If there is one secret I know about life it’s to show up for it. Even if you are not ready, unsure, and frightened as hell, you will always prosper in some way from showing up even if it’s to learn your lesson for next time. Growth will never come from hiding.
My commitment to showing up was the beginning of a major shift in my life, one which has continued to reveal ongoing benefits. One great thing about learning to show up is it gets easier and easier each time until you don’t have to think about it at all.
One day you realize that you are just naturally in the muddy mix of your life and you can’t believe there was a time you chose to stand on the sidelines.
Here are 3 simple ways to start showing up more in your life and gaining the immediate benefits of engagement:
- Say “yes”. Shonda Rhimes Book Year of Yes is a great one to read if you have a tendency to say no to things and want to make a shift. Forcing yourself to attend parties, meetings, and events is a real necessary and level one part of showing up. Start saying “yes” to invitations (even the challenging ones) or they’ll stop arriving. Risk being uncomfortable for the reward of being present.
- Quit the snarkiness. Snarkiness, sarcasm and judgement are ways of disengaging. They keep you outside the story. Drop them and get inside where the mess of life happens. That’s next level showing up. You’ll never be fully in your life if you’re always judging how others are living theirs. You will never understand the tough choices people make until you are busy making your own.
- Dissent. Showing up means bringing all of yourself, even if that means towing unpopular opinions. Share them and let yourself be known for all that you are. This is the highest level of showing up. It involves bringing all of yourself, even the dark, quirky, and strange parts into the room. When you can show up in this way and be accepted you know you are in the right circles. You’ve found your people and you’ve found you.
Which level of showing up are you and how could you level up your ability to show up this summer? What do you find the most difficult and most rewarding aspects of showing up? Take the time to reflect on how you are showing up in all aspects of your life and relationships. Share your stories in the comments below!
Who wouldn’t want to reduce stress? Stress is the leading cause for heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, weight gain, and premature aging. It can lead to anxiety, depression, and completely dismantle our lives and yet we are largely lost as to how to combat it and often even how to see and acknowledge it.
Most of us don’t notice our stress until it has debilitated us, taking out our backs, locking up our necks, or giving us a horrible stomach ache. Once we have let the stress go that far, it is hard to bring down. A great help to managing our stress and reducing our chances of chronic illness would be to notice it sooner.
You can learn to notice the first signs of stress in your body by checking in with yourself throughout the day. Ask yourself, “how is my breathing?” If it seems shallow, short, locked up in any way, that could be a sign the body is under some stress. Quickened breath is also a clue. Look for breath position. Is it high in the chest (stress sign) or low in the belly? If breath quality/location is hard for you to access, you can check in with your vocal tone. A stressed body will often produce a high, airy voice and a calm one a full round sound.
Go ahead and check your breathing rate and position and vocal quality now! What do you notice?
Observing your breath is the quickest way to reduce your stress instantaneously. Choose a spot you feel your breath the most, like your nose, chest or belly and just watch as it comes and goes. You don’t have to do a thing. Simply observing is an art which has enormous impact. Many will tell you to deepen or lengthen your breathing. I would say to just watch. We are so quick to make adjustments but our systems know what to do to run most calmly and efficiently if we only get out of their way. Learn to be with what is and your body will thank you.
Get in the habit of observing your breathing multiple times throughout the day. You should see an immediate reduction in your stress level each time and a cumulative decrease in your stress level over time. If it helps you can even set an alarm for checking in with your breath every hour until it becomes second nature. This simple act will have a profound impact on the quality of your life and could even save it. Nothing should be stopping you from starting today.
You will find in time that you don’t even have to remind yourself to observe your breath. You will do so regularly and naturally as needed, re-regulating your system and finding peace in the moments of being one with this most subtle of human acts.
2018 is coming to a close and many of you are building your to do/ to improve lists for 2019. Studies show these long lists of resolutions have an 80% failure rate by mid-February. Never mind who makes it to March or June. So why keep banging your head against the same resolution road bump? Skip all the mess and heartbreak with one important undertaking.
Commit to building your resilience in 2019.
Work on nothing else.
When you develop this Master quality, you won’t need to work on your big self-improvement list. This will cover it all.
What does it mean to be resilient?
Being resilient means being able to bounce back from any set back quickly and effectively. It’s the number one characteristic you need to kick those “bad habits” long term.
How do I become more resilient?
- Honor your process. Resist the urge to compare your knowledge or progress with anyone else’s. It doesn’t matter where you are, as long as you keep moving forward with persistence. Assess what’s working and refining what’s not. Know that not everyone takes the same road to learn a new skill and work on being at peace with your own unique way of processing.
- Face your fears. Instead of hiding from and avoiding fears this year, make the commitment to facing them dead on. The more you can show up to uncomfortable situations with an open heart and mind, honesty and courage, the more resilient you will become. You will experience first hand that you can bounce back from mistakes stronger than ever.
- Dump negative self-talk. Nip out this nasty habit now by noticing the harmful things you say to yourself and replacing them with a positive mantra. There is absolutely no proof that self-criticism will make you perform any better in the future, so just don’t do it. If you feel resistance against a positive affirmation, change it to something you can believe in fully. For instance, if saying to yourself, “I am smart” leaves you thinking, “No, I’m not” replace it with “I am growing smarter every day”.
- Change the narrative. Overall we’ve become way too sensitive and protected. This is preventing us from taking feedback. Flip the notion that negative feedback means you are a bad person. Your value is not in how you perform. Once you realize that, you will be able to take the feedback and use it to learn and grow without taking it as a personal attack on you as a person.
- Practice self-compassion. Remember to treat your sweet self the way you’d treat a dear friend or relative. Resilience isn’t built by powering through, but by having more understanding and compassion toward self. The more quickly and tenderly you can forgive your errors the more powerfully you can move forward making better and better choices.
- Live to learn. Treat everything you do in life as an experiment. Keep an open mind. Look to learn and improve rather than to be perfect and right. Once you dump perfectionism you’ll be free to try new approaches. This actually leads to better results. The cautiousness of perfectionism is a dark trap that is holding you back from greater success than you currently know.
- Remember your comebacks. When you’re feeling beat down and having a hard time with resilience, this is practice to lean on. Think back to another time you were feeling low about yourself and remember that you were able to turn it around. Let the energy, memory, and lessons of that comeback fuel your next one!
Now it’s your turn! Comment here and let me know which of these resilience building strategies you’ll be using in 2019 or share your own! I’m going to go deeper into these concepts and 5 other key tactics
for keeping your resolutions in a FREE webinar February 1st. I’ll also be answering any burning questions at that event. Grab your copy of My Bliss Book
for your access CODE
As we head into the new year I know you are all excited to bring new projects and plans to life! This is the most popular year to work on manifesting and could be a great time if you set yourself up right. Here are the 3 most popular misconceptions and mistakes people make when attempting to manifest.
- Being Too Specific. There are a lot of books out there claiming you should imagine each detail of the brand new car or partner or job you are trying to bring to your life. In fact, too detailed envisioning can close you off to much bigger and better dreams the Universe has out there for you and cause you not to see the greater gift in your midst. While you should be careful to make sure you specify that your car runs smoothly and is in great working condition and that it comes easily and for right purposes to you, you don’t want to get so specific that don’t take the brand new green car your aunt just gifted you because you imagined red! You may also be holding yourself back by not going deeper into the essence of what it is you desire. Is it really the car, or is it easier transport? Is it really the freelance job or is it more time to right and make your schedule. These aren’t necessarily the same things and the Universe will deliver ALL the parts that come along with new car or job including the trouble of parking and the lack of health insurance. Go to the core and always add “for the greatest good” and “this or something better” to keep your visions pure and open. The Universe will surprise you!
- Having a Completion Date. While it’s fine to say that you want to move out of the city within the next year, giving the Universe an unrealistic complete by date like tomorrow or next week for a big move will only discourage you when it doesn’t happen and stop you growing in your manifestations. While it’s true that nothing is impossible for the Universe, we are still works in progress, learning how to work with these mysterious energies for our greater good and the good of those around us. As you materialize more and more the life you imagine, you will build confidence and the ability to make bigger and bigger dreams come true at a faster and faster pace. This is what I will teach you in Bliss Book, my daily manifestation planner, out this spring! Message me to pre-order this year long guide for making dreams your reality.
- Believing it Should Just Happen. Forgetting that YOU are an intricate part of turning your hopes and desires into life actualizations is a major mistake. You can visualize, dream board, and pray all you want, but if you aren’t willing to do the work, the Universe will not respond. The flip side is, She responds rapidly and strongly to even the smallest of steps done with a full heart and complete trust in Her workings. You don’t have to know how things are going to happen. You just have to trust that they will and make sure your actions aren’t telling the Universe that you really don’t want what you’ve asked for. Don’t keep dating Player Boy if you are asking for true love. You are telling the Universe that you don’t really want it, trust in it, or believe you deserve it. Our actions, however small, must support our deepest desires. Do this and all and more are coming your way!
For more on New Years Resolution, Manifesting, and Winning see last year’s blog here and follow me on facebook, instagram, and twitter where I’ll continue to share my tricks and tools.
“I’m not flexible” is the number one excuse I receive from people as to why they can’t do yoga. First of all, yoga is not something you do. It’s something that happens when the breath, mind, and body come to oneness. Being flexible is not important. In fact, being too flexible can be a hinderance.
Can vs. Should is about flexibility to stability equivalence radar. Just because a student is flexible, doesn’t mean they should go into the deepest most bendy expression of each pose. When arching and contorting compromise strength and stability, alignment, breath, and equanimity, the student has gone too far.
I often see new students looking around at longer practicing ones and whispering that they will never be able to do whatever it is they are doing, or giving a nod to affirm that the visual example they see is one they will start moving toward. This is such a dangerous and unhealthy approach. Each expression of a posture will be unique to the make-up and the needs of the student. Let the teacher be your eyes. Let your feeling body be your guide to repeating your teacher’s adjustments.
We are so eye-centric, leading with the visual in almost all things. Yoga time is a chance to quiet our gaze and awaken the nervous system. Instead of looking with the eyes, try to inspire an awareness of your whole being.Ask your body where it is in space and what it feels inside. If you hear nothing, don’t worry, just keep asking. Over time your body will start to build awareness you never knew it had.
This field of awareness is the start of yoga. It will inform all you do and all you are on and off the mat and the question of what you do with it and all your new abilities is a very important one, especially as your influence grows stronger. (Yes, one of the impacts of yoga is an increase of prana, magnetism, influence.) You may find people, objects, and opportunities coming toward you like never before. These are the instances to use your on-the-mat Can vs. Should practice in the real world.
Can vs. Should is an almost obsolete question here in the US. We seem to have decided as a culture that if it can be done, we should do it, and if it can’t we should try harder. Especially those of us with power and privilege must question the assumption that we should do everything we have the power to do. In fact as our power and influence increase we must be more mindful of each and every action.
The upheaval in Hollywood is a real reminder about using power wisely and about the choice we have to not do all we can do. For our personal practice we can start to look at this question with regards to our energy. As aspiring yogis we know that we don’t need to drill everywhere there may be oil, but we often forget what that means for ourselves. Do we have to do and be it all or is there perhaps a more equitable way to treat our energy and impact in this world? Can we, should we do less?
As you go into the world approaching this difficult Can vs. Should dilemma remember the soft gaze of your practice, and look for answers with your whole being awareness. This is the route to right knowledge. As we experience the wholeness of self, we drop into the wholeness of being which we are a part of and we come to know the ripples and we make mindful choice.
Did you think vision boarding was January? I bet some of you thought right before the new year. You aren’t off, but you could be even more ON! Reworking, writing, seeing your life’s vision is an ongoing affair. As we change (and we change a lot) doorways for new potential open up for us. If we don’t take a moment (or two) to re-evaluate outside our linear minds, we may miss that something has shifted.
Can you feel the shift?…
The air has changed. It’s fall. No matter how old you are the memories of slick smelling school books, freshly sharpened pencils and clean journals live inside your every pore.
Don’t fight it! Be a kid again!
The child’s instinct to play, to create, uninhibited, is within you and is bursting out with the autumn sun.
Get on the ground!…
Children are low to the ground and have their hands in things. That’s where you want to be for your best creations. Get yourself heaps of magazines, scissors, crayons or markers, and some glue and a large board or my preference blank journal. I use an extra large beautifully bound journal to flesh out sections of my big picture vision in a way you can’t do on a large board. I’ll get to that in a minute!
My highest recommendation is that you actually collect and cut out from magazines all year long and keep a large envelop of your cut outs handy for that day when you have both time and inspiration. Then you can toss them all out on the floor and pick the ones that speak to you on your vision boarding day and save the rest for later.
Most people don’t know what they want! Most can’t see the VAST and UNBOUNDED nature of what they could be, because of deeply routed and passed down (through generations!) assumptions. That is why I HIGHLY recommend guided meditation before vision boarding to get beyond the prison of the 10% brain and into FEELING, POSSIBILITY, & WONDER. Register for my mailing list where I’ll have new very soon about recorded meditations and other offerings that will be for SUBSCRIBERS only or email me to request my Train Your Brain program where we discuss how this whole process works to REWIRE your brain and actually GET YOU WHAT YOU DESIRE!
After mediation you may want to JOURNAL automatic-writing style where you stay as close to your meditative state as possible as you write what you saw. You’ll want to make sure you’ve prompted yourself with a list of categories such as Career, Travel, Home, Health, Education, Creativity, Pastimes, Family, Friendships, Relationships, Etc, because otherwise you are bound to do all your imagining around the subjects that come EASIEST to you. (Not the plan at all!)
From your journaling you can then create your big picture VISUALLY. I’ve recently started using the feng shui bagua pictured below to inform my vision boarding and I find it really working!
Add affirmations, personal photos, even three dimensional tokens that mean something to you.
Don’t stop there though! The road to your BIG PICTURE vision has lots of BIG MOMENTS within it. For example: Let’s say your big picture has you as head Veterinarian at a new clinic, but you haven’t completed Vet school. You may want to draw that picture separately including all the people who’ll be standing around you. Get it?! Livening up your plan brings the ACTION element into it that is so often left out. The more excited and passionate you get about your vision, the faster it cooks, so draw all your colors in and add words which make YOU moved! Don’t worry about any one else’s vision of themselves and release yourself of all others dreams for you! Even those that have your “best interests” at heart. This is the deep and important work we do at Train Your Brain to make sure you aren’t manifesting someone else’s vision of who you are…
Rinse, Wash, & Repeat cause like I said, vision drawing and dreaming is never done! I don’t believe you need to look at your board each day, which is another reason I prefer a journal. Keep it available. Have it by you when you light a candle. Don’t harp on it. Keep it childlike, creative, and fun!
Summed up tips for vision boarding:
1. Keep your visions alive by working on them seasonally.
2. Meditate before you create.
3. Go big and bold with colors, images, and words that excite you.
4. Create pictures of your story along the way!
5. Make it all your own!