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BBrave Coaching, Be Brave, Be Kind, Be Positive, Coaching, Stuff in my head, Thoughts about life, Uncategorized

True engagement

Follow your heartI went to yoga yesterday. In Athleta. At the mall. Truth is, I love it because it’s a little different setting and when they have classes, it’s different every time. If I could practice yoga outside regularly, I’d probably do that too since it’d always be something new to look at.

I go to yoga for a lot of reasons, but one of the main ones is so that I rest from thinking for an hour. All I have to do is listen to the instructor, follow her voice, her flow. Done right, it’s a time for me to let go and be present, in the moment, connecting with myself. But that’s not what happened today. I felt like I had one thing after another flying through my head. Telling me everything I needed to do today. A non-stop barrage, organize the garage, clean the house, groceries, all on the day that is intended to be for rest. In that time, that space I put aside which should be still,  I wasn’t relaxing because my mind kept churning.

I don’t need a phone to remind me, I have a constant to-do list in my mind. And it exhausts me. It’s not that I truly have so much to do, I’ve worked at slowing down, intentionally.  But my mind doesn’t rest. I really want to be present, to be here, now, engaged in whatever it is I’m involved in, but I usually spin ahead.

I’ve reached the point where I’m over it. So much so that I’m going to take a class in mindfulness this summer. Even as I look at the pre-worksheet though, I feel panic arising. “When will I practice,” every day. Ummm…can I get back to you on that? All the what if’s surface in my mind. What if I commit and then don’t do it. Can you fail at mindfulness? Ok, deep breath. I suppose not.

It also asks about what I’m hoping to achieve by the end of the course. Mindfulness. Ok, well besides mindfulness…I want to stay focused so that I’m not running through a million scenarios in my head at all times. I want to be able to actually say where and when I’d like to go on a trip this fall instead of playing the entire thing out in my head and then thinking through the pitfalls. As it is, I’ve waffled on where to go so many times my husband has stopped going down my rabbit trails. He’ll wait until I get worn out and come down to 2-3 choices.

I’m also hoping to engage with others and with myself. To really engage in what I’m doing right now instead of thinking about the future. I realize that all I have is right now. And I miss it. I’m so busy thinking ahead, I often don’t truly engage in what’s happening now. I mean, I do, but my brain’s in maybe 60%. It exhausts me.

So mindfulness, how are you doing with it? Are you here, now, or are you planning dinner in your head? It is just a busy season, or is it one long continuous “season”?  Rushing through things in your mind doesn’t give you or the experience much of anything, just motions. If you’re in the same boat as me, I’d encourage you to think about why. Are you avoiding something? Maybe trying to meet someone else’s expectations? Whatever it is, I encourage you to take the time to explore it, and slow your mind down. If you want someone to walk the path with you, reach out to me. Despite my talk of distraction, I am engaged when coaching, promise. My challenge to you today, and to me, is to slow your mind down, maybe only for 5 minutes, but slow it down, give it a rest. You won’t be sorry.

BBrave Coaching, Be Brave, Be Kind, Be Positive, Coaching, Courage, Strong Women, Stuff in my head, Thoughts about life, Uncategorized

Body love and happiness

body loveIs this a rant? Let’s say no, because a rant sounds so, well, negative. Instead let’s say I been feeling strongly about this topic. The other morning, I had the TV on watching the news while I got ready for work. A commercial came on that I’d seen dozens of times. It opens with “What do you hate about your body?” The ad then goes on to detail woman after woman who didn’t like their face, their arms, you name it, they didn’t like it. But, the ad promised, there’s a solution! A solution that will make you feel amazing, transform your life! And went on to talk about plastic surgery.

This is one of dozens of ads that I’ve seen asking the same thing. Though the ads sometimes target men too, they’re primarily aimed at women. Fast forward to a conversation I had with a friend the other day who told me she was going to a plastic surgeon for a face lift consultation. Her mother was giving her a facelift for her birthday and told her, “wouldn’t you like to look better now instead of doing it when you’re older and don’t have as long to enjoy it?”

What makes me sad, and a little bit angry, is that there is such a focus on body image and acceptance of the idea that by changing a physical aspect of ourselves, our lives will be magically transformed. We’ll feel amazing, have more confidence, have more fulfilling lives, make more money, meet the man of our dreams.

But it’s a lie.

What would it look like to accept our bodies as they are? To embrace our bodies, our faces, our extra skin, whatever it is. To shift the focus from what’s wrong to all the things that are right. To celebrate our bodies and get comfortable in our own skin? Last night I started to make a crack to my husband about my own body and my recent lack of ab exercise. The extra skin on my belly I attribute to my first son who I was convinced, while he was in the womb, loved fried chicken and chocolate cake, so who was I to deny him. But I stopped and instead said my belly skin was good because “I grew humans in this body.”

Now, I know there are medical reasons for plastic surgery and support that. There can also be reasons related to disease management or body function. Those aren’t the body changes I’m talking about.

I’m concerned about the idea that by getting a facelift or tummy tuck or whatever it is, your life is going to be magically transformed into the one of your dreams. Chances are, it’s not. That’s like chasing a moving target.

If you want to feel better, happy, whatever it is, what stops you from doing it now? All the things promised by the countless surgical and non-surgical options for changing your body, you can have those without medical intervention. Or without endless diets or workouts. Those qualities, they come from inside you. They are a choice.

Wait for the external solution…

Or find the one inside of you…

The challenge I pose for you today is to think about your body. Think about the amazing things it has done for you. If you don’t already, think of it like a close friend. Love on it. The aspects in your life you’re waiting on for your body, your weight, whatever, to be “right,” I believe you can have those things now. I’m not saying exercise or being healthy isn’t good, it IS good, but it’s not necessarily going to change your mindset.

If you want to be happier, think about what makes you happy. Write it down. Then write down three things you’ll commit to this week that move you towards happy. Then do it.

If you’re not sure where to start, feel stuck or challenged with finding what you desire in life, I’m here to help. Find me at bbravecoaching…I’m here…sharing my brave journey with you.

BBrave Coaching, Be Brave, Be Kind, Be Positive, Coaching, Stuff in my head, Thoughts about life, Uncategorized

How’s stress working for you?

stress controlWe all have stress in our lives. It’s part of the deal. How much stress you have, I’m learning, is largely up to you. Your perspective has a lot to do with it. And what I’m realizing is that the degree to which I try and control certain areas of my life has a lot to do with how much stress I associate with them.

Here’s an example. Everybody has work stress. If you don’t, I ask you, are you ‘working’ on the beach in Cancun sipping the cool and refreshing beverage of your choice?

So yes, I have work stress. The other day though I was listening to a podcast by Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. He was talking with a client about control related to diet and food and how that showed up for her. Letting go of that has been something I’ve worked on. What it made me think about that day though was the control I like to think I have at work. Lately, work has felt stressful to me, but what I realized that morning was that a big reason for that was me. There’s a little flux in my role right now because of some exciting projects we’re working on, and shifts that could change some of my day to day work – all in a good way. But even though it’s all good, it’s flux, and I’m not in control of it. Not in control of the timing, or how it plays out. I have input, but I’m not a one man show. There are a lot of voices speaking into how the projects roll out, and they’ll be better for it. But again, not in control. Once I realized that, I was able to consciously start letting go of my desire to control my work, and trust the process.  I just started so I can’t quite say I’m all the way there, but it’s baby steps in the right direction.

So in thinking about that, I’m really seeing how the amount of stress I associate with any situation has to do with how much I try to, or think I have to, control it.  I’ve wanted a new car for quite a while, but it was finally time. My husband and I drove one on Friday night and by yesterday morning, I told him I was all in. But then I went about my leisurely Saturday morning. I later realized that while I did yoga and meandered around Whole Foods, he was in go mode. He researched, he price compared, he was looked at rates, at what was available through other dealers. Next thing I knew, he was at the dealer, telling me he had the car, waaaaay under the MSRP, and I needed to come sign papers. For a second, my control self reared up and asked me why I hadn’t had all that under my control?  The stress, driven by guilt, reared up, but I shut it down (yes, applause comes now). I drove down and had a stress free buying experience. Instead of stress that could have come from the experience, I was grateful. Grateful I had a husband who was so good at all that stuff. Stuff that really I’m not good at, and don’t especially care about being good at, so even more grateful to have him.

Where do you have stress in your life? Could it be that you’re trying to hold on tight, to control, situations that would be better served if you just let go? Stress and control are draining energies and letting go of them is freeing, making room for the positive energy I think we all want in our lives.

There are a few simple things you can do to start moving towards letting go of control and stress.

  • Think about the areas of your life that cause you stress.
  • Be real with yourself about the amount of control you try to have in those areas.
  • From your list, consider which one you’d like to reduce your stress in the most – in this moment.
  • Write down 1-3 things you can do to reduce the amount of control you’re trying to have in those areas.

Try to let go of control and the stress that comes with it. You’ll find yourself far more engaged and “all in” in whatever situation it is if you have an open hand, rather than a death grip.

And then breathe…Relax…And enjoy the experience.

BBrave Coaching, Be Brave, Be Positive, Coaching, Keep Going, Strong Women, Stuff in my head, Thoughts about life, Uncategorized

Steps to trusting myself…

Goodbye ScaleI gave away my scale this week. Unceremoniously taking it to Goodwill and saying goodbye.  Big deal you might be saying. I get that. Let me give you a little backstory.

I’ve always looked at other women who I think are thin with envy. For the last probably 35+ years of my life, every…single…morning the first thing I had to check on was my weight. Was it ‘good’? If it was good, then so was my day. If it wasn’t, that’s how my day started, frustrated, annoyed with myself. My internal voice was on overdrive. I ate too much. I didn’t exercise enough. Today I would do better.  On what I considered to be a good day, I was elated, quickly replaced by trying to replicate everything I did the day before so I could be good again tomorrow.

During the day, every time I ate was an opportunity to determine if I was doing good, if I was making the right choices. If I ate a cookie, I’d pray that I wouldn’t see the impact the next morning. Nothing was eaten without having weighed out the consequence in my mind. I had my ‘approved’ list of foods, ones that in some convoluted way I’d determined would not have a negative impact on the next day’s weigh in. Eating was largely a source of anxiety, judgement, by myself or others (in my mind).

And I was exhausted.

I started working with a coach because I wanted a solution to why my nearly 50 year old body felt like a magnet to weight. In reality, I’d probably been too thin and my body was getting back to where it should have been, I see that now. But then, I was frustrated and wanted the magic bullet.

So boy was I surprised when she told me to stop stepping on the scale, stop counting calories, stop weighing and measuring my food.  But how would I know how I was doing? How would I know if my weight was acceptable? The answer? My body. Look in the mirror. My body would tell me by how I felt. Uhhhhhh…that’s what my scale did. But not anymore.

In the beginning, I struggled. But it got easier. And the more time passed, the more I started to feel in touch with my body. I noticed when things I ate made me feel strong, and what I ate that didn’t. I started appreciating the way other women looked, at all shapes and sizes and really noticed when they appeared to be comfortable in their own skin. Whether they were or not, I don’t know, but they appeared that way.  And I appreciated them. As I did, I started to get more comfortable with myself.

Last week, my husband’s scale called to me one morning and I listened. And stepped on. My reaction was, huh. I didn’t get too tied up in it, but as the day went on, I found myself thinking about it, over and over, and the same mental game started again.

That did it.

Later that day, I took my scale to Goodwill and said goodbye. Forever. It was freeing and scary all at the same time, but I did it. The thing about the scale is that it was telling me what to think about myself instead of trusting my own body, my own intuition about myself.

The unfortunate part is, I know I’m not alone. The scale may not be your thing, but you may have one. That external thing that tells you how to feel about yourself, about your body, about the kind of mother, or wife, or friend you are. I’d suggest that you already know those answers. If you listen to yourself, to your intuition, you know. And you can trust that. No other person, or magazine, or scale, or whatever that thing is, knows your story, lived your story, been through your life and all that has brought you to where you are today. Only you. You are unique. And you are amazing. But you don’t have to listen to me, you already know that.

My coach launched me on my journey. If you’d like to talk to a coach about taking the journey for yourself, I’d love to work with you, that’s what the Be Brave part is all about. Helping you find your amazing self, because sometimes, you have to be brave to get there.

BBrave Coaching, Be Brave, Be Kind, Be Positive, Coaching, Courage, Keep Going, Stuff in my head, Thoughts about life, Uncategorized

Today’s Focus

 

Don't Rob Today.pngSometimes my thought process feels like it’s the disclaimer you hear for car ads on the radio. It races ahead, quickly thinking about all that lies ahead of me, everything I need to do, what I have to check off a list. It spins my head. Even today, I was walking our dog on early in morning, my favorite time of the day, and I was through today into next week in my head. Sometimes I’ll start talking to someone and I’ve already had the first part of the conversation in my head so what comes out is mid-way through and makes no sense at all.

I’m often thinking about the next move. What I have coming up. I think my busy mind has been also on overdrive at night lately. I’ve been having crazy dreams – which I don’t normally do. I was telling my coach about one yesterday. I was in the Philippines, a place I’ve never been. I came out of a corridor and there was water everywhere, like in Venice, with a lot of Asian influenced statues. I floated around on a statue head, trying to take a bunch of pictures because I only had a short time. Then I rushed to a hotel room where my husband was, he wanted me to hang out, but we had to get to the airport, fast! Then I was changing my clothes in a public bathroom, ran into someone from work, and ran through the airport for a flight, telling others to keep up. My coach looked at me and said it sounded like rushing all the time while my husband wants to just hang out with me. Just like that, calm, cool, she summed it up. Mic drop, walk away.

It was an oh crap kind of moment. I’ve been thinking about it today and wonder if, in the midst of trying to stay ahead of the game, I miss what’s right in front of me. Maybe I already know the answer to that, but I don’t like it. I’m in, but am I truly in the moment? Or, am I too busy looking at the next thing.  Even though I thought I knew this about me, I thought I’d made progress towards slowing down. Apparently not.

In today’s busy lifestyle, it’s far too easy to fall into this trap. What can you do to safeguard against it? What steps am I going to take to slow down (and believe me, I’ve already slowed down from the pace I used to go).

First, if you find yourself starting to spin, take a breath. Really. Just slow down and take a few slow breaths. It has the effect of calming you down, slowing the cadence of your movements, let’s you think clearer.

Next, think about what is actually on your plate, right now. Not tomorrow, but in this moment. You may be afraid you’ll forget everything else you have to do, but you won’t. And if you’re really concerned, make a list. I’ve read that when you make a list, it allows you to clear that information from you head. Less to distract you.

Finally, think about what is most important in the moment. Focus on that. It could be your spouse, your child, a family member or friend, or maybe it is work, or play. Whatever it is, just focus on doing that. Take steps to engage, fully, completely.

One of the things I’ve realized is that I manage a lot of stuff. And by stuff, that’s exactly what I mean, just stuff. Lately, I’ve been working on minimizing my stuff so there’s less to organize, put away, manage, clean, you know, all those fun things that come with stuff.  With less of it, I can focus on what’s important. How about it? Tired of managing all that stuff? Purge it with me, both your mental and the physical stuff, and then let me know how it goes, how you feel, how you’re showing up in life. I want to share your journey!

 

 

BBrave Coaching, Be Brave, Be Kind, Be Positive, Coaching, Face the fear, Keep Going, Strong Women, Stuff in my head, Thoughts about life, Uncategorized

Your true Yes

True SelfThough I am in recovery, I am a pleaser. I aim to make people happy.  If I think a decision I’m making will result in negative feedback from someone else, I’m thinking twice about it. As a result, I often say yes easily. Now, I truly do like helping people, but my automatic yes sometimes results in the voice in my head asking, in a whiny voice, “why?”

This week though, was asked by someone I’d worked with doing some freelance work could refer me to a colleague. Within minutes, I was writing out the response text to say “sure, thanks for asking.” But then I stopped. I started thinking about the kind of work I’d done with them in the past and how that wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. Could I do it? Yes. But want to? No. And so, after thinking and praying about it, the next morning I wrote him and declined, referring them instead to a former colleague who specializes in that type of work. And it felt great!

Before I made the decision, I felt anxious, nervous about saying no, but once I did, once I was true to myself, I felt free. Later in the week, I was involved in a situation by default and the discussion was around a topic that I’d rather not think about for hours on end. It was necessary, but negative, draining, and I could feel the uneasiness in my stomach all day. In that case, I didn’t have a choice. But in many cases, I do, you do.

Think about it this way. Those things you really love to do, you do with all your heart. Could be something creative, could be cleaning, cooking, or golf, skiing, cycling, or swimming, or maybe you work on cars, or are a collector…only you know what that thing is, but when you’re doing it, it’s your jam. You lose track of time. For me, it’s being creative, and it’s engaging with others and helping them move their lives forward, whether it be at home or at work. When I’m in that space, I’m in it with all my heart. I’m engaged, and focused.

It’s my sweet spot.

What I’ve learned is that the greater degree to which I can stay in the sweet spot, the better results I’m going to have.  AND, the more focused and productive I’ll be. Think about it for yourself. Do you know your sweet spot? If you do, what percent of your day are you spending in that space? And if you’re not spending a lot of time there, why not?

If you don’t know your sweet spot, you have a unique opportunity. One which could lead you to feel like you’re all in, engaged, and creating a fulfilling life. I know that, for me, I’ve spent too much time trying to please others, and saying yes when I really want to say “heck no.” And it’s not about only doing what I want, or what I’m good at. It’s about being in that sweet spot where I know I’m using gifts that I’m meant to be using. My own ‘special sauce.’ So if you’re still looking…not quite sure what the sweet spot feels like, saying yes when you want to say no, spend some time on it, dream.  If you need a little help, or guidance on your journey, that’s what I’m here for, it’s my sweet spot.

 

BBrave Coaching, Be Brave, Be Kind, Be Positive, Coaching, Courage, Strong Women, Stuff in my head, Thoughts about life, Uncategorized

Who do you love?

Give love away

Sometimes, a person can say something to me that I’ve heard before, but for some reason it finally sinks in. That’s the space I’m in the last couple days. Friday, I was meeting with my coach and we were talking about loving yourself, accepting yourself. Seems easy, but for some (hand raised) it can be tough. We talked about how you can’t give away something you don’t have, or don’t own. Hold that thought and fast forward with me to yesterday.

Wanderlust is a festival that I’ve heard about for a few years. It’s a ‘mindful’ triathlon – 5k, yoga, meditation. Then you can participate in a variety of other activities, acro yoga, hooping, workshops, throughout the day. It was amazing! One of the things our yoga instructor talked about (think about hundreds of people doing yoga together – so much positive energy!) was self-love. She echoed the same idea I had talked about with my coach – you have to love yourself, have a good relationship with yourself, in order to love others well, to give away love.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I felt as though I was getting confirmation of an area I need to focus on. In order to truly love well, you have to know what it’s like to feel love for yourself. Same is true for self-compassion. If you don’t give yourself compassion, realizing that you’re not perfect, and that’s ok, how are you going to be compassionate to others?

That’s one that I could really relate to. I’ve held myself to ridiculous standards and beat myself up when I fall short. Truth is though, no one else holds me to standards as high as I do. And I’ve been working on it. Being kinder to me. And it’s incredibly freeing, which allows me to show up stronger because I’m not as worried about making mistakes, or falling short.

So why do I bring all this up?

Sadly, I know I am not alone in having issues with self-love, self-acceptance and self-compassion. It’s not something people like to talk about. I can only speak for women and I know for many, it’s an issue that is exacerbated by comparison, by expectation, or by whatever has compounded it for you. I know it can be an issue for some men too, but I’m not equipped to speak about their journey. So to my female tribe – my friends, and even those I may not know, I get you.

I have to keep hearing the message, but it is sinking in. I’m thankful for that and share the message with all of you. Love yourself. You are with you all the time, don’t you want to hang out with someone you love and enjoy?

I set an intention during our yoga yesterday and carry it through today, love myself. And now I send it out to all of you.