Category Archives: Blog

Blossoming into your authentic self

What limiting beliefs are you holding onto that aren’t really yours in the first place? What have you believed about yourself, because someone else told you something that wasn’t even true but was their projection?

Maybe you want to start something new but feel you don’t know enough, or believe you’re too old or too young, or not smart enough. Maybe you believed you had to fit into the status quo, or your parents who said you had to be a doctor, or marry the boy next store. Maybe you’re wanting to make some big changes in your life but are afraid of what others may think, whether that’s changing your career, coming out as gay or trans, or even wanting to go for a promotion.

Maybe you’re afraid to fail or afraid to succeed. Maybe you’re afraid to have more perceived happiness or financial success than others.

A lot of the times people are waiting to feel validated on the outside before feeling they can take action.

One of my favorite quotes is this:

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”.  Anais Nin

In essence, where have you given your power away to keep you smaller than you truly are? We have all received certain conditioning that gave us the idea that we weren’t enough the way we were or that we needed to do it better than we did, or that making mistakes wasn’t acceptable, or we shouldn’t stand out too much. Or that others have the answers, but we don’t.

What does holding onto these limiting beliefs and points of view give you? Maybe it makes you feel safe because you don’t have to take a chance and step outside your normal comfort zone. 

How would you show up if you knew you were enough? How would you live if you weren’t afraid to fail or afraid of what others thought? And what if you knew you were totally worthy and didn’t need anyone else’s approval to feel self-love and self-worth? What would authentically being you look like?

If your answer is you don’t know, begin to start to give yourself permission to notice what dreams or inclinations or passions you have but have not followed for one reason or another. You may be living in a box that is too narrow or too small. A lot of our conditioning in society tells us we have to reject parts of ourselves to fit in. We have been programmed by a variety of mediums including TV, the internet, our schools, and whoever told you what it means to be successful. Some of the goals you have, may be coming from a deep longing underneath to just be loved and accepted. If you resonate with that, then there is an opportunity to look at your life and see where that is true and where you may want to begin to question your choices and begin to make new ones. Be patient with yourself. Being conditioned from birth as we all are, it can take a while to discover your more authentic self. In the process of trying to look good on the outside or trying to please others, you may have inadvertently denied the unique beauty and identity, and talents that lie within you. 

Over time you can learn to take your power back from those you may have given it away to. If you’re waiting for someone else to validate your experience or choices, it may be time to begin to validate your own experience no matter how different it may be from others. 

And even though we can never truly separate out all of our conditioning, everything is part of our growth and individuation process so none of this is wrong, it’s all just an opportunity to become more in alignment with the more authentic parts of you. Not, from a place of perfectionism but from a place of curiosity, and a desire for expansion and growth. From our soul’s perspective, everything is unfolding in and happening in a divine order. 

You may be holding onto an identity that you’re not enough, inadequate, or lacking in some way. You may be comparing yourself to everyone else in society that seems to have it better than you. But what needs to happen is to fall back into yourself with the love and acceptance that you seek from those outside yourself, and begin to meet those parts of yourself with compassion, and affirmation. Begin to ask yourself what deeply matters to you. What does success look like for you? What do you value and what is most alive in you now? What are you passionate about? What new steps are you wanting to take now and in what direction? Each day is a new day where we can begin again with new choices.

Making peace with loss and change

Loss and change, while difficult, can be an opportunity for awakening and going deeper into the true nature of our being.

Even though in the moments when we are experiencing loss, and we would never have wanted that experience, at some later time there is often the realization that you have grown and gone deeper into your essence. So, loss and change are always an opportunity for growth.

We all experience change and loss, whether it’s the loss of a friendship, relationship, the death of a loved one, loss of health, or possessions.  It can help to acknowledge and make peace with the impermanence of life here on earth and the fact that everything is always changing. In doing so we can also begin to live more fully.

At first this may not be easy, because we often want to distract ourselves and not feel the deep feelings of grief or anger or fear, that may accompany loss and change.

This topic is particularly up for many people right now in the face of the pandemic, deepening social and political divides as well as climate change, to name a few. 

Begin to look into your own life and see how you are relating to change in your life. While change can be a portal for awakening and being more present in each moment, it can also bring up for many, the wanting to avoid deep feelings and distracting through addictive behaviors as well. Whatever you are experiencing, can you bring some compassion to your experience? We haven’t been taught as a society how to be with loss and change in a way that brings the most growth and benefit. We’ve been conditioned more to numb and distract ourselves from experiences we don’t like.

Be curious about the mental constructs you have around loss and impermanence that perpetuate more suffering in your life. On some level we can choose to resist what is happening

or we can begin to embrace life as it is with all its challenges as well as change and loss and grief as part of the play of the whole of life. Loss and gain are always happening, seasons are always changing. Part of the challenge of loss and change is that we feel that our identities are being threatened. Who am I if now if that person isn’t in my life? If my mother or father died, or my partner left me, or I lost my job? It’s like we’re grieving over the loss of our own identity or a small death of oneself. But if we drop deeply enough into ourselves we can experience the vastness or spaciousness that allows everything to be here as it is in each moment, the bliss the pain, the joy and the grief.

If you are going through a difficult change or loss right now, you might begin to ask yourself, what am I unwilling to feel right now? How can I compassionately hold space for what is arising in me and make peace with what I’m feeling?

And while resistance is a natural response to what we don’t like, beginning to open to acceptance and peace with what is happening, can over time be more fulfilling and healing than being at odds with life in all its myriad of changes.

Getting Unstuck

Are you wanting to shift who you are being? Or how you are reacting?

Oftentimes people come to me because they want to make big changes in their lives but feel stuck. I often tell people that change is often two steps forward and one step back. When we have a pattern in our life,  especially one we may have been doing for many months or years, it can take time to completely change that pattern. However, any small steps you make toward the change you desire, especially when coupled with a strong intention to change, is more powerful than you think. When we start to observe ourselves and make new choices, then even small new choices made over time can have a powerful and lasting change and even start to change our brain chemistry.

So, begin to see that baby steps lead to greater and greater change over time, and that these small changes are cumulative and can lead to greater success, harmony, emotional balance, health, depending on what you’re working toward, over time. If you really understand this, it will be easier for you to initiate change.

People sometimes ask me what helps with motivation or procrastination and I often tell them that it’s these smaller steps rather than taking huge steps that is often the best for people. The other thing that is helpful to remember is that if you have a setback and get out of a new habit that you’re really wanting to continue, the sooner you make peace with and forgive yourself for that, the easier it will be to create space to go back and begin the new habit, or lifestyle you are working with.  So, these small steps are cumulative and add up over time.

Also, bringing one’s attention back to the present moment is also so important. Because in each present moment is where we have all our power. We can only choose in the present moment. So, our choice to choose something new is only always in the present moment. In each moment we have the opportunity to choose which direction we’d like to go but we often overlook the power we have in the moment thinking our next small choice won’t make much difference. 

What often helps people to get unstuck is to notice that in those moments of feeling stuck, you may not really be present. You may be in the fight or flight mode which makes it harder to be present and notice what options you may have. In those moments especially you may revert back to your limiting beliefs and thoughts like:

  • My life will never change
  • I’m not worthy of (and fill in the blank)________
  • I’m never going to have what I want…. Whether that’s money, relationships, health, etc.
  • I’m always_______
  • I’m never________

Sometimes the familiar ways of feeling stuck are hard to break out of because they’re familiar and feel safe to us even though we don’t like them. We are always telling ourselves limiting stories about what’s possible and what’s not. Limiting beliefs can come from developmental experiences we had in the past or even from programming on TV. We often want to be like everyone else so we can fit in and we may even suffer because we think that is what we’re supposed to do. 

We can begin to change those limiting stores one belief at a time.

Some of the ways you can begin to get unstuck are: 

Become come present to what is going on in those moments when you’re stressed and maybe caught in a negative loop. Take a few deep breaths and begin to notice the environment around you. Sense your senses, smell the smells around you, hear the sounds, notice the colors and shapes and textures, I know this may sound counter intuitive because in those moments you may just want to push yourself, or give up, or go to an addiction. Also, see if you can accept your current situation for the moment as it is. This is not resignation, because acceptance even though you may not like what’s happening, can help you open up to the moment where new ideas and perspectives may emerge for you. And then you can begin moment by moment to take new inspired action. Becoming empowered is knowing that you can make a shift in any moment. In fact, you can catch yourself when you start to feel defeated.

Set an intention to see options and possibilities, see if you can zoom out and view your problems from a wider lens. Begin to get curious and open your awareness with the intention of listening for new insights and possibilities, and then begin to take inspired action

Sometimes however very strong emotions about a situation can be overpowering and come from a past experience and trigger you in a way that will be hard to get out. And if that’s the case, you may even need to get help from someone to heal and process that part.

Especially in these challenging times, be gentle with yourself as you move towards becoming unstuck, as more intense emotions and feelings, of hopelessness, may be more likely to come to the surface for some. The good news is that none of us are meant to stay stuck. We are here to evolve and realize our potential.

Reducing Stress and cultivating peace creates better living

Life is full of stressors and unexpected things that pop up and throw us off-center.

What can help us with this is first knowing that, that is how life is, and second having practices in place that allow us to recenter and rejuvenate so we can go back to whatever we need to handle, from a more centered and fresh space.

I’ve recently had a lot of unexpected things show up in my life that have been stressors and what has been helping me the most is remembering these things.

  1. Know when to take a break when you’ve been working on something so long and you’re too tense or tired to really focus well. You often just need a break to reset.
  2. Using mindfulness and your breath to remember to relax your body and that nothing is really worth causing you to get so stressed out because it just affects your health and makes you less able to function and deal with whatever is on your plate anyway.
  3. When we get too caught up in our minds in a way that makes us agitated puts us in fight or flight, we forget the possibility that we can be more relaxed in the midst of the ups and downs of life. How do we do this? First by knowing and acknowledging that this reaction is going to happen and that’s ok and second by coming back a moment to moment and reconnecting with the space of the present moment through your breath and being present to what is all around you, the smells, sounds, colors, and sensations.
  4. Letting go of being overly attached to things. Do your best and be open to trusting in life. See if you can feel the sense of responding to life rather than reacting to it. Being overly attached to something means that you can’t be in the flow. Allowing our body to be more or less relaxed is akin to being in the flow which often allows our challenges to be resolved more easily than not. Have you ever noticed that when you’re in extreme reaction, nothing works very well, and things often go a bit sideways compared to when you’re more chilled and relaxed and in the flow?

When you’re in a place of just responding in the moment to what is going on, you’re more in alignment and more in the flow.

Taking slow deep breaths and being with the awareness of the movement of your breath, calms your nervous system and your mind and begins to rewire your brain and restore you to the parasympathetic state. This can turn down the volume of your mind and begin to make more space for being more present and peaceful.
Sometimes people have a hard time getting this, especially for people who are type a driven, it is counter-intuitive to think that you might get more accomplished or have things at least get accomplished more easily with a practice of mindfulness or relaxing into the flow of things.
What are some other ways to cultivate a more relaxed response to or cultivate reducing stress and creating more peace in your life?
Have an intentional practice for doing what nurtures you and helps reset your nervous system when you’re not working or when you’re agitated or anxious.

  • That could be anything from spending more time in nature.
  • Taking a bath with magnesium salts and essential oils
  • Playing music that is healing for you
  • Working in your garden.
  • Exercising
  • Eating well
  • Watching something that makes you laugh
  • Being with loved ones

Any small daily practices that bring you back into a state of flow or balance contribute to rewiring your brain so that when things do get stressful, you’ll be able to create more harmony and balance and have more resilience and capacity to deal with the challenges in life.

Dealing with uncertainty and change

Especially in these more turbulent times of the last year, we’ve all gotten quite a bit of practice in dealing with uncertainty. In fact, when you think about it much of life is uncertain. We often plan for one thing but then another thing happens. Carl Jung once said: In all chaos, there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.

However, there are many specific reasons you may be dealing with uncertainty.  Whatever your circumstance or situation is around uncertainty I’d like to provide some suggestions that may help you in those times.

    1. If things are feeling out of control, focus on what you can control. For example, if Covid 19 is one of the things you are concerned about you can wash your hands or wear a mask. You could avoid certain situations where you may feel vulnerable. Or maybe you need to watch less news. By focusing on the current dynamic or situation at hand you can go into problem-solving mode by listing what you can do in that situation that could help.
  • You can bring yourself back to this present moment. Usually, in any present moment, things are actually fine, but it may be the worry or that something bad could happen that makes you feel bad. The best way to bring yourself back to the present moment is to focus on your sensations. Feel what you’re sitting or lying on, listen to the sounds all around you, feel any sensations in your body. Notice the color of the objects that are around you. One of my favorites is just to sit for 10 minutes or so and feel the movement of my breath.

 

  • Make time for extra self-care. Self-care is always a good plan when one is feeling overly stressed. Make sure you get the right amount of exercise and sleep. Make time for the things that relax you the most, whether that’s reading or being in nature, listening to music or talking to a friend, or whatever feels good to you. Particularly anything that centers you or helps you feel grounded can be helpful here. If you’re not sure make a list of the things that make you feel good.

 

  • Feel gratitude for the small things that are going well in your life. At the beginning of Covid when I felt anxious at the uncertainty of my life, I made a strong practice to focus on what was going well in my life, and almost immediately I would start to feel better. In my experience gratitude is one of the most powerful things one can do in life because it’s so easy to focus on what you don’t like or feel is a lack of in your life.

 

  • Use compassion to soothe yourself. It’s natural when times are difficult to feel challenged and feel a whole host of feelings you’d rather not feel. Just remind yourself it’s natural to not like what’s happening and it’s natural to feel what you’re experiencing and don’t add any being hard on yourself for what you’re experiencing.

 

  • Reach out for professional help if you need it. Many people have been needing more help in this past year and there’s nothing wrong with getting more help. If you’re suffering from ongoing anxiety or depression it may be time to seek out help. 

 

Embracing what presents itself.

Have you ever noticed that most people, including myself, though it is better now, have the tendency to focus on what’s wrong?

There is this tendency to compare to what was good and what we liked in one moment and we want to hold on to, to what we think is undesirable in the next moment and push away what we don’t want, which is normal. However, the fact that everything is always in flux, ie situations, moods, energy levels, how our bodies feel ie more or less good; the act of trying to hold onto what we want more of and push away what we don’t want can cause a lot of suffering.

From this place, we might continually resist life, overfocus on the negative or what’s lacking in life.

What we can do, is begin to transform our relationship to what is, by acknowledging the preference of what we’d like while not resisting what we don’t want so much.

One of the ways we can do this by bringing our present attention or presence to whatever is unfolding in the moment, let’s say it’s a sensation or emotion you don’t want to feel. Can you allow yourself to feel it without a judgment, without making it right or wrong? Can you feel everything that arises, such as thoughts, feelings, etc., arises because of awareness itself? Whatever we’re experiencing is arising in awareness itself. And, that awareness is deeper and more vast and allows for all experience.

That doesn’t mean you still don’t have preferences though. However, the key to greater happiness is to learn to be present with what is. Because everything we are experiencing is an experience that will also come and go.

One practice I like to give my clients is to practice being present though out the day with whatever they’re feeling, and when less desirable feelings or thoughts arise, try being with them with more acceptance and less resistance, knowing that this is an experience that’s moving through you. And even if it’s a negative emotion you don’t want to feel, it may be arising to finally be met with your love and acceptance that you didn’t receive earlier in life. Others in your life couldn’t give that to you because they didn’t know how to give it to themselves. These undigested feeling arise as part of our healing not because there’s something wrong with us. But it’s a part of us wanting to return home, to the love and acceptance from you that no external authority could give it.

Stay with the spaciousness beyond the thoughts and feelings, that allows for all experience, that is the key.  It may be a little difficult at first, but it is a bit like going to the gym every time you do it, you unhook a little bit each time from your past conditioning and create a space for healing and self-compassion to occur.