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Posts Tagged ‘zoey ryan’

Loving Kindness Meditation

Loving Kindness Meditation

Family Love

Loving Kindness Meditation: 3 Easy Steps

I first learned about ‘loving kindness meditation’ when I read the book “A Path With Heart” by Jack Kornfield. My friend Victoria Pawlowski recommended the book and Victoria and another friend, Carolena Ranger have gone on to found ‘The Center for Compassion Inspired Health’ which incorporate the tenets of loving kindness meditation and self compassion.

Reading “A Path With Heart” was life changing as it was with the reading that I started a daily meditation practice. I found the way Jack Kornfield writes about meditation clear and heartfelt.

For myself, the most effortless way to evoke the feeling of love and good intentions is to bring to ‘mind and heart’ my children when they were little and my grandson Madz. Thinking of Madz never fails to bring a smile to my face and crack my heart wide open. I can then include myself and a wide variety of others in my best intentions for good health, happiness and a life filled with peacefulness and ease.

You can try it for yourself with these three easy steps:

1. Sit comfortably in a quiet space. Take 3 deep in and out breaths.
2. Bring to mind a person, animal or environment that evokes feelings of love.
3. From the ‘feeling place’ of love send out to yourself and others wishes and intentions for good health, contentment, peace, a life well lived.

While this is a very simplistic, basic model, it gives a taste for what can be incorporated easily into one’s life. In addition to Jack Kornfield’s fabulous book, there are other wonderful books to help you with your practice. Another one I would highly recommend is “Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness” by Sharon Salzberg

Why practice Loving Kindness Meditation? In addition to the obvious real time blissful feelings one experiences, research conducted by Barbara Fredrickson at the University of North Carolina found that folks who had done 7 weeks of loving-kindness meditation experienced a significant increase in positive emotions, personal resources and good health.

Like any new behaviour, practicing helps, so try to set aside 10-20 minutes every day for your meditation practice.

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 Your Wild and Precious Life

Summer Flowers

Wild and Precious Flowers

One of my favourite poets is Mary Oliver and on this summer day her fabulous poem is a luscious read. I can actually hear the grasshoppers and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin while reading. As a life coach, I particularly love the last sentence about ‘your wild and precious life’ as it is a wonderfully inspiring quote and a great coaching question … :

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

By Mary Oliver

If you feel so inspired, try out some of these summer self care tips to enhance and elevate your ‘wild and precious life!

 

5 Simple Health Tips You Can Use Right Now to Improve Your Energy

Health Tips

Meditate and breathe

5 Simple Health Tips You Can Use Right Now

Its the simple and seemingly obvious health tips, if incorporated on a daily basis, that can have the greatest long term sustainable impact on your health!

Research indicates that for individuals to maintain a new behaviour, there needs to be at least one of the following factors: enjoyment, easy to incorporate, in line with life values, able to be self regulating and effortless. Check out the following health tips to see if there is a fit.

1. Stop every hour and take 5 minutes for gentle movement and deep breathing.

2. Eat only when you are hungry, not when you feel you should eat.

3. Sweat! Sweating on a daily basis is healthy and detoxifying. Since it is warm summer air in most parts of the world this should be fairly easy to accomplish!

4. Do some type of physical activity, sport or exercise that you enjoy.

5. Be mindful of your thought patterns and when you find yourself ‘creating stories’ and ‘getting lost in your thoughts’ simply focus back on your breath … taking three deep in and out breaths with soft focused attention can calm all your internal systems.

Happy 150 Birthday Canada | A Woman’s Perspective

Canada Day

    Happy 150th Birthday Canada

Canada turns 150! This past year particularly has provided plenty of opportunity to reflect on what it means to be Canadian and live in a country that currently is strongly supported by the values of diversity and inclusion. Sure there is a vocal small minority of hate mongers and yes, the Indigenous peoples have an absolute right to further reconciliation and reparations and health care needs must be addressed.

The majority of my Canadian ‘neighbours’ are friendly, open minded, open hearted, respectful, curious, genuinely great people with a subtle and sly sense of humour, possibly undetectable to those who don’t speak ‘Canadian’. This may be why we are considered polite, which of course we are, just on occasion with a bite to it (only if deserved of course).

Just as I love my fellow Canadians, I also love getting to know folks from other Countries and feel that mutual awareness and understanding is critical to a sense of collegiality and collaboration which can shift our world and worldview.

I’m going to revel in my Canadianness today as I do every July 1st, Olympic hockey final game and when I hear the National Anthem.

O Canada, here’s to you today!

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

 

ICF Mentor Coach Certification

mentor coaching

Let’s do this together

It was with a sense of excitement that I embarked on mentor coach certification recently and it is with great joy that I now begin to roll out Mentor Coaching for ICF Coaches more fully in my practice.

With the heightened talk of fake news and denied scientific reports, I am again appreciative of my solid scientific training where I was taught the importance of critical thinking and measurable competency based skills. When I took my ICF approved ‘Mentor Coach Certification’ through Invite Change, I was impressed with the rigor of the program and with the professional accountability and ‘elevation’ mentor coaching brings to the profession.

As coaches we are often asked how coaching is different than counselling, consulting or advising and while many of the skills overlap, at it’s foundation, coaching is inherently different. A coach relationship is really an equal partnership. The International Coach Federation (ICF) which is the globally recognized accreditation body for professional coaches says “The ICF definition of coaching is: Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

Working as a mentor coach brings in an additional layer. Not only is the coaching partnership in place, there is also an inference that the mentor coach is attentive to the advancement of the skills and the professional practice of the ‘mentee’ coach. With this additional layer comes a whole new set of competencies, skills and ethics.

I had the great pleasure to attend a Coaches Conversation Cafe last night with a small group of coaches as part of the ICF Vancouver Chapter Cafes Series. As part of the conversation, we discussed the differences and similarities between coaching and consulting as well as some of the ICF Core Competencies. I was reminded and re-invigorated by the power and depth of ‘coaching’ as a communication technology.

Mentor coaching provides a safe and friendly container to sharpen your coaching skills and develop your coaching presence.

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