crisis is a great reminder of what’s truly important when shit goes down

I had an intense weekend. My husband and I left on Friday to spend the weekend at the lake for the relaxation and sunshine with his wonderful parents.

I laid down for a nap Saturday at noon and woke up to my phone ringing with a call from my folk’s house. My dad said that mom had an accident and broke her hip, she was scheduled for surgery in less than 30 minutes.

Oh. My. God. I lost my breath.

My mom is one tough little cookie. She’s feisty, stubborn, fiercely loving, and also diabetic, afraid of anaesthesia, and pain. Surgery can be dicey for diabetics because they don’t heal as well as other people, and I knew she was scared. I was too.

I have an incredible husband who drove me 2.5 hours back to the city so I could quickly pack up new clothes (lake clothes are not hanging out in public clothes), jump into my car, and head up to Saskatoon to help my family out.

I’m happy to say my mom did beautifully, she’s tough, she’s motivated, and she’s got a positive outlook, so she’s going to heal up just fine. She’ll be in the hospital for at least a few more days while she relearns how to get out of bed, get dressed, and walk with a walker until her hip heals.

Mom has had excellent care, and I am so proud to live in a country that rushed my little mom to emergency surgery, and has had such loving and kind people taking care of her while she recovers. Seriously, healthcare providers are my hero’s, and I am so grateful for everyone that has chosen to dedicate their lives to help people like my mom. If this is you, thank you. You are appreciated, and I love you!

I’m still in Saskatoon as I write this to you, and I’m just about to head to the hospital to hang with my mamma and bring her some food. I love healthcare workers, hate the hospital food. Mom couldn’t even eat it yesterday! Seriously, yesterday it looked like someone barfed on her plate. Gross.

So today’s post is going to be short, and sweet. Here’s what my weekend of crisis reminded me of:

1) To be grateful for the time I have with my family and those that I love. Our time is limited, so enjoy each moment. That call from my dad really shook me out of the trance that there will always be more time. It’s a lie, don’t let it rob precious time from you.

2) That I’m lucky have so many people in my life that love me no matter what and let me feel like I can just let it all hang out. When I got the call, my husband and his family right away jumped to offer me support, let me cry, and help me figure out what needed to be done. My own family feels like home and makes it easy to show up exactly as I am. I’ve had so much support from my friend, clients, and you, so I could rush out of the city for a while and be with my family. I am so blessed.

3) You can never overdo kindness or patience. During stressful times it’s easy to get wound up and get wrapped up in your own stuff. Becoming present with others and showing up with an abundance of kindness and patience keeps the peace, and helps create great relationships with the hospital staff too!

4) I have an incredible family and I love them like crazy. My parents are landed immigrants so there’s only four of us in Canada: mom, dad, my brother, and me. We are small, tight, and strong. We’ve been through lots together and we know how to rally.

5) I need to visit them way more. I am acutely aware that I am not visiting my family nearly as much as I would like to. I have been “busy,” (that makes me sick to even write that) and I have been putting it off for way too long. I would never wish suffering on anyone let alone my mom, and I am still grateful to have had the wake up call to get my ass in gear, and be reminded of just how much I love, and love being with, my family. I need to see them more.

I’d love to hear from you now! Have you ever had a moment of crisis, and what powerful lessons did you take away from it? Please comment below to share your insights.

If you liked this post, please feel free to forward it, share it on Facebook, or tweet it out! You never know who might benefit from it today.

Take care my friend, thank you for being the beautiful person that you are and all that you do.

Love and Light,
t

mind the gap and moving through fear

Do you ever have great ideas that leave you frozen in fear?

I was chatting with a beautiful, brilliant, and passionate woman last week and I want to share a bit of her story with you. She’s feeling a stuck in her current position at work, has a side business that is fulfilling, and she has a HUGE dream that she knows is her calling that she talks about yet hasn’t taken any action on it. Her dream is big, bold, and would help so many people in our province that are in her industry…and it totally scares the shit out of her.

Isn’t this the case with so many of us? We have this great idea that we are crazy passionate about and makes us come alive just by thinking about it, but the fear of actually making it happen paralyzes us into inertia.

Want to know how to get moving towards that bad-ass vision and get off your scaredy cat butt? Here’s how:

1)      Don’t take your dreams personally.

This might sound funny, because our dreams our soooo personal to us, but hear me out. When you believe your dreams are personal, you will believe that your success (or lack of) with your dream will subsequently mean something about you. The stakes are then too high, and the fear of failure will become just too painful to actualize your talent. You, yes you, have a unique and special gift that only you have to give to the world, and it is in your giving it that is important not your perceived success at it. If you attach your gift to success, you’re sunk before you’re even started.

 

2)      Realize the vision is the end goal, not where you are starting from.

We don’t start at the finished product. The thought of building a multimillion dollar business with 100’s of employees doesn’t show up as your full blown vision in a matter of months. We start where we start: right here where you are, because that’s where you are. The vision is the direction, here is where we begin.

 

3)      Mind the Gap.

This term started as a phrase in London train stations warning rail passengers to take caution while stepping from the train onto the platform. Now it also means to mind the space in between where you are (see above) and where you are going. The gap can be scary because how do we get from where we are to the big shiny vision in the sky? I use these 2 tools together to do this:

A)     Work backwards and figure out what I would have done in my vision to get there and create my action steps from there.

And/Or

B)      Figure out what would be the most potent first 3 steps I could take to start moving in that direction.

 

4)      Trust and Take action.

The only place to get from A to B is to get moving. I know it sounds simple, and it is truly the hardest part. We’ll talk all day about what we could be doing, but not a lot of us actually make that shit happen. It takes guts, follow through, and a whole lot of heart. If you can do those 3 things, you’ve already done the hard part.

I remember when I was first started coaching 7 years ago and I was taking a course of how to build a coaching business. It was the hardest 6 months of my life. I had to confront all my fears of worthiness, lack of confidence as a new coach, and worries that no one would ever hire me. The mind creates the abyss, and the heart crosses it. I knew I wanted to change lives and I trusted my heart to guide my action to cross the gap.

I’d love to hear from you now! What big juicy dream has been floating around your beautiful heart that is ready to be realized but leaves you shaking in your boots? What is going to be your first step into making it happen? Please comment here, and share share away, you never know who might really need to read this today…

Love and Light,

t

do you want to know my secret for feeling confident?

Most people hope that they have a good day or hope that they will feel good. What if you could choose to feel good and have a good day every day? What’s the difference between the times that you had a good day or the ones that you didn’t? Your days, like mine, are probably pretty predictable and fairly similar. So what’s the difference between a kick ass day, and one that totally sucked?

You don’t need to ask permission, you just need to decide.

Waiting for the right circumstance to be happy, confident, or relaxed is not a great strategy for living powerfully. It leaves you at the mercy of externals which are unpredictable, instead of living powerfully through your own choice. If you want to feel confident, happy, powerful, or any other desired state, you just have to decide. I’ll show you how in a moment.

Your attitude will determine your experience. 

How you show up, and your attitude, will directly influence the way you feel and behave. When you feel small, defeated, disengaged, or unworthy, you will behave from this unappealing place and not be your best self or make great choices. What great choices are made out fear? None. Instead, you can choose a positive emotion of how you want to feel and chose to be in a place of choice and responsiveness. From here you can act more powerfully, more lovingly, and be your best, and most authentic self.

Imagine what it feels like as though it were happening right now. 

Here’s how you change your state:

  1. Decide on your desired feeling.
  2. Think of a few times in your life that you have already felt this feeling quite strongly.
  3. Imagine what that feeling felt like as though it were happening right now. Where does it live in your body? What does it feel like physically?
  4. Allow yourself to be completely immersed in the feeling.

 
When you focus on serving, the fear leaves.

If you are having a hard time shaking a yucky feeling and can’t do it for you, do it for others. One of the best tools I use when I’m having a hard time getting out of my own stuff, is to focus on how my choice to show up powerfully will positively impact others. Almost 8 years ago I stood shaking with fear as I stood at the front of Yoga Santosha preparing to teach my first yoga class. I was teaching students that only yesterday I was practicing next to, and I was in a deep stinky pile of unworthiness, fear, and lack of confidence. Then I remembered my coaches voice telling me that “they aren’t here for you, they are hear for what you can GIVE them,” and I quickly snapped out of it. I asked everyone in the room to start breathing (so I could find my breath), and then as I looked out at them I got out of my own way and decided to show up for them as the confident present teacher they deserved.

This doesn’t mean you will never get knocked down, or have a bad day, it just means that your practice of deciding how you want to feel despite your circumstance and taking action, will help you move through the yucky stuff quicker.

I’d love to hear from you! What do you do to boost your good feelings like confidence? I’d love to read your comments below!

Did you find this post helpful? Then please forward it, share it on Facebook, or Tweet it out loud! You never know who might need to read this today, and seriously, who couldn’t use a little more confidence?

Love and Light,
t

5 things I learned from a life changing moment at 17

First of all, I had written a totally different blog post for you today. Then this morning I just felt moved to share with you one of the most pivotal moments of my life. I’m not going to lie to you, I’m scared and I’m also really excited to let you into my life in a bigger way!


Brené Brown has described the word “courage” to mean: to speak from the heart.

You and I are friends, so I am being courageous with you today by sharing an intensely personal story that my best friend only heard about for the first time today…I’m totally serious.

One thing I get asked all the time is: “How did you get so wise?”

I’ve lived a lot of life in my short time on earth, and got to learn some big lessons early. They’ve taught me to not be afraid of taking risks, how to forgive, and genuinely love myself.

One of the defining moments of my life happened when was when I was 17 years old.

I had moved out, dropped out of high school, and was working at a greasy pizza joint making $800 month.

Doctors had started prescribing me antidepressants from the time I was about 14, and now at 17, I was misdiagnosed with bi-polar disorder so I was also prescribed Lithium. Lithium was terrible. It made me felt nothing. Literally nothing. Nothing was a 100 times worse than depressed, because at least with depression, I felt SOMETHING. At least I could feel what it was to be alive.

We all have moments in our lives where one decision could change our entire future.

The exact day, the exact defining moment happened when I was sitting on the floor looking around my empty shitty apartment. I knew in my soul, that if I didn’t make some serious changes fast, I was on my way down a very dangerous path.

I was embarrassed that I hadn’t managed to finish school and support myself, and I was ashamed of dropping out. I was sick of being broken, and sick of being dependent on pills and being numbed out. I was sick of the partying I was doing to ignore facing the desperateness of my life. I was sick of being a victim of my family’s crazy alcoholic home, and I was done with all of it.

What I understood that day was: no one was going to save me but me, so I better get on with it.

I got up and flushed all the pills down the toilet. Then I called my mom, and said I wanted to come home so I could finish high school and go to university. Even if nothing had changed at home, it didn’t matter. I had changed and that was enough, and fortunately have not experienced depression since.

These are the most important lessons I learned, and continue to live by each day:

1) Take full responsibility for your life. 
Taking responsibility is to stand in your own corner. It is courageously letting go of blame, and to fearlessly act independent of what happened to you. It’s also the only place you can be empowered. Good or bad, you are where you are today because of your choices. The events of your past absolutely happened, and you can choose any possibility for your life in spite of them.

2) Once you decide, commit.
I heard a long time ago Tony Robbins saying something along the lines of: if you haven’t committed, you haven’t really decided. I know this to be true. If I am on the fence about something, or want to do something but don’t have the conviction to back it, it’s not happening. When I flushed those pills I had deeply decided, and symbolically committed, to building a different life and I have never looked back.

3) Be hopeful,
 and know you can, and will handle anything life throws at you. 
I am really lucky to have had the challenges I’ve had in my life, and trust me, I’ve had lots. I have learned how to lean into the discomfort of situations, take stock, and learn a lot about my fear. The biggest take away for me is that I know with every fiber of my being, that I will always be okay. I’ve been through fire, and I will continue to rise from the ashes.

Every time we choose to do the hard work, show up, and deal with the challenges of life, we build our emotional resilience. Resilience is a beautiful thing and its side effect is confidence, and who doesn’t want more of that?

4) Forgiveness trumps all.
I had forgiven my dad a few years before he quit drinking, and I am proud to say that this year he is 13 years sober. I am crazy proud of him, and proud that he is a leader in his community who now supports others on their path to sobriety.

Forgiveness in itself is a path, because there is so much to forgive for all of us. What we can’t forgive in others we can’t forgive in ourselves. I had to let go of the fight and accept my childhood, my family, and myself. If you come from an addicted home, you know everyone participates in the madness. Accepting and forgiving myself was, and continues to be, the hardest and most rewarding work.

5) 
Compassion.
“Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Ian MacLaren

Through forgiveness I learned a lot about compassion. Everyone is doing the best they can with the skills they have. We all grew up in different homes, with different sets of values and expectations, so we’re not going to understand the world in exactly the same way. Compassion is choosing to connect on a deeper level of the human experience that we all share and understand that everyone is doing the best that they can. Although we may see things differently, all of us want to belong, to love, and to feel like we matter. It is feeling deeply for another human beings struggles because you have been there too.

No one gets out of this life alive, so make something beautiful with it. Let your life be a work of art that you get to bless people with. Love harder, be seen deeply, take risks, don’t worry what other people think so much, be true to yourself, and know that you are free.

I would love to hear your comments on a life changing moment in your own life, and how it has positively impacted you today. If you found this newsletter useful, please share it. We learn about ourselves through each other, so please email it, share it on Facebook, or tweet it out!

how to fall in love with anyone

Do you have a person in your life that makes you nuts?  A person that makes your skin prickle just by the thought of being around them, and sucks all your energy by trying to not lose it on them?

It’s all about you

I’ve got good news and some bad news. The bad news is you can’t change them, so you can quit trying. Falling in love with them isn’t about turning a frog into a prince(ss) it’s about changing our view of them. Our experience of life, and each other, is created by the lens we see through so your annoyance of your “difficult” person all comes from you and your lens. That’s the good news, because you can change how you see things and therefore shift how you see them too!

They are just being who they are

Just like you, they are just living their lives and totally unaware that they might be a difficult person to anyone. You are probably also someone’s difficult person, and you’re just going about your day being you. I promise you that they are not trying to make your life harder, or piss you off.

What we can’t tolerate in others, is what we can’t tolerate in ourselves

This could be a great learning experience for you. If you take a look at what it is about this person that is so grating, intolerable, and frustrating, you will get huge insight into what is intolerable within yourself. Where you deny love to others, is where you deny love to yourself.

To shift experience, you must shift your perspective

Not one person in the world has had your life, or can see the world the same way you do, yet we seem to expect everyone else to see the world the same way we do. Think about it, the values you were raised with, the school system you went to, the life experiences that you had, and all have shaped how you see the world and how you think things should be. No one else in the whole world has lived your life so they can’t see the world in exactly the same way as you. For example, I really like things to be orderly and “in their place” and I’m not overly concerned as much with deep cleaning really often. My husband is less concerned about tidiness, but very meticulous about washing the floors and doing deep cleans quite regularly. Who’s right in their approach? There is no right, we just have different values from our families and we act in the world through those values. And we’re actually pretty lucky because between the two of us we get it all done!

See them as Buddha, Jesus, Mother Teresa, Quan Yin or how their mother would see them.

Next time you know you will be interacting with them, decide before hand how you would like to show up. Visualize an interaction with them. Then imagine the Buddha, Jesus, Mother Teresa, Quan Yin, or even their mom (or anyone you know who is compassionate and understanding) has now taken your place. Notice how the interaction would be different. How would the compassionate body double be seeing your difficult person? How would they be speaking to them? How would it feel for you to seeing them that way? Visualize what that experience could be like so you have a clear picture of what’s possible for your interaction.

Decide to see them for the human being that they are.

Just like you, they have challenges, pain, hard relationships, joy, and are doing the best that they can. When you decide to see them as the human being they are, you are also choosing to let go of your judgement and blame. It doesn’t mean that you agree with everything that they do, you are just choosing to accept them the way they are.

Because you can’t change them anyways.

 “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.”― Thomas Merton

One of the cruelest things we can do to another is to not accept them for who they are. If you’ve been the recipient of this you’ll totally understand what I’m saying. Each of us has some special gift to offer the world, and even if it’s not clear to you what theirs is yet, all you can do is love them anyways.

One last thing…

This is a practice, and you might feel really resistant to doing it because you will have to let go of your current views of this person. Your desire to not be upset and triggered by this person needs to be bigger than the need to be right and making them wrong. But, imagine how much easier your life would be if you weren’t upset by them? Are you willing to take it on and get some freedom for yourself? I hope so!

I’d like to hear from you now. What are your tricks to dealing with difficult people? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Did you like this post? Then please tweet it out, post it on your Facebook page, or email it to someone who might need to read this right now. You never know who you could help just by sharing some helpful tools…

Love and Light,

t

why finding balance is bad for you

How are you doing? I mean REALLY doing? Are you feeling like your life is in balance, or are you feeling like you are overworked, tired, scrambling to do all the things you SHOULD be doing to find balance, and then feeling guilty to boot? Is the pursuit of finding balance even maybe…exhausting you?

Balance in my opinion, is one of the most overused words in personal development and yoga circles. People talk about balance as though once you find it everything from now on will forever and ever be perfect from here on in. Like, you just have to find the magic formula (people make a lot of money off this) and…Ta da! Your life is changed, you have no more problems or stress, and now you can relax because you’ve found balance and now life can go tickety-boo. What a load. Honestly, do you know anyone that says they’ve found balance in their life? It’s a flat out lie and we are eating it up, believing it, and even more stressed out because of it. Balance isn’t something you find, it’s something you practice and create moment to moment. It’s about making choices every single day to keep you in a state of equilibrium, and it is usually somewhat imbalanced anyways because life isn’t the steadiest ground to work with.

In my 20’s I was either working 2 jobs, or working full time and going to school full time. I would run to and from work during my day job, then go to work most of the night. Or run to school during the day and work all night. I did yoga, ate well, and didn’t sleep. I was exhausted chasing the dream of having a career that I could be proud of and not knowing what that could be, and too tired to have the relationships I wanted. And although I have always been cheerful, I had terrible self-confidence and on some level didn’t believe I deserved much better, or that I could even get something better. I felt totally out of control and everything in my life felt hard and out of whack. Maybe you can relate to this too? Thankfully, it has been 7 years since I left that part of my life behind and I am on the other side of it now and want to share what I have learned along the way.

In yoga balance is a process, and there are a series of things we do to balance in a pose. We fix our gaze, steady our breath, feel our bodies, and distribute weight evenly. We get present. We shift a little here, and then a little there, to find the midpoint. It’s an intentional process that doesn’t just happen on its own, and we also get better at it the more we do it. The Yoga “Sutra Sthira Sukham Asanam” translates as this: effort without tension in the pose, or as my book of sutras defines it “Yoga pose is steady and comfortable position.” That is how balance is accomplished, but putting effort where it’s needed and relaxing the rest.

Here’s the other thing, balance is a concept to be put into practice, not an end goal. There will always be externals putting strain on your perfect pedestal of balance. As my coach says “life keeps on life-ing,” it’s what you do in spite of it that counts. Even in yoga practice your body is different day to day, and you get to work with what’s here, and adjust as needed. If you cling to the idea of balance being somewhere you are going to get to or find, you’ll (as Jack Kornfield says) get rope burn.

Sometimes that means doing the things you may not want to in the moment but knowing they will make you feel good in the long term (this is the effort and steady part). An example might be sweating everyday even though you are tired, but knowing how good it makes you feel and how much more energy you will have from putting the effort in. It also means stopping doing some things that might make you feel good right now, but make you feel terrible long term (this is letting go of the tension and settling into comfort). An example of this would be letting go of watching TV for hours every night because you know you don’t sleep as well because of it. A big one is learning to say no, so you can say yes to yourself.

It’s also helpful to take a close look at your life, the way you are currently living it, and asking some hard questions, like getting clear on:

Why am I even doing this? For what purpose?

Does this feed and nourish me? Physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Can I really have, and do it all, and why does it even matter? To whom?

Who is impacted by the choices I’m making right now? What’s working, not working, about those choices?

Where can I cut myself some slack and be nicer to myself?

What are my real priorities, and where am I actually spending most of my time?

Do what will make the difference in your life, and be okay with letting go of what’s not. You don’t have to do it all, and really why should you? To be someone else’s idea of an ideal? That’s a waste of your life and a waste of your genius. Stop it. Please, stop it right now!

When you get clear on what’s really important to you, you have a stable ground for your practice of balance to stand on. You can more easily say no, create better boundaries, and decide to commit to the things that serve you, and those who are important to you.

Balance isn’t found, it’s created every single moment of every day. A little here, a little more there. Let yourself be flexible so you can flow with what life throws at you without losing your ground and what is most important to you. Imagine yourself like a tree that might get blown in the wind, but its roots will hold it firmly in place. I’m the proof that this works.

If you love this stuff and want more, then I want to give it to you! Are you sick of feeling like you are working your ass off at everything, trying to do it all (with a smile), and still ending up feeling exhausted and guilty for not having anything left to give to those that you love? And what about you? Do you even remember what you love to do? What makes you feel most alive? Maybe there’s also this part of you that is ready to make a real shift, and you realize that you can’t do this on your own because you’ve been there, done that, and it didn’t work.

I hear you, and I totally get it. Email me to book a totally free Alignment Session and see what’s possible for your life. Let’s face it, if you really could have done this on your own, you would have a long time ago. The truth is that we are interdependent and we need each other to see ourselves. I have a few spots becoming available for one on one coaching, and if you saw yourself in the above paragraph, I would love to work with you. I’ve got your back my friend, let’s connect.

Now, I’d love to hear from you! What do you think about balance? Is it something you struggle with? What do you do to work towards it? Please post below to leave your comments.

Do you know someone who could use a little support with balance? Then please feel free to share this blog with them! We all need support, and we can’t do it on our own. Share the wisdom and the love below.

Just so you know, you are my favorite. Thank you for being the beautiful person that you are!

Love and Light,

t

what to do when all you want to do is stay in bed all day

One of the hardest things for those of us who work from home is dealing with days you don’t want to get out of bed because you’ve just had it with everything and you are just plain exhausted (for those of you in an office, this is the equivalent to a personal day or stress leave, so you are included in this email too!). We don’t technically have anyone we are accountable (like a boss I mean), so if you are having a tough day, it’s easy to want to say f*ck it and go back to bed wallowing in your own self pity. This is not a very effective tool for business, or life for that matter, so below is my secret tool to keep on keepin’ on when every bone in your body doesn’t want to.

It’s not that you feel this way sometimes that’s a problem, it’s what you believe it means about you that can be really sabotaging. There’s nothing wrong with you, I promise. Just like my previous blog post about overwhelm, the not-wanting-to-get-out-of-bed is just a state, and states are changeable. They change all the time. Just look at your yoga practice. You can go from elated, to angry, to joyous, to sad, to anything really, all in 90 minutes. Or just look at yesterday, today you might feel like garbage, but yesterday you didn’t. What’s really so different today than yesterday other than your state? Nothing. When you understand this about yourself, you have already won half the battle because now you can do something about it.

So, what to actually “do” about it? Here’s what works for me:

  1. Give myself a time limit and set the timer.

Really what this is about is acknowledging my exhaustion or not-wanting-to-do-it-anymoreness, and making a plan to work with it. The amount of time I choose really depends on the time I actually have. I may have an hour between classes, or clients, so that’s the time I have to work with. I also might have all day to wallow in my stuff and need to be conservative with the amount of time I give to the wallowing. No matter how much time I have, I’m creating time to be with it, and giving it a limit so it doesn’t suck the life out of me.

  1. Then go back to bed, watch TV, movie, kitty (or puppy, we just got one last week!) cuddle, reading, or whatever I’m craving to tune out for a while.

I actually go back to bed, or any and all of the above. I give myself completely to it, and don’t feel bad about it. It has to happen for me to move on. I think Carl Jung said it best: “What you resist persists.” When we feel like staying in bed all day this is no small signal. Some part of you is yelling at you to pay attention. Giving it some time to be heard and acknowledged is essential for it to relax and move on.

  1. Move my body.

Once the time limit is done I move, and the best way is to get outside. Fresh air I swear is medicine! I might go pick weeds in my garden, go for a walk, do some yoga, or get on my bike. Just like the cliché goes: move a muscle, change a feeling. It honestly works. Just get out and move your body and the energy will shift.

  1. Get back on the horse and get on with it.

It’s time to get back to whatever I was working on and move on. Some days it’s not that easy, and on those days I make it easy. I let go of anything that isn’t essential, and let the day be one where I be nice to myself and don’t sweat it. For the few times it happens to me a week (just kidding!), taking the odd day or part day off is totally worth it to not feel bad. Sometimes we all just need a break. 🙂

Now, I want to hear from you! What do you do when you are feeling “done with it all, and not want to get out of bed?” Please add your suggestions below the post in the comments.

Did you find this post useful? Then please share it with your friends and family through email, Facebook or Tweet it out!

I hope you have a fabulous week ahead of you and I can’t wait to hear from you!

Love and Light,
t

metta meditation

“I am larger and better than I thought. I did not know I held so much goodness.”
– Walt Whitman

Why do we need to practice metta or loving kindness you may ask? Loving kindness allows us to drop our barriers and see each other for who we truly are: the light behind the eyes and the luminosity of the heart. This may sound hokey, but isn’t that we all want? To see and be deeply seen?

Metta Meditation or loving kindness meditation is a short meditation about 3 to 4 lines that are repeated with the intention to evoke the feelings of loving kindness in our hearts. Metta always starts with ourselves so you repeat these words as well wishing for yourself and your own life, letting the meaning land within your heart. Repeat for 10 to 30 minutes. Here’s an example of one below, but you can choose verses that are meaningful to you. 

May I be happy.
May I be at peaceful. 
May I be safe. 
May I be well. 

Sometimes the practice creates other feelings that are anything but loving kindness, and sometimes it feels mechanical. Be patient and kind with yourself. Let the words land as best as they can and hold yourself with compassion. This meditation can be done anywhere, on the bus, waiting in line, driving your car. The benefits of this practice are huge because it acts like a self psychotherapy by healing our troubled minds, and shifts old habituated negative thought patterns. Pretty great hey? 

So, what do you think? Have you tried Metta before, and what phrases do you like? If you haven’t tried it, are you going to give it a shot? I’d love to here from you! Please post your comments and suggestions below the blog post. I love hearing from you!

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Love and Light,

t

Gratitude…its all where you place your attention.

Gratitude, in my mind at least, is one of the easiest, most powerful practices we can take on to dramatically increase our feelings of happiness and well-being. And really, we all want to be happier don’t we?

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
― Eckhart Tolle

You’ve probably heard the teaching: whatever you focus on expands. I’m not talking about the law of attraction here folks, but more of the law of the way things are. I don’t personally believe the universe has any desire to bend to my personal needs and wants, but I do believe that my experience of the truth of life itself is influenced by what I perceive and how I perceive it. By focusing on what is the “good that you already have in your life”, you start to notice more of it, more often, and feel the abundance that is already here. Gratitude is a powerful practice to incline your mind to notice all the goodness, beauty, and wonder that is around us all the time…and that is a sweet way to live your life!

Here’s a few ways that you can cultivate your own practice, (because it really is a practice not a one-time thing to work), and make it stick so that you can have long lasting happiness:

1)      Start now.

You don’t have to wait to be grateful. Look around you and notice: the sun shining, the rain watering the grass, the ability to read, and healthy feet. It’s appreciating the little mundane things that go unnoticed that make our life rich. After all, our lives are made up of the little things!

2)      Get specific.

To really “get” the feeling of gratitude it helps to expand on it. Notice your shoes. Not everyone in the world gets to have shoes, and you probably have a few to choose from. Someone designed and made your shoes, and someone else stocked them before selling them to you. There are a whole lot of people to be grateful for that got you your sweet ass shoes! See, it’s not about looking at concepts, like being grateful for your health, or your family. Those are too big for your mind to really grasp and be impacted by. It’s getting intimate with specifically what you are grateful for and letting yourself feel it, get touched by it.

3)      Create ritual time.

No meaningful change happens unless it’s scheduled in. It’s like learning to run, but then only doing it when you feel like it. Good luck, right? Eventually it will become automatic, but first you have to train your brain to want it. One practice I love is to place a hand on my heart and a foot on the earth when I wake up and go to bed, and have a moment of deep appreciation for the day ahead and the day I had. Another one, is to have a gratitude journal and list 3 to 5 things every day that you are grateful for. Keep it in the same place and have a set time to use it. Don’t worry if it challenges you a bit at first. Your brain may not be accustomed to viewing the world this way yet with ease, but it will if you persist. Another ritual I have is to end each yoga class with the invitation to count 3 of your blessings, and I also always count mine too!

4)      Persistence and practice.

Your brain is an amazing machine that is plastic, which means it is malleable. The neuro-pathways in your brain are strengthened by what you think about most. By making the effort to choose gratitude, you strengthen those neuro-pathways to become a more habitual way of thinking. Also just like any practice, it will take effort in the beginning, and less and less as time goes on and gratitude becomes more automatic. All this means, is to make a plan that you can stick to an enjoy practicing.

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” ― A.A. Milne

I’m totally with Piglet on this one! I hope this blog post was useful to you and inspired you in your own practice. As always, I’d love to hear from you! What are your practices? How do you use gratitude in your own life? Please feel free to comment below and share your insights.

Love and Light,

t

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