The more time I spent in awareness of her energy, the more I began to see how freaked out she’s been. In that awareness, that meant that I’ve been propelled by an intense fear for a very long time.Read More
I want to talk about the fear of failure. Actually that’s not true, I don’t really want to talk about it, but I think it’s important to acknowledge it’s existence in order to prevent it from being in the driver’s seat of our lives.
I’ve experienced a lot of failure in my life. I’ve got a couple of failed businesses in my trunk of memories, a failed marriage, some failed relationships and a stack of failed goals. At some point along the way, I forgot about the thing we teach our kids of “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” because it became intwined with repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Failure can be painful. Repeating the same mistakes over and over again is painful. After a lot of pain, the normal human behaviour is to veer to safer options, which sometimes sheltering oneself from possibilities and potential.
The truth is that failure is a learning opportunity. When children learn to walk, it is by no means instantaneous; they fall hundreds of times before talking those very first, wobbly steps. At no point in time would a parent look at their child trying to stand for the first time and fail and then say, “Wow, you sucked at that, you’d better stop trying!”. For some, there is an experience of failure that shifts adventurousness to into deeper and deeper caution until they associate new potential experiences to old ones. The shift goes from “I have experienced failure” to “I am a failure” and then they stop trying.
What if we begin to look at failure as opportunity, or “Failuretunity” as a term coined in a group I coach with. When you begin to explore the lessons within each failure, you begin to grow from each of these experiences and expand into a stronger version of yourself rather than a contracted, fear-driven version.
Personally, the past year has been filled with fear of failure. Especially after fully committing to being self-employed, which I had done years before and totally bombed at. At some point, I realized that my fear was in charge and it was impacting the level of service I was providing and I had a choice to make. I could contract and shift back into my comfort zone that felt secure (and side note - that security is an illusion), or I could look at that fear and ask it was it was trying to teach me. I didn’t do this exploration on my own, I have 2 coaches I work with regularly to help guide me through these challenges so that I can continue to show up to my clients in full alignment. I can’t do it solo, most people can’t because it’s very difficult to be objective with yourself. I have so much appreciation for these teachers; they help me serve my clients in much deeper ways.
What fear taught me is that there is always space to grow. My knowledge had expanded, but my behaviours had not, my consciousness was expanding, but my mind was freaking out because I was venturing into unknown territory. When the mind sounds the alarm, a lot goes on ; old patterns show up, old stories, old voices, the ones that remind you of how terribly everything can go. So began my exploration into shifting those voices, the self-criticism, and slowly I began to transform the pain of those failures into lessons to propel me forward. I began to learn about my personal boundaries, how to protect them and meet fear before my boundaries got crossed. I learned to get curious about the fear, to talk to it and ask it what it wanted me to know. I learned discernment; some fears are real and alert you to dangers ahead, and some are smoke and mirrors designed to keep you in your place; the lesson of discernment was invaluable here.
Feel the fear and do it anyway has been a driver for me this year, stepping into discomfort and vulnerability, and it ultimately led me to stepping into my own power, my own ability to make decisions from my personal power and my heart-space rather than from mind/fear space.
Once I noticed that the fear of failure was just that, a fear, I was able to tell myself that just because I had failed once, or twice, or 10 times, it didn’t mean that I would fail again, as long as I learned and expanded my consciousness along the way.
If you’re struggling with stepping out of your comfort zone, looking for strategies, insight and clarity for what your next steps can be, contact me. I help you find clarity and consciousness, help you learn discernment in your choices.
Fail forward and often ;)
Some of my work with my clients focuses on building up a resilience to stressful situation and proactively using meditation to centre yourself before you begin your day. Some of my clients have asked what to do when you’re overcome with stress in the moment, because it’s not all “Om and Namastay”, you know? For example if you’re at work, or in a meeting, or maybe you’ve had an unpleasant exchange with someone and you feel anger rising. How can you regain control instead of letting it all spill out and wind up flipping everyone in a 5km radius off? (what? No, I’m totally not speaking from experience…)
Here’s the thing: YOU actually are responsible for your own response. For real. I know that this may seem untrue, especially when you feel that rush of emotion coming at and through you, and I am promising you that it’s true. Responsibility = Response-Ability, your ability to respond and choose that response.
I recognize that this may not be as easy as looking at the breakdown of a word and saying, oh, I get it and then having that change everything (but hey, maybe it might?), and so here are some simple steps to beginning to make a shift.
The first step is beginning to notice that you’re experiencing stress and recognize “your physiological signs of stress,”. Perhaps your heart begins to palpitate, your neck stiffens and you clench your jaw, your stomach clenches, or your palms sweat. It may also be the opposite and you tend to become depressed, withdrawn, or spaced out. These are all the result of what’s happening inside your body. The minute you start to experience stress, your pulse races, your heart beats faster and hormones [including cortisol and adrenaline] are released and this compromises your immune system and your ability to experience relaxation. When you’re able to recognize the signs, instead of ignoring them or normalizing them, you can begin to take steps towards managing your reaction.
The breath brings you back to the present. Why does that matter? Much of that physiological response is actually from your mind either being triggered to past experiences that are similar to the one you’re in or it begins creating multiple scenarios of what might happen next, that’s what the mind does, but when it does this, it contracts your ability to stay in the present moment and expand into possibilities. The breath, a conscious, deep breath forces your entire nervous system to relax; when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Those things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax.
Try deep belly-breathing from 3-10 times (or until you begin to feel a physiological shift); many of us get into the habit of breathing only through our chest, as we’re accustomed to the idea that our chest is where true breathing comes from. Too much chest breathing can cause us to feel breathless or anxious. Belly-breathing opens up the bottom portion of the lungs by expanding and contracting the diaphragm, allowing fresh oxygen to penetrate deep into the bottom of the lungs.
Walk Away/Change Your Environment
Depending on the situation, this may actually be step 2, or it might be a case of notice, breathe, walk away, breathe more. Removing yourself from the situation or trigger gives you space to choose your response instead of immediately reacting in the heat of the moment. If the stressor is caused by a situation with another person, consider saying something like, “I’m noticing that I may not be able to look at all the solutions to this right in the moment; I need about 15 minutes and then I’ll come back and discuss.” You can even say something like “I’m noticing that I’m feeling triggered right now and I need to step away and figure this out solo for a bit. I’ll circle back with you in an hour or so.”
If this isn’t possible, for example if you’re in a meeting, or on the phone, try moving your body somehow; back up your chair, uncross your arms or legs, roll your shoulders back - anything to create movement in your body and a sort of energetic space between you and the other party. Doing this in combination with deep breathing is ideal.
Begin To Practice This Sequence Wherever You Are
This sequence of “Notice, Breathe, Walk-Away/Change Environment” can work in many different scenarios and locations; traffic (I mean, don’t leave your car, but do the rolling shoulder thing), public transportation, busy grocery stores - Noticing and bringing that awareness into your being through breathing starts to become easier, the noticing becomes playful and like a muscle, one day you will start doing it with much more ease.
Be Patient With Yourself
This will likely be a new process for many of you so please be patient with yourselves. It might be a few scenarios of the noticing step, and you might find yourself noticing after the fact, and that’s OK. Stick with it. The results are totally worth it! Remember that you are not a victim of your responses, no matter how automatic they may seem, with some careful attention, you will see the choice point.
If this has been useful, I’d love to hear about instances where you are beginning to put this into practice. It may feel clunky at first, and you might begin to notice that those waves of emotion are far less intense.
As I prepare for a new month after yesterday’s full moon (Aroooooo!), I tend to go inwards in reflection; looking at where the last month has taken me, especially in October because that’s when my son’s birthday is. He is turning 20 this year, what?! I feel like October is a transformative month overall and this year it has been no exception.
As I come up on my first year anniversary of being solely self-employed (instead of having a plan B hanging around in case I failed), I look back with deep appreciation on the massive fear that pushed me through to create big changes and to transform how I show up in my day to day. Because I did experience fear, and insecurity, and self-judgement, and even panic.
The first and best thing I did was to acknowledge I was feeling all of these things out loud to a mentor of mine. I am really good at hiding these things, and somehow I was able to override that and recognize that if I wanted to truly uplevel how I was showing up for my own clients, I would need to do the work rather than keep stuffing it down. I hired two coaches, yup, not just one, but two. And I honestly couldn’t quite afford to, but I also knew I couldn’t afford not to because of how my inner dialogues was trying to sabotage my growth. You see, I can help my clients navigate these experiences quite skillfully (if I do say so myself), but I have my own inner blindspots that allow me to skip over the hard stuff, just like everyone else. I wanted to look at these blind spots, the darker parts that I didn’t want to acknowledge out loud, the parts that my mind expertly offers up to hold me back, keep me in the safe zone. But the safe zone wasn’t safe any longer, it was now the stagnant zone.
I was pushed further than I ever have been, and so much of it was uncomfortable, emotional, vulnerable. So much of me wanted to just stop because it felt too hard and overwhelming to let the gunk out. I looked at my failures, judgements and insecurities with a bright spotlight, feeling shame and weakness. I have not been very kind to myself. I have not offered myself very much compassion. I have not offered myself very much love.
As I deepened my learning, as I expanded my consciousness through the consistency of meditation, communication and the simple act of presence, I felt things shifting. I found the parts of me that are unwavering; my heart of service, my profound desire to be of service to all who enter my sphere. I began to recognize the deep power and strength I have in my core and more than anything, I want everyone to recognize that they have this same power. We are all powerful.
When I look up the definition of power, the ones that most resonate with what I’m trying to communicate are:
The ability to act or produce an effect
a source or means of supplying energy
The definition of powerful is to have great prestige and/or influence. Inner power relates more to your mind and inner spirit. And when I tap into these definitions, my sense is that feeling your inner power is really about a connection, an expansion to connection with that source (whatever that is for you) that supplies you with the energy to be you, wholly and fully.
For me, being powerful in myself means being connected to my truth, my vision, my confidence and my abilities. It means that I am willing to see the fear and move forward despite it. It reminds me that there is power in the softness and the reminder that there is absolutely no point in denying yourself love, ever. I finally understand why this quote is one of my all-time favourites.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.”
Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love
I was worried about shining light into where the darkness was, and what I found is that what frightened me the most was how whole, complete and loved I am.
I write this to remind you that you are not broken, you don’t need to be fixed. Transformation, expansion is a path to a remembering who you were before you became layered in expectations, shame, disappointment and comparison. To deny yourself that level of power and freedom within yourself, now THAT is the real shame. When I work with you, it’s to help you peel those layers back, to go inwards - not to fix - but to help you reveal so that you can shine again, so you can stand tall and strong (no matter your height!) and feel connected to that part of you that continues to seek the spark that life is offering us.
A few blogs ago I wrote about recovering from burnout. In that blog I mentioned that I believe there is a spiritual aspect of burnout and that this occurs when we have starved our soul from what it yearns for, when we have become disconnected from ourSelves.
When I experienced burnout, I understand now that I was disconnected at many levels. I was in a failing marriage, my career was not going as planned and was incredibly unfulfilling, I hated my body, felt like a horrible mother and at the time, felt that I could fix everything if I simply gave more of myself. And so I did. I gave and gave and gave until depletion. I gave to everyone except the one person that needed it the most. MySelf. And so my Soul did what it could to get my attention and created a crumbling structure all around me until it broke.
When I moved into an apartment after separating, I had every other weekend to myself and for the first 6 months of being on my own; I used to spend that weekend busying myself as much as possible. I would clean, I would do groceries, rearrange things, walk around the city for hours, all to avoid spending time in stillness and giving attention to myself. When I did pause in stillness, unable to busy myself or give of myself to someone else, the tears would come and I would cry myself empty, until there was nothing left, until it was time for the kids to return home for the next two weeks. It took me 6 months to realize that all the busy-ness was all in an effort to avoid those moments of stillness and grief. I began to learn that you cannot make others happy and that you need to take responsibility for your own joy and fulfillment. I had ignored my needs for so long that I had become spiritually ill. I called it Soul Flu; fatigue at a Soulullar level.
My definition of soul flu means that you prefer to repress your emotions, your desires and ability to live life to its fullest, instead harming yourself by turning to self-denial. Full disclosure: that is still my default mode when I fall out of alignment but I can recognize it more easily now. I realize that the term “Alignment” is a little vague and so I think of it as discovering the essence of your being and the deepest values by which you live. Being connected to a higher source of intelligence or power, identifying with something greater than the material world or your small/mind-self.
Getting back into alignment is about feeding your soul, your authentic Self, allowing yourSelf to receive. This is a massive shift when you’ve been so outwardly focused; making sure that every single other person is taken care of before noticing that you need the same level of care. It’s also about releasing the need to dictate exactly how things will unfold for you, releasing the rigidity and control and allowing yourself to step into surrender. Surrender allows you to move more effortlessly towards what it is that calls you, what it is that your Self desires. For me, stepping into this receptivity has required me to soften, to move out of the more masculine, outwards get-it-all-done energy that I often find myself in when striving to make things happen!
Baby steps to allowing yourself to receive might look something like saying thank you when someone compliments you. Saying thank you when someone offers you a gift. Saying thank you when you have a moment of stillness. And I mean truly saying thank you, without argument or way to deflect the gift being offered. I observe people shut down receiving so often, like when out for lunch with a friend and the friend offers to pay and trying to deny it, being given a compliment and telling the giver of said compliment that they are wrong or deflecting it by complimenting them back immediately. This may be an oversimplified example, but this energy brings up a questioning of whether or not you deserve the gift and diminishes the power of the offering. It shuts the door you yearn to open for your Soul. When someone offers you a gift from an authentic space, breathe and allow it to permeate you, allow space for receiving. This is a small step toward bigger allowing.
Take a moment and check in with yourself; if you’ve experienced burnout, or suspect you might be burning out, you can look back at that previous post, and check in with yourself on the emotional spectrum.
Emotional signs of burnout include
Lack of interest in general activities
Feeling like you’re in a fog
Stepping into allowing means moving towards a more trusting space, which can be frightening, especially when boundaries have been weak. It means shifting your perception that it all rests upon your shoulders. It means letting go in a lot of ways. While that may seem frightening, it also means that you are making space for more freedom. Freedom in your relationships, in your day-to-day activities and in yourSelf. This letting go is another step towards balance and reconnection with who you truly are.
Ways to create the space of allowing include:
Time in Nature
High Quality Nutrition
Speaking kindly to yourself/monitoring your inner dialogue (would you say this or accept anyone saying this to your kids is a good check point)
Getting adequate sleep
Are you ready to begin allowing more freely?
One of the groups of humans I coach are lawyers and once a month I host a call for them that includes various stress-management techniques and a guided meditation. I usually base the topic of the month on what challenges and stressors for clients show up as a theme; this month overwhelm won out. Admittedly, I was also experiencing some of my own, which I wrote about in last week’s blog, and was probably exacerbated and triggered by the news cycle, which I honestly don’t want to give more attention to.
We humans have a tendency to feel overwhelmed by all that needs to be accomplished on a daily basis and sometimes can get to the point where we become paralyzed and unable to take action. I personally wasn’t at that point last week, but there have been times when I have been, most notably when I was getting divorced and had to go to court, when I got laid off, when I was a victim of fraud or the last time I moved. That paralysis comes from the rise in cortisol creating a sort of tunnel vision inhibiting us from seeing all the solutions that we have at our disposal.
In the classic Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, researchers examined medical records to determine the relationship between life events and the likelihood of getting sick. They ranked the 43 most stressful life events, assigning points to each based on the potential negative impact on health. Some of these include divorce (#2), death of a close family member (#5), business readjustment (#15), change in financial state (#16) and even positive things we dream of, such as outstanding personal achievement (#25). You can follow the link to the scale and add up your points if you want to justify the feelings of overwhelm, however I wouldn’t recommend it as it might just add more overwhelm!
When we experience a significant amount of change that include many competing demands we can begin to enter this state of overwhelm. Unless we identify this early on, sometimes the human mind and body will cave in under all the pressure leading to burnout and other issues. So what can you do to mitigate and manage this overwhelm? Here are some basic steps you can take to help minimize it.
Time Block your calendar
If something is important enough to put on a ‘to do’ list, you need to ensure that you have the time to complete it. Make it an appointment in your calendar to do the work required. Schedule and block time to create a plan for every day.
Outsource or Delegate Tasks
Outsourcing some of the smaller tasks that aren’t worth the time you put into them even though they are tasks that need to be done. Hiring/outsourcing to someone to free up more of your time and maximize your productivity will be a huge relief once you finally commit. Perhaps it’s a cleaning person to come in every other week, maybe you need someone to help you declutter a space, or maybe you need someone to do some filing or administrative work for you. An easy way to gauge your sense of relief is to imagine certain tasks being completed by another party, you arrive home or to work knowing it’s done.
Get the best sleep you can
I’m sure I mention sleep in every other blog, and it bears repeating because of how vital it is. If you’re stressed out, getting enough sleep should be your number one priority. Give yourself time to wind down before going to bed, and create the quietest, darkest sleeping space possible (you can use blackout curtains, ear plugs, and white noise from the bathroom fan to block out street sounds). The more stressed you are, the earlier you should try to get to bed. I also use a sleep spray that contains melatonin, valerian, chamomile and a few other natural ingredients; this supports me in getting a deep and restful sleep because I’m kind of no fun if I don’t get enough sleep.
Meditate or pray in the morning
I spend quiet time in meditation every morning and this is a non-negotiable for me. If the thought of adding something else to your morning only adds more overwhelm, simply start with 5 minutes. I guarantee you can find 5 minutes at the beginning of your day. Forcing yourself to find a few quiet minutes every morning will help you centre yourself before you start your day. Sitting for just five minutes, breathing deeply in and out, has been shown to create a sense of calm (and even lower blood pressure!) that lasts throughout the day. If you need help with this, I can help you.
Make yourself eat, no matter how crazy things are
The more stressed you are, people have a tendency to try to do more before breakfast (and breakfast often ends up eaten at lunchtime). Skipping meals and snacks leads to low blood sugar, fatigue and brain fog, making you feel unable to cope. Discipline yourself to get some real food into your mouth as soon as you get up, something rich in nutrition and protein dense – you’ll feel much calmer, clearer and more focused. Make sure you eat throughout the day and don’t let yourself ever get too hungry. Don’t ignore your body’s cues for needing food and water, no matter how busy you are.
Load up on greens the easy way
You get a physical and psychological boost from superfoods. Our bodies appreciate them when stressed. You can make a simple green smoothie in your blender, it takes less than five minutes to make and less than a minute to drink. Bonus points if you add a clean protein powder or nutrient dense meal replacement into the mix.
Yep, those again. I will never not talk about these herbs because of how much of an impact they’ve made on me and countless others I know. Adaptogens are a group of herbs that work specifically with the adrenal pathway, helping to bring hormones into balance, and some can be really useful in healing from burnout. I use these two products daily and I will fight you if you try to take them away from me. I’d honestly rather not fight you though, and just help you get your own :)
Get through one day at a time
When life is particularly stressful, it really helps to just focus on getting through each day. Use your morning quiet time to get centred and ready to face the day, and that day alone. Life can feel so much easier when you face it one day at a time.
Make no your default answer
Our fundamental problem isn’t our inability to balance it all, it’s overcommitment. When you say yes to something new, you say no to something else. There isn’t an infinite amount of time available to you. When you say that yes it will mean something really important will be squeezed out: that time alone you desperately need, or that extra hour of sleep that would make all the difference, or the precious time with your spouse or kids that you all long for.
Take sanity breaks
Lose the go-go-go mentality, it will kill you. Life is more than a checklist to get through. Take breaks whenever your body or mind start to feel tired. Have a snack. Get up and do some stretches. Rest your brain. Take your lunch outside and sit by a fountain with the sun on your face. You need breaks, don’t tell yourself that you’re better off just plowing through. You can also check out the 60/10/60/30 Ninja Productivity tool that Raj Sundra, Founder and CEO of Transformance Business Consulting wrote about.
Give yourself a day off every week
We are constantly connected; people can reach us ALL. THE. TIME. It’s easy to treat every day as another opportunity to tick off to-do list items. What full day can you take off? Whenever you’re tempted to work because you feel panicked about some upcoming deadline, remind yourself that in the past you’ve somehow always gotten done what needed to be done, even if you’ve taken a day off. One day a week, try to avoid doing anything that feels like work. Turn off your phone. Don’t go online. Take a nap. Read a good book. Spend some time with your family and friends. Go for a walk together. This day of rest and rejuvenation will refresh you and give you the energy you need to face the trenches yet again for another week. And you will still somehow get everything done.
I hope that this has been helpful. I’d love to help you with tools to minimize any overwhelm that you may be experiencing in your own life; perhaps you need help learning to meditate, managing your time or logging off of the online world. I am more than happy to help. Simply reach out and books some time with me and we can get started.
I had a shitty day. The day itself wasn’t shitty, but the way I felt throughout it sure was. Still kind of is. OK maybe it’s been a shitty week. What do I do when this happens? This time, the first thing I did was wallow. Actually that’s not true either, the first thing I did was panic, then I wallowed.
Oh sure, I have a bunch of tools I know how to use, and use them pretty religiously, but there was something about today that had me in a space where I couldn’t quite settle into my meditation, or journaling, or any of my usual standbys. To add to the shittiness, I was extra insulted because I’ve been feeling particularly on point lately, scheduling various business projects and tending to them on time, having kickass meditations, getting to the gym for early morning workouts, running 3 times a week, getting to yoga, I was at a fabulous and moving retreat with my spiritual/business coach a couple of weekends ago - I have been UNSTOPPABLE! So awesome right? I didn’t order this. I’ve got things to do, and a business to run and a kid to parent and feed. So like, what gives?
Ohhhh, I’ve gone into The Dip.
When you begin with coaching, (or any transformative process) it’s generally revelations here and uplevelling there and all these things that seem to become illuminated and new habits are being formed and you feel like you’re conquering the THING that was in your way. What we don’t always talk about is the Dip, when we think we’ve overcome the THING (or THINGS), and “cured” it all, but when there is still baggage that need to be released. And it’s still kind of ugly. And gross. And filled with things you don’t want to face because you’d rather look at the butterflies and rainbows and breakthroughs. Growth is NOT all butterflies and rainbows and usually it winds up with at least a few utterances of AFGO (Another Fucking Growth Opportunity).
For me personally, as I write this, I realize that what I’ve been learning through my business growth, my work with my own coaches and shifts in relationship dynamics I have in my life, is that old beliefs that are lingering in my being are not in alignment with who I am becoming and it’s becoming unbearably clear. One of the gifts I have when I work with clients is that I can show them where they are out of alignment and help them move into clarity to resolve and let go of what no longer serves, and it’s harder to do on my own.
So I connected with my coach after I failed with my own tools and I asked for help. I haaaaate asking for help, even though I always tell my clients that asking for help isn’t weakness, because it’s not. But I did it, I asked for help and she gave me the gift of clarity. “Stop fighting the feeling and the experience. Stop judging the feelings. Stop buying into the feelings. The only way through, is through and you can’t control it.”
Basically, sit in the Dip because you can’t bypass it. Oh. So I pressed pause on my plans for the afternoon and let myself experience the Dip. When you experience big changes, you need to allow time for integration. It’s not instantaneous, it’s not all comfortable, but if you fight it it takes longer.
This is part of the self-care that I advocate for so often. It’s about allowing without judgement, like when you cry and let the tears flow freely instead of stifling them or apologizing for them. It’s celebrating the wins and acknowledging the failures without telling yourself that YOU are the failure. It’s reaching out and asking for help, because we’re not here to do it all on our own.
This is the gift this week’s Dip has given me.
I hope this has been helpful to read; I would love to hear from you about your own experiences with this. Can you identify times when you’ve been in the Dip? Are you in the Dip now? What gifts have you received from the Dip? Do you ask for help when you’re there? How many times can I type the word Dip before it seems wrong?
Each time I open this page to write, I allow myself to become distracted by something else, social media, harassing my daughter or… anything. I tell myself it’s because this subject isn’t the right one, maybe I don’t have anything really interesting to say about it (and perhaps that’s true, you be the judge), but I think mostly it’s because deprivation is something that I know far too intimately. Even writing that gave me a floppy feeling in my gut.
In my gut. Of course, how appropriate. My most intimate knowledge, or so I thought, was that of depriving myself of food. Not in the anorexic way, but in the way that I believe is all too familiar to the majority of women in North America. “I’m off carbs!” or “No dairy!” or “I’m gluten-free… not celiac or sensitive though…” But the deprivation that I think I’m really sitting down to write about is the deprivation of your acknowledgement of your powerful and prosperous self.
I went to the spa with my daughter today to cap off her summer vacation and start the school year off on the right foot; I figured that some salt-water floating, saunas and nature would fit the bill. While we were in the infinity pool at the beginning of the day, we were lounging next to two women and because there weren’t a lot of people around, I could clearly hear their conversation. The topic was how and what they despised about their bodies. It was so misaligned that I had to move to a different part of the pool. The thing is though, that this conversation happens everywhere, all the time. I was at a gathering with some women in July and the opening conversation between a trio that hadn’t seen each other in a while went like this:
Woman 1: Oh you look fabulous!
Woman 2: No I don’t, I’ve gained a ton of weight, my pants don’t fit!
Woman 1: Well you think that’s bad, just look at this gut of mine! I can’t even hide it in this flowy dress!
Woman 3: Let me tell you how disgusting I AM!
I’m not making this up. I finally chimed in and told them to stop being so mean to themselves. But – I am guilty of the same type of dialogue. For years it was running unconsciously as background programming, at the gym, seeing the fitter, jacked women with 6-packs, at meditation looking around and telling myself how unconnected I am, at business events, seeing how much I am not there yet. For years what it prompted me to do, was to berate myself internally and turn to internal punishment tactics, to… deprivation. I’m not fit enough, time to cut out ~insert trendy food to cut out here~, go to the gym MORE, deprive myself of the critical rest days, get exhausted, get injured, get even madder at myself because I can’t push as hard and watch the cascading effect it has on my relationships, my business etc.
The definition of deprivation is: The damaging lack of material benefits considered to be basic necessities in a society. One of its antonyms is Indulge.
Let’s unpack that one for a moment; INDULGE. What does that evoke in your being? What comes to mind when you hear that word? Does it make you feel a bit naughty? Ohhhh, I’m going to indulge in some chocolate, shhhh, don’t tell. When I do a Google search of the images associated with the word indulge, I am shown a myriad photographs of people (mostly women) shoving desserts into their faces, not just eating them, but cramming them into their mouths by the fistful, or looking longingly at desserts or pictures of cupcakes. HOWEVER, one of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of this charged word is: To take unrestricted pleasure in.
When is the last time you took unrestricted pleasure in something? Anything?
Almost every woman I work with is depriving herself of something. Do you want to know what that is? It’s connection to her Truth, her Spirit, her Soul. Deprivation of basic nourishment doesn’t always mean food; it’s the dialogue in your head, the actions you take towards your goals, the mantra that is the undercurrent of your life.
The thing with deprivation is that in its wake, there is always a rebellion. Deprivation cannot be sustained in the body or in spirit and continue to live purposefully.
Where can you take steps to indulge, to take unrestricted pleasure in yourSelf? Where can you indulge your inner dialogue so that you finally hear the response from yourSelf? What do you suppose she would tell you if you actually listened to her? Do you really think it would be a conversation about how to deprive yourself to greatness? How to deprive yourself to your most powerful and prosperous self? I don’t think so. I think it would move more along the lines of, nourish me, love me, hear me, hold me, acknowledge me.
Can you hear her? Maybe it’s time you do.
This may look like it’s a fitness post, but it’s not really a fitness post. It’s more about the process we go through to achieve our goals in general and appreciating our progress along the way.
The picture that you see at the top of this blog is one that was taken maybe a little over three years ago. That was a time in which I was extremely fit and pushing myself even further in those pursuits each day and week. While I felt pretty good about it, I also recall that it never felt like it was enough. I kept pushing and pushing to tweak this and this and this. And while it is necessary to strive for improvement to reach a place of excellence, it’s also important to check in on the motivators that are driving you there. During that time, a little over three years ago, that motivator was that I’m not good enough – hard stop. A better reflection at that time might have been, I’m not qualified to compete at an elite level, however I’m feeling strong, fit and healthy.
I could have also reflected on where I was at when I began those workouts, which was also pretty fit, running regularly, good energy levels, but maybe lacking in strength and endurance. Even when I would look at where I began, it was still never enough, and truly, acknowledgement of your progress is essential.
So why am I writing about something from over three years ago? I noticed that I was facing this same pattern when I started doing HIIT workouts at the gym four weeks ago. From a positive standpoint, this was the first time that I was able to complete a work out of this type since a difficult pregnancy and delivery 18 months ago. To realize that I was able to make it to more than one workout within the same week (rather than take another couple of weeks to recover from not listening to my body) was a huge step in my physical recovery – BUT - my overriding feeling was one of frustration. I was frustrated because I wasn’t at the level that I was at three years ago and I kept thinking about all the things I used to be able to do and I wasn’t taking into account everything that had happened in between that time and this time.
I kept going to the workouts, persevering and keeping to myself while struggling through the workouts and feeling mildly accomplished, but there was something missing; the modifications that I was doing to accommodate my limitations weren’t allowing me to maximize what I was actually able to do. I hadn’t communicated fully to the trainer who was leading the classes about what my specific limitations were, and thus wasn’t taking full advantage of the help that was at my disposal. I finally brushed my ego aside one day and decided to reach out to the trainer and let her know exactly why I couldn’t lunge or plank in a certain way and took the time to fully explain all of the injuries that I received last year, which gave her a more holistic understanding to be able to help me move forward and progress in a much better way. Reaching out for help was one of the best things that I could do to counter my frustration with my perception of slow progress and also give me a reality check that I am doing quite well.
Let’s rewind a bit in this though; what stopped me from asking for help in the first place? I’m sure there were lots of factors, but the first one was that I didn’t want to draw attention to my perceived flaws, as well as the fact that I felt like I had enough knowledge from my previous fitness teaching experience to deal with it on my own. While I know a significant amount about fitness, this is not the best time to apply this knowledge because I’m not able to see my blind spots! Oh hello there ego!
So when I said that this wasn’t a fitness post, I meant it. In life, fitness, spirituality, business and relationships, Coaches help you pinpoint areas that you improve, learn and grow, whether it’s mindset, energy, nutrition, meditation, strategic planning etc. Asking for help, seeking guidance or mentorship is not weakness, in fact it’s seen as strength and shows that you want to move forward, upward faster and with more consistent results. True leadership is shown by the support and systems put into place by the Leader - and you can't lead a team of one.
When I work with a client, I intuitively tune into their energy and patterns specifically with regards to the issue being brought to me from the client. I use a combination of intuition, NLP (Neuro-Linguisitc Programming), Hypnsosis and TimeLine Therapy to map out where to strengthen, focus and heal so that you can bring more balance, growth and ease to the goals that we identify at the start of our sessions.
We’re not here to go through it alone. What beliefs do you need to shift, what action can you take in service to your goals today? Maybe reaching out for support is the first step.