You Can’t Set and Forget Everything

unknownWe live in a hyperactive culture and as a result, in order to survive, we set and forget things just to keep up with the pace of life. You can set and forget bill pay, your crock pot and DVR but it does not and never will apply to our relationships, health & well-being or leading a balanced lifestyle. Globally speaking, we are not investing enough energy into these areas of our lives and the evidence is clear…

-Exorbitant divorce rates, family feuds and relational bitterness
-Ever-increasing health concerns, debilitating bodily aches & pains and high-quantity-low-quality living
-Over-committed-under-delivering, anxiety-ridden lifestyles with perfectionism and people pleasing just beneath the surface

The opposite of being on autopilot is being engaged in these key areas of our lives…

  • Developing loving and supportive relationships requires more than text messaging happy birthday wishes; you must pick up the phone when someone calls and invest time in people through wholehearted conversation
  • Living life in a thriving state with youthful energy and comfort requires more than two spin classes a week, classifying food you enjoy as “cheating” and subscribing to a more is better mentality; it means being kind to your body when it comes to fuel and nourishment
  • Finding balance in your life requires more than shutting off your phone for a day. You need to start asking why you need to be so busy to feel worthwhile, where your value comes from and who you are without any of your current commitments?

When everything in your life is important than nothing is important. Not everything in life carries the same weight. Understanding the difference between what’s important and what’s urgent is a good start. It takes a lot of our courage to slow down, observing your life through a non-judgmental lens, considering what really matters and investing constructive energy into the areas of your life that were never meant to be automated.

Ego says, “Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.” Spirit says, “Find your peace and everything will fall into place.” Marianne Williamson

When Your Best Isn’t Good Enough

nature-sky-sunset-manI’m a firm believer we’re always doing the best we can with what we’ve got. Given our skill sets, resources, experiences and beliefs, we are in fact, always doing our best.

However, at some point, someone may lie to or gossip about you or betray your trust in some way. Now, while that person did the best they could with what they had, their “best” may have crossed your personal boundaries and in turn, their best wasn’t good enough.

I’m not a combative person but I always stand up for myself and define the borders created by my values. For example, I value honesty, integrity and loyalty, and if someone were to compromise my values during an interaction, I have a responsibility to stand up for myself and uplift my value and my worth.

This is not easy living either; it’s difficult standing up for yourself but a choice nonetheless. It takes a courageous soul to make someone better their best.

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Winston Churchill

Breathe It In and Let It Go

unknown-1When clients come to me to reach their health and wellness goals, one of the first things I teach them is how to deal with difficult situations while staying in alignment with their values. Otherwise, when life happens, it’s likely they’ll resort to protective behaviors (eating, drinking, blaming, watching TV, excessive anything, etc.) to numb painful feelings.

When they find themselves in an uncomfortable space, I encourage them to become still and quiet their mind, which is inconsistent with our instinctive nature. Then, I have them go to eyes closed, hands on their ribs observing movement, breathing slowly in through their nose and out through their mouth…

Breathe in LOVE; breathe out FEAR (3x)

Breathe in COURAGE; breathe out COMFORT (3x)

Breathe in PEACE; breathe out WORRY (3x)

Breathe in POTENTIAL; breathe out THE PAST (3x)

Breathe in YOUR SITUATION, then LET IT GO (3x)

* Fill in the words that work best for your specific needs

This simple technique is an excellent way to transition your brain from an overactive to a calm state. From this tranquil headspace, you’re far more capable of making decisions that mitigate stress while remaining in line with your ideals. Best of all, breathing is authentic and holistic and position you as your own sustainable solution when life happens. Enjoy!

“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.” Eckhart Tolle

Do you trust yourself?

unknownWhen my clients are in the midst of a situation, big or small, before making a decision, I encourage them to hone into their spiritual and intuitive sense first. What?! Has anyone ever asked you “what does your gut say?” It’s similar to that.

Your spiritual and intuitive sense is the innermost part of you that you can’t see and is your center of innate wisdom. But just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or have lots to say. Though, I can confidently say that your ability to connect with this enlightened aspect of who you already are is directly proportionate to your ability to live with a deep level of fulfillment.

So how do we hone into this intuitive facet of our being? It simply starts with stillness and a quiet mind. In a culture that never sleeps, it can be difficult to slow down but a choice nonetheless. This intentional state of calmness creates space for your “sense” to speak. In this moment, don’t just focus on hearing, but listening to what it has to say about the matter at hand. It has no inclination to speak over you or fight for attention, only to be heard when you’re ready to listen.

You can think of your spiritual and intuitive sense as your personal GPS for decision making. Whether that’s to fire off that email or let the dust settle, give someone a piece of your mind or consider your role in it, pick up the phone or let it go to voicemail, eat what you’ll regret or what you’ll feel good about or to say I’m sorry, will you forgive me or allow your heart to harden. The neatest part is that your spiritual inclination is NEVER wrong, ever.

Success is any given situation is not measured by the outcome but by your ability to trust in yourself. Sure, it’d just be easier to react instinctively and selfishly in all situations, placing all decision-making on autopilot but there’s always a tradeoff. The neat thing about self-trust is that it creates a chain reaction. When you invest the time to pause, “check-in” and act from your center, you start valuing your decisions, making deposits into a bank of intrinsic worth, which manifests as self-esteem and becomes confidence. Do you have the courage to become confident?

Chain Reaction of Trust: Trust = Value = Worth = Esteem = Confidence

 

“Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Revolution vs. Evolution

znewlegoWhile revolution and evolution sound and are even spelled almost the same, their meaning is as far as east is from west. Understanding how these concepts apply to any change you desire is crucial if you are to achieve your preferred outcome.

Revolution: To make a powerful change in a short period of time.

I can think of plenty of changes I’d like to make in a short period of time: from my midsection to my bank account, from my personality to my self-esteem and from my broken belief systems to my sleep habits. Now, you can have a revolution in your awareness that certain aspects of your life are not where you want them to be but the way in which they will change, will be an evolution. #insertsigh

Evolution: An unfolding process of change in a particular direction

Consider any of the above changes, sure you’d love to snap your fingers and voila, have it your way but that is unreasonable on so many levels…

  1. You’d assume no accountability for all the decisions you’ve made that led you to that very space
  2. You’d be completely unable to sustain that change because you’ve never learned how to manage it (why most lottery winners go bankrupt).
  3. You’d misunderstand one of life’s greatest lessons that effort is required to live your best life and sustain happiness.

All change begins as a revolution in the mind but manifest as an evolution in your life and the better you can understand this difference, the better your chances are of getting where you want to be.

* To better understand how change happens, check out another recent post on successfully releasing unwanted behaviors.

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” Albert Einstein

How I Position Clients for Success

vvIf you’ve been following my writing for any length of time, you probably realize I thrive on treating the whole person even though I’m hired to help people lose weight, tone up and become healthy. Once I realized that weight gain, busy schedules and poor health are just physical manifestations of mental, emotional and spiritual wounds, I quickly moved from training the body to conditioning the Body-Mind-Spirit. Today, I thought it’d be neat to share a recap from one of my recent sessions so you can better understand how I’m working to change the trajectory of world health and happiness…

“Hi (insert yourself), great connecting with you today! The most important aspect to beginning this journey of transformation is to be fully aware and accepting of where you are today because where you are IS where you should be! In other words, the first and most important step is awareness, not action. At this point, I’m more interested identifying behavioral patterns, picking up on limiting beliefs and understanding your previous experiences. Once I have this data, I can triangulate it to create a strategy full of meaningful tactics. If we come out of the pocket too quickly in action mode, it’s likely you’ll expend a lot of energy and get nowhere fast.

Here are my insights as of today’s call…

– You may be keeping yourself busy or always looking to the “next thing” in a subconscious effort to avoid dealing with the present and all the painful thoughts and feelings that exist just beneath the surface

– Saying you don’t know what you want is likely a protective response to avoid the fear that comes along with making change in your life

– You don’t like journaling because it seemingly conflicts with your preferred state of “happiness”, all emotions are good and oftentimes, facing our fear-based emotions is the key to learning what they are trying to teach us, they teach us things our love-based emotions cannot

– You have difficulty getting up and going when you are trying to make yourself a priority. The question you need to ask and journal about is: Why don’t I feel worthy of my own efforts? If you think you’re worthy, then you have to ask: Why do my actions say otherwise?

Before our next call…

  1. Watch the Power of Vulnerability:
  2. Make the journal entry listed above
  3. Read this blog post

* Keep in mind that by prioritizing these activities, it communicates that you WANT to do this and that you LOVE and find yourself WORTHY, while procrastinating communicates that you HAVE to do this and you FEAR transformation and believe you’re UNWORTHY of your own efforts. This is a BIG DEAL and will make all the difference!

If you have any questions, please let me know. Be well 🙂

Giving thanks for everything

ws_field_and_tree_at_sunset_1920x1200Thanksgiving is unfortunately one of the only days of the year we intentionally reflect upon all of our blessings and express thanks for them. It’s common to be thankful for all that is good in our life and in our world but it’s important we express gratitude for the things that don’t benefit our world or us.

This probably sounds outlandish but we are thankful for many things on a daily basis that aren’t ideal. Sometimes, our children misbehave but we’re still thankful for them. Sometimes, our employer lets us down but we’re still thankful we have a job. Sometimes, we get sick but we’re still thankful for our health. But we must expand this notion of giving thanks.

It’s important we don’t separate good and bad because they come together. If you didn’t know pain, fear and guilt you’d have no appreciation for comfort, confidence and compassion. If you didn’t know anger, anxiety and animosity, you’d have no appreciation for peace, serenity and friendship.

Fear and love are two sides of the same coin. So, be thankful for the coworker you don’t get along with because it helps you appreciate all the others. Be thankful for the President our country just elected because God is still in control. Be thankful for all the challenges ahead of you because they will cause you to grow. These are all opportunities to develop for faith, empathy and compassion.

“You don’t know love until you can love difference.” Richard Rohr

Looking for Balance…Visit the Extremes

20160902_092951People come to me to enhance their physical bodies: lose weight, tone up, improve posture, increase energy, core strength, etc. I’ve discovered that weight gain, low muscle tone, poor posture, decreased energy and core weakness tend to be the result of an imbalanced lifestyle. Workaholism, over commitments, people pleasing, lack of boundaries and low-self esteem are the biggest offenders.

Before I can empower my clients to balance their lifestyles, we first need to visit the extremes as a reference point…

One extreme vs. the other (all-or-none)

  • Workaholism vs. No Drive
  • Overcommitted vs. Disinterested
  • People pleasing vs. Selfish
  • Lack of boundaries vs. Excessive Rigidity
  • Low Self-Esteem vs. Self-Inflated

Once the extremes are identified, we discuss what balance looks like, which is far more difficult because they are unused to living in that capacity. At this point, we insert A LOT of compassion into these conversations, as they are unchartered, delicate and emotional territory. This is an unwinding process that requires well-managed expectations, flexibility and patience.

“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.” Rumi

How to Release Unwanted Behaviors

681_1dove_releaseWe all possess protective behaviors that don’t serve us well and even though we don’t like them, we tend to repeat them time and again. Why you ask? For the same reason we perform almost any behavior: familiarity, comfortability, certainty, predictability and reliability. Plus, it keeps us “in control” of our situation.

The way to successfully and sustainably release unwanted behaviors is to understand how change happens. The problem is our mindset, in that once we’re ready to discard an undesirable behavior, we expect it to just disappear. Fortunately, that’s not how change happens.

The biggest misunderstanding surrounding change is that it’s only happening when we’re taking action. The fact of the matter is that action is only one step in the change process…and not even the most important step. Below, you’ll find the simplified change model we use in our Studio to help our clients manage their expectations around making positive lifestyle changes:

  1. Awareness – the realization that where you are is not where you want to be
  2. Accountability – becoming fully responsible for your own situation, even if someone else was involved
  3. Action – making decisions consistent with your personal values and vision
  4. Management – continue repeating the behaviors that got you where you wanted to be

Appreciate that simply having an awareness that unwanted behaviors exist IS change and in fact, the most important aspect of it. Next, you have to own your current behaviors before you can release them. Of course action is important but it’s just another equally important step in the process. Last, the thought of managing anything can be difficult to swallow but it’s just another way to say that whatever it took for you to “get there” is what it takes for you to “stay there”.

Now that you understand change is an evolution, it provides you an opportunity to be at peace with the process and that my friends, is how you release unwanted behaviors, one choice at a time. 🙂

Diet and Exercise vs. Balance

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Diet and exercise is undoubtedly the protocol of choice for weight loss. However, when you’re measuring the success of your efforts by how much weight you lose, you’re bound to abuse your movement and meal plan.

If you adopt and maintain a “more is better” mentality, you’ll inhibit both the sustainability and enjoyability of your efforts. Your dieting efforts will aim to slash calories in while your exercise efforts will aim to boost calories out to create an energy deficit. That’s the point, right?

When you create an energy deficit, you will lose weight but at the expense of your health. Think about it; your body requires energy to maintain its vital functions and the daily demands of life. However, when calories aren’t available, your body will resort to itself for energy by breaking down muscle and organ tissue and even bone.

How then am I expected to lose weight?

  1. Address WHY you put the weight on in the first place – until you do this, you’re likely to fall back into the protective habits that led to your weight gain.  The gaining of weight is most often a physical manifestation of a mental and emotional issue.
  2. Adopt a physical lifestyle – rather than exercising intensely, keep focused on embracing your physicality; walking is the original total body workout. Of course you can workout but don’t overdo it or do it for the sake of calories. Do it because it’s a gift and because you can.
  3. Consume nourishing foods – ditch the calories and aim for full-fat, naturally sweet and salty foods. Remember, your body thrives on calories, so fill up the “tank” with high-quality ingredients.

This is not mainstream advice but diet and exercise didn’t work for you because it doesn’t work for anyone. It all comes back to how you’re measuring success. If it’s weight loss, you can simply eat less and move more. If you’re interested in long-term health and satisfaction, base success on your ability to create balance in your life.

“Life is a balance between what we can control and what we cannot. I am learning to live between effort and surrender.” Danielle Orner