the best advice I ever got

I have this best friend who is honestly my soul mate, but not the life mate kind if you know what I mean.

I was living in 100 year old house separated into suites in Calgary, and Nioka was moving into the top floor. Once she settled, I asked her if she wanted to go for some Vietnamese, and that my friends, is how we fell in love…over peanut satay soup!

To this day, she is the person I want to be like most.

When I don’t know what to do, I ask myself “What would Nioka do?” Nioka is the most beautiful, kind, thoughtful, funny, silly, generous, gentle, loving, and wise person I have ever had the joy of knowing and I love her with all my heart.

It’s like that with great relationships though isn’t it?

Whether it was my best friend Nioka, or my now husband Dave, it was almost love at first sight for both of them. There are some people who come along in your life that just “get” you, and you just “get” them. It’s always easy, we laugh until we pee, hold each other during the tough stuff, and are always on each other’s side. It’s a privilege to have her as my friend, and a privilege to have a friendship like ours. I am so SO lucky. I hope with all my heart that you have someone as wonderful as I do in your corner. I’d love to hear your BFF story, and you can share that below.

I can’t remember specifically what happened anymore because it was so long ago.

But I DO know I was going through a rough spot (back then, probably boy trouble) and I didn’t know what to do. I was totally stuck and agonizing over this or that when Nioka said to me:

“You don’t have to decide right now.”

Freaking genius.

Immediately I relaxed.

My mind relaxed. I could actually think straight again, and really, I didn’t need to decide RIGHT NOW. It didn’t mean that I don’t have to decide EVER, it just meant that I didn’t have to decide right now. It created space to let the emotions pass through me, and room to make a choice that could be made from wisdom and not panic.

I always credit her for giving this advice first, but she claims it was from me.

We have given each other this advice a lot over the years, and it is always useful.

I’ll invite you to try it out this week.

Instead of forcing something, or trying to figure out the right thing to do when you are worked up: give yourself permission to not have to decide right now. Leave it for a few hours, a night, or even a week. Permit yourself to let a wonderful solution to come to you, rather than forcing one in the moment.

Here’s a little bit of why:

Notice the quality of your mind when you are relaxed and peaceful.

It feels open, spacious and there could be many great possible solutions.

Then notice the quality of your mind when you are upset and focused on solving the problem.

Your mind becomes contracted, cluttered, and myopic because it is trying to find the “one” perfect answer. Which of course there isn’t.

Sometimes the best answer is just to sleep on it, give it some time, leave it alone, and take a look at it later with fresh eyes.

I use this for the big stuff in my life and smaller things within my business. For example, I usually write my blog posts a week before I publish them for this exact reason. I write. Then leave it for a few days and come back to it to tweak it and make sure I’m clear on my message.

I’d love to hear from you now: what do you do when faced with big decisions and you aren’t sure what to do? Please share your comments below.

If you liked this post, please share it on Facebook, Tweet it out loud, and forward it to your friends. You never know how you might help someone who needs to read this today.

PS. Wanna join our tribe of empowered, loving, and inspired women who are creating their lives and cheering each other along the way? Registration for the Soul Strategy Sessions, and Soul Strategy for Business is now open and starting to fill. Click here and learn more about the Sessions.

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