Sunday, November 11, 2012

Nothing Will Ever Be the Same

Resilience is often thought of as snapping back to baseline. Time after time, I am reminded that during major transitions, baselines are altered permanently. So, resilience isn’t really about going back to baseline, but accepting that baseline is not where it used to be. And then, learning to accept and love the new baseline.

Nine days after loss of electricity due to hurricane Sandy, with the heat finally blasting through our vents and trying to get back to normal, my 13 year old daughter said: “Nothing will ever be the same mom”. I had to probe further about where this comment was coming from. She was right, it felt like normal wasn’t normal anymore. Once you have been through something traumatic with high degree of uncertainty as to the future, once your world has turned upside down and stayed that way for a while, what is normal anymore?

I remember the 3rd day after the storm, I lay in bed with my eyes closed and all I could see was a high speed slide show of uprooted trees, power poles split in half and wrapped in electric lines in the middle of the road, trees fallen onto homes and broken through their roofs, and road signs mangled and thrown aside like a used crinkled tissue., and we were not by the shore line where most of the damage had occurred.  How do you get those slides out of your slide deck? Do you want to?

We tend to get too comfortable in the material trappings of our lives. We get distracted with our emails, texts, phones, and computers. We assume we’ll always be warm, have food, and drive our cars. When there is no food, car to drive or gas to drive with, and stores to be open to buy food, all of a sudden you are woken up from a dream of assumptions and expectations.

Thinking back about what my daughter said, I am glad that nothing will ever be the same. If life’s experiences were forgotten because they were inconvenient or unpleasant, then what would have been the point? As much as I am grateful for having our heat back and our refrigerator working again, lights to turn on, I now know that all of it could disappear in a snap. What endures is something that cannot be taken away so easily. What endures is humility, kindness, generosity, compassion, and meaningful connections.

When I hear the voice of the repairman and notice the crack in his thank you as I wish him safety on our roof, or when the gas station attendant says: “You have yourself a good day now”, and I know that he really means it as he looks into my eyes, I know that nothing will ever be the same. And that is a good thing.

We here in the East Coast of these United States have been known for our toughness bordering on being heartless and uncaring. I know now having survived Sandy, that we can change that perception. We can be known for our hearts. I know today I am more proud of living in NJ than ever before. I have experienced untold acts of kindness and humility and nothing will ever be the same, thankfully!

If you are struggling with defining your new baseline or wondering how you'll enhance your resilience during times of transition, you may want to work with a transition coach. Contact me for a 30 minute complimentary consultation to determine if transition coaching can help you get through your life challenges.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


She claimed she was tired of waiting. It seemed like she was always waiting and time was running out. Some of the waiting was just part of the course.  You have to wait to finish with school to graduate, you have to wait for your kids to get older before you can leave them alone at home, you have to wait to hear from the company or college if you have been accepted or not, etc. Knowing all this, she was still frustrated and sad by the waiting.

I was sure it wasn’t the waiting she was frustrated with. After further conversations, she revealed her reluctance to speak up. She tends to hold back what she really wants to say for fear of rocking the relationship, losing the friendship, causing trouble, opening a can of worms, it not being the right time, etc. There are lots of reasons why she holds back, most of them seemingly, external to her. The holding back morphs into waiting. She is waiting for the right opportunity to speak up and it never seems to come.

She is left unclear and unsure even to herself. Years of holding back make her appear fuzzy. She feels fuzzy. Yet, the person I have come to know is not fuzzy at all. She can tell me what she really thinks or feels, but she cannot utter her truth to those closest to her.

Interestingly, she seems to attract blunt people who have no trouble speaking up at all. They are always telling her what to do or not to do. It is as if they are trying to make her be clearer by guiding her, molding her, and trying to fix her. These types of interactions further support her tendency to hold back. There is no room for sharing her truth with people who are busy fixing, cleaning and straightening her out. So, she waits.

If you are stuck in a cycle of holding back, not expressing yourself, fearful of what you say might do to the most important relationships in your life, you may want to work with a transition coach. Transition coaching is about helping you deal with changes outside by changing your inside. No matter, how old you are, you don’t have to get stuck in beliefs and habits that don’t serve you anymore. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute transition coaching conversation to determine if I can help you change what is not working anymore.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Top 10 Ways to Identify Disempowered Humans

There is nothing more boring than speaking to a disempowered human. We all have fallen prey to feeling disempowered from time to time. It isn’t a pretty sight.  Disempowered people are distracted, drained, and/or anxious. Disempowerment is not genetic, but it tends to run in families. After years of listening to the same tapes all our lives, we believe the story they tell us. And then when we are facing a challenging transition, it sounds like the voices get really loud.

One of the symptoms of disempowerment is feeling stuck, or not having the basic energy to do what could get you out of the place you are stuck in.  Professional transition coaching works through reminding the client that they are not disempowered. When the client realizes that, the energetic shift  is miraculous to witness.

If you are wondering about yourself and whether or not you are identifying with feelings of disempowerment, here is a list that might help.

Disempowered people…

1) Take themselves and their problems seriously
2) Make it a badge of honor to carry everyone else’s burdens
3) Identify with the burdens they carry
4) Live off of drama, real or imaginary
5) Blame
6) Judge
7) Have a long “have to do” list
8) Believe all the negative voices in their heads
9) Feel responsible for everyone in their family
10) Analyze every situation to death

If any of these 10 resonate with you, you may want to work with a transition coach. Transition coaching helps you identify when you become disempowered and how to get out. To determine if you’d like to work with me, contact me for a complimentary 30 minute transition coaching conversation.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Enjoying the Journey

Time spent inside the crucible is difficult and sometimes even painful. It’s the time in between. It’s when what you are going towards isn’t here yet. It’s the hardest when what you are walking away from is not bad or a voluntary choice on your part, so you aren’t sure you want to be on the path to something else. It’s when what you are walking towards is uncertain, or even dangerous. It’s not waiting even though it feels like it. It’s walking real slow. It’s as if you are frozen.

What makes it even more challenging is the loneliness you experience. No one quite understands, or you can’t talk about it because everyone has an opinion about it. It cannot be shared because even though, you have been through it yourself at other times, each time it is a little different. Each time you swear you don’t remember it being this bad, and yet somehow it is.

I am going through one of those crucible moments of my own. This time however, I have decided that I am going to take my time and try to enjoy it! This exact circumstance will never be here again, this incubation can be precious like a pregnancy. A time to discover my own strength, patience and wisdom is precious indeed. What if instead of rushing and pushing through with my eyes closed, I stay awake with eyes wide open? What if I breathe into my fears and those of others? What if I listen to their resistance and words of caution and still continue to gently plod along? What if it were a safe journey to the other side of whatever may be? What if I left behind my doubts and negativity?

What if I believed with my whole being that everything would turn out ok? Would I still dread this journey? Would I still delay this moment? Would I still belabor this opportunity?

Are you going through a change, a transition, an awakening? Are you about to make a tough decision with consequences that ripple through your whole life? If so, and if you are resisting the outcome of what is coming your way, you may want to work with a transition coach. Transition coaching is about trusting the process and getting comfortable with uncertainty. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute transition coaching conversation to see if I can help you on your journey.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Why Do We Need To Be Busy?

I’ve been blogging since 2009 and I was surprised to find out that my most read article is the one I posted on 10/03/2010 entitled: Top 10 Reasons People Stay Busy. Last Sunday, I read an article by Tim Kreider in the NY Times (NYT July 1, 2012) called The “Busy” Trap. Mr. Kreider refers to the need to stay busy as a kind of hysteria that is self-imposed and not necessary or an inevitable condition of life.

Worse yet, we impose this kind of busyness on our children by over-scheduling them with planned activities and extra-curricular classes so much so that they have no unscheduled time. All this busyness has created a condition of little patience, addiction to constant stimulation and worst of all, a lack of creativity because of all the available distractions.

Technology and our hand-held devices are convenient tools that somehow by making us be available at all times to anyone we know and are connected to through the internet, are adding to the distractions. I am reminded of a recent trip to a carnival with my daughter and her friend. The sheer noise level was enough to drive me crazy. The visual, olfactory, and auditory super stimulation was more than my system could handle. I was glad I didn’t get on any of the rides, the kinetic forces would have pushed me over the edge.

And yet, the carnival is a good metaphor for the way we live our lives in these times. Interestingly, busyness seems to be a global phenomenon as long as you can afford to pay for all this over-stimulation. In other words, the wealthy are over-stimulated and super busy all over the world.

Is this a desired condition? I don’t think we can think of the answer to this question because we don’t have time to think of such things! That’s the beauty of being busy, it leaves you exhausted and overwhelmed, so you don’t have to think. You don’t have to choose and you certainly can’t imagine.

I work as a transition coach for a major pharmaceutical company coaching their employees who are going through various kinds of transitions. Interestingly enough, most of the ones who are either retiring or losing their jobs, are most terrified of the day after they leave their jobs and wake up to nothing.

What would that be like? Is the silence deafening? How will I deal with it? They are scared of not being busy! Yes, it does sound a bit absurd, but it is a natural condition because their lives have been so busy that they are afraid of this unknown state of not being busy. What helps my clients is talking to others who have gone through their transition and end up loving the time to think again and enjoy the silence. They all reflect back and wonder how they lived their lives being so busy. It seems unnatural and a little crazy.

Interestingly enough, Mr. Kreider’s article is in the Sunday Review section of the NYT under the subtitle of Anxiety. Over time, if busyness is untreated and unresolved, it may lead to anxiety. It is similar to the hamster in a wheel, running and running and going nowhere. When you are hyper-extended and over busy, you cannot feel satisfied and fulfilled. You are in a state of constant searching or running either to or from yet another imaginary state.

If you are too busy to enjoy your life or have forgotten how to prioritize what matters, you may want to work with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual life coaching is about re-discovering what truly matters to you and then making the choices that get you to the state you want to be in. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if you’d like to work with me.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


A while ago I had asked my single female coaching clients who had raised their now adult children as single moms what if anything they would have done differently. The answer I received was the same: I would have done more for myself. They were so guilt-ridden and cash strapped that they could not justify spending time or money on themselves. Everything was always for the kids. Now that their children are grown up and everything turned out ok, they wish they had invested more in themselves, enjoyed more of life, had more fun, and not worried as much as they had.

Women in general tend to be easy targets for guilt. They tend to feel guilty if they do not think they have done enough or done right by someone. They feel responsible for however something turns out, but it is usually related to what they didn’t do (e.g., stay in their marriage, spend enough time with their children, be a good a mother, etc.). This sense of responsibility is what feeds the guilt.

I have found that the men I work with, on the other hand tend to have guilt over what they did (e.g., were unfaithful, worked long hours, said something insensitive, made a bad decision, etc.). Men have action oriented guilt. Either way, guilt does the same damage. It is one of the most difficult crosses to bear and one where there does not seem to be an easy solution for.

What works for me when I feel guilty either about what I did or didn’t do, is to shift the way I look at the situation. When I believe that I am responsible for a certain outcome I don’t like that involves someone else, I focus on where my ego is in the moment. For example, when I believe that I am responsible for my children’s happiness, I am looking at the situation in an egocentric way. I am making it be all about me. Recognizing that, helps me let go the position I am stuck in.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself or your coaching clients to help them shift their focus when they are feeling guilt ridden about something:

1)    Is this about me? If not, then why am I making it be?
2)    What am I responsible for now?
3)    What is this really about?
4)    What are my choices now, or what can I do now to create an outcome I desire?

If you are feeling guilty about something you did or didn’t do and are struggling with forward movement in any areas of your life, you may want to work with a spiritual life coach. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if spiritual life coaching can help you get over your guilt.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Top 10 Apologies

Most of my clients are women. The women I work with are very self-aware and know what they’d like to change or improve. Sometimes, their self-awareness can backfire, especially, when it leads to excessive apologizing.

What makes women apologize for so much? Here’s my top 10 list of what women apologize for:

1)    Their choices/decisions
2)    Hurting someone’s feelings
3)    Their success
4)    Working long hours
5)    Not being more available to their children/spouse/parents/friends
6)    Not having a perfect family
7)    Not having a perfect home/house
8)    Spending too much money
9)    Not being a perfect mother
10)    Not doing more

If you are a professional woman and find yourself apologizing for any of these, you may want to consider working with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual life coaching can help you become more confident in your choices so you don’t have to apologize for being you. Contact me for a 30 minute complimentary coaching conversation to determine if this is for you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Disconnecting From Our Families

Why is it that the most complicated and challenging relationships are with the ones closest to us? I often hear that my clients get along well with co-workers and friends.  In fact, their out-of-family network is healthy and thriving. The story is somewhat different when it comes to the spouse, parents, siblings, and children. Here are some factors that come into play when relating to people closest to us:

1)    Role Play

Chances are if you are having difficulties with your child, it is because you are acting like a parent. When you identify with your role as a mother or a father, you act like what you think a mother or a father should act like. This of course has a lot to do with your upbringing and your own role models. So, it is a bit complicated. I am not a psychologist, so I won’t go there. What I do suggest though is to drop the role.

Listen like you are listening to someone seated next to you on the bus, listen without agenda, listen without judgment, listen like a coach, just listen and you will learn a lot about your child. Then, you’ll know if any action on your part is required. We often take our roles so seriously, and our kids also play into that act. How would you talk to a husband or a sister or a son if they weren’t related to you? Step back and stay objective. See them for who they are outside of their familial connection to you.

2)    Responsibility

Once you’ve dropped the “I am the parent” or “I am the dutiful son” or whatever it is you are identifying with, drop the responsibilities that come with that. I know, this is the most difficult one. We all want to be good parents, spouses, and daughters and sons. This means we want to be responsible for our role as a son, daughter, wife, husband, mother, or father. Furthermore this means, we have to be sensitive, accommodating, caring, generous, available, etc. All of these things deplete us of our sense of self. In other words, we take on our roles seriously, we become responsible for making it better for our family members at the risk of being less responsible for our own well being.

How often have you neglected to keep your own appointments, because you had to take someone else to theirs? When was the last time you skipped your exercise routine or a lunch date with a friend to be there for your family? As I write this, I can sense my own alarm going off! No, please don’t ignore your family so you can hang out with your friends, unless you want to of course! What I am suggesting is that when you become depleted by taking care of others, and being responsible for their well being, you have little left to give. You become resentful, imbalanced, emotional, and unhealthy either physically or mentally.

So, what do you do the next time you are in a situation where someone close to you needs your help? Stay clear and understand what is being asked of you, what you can do, what you want to do, and how it all affects your own well being. Is there some way where you can do both? How can you take care of yourself and be compassionate and helpful to your family? When do you say enough is enough, now I have to take care of me?

At the end of the day, you are only responsible for you. “You” includes all the things that keep you healthy, balanced and happy.

3)    Expectation

When you are playing your role, you also expect your family member to play their respective role. Often times, they don’t. You may act like a good son, taking care of your elderly parent, but they are now acting like a child, what do you do? If you drop your role, you can see more clearly what is going on and make decisions based on the truth of what is happening and not the emotions of being a good son. Dropping the act and not identifying with your role brings clarity to a challenging situation. Once you stop seeing your parent as your parent, and more as an objective person listening to what is being said, you can act objectively. This objectivity reduces drama and stress in your relationships. You can then go into problem solving mode and make more rational choices.

The family members may still have expectations of you, and that is where it might get sticky. With practice, they will understand that you are not going to give in to their demands or drama. It takes clarity of mind to know what is happening and to stay clear of unhealthy attachments no matter how much you may love the person who is demanding your attention.

The same goes for you. In other words, drop your expectations of others. No one owes you a thing. If you want to be a martyr, it is your choice. Whatever it is you do, do it because you want to do it and take full responsibility for your own well being while you are doing it. There is no best parent, husband, or daughter awards. In fact, there might not even be any appreciation for what you are doing. If you are doing it for you, then you won’t care.

If you are having challenges in your close relationships and would like to try out some of the suggestions in this blog post, you may want to consider working with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual life coaching is about learning how to be objective in every situation, especially the most challenging ones. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if you’d like to work with a spiritual life coach.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Uncertainty Instigates Drama

I like to know how the story ends. I like to be prepared. I like to know what all my options are. I like all this because it gives me a sense of peace and calm. I don’t like dealing with emergencies or making impulsive decisions at the last minute. I like to have time to think and plan. I like to be in control. I like to be smart and make smart decisions.

When people who find themselves agreeing with the statements above are faced with uncertainty where they cannot be prepared, don’t know what all their options are, don’t have a sense of peace and calm, have to deal with last minute emergencies, cannot plan or think, are not in control of a situation, and do not feel like they can make smart decisions, they are smack in the middle of a tornado of internal drama.

Drama in this case is closely related to anxiety. Not knowing can make anyone anxious. In order to relieve the pressure of not knowing, some people make up scenarios, and come up with action plans based on all the possible scenarios they can think of. This of course, makes them even more anxious because they realize that there are many possible scenarios that they have not or cannot think about! This is how internal drama caused by uncertainty becomes a destructive tornado creating chaos in its path.

I admit I am susceptible to such tornadoes! What works for me is a counter intuitive reaction. Instead of fighting the forces of uncertainty (sometimes they feel forceful), I give in to them. I take a deep breath and welcome the opportunity they present. Change can be chaotic and forceful, so go with it. This requires letting go of judgment and expectation. It is like standing in the wind and not worrying if it is going to blow away your hat and where it might end up. It is about surrendering to the fact that you may or may not find your hat.

When you do your best, you can let go of expectation. In fact, you must let go of expectation. All anyone of us can control is ourselves , our own attitudes and reactions. If we can get to the point where we are pleased with what we have done, then it is time to let go. As hard as it may seem, when you willingly let go, it is a relief. It can even be less of a battle. Letting go together with a good dose of patience, can be liberating during the winds of uncertainty.

If you are going through some wild winds where nothing seems to be in your control. Take a deep breath, and consider working with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual life coaching is about learning how to gracefully let go of what does not work anymore. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if spiritual coaching is for you.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


When faced with tough decisions, it is easy to get distracted with emotions that creep up out of nowhere and sabotage your ability to move forward. If you are unaware of what is happening, the emotions can layer upon each other and soon you’ll feel immobilized, full of anxiety and overwhelmed. What makes this even worse, is that you feel like you either can’t or don’t want to share any of it with those close to you for fear of even more emotional turmoil.

Take the example of someone who is considering retirement. Once they have decided that it would be nice to spend the rest of their time enjoying life and giving back to the causes near and dear to their heart, they might even be thinking of moving to another town or even country, selling their house, etc. These thoughts actually get them excited, almost like the time after college when anything seemed possible, and they were open to it all. And now they share their big news with a son or a daughter who lives nearby depending on them for emergency childcare, extra support, somewhere to go for Sunday dinners, etc. Imagine the emotions and drama that follow.

It is easy in the case above to feel like you are abandoning your responsibilities and not being a good mother or father. After all, you’ve had a good life and been able to raise your family, now it is time to be there for your children and grandchildren. Can you see the entangled mess that this path of thinking can take you to? Layer upon layer of beliefs about responsibility, family ties, martyrdom, sacrifice, neediness, and righteousness added to the fear of taking a chance, doing something different, following your soul’s desire make it impossible to feel good about any decisions in this matter. And those you usually go to for support or advice somehow have their own agenda in all of this. It is natural to feel alone and overwhelmed.

This however does not pertain to just retirement decisions. This is what happens during any kind of major transition. You find yourself alone and overwhelmed. This is when it is important to seek the services of a professional coach who specializes in transitions or life changes. In my transition coaching sessions, clients find that they can think for themselves again. They can gain the clarity that was missing prior to our meeting. They can separate fact from fiction, beliefs from the truth, and then they can make tough decisions without doubt.

Transition coaching is not about taking away the pain, it is about being clear about what is yours and what is not. Transition coaching allows the client to reconnect with their own personal power which they gave away in order to make everyone else happy, or so they thought.

If you are facing a major life or work transition and would like to find out if transition coaching is for you, contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sitting On The Fence

It is inevitable. Whenever you are sitting on the fence about something, sooner or later you will be pushed to jump off and make a decision one way or the other. It is as if, by putting yourself on the fence you are announcing to the world that you are ready to make a move even if you aren’t absolutely sure in which direction. Then something happens and you are forced to do it. At least that’s the way I see it.

Unfortunately, many of my coaching clients don’t see it that way. In fact, most get caught up in the wind or the events that pushed them off the fence. They start analyzing what happened, how it happened, and why it happened. These explorations leave them anxious, angry, and ultimately empty. They try to justify their position, blame the person or the event that caused this push, and in the end they feel powerless and victim like. This is when our coaching sessions typically begin.

My job when a client feels like something  unfair has happened to them is to take them back to the point before the event. I often ask them, “were you completely satisfied with your life/work before X, Y or Z happened?” “If not, what were you looking to change?” And then, “what is stopping you from making that change now?” In other words, I try to take the attention away from the spark that lead to the fire, so they can focus on the fire and make decisions about what to do next. 

When facing a major life or work transition it becomes easier if we focus on what needs our attention now. Yet, people going through major transitions find themselves obsessively thinking the same thoughts and going around in circles trying to understand how the spark came to be. They intellectualize and analyze all the possible scenarios. They tire themselves out with judgments like: “it is so unfair”, or “I never did/said the things I am accused of doing/saying”, or “I am qualified for/deserve so much more”, … Their anxiety level goes through the roof, they start having difficulty sleeping thinking the same thoughts, until they make the appointment to see their coach or therapist.

Spiritual life coaching is about helping the client see the truth as it is in the now moment. I help my spiritual life coaching clients notice the present moment so t hey can make better decisions about where they want to go. Worrying about the future by analyzing the past to death is not going to pave the way for a more fulfilling future. When the client can see the spark for what it was (just a spark), they can let go of their victim so they can be their true empowered selves wherever they choose to go. 

If you are interested in a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation, contact me. I work with people going through all kinds of transitions.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Private Nature of Transitions

The transition process is challenging whether it be a divorce, loss of a loved one, or loss of a job. What makes it even more difficult is the fact that the light is shining on you. Eyes are on the person going through this change. With that come opinions, judgments, and projections. So, now you have a person trying to manage her own grief, sense of loss, confusion, and uncertainty and you are adding the harshness of other people’s judgments and expectations. It is a poisonous combination.

When my clients are going through challenging transitions, I always ask them to be gentle towards themselves. This gentleness is not because they cannot handle the challenge, it is because a transition is just as much about a birth as much as it is about death.

A new person will emerge from this change, this new person has to go through the stages of growth just like a new born baby. In order for the new born baby to thrive, it needs to be cared for tenderly.  Just like a new parent shies away from crowds, staying home and immersing himself in the care and love of his new baby, people going through transitions need to be with themselves away from crowds.

And just like a new parent who is getting bombarded with unwanted advice, the new person emerging from a transition, needs to be shielded from unwanted advice. It is not that advice itself is of no value. It is just that the person is being reborn, recreated, and unsolicited advice can be rough and even damaging to their new creation. They need to figure it out by themselves.

When you lose a loved one, you are not only facing their loss, you are facing the “you” without them. This “you” is someone you are not familiar with. This “you” needs to form its own roots and become what it intends to become without the tweaking and twisting of others, free from the pain of loss. This process takes time and requires patience and gentleness.

Losing a job isn’t so much about losing a source of income as it is about losing who you were when you were employed. When people come at you with: “oh, you can now stay home and be with the kids”, or “you can retire now”, or “when my cousin lost his job, he…”, it is denying the opportunity for the new “you” to form in its own way and on its own time. They have their plans, suggestions, expectations, judgments, assumptions, and advice, and you are trying to learn how to wake up being the new you. You have your own demons, inner critics, judgments, confusion, beliefs, and doubts. You don’t need to carry on their’s.

So, if you are going through a difficult transition, remember that it is an intimate and private process. You don’t have to share your plans with anyone else. You can graciously bow out of being in the spot light. This does not mean shutting people out. It means nurturing yourself by being in the company of those who can be gentle with you. You don’t owe anyone any answers. When you know you are ready to share, then and only then, you can choose to go in the spotlight. Your baby is a toddler now and it can certainly thrive through playing and engaging with others!
If you are going through a challenging transition and are uncertain about how to be, what to say, and how to keep it all together, you may want to work with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual life coaching is about creating a safe space for exploration, learning how to be gentle with yourself and the freedom to express thoughts that you might be afraid of expressing to those who have agendas of their own. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if you would like to work with me.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

On Endings

Endings are prevalent in my world. My coaching clients are all experiencing loss or death. Whether it be the death of a relationship, a way of being, childhood, a tradition, a job, innocence, or a belief system, they have all been endings indeed. Some of the deaths make us sad and like the death of a loved one, we need to grieve them. Some are liberating, because they are long awaited, in other words, it was time.

All death ends up being expansive. Yes, even the death of a loved one. Once you allow yourself to grieve and acknowledge the grief, you can go beyond. Something always has to end in order for something else to begin. We dread endings, but endings in a way signify life. Spring wouldn’t be Spring without Winter.

The Spring I am writing about is not to be experienced in the company of someone else. The kinds of beginnings that follow the endings I am referring to are the ones we experience alone. The person you become when you lose someone close to you, a job you loved, or a way of life, is not anything you can explain or share. It is a journey traveled alone. Perhaps this contributes to our fear of death.

Our evolution however, depends on these deaths. Deaths are about letting go of something for the good of the whole. We hang on to our differences, our cultures, languages, etc. It is a way we think to keep them alive. What we are doing is choking the life force. No one wants to idly sit by and allow something to become extinct, and yet we all will be extinct one day. The fear of extinction is what compels us to hang on and fear death.

What if we did not look at it as losing something? What if we looked at it as a stage of life. Yes, a stage of life. Death can be seen as a stage of life. Death is about allowing, it is expansive and evolving. Death can only be seen this way when you release judgment. Western culture sees death as a morbid topic and yet I’d like to invite you to see it as a necessary part of your experience of life. Endings are necessary. Endings are liberating. Endings are sad, but when the sadness evaporates, the seedling can sprout.

If you are in the midst of a difficult ending, and would like support in seeing this transition in a different light, you may want to consider working with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual coaching is about changing the way you believe things to be in order to have a more meaningful and complete experience. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute consultation to determine if spiritual coaching is for you.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Everyone claims that they want ultimate authority over their own fate.  Regardless of what your political or cultural inclinations may be, on paper we all want to be independent and the master of our own domain(s). That is until we realize what that means.

Some are quick to blame someone, an event , or an institution when something goes wrong.  Even though, this may be true from the "blamer’s" perspective, dwelling on the feelings of blame is destructive and dis-empowering. Others like to think that the hand of God or some mysterious force, is responsible for the good in their lives. And then there are those who believe that life is all a series of random events and that if you are lucky, you will be dealt a good hand. None of these ways of thinking lead to independence or sovereignty.

Independent does not mean alone. We all are inter-dependent whether we know it or not. Yet, inter-dependence is not a weakness. As in management, you delegate the work, so you don’t have to do it all yourself. With that however, comes the reality that the person you have delegated to, may or may not do what you have expected them to do, or done it in the manner you would have liked them to. This is the crux of the problem, we want to be managers and delegate as long as it still gets done exactly the way we want it to get done, regardless of how that way may change as we change and how impossible this is the more we look into it!

In other words, we want sovereignty until it fails us and then we would like to blame the other person, circumstances, the powers to be, the government, our politicians, the terrorists, and on and on it goes. It’s always someone else’s fault when we don’t get what we want. Yet, we refuse to take responsibility that sometimes we want different things, in fact, sometimes we want opposite things.

Inter-dependence is an experience enhancer, that is until entitlement enters the picture. Entitlement is about expecting a perfect job, boss, government, or any other situation. Entitlement robs us of our sovereignty. The moment we feel entitled, we have handed over our sovereignty to the other.

Many of my coaching clients are going through an involuntary transition like a job loss. More than the fear or concern about the future, what seems to be the main issue they are facing is the fact that their transition is not voluntary. They did not choose to change jobs. This questions their sovereignty and they don’t like it one bit.

Through the course of coaching sessions, we both discover that what they thought was their sovereignty was not the case at all. In fact, they recall all the events that they may have missed, the opportunities they did not seek, the vacations they did not take, the appointments they neglected to make, other jobs they did not apply for, and then all of a sudden they realize how much of life was not lived because they were obligated to their jobs or careers. Then the anger sets in and for some, the blame takes place. Some of the bitterness is about the life they have missed out on for a sense of responsibility or loyalty they may have had towards a job that was taken away. Yes, they know how business works and it is not personal, but they realize all the personal stuff they gave up for an impersonal pursuit. Then it becomes personal!

Sovereignty is about accepting full responsibility for all of your creations.  It includes, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sovereignty is about taking full responsibility for what is happening in your life, and if you can’t, then taking responsibility for how you are reacting to what is happening in your life.

No entity can take anything away from you unless you have somehow invited it to. Spending time with the possibility of that invitation is what helps you stay sovereign. If you spend time discovering the wisdom in what is happening , you will not be basting in blame or entitlement. And there truly is wisdom in all that is happening, we have just been too busy feeling sorry for ourselves or blaming and pointing fingers.

If you are at a point in your life where you’d like to learn more about ways to enhance your experience of sovereignty, you may want to consider spiritual life coachingContact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if spiritual coaching is for you.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Perfectionist

I coach many people who are self-declared perfectionists. They typically know this about themselves and yet find it hard to deal with especially when they have multiple deadlines or an important project they need to finish. What seems to happen with perfectionists is that the target keeps on moving. This can lead to stress and extreme overwhelm.

It is almost as if they keep on moving the bar higher and higher and can never achieve success because success keeps on being redefined. The mind of a perfectionist is a hostile place. There is no room for rest, relaxation or any kind of comfort at all.

Here are 10 things a perfectionist tells herself:

1)    It’s not good at all
2)    It could be better
3)    What if there is something that needs to be changed and I am not seeing it right now?
4)    What if I overlook something and someone else sees it?
5)    I could do better
6)    I’ll spend another hour, day, week, month, etc. and then it will be done
7)    If there were more hours in a day, I could do it right
8)    I won’t do it, because I can’t do it the way I want to do it
9)    I’ll never get it done and I am ashamed and frustrated with myself
10)    I am overwhelmed by my incomplete projects

The perfectionist keeps on engaging in perfectionism because the end product, finished project, or whatever they finally complete ends up being such a success that they end up feeling like it was well worth it. If you are tired of struggling with perfectionism and find yourself stuck or overwhelmed, you may want to consider working with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual life coaching is about creating a safe space for discovery. Changing your language and self-talk may be the first step after the awareness that you are indeed a perfectionist. Contact me if you are interested in a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


His 13 year old daughter comes home and announces that she is going to a co-ed party that is going to last until midnight. He is faced with what to do about this declaration and about his own feelings of uncertainty. Should I say no, you are too young for that. Is she too young for that? I feel really unsure about my decision. Why am I so uncomfortable? All these thoughts start eating away at his insides and his stress level goes up and he snaps at his wife who wants to know what to make for dinner. Sounds familiar?

In my article dated February 12, 2012, the second obstacle to creativity was the need for knowledge. I was writing about creativity, and now I am applying this concept to life in general. Take parenting as in the example above. Most parents face it at one time or another. It is uncharted territory especially if it is your first child. And even if it is not, every child is different and what worked with one may not work with another. However, with the second and consequent children, you can remember the feeling of uncertainty you experienced with the first one and that in itself is comforting (the memory that you have experienced this unease before). Some parents when faced with the unease of being a beginner may refer to how their parents dealt with them or imagine what they would have done. That gives them a sense of comfort.

Being a beginner is not easy and it is harder as you get older. One reason being that you expect to know more, after all, you are older. Yet, life always has a way of throwing you a curve ball, just when you think you have figured it all. This is what many of my seasoned clients who are losing a job feel like. I have not had to go on a job interview for 20 years, I’m not sure how to do that anymore. I’ve been an expert in my company and everyone knows me, I am nervous about having to prove myself to a new boss and a new company.

Then there are the really serious and not so positive new experiences, like waking up one day after losing a loved one, or hearing a serious health diagnosis, or finding out something unsettling about a loved one. These are the moments where we feel like our life experiences, education and knowledge, are failing us. We are exposed to the raw sensation of not having a clue and yet, the issue at hand may be demanding us to do something or act in a certain way and we are completely unsure about what or how or if it is the right thing to do.

What if as in the example of creativity, we allowed ourselves to get comfortable with the fact that we are a beginner at it? In other words, what if instead of fear, dread, or intimidation, we faced the issue with certainty of our own uncertainty and ignorance about the topic at hand?

Take the top example, if the father in this example just took a deep breath and thought: Wow, this is interesting. I have no idea what to do. I feel anxious, because I think my daughter is too young to be hanging out with teenage boys at a party. I feel like my baby is growing up too fast. I don’t want to be a strict parent, but I don’t want her to get hurt or exposed to stuff she can’t handle.

Notice how these thoughts are all leading into another similar thought. That is exactly what staying in uncertainty is all about. It is about staying in that place and clarifying your discomfort over and over again. It will calm you down, give you a sense of certainty about your own uncertainty. It will bring more light and clarity to your biggest fears. And in the end, it will allow you to communicate honestly, openly and without drama.

Our fear is getting stuck in the uncertainty, looking weak, or not succeeding. However, we do get stuck, look weak and not get what we want, when we either fight the uncertainty or give up and avoid moving forward. Surrendering to uncertainty is about admitting to being a beginner. It is refreshing to be around someone who is not arrogant or over confident, especially if that person happens to be our parent!

If you are going through uncertain times, dealing with situations that are making you feel uneasy, you may want to consider working with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual life coaching sessions are geared towards helping the client get comfortable with life’s many uncertainties by becoming confident that they can get through any situation even if they don’t know how. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if you’d like to proceed with coaching.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spiritual Development

I frequently coach clients on the area of spiritual development. Most have a solid spiritual understanding and want to enhance or embrace it into their lives. Some are curious about spirituality and want to learn more about it. Below is an example of the type of conversations I have with my “spiritually challenged” or “spiritually curious” clients.

“I want to be more spiritual, have more faith, believe in magic”, she said. She explained how she has always been jealous of people who believed in something bigger than themselves, God, whatever. She wished she was like them. When she sees a beautiful sunset, her mind rationalizes the event as a phenomenon that can easily be explained by science. She loses the opportunity to experience the magic in the beauty of the sunset. It is as if those moments of pure beauty and wonder just zoom past her.

During our conversation, she described how her life has been full of challenges and she has had to be realistic. She had to make her life work for her, she didn’t have the luxury of depending on someone else to do it for her or even to help her. Perhaps that is when she lost her faith. Perhaps this is why she can’t afford to get lost in the moment. She feels like she needs to always be on her toes. She can’t be caught off guard.

Ironically, her best friend is a person who considers himself spiritual and full of faith. He prays and believes that the power of prayer and God have been instrumental in getting him out of tough times. He owes everything to his faith. He trusts his intuition, and is in touch with his feelings. He is not afraid to express himself and linger in life’s intangible magical moments. She wishes she were more like him.

As different as they may seem, they have a lot in common. Both individuals are hard working, intelligent, and have been challenged in life with difficult situations. Both are realistically optimistic. Yes, both are realistic. Just because he is more accepting of life’s magic does not make him unrealistic. Unrealistic would be if he expected the magic to take over and tell him what to do. He does what he believes he should do, he just believes that there is extra help and support out there. Perhaps not even out there, but closer to him. He has an intimate connection with an unknowable presence.

She on the other hand, depends only on herself. She knows she has endured many difficulties and that if her life goes that way again, she will muster up the strength to deal with it. She is optimistic. She is a little more stressed than him. She does not feel the support that he does. She depends on her own intelligence, pragmatism, and experience to pull her out of dire situations.

She always feels alone. He never does. Perhaps, that is what she is really jealous of. When caught off guard with a beautiful sunset, she does not feel the presence of something else. She goes to her head, and there is no joy there, just rational explanation. He on the other hand, goes to his heart and feels a presence that is beyond his mental understanding. He is comfortable there. He is full of joy. She is off to the next item on her list.

Spiritual life coaching is a process that will help you find the presence you are missing in your life. if you are interested in a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to decide if you’d like to work with me, contact me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Obstacles To Creativity (Part III)

This is part III of a series of posts on this blog on obstacles to creative expression.

Third obstacle:

•    Expectations and Fears

The “what ifs” can be a huge obstacle on the path to exploring and expressing your creativity. What if you are not well received? What if you are no good? What if everyone laughs at, or pities you? The underlying fear to all these “what ifs” is the fear of failure.

Failure is the one end of success. If you are afraid of failure, you must be hoping for success. This is an expectation. Expectations are to be avoided when seeking the creative path. There is no such thing as success or failure in the traditional way of understanding those terms. Success is creative expression. In other words, if you were courageous enough to try it, then you have succeeded. It does not matter how your art or expression is received. The moment you start worrying about the end product and other people’s reaction to it, you have talked yourself out of doing it.

A healthy dose of humility that may show up in the form of anxiety before a performance or showing is normal. After all, it is scary being out there for all to see. This is the time to remember the joy that your creative expression brought to you during the process. That has always been the goal. If you remember that, you can cruise through the anxiety more easily.

When you remember the fun, excitement, and exhilaration you experienced when you were creating whatever it is you created, you are more likely to do it again and again. Also, when you are doing it without expectation to be accepted or validated, then you can change directions, take a break or try something else. It is quite liberating to create for the sake of creating and not for any accolades.

Another well concealed fear, is the fear of success. Most people are afraid of their greatness! In that case, the “what ifs” are: What if I have to quit my day job? What if I become famous? What if I lose my friends? What if I change? Yes, the greatest of them all, is the fear of change. Every time you express yourself creatively, you are pushing the limits. You are exploring your creativity and having a blast at the same time. This goes against, the expression: “no pain, no gain”. You start hesitating a bit, because it starts to question many of your belief systems.

Could you have fun creating something, be good at it, and perhaps even get paid for it? That is scary for many. If you are somewhere on this path and are having doubts, fears or hesitations, you may want to consider working with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual life coaching is about accepting and honoring your creativity so you can keep on creating without any guilt or expectation. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if this is something you’d like to pursue.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Obstacles To Creativity (Part II)

This is part II of a series of posts on this blog on obstacles to creative expression.
Second obstacle:
The need for knowledge, expertise, recognition, acceptance, …

The more we do something, the better we get at it. Soon we can become an expert in whatever it is that we have been practicing or doing regularly. This is how we think we become successful. Most high achieving professionals think that success is a result of being known for doing something that you are an expert in. Steve Jobs in his commencement address at Stanford University in 2005 said: “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

One of my clients who enjoys singing was explaining to me: “Every time I sing, it forces me to get out of my head. I have to be in the moment, I never know what will come out. No matter how much I have rehearsed, that moment with the audience listening, is all that counts. I have to be present and willing to take a chance. It sounds scary, but I love every bit of it.” She takes voice lessons and rehearses regularly and yet she is a beginner every time she sings. She even confessed that she does not care if she does not sound good during a performance, it is not about the end result, there is no end result. She sings because when she sings, she feels connected to something greater than she can explain in words. And I suppose an end result for her is the joy she feels and radiates as she sings.

This same client had to face her own obstacles to get to this place. She had to recognize what it was about singing and how it showed up in her experience of it that made it possible to face and remove her own internal obstacles.

There is no room for knowledge in the creative process. It is all a risk, one that can bring absolute pleasure and joy beyond imagination. In order for that joy to become a part of your life, you have to be willing to let go of knowledge or knowing how to do something. In other words, you have to be willing to be a beginner over and over again.

If you are interested in removing some of your own obstacles and feeling creative again, you may want to work with a spiritual life coach. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if I can help you in your creative process.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Obstacles To Creativity (Part I)

This is part I of a series of posts on this blog on obstacles to creative expression.

Coaching professionals in the corporate world who want to express their creativity is a challenge I love to face every time! I love it because, they know what is missing, so that part of the work is done. Now, it is all about removing the obstacles that hinder their path to self-expression. It is a challenge because, the obstacles don’t seem like obstacles to them. They have worked hard to create the obstacles that I am asking them to remove!

What are these obstacles?

1. The notion of discipline

Wassily Kandinsky said: “There is no must in art because art is free”. The moment a coaching client says, “I have to …” is the moment the obstacle has been identified. The moment you take your corporate mind set, your disciplinarian identity, your controlling aspect, whatever you want to call it, is the moment creativity ran out the door.

Creativity is an energy or consciousness that cannot be boxed in. It cannot show up at 8:30 every morning and be done by 5 every evening. It may or may not fit into your schedule. It is not an exercise routine, or an appointment. If you dare to express yourself, you have to be open to when and how it shows up.

Creativity does not repeat itself. In other words, if you created something one day after you went for a walk and it was sunny and beautiful, you felt rejuvenated, etc. and now you have created the same background and hope to create something just as masterful as you did then, it won’t work. We as humans want so badly to find patterns, and structures. It is how we understand things. You cannot understand creativity. It has an elusive and mysterious quality about it.

So, then why bother you may ask. This seems impossible. It is, if you think of it as a chore. It may feel like a chore if you are tired after a long day’s work, coming home to family and personal demands and now you have some time left for creativity. Sometimes, it is necessary to take some time out. Take a personal day or two or a week off by yourself to find your connection. Yes, it comes at a price, the price is time away from structures, routines, and all the musts in your life.

Creativity is not something you can squeeze into your busy day at the moment you require it to show up. If you are not feeling playful, inspired, enthusiastic, and connected to something greater than the physical world you perceive around you, you cannot feel creative. If you do not feel creative, you cannot truly create. Yes, you can be skilled at putting things together in a beautiful way, play music, or make a meal from scraps in your pantry, but that is your talent and not your creativity!

Creativity is a source of boundless energy that is calling the artists in all of us to have a sip or dive in as we wish. All she asks is for our willingness to abandon old structures, patterns, musts, and any kind of discipline to discover a brand new version of ourselves. Yes, indeed this is a challenge for all my disciplined, productive, structured friends who are successful in part, because of these qualities that they have developed within themselves. Letting go is not how we accomplish any kind of logical endeavor. Letting go however, is the first essential step in self expression.

Next week, I will write about a second obstacle to creative expression. If you are a professional in a logical, rational business of any kind and would like to flex your creative muscles, you may want to work with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual life coaching is about discovering the artist within and creating the required space for it to show up in your life. If interested, contact me for a complimentary 30 minute consultation.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Influence is a Two-way Street

We just got back from a wonderful college tour trying to find colleges my son would be interested in applying to. What I enjoyed the most about this last college was what the Dean of Admissions said during his talk. He mentioned that he wouldn’t be focusing on how the school would shape the students, but rather in learning how the student would affect or change the school. I had to think about that statement. How could an 18 year old affect or change a college or university?

Thinking about this statement reminded me of how influence truly is a two way street. A teacher certainly influences a student, but a student can also affect a teacher, just ask any teacher. The only difference is that it is expected that the teacher will influence the student.

In many relationships, the expectation is that one of the parties will be having the “influential” role. Yet, influence is not a one way street. We influence the world we live in by the way we show up every day. When we are happy, and open to receive, we are received a certain way. When we are angry and negative, we are received another way. The moment you are in the presence of another, you are influencing them whether you like it or not.

Sometimes we don’t realize how we affect others. For example, certain emotions like disempowerment or victimization can be so self-absorbing that we forget how we impact those around us when we show up that way. Self-pity is not fun to be around. If only we could see how these types of negative emotions can color us in a way that is truly not only ugly, but unappealing to be around.

Perhaps, if we thought about ourselves as influential individuals, powerful just because we are alive and social creatures living and interacting with others, we might be more aware of our responsibility. Yes, we are responsible for how we show up in the world and hence, how we influence others.

This is the conversation I have with many of my coaching clients who are going through a difficult transition trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. In order to create what you want, you have to be what you want. You can’t create something that feels foreign to you. You can’t find a job that you don’t feel you are qualified for. You can’t be in a relationship you don’t feel like you deserve. You influence the outcome of what you create every time.

If you are interested in finding out about how you might be influencing others or the outcomes that you keep on creating, you might want to consider working with a spiritual life coach. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if you’d like to work with me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

To Coach Is To Provoke

A prospective client had recently called me and wanted to know how and what techniques I used in my coaching. There are lots of fancy words, techniques, methods, and names of other leaders in the field that  coaches use in their conversations. When I first started doing this work, I wanted to use the most sophisticated language to describe what I did thinking that the more complicated and fancy it sounded, the easier it would be to impress a potential client and hopefully get them to become an actual one.

The past year I have spent a lot of time re-discovering the value of the coaching I practice. I have learned that in the most severe cases where a client is deeply stuck in whatever it is they are going through, it is my disbelief that they are truly stuck that helps them move forward. Simply, put, I don’t buy the picture they have drawn for me. I buy that that is what they believe they have, but the reality is far from the picture in their hands. In other words, I don’t go down the rabbit hole with them.

Let’s take 3 independent stories about procrastination as an example:

She wanted to come up with a plan to tackle the tasks at hand. She mentioned that she had been procrastinating. It sounded simple enough, typical coaching material. When we went deeper, she realized that she was procrastinating, because she was depressed, things were not going well in other areas of her life, she couldn’t tackle the tasks because she was standing on shaky ground.

Yet another client I worked with that same day, brought up procrastination. For her it was about “order”. She couldn’t do something before she did something else. And that something else could not be done until something else was taken care of.

Today I worked with someone who was avoiding an important project, something she really cared to complete, because she was exhausted from taking care of some other things in her life. She had no energy left to finish her project.

All 3 wanted to accomplish their tasks or projects, but something  (depression, belief systems or habits, other distractions, lack of confidence) got in the way. None of them had much energy or enthusiasm. These were three different women with 3 different scenarios, stuck and unable to move.

Procrastination isn’t just about putting things off and being late or finishing at the last minute. Procrastination can lead to severe inertia to the point of depression, anxiety or physical illness. There is a reason for why we don’t do what we want to do. It is not because we are lazy, or slow. Under all procrastination there is at least one other layer of muck.

I see this in my children, when they are excited about something or enjoy doing something, it gets done before they even come in the door and take off their coats. If the task at hand is not enjoyable or reminds them of something negative, they cannot be held accountable to getting it done. That’s when as parents we think of ways of motivating them or holding them accountable. But the adults I work with, are self-motivated professionals. They understand the importance of the tasks or projects they are procrastinating. They are definitely not lazy or slow. So what gets in their way?

It is not procrastination as we know it at all. They get stuck, energetically stuck in their circumstances. They are not procrastinating, they simply cannot move forward. Depending on what is going on in their lives, they are frozen in a still life photograph that they bring with them to our coaching sessions.

Like a scientist examining an artifact or amber with trapped particles, a coach’s job is to imagine the particle outside the structure she is trapped in. Holding that possibility that there is a vibrant, energized, and alive being pretending to be stuck is what helps melt the amber and liquefy the solid trap. That is the beginning of the coaching conversation. It always starts from the same place, I hold the space and the possibility that being stuck is an illusion and that reality is far different from this state of inertia.

So, what techniques do I use in my sessions? I provoke to create a different possibility, one that the client found unimaginable or unattainable in the beginning. Once the provocation has taken effect, the coaching follows.

If you are stuck in procrastination or anything else, you may want to consider working with a spiritual life coach so you can begin imagining a different reality for yourself. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if spiritual life coaching is something you might be interested in pursuing.

Friday, January 20, 2012


The most dangerous and destructive energy drain out there is one that is addictive, deceiving, manipulative, contagious, sneaky, and readily available. We are all guilty of partaking in it and offering or pushing it onto others. Most of the time, we are not even aware of how we engage in its distribution. It is bigger than us. It can entice us to talk up a storm, analyze a situation to death, and even keep us up at night. It breeds fear, negativity, anxiety, and depression.

Any guesses as to what it might be? If you guessed, drama, then you are correct. Drama is well disguised and yet it creeps into our lives all the time. My clients often complain about how talking to certain people brings them down. In fact, turning on the TV can be a very dangerous activity in that it opens the door to drama. Worse yet, you usually have your guard down listening to the news, unaware of how much drama was just injected into your psyche.

There are 3 major sources of drama: media (any kind of news, or entertainment), families, and work place.  Yes, it is everywhere. No, you don’t have to run away and live in a cave. You do have to be fully awake and alert and recognize it when it hits you. You don’t have to fight it, you’ll always lose. You don’t negotiate, you will lose. You breathe and allow it to blow through.

How? It is similar to hearing someone talk when you are not interested in what they are saying. You hear, you let them say what they have to say, you walk away. You turn on the TV, you watch, you listen, you recognize what is drama, what is real information, you take what you want, you walk away.

In summary, the best way to deal with drama is following the steps below:
1)    Breathe
2)    Recognize drama
3)    Keep on breathing
4)    Decipher what is useful information and what is not
5)    Choose what to do
6)    Move on

Sometimes, you might think you succeeded, but if you find yourself slightly irritated, doubtful, or anxious, then some of it got on you. Once again, go through steps 1 through 6 in your head and let go of drama. It cannot hurt you if you are aware of what is happening and choose not to let it get to you.

If you are interested in working with a spiritual life coach on learning how to cope with drama or any other kind of negative energy, contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to decide if spiritual life coaching is for you.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


He said he was hopeful for the New Year.  I was concerned about him, he was about to lose his father to a terminal illness and he hadn’t been taking it too well. Today, he said he was hopeful. “A new year means so many things and I can’t help but be full of hope”, he said with a half smile on his face.

What is hope? According to the dictionary hope is: “desire with the expectation of obtainment” or “to expect with confidence”. To me it is directly correlated with a beginning. Early morning is a time for hope for a good or successful day. Hopelessness on the other hand is directly correlated with an ending, it has a death like feeling to it. The night when the day has ended, is the end of the hope for the new day. In fact, we always say or think that tomorrow will be a new day, a new opportunity to try again, etc.

And what about in the middle of hope and hopelessness, what is that?  What is in that space or on that continuum? Or is it a continuum? Going back to the analogy of morning and night, the middle is the day. The middle is what happens between hope and hopelessness. The middle of desire and defeat is the practice or attempt to obtain whatever you were hopeful to achieve. The middle is where you forget about hope and how it started when you are busy doing what you thought you wanted to do. The middle is distracting, consuming, and deceiving. Only when the day has ended, you are reminded of how it began.

This kind of segmentation helps us digest our lives. 24 hour segments of beginnings and endings with the stuff in between, chunking life into digestible pieces. Yes, the New Year is a beginning full of hope and some time in December we decide whether we accomplished all that we had hoped to. In between January and the following December is when life happens.

What if every moment was like the dawn, full of hope? What if hope never ended? What if we were in a consistent state of hope? As young children we are more hopeful than as adults. Just look at a toddler when they wake up in the morning, they are bright eyed and fully alert and ready to go. Over time, we learn that we don’t always get what we want and with multiple experiences of defeat or what we perceive to be defeat, we become less bright eyed and hopeful.

Over time we learn that sometimes we get what we want and sometimes we do not. This is how hope gets diluted and eventually becomes hopeless. What if obtaining something or having an expectation was not part of the hope experience? What if hope was just a feeling, like joy or sadness or excitement? What if hope didn’t come with baggage?

That’s the hope that he was talking about. He had no expectations, he knew that his father would not survive his condition, yet he was still hopeful.  He was hopeful because it was a New Year and hope was just a part of the New Year experience. It was not logical or rational, it was an irrational emotion, a child-like enthusiasm, a beginning, a clean slate, endless possibilities, …

Spiritual life coaching provides an opportunity to explore concepts like hope in a safe space. Sometimes you can change what you believe they mean and then re-experience them in a new way. If you are interested in pursuing spiritual life coaching with me, contact me for a complimentary 30 minute spiritual coaching session.