Trusting the Unfolding

Trusting the Unfolding

How I evolve in my own life can only ripple out into how I show up in the world. This particular segment of my own journey begins with the changes and growth in my yoga practice and ends (for now!) in my pursuit to help people learn how to live in greater alignment with who they authentically are and how they wish to show up in their lives.

The Often-Blurred Line Between Easy and Right, Part 2: This Doesn’t Mean “Hard” = Right, Either

The Often-Blurred Line Between Easy and Right, Part 2: This Doesn’t Mean “Hard” = Right, Either

I had some great conversations, virtually and in person, with several people after my last blog post went up about the confusion in the new-agey world of self-development around the feeling of “ease” equating with “rightness.” And it made me realize that, for many people, their “rightness” meter reads more like “if it’s HARD it must be right.” Like, if I have to work for it, if it challenges me, if it doesn’t come easy, then it must be the right thing for me. If it’s hard, it makes me grow. If it’s difficult, I transform.

The Often-Blurred Line Between Easy & Right

The Often-Blurred Line Between Easy & Right

I've noticed a confusing trend occurring in the world of self-development, which, yes, includes coaching, that I am feeling needs clarification. So, what better way to provide that clarification than to write a blog about it! There's often a blurred line between easy and right; the equation sometimes looks like this:

 
                                               Easy = Right


Meaning, if it's easy to do, it's must be the right thing for me.

Or, the equation can also look like this:

                               Right = Easy

Meaning, if it's the right relationship/job/exercise/food/friendship it should be easy.

So, is easy, right? Is right, easy? Sometimes... 

Intention Requires Attention

inˈten(t)SH(ə)n/

noun

  1. a thing intended; an aim or plan.

If you, like me, are involved in the world of mindfulness, yoga, meditation, coaching, etc. then you, like me, hear it all the time:

“What’s your intention?”

“Set an an intention.”

“Be intentional.”

 

So, what does “intention” actually mean? And why do we do it?

 

I remember, as a newbie yoga practitioner, being introduced to this idea that I could set an intention and “work” on that intention via my yoga practice. And that those qualities would seamlessly integrate into my life, somehow. I just chalked it up to all those mystical, mysterious effects of yoga.

 

At the time, I was working, full-time, on my Master’s degree in Special Education, while student-teaching, full-time, in a middle school for children with special needs. Almost daily, as I stepped onto my yoga mat, my intention would be to cultivate patience. I believed that what I needed most was patience with the children and their various learning processes.  And I would practice that patience by choosing patience in my yoga practice when I felt I was becoming impatient. I often only saw impatience arise when I faced challenging balancing postures, inversions or deep backbends -- you know, the fancy ones. {Side note: looking back, and chuckling to myself, I see now that even more important than cultivating patience with what I deemed to be challenging to me externally was patience with myself, with my own process, and with life, itself; forget the “advanced” poses, my greatest “work” showed up in the simplest of shapes and in the most uncomplicated moments that I had been bypassing in my striving}.

 

But what I didn’t realize, was that the ancient yogis weren’t mystical, mysterious, or magical. They were exceptionally practical. They lived with a determined attention, a willingness to stay attuned to themselves not just in their physical practice, but in their daily actions, in how they were showing up in the world. This way of living was explored in and supported by their asana, pranayama, and meditation practices. Intention didn’t exist in a silo and it certainly didn’t come to fruition without attentive action, conscious choice. We can’t expect that being intentional in our yoga practice will automatically keep us awake and intentional in our lives. Intention doesn’t come to life if we toss it like a coin into a fountain or think it as we blow out the birthday candles. We have to approach our lives as we do our practice. {Enter one of my favorite phrases: how we do anything is how we do everything}.

 

When we set an intention, we make a conscious choice. We are choosing to actively and attentively choose, moment by moment, how to be in relationship with life -- all of life. This is absolutely not passive or inactive. And it certainly isn’t based in illusion. We’re talking about real life, real time, real pain, real struggle, real moments, real choice.

 

What gets in the way of intention becoming reality?

  • Habitual ways of thinking (which leads to -->)
  • Habitual ways of feeling (which leads to -->)

  • Habitual ways of behaving/doing (which leads to --> more of the same)

And all of these things can be attributed to a lack of attention.

 

Life Coaching clients often come to me because they’re discontent or unhappy with certain feelings or behaviors/actions and they want change but feel stuck. When I work with my clients, we often work at the layer of thought (often habitual and patterned). We work to interrupt at that layer since the thought drives the feeling which drives the action. And most of the work we do at the beginning centers around developing an awareness of habitual ways of thinking; understanding, first, that this thought is powerful and, second, that we have ways to work with undoing and not believing the thought. And this requires, guess what(??), ATTENTION. Conscious, wakeful, alert attention.

So, ask yourself: What do I need right now? What would be supportive in my life, from an internal perspective? And am I willing to consciously and honestly stay attuned to life and my response to it? Am I willing to remain alert so I can choose to align with that intention? 

You have, within you, the ability to make any intention become reality. You define you each time you intentionally choose how to be in relationship to life.

 

 

 

Q: What Can Courage Get You? A: Your Heart's Desire

Q: What Can Courage Get You?      A: Your Heart's Desire

I'd like to tell you a story about a courageous coaching client of mine (thankfully she's given me full permission to share all the deets). She's long been a favorite story of mine because of how much she dared to see and change about herself and her life. But she shared something recently that blew my heart wide open. Maybe because I'm a mom. And also because it points to the potential power of a coaching relationship -- the power of what can come if you show up with courage to break through your sh*t.

"I Will Be Happier When:________." It's Not True. But I'll Tell You What Is...

“I will be happier when: ____________________” {fill in with your own unique believe about what needs to change in order for you to be happier, more content, more joyful, more connected}. Come on, you know you’ve said it before. We all have. And it’s an expression of which I’ve heard many forms over the years.

 

 

“I will be happier when” is a belief that is reinforced, conveniently for profit, by the many people or ads or stories that tell us they have just the thing that will help us make that change. Whether that is losing weight or buying new clothes or getting that plastic surgery or taking that vacation or buying the new house, car, etc... You get the idea. When it doesn't work, we go back for more. Vicious cycle.

 

But, you see, there's a big misconception in the self-development, self-help, positive psychology, yoga + mindfulness worlds that you somehow have to be different than you are in order to feel better, do better, and to live a life you love. That notion, that "I must change" puts us in direct conflict with who we are. That conflict, alone, only serves to interrupt the very potential you have for better anything. From this place, we can only work against ourselves. And that never, ever turns out well. Trust me. I know from years of personal experience working against myself.

 

That’s why, as a life coach, I’m more interested in teaching people how to work with themselves. Specifically, to align with the part of themselves that knows what feels right, intuitively. The part that is often overlooked, misunderstood, or ignored. Martha Beck refers to this as the "essential self," which I love because it speaks to our most essential nature - the part of ourselves we’ve known the longest and the part that is still the same from childhood through adulthood. So how do we remember that part of ourselves? How do we connect back to it?

 

Well, the first (and most critical) step is to examine way you think and what you believe about yourself or the world around you. As Albert Einstein so wisely said, “you can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it,” which is where I come in. I can help you shift your mindset, change your perspective, and challenge habitual and conditioned thinking that has prevented you from making choices, arriving at decisions, taking action on things that can positively impact you and your life. When we change our thinking so that we can work with and not against ourselves, we begin to include things that work for us and exclude things that don’t. And the parts of us that need and want to change, change on their own. Ultimately, although I very much love all of my clients, I don't want you coming back for more. I want our work together to shift something in you that empowers you to choose and include the things that actually will make you happy in your life. 


So, if you’re ready to find happiness now and ready for a happiness that is as unique to you as are, I’m ready for you. Drop me a line to learn more about how 1:1 coaching can effectively work for you. And if 1:1 coaching isn’t your thing, get on my list today to be the first to hear about my upcoming group coaching program -- a flexible, dynamic and supported way to explore finding YOUR happiness!

The Hidden Value of Self-Care {Why it's the most radical way you can show up in the world}

Any transition, even the simple, intentional, quiet ones can be hard.

And then there are the big, not-what-I-want, I-didn’t-choose-this, fear-filled, soul-shaking, foundation-crumbling transitions.

Ultimately, the only way we make it through any transition, big or small, chosen or not, is in the placing-of-one-foot-in-front-of-the other, step-by-step, breath-by-breath, meeting of the moment. Can’t bypass it, can’t avoid it, can’t pretend it’s not happening - though all of those options can sound so wonderfully inviting.

In order to navigate well through transitions, self-care becomes exceptionally important but it also becomes less valued and/or, often, forgotten. But let me be clear, here. This has less to do with you (although I very much value your wellbeing and health) than it has to do with our world.

The obvious value of self-care is that we feel better. We feel more full, more available, more ready to meet life as it is. We are taken care of. We are healthy. We are rested. We are inspired. We are supported. We are engaged.

But the hidden value of self-care is that because we are more available, more able to meet life on life’s terms, we are able to show up in greater ways, with more energy, more power, and more potential. We can think more clearly, stand more strongly, be more courageous. We can not only do this for ourselves but we can do it for others. And we can do it with a deeper sense of connectedness and compassion; with kindness and gentle fierceness; with the capability to hold in our hearts what we know to be true.

I encourage you to find small ways, every day, to take care of yourself. Take a break from social media, sit outside for a few moments and, in whatever way you can, experience the natural world, move your body, listen for quiet, hug the people you love, feed your spiritual self, have coffee with someone who grounds you or inspires you, laugh…

Take care of yourself. The world needs the fullest-you right now.

 

What is the Value of Strength? What is the Value of Flexibility?

The external form is often what is highlighted and celebrated in the world of yoga. For many years, I practiced and practiced the form, feeling a sense of accomplishment, a sense of growth, finding my power to "overcome" or to just "be" with the intensity of the physical practice. I was eager to evolve, in a physical sense, believing that, if I did, I would also evolved in a mental, emotional, and spiritual sense. I thought that if I had the capacity to hold the {fill in the blank} arm balance longer, I could muster up the same endurance and perseverance to hold myself together in life's challenges. I thought that if I could find the strength to overcome the fear of turning myself upside down, that that same strength would show up when life turned upside down. That's the modern yoga teacher's rhetoric. It was mine, as well....

...that is, until life broke me down. Like really broke me down. And I scrambled back to those shapes and forms I made before with my body, but they didn't seem to be doing much of anything at all. Where was that strength and flexibility that I worked so hard to achieve? Why was I lacking inner stability and agility? Didn't I master those things? 

Inner stability and inner agility come from a knowing of one's self/Self. A knowing that comes by way of experiencing one's being. Yoga has always been intended to direct us there. It has always been, first and foremost, a spiritual practice in the sense that we have an opportunity to learn about who and what we are at our essence. Our deep, experiential knowing of that is what translates to inner strength/stability and flexibility/agility. That's it. Nothing else is needed. I used to joke with my yoga students, as they worked hard at learning to kick up to handstands, that if we think the handstand, itself, is what brings us to that inner state, we will find ourselves sorely mistaken when we get injured or as we inevitably age and are no longer able to "do" the thing that we think created the experience...

So, next time you hold that pose or reach for your toes, ask yourself, what's there? What's there that's not already here? And whatever you think is there, see if you can find it here. In this moment. With this breath. We are already whole. We are already complete. We are already stable and inherently agile at our core.