A loving gaze…

I often find my clients don’t enjoy looking at themselves in the mirror.

I can certainly understand the embarrassment or even the shame that surfaces when you don’t look exactly as you’d like or as society prefers you to be.

They don’t want to look until what they see on the outside is “perfect.”

Sadly, most people never really end up looking and more importantly, never truly “seeing” themselves.

I have my clients spend a considerable amount of time in front of a mirror, teaching them how to lovingly gaze at their True Selves.

When they really see themselves, it’s often an emotional encounter, as they’ve never been given permission to look past their exterior.

(I’m getting teary just writing this—it’s an incredible experience)

Most professionals pride themselves on “holding their clients accountable,” that’s temporary and fleeting.

The mirror has a wonderful way of holding people accountable to themselves…loving and believing in themselves too.

The first 5 minutes of the day…

Sets the tone for the day!

 

Do you start your day by saying NO to yourself?

– hitting the snooze button

– projecting worst case scenarios

– criticizing yourself and others

– unprepared, operating without a plan

– hoping it will be a good day

 

OR

 

Do you start your day by saying YES to yourself?

– rising within 10 seconds of your alarm

– projecting best possible outcomes

– practicing self-compassion

– pepared, operating with vigor and intent

– planning on making it a great day

 

This isn’t a pep talk or a you-can-do-it speech and this isn’t an attempt to tell your intellectual brain what it already feels it “should” be doing (which only serves to add guilt to the mix of emotions you’re feeling).

 

I realize saying YES to yourself isn’t easy, nor is it for the faint of heart. It requires you dig deep beneath your fears, doubts and every negative experience you’ve ever had that’s communicated inferiority, insignificance and irrelevance and choose to love and believe in yourself anyway.

 

It takes grit, it takes guts and it requires the emotional labor of moving beyond every NO that stands in your way until you reach a foundational YES.

 

For the love of God, don’t do it because you “have-to,” “should” or even because you can, do it because it matters and you matter.

 

#sayyes

#worthitisnevereasy

#physicallaborismucheasier

#thewholeperson

#conditionforlife

Effort vs. Right effort…

When I work with clients, they tend to come to me with a laundry list of health and fitness to-do’s: weight loss, core strength, improve energy, etc.

I rarely, if ever, become physical and tactical on the front end of a new engagement; it literally doesn’t make sense. Dieting and exercising someone because they’re overweight is an unsophisticated shot in the dark at best.

A month can easily go by before we begin exploring tactics…there’s too much subtlety, context and understanding to be considered before we can exert right effort.

Notice the delicate distinction between effort and right effort–it literally makes all the difference! Particularly in an instant gratification culture where we’ve become obsessed with reassurance and needing to know what we’re doing “is working.”

The only way to work towards right effort is as the saying goes…an ounce of planning is worth a pound of prevention. Otherwise, haste creates waste.

Of course planning can be taken too far as well, where you’re continually fixin’ to get ready. However; that is certainly not the issue our culture is facing.

Invest the time to explore the pros and cons of various strategies as you narrow your focus down to a simple, sensible and sustainable strategy.

Last but not least, keep the focus on effort..

NOT THE OUTCOME. Success must be measured by the exertion of effort and not  how quickly your MindBodySpirit adapts to it.

Effort IS success!

How to handle “bad” days…

Create space for them.

The difference between a bad day and a really bad day often comes back to whether or not you’ve granted them space in your life.

Developing and engaging a generous thought process that compassionately, not critically, attempts to understand why you may be experiencing a bad day, how you’ve participated in it and what you can do to avoid it next time will go a long ways as opposed to remaining the victim of a bad day and fervently transmitting your pain to everyone who crosses your path.

At the same time, also consider the mystery of life, that there isn’t always an answer and that you don’t always need to have one. #control

Most people dream of having one “good” day after another with no setbacks along the way.

This polarizing and impractical worldview creates a massive gap between preferred and actual realities, wherein you will find a surplus of frustration, disappointment and resentment.

This largely comes back to expectations. Why does every day have to be good? Who taught you to expect this? What’s your role in making it good? If something outside of your control happens, are you allowing the day to become bad? What does resilience look like on a bad day?

Alas, the solution is balance. Exert effort into creating good days while making space for bad ones. Simple.

The challenge is we’re so dang all-or-none…which is bad news that inevitably results in bad days.

Mobility + Stability = MoSt ability

When I attended the Gray Institute’s GIFT mentorship program to study chain reaction biomechanics and learn how to help people lead more comfortable, functional and vital lifestyle’s, one success principle they shared was the relationship between mobility and stability as it pertained to creating healthy movement.

This concept similarly applies to behavior change…more on that in a moment.

To help you understand and apply this concept from a physical perspective, lets say I set a goal for you to run 50 yards in 10 seconds or less, the reward is $1000 cash and you only get one shot. Additionally, you can choose to run in one of two environments: blacktop or sand. Which would you choose?

99% are likely to choose blacktop. Why though? Because intuitively, you know sand is an unstable surface and the lack of stability will reduce your speed (mobility).

This same concept applies to the cognitive and emotional nature of behavior change…
– Mobility is representative of “action”
– Stability is representative of the “resistance” experienced when trying new things

I’m sure you’ve noticed the resistance (stability) associated with moving (mobility) outside of your comfort zone: giving a presentation, having to talk about yourself, being in large groups, asking someone out on a date, working out in the weight section of the gym, sharing a different point of view, etc.

As uncomfortable as the resistance is, it creates the tension necessary for transformation. Think of the butterfly trying to break free of its cocoon. If it wasn’t resisted, it couldn’t create tension and wouldn’t develop the wing strength needed to take flight.

*** The resistance is functional in that the tension it creates actually develops the attributes required to sustain the new state!!! This requires long-term seeing and is a perpetual struggle for those needing to be instantly gratified.

Just as lifting weights develops resilience to support new levels of strengths, taking risks develops the confidence required to take on bigger risks.

Once you reframe the resistance (stability) as absolutely necessary, you’ll start seeing it as opportunistic and in fact you’ll start leveraging it as a barometer to ensure you’re walking (mobility) into the wind.

Mobility + Stability gives you the MoSt ability!

A special thanks to Gary Gray and the Gray Institute for encouraging and empowering me to boldly engage life.

You haven’t loved until…

…you’ve loved difference.

It’s easy love someone when they look like you, share your worldviews, practice the same rituals, value the same things, behave in like ways, engage a similar thought process, always say yes, are there when you need them, never challenge you and sing your praises.

Then, there’s the “other” person, where all the opposite scenarios apply.

How quickly do find yourself moving towards a space of criticism, defensiveness, judgment, blame and fear?

This is the dualistic, egocentric, tribal mentality that operates at the extremes of good or bad and black or white, where you love those who are easy to love and hate those who aren’t. This applies the “set-it-and-forget-it” principle to people.

This self doesn’t truly enjoy life. It can’t because joy is in the middle, the grey area, where it’s chock full of contradictions, conundrums and paradoxes but maintains an inclusive nature that tolerates both good and bad and black and white (notice the difference between either/or and both/and thinking).

Next time you encounter difference, realize that if you experienced what they experienced and believed what they believed, you would do what they are doing. #compassionrequired

Problem is, you can’t be angry (oppostional) and curious (empathetic) at the same time.

#varietybuildscapacity
#empathyislovemanifested
#adaptationiskey
#thewholeperson
#conditionforlife

Those experiences are not your identity

We’ve all encountered fear-based experiences during our upbringing and formative years; some far more and some far less intense than others.

The gamut of these experiences range from one end of a very wide spectrum to another and I can’t pretend to know or understand or include them all.

From my experience and those shared with me, I realize critical parents who didn’t know how to love you unless you were doing their best, unaffectionate parents that couldn’t access the vulnerability required to show love and risk rejection, absent parents who prioritized their careers over your golden years, abusive parents who didn’t know how to transform their pain and transmitted it to you, sacrificial parents who did everything they could to give you what you wanted and not what you really needed, etc. may have caused you to form your identity based on your life experiences.

Yes it caused and likely still causes suffering, yes it was unfair, yes you’re resentful, yes it’s caused you to hurt other people, yes you just want to feel worthy of love and belonging and yes YOU can make it better.

While entirely understandable, natural and common, when you started basing WHO you were based on WHAT happened to you, you unintentionally “gave away” your worth and now you’re hustling for it each and every day though various forms of control, such as people pleasing, perfectionism, oversharing, blaming, overreactivity and emotional eating-drinking-smoking-spending to name a few.

The good news is YOU assigned your worth to those events and since YOU gave it away, YOU can take it back!

The key understanding in your situation is knowing and more importantly accepting WHERE your worth came from to begin with…some divine, mysterious, complex, dynamic and loving force, being, entity, spirit or God assigned YOU your worth and YOU received it upon conception and when you came into this world and NOTHING can or will EVER change, alter, reduce, increase or diminish your WORTH ❤❤❤

The challenge is accepting it and the evidence of your acceptance is you’ll become incredibly aware of your fearful, protective and even hurtful behaviors and you’ll start to release, surrender and starve that false part of yourself and simultaneously, you’ll experience your true, loving and worthy nature and people will move towards, you’ll replace criticism with compassion and you’ll see nothing but opportunities all around you.

This is heaven on earth and it may be helpful to think of “heaven” as a state of consciousness more than a geographical location.

It can be heaven all the way to heaven…if you’d like it to be.

 

#thisisjustonewayofliving

#yourpotential>yourpast

#thewayupisdown

#thewholeperson

#conditionforlife

The only thing more important than me believing in you…

Most people fail to reach their goals.
 
But why?
 
There’s a space between where they are and want to be and I call it the GAP and it contains all resistance that keeps them from “crossing the chasm.”
 
Quite possibly, the biggest rock within the GAP is a self-worth deficit; typically formed as a result of repeated fear-based experiences encountered during formative years: critical/controlling parents, a lack of affection, physical abuse, death of loved ones, absentee parents, emotionally confusing environments, addictive personalities, etc.
 
The takeaway from those ill-defining moments were: “I’m not good enough” and it manifests as self-criticism perfectionism, people-pleasing, abrasiveness, time management issues, oversharing, eating when not hungry, drinking to “relax,” smoking, binge watching TV, smart phone addiction, consumed by past/future, attention and focus issues and you get the point…low self-worth has a million faces.
 
Long story short, the only thing that can get you through the GAP is “love and belief” and when self-worth is running low, you don’t have access to the “resources” needed to overcome the resistance that lays between your current and preferred situations.
 
Teaching someone how to love and believe in themselves IMHO is more important than diet, exercise or any of the physical tactics we all strive to perfect daily. Once someone “wakes up” to their inherent worth, I don’t have to tell them what to eat or how much to move or to get more sleep or to make amends or to be less reactive more or to drink less or be more compassionate or practice gratitude. My only “job” is to to get out of the way and let them participate in the Flow of life.
 
I always tell my clients: I believe in you 100% and the only thing more important than me believing in you is…you believing in you! I only have to tell them that once and they gracefully accept the challenge to cultivate a consciousness of worthiness. Love wins, again!
 
“Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.” Stephen Covey