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Posts Tagged ‘mindfulness’

Autumn Energy: Use it For Renewal

Even though I don’t have ‘kids’ returning to school, September continues to feel like a time of new beginnings. In nature, Fall is a time of harvest and the beginning stages of renewal.

Some of my favourite Fall memories include walking down tree lined streets and the smell and sound of crispy leaves, recently fallen.

You can use the changing energies of the Autumn season to let go of what no longer serves you and to take time to reflect on those activities that recharge and renew you.

I’m using the Fall season to recharge through an eight week ‘mindfulness and self-compassion’ program similar to what my friends and colleagues at ‘Compassion Inspired Health’ offer.

Summer Holidays Good for the Soul

 

I am slowly feeling re-energized and have been reminded how important it is to take time off for Summer holidays!

Recently, and totally unconsciously, I got back on the treadmill, albeit, a ‘health’ treadmill. I over did ‘life’ by over scheduling and even though it was all activities I love, my energy was depleted.

Life coaches should know better, right?

Now, I feel my energy returning after days of being on the water, rocked to sleep by gentle waves.

I’ve also re-committed to my loving kindness meditation practice which was very easy to do with just two of us on the boat, however, was worried I would have a challenge as numbers on the boat swelled recently with the addition of one of my daughters and my grandson.

These are two people I love dearly, so the loving kindness is actually flowing! No need for worry.

I’m fortunate to live in an area of the world that is breathtakingly gorgeous. Being in Nature, taking long forest walks, beach walks, attending local Farmers Markets, kayaking, these activities spell Summer to me. I can feel by engaging in these summertime activities that I’m slowly beginning to ‘regreen’ the dry and parched areas inside.

While I may at times yearn to live in a perpetual summer holiday, feeling nourished and re-energized allows me to return to daily life.

Wisdom About Our Weird Everyday Lives

Rock Statue

Weird and Everyday

Words of Wisdom from Pema Chodron

Pleasurable vacation time gives an ‘interrupt’ to ordinary life, which allows our inner wisdom to break free. I find that some of my best ideas and intuition about life changes arrive during times in nature.

The following quote from Pema Chodron, in her wisdom, really speaks to me.

 

Awakeness is found in our pleasure and our pain, our confusion and our wisdom,

available in each moment of our weird, unfathomable, ordinary everyday lives.’

 

~ Pema Chodron from ‘When Things Fall Apart – Heart Advice for Difficult Times’

Enjoy your wonderful day!

in peace & mindfulness

namaste,

Zoey

 

3 Life Coaching Tips to Deepen Self Awareness

Health Tips

Life Coaching Tips

I am currently re-reading ‘Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao’ by Wayne Dyer for my morning meditation and just read the 11th verse of the Tao, which in this translation, goes like this:

Thirty spokes converge upon a single hub;
it is on the hole in the center that
the use of the cart hinges.

Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Carve fine doors and windows,
but the room is useful in its emptiness.

The usefulness of what is
depends on what is not.

I was reminded about some of the previous self-care posts and life coaching tips where I talked about the idea of one’s personal centre and being ‘grounded and anchored’.  This verse of the Tao, adds in the additional concept of ‘emptiness’, how valuable the emptiness can be and in fact how powerful ‘nothingness’ is. This idea feeds into the intersection of ‘being and doing’ and how in our culture, we are very focused on ‘doing’ and are valued for doing lots. It might be fun to explore the theme of ‘being’, your inner self, your personal emptiness, presence and essence.

I would like to offer some definitions in the spirit of creating shared language and common understanding. These definitions are adapted from the Merriam Webster on line dictionary.

Presence: the bearing, carriage, or air of a person; especially stately or distinguished bearing, a noteworthy quality of poise and effectiveness, something (as a spirit) felt or believed to be present.

Essence: the most significant element, quality, or aspect of a thing or person.

Personal Presence & Essence: the above as related to ones self.

The self-care coaching tips are designed for you to feel your way into your emptiness, to explore your personal presence and viscerally experience this.

3 Life Coaching Tips for Self Awareness

1.Re-read the verse above. Using the metaphor of the wheel, spokes and the power of the empty middle, apply this to you, your being, your presence, your essence. Consider the emptiness of the hub, what is in the emptiness, how does it feel to just sit for a moment in your emptiness? Write out what you notice or feel with this exercise, put some words down about your being, presence and essence.

2.Choose a friend who you know cares about you deeply and you feel will be honest and caring in her response and ask her to describe your essence or personal presence.Consider if this feels right for you. Play around with the idea of your essence and presence and tweak what you have already written if necessary. You should now have a short statement about yourself.

3.And now, on the lighter side, see if you can do a ‘180 degree day’ sometime this week. This is a day that you do everything 180 degrees differently all day. If you a very responsible employee, you may take a day off for no reason, or you may wish to eat dessert for breakfast, or exercise in the evening rather than the morning. Just shake it up abit!

These life coaching tips will help you explore ‘what you are not’ and hence will help you to know yourself better and get a sense of your presence and essence.

 

Dreams | Inspirational Quote of the Day

Dreams

dream catcher

Dreams …

If your dream doesn’t scare you, it isn’t big enough.”

– book title by Kristine K. Stevens

 

It is very easy to think that dreams are for younger people and I’ll admit, when I read this quote, I get a bit of a knot in the pit of my stomach, perhaps as I’m comfortably ensconced in midlife.

However, current research on neuroplasticity and maintaining cognitive function clearly shows that learning new skills, having new experiences or generally working that gray matter is a very very good idea.

So, it’s time to brush off the ‘virtual vision board’ and start imagining this next phase of life albeit with dreams not quite as edgy as previously held. And fun too!

Many folks get caught up on semantics and in my life coaching practice, I find that if I ask ‘what are your dreams’ rather than ‘what are your goals’, there is a completely different response and almost a relaxing into the answer with a sense of ‘joie de vivre’.

In addition to my family, I have a dear friend I travel with and we are currently planning a trip slightly more ‘exotic’ than usual. Traveling with her is like having my personal life coach continually by my side, even so, this next trip feels a little scary. Great I say!

I’ll have time to ponder and plan as we embark on our annual sailing holiday soon. Hmmm, I wonder what ‘dreams’ I’ll return with!

Life Coaching Tip:

Allow yourself some downtime to ‘just dream’ with no restrictions and ‘as if anything was possible’. It might be fun to see what you come up with! There are many ways to do this, no wrong ways and most require no structure and lots of white space. It might be fun to keep a journal just for your ‘life dreams’ and add pictures, quotes and ideas as these spontaneously arise. If this is a new concept for you or one you haven’t engaged in since childhood, it might help to ‘chunk’ your life into categories and ‘dream’ within a category. Have fun with this and catch some great dreams along the way!

 

Life Balance 3 Tips to Improve Your Holistic Health

Building on the theme from recent posts about summer energy, poetry and living in alignment with nature and her cycles, let’s weave in some of the teachings of the Tao Te Ching as a foundational theme in creating life balance.

Being brought up in a Western family spiritually grounded in Christianity, I wasn’t exposed to the Tao until my 30’s while on a spiritual quest following a family crisis. Do you find that crises often lead to spiritual growth? It was after reading The Life of Pi by Yann Martel that I decided to go deeper with the learning about the Tao. This may be a funny way to deepen learning, ie from a very enjoyable novel, however it worked for me! Since that time, the books that have helped my western mind understand the Tao have been ‘The Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu’ translated by Brian Browne Walker, ‘Change Your Thoughts-Change Your Life: Living The Wisdom of the Tao’ by Wayne Dyer and ‘A Thousand Names For Joy: Living in Harmony With The Way Things Are’ by Byron Katie.

Byron Katie’s book I found to be particularly powerful.

As a life coach and executive/leadership coach, the women I work with are often challenged to find a balance or equilibrium between making conscious and strategic changes on the one hand and allowing the gentle flow of life on the other hand. Another way to describe this dynamic is seeing the balance between striving towards change and being drawn towards your future. The Tao seems to be very helpful for the second part of this equation. The Tao reminds us that life is like water, it resides in the low places, over time it carves out deep valleys and can move mountains, and it is hard to grasp. I have found that the more I try to figure the Tao out, the more complex it becomes and if I allow my entire self to be open to it, I ‘grasp’ it more easily. So, the life balance learning is about honouring the Tao of life and the Tao of you.

Life Balance Tips Using the Tao, remember the second part of the equation above, :

1. Read something about the Tao Te Ching, you can pick one of the books above or simply do a quick search on the internet.

2. Ask yourself how your life is or isn’t like the Tao?

3. One of the dominant themes of the Tao is about water and flow, spend lots of time in the water (for fun) and ask yourself what you feel drawn towards? Interesting imagery is to imagine that ‘life’ is a gently flowing river and you are floating down in a beautiful kayak, can it truly be this effortless? Might you run up into a log jam or two? Might the current of the river move you beyond it? Play with this image and sink into the energy of the Tao to bring more balance to your life.

3 Self Care Tips to Enhance Your Life

Happy and free

Do you ever find your self wondering exactly what does ‘self care’ mean? In my life coaching practice,  when discussing self care, I have many women ask me, “but isn’t it selfish to put myself first”? I like to ‘unpack’ and ‘repack’ the meaning of ‘self care’ together with my clients. My thinking about self care has been informed by the writing of Pema Chodron, Buddhist Nun and teacher.
In previous posts, I have included the phrases ‘motherly love’ and ‘compassion towards yourself’ as capturing the essence of self-care! Another word that fits into this discussion is “maitri”. Maitri is a Sanskrit word often translated as unconditional friendship with oneself. As mentioned, I first heard the word ‘maitri’ in the writings of Pema Chodron.

 

What strikes me is that as we can develop ‘unconditional friendship’ with ourselves, we bring compassion and a gentleness into our ‘self-care’ practice. Starting from gentleness and respect allows life to flow forth in quite a different way than striving towards the completion of projects. This is the practice of self compassion and anchors our lives in quite a different way. You can learn more about self compassion through the Center for Compassion Inspired Health.

 

So, explore the practice of unconditional friendship and self compassion with yourself and from a soft and gentle place, experiment with the following :

 

Self Care Tips:

1. Explore the concept of friendship, and consider if you hold yourself to a higher and different standard than you hold your friends ie are you more critical of yourself than you are of your friends?

2. Be extra gentle with yourself and notice when this is easy or difficult.

3. Mark the changing of the seasons in some way. You may wish to buy a new journal or prepare your garden or design another ritual that helps you say good bye to the season ending and ‘hello’ to the season on it’s way in or, if you are in an equinox, notice the uniqueness of the season.

 

“May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in beauty and joy each day.”

 

– Native American Proverb

Inspirational Quote | Courage and Belief

Words of wisdom

Darkness of the unknown

“When you walk to the edge of all the light that you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught how to fly.”

  • Patrick Overton

 

This has long been one of my favourite inspirational quotes as it speaks to courage and a belief in a power greater than ourselves.

If one can stay in the darkness for a bit, there is a fair amount of mystery, magic and great personal learning to be had.

As the photo above illustrates, there is shimmery moonlight on the sea in the midst of a dark night.

I and clients have used the inspiration from this quote for self awareness, introspection and then to help move into a lighter place and space.

Enjoy this quote and your day!

 

7 Self Care Tips for the Summer Solstice

Health Tips for Women

Health and Wellness Tips

Why have personal self care tips and make self care a priority?

If you don’t take care of yourself, how can you care for others most important to you? How can you truly enjoy your activities, how can you fully rest and rejuvenate and enjoy the best of the wonderful Summer energy?

But isn’t self care selfish? I often hear this from my coaching clients. No, I say emphatically, self care is self-less as it is truly the first step to living an inspired and fulfilling life! Further, with the changing of the seasons, your self care routine should vary as the ancient traditions acknowledged. If you would like help with this, I would love to be your support partner, learn more about working with a life coach here.

Try out these self care tips to flow with the energy of the Summer Solstice and stay tuned for more information about how to infuse your “self care routine” with more “self compassion”:

7 Self Care Tips for the Summer Solstice:

  1. Put yourself at the top of the priority list.
  2. Daily, check in and ask yourself, “What message is my body giving me?  What activities/food/beverages/exercise does my body need more of this season?  What does my body need less of?”  Listen to and act on the messages.
  3. Develop your own self-care routine.  Ask yourself, what do I need to do for myself on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to really take care of myself this summer?
  4. Plan a “retreat day” or weekend, remember a summer activity you loved from your past and craft your ideal self-nourishing time around that activity.
  5. Make a list of all the areas in your life that are energy drains and start eliminating the energy leaks.
  6. Decide which people in your life energize you and which people drain you and spend most of your time with the “energizers”!
  7. Spend time every day in nature, in solitude, doing nothing, no reading, no music.  Sink into the feeling of appreciation, gratitude and feel nourished by the vibrant and verdant energy around you!

Around the end of August and early September, you may feel your energy and interest start to shift indicating a need to re-evaluate and re-vise your self care tips and routine and this would be a perfect time to do that. You may find the Life Crafter 2017 helpful!

“In solitude we give passionate attention to our lives, to our memories, to the details around us.”

–       Virginia Woolf

 

Three Daily Habits to Make Happiness a Life Goal

Cultivate happiness

Can Happiness Be A Life Goal?

Do you have the ability to create happiness? How many of you believe that our emotions are beyond our control, kind of like we are passive recipients of our emotional state?

While acknowledging that the full range of emotions, including sadness, hurt and despair contribute to a well rounded and balanced life, I believe that it is possible to not only change our emotional state, but to also ‘prime’ our thoughts to make a positive emotional state or happiness more likely.

Drawing on the work of Barbara Fredrickson PhD, in the area of ‘Positive Psychology’, doing three small things daily can have an impact:

1. Remembering and savouring a positive social interaction, perhaps with a family member, friend or even your local barista.

2. Feeling gratitude for something or someone in your life.

3. Taking a few minutes to sit in mindful meditation each day.

In total, these three things could take as little as ten minutes a day, yet the impact would be mighty.

So, yes, cultivate happiness and enjoy the bounty that will flow your way.

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