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fall: creating and starting again

This first week of September always has that feel of excitement of the first day of school. I want new clothes, create fun activities to look forward to, and press the reset button on my commitments. I never really grew out of back to school mode and I feel a real sense of excitement and anticipation for what the rest of the year ahead holds for me.
 
It is also when I like to try on new activities, sign up for classes, and reinvent who I want to be and what I want to do to support that beingness I’m creating for this year.
 
This season in particular always reminds me to recommit to goals I had created yet not followed through on as diligently as I would have liked to through the summer. Can you relate to me at all?
 
To support you in your back to school adventures, here’s a FREE tool I’ve created just for you to design your best fall yet! I hope you enjoy it, and I’d love to hear your insights below.
 
If you love this as much as I do, please forward it to a friend, share it on Facebook, or Tweet it out loud! You never know who could use a little help in starting again or pressing the reset button!

Get your workbook now!

Love and Light,
t

suck at meditating? read this:

What I hear most often from clients and students, is that they can’t meditate. 

They say that they sucked at it and couldn’t seem to get the hang of it so they gave up. The title of this post is a little misleading, because truly you can’t fail at meditating unless you give up. Then of course you failed but only because you stopped trying.

The biggest misconception new meditators have is that meditation is supposed to be this ultra-relaxed experience in a field somewhere while dressed in white yoga clothes as the sun rises and morning dew fills the air with a rainbow shining down on you. 

Yeah, right.

The reality is of course a far cry from that.

It can be a mix of a busy mind, uncomfortable body, and then berating yourself for not “doing” it right, then leading to frustration and disenchantment.

I personally have had some lovely meditations that are free and feel good, but most of them are really about adjusting my mindset to accept everything that is going “wrong” and be open to the experience anyways.

Here’s 5 tips to help you with your meditation practice:

1) Meditating is not about having a specific experience.
Most people when they start meditating complain that they aren’t good at it. Meaning: they aren’t having what they perceive to be meditative experience like a quiet blissed out mind. I have been meditating for many years and every time is different. Sometimes they have lovely qualities to them, and sometimes they are simply being with my unruly mind for the whole meditation. Meditating is not about “getting somewhere” it’s about “being here.” Whatever that here is.

2) Have the attitude that everything is already okay. 
Start your meditation with the attitude that everything is already okay. The discomfort in your body, your busy mind, the feelings that are anything but Zen-like, it’s all okay. Rather than judging, or fighting what’s showing up, take on the attitude that everything you notice (even the sore hips, and chattering mind) are just objects in your awareness. Nothing good, or bad, just what’s here. This is time for you to sit, and let everything be, and trust that you don’t need to do anything about it. It’s all just what being a human being in this body is like today, and that it’s alright.

3) Do your time and don’t evaluate how you thought it went.
Sit, set your timer, and do the work. When the timer goes, let go of evaluating your meditation. It doesn’t matter. Like any practice, it’s not about getting it right, it’s about actually doing it.

4) Relaxation and releasing anxiety are the by-products of meditation, not the goal during it.
You may not feel relaxed at all during every meditation. On occasion it might feel like you are just putting in time. That’s totally fine. Your aim is to create a relaxed state to hold the experience so it’s not a problem, it’s just what’s here. The by-product of a consistent meditation practice over time is a more relaxed way of being in the world and less anxiety (increased happiness too!). 

5) Consistency is more important than length.
I personally don’t have an hour or more a day to sit in meditation, I do have 20 minutes though. Just like working out, it’s not the 3 hour workout once a month that’s going to change your body, it’s the regular 30 minutes that will give you results. Regular practice is always more important than perfect. You can do this!

I’d like to hear from you now! Do you meditate? What other tips would you recommend to someone just starting out? If you want to meditate, but haven’t gotten a regular practice yet, what are your biggest pitfalls? Share your insights below.

Did you like this post? Then please share it on Facebook, Tweet it out loud, and forward it to a friend! You might be the one to make a difference in someone’s life who needs to read this.

Love and Light,

t

how to make the right decision in under 5 minutes

Do you ever get stuck trying to make a decision? Maybe you decide and then you wonder if it actually is the right thing to do and then start weighing your options again? And then again?

Before I sent the post “5 things I learned from a life changing moment at 17” I was agonizing over whether to send it or not.

On one side, it was an intensely personal post and I was worried how it would be received by you, and my family, because it didn’t show the best shiniest side of me or my past and that’s a vulnerable place for me to be. Then the other side, was screaming at me to send it, believing it would make a difference for someone who needed support right now, and just wanting to be honest. I am human, I have a past.

I’m also vibrant, loving, courageous, and creator of my future.

My past is over and it doesn’t have a charge for me anymore, so why wouldn’t I use my story to help someone else? That sealed it for me, and with shaking hands I hit “send” and waited for the response…and respond you did! Thank you.

Here’s some things to consider when you’re having a hard time making a decision:

1)      There is no “perfect” or “right” decision.

The mind is an interesting process. In meditation we often talk about the mind being spacious or contracted. When our mind is spacious, there are multiple solutions to any one problem. When our minds are contracted, we are focused on finding just one. How this relates to making decisions is that when we are contracted and trying to find the “perfect” solution, we can’t open to the great multiple solutions that might be out there, we get fixated on finding just the one perfect solution. Perfection doesn’t exist, so we get stuck. It’s like a crappy cycle that keeps repeating itself over and over again.

1)      Know that any decision is better than no decision.

If you choose to continue to weigh out your options over and over again you are in effect taking yourself out of power. Your power is in choice, so decide and be okay with it. It’s just a choice.

2)      There are no bad decisions only choices.

Taking a stand and making a decision can be scary for a lot of us, because we worry what people will think, or that we will be responsible if it doesn’t work out, or that if we make the “wrong” decision we might fail. No matter what you decide, it’s just a choice. There are no bad decisions that come from a place of trying to do what’s right and good. If you do what you believe is right, than be at peace with it.

3)      You can’t predict what’s going to happen no matter what you choose.

Trying to make the “right” decision is one of the ways we try and control our futures. We tell ourselves that if we make the “right” choice then things will be okay. The problem is that we can make all the right choices, and do the right things, and still get cancer, lose our jobs, and fail miserably. We simply can’t control what’s going to happen so relax and decide on what feels good in your heart today with the intention it will positively impact tomorrow.

4)      There will always be consequences.

Even if you don’t choose, you are still making a choice not to choose. Choosing or not choosing will both have their consequences. The difference is that when you decide, you are at the helm of your destiny instead of being at the mercy of what life throws at you. Personally, I’d rather be at the helm and know the consequences are mine to own.

5)      You can always choose again or change your mind later.

You can always make another choice. Just because you decided one thing today, doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind tomorrow. That’s the beauty of free will, and also, dare I say: integrity. What I mean by integrity, is that if you made a decision based on what you feel is right and good in your heart, and it no longer aligns, then standing in integrity would be make a different decision that would align with your heart. Even if it means doing something radically different.

6)      Deciding actively means to actively engage in life.

When you decide, you are interacting with life instead of being a victim to it. This life is full of all kinds of gifts and hardships, and we can’t control what it gives us or when. The only thing that we can control is how we engage with it and that means making choices about our behavior, or lives, and our hearts. To choose means to be an active participant in your life.

Now I’d like to hear from you! What do you consider when you are making decisions? What is important to you when you working on major decisions?

Did you like this post? Then please share it on Facebook, send it to your friends, and Tweet it out! You never know who can use some support right now, and you might be the one to make that difference for them.

Also, just so you know: you’re my favorite today. J

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

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

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

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.