get the best shots from me. I am so grateful. The pictures are awesome and I owe that to them.

My gorgeous makeup was done by Sarah Hegglin at Blush Beauty bar, and the clean alignment of my pictures is all because of Kim Lawrence, my dear friend of Full Life Yoga. Thank you for making me look so good.

I am reminded as tomorrow gets closer just how lucky I am. Not just because of the chance to be recognized publicly, but because my life is so full of incredible people, and it keeps getting fuller! My life is truly a blessing and thank you for being in it.

I’d love to hear your comments on the article below.

 

 

start before you are ready

This statement is a common one in entrepreneurship and it totally makes sense. If you wait for the ‘right’ time, that time will never come. (Incidentally, I have also had many well meaning people say this to me about having kids. And just so you know, I don’t have any.) Why it’s important to start before you are ready, not just because time’s a ticking (so I hear), but because there is no way you can anticipate what will be ahead until you get there.

When I was in my 20’s I was very impulsive, now in my 30’s I take a lot more time to plan before I execute. Maybe too much more. If you are like me, you like to know what’s up ahead, plan for the possibilities and walk in with your eyes wide open. Don’t get me wrong, planning absolutely important to success in any area of your life, and the truth is, if you don’t get started you will never know what actually lies before you. It is most likely completely different than you had expected and better than you thought, and you won’t know until you start.

So, whether its that conversation that you have been meaning to have, that leap you have been waiting to take, business you wanted to start: start now. You won’t really know what you need until you get there, and at least you started!

Now it’s your turn, what can you start (even if it’s baby steps) to get moving today? I’d love to read your insights below.

serenade to the seasons

I love teaching early morning yoga classes. Not because I love getting up at 5:10am. Truthfully, some of those mornings I wake up with the word “f*ck” escaping my lips as I knock the phone off my bedside table attempting to turn off the ringing alarm. And then I get up and have a lovely cup of coffee in the silence of my house, make my breakfast, kiss my husband’s sleeping head, and eventually make it out the door to the beautiful studio I get to teach a 6:30am yoga class twice a week.

Somewhere along the way from waking to arriving at the studio some magic happens within. I’m still too tired to be worrying about the day or to do list, so I’m really present to the brave souls that make the effort to get up in the dark and drive in their cold cars on frosty days to sweat it out with me. I genuinely appreciate their effort to make it to their mats. I know what it takes to make it to the studio, and the planning involved because I have to do it too, and I love them for doing it, and I love them for showing up.

Not only do I get to be a teacher to these amazing students these early mornings, I also love that we get to flow with seasons to our breath. When I get up really early every day or most days, I notice the days as they get longer and shorter. I feel my inner nature shift with the seasons. I have the desire to turn in and reflect as the days get shorter, and the pull to get up and create as the days get longer. Right now, we are leaving the depths of winter and the class is beginning to end with the sun rising. It is enchanting to see the days getting longer and being present for each extra minute we get every day. Last week we were in darkness this week we have light.

To me, being a part of the changing seasons means being a part of this world, and a part of not only my life, but the capital L Life. The seasons remind me of my connection to that Thing that animates my body, the trees, and the living pulsing earth beneath my Tadasana toes. Each breath is a season in itself. A beginning, a pause, an ending. I am reminded to be in awe of the grandeur of the universe and the small expression that I am within it, and how kick ass that is.

 

Dear gorgeousness, my wonderful client, yes you…

Hello Gorgeous,

There’s something I need to share with you. We’ve been working together for a while now, and I want you to know just how much I love our time together. I see you as such a bright light in our community and I am so in love with your vision. You are going to make big things happen and I feel so honored that you chose me to be a part of your journey to get there.

I love your energy, your creativity, and your heart. I really get how passionate you are, how much you want to make a difference, and that you have a beautiful gift to share.

Working with you is the highlight of my week because you also get me and my style of support. You put your trust in me, are able to laugh at the human predicament that we are all in, and value our time together. I appreciate that because it also brings out the best in me: present, loving, compassionate, silly, honest, with a deeper listening to hear what is underneath.

You are why I do what I do. Your wonder, joy for life, your inner light, inspires me.

I care so much for you and your incredible vision that I will work my hardest to get you there. I will remember your vision when you forget, hold you accountable when doubt takes its grip, and I will stand up and cheer for you every stride you take forward. We are an unstoppable team you and I, and we can do phenomenal things together.

So, that’s what I thought you should know. Thanks for being an incredible example of a human being. You are amazing. I love you.