Fear

It’s Rebellion Time

Rebellion…another approach to goal setting

“When we harness our rebellious energy, we reject what most may accept, and focus on creating what we believe to be possible…we do not dwell on what has already been proven.  Instead we create the future we already know is possible.”  

  • Tara Bliss

There has been a recurring theme going on these days with not only my clients, but my friends as well:

We’re tired, burnt out, and want to go hide in a cave.  The last thing on our mind is goal setting for our future.

Personally, this year has been one of the most emotionally challenging years in a long, long time.  We’ve seen people’s personal lives politicized to the point of causing families to be ripped apart.  Death threats, hateful tweets, and offensive behaviors have become what feels like the norm for many of us.  And most of us are still mired in cultural expectations that we’re not only blind to, but don’t even agree with in the first place.

But hiding in a cave isn’t the answer.

We do have a say in how we create our lives and the world around us.  

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Gandhi

Yeah, yeah, yeah… but are we actually doing what he’s suggesting?  Are you BEING what you want to see?  Are you acting on the belief that you can co-create your future?  Or, are you hanging onto the belief that it’s too late or you’re just not up for the challenge?

No, it’s not too late and yes, you can handle the challenge.  I think where we get stuck when confronting change, is when we assume the future will unfold the same way the past did.  But if you bring a more rebellious energy to your goals, you can reshape the trajectory of your life and the world around you.  Rebellion has both destructive and creative energy behind it.  That is the road to change.  And a way more fun way to approach our goals.

If you’ve already set some goals for the new year, revisit them now.  And if you haven’t set any goals yet, think about something that you would like to see change.  This could be personal or cultural…just pick something for the sake of this exercise.  

Ask yourself:

What are my friend’s, family’s, and/or cultural expectations around this?

Do I agree with these expectations?

Which expectations can I get behind?

How would I behave?  What would I say?  Who would I spend time with and who wouldn’t I spend time with?

What would I watch or listen to in terms of the news, Netflix, Facebook, etc?

What would I say “no” to and what could I say “yes” to instead?

Asking these questions stokes our inner dormant fire.  If you were genuinely honest in your answers to the above questions, you will likely feel your energy perk up.   This is where rebellion starts.  And, good news… you have just gained more clarity about why you want this change/goal to happen in your future.

And I guarantee you will be more successful if you include collaboration.  Collaborate leadership is about dropping the pecking order and refusing to blindly follow orders.  It’s all about expressing and empowering not only your talents but also the talents of others.  It is inclusive, decisive, and powerful.  It is the opposite of oppressive power (which is divisive, destructive, and erratic).   And, no, it’s not about dropping our boundaries to be ‘nice’ either.  Collaborative leadership is every bit as much about owning our sovereignty.  In fact, it is when we have clear boundaries, we can freely share, grow, and co-create our lives.  

I believe it is time to pivot away from the single handed, oppressive hierarchy.  Instead, it is time to birth a new approach that holds collaboration and belief in our future as its’ new expectations. 

Are you with me?

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.  And share your rebellion with me if you feel moved to do so.

And if you want to dig deeper into your own rebellion/goal setting, get in touch and we’ll strategize together.

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

  

Setting Healthy Boundaries…Another Aspect of Sovereignty

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 how to 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 walking all over you.  There is nothing spiritual or enlightened about being a doormat.

Another way of looking at boundaries, is seeing them as tools to ensure your standards are being respected.  In other words, you haven’t lowered the bar for other people.  You instead, can hold them to the standards you expect, or move on.  They know where you stand and can decide for themselves if the relationship works for them…and visa versa.   Your job is to be clear and consistent.  

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, 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 mother 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 if I wanted 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 remember gawking at him several times in absolute amazement… “You can do that?”  I remember thinking… “You can just say ‘no’???  Without a bunch of excuses and apologies????”   He was amazing.

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

Some personal examples:

Session times.  Some people are chronically late or just don’t respect your time.  I got really good at ending exactly on time.  I didn’t care if they were late…we ended on time.  I had one patient show up still eating her breakfast which wasted 20 minutes of our session.  I watched her eat…I still ended on time.  And when she complained, I reminded her what time our session started, and that it was her choice to eat for the first 20 minutes.  Our session was scheduled for one hour…not an hour and 20 minutes.

Cancelation policy.  Sometimes people think they are exempt from this policy which I clearly state, and put in writing.  So, I ensure I get paid in advance so if they cancel last minute, I’m still getting paid.  My policy is my policy and if they don’t like it, they can work with someone else.  (I do make exceptions for people with chronic, painful health issues…but that’s rare.)

Another 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.

This is one of the most common issues I work with people on.  It is challenging for many of us.  Please, get in touch if this is an issue for you.  We can work on this together.

 

Cause > Effect Living on the Cause side of the the Equation

 

Life will throw curve balls at you. You will have obstacles to overcome and things will not always go as planned.

Car accidents, illnesses, lay offs, earthquakes… a lot of what happens to us is out of our control.

This is true for all of us including when we are going for our goals. Things will crop up that will threaten to sabotage our outcomes. Those are the effects of life.

But it’s a choice as to whether we allow those effects to rule us.

Thus the equation Cause > Effect.

The amount of cause in our lives should be greater than the effects. But unfortunately, most people live the opposite way around. They allow the effects to rule their lives resulting in added stress, anxiety, and depression.

The truth is, you always have a choice. Although your circumstances may be out of your control, you can choose how you approach the situation. You can’t control the weather but you can control how you’ll navigate the storm. You can’t control traffic (is that not true, my fellow Los Angelenos???) but you can control what you listen to while in traffic. (Recently someone shared that by simply switching to audio books instead of the radio, she has reduced her stress noticeably.) You can’t control the marketing campaigns that tempt you to pull into the drive-through. But you can plan ahead and pack a lunch.

How do you know if you are living on the effect side of the equation? Check out your “buts”. People living at cause don’t make excuses. And excuses almost always start with “but…”.

“But what if it doesn’t work out?”
“But what if I’m not good enough?”
“But what if I fail?”
“But I’ve never done it before?”
“But what if I’m too old/too young/ too whatever…fill in the blank?”

People living on the cause side of life don’t allow their “buts” to get in their way. Likely they have replaced those excuses with questions such as…

“Who do I know who can help me with this?”
“What do I need to learn about this?”
“What can I do right now to improve this situation?”

I’m a huge fan of the statement, “I’ll figure it out”. That ends the bullshit excuses of why I can’t get something done. “I’ll figure it out” leads to more resourceful thinking and triggers the trouble shooting part of my brain.

It’s time to see how much of our lives we are actually taking responsibility for, and what we are making excuses for. You can journal about this…you know your top 20 ‘reasons’ for not taking action by heart already. Write them out and question those buts…are they really just excuses? You can also take a few minutes a day and just observe your inner critic… and notice how often the ‘but’ word is used.

And at the risk of being preachy…our planet needs ‘all hands on deck’ at this point. Every one of us must be living with “cause” because our global community is drowning in the effects of our actions. We simply don’t have time for excuses anymore.

If you want support with this, get in touch. And please, retweet, repost, and forward this to your friends.

The Truth about Change

Growth does not come from a checklist…The truth about change.

Real change can only happen when we love ourselves enough to stand up and do what we know is best for us.
Take a look at your To-do list. How do you feel when you read through it? Could you easily call it your “ to create more joy in my life” list? Does your list make you feel passionate and inspired? Does it help you feel happy?

Or, is this a list of “should’s” to someday feel like a better person? In other words, if you check all the boxes does that mean you’ll feel more validated, more worthy, more acceptable?

For some of us, our to-do lists have become a hustle for our self-esteem. We believe that the more healthy, organic, spiritual, and meditative we are, the ‘better’ we will be as people. On top of that, we have to take actions towards our goals, make more money, and somehow find time to stay current on the latest TV shows. Not to mention keeping up our Instagram feed…

The problem isn’t our goals or our desires or all the actions we intend to take each day. The problem is when we turn these goals and actions into a gauge of our self worth. Because if achieving all these things is our only way to feel okay with ourselves, our days will leave us exhausted and empty. After all, even if we do accomplish it everything, tomorrow we have to start all over again…new day, new list.

For many of us, we have ‘self improvement’ reasons behind our plans. “If I include a green drink every day, my liver and kidneys will be happy. If I practice guided meditation I won’t get sick. If I stop procrastinating I’ll actually have enough time to practice yoga. If I get off my ass and exercise, I’ll be worthy of that gift massage I’ve been putting off.”

This sounds more like a “I’ll be a good person if I do these things” list to me.

Notice your plans…are they more about how to fix yourself than to create more of what you’re passionate about? Ask yourself this question…”Do I think that if I accomplish everything on my list, I will like myself more? That I’ll be a better, more acceptable, lovable person?”

Seriously, why are you doing what you’re doing?

More importantly, does getting all that done feel freeing to you?

Unfortunately, often we are so desperate to feel good about ourselves we can’t accept ourselves as we are in this moment. Believe me, if constantly viewing ourselves as a self improvement project actually helped motivate us to take action towards our dreams, then I’d be all for it!

But that is not how growth works. I repeat:

Real change happens when we love ourselves enough to stand up and do what we know is best for us. We naturally ‘improve’ when we are passionately living our lives…not when we are checking things off a list.

So, when I work with people on their goals, the first thing I get clear about is why they want those things in the first place.

And then? We toss that old to-do list. Instead of a long list of not so exciting things (I mean really, how exciting can green juice be?) we come up with 3 actions a day.

Personally, every day I write the 3 things I will do that day to help me feel like I’m moving closer to my desires…not my self esteem. The difference might seem subtle but it’s effects are huge. Working for what I’m passionate about creates energy and is exciting. Whereas, making up for my supposed shortcomings is depressing and only fuels my self-shame.

What if you rewrote your health plans in ways that excited you? For example, instead of listing ‘yoga 3 times a week’ how about saying, ‘this week I will move in ways that feel great 3 times’. Maybe yoga totally fills you with mojo. Great. But by taking away the restriction, maybe you’ll bust out the African drumming album and dance your ass off instead. (also excellent exercise and super fun!)

How could you revamp your spiritual practice? Maybe instead of insisting on doing a seated meditation every day, you could instead say “I will connect to my source every day”. This opens you up to more ways to fuel that desire. Yes, you could sit and meditate. But you could also include the option of compassion meditation (something that does not require you to sit still for any period of time…contact me if you want to learn more about it at brigittadau@yahoo.com). Simply stopping to enjoy nature for a moment could be a beautiful way to connect to your source. Also practicing mindfulness, or noting what you are grateful for could be a way to keep your spiritual commitment.

Putting extra pressure on ourselves to get things done will never lead us to joy and liberation. Loving ourselves, will. And by making your desires easy and fun to act upon, you’ll immediately start to move in the direction you want to move in. Your days will begin to change and be less about proving your worth through accomplishments. They will be more about bringing your true self to all of your encounters. And when you show up authentically in your life, your need for approval automatically dissipates.

So, go back and take a good hard look at your goals and your to-do lists…are they bringing you joy? Do they light you up? Do they fill you with enthusiasm? Or do you feel like you are hustling for your self worth? Don’t get trapped by your “should list”. Instead, lighten up on the restrictions and write your new “path to Joy” list.

As always, if you liked this, repost, retweet, and forward to someone you care about. And if you want help with this, get in touch.

 

Feeding the Wolves

In Wayne Dyer’s book, “the Power of Intention,” he shares a conversation he overheard soon after 9/11.

A grandfather and his grandson were talking. The grandfather said, “I have 2 wolves fighting inside of me. One is filled with anger, hate, violence and revenge. The other is filled with love, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.”

“Which one do you think will win?” asked the grandson.

“The one that I feed”, replied the grandfather.

Stop and think about that for a second. Which wolf are you feeding these days?

Your self-talk, your values, and your beliefs effect how you react to your world. And your beliefs are created by thinking the same thoughts over and over again until you ‘believe’ they are true. Which means it’s important to know what you’re thinking!

When you are thinking attack thoughts, you are feeding the wolf of hate and negativity. Just like, when you are thinking loving thoughts you are feeding the wolf of compassion and kindness. I’m going to make the assumption that most of us would prefer to feed the wolf of kindness.

So, how do we manage our thoughts?

By paying attention. Here again, is yet another great reason to meditate and practice being mindful. And, I’m actually going to rename the practice of mindfulness to “mind awareness”, because that more truthfully describes the practice.

“Mind awareness” is exactly what it claims to be: becoming aware of what your mind is thinking. This requires you to disconnect from your thoughts and observe them, rather than associating and hooking into them. By that I mean, you don’t take your thoughts as “truths” and act upon them. Instead you notice them and allow them to show up. But, you take no action based on those thoughts because you are now simply observing them. Thus, you are disengaging from the power they have over you. They are just thoughts. You decide whether to act on them or not.

Not to get all “Matrixy” on you, but the truth is, you are not your thoughts…you are the one thinking your thoughts. Your true self is the” observing self” as some call it.

This is where meditation comes in. There are many forms of meditation. And there is a specific way to meditate for mind awareness.

Before I go any further, I want to clear up some confusion about this form of meditation. The goal is NOT to have no thoughts while meditating. The goal is to allow TONS OF THOUGHTS while meditating, and instead, notice the thoughts and then let them go.

So how do we do this? For some of us, we follow our breath in and out. Some of us use a mantra that we silently repeat in our head. Some of us listen to pretty music. (My faves are at the bottom of this newsletter) What’s most important is that you sit down and do it, not whether you’re saying the right mantra.

You sit, for a chosen amount of time, and notice when your thoughts distract you from your focus. Then, when you notice your mind has strayed, you simply return to your breath or mantra. That’s it. Easy peazy.

I can already feel your resistance…”I don’t have enough time”. First of all, you do…(my last newsletter was about that very thing and if you missed it let me know and I’ll send it to you). You likely have that resistance because someone said ’20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening were best’. Well, really? I started with 3 minutes a day! I’m not kidding, that is how I started my practice. Now, I meditate almost every day and for however long I can. Some days it’s still 3 minutes, some days 10, sometimes several times a day…As long as I’m doing it, it’s helping.

Let’s get back to how that translates into real life. When you practice noticing your thoughts when you are still and quiet, you will find it easier to notice your thoughts when you are busy living your life. And by noticing your thoughts, you can start to clear out some of the negative ones and replace them with something more positive. You will more quickly notice when you are being judgmental, impatient, and self critical. And because you are conscious of those thoughts, you can then actively begin to cultivate more compassion instead.

And, the more you practice, the easier it gets.

Set your time to meditate. Remember, just 3 minutes most days is a great place to start. I don’t care how busy you are, you can carve out 3 minutes to sit and notice your thoughts. Then start to be more mind aware throughout your day.

Some people have a reminder on their phone that goes off several times a day to remind them to observe their thoughts. Some people post it in various places reminding them to be mind aware.

After a while, you won’t need the reminders. But when first practicing this, I recommend doing something to help you remember throughout the day. After all, most of us are on auto pilot for a good amount of the time so remembering to shift into awareness can be challenging. So, set up some reminders to make your life easier.

Try this for a week and see how much easier it is to notice which wolf you are feeding…and let me know how it goes!

And, if you want to go deeper with meditation and mind awareness, get in touch. This is one of my favorite practices to work on with people.

And if you liked this, remember: retweet, repost, forward to a friend!

And lastly…if you want to meditate to my fave music…check it out here
(link)

Living with Passion and Tolerating Fear

Fact: Your biggest passions will bring up your biggest fears. Why? Because going for what you’re passionate about raises your emotional commitment level. The bigger the goal, the bigger the challenge. Said another way, the more you ask of life, the more life asks of you.

Now knowing this fact is not a reason to set lame goals! I truly believe that we are all here to do something special and that likely has a lot to do with what we are passionate about. So set big juicy goals!

But then let’s be honest, we need to get comfortable with being…uncomfortable.

Synchronicity seems to be a law of nature. The minute we take the leap, if it’s in alignment with our passions, the universe sends us a hefty dose of happy coincidences. So, we’re jazzed and moving forward and feel somewhat magical as we see the help that comes our way. And then another law of nature pops up: something big comes our way and asks us “Really? Do you really have the guts to do this? How badly do you really want this?”

Maybe you actually get the audition you’ve been fighting for, or an advance for your book proposal, or a loan to open your own shop…that’s great! But now you’ve got to actually follow through. Put your money where you mouth is…and step up to the plate.

Which means for most of us: red hot fear.

People at the top of their game have found a way to get comfortable with being freaked out. And most often, they acknowledge their fears first…BUT THEN THEY TAKE ACTION ANYWAY. They also have something that else that is consistent for them to focus on. So, although dramatic change might be happening in one area of their life, there is something else NOT changing or being challenged at the same time.

For me, it’s exercise. I do a cardio workout every single day, pretty much first thing in the morning. (well, after some coffee!) I also meditate every day. Not always at the same time or even for as long as I may want, but I do it every day.

I also make sure to “create my day” at night before I go to bed. I’ve mentioned this exercise before but it’s worth repeating. Writing out how you want tomorrow to look, before you go to bed, helps your subconscious mind look for ways to make that happen. Also, when something happens that you weren’t anticipating, you have a plan to go back to after you have dealt with whatever challenge came up.

Even if your schedule changes day to day (as mine does) you can create some consistent actions that you take on a daily basis to create a sense of safety for yourself. By doing that, you are less likely to be thrown by your fears when they arise.

Remember, when your fear bells start ringing, first acknowledge your fear. You can even thank it! Your fear is signaling you that the time has come to take big actions on your passions. It’s telling you that you are officially upping your game.

And, keep cultivating some of those non-negotiable actions you already have in your life so you can feel stable in the face of change.

If you need help creating those consistent habits, get in touch (brigittadau@yahoo.com) and we’ll come up with a plan together.

And if you liked this…forward it, retweet it, repost it…Share it!