• Holding the Space for others…

    …another aspect of Sovereignty and Setting Healthy Boundaries. (From my book, “Crafting a Better Life”)

    This has been a life long lesson for me.  Having grown up in a house with zero boundaries, I was never taught their importance.  Or, for that matter, how to effectively set healthy boundaries and then enforce them.  

    If this resonates for you, don’t worry.  You CAN learn to set healthy boundaries.  You CAN learn to enforce them.  Although it might be uncomfortable in the beginning, setting boundaries is crucial to supporting your personal power.  

    There is a misleading perception these days… “be open, be inclusive, don’t judge”, etc…no matter what.  Sure, we all agree that being nonjudgemental is a good thing.  But not if someone is taking advantage of you or spewing negativity all over you.  There is nothing spiritual or enlightened about being a doormat.

    The best way I have found to learn this skill is by modeling someone who is good at it.  Studying someone who has mastered a skill you desire is a great way to learn.  So, for example, if you want to learn how to be more comfortable with networking…you could find someone who’s already comfortable with it and join them for some networking events.  Then, watch their behavior and start behaving that way yourself.  It may feel awkward at first, but it works.  (Just like as children, we modeled our parents…there is a reason we sound just like our mothers sometimes!)

    This works for any behavior you want to learn.  

    I didn’t get really comfortable and capable with boundaries until I started working in a doctor’s office as a rehabilitative Pilates Instructor. 

    Dealing with people in pain is challenging.  Being in chronic pain is exhausting.  And, some patients have more difficult personalities than others.  So, setting boundaries became crucial for me in order to maintain my own personal sanity.  And let me add, many of these people tried to test my boundaries or ignore them altogether.  But I stayed firm…once I got comfortable enforcing them.

    Fortunately the office manager, was outstanding at setting boundaries.  He too had to learn this skill years ago, but he was clearly confident and capable now! 

    I studied him like a hawk.  And eventually, I became very clear about my boundaries, despite how uncomfortable it was at first.  

    By far, the most important boundary I learned to set was how to ‘hold space’ for people.  By that I mean, someone could be struggling physically or emotionally, and rather than hooking into their emotions, I quietly, compassionately, observed them.  I witnessed their pain…without getting personally involved with it.  (And I wouldn’t do any good as a life coach if every time a client got upset, I took on their pain…)

    I think this boundary, ‘holding space’ is an important one for everyone to learn.  Because, yes, people want to be seen, heard, and understood.  But we can offer people that compassion and simultaneously keep our own sovereignty by staying in our own emotions and not hooking into theirs.

    I repeat…We can be unrelenting in minding our own energy and emotions, and still compassionately observe the pain of others. 

    This is especially important now due to our current events.  We are bombarded daily with all the terrible things happening in our world.  If we allow ourselves to get sucked up into it, we’ll burn out, break down, or self destruct.

    Now more than ever we must set healthy boundaries and enforce them vigilantly.  Especially when it comes to holding space and witnessing others.

  • From my book: “Crafting a Better Life”

    Reclaiming our Sovereignty to let go of envy

    Sovereignty is a word being tossed all around the self development world these days.  And that’s a good thing.  Our world, our communities, and our relationships need to evolve away from the guru mentality and more towards taking responsibility for ourselves and our choices.

    As we gain more wisdom, the old model of us being the dutiful student at the feet of our masters has to dissolve.  Our new relationship to leadership, in all of its forms, should feel more like we are standing shoulder to shoulder with those that we admire.

    The old model breeds disempowerment and often leads to envy.  We become envious of our role models, friends, and public figures.  And in my opinion, envy is one of the causes of the high levels of anxiety many of us struggle with daily. 

    When we envy or overly admire someone, we are subconsciously deciding we can’t have what they’ve got.  We often have elaborate stories as to why “poor me isn’t as successful, attractive, wealthy (fill in the blank) as they are.”   As a result, we play small in the shadow of our worship of these ‘successful’ people or ideals.  

    Anything that puts you at the bottom of a pedestal creates the opportunity for envy…which always leads to disempowerment.

    I’m not saying we have nothing left to learn from other people.  I believe the opposite is true.  But, I am saying our approach needs to change to a more equal playing field.  How we handle ourselves and our own power is what will create change in those relationships.  And, it will also change how we learn from others.

    What if, instead of looking at someone and thinking “oh, she’s so in touch with her inner power…I wish I were more like her,” we looked at that person and thought “Oh, she’s showing me how I too can be in touch with my inner power.  She’s reflecting something I’m not yet seeing in myself.”

    Isn’t that thought more accurate?

    If you are hooked into envying people, then obviously they are triggering something in you that is either dormant or undernourished.  After all, you’re not preoccupied with people you don’t like.  You envy people for something they have that you want.  

    For example, if you are envious of your friend who just dropped 10 pounds, ask yourself what she’s revealing to you that you are yet to accept about yourself.  Maybe she made her health a priority and you are still struggling with your bad eating habits.  Maybe she’s showing you that, if you choose to, you too have the capacity to set a clear goal and stick to it.

    Maybe you are admiring an inspirational speaker yet feeling bad about your personal progress on your own healing path. What might they be revealing to you?  That you have the power to step up your game or to be more disciplined with your practices?  Maybe they are illuminating your need to take more responsibility for your actions.

    Because when you see those qualities as something you could cultivate in yourself, you claim your power back.  You own your whole being without being at the mercy of someone else’s success or wisdom.  You stop being envious and become proactive in the creation of your life.

    And when you can claim and own all of your power, even where you may still be struggling…THAT is the definition of sovereignty.  And the more you live from that energy, the more you instinctively help others to live in their sovereignty.  You will start to become aware when others are “looking up to you” rather than just taking a cue from your actions.  You can more easily discern what is “their stuff” and what is “your stuff.”  And in owning “your stuff” you automatically empower them with an opportunity to do the same.  It gives both of you the freedom and space to communicate openly.  

    So, take a look at the relationships in your life.  Where are you putting your power at the base of a pedestal?  Who are you envious of and why?  Imagine standing shoulder to shoulder with that person…what are they showing you about what’s possible for you?  Where are you giving your power away?  Where, in you, could you cultivate that which you are envious of?

    Making this shift will absolutely change your life.  It might change your thoughts about why you eat what you eat.  It might change your thoughts about your wardrobe, how to approach your next conversation with someone, what books you read and who you get advice from.  It will change your personal relationships as well as your global ones….in a good way.  You will be reclaiming your power, reclaiming your sovereignty and simultaneously you’ll be creating a world where others can claim their’s too.

  • Self Injurious Thoughts

    Renaming the Critical Voice:  Our self  “Injurious” thoughts

    We all have a critical voice.  For us to achieve success in any area of our lives, we have to learn how to manage it.  Which means, knowing when to listen to it, when to ignore it, and when to unpack the real meaning behind what it’s saying to you.

    The last, the unpacking the meaning is important because when our critical voice is being vicious, it’s not only freaking us out but it’s actually doing damage to our psyches and…our health.

    Every cell in our body knows what’s happening at all times.  Every system, (immune system, respiratory system, lymphatic system, digestive system, etc, etc,) communicates with each other continuously.

    And they hear what you’re saying inside your head.  They hear that critical voice, too.  Which is why self loathing thoughts are dangerous to our health.  These thoughts literally do damage to us and are therefor ‘injurious’ by nature.

    So…how do we determine when to listen to those thoughts and what to listen for?

    When dealing with survival thoughts, our critical voice is an excellent advisor.  ‘Yes, look both ways before crossing the street’,  ‘Don’t stick your finger in the electric socket’, etc.

    But when our critical voices start telling us we are useless, a failure, too fat, or too old…we need to take a look at those thoughts and see what’s really the driving force behind them.

    “I’m useless”…What is the point your critical voice is trying to make.  Said another way, what is it trying to stop you from doing?  Is it protecting you from something by stopping you before you even try?

    And, more importantly, when in the past have you ignored it and succeeded despite its claims that you are doomed to fail?

    I always suggest writing our thoughts down.  So, pull out a pen and a piece of paper and write out your critical voice’s story.  We’ve all got a bunch of them but for now, pick one story and write it out completely.

    Then, reread it and ask, “what is this really about?”  Usually it’s about fear of something but knowing what that fear is about will help you understand yourself better.  And you can actually approach your critical voice from a different perspective. 

    Because, that voice will never go away.  It WILL change it’s stories from time to time (i.e. “I’m too young” could become “I’m too old”).  But knowing its main purpose or drive will help you to discern if this is a self injurious thought, or something to truly consider.

    So again, write your thoughts and ask what they’re really saying.  What is the real truth behind the vicious, tyrannical critical voice.  And then decide if these thoughts are helpful, or self injurious.

    The more you practice this, the easier it gets!  And I’d love to hear from you on this!

    And, if you want extra support with this, get in touch and we’ll unpack it together.

  • What is Behind our Fears?

    By now, most of us are pretty aware that the reason we self sabotage is because of our fears.  And, we can rattle off those fears fairly easily.  They usually fall along the lines of: fear of  embarrassment, rejection, being vulnerable, getting hurt, etc.

    But those are just the generic labels.  Those words give us no deeper knowledge or understanding of what’s really stopping us from taking risks.

    The real question is, what’s behind your fear?  Said another way, what do your fears mean to you?

    Let’s say you’re afraid of embarrassing yourself.  We ALL are afraid of that!  But my reasons for fearing embarrassment and your reasons could be completely different.

    Maybe, in my family, embarrassment led to endless teasing and criticism.  Then fearing being embarrassed would actually mean fearing feeling bullied or ostracized.  Those feelings carry much more pain than the label ‘embarrassment’.

    Maybe in your family embarrassment led to punishment or harsh feedback.  Then embarrassment to you could mean feeling worthless, stupid, or like a total failure.  Again, a very painful outcome and worth avoiding.

    So we have to ask ourselves, what does our fear mean to US?

    Be gentle when you ask yourself this question.  I suggest sitting down with your journal (writing this out might help you get more specific) and taking a moment to put your hand over your heart.  And then, ask your heart…what is it afraid of, really?  What do those fears MEAN? 

    When you were a child and you felt embarrassed or vulnerable or rejected, etc…what was said to you and how were you treated?  What meanings did you derive from your family’s reactions?

    The more specific you can be about what’s behind your fear, the more easily you’ll recognize it when it’s being triggered. 

    To take any risk you have to manage your fear.  The best way to do that is to get underneath it and see the real reasons for your fears.  

    Knowing your truth is where you find your courage.  

    “Clarity is the most potent form of power available to us.”  – Daniel LaPorte

    So, when your fear gets triggered, take a moment and ask your heart:

    What is this really about?  What does this fear mean to ME?  Think back to your childhood and get specific about the meaning behind your fears.

    And I’m here to support you with this if you need help.  Get in touch and we’ll set up a time to dig deep together.

    And as always, retweet, repost, and share with your friends.

  • Manifesting our Desires by Feeling Gratitude…FULLY

    Gratitude is a well studied attitude that has been proven to relieve stress, increase joy, and connect us to our spiritual selves.

    Because of this, there are many ideas (entire books even!) on ‘Gratitude’ as a daily practice.  You can make a gratitude journal, write daily lists, end your days with gratitude, share your gratitude at dinner with your family, have gratitude parties…the list of ways to explore gratitude are endless.

    However, none of them will have any lasting effect on you unless to take in your gratitude fully.  In other words, you have to feel so grateful that your entire body feels it.  

    This is a crucial and often neglected aspect to include when manifesting our desires.  

    Let’s quickly review the steps of manifestation that I use with myself and my clients.  

    I think we all pretty much know that having a clear idea of what we want is the first step to manifesting it.  So, get clear and specific on what you desire.  I’m a big fan of writing this out in great detail. 

    The next step is to embrace what it feels like to embody that outcome.  If your goal is health related, how does your body FEEL if you are truly embodying health?  How do you stand, move, speak, listen, engage with other people, etc.  

    If your goal is financial abundance, same question:  how does it feel, in your body, to feel abundant?  What new relationships do you have and how does that feel?  How are you communicating, and what are your daily thoughts and actions?  How do you feel thinking these new thoughts? 

    The more you can FEEL into your future the more 2 things will happen:

    Your body and nervous system will become more comfortable with this unknown future.  And by gaining comfort in a possibly uncomfortable journey, you will have more ease in handling your fear when it arrises.

    Secondly, your energy will change to match your new desired goal.  And because it is a universal law that ‘like energy attracts like energy’, assistance and synchronicities will enter your days making your success seem more achievable.

    This is all great!  But not enough.  The key ingredient to manifesting that is often forgotten is ‘gratitude’.  You can’t just visualize and embody your desires and then carry on with your day as usual.  You have to end your visualization and embodiment with a full experience of total gratitude…as if it has already happened.  Literally flood yourself with the gratitude you feel for your desires having been heard and delivered to you…ALREADY.  

    At this point you can utilize your lists, journals, etc.  But not until you fully FEEL the gratitude and BELIEVE your desire has in fact been heard and received…and ultimately, manifested.

    So again, Gratitude is great but only if you feel it fully.  And, tack it onto the end of your manifesting visualization and notice the immediate shifts in your awareness and your energy.

    One last thing.  People love the idea of manifesting but rarely actually sit down and do what I listed above.  Fantasizing is not the same as envisioning, embodying, and cultivating gratitude.  You have to actually put in the effort (daily) if you want to experience the positive effects of manifestation.

    I love working with people on this!  And, stay tuned…I’ll be offering a course on this very topic in the near future.  But, if you want some extra help right now, get in touch and together we’ll get you manifesting effortlessly.

    And, as always, retweet, repost, and forward to a friend.

  • Listening to our Inner Critic for our Excuses

    We all have what seems like exquisitely great reasons for why we feel stuck or are unable to move forward in some way.  And the more we allow these stories to run rampant, the more they become self fulfilling prophecies.

    But if we slow down and listen to what that voice in our head is saying, we can consciously question the excuses we are making.  (and we all make excuses so don’t beat yourself up about this…)

    Excuses make us the victim of the situation.

    And they usually start the same basic way…

    “I can’t because…”

    “I would, except…”

    and  “Once I’ve…”

    Anytime you hear yourself thinking something starting with those words, you are lying to yourself.  You are making excuses and falling victim to your stories.

    And when you feel like a victim of your circumstances, your energy is quickly drained and you do what your primal outdated instincts tell you to do…you shut down.

    And that is, in my opinion, why we need to question and then own our excuses.  We need to rephrase them in a more honest way that might even empower us.

    Let’s say, your excuse is that you need to keep your day job.

    “I can’t start directing because I need to keep my day job.”

    First you replace “I can’t” with “I won’t” and then see if you are still on board with the truth.  

    So, the above excuse becomes the statement, “I won’t start directing because I need to keep my day job”.  How does that feel?  It may be true that yes, you need the money to feel secure and to have your needs met.  Or maybe this statement allows to you set a more aggressive savings strategy so you can plan to quit your day job sooner than you think.

    More importantly, do you see how owning the truth is more empowering?  You are taking responsibility for your decisions.  You are in charge.

    What if your excuse is “I would, except I don’t have enough time.”  (Not having enough time and money are the biggest excuses and they are both total horseshit.  I dedicated an entire chapter in my book, “Crafting a Better Life”, to the lack of time excuse.)

    A more honest statement might be, “I won’t because I don’t want to: miss my show, get up early, rearrange my schedule, miss happy hour, go out in the rain, spend more money, sit in traffic…etc.  Do you hear yourself making excuses like that?

    “Once I’ve…” is trickier because sometimes the timing isn’t right for us to take action yet.  But even then, you can make a more honest decision.  True, maybe you can’t start working as a real estate agent until you are fully licensed.  But, you CAN spend some time on Sundays going to open houses and observing how other agents pitch their houses to prospective buyers.  There is always SOMETHING you can do to move you forward.  

    Jane Goodall didn’t wait to become a scientist (women didn’t have the option for college back then) to study the chimps in Africa.

    Nelson Mandella used his time in jail to become the leader he would need to be once he was eventually freed from prison.  If anyone had an excuse to sit around and feel sorry for themselves it was him!

    “Where there’s a will there’s a way” is not a cheesy catch phrase.  It is the truth.

    So…what’s your excuse?  Start listening in to what you’re saying to yourself.  Start paying attention to when you tell your friends you “can’t”, “would”, or “once I’ve” and question the validity of that.  Then either own your excuses or take action.  Pivot out of victim mode and put yourself in the driver’s seat of your life.  The star in the movie of your life should be YOU, not your circumstances.

    If this is an area you need help with get in touch and we’ll decode your thoughts together.

    And as always, retweet, repost, and forward this to your friends.

  • The Worst Part of Self Sabotage

    The worst part of self sabotage…is the stories we tell ourselves

    Growth does not occur in a straight line.  We wish it did, but that just isn’t the case.  Most growth happens in fits and spurts with some side stepping and back pedaling along the way.

    Self sabotage is a natural part of the growth process.  So, rather than avoiding and resisting it, let’s take a closer look at it and maybe find a bit more compassion for ourselves. 

    First, let’s examine how self sabotage helps us.  I know, you’re thinking, “What?!?  That’s insane!”

    But if you take a closer look at how and when you sabotage yourself, it’s usually right about the moment you are either about to break through a barrier or charter the unknown.  And that creates a good amount of fear for all of us.  And our instinctual minds do not like the unknown.  It likes what it already knows to be safe and predictable.  Sabotaging our growth, as maladaptive as it seems, is our mind’s way of keeping us safe.  So managing your fear and the self sabotage it creates is a crucial part of growth or change.

    But most of us don’t get that far.  Why?  Because of the stories we tell ourselves about the sabotage itself.  This is the worst part of it.  If we fail to examine our beliefs about ourselves when we fail, we will remain stuck in those patterns that stop us.  

    Pull out your journal or you tablet…do not do this in your head.  When you get in your own way, what do you tell yourself?  Most of us beat the crap out of ourselves and fall head first into the raging sound of our inner critic.  The loudest voice in our head becomes the one that is reminding us of all our failures.  It’s screaming that we should just quit now and skip the agony of the likely failure in the future.  This is a vicious voice that if we listen to without question, will stop us dead in our tracks.

    Write it all out.  

    Then, take a deep breath and notice the tone and volume of the thoughts.  Most of us would be horrified if we spoke that way to any other human being!  Yet we do it to ourselves without even questioning it.

    Given what it’s saying and how, is this someone you should be taking advice from?  This tyrant in your head?  I hope your answer it ‘NO!”

    Now think back to a time when you dropped the ball.  (I know, this feels like no fun!  But it’s incredibly helpful in the long run.)   Note what you did and when.  What was happening?  Was something new or different about to happen?  How were you feeling?  And what specifically were you thinking?  Were you berating yourself in some way at the time you stepped off track?  How was your energy and what were you focussing on?  Can you figure out what triggered your inner critic to grab the megaphone? 

    The more specific you are with your triggers and the thoughts that follow, the better equipped you are to handle them the next time your fear arises.  You also can more easily predict when and how you might want to sabotage yourself.  Knowing that, you can plan ahead for it.  Then, when the urge to jump off track comes up, you can stay present and take action despite the fear.  You’ll be ready for it rather than be taken off guard.  

    So, be gentle and curious.  Write out the inner monologue that is keeping you safe and causing you to sabotage yourself.  Then get specific about what triggered it to ramp up it’s volume and what you did when you listened to it.  Figure out when it could get triggered again and be ready to take action instead.

    This is a tough topic for all of us.  Please, if you are struggling with this, get in touch.  Together we’ll dig deep and get you on track to achieving your goals.

  • Don’t Hope. Decide. Then, Resolve.

    “We are not doers, we are deciders.  And once we decide, the doing becomes easy” – Ralph Blum

    Think about how you feel when you “hope” something will happen.  Most of us feel, ‘okay’.  Maybe ‘slightly positive’.   But also, hoping for something makes us a victim of the outcome.  Hope offers us no power in the situation.

    How about instead of hoping for something, you DECIDE on it instead?  How does that feel?  That most likely empowers you to take action and puts you back in the driver’s seat.

    Hoping is looking up at the sky and waiting.  Deciding is looking around you to see how you’ll make it happen.

    So when setting goals, even little ones, like tidying up for example, drop the hope and replace it with a decision.  You’re not hoping to tidy up your bathroom today…you’re DECIDING to do it today.  You can feel the energy is completely different from one statement to the next.

    For your bigger goals, add the extra cherry on top…RESOLVE to do it.

    When we resolve to make it happen, failure is no longer an option.  We are stating to ourselves (and the universe) that “this WILL happen” and “I am the one to do it!”  Pretty powerful.  This does not mean you will single-handedly succeed.  To succeed you will likely need support.  So asking for help is an important part of this decision you’ve made.  But by resolving, you are now opening yourself up to all the opportunities that will help you to succeed at your goal…  Including unseen synchronicities that are on their way.

    And I highly recommend telling other people what you have decided to do.  By telling other people, you up your game and the desire to succeed is just that much stronger.  

    Any big goal I’ve ever achieved, (quitting smoking, getting my green card, writing a book) I announced to other people. By telling other people my goals, I was now being held accountable and being held to my word.  It put the pressure on me to actually succeed. 

    So, beware of ‘hope’ when goal setting.  Instead, take the plunge and DECIDE.  Then tell all your friends and RESOLVE to accomplish your goals.  And then, go do it!

    If you need some help in decision making or extra support, get in touch and we’ll figure it out together.

    And, as always retweet, repost, and forward to a friend.

  • Rejection as a Tool for Action

    Nobody likes being rejected.  Yet every single one of us will face it at some point.  And the more risks you take, your odds of being rejected will go up too.  The bigger the risk, the bigger the possible set backs…but also, the bigger the win.

    So how do we ‘manage’ rejection so it doesn’t stop us in our tracks?

    We can start by being honest about it and then using the rejection as a push forward.

    The ‘honest’ part of it is two-fold.  Not everything is for everyone.  And nobody is loved by 100% of the people.  Everyone has their specific likes and dislikes.  So you will always have those people who just won’t accept you, your projects, your humor, whatever, regardless of what you do.

    Next, ask yourself if you have anything to learn from the rejection.  Sometimes there is a nugget of good feedback in being rejected.  This is not an opportunity to beat yourself up!  This is a chance to step back, put your ego aside, and see if you could have done things differently and if that would be an improvement.

    Then, ask yourself, “What’s next?”.  By asking yourself this question, you are redirecting your brain to look for new things to do rather than staying stuck licking your wounds. 

    Get in the habit of asking yourself that question every day.  The first thing that will happen is you’ll notice you’re getting more done!  But more importantly, you’ll already be in the habit of pivoting away from what stops you and towards what you can actually do about it.  Cuddling up to ‘feeling sorry for yourself’ cannot exist if you are in creation mode.

    So, when you get hit with rejection, remember…nobody wins 100% of the time.  Ask, “Is there anything I can learn from this?”.  And finally ask yourself, “What’s next?”.  And then go do it!

    If you’re working on something you want support with, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

    And remember, retweet, repost, and forward this to a friend.

  • How to Get Out of your Own Way…workshop in February

    It’s February already! Don’t let another year speed by without seeing your goals come true.

    In this 3 hour workshop, you will gain clarity on why you want what you want, discover your patterns of resistance and self sabotage, learn quick and effective strategies to move beyond what’s holding you back, and leave with an effective and doable plan to make those goals happen. We’ll cover everything from porcrastination, breaking bad habits, managing rejection, negative self talk, changing our energy to match our goals, and using mindfulness as a tool for change. Learn how to cultivate what you’re truly passionate about in order to create the life you are meant to live.

    Location: West Los Angeles

    Date and times: Sunday February 24th, 1pm – 4pm

    cost: $50 (must register by Feb 15th

    Sign up today! Space is limited