Thursday, December 29, 2011

In Love?

It was a cool, crisp, but sunny day in Manhattan. I was delighted to be engaged in a lively conversation with a 27 year old cousin of mine that I had just met. Our conversation lead to an older couple we both know. He was shocked at the revelation of the wife that she was no longer in love with her husband of 50 years. He couldn’t understand how people could stay married when they were no longer in love. I smiled inside my head and was reminded of his youth with such a declaration and wondered if I would react as he was reacting to such news when I was his age.

When do we learn that falling in love with and loving someone are two different concepts and that one can exist without the other. Falling in love is just that, a fall, almost like an accident. Unknowingly you fall into something unexpected. It is exciting and fun being high on dopamine. I have fallen in love more times than I can remember. It can turn into love.

Love is a more conscious and deliberate choice. I truly can say that I love only a few people in my life and that love will not fade away and weathers all kinds of storms. Love makes you stay or leave depending on your situation. Love is clear. Love does not expect, demand, or judge. Love does not have to make sense and this is the quality it shares with “falling in love”. They are both a condition of the heart and not of the mind.

I thought about the couple who were still together despite not being in love and I recalled the wife’s answer to my cousin’s question, “We have children and grandchildren now. What is the point of leaving him now?” I wonder if she is still looking for that feeling of falling in love and wonders if it is lost to her for good. I wonder if she truly wants to end her marriage or just doesn’t feel the love anymore.

What makes two people stay together in a marriage is still a mystery to me. I coach many clients who are in what may seem like a dysfunctional marriage to many for reasons that change every week. Marriage is a legal contract and as such it is binding even after the love is gone. That is the main reason people stay married in unhappy marriages. Many are also wise enough to know that it takes two and if the relationship is not a happy one, perhaps they need to take a good look at themselves first.

All of this was running through my head as we continued walking up 5th Avenue. I smiled thinking about all that he is yet to learn and experience in life and hoped that he wouldn’t have his heart broken knowing well that it was sure to happen!


If you are in the process of re-evaluating your marriage or relationships and need help making a decision, you may want to consider spiritual life coaching. Spiritual life coaching is a process where the client is always in the driver’s seat and the coach provides a safe space for exploration.  If you are interested in a 30 minute complimentary coaching conversation, please contact me.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Power In Silence

When my life gets super busy like it does during the holidays, the thing I miss the most is silence.  By silence I don’t mean time alone. You can be alone, yet busy with your thoughts.  What I have grown to appreciate a lot these days is true silence: silence from doing, silence from thoughts, silence from words and silence even from images, memories, and emotions.  The silence I am writing about is similar to the one you experience after extreme exhaustion from intense physical activity, when you can’t do or think anymore. 

Most of us fall into silence by accident, it is almost like the side effect of something else.

Why do we need to be surrounded by noise? Noise is evidence of life. If you are not actively participating in life, you can turn on the TV and voila, you feel like you are part of it again. The sounds of the TV, playing a video game, calling a friend, getting on the internet, checking your emails, cleaning the house, making a list, … anything is better than sitting in silence, isn’t it? If doing and thinking are evidence of living, perhaps silence is associated with dying.

Part of our discomfort with silence is the lack of purpose associated with it. You don’t go into silence with a goal other than being silent.  It won’t get you a better job, do your laundry or your shopping, it won’t even help you relax, because it won’t take away your problems.
Silence is about being comfortable with you. Silence has no agenda. Silence is not a punishment, yet it can feel like one. We have been conditioned to make good use of our time, to be productive and get things done. Sitting quietly without even thinking towards something might seem useless and pointless, yet I have found it to be a powerful experience. 

Silence brings you back to you. The you that you lost doing all that stuff, playing all those roles, thinking about more stuff and more people, that you is craving to be quiet just for a while. Silence is similar to the white background of the canvas or the paper before you start painting. Silence brings clarity and puts you in a place of choice. 

Energetically, silence can calm you down especially if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. However, that is the hardest time to be able to enter silence. Your thoughts and worries always seem to creep in. I try to spend as much time in silence as I can in a day. I walk out of silence gentler, calmer, and wiser. I become less reactive and more conscious and aware of what I want. I am clearer and life truly does become easier.

Silence is not necessarily meditation. It does not have a ritual, mantras, visualizations, sounds, etc. associated with it. It is plain and simple. Silence is where people find their answers. I know this to be true in my spiritual life coaching sessions with my clients. When there is nothing left to say, we both get quiet and the answers show up. The more comfortable we are with silence, the easier it becomes. When you trust that the answer is there, it just hasn’t shown itself to you yet, you are more motivated to sit in silence.

Indeed, silence does have a purpose. Its purpose is to give you the much needed space to discover your own answers. I wish for all of you out there, a very happy holiday season, a stupendous new year and the gift of silence so you can finally hear your own voice!

Best wishes to you and yours for 2012 and beyond!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It Is Not About The Squirrel

She was concerned that her anger about what had happened would determine the outcome of her future. She could not let go of the thought that the course of her life had changed because of a decision not made by her, but by someone else. This fact made her crazy. She had done everything right, been smart, worked hard, only to find herself at the mercy of something/someone else. The powerlessness made her bitter and she could not move forward and onward with her life…

This describes the point of transition for many of my spiritual coaching clients. Whether they were just laid off from their jobs or served with divorce papers, it is the anger and bitterness that they have a hard time letting go of. The headlines running in their heads go something like: “How could this have happened to me?”  “Why did I trust him?”  “How can I trust again?” “What will I do now?”

A person going through a so-called involuntary transition, is focused on the event and all the details that go with it. Why, how, if only, … Thoughts and questions that begin this way, keep us focused on the event. Transitions are rarely about the event, yet when caught blind-sighted all we can do is go over and over the event and all the contained details. 

Transitions are about change, a fork in the road, a sharp turn to the other direction, a new path, etc.  What caused the change is like the squirrel who ran into the road and you tried to avoid, insignificant.  If the squirrel hadn’t run in front of your car, you wouldn’t have changed direction, so something had to happen. That is the point of the squirrel. That’s all.

So, if you are faced with a big decision, an unwelcome change, don’t sit in analysis mode. Don’t wonder why the squirrel had to jump in front of your car. Don’t wonder if you had left later or earlier that you might have missed the squirrel. And for heaven’s sake, don’t get mad at the squirrel.   All these thoughts, keep you focused on the squirrel and not the road and the journey ahead. 

There is so much ahead and more squirrels yet! When we are pushed to make a change, life is inviting us to go through a different door. This can be exciting, and definitely evolving, while being extremely unsettling.

Uncertainty is the way of the transition and the sooner we embrace it, the easier it will get.


If you are in the midst of a difficult transition and are focused on the squirrel, you might consider spiritual life coaching to learn to focus on the path ahead.  If you are interested in a 30 minute complimentary coaching session, contact me.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Imitations Are Never As Good

I was listening to my favorite vocal artist singing someone else’s song, only I did not know that it was someone else’s song. At first, I thought that perhaps he was making a change from his own style. Two minutes into the song it was clear that he sounded like someone else and that he was indeed trying to sound like someone else. That’s when I realized what was going on. I couldn’t finish listening to the song, it sounded awful to me. In fact, his amazing baritone voice sounded weak and washed out.

I realized later that it is the same when we try to imitate others.  In that moment of imitation we lose ourselves.  When we are speaking our truth, being ourselves, even if someone does not like us, they don’t like us and not the person we are trying to be.  There is power in authenticity.  There is strength in our voices when we speak our own words in our own voice.  I am not talking about opinions, beliefs, or even the end product of what we are creating, but the voice in which we speak them.

When you try to sound like someone else, you sound like no one at all.  Your voice is washed out and dull.  Part of that I think is due to not knowing what it is all about.  How can one artist know exactly what the one they are imitating was thinking, seeing, or feeling in the moment of their expression.  At best, they can guess at it, and that guessing or assumption is the wash out.

Knowing what someone has experienced requires that you have experienced it too.  That does happen, and when it does, your voice can be as authentic as the person before you who went through the same experience. That’s when we connect with a song, story, or a person.  In fact, there is nothing quite as amazing as when we connect with each other through similar experiences.  We understand the pain or the pleasure someone is describing because we have gone through it.  You can be compassionate without having gone through the same experience, but you cannot express the same emotions as someone else, unless you have gone through the same experience.

My most challenging spiritual life coaching sessions are with clients who describe an experience very similar to what I have experienced.  It is like looking at a picture and finding out that it was a mirror instead.  Those sessions are hard, because I try extra hard to not project my own stuff on to the client.
 
In order for the client to have an authentic experience they need to stay detangled from the coach’s story.  These are special sessions where you can practice good coaching skills by asking questions and never making any assumptions. In fact, when done right, it is as if you have two originals in the room.  There may be similarities in the art work, but they are each distinct and brilliant on their own.

If you feel washed out or unoriginal, perhaps you are imitating or hiding under someone else’s image or experience.  I invite you to step out of the habit or need to imitate anyone other than yourself.  There is power and magic when you step into your own. People will suddenly want to listen to you and won’t know why.  If you want to leave a good impression, be yourself.  If you don’t know how to do that, then make it your business to learn how.

Spiritual life coaching is about the business of finding your own true voice and expressing it at all times.  If you’d like to learn if spiritual life coaching is for you, contact me for a 30 minute complimentary session.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Where Are You Trapped?

She was uncomfortable, restless, trapped like an animal in a cage.  She couldn’t get out, she couldn’t help herself. She knew this feeling, but she didn’t know exactly when or why or how. All she knew was that she hated it. She had to get away. She was afraid she would get stuck and never get out. She couldn’t think like that, she couldn’t give up. And then just like that, she woke up from the dream. She was relieved that it was only a dream, even though, the emotions were so real. She recognized them, but did not know from where. They were familiar…

Sometimes events can stir up old reactions or feelings. If they are negative or painful, we have a hard time remembering what they are associated with. If it is extremely difficult, then we don’t even want to remember where they might be coming from. However, in order to be able to have some degree of control (i.e., recognize so that if it happens again you can choose how to act instead of reacting from an old perspective), you need to go investigate what it is all about.

I find myself doing a lot of investigative work with my spiritual coaching clients. We set out to find where something is coming from before we decide what to do with it, if anything at all. Some clients don’t want to find it, because they are afraid of what they might find. Some claim they know what is there, but they don’t know how to let it go.  What both types of clients have in common is identification with either the fear as in the case of the first example, or identification with “not knowing how to …”. 

In fact, identification is the source of most of our problems. We identify with the position that we can’t do, don’t know how to do, or are afraid of doing X, Y, or Z. We repeat the reasons for the position over and over again in our heads and we believe the story. We convince ourselves of our opinion and then repeat it to whomever dares to try to help us. 

Identification is like cement or a cinder block chained to our ankles. It gets us stuck. First we complain about being stuck, and soon it becomes an excuse for not being stuck. In a way, we get comfortable with our position. It’s like falling asleep in a funny position in bed, but being too tired to move. Even though, you know that you will get a cramped neck in the morning, you don’t have the strength to reposition yourself because you are in a deep sleep. Getting stuck in our identifications is like being stuck in a deep sleep. We know what we are doing is unhealthy, but we can’t get out.

One way to break that spell is to ask yourself: “what do I want?”  Even in the depths of sleep, when I ask myself, “what do I really want?” and if I stay awake enough for the answer, I know I have to move. Asking ourselves repeatedly: “what do I really want?” brings us to the point of choice.  It for a brief moment unglues us from the identification with the problem.  It reminds us that we are not set in the same outcome.  We have a choice.
 
So, I ask my spiritual life coaching clients over and over again: “what do you want?”  Some answer the question, but then jump into “…but I can’t…” and then we go back to the beginning.  This is how you get unstuck, by going back to the beginning. You might have to do it more than once.  You might have to do it again when the problems shows up in a different form.  It is a great place to start.
 
Questions to Ponder:
(1)     What is one issue or problem that keeps on repeating itself in your life?
(2)    Where and how do you get stuck?
(3)    What do you really want?

If you would like to further explore these issues with a spiritual life coach, please contact me for a complimentary 30 minute consultation to determine if spiritual life coaching is for you. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Copious Curiosity

It was one of those crazy busy days where I had many back to back appointments.  Unlike the way I used to be, I had not thought about who was coming and what they might need to be coached on.  In other words, I knew where I had to be, who I had to see, but I had not processed, or analyzed what it all meant.  I knew client X was coming at 9 AM and one hour and 15 minutes later, I had to coach client Y, but I was not trying to remember or predict what they might want to be coached on.  This was in part due to a conscious effort on my part to be copiously curious as my mentor coach would put it.  And I have learned that if I study or review a client’s past coaching session, then I am expecting it to go a certain way and then I’ve lost my curiosity. 

The day continued on the same way it had started, with lots of curiosity and hustle.  My evening appointment was with my children at the pediatrician’s office for their annual flu shots.  I had not processed that my daughter usually hates getting shots and sometimes even gets a little hysterical.  It was as if I had forgotten how stressful this appointment could be.  Well, to my surprise, she hopped on the examination table and pulled up her sleeve and took the shot without any drama at all!  Right after she hopped back down and put on her sweater, I realized what had happened.

She had changed her story.  Driving back home, I was reminded of my coaching sessions during the day.  In fact, all my clients had managed to surprise me.  None of the sessions had gone on in an orderly fashion, they had been slightly unpredictable and a bit messy.  Yet, I had enjoyed them because they had pushed me into directions I had not gone before.  This is not that uncommon in a coaching session, because no matter how well you think you know your client, you couldn’t possibly know them as well as you think.
 
At the pediatrician’s office I realized the same thing about my daughter.  What I thought I knew about her was just a prediction based on past behavior.  In a coaching session, the coach allows the client to change their story.  That’s how coaching works, you are in a space where you can change your story.  With practice, I am learning to apply the same principles in my own life and in the more intimate relationships which I think I know so much about! 

Copious curiosity in coaching works by dissolving the bars of the prisons that our clients have created from their stories.  When you are in the presence of someone as if for the first time, listening with your whole being and being present without judgment, expectation, or the need to fit into any theories, past behaviors, or projecting your own story upon them, magic happens!  The client is now free to change their story.

This is one of the reasons why I refer to myself as a spiritual life coach.  What happens in a session when the coach has been copiously curious, is not logical or rational.  It is outside the realms of mental understanding.  It is what I call a spiritual experience!

If you are interested in working with a spiritual life coach, contact me for a complimentary 30 minute spiritual coaching conversation.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wakeup Call


Talking to my colleagues who are psychologists and counselors, we are of the general understanding that it takes a bus to get most of us to start asking the deeper questions in life.  Unless you’ve been hit by the proverbial bus (you jumped in front of it not knowing what you were doing, by accident, or someone pushed you) most of us do not care about questions that ponder the deeper meaning of life.  

We start our adult lives getting educated, finding a good job, starting a family, and following a predictable trajectory.  Even though, we hear of others whose lives did not follow the predictable path, we hope or pray that we are not one of those people.  What’s happening in the world today is all about a change in that trajectory.  Whether it is the economy, changes on the planet (dramatic weather or natural disasters), or political upheavals, little is predictable these days.  Add to that the normal outliers (being fired, getting a divorce, serious health issues, family troubles, money problems, or a general dissatisfaction with the quality of your life) and what you have, is a bit of lingering chaos.  

As therapists, psychologists, social workers, and spiritual life coaches we spend a lot of time listening to our clients talking about the “bus”.  An entire session could be about how they didn’t see the bus coming, how unfair it was that they got thrown under the bus, how it feels being slowly crushed under the bus, how their bus is bigger than their sister’s bus, or even, how no one told them about the bus, …  In other words, we hear a lot about the bus, point of contact, and the tragedy of it all.

Once we get past the “bus”, then we can start the real work and ask the deeper questions.  What are the deeper questions you may ask.  The deeper questions include: what do I want now?  What are my choices?  What beliefs need to change for me to accomplish what I want?  The answers to these questions take us to the core of our selves, so we can better understand and even redefine who we are, and ultimately let go of the bus incident.  

When clients start their personal development work, slowly they realize that there was no accident, or tragedy and in fact what felt and looked like a bus was just an illusion or maybe an opportunity to start peeling the onion of their lives.  When sleeping in a deep slumber, we need something to wake us up.  The bus in our story was just a wakeup call.  When you look at your job and/or relationship, health, or any other kind of loss as a noisy alarm clock going off, staying mad at what happened is like being mad at the alarm clock throughout the day, so much so that, you can’t engage in what is happening because you are still holding a grudge against the alarm clock!

So, if your alarm clock is going off or you just got hit by the bus, the good news is, it is time to wake up!  If you need help waking up or support in the way you want to be when you do wake up, please contact me for a spiritual life coaching consultation.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Joy

I just came back home from a lovely trip out to visit a dear friend in Colorado last night.  Walking into the house I could smell the distinct dog odor from our resident pug, Charlie.  That was my first impression of our home and then I was hit by: “Mom, could you clean my running shoes for tomorrow?” and “Mom, I need a check for school”.    I was instantly reminded of how different everything was compared to the last 4 days in Colorado.

I tried to stop myself from the comparisons to what my days were like when I was away, until I realized that it was impossible.  Our brains are designed to compare, contrast, and evaluate.  We do this consciously and unconsciously.  Even our sense of smell involuntarily compares something to another, reminds us of a good or not-so-good memory associated with the smell.  We live in a web of associations and comparisons.  If we have a negative memory, then we judge a certain sound, smell or sight to be bad and have an emotional reaction to something in the present based on something from the past.  We are constantly going in and out of our thoughts and memories.

Sometimes we even get stuck in our thoughts like a mouse in a maze.  Even if our thoughts are not negative or positive, we can get stuck, not knowing how to get out.  I work with people who have thought themselves into corners they can’t get out of.  They often complain about not being joyful or having lost touch with what matters to them.

Joy, I am convinced has nothing to do with thoughts.  Joy is not associated with anything, it just is.  I am writing about the kind of joy you feel when you are out in nature, hanging out by rocks that have been around some 10 million years or so.  Your mind cannot compare and contrast on the mountains.  It just absorbs the beauty and gets really quiet. 

Joy in fact, cannot emerge from the mind and its incessant categorizing.  One of the scenes that I am reminded of is when you are faced with something beautiful or awe inspiring from a distant past that you were not a part of, in the middle of everyday life.  Walking on one of the side streets in Rome and unexpectedly seeing a slice of the Coliseum through the opening ahead as the motorcycles whiz by on the cobblestones for example is one of those moments.  Time stops, because you are not capable of thinking your way back to a time thousands of years ago.  Your mind is not working overtime.  The chatter stops briefly as you gather yourself, until you start again remembering the first time you saw the image, or another time you saw something similar, and off you go back to your evaluating business.   The chatter picks up and joy evaporates.

Living the mundane moments of everyday life are joyless for the most part because of the constant chatter in our heads.  That is why Buddhist thought reminds us to welcome each day and activity as if it is the first time we are doing it.  Staying present helps stop the chatter, slow down the evaluations, and bring back a bit of joy.  This is how meditation works.  It’s all about slowing down our thinking so we can be, just be.

If you find yourself lost in thinking and evaluating and want to be able to plug into joy, you might want to consider working with a spiritual life coach.  Joy comes from spirit, something we lose touch with when we get lost in our thoughts.  If you are interested in pursuing spiritual life coaching, contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sans Definition

I was walking in the streets of Florence, Italy.  It was beautiful, I was extremely content and there was a white haze surrounding me ... 

The feelings from that dream were so amazingly pleasant, I can’t describe them at all.  In fact, I don’t want to describe them.  When I woke up from that dream, I tried to understand it and bring meaning to it and as soon as I started doing that, the feeling went away.  I realized that I should have just stayed with the feeling without the need to analyze or understand.  I now go back there, without words and am able to re-experience the feelings sans definition.

We don’t do that with negative feelings do we?  We don’t want to re-experience them. 

When bad things happen, it has to be someone’s fault.  For sure, it is the fault of the bad person who did the bad thing.  But it is also perhaps the fault of the person who something happened to, because they were negligent, stupid, too much of something (trusting, na├»ve, in a hurry, etc.).  Or the fault of a 3rd person who may have mislead them into going somewhere, doing something,... 

When something negative happens, we run into multiple directions trying to find fault and person(s) to accuse.  Sometimes, we run in the same circles after the accusation has been made.  Over and over again, we repeat in our heads, “I should have known better”, or “how could he have not kept his word”,...  This sometimes distracts us from the pain that we feel from having to deal with what has happened and at least, it makes us feel justified.

Finding fault or sentencing someone with an accusation is essentially about verbalizing an incomprehensive emotion.  When something bad happens, we can’t comprehend it, so we seek understanding.  Justice brings understanding back into our stories.  Words further organize our understanding with more clarity and certainty.  In the end it becomes a neatly wrapped package, easy to hold that we keep passing on to ourselves or others.

It is also safe. Words and definitions keep us at a safe distance away from the scene of the event.  We don’t have to relive the bad thing.  We can bathe in our own righteousness.

In my spiritual life coaching sessions, clients often present a situation from the standpoint of the judge and jury.  From that stance, change is not possible.  It is a dead end.  However, when the client is voluntarily and gently walked back to the starting point of the event, they realize that they have a choice.  They realize that there are many destinations from that single point of departure.  Letting go of judgment becomes easier.  Forgiveness becomes possible.  Freedom is the client’s to experience.  Words are not needed.

If you are interested in finding out about how you can experience more freedom, forgiveness, and satisfaction regardless of what has happened in your life, contact me for a complimentary 30 minute spiritual life coaching conversation.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Path Towards Unconditional Love

Organizing my art supplies, I came across paintings that I had not thrown out and didn’t deem valuable enough to frame, or give away.  Looking at each I could remember when it was exactly that I had decided that the work was not good enough to be shown to anyone.  I remembered the brush stroke, color, line, wash, or the one little mistake that turned the painting from a beautiful image in my mind to an unacceptable reject.  I even remembered what I did when I decided that the painting was unacceptable, I put away my paints and supplies and walked away.  Somehow, I didn’t find these paintings bad enough to throw away.  They were neatly stacked on top of each other under my art supplies, hidden, yet not discarded.

I was reminded of a conversation I had with a spiritual coaching client months ago.  After a challenging coaching session where she admitted that she was fighting the process, she admitted that this is not the way she is when she is with other people.  In fact, she said:  “Most people think I am upbeat and funny.  I always cheer everyone up and plough through my own hardships, at least that is what they say about me.  I don’t know why I am being this way with you, I hope you don’t think of me as a negative and depressed person.”  After reassuring her that I wasn’t judging her, I had to think about what she had said.

It is true that in an intimate coaching conversation, we reveal everything about ourselves.  Even the discarded pieces of ourselves that we hide from almost everyone else, we show to our coach.  I am a witness to all the undesirable paintings, the ones that are not acceptable for display and yet have not been thrown away.

Even though, I am sure that my clients have a different plan about what to do with their unacceptable creation, for me it is always the same.  I don’t see any of it as acceptable or not.  I see it as an indication of the creativity of its creator.  For me it is further proof that there is an artist in everyone.

My job is to remind the creator of his or her creativity and hence, responsibility towards their creation.  Then, I gently invite them to release judgment and start to look at their creation from another perspective.   Without the need to assess or evaluate, the creator can now see the real image and the hidden truth in their artwork.  With practice, they can now look at all of their artwork in the same manner. This practice is what gets us closer to conscious choice. 

We can only be consciously choosing, when we wake up from our nightmares of:  judgment, martyrdom, victimization, compulsive doing, and trying hard to finish the race or reach an imaginary point in time and space.   Conscious choice is born through unconditional love.

We are all searching for love from the outside.  How can we be loved if we can’t love ourselves wholly?  Are we hoping that our lover won’t see the ugly pictures if we hide them well enough?  If we only show the good ones, he will fall in love with us, that is until one day, he happens to come across all the ugly pictures neatly piled away and then off we go on to another search for someone else we can fool into believing that we are just a piece of what we really are.

So, what would you like to do with your previously labeled “unacceptable” creations?  Perhaps they get framed and placed somewhere visible to remind you of the rich source of creativity that is within you and does not yet know how to fully express itself through you.  Or might they remind you of your potential to love unconditionally pieces of yourself that you have judged to be unpleasant?  Can you love all of your creations?

If you are interested in spiritual life coaching to help you on your journey towards unconditional self-love and acceptance, please contact me for a complimentary 30 minute session to determine if spiritual coaching is what you’d like to pursue.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Giving and Receiving Gone Bad

Whenever I am presented with an insurmountable issue by one of my clients, I like to observe the world around me and see if I recognize the same issue or pattern elsewhere.  Two of the most common issues my clients want to be coached on, are being stuck and lack of abundance of opportunities. I know that we all get stuck from time to time and can’t see what is available to us or feel uncreative and hence can’t produce anything to get us out of where we are stuck.  However, when life deals us a bad hand, some people have an excruciatingly difficult time getting out of their negative tendencies and so, sink deeper and deeper into the muck.

I’ve identified at least two categories in which we can get lost in.  These categories are extreme cases which in a healthy mental state we can go in and come out of.  Some can’t get out for many reasons and that is not the topic of this post.  I wanted to invite you to take a look at yourself and how you might fall into one or both of these categories from time to time.

Over-givers:  They tend to be women, mothers, multi-taskers and very good at many things.  In fact, many keep on giving even when there is nothing left to give.  What do they give when it is all gone?  They give away their frustrations, compulsions, stress, anxiety, worries, you name it, they dish it out and there is an endless supply of these.  They mean well, they just don’t know how to stop themselves.  It’s as if giving is programmed into their DNA, and they can’t stop.  It has nothing to do with the quality or even the content of what they are giving, they are caught up in the act and they keep at it. 

Many over-givers have control issues. They tend to choke off the life force in the receiver of their giving. They also tend to blame everyone who isn’t happy or cooperative about receiving what they are shoving their way.
 
Non-receivers:  The non-receivers won’t accept anything from anyone.  Many of the over givers are non-receivers too.  Some non-receivers on the other hand, aren’t interested in giving or receiving.  They are like a closed fist that does not know how to open up and hold or receive.  Everything is impossible, irrelevant, unrealistic, impractical, useless or a waste of time to them.  These beliefs keep the fist closed and serve their negative mental state. 

The non-receivers are stiff and not easily humored.  They cannot laugh at themselves, they are angry at the world.  They believe they are smart and not easily fooled like those other happy, gullible people they despise or envy.  Non-receivers cannot engage in any positive activities or conversations that challenge their position.  Challenging a non-receiver requires them to open up their fists and they can’t do that and remain a non-receiver at the same time.  It challenges their whole identity.

The over-givers are non-receivers for the most part.  They cannot receive because most of the time they are in their giving mode, and receiving would mess up with their giving function.  However, if and when they want something specific to be delivered in a specific way by a specific person, and it happens, then they will receive!  That however, rarely happens, so they keep on giving.

We all fall into one or both of these categories from time to time and about certain things and with certain people.  Like anxiety, a little bit of it is a good thing.  It stretches you.  However, when done over and over again, it becomes part of your personality and not only is it hard to get out of, it is hard to be around.

Do you find yourself falling into one or both of these categories at any time or with certain people or situations?  Are you stuck and can’t get away from your thinking patterns?  When stressed, what happens to your giving and receiving tendencies? 

If you would like to further explore these concepts and how they may be contributing to your level of dissatisfaction with life, please contact me for a complimentary 30 minute session to determine if spiritual life coaching is what you might be interested in.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Spiritual Coaching II (Positive vs. Negative Transitions)

I work with people who are going through all kinds of change.  Transition is how you manage change.  As such I coach  people who perceive their change as a negative one and hence, their transition becomes negative too.  The bulk of the work is about looking at what may have seemed like a negative transition (e.g., loss of a job, divorce) and dealing with it in a realistic way.  Being real is key to making it through any transition.  Reality includes negative and positive beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and all kinds of fears (rational or not).

When people use their so-called negative transition to explore the potentials hidden in the chaos or disorganization of their world, they become more comfortable with uncertainty and start seeing and experiencing creativity, non-linearity, and what may even seem like magic.  At this stage, there is no longer a feeling of dread even when they have to meet their divorce attorney to go over child support payments for example.  This is what I mean be keeping it real.
 
During a transition period, control and certainty have been replaced by chaos and uncertainty.  The good news is that anything can happen during chaos as long as you are ok with the fact that uncertainty will make sure you won’t know what is going to happen and how it happens.  Yes, the road to empowerment involves dismantling of the old you which means giving up the fake sense of power that you may have had.  When life works according to the old rules handed down by our parents, teachers, schools, jobs, bosses, and the media, we feel powerful.  We feel like we have figured it all out and we are smart and empowered.  It’s only when things don’t quite work out according to our expectations, that we feel betrayed and disempowered. 

True power however, is not something that anyone or anything can take away from you.  Real empowerment comes when you get to know the real you.  The real you is the integrated you: the good, the bad, and even the ugly.  When all those pieces come together and when you accept all of them as the real you, then you are empowered.  As long as you are rejecting any part of you, you are going to be rejected.

With real empowerment, there is no need to label life’s bumps and bruises as positive or negative.  It is just a part of life.  You may not like it, but you know that you will come through it.  As a spiritual life coach who helps people going through difficult transitions, this is where I like to help my clients get to, the place of full acceptance of whatever is or is not happening.  This can be done without resistance when you know who you are, what is important to you (your values), what your choices are, how to take care of yourself and who can support you.

Questions to Ponder:
1)    Are you going through a difficult transition? 
2)    Is it negative or positive, and what makes it so?
3)    What needs to change in order for you to have a more positive experience?

If you are going through a difficult transition and would like to work with a spiritual life coach, contact me for a complimentary 30 minute conversation to determine if I can help you through your journey. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Spiritual Coaching I

As a spiritual life coach, I belong to a few groups on LinkedIn and the recent discussions have been around spiritual coaching and core competencies.  I am excited by the fact that we are openly and courageously bringing the word “spiritual” into serious coaching conversations and deeper yet, trying to define the core competencies that would be related to it.

Today, I’d like to write about “coaching presence” or the first coaching competency as defined by the ICF (International Coach Federation): sees many ways to work with the client, and chooses in the moment what is most effective.

When I work with my clients who happen to be professional women in the corporate world, the word spiritual is not something that I loosely throw around.  I am careful with my words, extremely careful, and so, I usually don’t use words that my clients are either not familiar with or might be uncomfortable around.  I believe, that if I have to define it, it is probably not worth using.  I rarely use the word spiritual and yet, I consider most of the work I do to be spiritual.  It is spiritual because it is not about the words, the mind, or the emotions that are the result of an over worked mind. 

I always assess where the client is at the moment, not yesterday, last session, or where I hope they are based on what they said last time.  The coach has to be present and in the now for coaching to work.  In order to facilitate the coaching presence, the coach has to be present in the now moment.  This is a spiritual concept, because in order to truly be in the now, you have to let go of what happened, your judgments, your hopes, your analyses, the notes you took from last time, your ego, what you want to accomplish, your need to feel important … 

You have to let go of it all, in order to be present.  You have to be an empty vessel for the client to feel confident with you to empty her vessel.  During the client’s emptying is when learning happens.  In those sacred moments all that is there, is an empty space. 

That is coaching presence as I practice and understand it to be, and this is a spiritual exchange or connection.  Stripped from our egos, minds, thoughts, judgments, analyses, other people’s words, fears, beliefs, we are free to recognize what we already know.

So, yes, the core competency of coaching presence is indeed addressed during an effective spiritual life coaching session.

Questions to Ponder:
1)    How present are you on average? 
2)    Can you relate your “presence” to your level of satisfaction with life?

If you are interested in spiritual life coaching, please contact me for a complimentary 30 minute session.
 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Disconnect

It was one of those mornings.  I needed to get to my e-mails and was having an internet connectivity problem.   After sitting through the robotic instructions of my internet provider’s automated service, I was told to turn my computer off, reset the modem and disconnect the wireless router.  Then I was told to wait for at least 20 seconds before re-connecting and turning everything back on.  The pleasant, yet robotic voice then graciously said goodbye and asked me to call back if I still had problems with my internet connection.
 
Since I had done all the things she had suggested before I called in, but not all of it together and I had not waited for at least 20 seconds, I decided to wait longer than that with everything shut down and disconnected.

I then decided to disconnect myself.  I went outside and sat on my patio steps and took a few deep breaths.  It felt really good, not having anything to do.  I even stopped thinking and was able to shut off the rambling voices and disjointed thoughts and images in my head.  I started focusing on my breathing, listening to the birds and felt the breeze against my skin.  It felt wonderful.  I was beginning to feel rejuvenated.

I realized how busy I had been for the past two months.  Summer gets that way.   The days are broken up: I have a tight coaching schedule, and a book that is being edited and needs to be published, there never seems to be enough time to just sit and breathe.  I know for me and probably everyone else out there, conscious breathing while doing nothing is not what we allow ourselves to do on a regular basis.

I am not talking about meditating, or sleeping.  We all walk away from our computers and when we sleep at night, the computer is shut down and sleeps too.  Yet, it still needs to be disconnected.  We too need to be disconnected from time to time.  I knew the benefits of disconnecting for me, but I didn’t realize how just like the computer, if I don’t disconnect regularly, I might stop functioning.  I stayed with that thought and gave myself full permission to sit outside just a bit longer. 

Questions to Ponder:
1)    What does it mean to you to be disconnected and do you do it voluntarily?
2)    What are the benefits of disconnecting to you?

If you would like to work on disconnecting and learning how to be more effective when connected, you may want to work with a spiritual life coachSpiritual life coaching can teach you tools and skills that you can consistently use as needed.  If you would like to work with me, but are not sure, contact me for a complimentary 30 minute consultation.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What's Polluting You?

It’s not noon yet and I feel like a land fill already.  I started out fresh and my morning meditation cleared the slate for a brand new day.  What happened between then and now?

Life happened I guess.  The regular wears and tears of living just got to me.  Actually, they didn’t really get to me, I just happened to notice them today.

Here is a list of my pollutants du jour (so far):
1. News of yet another sex scandal on TV
2. Bottle caps and plastic bottles on my walking trail
3. The garbage truck’s noise
4. My daughter’s emotional meltdown about something ridiculous
5. Beating myself up over not working out this morning
6. Thoughts about the appointment I have later on that I don’t want to keep
7. E-mails that I can’t keep up with
8. Feeling like there is something important I’ve forgotten to do (and it’s not the work out)
9. Annoyed at the over whelming fragrance of the bug spray I sprayed on myself before going out for my walk
10. Thoughts of what to make for dinner tonight

Once you stop and become mindful of all the pollutants in your life, it can get scary.  If it does not scare you, it can certainly stress you or cause a certain degree of anxiety, so that by 5 PM after a good day’s work, you are ready to unleash at the first guy who cuts you off in rush hour traffic.  And it hasn’t even been a really bad day.

A client once asked me, “So what do I do with all of the pollutants?”  Some of them may need to be taken care of, but most are just a byproduct of life.  In fact, sometimes when we over-analyze something, it becomes more of a problem.  Usually, it is just about noticing and letting go.  The noticing is important, because it makes you conscious and aware, so you can then take care of yourself.  When you know you are annoyed, It is your responsibility to take care of your condition.  The taking care of might just be about taking a few deep breaths, lightening up, and letting go.

The reason why we get so uptight is because we either want to take responsibility for what is not ours, we have already taken responsibility for what is not ours, or we want someone else to take responsibility for what is not theirs.  The pollutants in our life are here to remind us that we are not the handyman of the universe, armed with our tool belts ready to go into fix it mode at the drop of a hat.  We are certainly not the high school principal or prison guard watching and waiting for someone to go out of line, so we can correct them or put them in place either.

In fact, situations always somehow resolve themselves without our interference.  So, the next time you feel inclined to react to a pollutant, remember that it is just a pollutant, something that does not require much thought or emotional distress.  Living is about bumping into things and sometimes even falling down and breaking a few bones.

Don’t lose sight of what really matters when you are agitated or hurt by your bump.  It’s just a pesky bump.  It’s a reminder that you are alive and a human.

Questions to Ponder:
1) What are some of your pollutants?
2) How do you decide what is just a pollutant and what really needs your attention?
3) How do you recharge and clean your slate?

If you would like to learn how to manage your pollutants, you might want to work with a spiritual life coach.  Spiritual life coaching can teach you how to recharge, gain clarity, and stay peaceful when life is throwing all kinds of things at you.  If you are interested in a complimentary 30 minute life coaching consultation, please contact me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Peace

She told me she wanted peace.  She was tired of the fighting, the drama, and the tears.  She was clear on what she did not want.  When asked if she wanted harmony, calm, or joy, she chose calm.  She couldn’t imagine harmony and joy because her life had been devoid of them for as long as she could remember.  Calm to her meant, absence of ups and downs.  In other words, she was choosing the middle ground.

That was then.

She has finally found the peace she was looking for.  When I asked her what it felt like, she explained that nothing had changed in her outer life.  The same situations showed up as often as before.  She wasn’t aroused or annoyed by them anymore.  She didn’t fall into her old coping mechanisms either.  She stayed in the moment without any expectations.  She didn’t know how each situation would end or how she herself would react.  She had no plans and just stayed with whatever was aggravating her.  Eventually, the aggravation would move on and in its place was peace.

This peace to her was more valuable than any certificate or award.  This peace brought a sense of deep wisdom that no one and nothing could take away.  When asked if it was the middle ground we had discussed earlier, she said, no.  It wasn’t the middle point.  It was the whole.  Her peace included the highs and the lows, and everything in between.  Her peace was all inclusive.  When she stopped labeling and categorizing, defending and attacking, justifying and rationalizing is when she found peace.  She got there without knowing she had gotten there.  There was no separation or exclusion.

Peace is about inclusion of all that is without labeling and judging.  She was at peace and I was honored to have shared her journey.

Questions to Ponder:
1) Are you longing for peace in your life?
2) Have you been struggling with the highs and lows and drama?
3) What does peace mean to you?

If you would like to experience peace more and more in your life, it might be time to consult a spiritual life coach.  Spiritual life coaching is about learning to let go of all that does not serve you anymore.  A coach can help you identify what is and isn’t serving you and the tools to learn to let go.  If you are interested in a complimentary 30 minute consultation, contact me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Guilt

I’ve heard guilt brought up in a humorous manner in many conversations.  Some even treat it as a badge of honor, in other words, it is good if they feel guilty about something.  It somehow makes them a better person to feel a certain degree of shame.  In my experience, guilt is the most toxic and self-destructive of all the negative emotions.  The moment you start your self-talk with I should have, I could have, why didn’t I,… is the moment you find yourself at the beginning of a cycle of self-abuse that is hard to get out of.

Guilt feeds into self-hate or lack of self-love.  It feeds into lack of trust and confidence.  It is the primary tumor that feeds all the other negative emotions and spreads like a cancer into our body and sense of well-being.  Nothing good ever comes of guilt.

Guilt is an excellent weapon used by others to control us.  It is used by the religions of the world, politicians, parents, and other leaders.  We all use it to get what we want unaware of its contagious nature.

It was created as a toxic bi-product of strong belief systems like the one that has to do with what is right and what is wrong.  Guilt likes to hang out with righteousness and justice.  It is the cement that holds all feelings of piety in place.

Guilt can change forms.  Reversed, it also feeds into blame.  Guilty people tend to blame others easily.  If you can blame yourself for the wrongs of the world, it is easy to blame others too.

Once you let guilt in, it is hard to get rid of because it pushes all other belief systems.  The good news is, that it does push all other belief systems.  In fact, one way to look at it would be to notice when you feel guilty and decide what belief systems needs to be released.

Guilt can also be used to diagnose self-hate.  When you start beating yourself up about something you did or didn’t do, stop and notice how you dislike yourself.  Stay in the pain of that realization.  Stay in the denial of the realization.  Stay wherever you are, and then consciously choose what to do.   This is one way you can make friends with guilt.  Use it as an instrument to detect what needs to change.

Caution: Guilt has the ability to create more guilt somewhere else!  Please be careful and don’t use it for that purpose.

Questions To Ponder:
1) When do you feel guilty?
2) What does feeling guilty provide?
3) How do you manage your guilt?

If you are being eaten up by guilt you may want to work with a spiritual life coach and learn how to release guilt and outdated belief systems.  Contact me for a 30 minute complimentary session to discuss whether spiritual life coaching might help you create a more self-fulfilling and meaningful life.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Changing is Not Easy

The most unfamiliar and uncomfortable part of change is that in between place where you are not the person you were before but haven’t quite become the person you want to be.  This is the part where some people give up on the transition journey, become negative or get depressed. 

I hear a lot of: “darn it, I tried and it just doesn’t work for me” or “maybe, I just can’t change”.  What I don’t hear a lot but perhaps is going on in the client’s head is: “this is just a bunch of @#$%” or “I was better off doing what I was doing”.
 
I can personally relate to this level of frustration and have spent some time trying to understand the in between place inside the bowels of a major transition.

Breaking change and its following transition down into steps:

1)    Something triggers the need to change
2)    You earnestly decide to make a change
3)    Learn about what it takes to change and what it is exactly that needs to change
4)    End the way you did something or a quality or habit about yourself
5)    Practice the new way of being or doing
6)    Fall off the wagon
7)    Don’t get the results you had hoped for
8)    Lose some relationships either because you don’t relate to certain people anymore or find yourself questioning certain relationships
9)    Feel lonely and/or alone
10)    Recognize that you have changed indeed
11)    New relationships or new-old relationships or new opportunities show up

Steps 5 through 9 happen over and over again and the duration depends on how major the change is.  The in between place is right smack in between steps 5 through 9.  There are no remedies, quick fixes or words of consolation when someone is going through these steps.  It is a lonely and introspective time. 

Time well spent in these steps can determine the sustainability and success of the transition.  This is because, real change takes time.  If you rush the time between steps 5 through 9, you are bound to go back to the way you used to be and repeat the whole process.  That is what happens to people who jump from one relationship to another marrying or dating a slightly different version of the same person all over again, or take a different job to find out they have created the same scenario with their co-workers or boss just in a different organization.

The next time you find yourself frustrated with the in between place or the journey of your transition, remember that it is natural.  Even your frustrations are natural.  It is ok to be angry, lonely, depressed, etc.  It will pass if you let it be and learn and practice what you need to do and how you need to be.  Use the lonely time wisely, get help from a counselor or a spiritual life coach, and when you come out of your cocoon, you will spread your wings like a butterfly transformed and the wormy experience you had before becomes just a distant memory!

If you are going through a transition and need help and support to make sustainable and deeply meaningful changes in your life/work, please contact me for a complimentary 30 minute consultation.
Spiritual life coaching is about changing the way you have been living.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Parenting in 2011

I noticed I disagreed with my daughter’s point of view regarding something she was talking about with her BFF in the car while I was driving.  In fact, I found myself curiously wondering how she formed the opinion that she was discussing.  I was quite sure that my husband would have disagreed with her too.  She is eleven and clearly her own person.  This is where parenting becomes a challenge.  Where do we draw the lines?  What are we responsible for?

I am noticing in my peer group of parents of eleven through fifteen, we all seem to be walking on shaky ground.  Some of us are still hanging on to memories of when they were little.  Others are apologizing to themselves or others for their kids’ behaviors/manners/language.  Some are clearly depressed and do not know how to be an effective parent anymore.  We are all going through yet another transition.

There are days when we ask ourselves: who are these young, yet big people in our homes and what happened to the innocent little girl or boy who did as we asked them to, etc.  I am sure that they are confused too, like we were at that awkward stage before adulthood.  What’s different, is that they know so much more than we do about what goes on in their world which has a lot to do with technology.
 
They crave the newest gadget, they are connected and can figure things out faster and less laboriously than we can.  This gives them the upper hand and they know it too.  This upper hand, makes them believe that they do indeed know more than we do.  I believe this makes parenting that much more difficult these days.

Setting boundaries becomes challenging, because they are connected through the internet and social media.  Sending them up to their rooms as a punishment, does not work.  Taking away their hand-held device works until they go to school or anywhere where there is a computer they can use or borrow.  And they are very resourceful.  While we are busy worrying if we have done the right thing, used the right punishment, they are back on Facebook and forgotten that they were being punished to begin with.  All of this makes us less frightening, less knowledgable, and frankly, less effective.

Going back to my daughter’s conversation with her BFF in the car…  I realize that our children live in a much bigger world than we did and are influenced by more than we could have been.  This is a wonderful opportunity for young minds, and a scary reality for parents.    It’s like when your kids go off to college, but they haven’t really and they’re much too young to do so.  They seem to be growing up faster and faster and we are attempting to keep up. 

Since I am always one step behind, I have decided to enjoy the moments when I do connect with them, laugh together, share a meal or a walk.  All of this high speed living only makes me treasure these rare and short lived moments even more. It is indeed a different day…

Questions to Ponder:
1)    Are you torn about your parenting abilities/skills? 
2)    Do you find it difficult to relate to your children and this worries you?
3)    What would a perfect day be like in your home?  When was the last time you had a perfect day with your children?

If you are concerned about parenting these days and would like to come up with a plan that would work in your home and with your family in a non-judgmental space, you might want to consider spiritual life coaching.  Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute session to see if spiritual life coaching is the answer to your concerns.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Endings

No one seems to consciously want to end anything except maybe in the case of a divorce.  But even with that, many people still hang on to the belief of an ideal marriage or relationship.  In the William Bridges transition model, he states that every transition starts with an ending.  It is how we deal with or acknowledge the ending that determines the ease and success of our transition.  People don’t want to focus on endings.  No one does, but it is a truth that is unavoidable.  In order to begin again, one must end something that was going on before.  More important, one must acknowledge the ending emotionally.  It is like the pause before the next breath.  If we continue jumping from one beginning to another, like a child in a room full of toys, we are distracted, incomplete and ultimately, dissatisfied, not to mention, fragile and sensitive to breakdowns as a result of not processing our emotions regarding the endings.

Unfortunately, the culture we live in and most likely work in, won’t allow for acknowledging endings.  It is perhaps looked upon as a sign of weakness to get teary eyed about something that is no more, a boss that was fired, a child that has left home, a marriage that has ended, etc.  Yes, life goes on and we must pick up the pieces, but before moving ahead, we need to address our loss and what has ended.  Some people talk to counselors or therapists.  Some write in their journals.  Some talk about it to friends and co-workers.  However you do it, make sure you are dealing with it.  It might take longer than you think.  It will take as long as it does and what works for one person does not necessarily work for another. Sometimes, you may revisit old feelings of loss years later after the event.  It is all natural, so don’t fight it, judge it, or push it away.  Just sit with it and nurture and accept yourself for what you are feeling.

Endings come in different forms.  It could be a very internal ending like the ending of the way you feel about someone.  Feelings evolve and it is natural to no longer feel what you used to feel.  Change is a very real and constant fact of life and the more comfortable we are with understanding our own needs when going through a major change, the easier the transition will be. 

Questions to Ponder:
1)    What is the major transition you are going through right now?
2)    What are the range of feelings you are experiencing?  How are you handling them?
3)    Who is helping you go through your transition?  

If you are going through a major life or work transition and are confused, angry, or sad, it might be a good time to contact a life transition coach who can help you gain clarity on what is going on and how to make it through your transition gracefully and confidently.  Change happens all the time, you can learn how to handle it fearlessly.  Please contact me for a complimentary session to decide if coaching is the right process for you.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Gifts of Not Fitting In

As the mother of an 11 year old girl, I am aware of the angst about who is popular and who isn’t, what clothes are in, how your hair should be straightened like everyone else’s, what shoes to wear, etc.  These thoughts grow with us as we grow.  Fitting in and being accepted by a “majority” or an arbitrary norm is what many people struggle with.
 
As adults we go with the flow of life unaware that many of our decisions are based on being accepted by others, fitting in with colleagues or superiors at work.  Just like children in the playground we become aware of who has the most toys and might be someone good to hang out with. 

In fact, trying to fit in is what we all do.  From the cars we drive, the neighborhoods we live in, the electronic devices we use, to the clothes we wear, the places we vacation in, etc.  It’s all about being influenced by something we heard on TV, the internet, a friend, family, etc.  Our choices are limited by mass consciousness. 

It is all fine, until something goes wrong.  With all of our due diligence inevitably, something will happen: a parent will die, a diagnosis will come in, a job will be lost, etc.  and we frantically run around sometimes in circles trying to find an answer.  Those of us who believe we have always fit in find this extremely difficult.  How could this have happened?  Faced with our own raw emotions, we no longer fit in and shock ourselves as well as those around us by our reaction to what has happened.

On the other hand, those of us who are familiar with not belonging or fitting in, tend to handle these types of events more gracefully.  There are many gifts that not fitting in provides.  Here is my list of reasons to celebrate being different.

The gifts of not fitting in:
1)    Independence
2)    Free to think for yourself
3)    Free to do what you want
4)    Not mentally busy with trying to please or be accepted so you can live your life by your own rules
5)    Compassion for others who do not fit in
6)    A strong leader, not easily influenced
7)    Better able to detect those who try to influence you/not easily gullible
8)    Concerned with being fair
9)    Loyalty towards meaningful relationships
10)    Flexible toward different points of view

Questions to ponder:

1)  What are your top three influencers (people or trends that influence you)? 
2)  Are you ok with these influences?
3)  Who would you be without them?

If you would like to further explore the path to true freedom where you make your own choices free from mass consciousness, you may want to consider working with a spiritual life coachSpiritual coaching is about freeing yourself from out dated beliefs and influences so you can live with true conscious choice.  Contact me for a complimentary consultation to decide if this is something you'd like to have in your life.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dancing Side By Side

The most challenging work during a coaching session is managing the pace.  When I first started, I was pushy and had an agenda to get the client to achieve all the goals they had set out to achieve.  As a more seasoned coach, I have learned that you have to be truly present every step of the way.  If the client does not want to go where they set out to go, you have to honor that decision.  Just like a dance partner, you have to be aware and alert to where your companion is going, how they are moving, and what their needs are every step of the way.  This has been an invaluable lesson for me not just in my spiritual coaching sessions, but in life.

I have learned to listen to the rhythm of the dance with my kids and with a teenager and another one who thinks she is a teenager, the rhythm changes constantly!  If you think you know what the dance is, and you may even think that you can predict what your partner’s next moves are, you may be surprised.  Preparation is not about reading your notes and remembering what worked last time.  Preparation is about being present and listening to what is unfolding without any judgment or expectation.  Then and only then can you be of the most value and completely satisfied with your work.

The dance is also about how you interact with the rhythm of life itself.  We suffer when we are impatient and want things to happen before they do.  We suffer when we give up because we didn’t get what we wanted at the time that we wanted it.  We suffer when we don’t do our best and short change the opportunities that show up in our lives.  We suffer when we don’t listen to the neon blinking messages that are repeated throughout similar experiences.  These all have to do with not keeping up with the pace of life.  When you are present, not attached to something that happened yesterday, not hoping for something to happen tomorrow, but present here in the now, can you dance the ultimate dance of life. 

The dance does require some preparation.  You do need to know the steps, be prepared physically, have the right attitude, be flexible, and trust yourself.  If you try to pull it along or be an unwilling participant, then it won’t feel like a dance. 
Here’s to you dancing all the way, every day!

Questions To Ponder:
1)    When did you last experience the “dance”?  What were you doing?  How did it feel?
2)    Generally speaking, are you the one who is leading or are you being lead?
3)    When was the last time you experienced resistance in life?  How did it get resolved?  What changed?

If you are tired of leading or being lead, it might be time to consider spiritual life coachingSpiritual life coaching is about becoming more aware of the dance of life and how you participate in it.  Once you recognize your moves, you can decide to change them if needed.  Please contact me if you are interested in pursuing spiritual life coaching to facilitate a life that flows and moves to your own rhythm.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How Do You Break Up?

Break-ups are traditionally used in the context of ending a romantic relationship.  Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of another kind of break-up going on.  It’s the breaking up of friendships.  These break-ups are not because of some terrible event, betrayal or anything like that.  They are break-ups of two people parting ways.

Perhaps you now choose to have different friends and start pursuing different interests than those you had when you were friends with your old friend.  Perhaps it is a gradual parting that happens over time.  Perhaps after your friend has talked to you for a good 20 minutes and you find yourself bored to tears and inattentive to what was being said, that you decide it has to end.  Perhaps you are going through different stages of life, she might be going through early motherhood and you might have chosen not to have children.  And who knows, things might change again.  Years from now, you might find yourself hungry for that old friendship again. 

We don’t have language or etiquette for this type of break-up.  We don’t have pop culture or the media showing us different TV or big screen versions of it and so when it happens to us, we are at a loss for words.  Typically, we ignore the person, avoid their phone calls, cancel out on them with hopes that they eventually give up.  Sometimes, we might actually want them in our life, but at a distance.  Perhaps exchanging holiday and/or birthday cards is all we want.  But how do we communicate our need to terminate or slow down?

I have seen many a heart breaks over broken up friendships.  These types of heart breaks are sometimes even more devastating than those involving the breaking up of a romantic relationship.  If it has been a long and meaningful relationship and if the break-up is not due to anything dramatic, it is a loss that most of us don’t know how to deal with.  There has been a lot of sharing and time spent together.  The friendship has expanded to families and other friends and so in a sense it is like a divorce.

Yet, unlike a divorce, there is no one word or sentence description that defines it for those in the break-up and those around it.  We can tell our friends and family that we are going through a divorce but to tell them that we are divorced from another friend is actually more awkward.  Whatever we call it or describe it to someone else, it is important to have closure with the person involved.  The more important the person has been in our life, the more important it is to find the words to say goodbye or express as best as you can what is happening.  Break-ups are hard to do regardless of the language, but closure is imperative in order to not drag around old pains and guilt.

So, if you are in the middle of a break-up or are considering one, please think about a proper goodbye for your own sake.  If you have already walked away from a friendship without closure, it is not too late to write a letter or send an email to clear things up.  Happy clearing!

Questions to Ponder:
1)    Have you ever ended a friendship that was important to you?  How did it happen and what did you say?  What do you now wish you had said?
2)    Have you been put aside by a friend?  How was the break-up communicated or was it?  How did that make you feel?  What would you like to have heard from your friend?
3)    How do you move on without holding any grudges or bitterness from a break-up?

If you would like to further explore how your break-ups may have affected your life or if you feel stuck as a result of a break-up, you might consider working with a spiritual life coachSpiritual life coaching is a process where you are the driver and the destination is yours to determine.  Please contact me if you are interested in a no strings attached consultation.