If you want relief from undesirable feelings, stop putting them in the blue bin.
"To give vent now and then to his feelings, whether of pleasure or discontent, is a great ease to a man's heart." -Francesco Guicciardini
At the beginning of each session with my clients, I ask them to set an intention. This week a theme that emerged was the intention to be free from consistent undesirable feelings. It seems many of my clients had things happening this week that triggered sadness or anger that they were longing for relief from.
Can you relate to ever wanting to cry "Uncle!" to get out from under a feeling? Perhaps you had a good cry or took your anger to a boxing class but still couldn't shake the feeling. Perhaps there was some temporary relief but then it kept coming back!
There are two ways to be with or process feelings: recycling or rinsing. When we engage in judgment or analysis while we are expressing a feeling, we end up recycling it. For instance, it is not especially relieving to cry while judging ourselves as pathetic, feeling sorry for ourselves, or analyzing all the reasons why we are sad. When we are in recycling mode, we see ourselves as victims and are consistently asking "why;" searching for some explanation that will free us from the feeling. We do not allow ourselves to ride the feeling long enough so that we truly experience the height of the emotion because we simply want it to go away. But what ends up happening is that it just comes back around again later. And the more we try to suppress a feeling or solve it with our minds, the more it recycles.
Conversely, rinsing a feeling is when you allow yourself to 100% feel a feeling without any judgment, analysis, or desire to get out of it. I learned rinsing from Mona Miller, my teacher at the Communication Arts Company. When a feeling comes up, set aside time to fully express it when you can truly be with yourself. Feel don't think. Resist the temptation to analyze your feelings or the situation that is triggering them. Attempting to figure out our feelings interrupts and prevents our full expression of them. The most important part of rinsing a feeling is to have compassion for yourself the entire time you are going through it. There is a part of you that is in the upset and there is another part of you that knows "all is well" that can be compassionate.
As you start to feel like the intensity of the feeling you are expressing is decreasing, it is important to engage in self-soothing of some kind. Spend some time nurturing yourself by moving into the energy of forgiveness. Forgive yourself and anyone else you may be holding judgment against that triggered the feeling. And instead of asking, "why?" ask: "what am I learning?" Often the key reason why feelings get recycled rather than rinsed is because we are holding on to blame, a need to be right or know why something is happening.
So when it comes to recycling, save that for your bottles and cans! If you want true relief from feelings set aside some time to rinse. And remember to honor your feelings rather than wanting to rid yourself from them because they always present an opportunity for learning and healing.
It's time to reduce those high-calorie, low nutritional value thoughts that are weighing you down!
"You need to learn how to select your thoughts the same way you select your clothes every day." - Elizabeth Gilbert
If you were attempting to release weight, decreasing your portions of high-calorie food while increasing your consumption of nutritional veggies and fruits would be an effective strategy. Imagine the benefits of applying the same principle of portion control to your thoughts! To loose some mental weight, decrease the amount of time you spend thinking of things that create anxiety, fear, sadness, etc. while increasing your portions of self-affirming and grateful thoughts.
You realize how powerful your thoughts are, don't you? If you need a reminder, think about something that stresses you out and see how you feel. My guess is not as good as you feel when you think about something or someone that you love. When we change our thoughts, we change our life.
I understand that sometimes life hands us lemons we need time to process and reflect upon before making lemonade. The problem is we often end up OVER-indulging in worrisome, critical, depressing or hopeless thoughts! We even get addicted to gorging ourselves on the kinds of thoughts that are not good for us. Consider how big of a portion you are giving negative thoughts and all the negative energy you are consuming by thinking them. When negative thoughts do arise, exercise willpower by giving them a smaller portion on your mental plate.
How can you do this? Think about how you could curb a craving for chocolate by allowing yourself to have a small portion. A helpful tool to curb your cravings for thoughts that weigh you down is to designate a certain amount of time you will allow yourself to think them. For instance, years ago when going through a break-up I spent the majority of my day thinking thoughts about my ex, what happened, what I did wrong, and all kinds of other thoughts that kept me feeling awful. I realized that my mind was working against me and a lobotomy seemed like my only option. Until I had an idea... I could practice portion controlling my thoughts! Since I couldn't forget about the break-up entirely (just like we cannot give up food entirely) I set the intention to designate a time when I was "allowed" to think negative thoughts. For 15 minutes every morning and 15 minutes every evening, I had permission to think about the relationship and feel all the emotions that accompanied those thoughts. The rest of the day, I committed to keeping my thoughts in the present moment. Each time a thought would pop in about the break-up or my ex, I would inwardly say to myself "Stop, it's not time for that now, I can think those thoughts during the designated time."
I invite you to UPdate what is on your mental plate. You cannot control what happens in life but you do have a choice about what and how much you think about it. With a loving self-discipline, you have the ability to feed yourself with thoughts that are nourishing to your mind, body and soul.
It is time to be more mindful about what you are sleeping with so that you wake up with a clear mind.
"A well-spent day brings happy sleep." - Leonardo da Vinci
Do you have a hard time falling asleep? Are you sleep-deprived? After a night of sleep do you still wake up feeling tired? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, a change in your evening routine is a must!
What do you do right before you go to bed? Does it involve any of these things: checking your phone, emailing, playing on the internet, working on your computer, or watching television? Exposing ourselves to any of these devices stimulates our brain during a time when our mind needs to be winding down so we can rest. With increased stimulation and exposure to the electromagnetic waves our gadgets emit, it is harder for our body to enter the deep sleep that is most nourishing and reinvigorating.
I know many of you sleep with your phone next to your bed and I'm highly encouraging you to keep it in a separate room. It along with your computer and TV are unwelcome visitors in your bedroom. Not only is it bad feng shui, it's bad for your health! Need additional reasons to kick those gadgets out? Read this article.
And if you do avoid the electronics, many of you are drifting off with worrisome visions dancing in your head. Or you are taking judgments of yourself or others with you to bed. Or perhaps negative emotions like sadness, anger, or fear are keeping you awake at night. You don't have to sleep with any of these things either! If you are anxious or experiencing emotion, use a tool called "Free Form Writing." Grab some black paper and just begin mind-dumping. Make sure to write stream-of-conscious; don't worry about making sense or being able to read your handwriting. Keep writing until you experience a shift in state and feel more peaceful. Rip up the paper or burn it when you are done. And if your mind is full of criticism of yourself and/or others, make sure to engage in forgiveness before you hit the hay. You don't want those judgments lurking around when you are trying to rest.
Today I encourage you to UPdate your nightly routine so that you have at least one hour before you drift off to sleep to rid yourself of all of these rest risk factors. Listen to music, read a calming book, take a bath, journal, and do anything that feels soothing to you. Your sleep should take up a third of your day and is a KEY factor for waking up to a productive day and a healthy you. Don't go another night without some good sleep!
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You have a lot to contribute to this world so it's high time to live up to your full potential!
This past weekend I had the pleasure of hearing Brian Tracy, one of the top success and achievement coaches in the world, speak. He said something that hit me like a ton a bricks: the majority of us are only using about 10% of our potential. 10%?!?!? From my point of view that number is WAAAAAY too low. Why are we operating at such a mediocre level?
As human beings we have infinite potential; it is our greatest natural resource. But it is an UNDERTAPPED resource. We get so caught up in the day-to-day of life and sit idly by as possibility passes over us. We waste time on mindless activities like tweeting sitting in traffic, gossip, and to-do lists that really aren't doing much of anything. We fill our time with "fillers" rather than things that are truly fulfilling. We complain about our outer circumstances because we forget that we have the power and ability to change our inner experience at any moment.
Understand that potential is not so much about how much you are doing, but rather what you are doing and the way you are being while doing whatever you're doing. We all have an equal amount of potential; what sets us apart is how we use it. And we can ALL do better than 10%!
Are you ready to up your number? I hope so because you have a lot to contribute to this world and you are not going to get it done if you're only playing at 10%. How can you optimize your potential? It's easy but it requires commitment on your part. Challenge yourself. Do something everyday that pushes you out of your comfort zone. Commit to learning something new. Develop skills that do not come naturally to you. Shift your energy to a more positive vibration. Intentionally connect with people. Direct your thoughts and behaviors in ways that makes you feel good.
And here is one very simple thing you can begin right now to tap into your potential: smile and think a positive thought. Feel the difference? You're already up to at least 20%!
Let's do this together. I am committing to checking in with myself everyday and I invite you to join me. Visit my facebook fan page (don't forget to "like" it) and share your potential percentage and what you are doing to up your number. For instance, "I am at 13% potential and I am committing to signing up for a dance class to learn something new!"
If we truly value and tap into our infinite potential we will approach life with greater levels of passion and purpose. It is time to stop being average. Let's be extraordinary.
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That was until the end of last week when pain started to set in and my gums began to swell. I told myself I could take it; after all I had a workshop to facilitate the following weekend so the timing was not convenient! But by Friday the pain was more than I could stand. I called my oral surgeon, whom I have cancelled on twice, and asked for an appointment ASAP. Fortunately for me, it turns out that not many people choose to get their wisdom teeth out on Valentine's Day so I was scheduled for 8:00 a.m. on February 14th.
With a nervous stomach and mind full of positive visualizations, I faced the monster and went in for the extraction. It was so easy and virtually painless I woke up from my twilight sleep amazed that the surgery was over. Not only was I relieved, I started cracking up -- and no it was not because of the laughing gas! I was so amused at how much my fear got in the way of removing something that needed to go. When the surgeon showed me the tooth that had begun to decay he said, "Next time maybe do not wait until something begins to rot before you get rid of it." Good advice, Doc.
Today I invite you to consult with your inner wisdom and examine what is ready to be extracted from your life. All too often we wait, procrastinate and make excuses to delay doing something until a situation gets so bad, we are forced to take action. If you are thinking of something that has begun to decay, be it a relationship, thing, or pattern, are you already coming up with excuses for why you can't let go just yet? Take it from me and don't wait until pain trumps your fear. I promise you'll feel better once you realize the monster in the closet is never as scary as you think.
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Life is an unanswered question, but let's still believe in the dignity and importance of the question. -Tennessee Williams
What if? This question evokes a feeling of wonderful possibility or dreadful panic. For many, it's the latter. What if questions usually pop-up when we are navigating our way through unknown territory. When worrying about a situation or facing anxiety about something in the future, the incessant what if questioning begins: "What if X happens? What if X doesn't happen? What if I do X? What if I can't do X? What if he/she does X? What if he/she doesn't?" And on and on and on.
One of my most utilized coaching techniques is what I call answering the what ifs. When I hear my clients ask a what if question, I interrupt them and request that they answer it. This usually surprises them, because they were really into a fretting flow of unanswered questioning. My encouragement to you today is to practice this coaching technique of answering your what ifs. Otherwise they will continue to loop around in your mind and create stress. Your mind does not like unanswered questions. And since most of us are not like Buddha sitting on the mountain totally present and unattached to anything our mind creates, it is useful to understand what our mind wants and give it what it wants!
Imagine a 3-year old child tugging on his mom's shirt and saying repeatedly, "Mom, mom, mom, mom!" in an attempt to get her attention. So what happens the more she tries to ignore him? The tugging gets harder and the "mom-ing" gets louder. But as soon as she addresses the child, the tugging and calling out quickly stops. And usually all the child wanted in the first place was attention and acknowledgment.
This is what your what ifs need: to be acknowledged and addressed. So go ahead and answer your what ifs each time they come up. Talk them out, even go to worst-case scenario because you'll realize that you can always talk yourself through a possible solution. And guess what? You are making it all up anyway! Remember that worry is our imagination used poorly. So after you talk out the worst that could happen, you might as well talk out your best-case scenario too. And you will soon discover that stopping and answering your what ifs one by one (because what if thinking is contagious) will soothe that mind of yours that is working so hard to manage all of your question marks. And once you become aware that you can harness the power of your mind to solve any imagined situation, you will have more peace of mind.
And what if you don't answer your what ifs? I'll let you answer that...
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