I grew up hearing, “It’s better to give than to receive”. Giving can be a wonderful thing, especially when we give wholeheartedly, not expecting mere things to do the work of love, friendship and caring.
The beauty of aging is knowing that it is not things or experiences that are the gift. It is the love and respect you have for the receiver that becomes the gift. What is between you, family and friends is the gift. The wrapped gifts are symbols, and they are wonderful, especially when wrapped with joy and friendship, shared family, love and memories. Implied in the ribbons and paper is hope for continued meetings and memories. The past, present and future is in any and every gift, wrapped, written or spoken. Enjoy knowing that THAT is the perfect gift.
Over the years, I’ve had so many excuses for not “playing full out” in my life. I could list them—and they are likely similar to a list by anybody who has been stuck in the waiting room with me. (see “oh the places you’ll go” by Dr. suess).
You can stop. Fearing life, fearing change and staying small. It just prolongs the time in the waiting room.
You are enough, you are okay. you are a necessary part of life, no matter what you DO.
Just BE you. Just BE.
At the center of each one of us there is a part that is always connected to life. The universe is always calling, calling each one of us to be who we are. Being YOU is your gift to life and to every person you meet. And I remind myself as well as you, that learning to love and to trust is a practice. When you are willing to surrender to living fully as YOU, your heart will open to allow more possibilities for love and trust. It’s step by step, day by day. We’ll forget. And then we’ll remember. Each time we practice love for others, love for self, the light at the center of our being will shine a little brighter. Your light, your love, felt as much as seen, encourages others to shine. You may never know who responds to your light. I know that the light that has been poured on me by family and friends, someone met in a class, the check-out person at the grocery store, has created a glow for me that it is my pleasure to pass on, with trust in love and knowing that it matters…
Monkey Mind is a Buddhist term to describe the swinging of the mind from doubt, to fear to worry and back again, like a monkey climbing from branch to branch. I learned about it in Life Coaching training and have found it a life-changing idea. This function of the brain is centered in the oldest part of our brains that was constantly scanning the horizon for danger. It is still with us, and even though we generally are not dodging tigers, it sees danger in anything new or different. This is particularly true when we are considering something that is important and meaningful to us. While everyone has Monkey Mind, the things it says to us are particular to each person. My MM very pointedly tells me I need to think long and hard about whatever it is I am thinking about attempting (a blog, for instance). It tells me I should probably first read another book about it, or take a class, or put it off until I have figured everything out. Plus, this idea will probably get hard and overwhelming and I’ll just quit, so why even start? Until I knew what this voice was, I thought it was a guiding voice and that what it said was true. IT DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING. It is the ancient voice trying to avoid anything that signals change. Once I had been made aware of this voice, I realized that Monkey Mind injected doubt or fear into any dream or goals attached to it. I had let it run things for a large part of my life, much to my regret.
The only way to deal with Monkey Mind is not to engage with it. I was taught to thank it for sharing and move forward. Trying to reason with MM only ramps up the chattering. Being clear on what it is I want to do, and why it matters to me can calm MM for a while. Remember, Monkey Mind never goes away, so don’t waste time in trying. Keep focusing on your goal, however small. Keep focusing on why it matters to you. So many dreams and ideas were put on the back burner or tossed aside because MM was telling me I should be scared, overwhelmed and questioning the whole enterprise of my life. It’s just the ancient brain worrying that I might die of embarrassment.
To move past Monkey Mind, you have to know it exists. What follows is recognizing the hysterical nature of its “voice”. Observing this without engaging with it allows us to hear the calm voice of our own wisdom encouraging the following of the dream.
Out of ignorance, I gave Monkey Mind way too much influence in my life. Listening to the scared and worried voice in my head kept me small. The world needs all of us to live to our fullest, to do what we long to do, be who we most want to be and give what is ours to give. I am willing; how about you?
“Becoming curious about everything might change your life.”
Be curious, be open, be a life-long learner; growth always comes out of these moments of exploration -big or small.
#itsapracticenotaperfect #Growth #LIVEyourBestLife #LifeCoaching #ToolsandPractices #MyCoachingForLife #DontStopExploring #Wonder #Wander #StepOutsideYourself
Positive change in life, body and soul is almost impossible unless we are willing to give up the idea that we need fixing.
#ItsAPracticeNotAPerfect #PositiveChange #LivingLife #LifeCoaching #MindBodySoul #Focus #WhereToStart #Trajectory #Shift #Life #LifeBoost #practicenotperfection #PracticesForWellbeing #LifeCoach #ExpertWithin #PracticesAndTools #SmallStepsCanBeHuge
For those a bit lost of what to do or say, especially in this time of social turmoil and pandemic, practice BEING PRESENT. It is a gift you give to yourself and whoever you are with.
#BeingIsAnAction #JustBe #BeingPresent #Listen #Support #StandTogether #WorkOnSelfToHelpOthers #BeInTheMoment #PracticesAndTools #ItsAPracticeNotAPerfect #MyCoachingForLife
Of all the wonderful qualities to demonstrate which ones would you most like to be?
Do you realize you have a choice in what you are thinking about? At any time, you can choose your focus, change your thinking to something more interesting? Pick a wonderful quality and run with it! Consciously demonstrate something positive. It could change your life! The choice of what you see in the mirror is always there... choose the good.
#MyCoachingForLife #PowerOfPositivity #DemonstrateGreatness #BeYourBestSelf #BeWonderful #LifeCoach #LifeCoaching #Attributes #LiveYourBestLife
I’ll love myself when…
I lose weight. When I stop getting angry and being so judgmental. When my body is perfect. When I find the perfect job or the perfect partner or the perfect place to live. When I finally figure it all out.
And this, more recently: “I’m not getting anything done. I thought I would use this time to get caught up on stuff at home.” “My kids aren’t doing their schoolwork; they’re falling behind.” “I’m eating crap all day long!” “I haven’t exercised for weeks.” “I’m binge-watching tv all day! I should be reading!” I’m noticing how similar all of these comments’ sound. Self-loathing and disappointment, expectations we set up for ourselves, as if we are being graded for how we are doing our own lives, as if we have some unwritten rules we have to follow. No matter what, we can easily judge ourselves as failing on some days and struggling on others. (Oh, yes “we’re all in this together!” I wouldn’t want you to, but you should see my house, my lack of writing, my lack of reading.)
Can we just…NOT? Not keep doing this to ourselves, diminishing our very being with all the judgement of every part of ourselves?
It’s very important to me to make sure that anybody reading this knows that, education and training aside, I often think I’m a mess, unfocused, not using the skills I have learned to help other people. I will not ever offer x steps to the perfect life, the perfect workout, the perfect diet, the perfect anything. It doesn’t exist except as a concept in our own minds, and in some magazines. When I remember “there is no perfect”, I automatically take a deep breath.
I KNOW, from my own experience, that hating myself never led my body or thoughts anywhere I said I wanted to go. Hate begets hate: if I hate myself, the fat on my body, the dirt on my floor, that’s all I will see. The lens of hate makes everything bigger, uglier, darker. The energy of hate keeps life stuck in an ever-widening swirl of despair. When I continue to “grade” myself based on how I think the outside might judge me, the spiral gains speed. Because I have been taught, and I practice, take a breath and shift my thinking, I have a chance to stop this hate in its tracks. This sounds simple, and it can be easy if you are willing to consider that giving yourself some love doesn’t have to be hard. As I practice this, I can smile, even laugh, at how easily I fall into self-loathing. (I’ve practiced it diligently for most of my life!). As soon as I see it, I am out of it: I can’t be in love and in hate at the same time. When I invoke some compassion for mind, body or how I’m doing life, I cannot keep on with hate. Love will always drive out hate, light will always overcome the dark. A deep breath can change a lot.
So, how is it going?
This is a picture out of my front window, frozen rain blurring the view. Is everything, especially the future, out of focus? Are your thoughts jumbled, jumpy, unclear? Mine certainly are. I want certainty, but as I look back at my life, was anything guaranteed to turn out exactly as I wanted it to? Not at all. I had a certain level of belief that my life would be okay. And it has been. It’s been better than okay. Great. Now. In younger days, I made decisions from a place of “something is wrong with me”. These decisions led me to a place of wanting everything to be different, to step out of where I was. The trajectory of my life changed more than once. Looking back, the steppingstones from one place to the next look purposeful. But they weren’t. Because the people in my life, even those I at one time blamed for the mess I had made, supported me in veering off the traditional track I was so angry with, into new ways of being, thinking and doing. I am now so grateful for it all. I could not have designed it any better.
“For all that has been, thanks.
For all that shall be, I say yes.”
Notice he didn’t say, “for all that I liked, for all that was easy, thanks.” It’s for ALL of it, even the stuff the world said was dumb, or a waste. The Academy for Coaching Excellence used this quote, and it resonated with me because I had spent far too much time regretting how I had done things. This made me realize that it all allowed me to be here. Imagine my surprise while in the Psychology of Eating training hearing (paraphrasing here) “you will never move forward, in body or any aspect of life, until you accept everything in your life as perfect for you.” (This is not about abuse or trauma.) That family I thought I didn’t fit into? We were perfect for each other; I learned a lot. The education I never fully took advantage of? Turned me into a lifelong learner! Trying to figure out what was wrong with me? Led me to wanting to support other people on their journeys AND learning and KNOWING that none of us need fixing because we aren’t broken. I learned that, as a coach, I don’t have anyone else’s answer. I don’t get to OR have to tell anyone what to do; all of my clients come up with their own amazing solutions. I just ask questions and share tools that were given to me in training to support them on the path I am privileged to be on with them.
In keeping with this, I offer that we never really know what is going to happen. We like to think we do, but life is always coming toward us full force, with its own spin on things. In this time of ‘stay at home’, I’m trying to be okay with not knowing and letting life unfold. I’m grateful now that all that will unfold will be its own best answer for me. I’m choosing to focus on what is happening in this moment. What day is it? Today. What time is it? Now. This time allows me to consider what is worth going back to, and if my life is aligned with my values. I learned from my mom that worrying doesn’t change what happens. What I can do and choose to be present to: be with the person I love and the sweet dog, wear my homemade mask on my limited trips to the grocery and wash my hands. I say thanks for all that is yet to be revealed. I send peace, contentment and courage to all.
What is your focus? What thoughts circle around in your mind frequently? What grabs your attention in the course of the day? If you were a transmitting station what’s your frequency? High or Low, Positive or Negative. Is ‘what’s wrong’ on your mind? Often? Do you think about how “hard” everything is? Are you criticizing yourself: how you look: too fat, too thin, too tall or too short? Are you not smart enough, not educated enough? Are you falling short in every area of your life? Maybe your thoughts are on someone else: your co-workers, your boss, your mother, that terrible boyfriend from college? Do they keep doing what they have always done, even if you have asked them to stop? In the midst of a global pandemic, we are worrying about our friends and family possibly getting sick, or worse. Jobs and the economy add to the swirl of fear and worry.
Do you realize you have a choice in what you are thinking about? At any time, you can choose your focus, change your thinking to something more interesting: what are some ideas you have that you take some very small steps toward. Is there something you could do to support or uplift someone else, like a phone call to check on a neighbor, a snail mail note or organizing a Zoom or Face-time call with your favorite people. Giving support and uplift to others is a great antidote for anxiety or fear. Maybe you just need to fold the laundry: what is the next, small, forward moving step?
This shift can be made at any time during any day. When you notice that you have drifted back into negative or fearful thinking, passing judgement on anyone or everyone, yourself included: Take a deep breath! And smile! Because you WILL return to old patterns of thinking. This old way of thinking is deeply ingrained in our brains. Even though I have been many years removed from an active eating and exercise disorder, I can fall back into worry about body and food. Getting curious about why these thoughts surface, I learned that it’s mostly a distraction. If I’m procrastinating doing something I don’t want to do or I’m writing and feel “stuck”, old thoughts about not being worthy, asking “who do you think you are?”, and “if you take care of this you won’t have time to work out!” raise their very familiar chorus. It’s been a learning curve, and one that I haven’t mastered…yet. It’s an ongoing process. I also wish I could say that I don’t get mad at myself for taking a step back into the fear, negativity and judgement. In life coach training I was taught that getting mad and/or giving up creates more of the same old pattern. Gently turn your focus to where you would like it to be in this moment.
Like learning anything new, it takes your attention and desire to do it. If you think this a positive change you would like to try, there is no time like the present! In this time of pandemic and uncertainty, it may be one of the best things you can do for yourself. It is a gift you give to everyone as you release others and yourself from criticism, judgement, fear, worry and doubt. When the old thoughts come up, you can ask yourself: what is more kind, more peaceful, more proactive for me to think about?
This tool is a practice, and you will very likely have to return to your commitment to up level your thought patterns many times. Instead of seeing this as a good reason not to try, could you be interested in trying it for a day? Can you see the possibility that negative thoughts are exhausting you, making you feel overwhelmed or angry or depressed? Holding this practice lightly, not taking your yourself so seriously, can offer some light for your spirit during challenging times.
As Courtney Carver*, writer extraordinaire says: “you don’t have to believe everything you think”. Noticing, getting curious about what you’re thinking, weeding out thoughts or beliefs that are not helpful or positive, or false, that don’t serve you well, is a process, one that I find myself turning to over and over, as I allow myself to journey forward. Allow yourself to change your focus. Give yourself credit when you do and when you don’t because it’s a practice, you’re learning something each time. This is a tool I have found to be helpful as I journey along with everyone else.
*Check out Courtney Carver's blog here; I also highly recommend her books, Soulful Simplicity and Project 333
Mary is a certified Life Coach in Omaha where she enjoys reading and sharing books, taking in nature and exploring all life has to offer with her husband Kurt, and rescue dog "Scruffy".