It's that time of year. Spring is all around and Life seems to be unfolding at an accelerated pace.Those of us who are students and who have students in our lives are reflecting on what we have been learning and how we have grown.
And really - when you think about it - aren't we ALL students in the University of Life?Below are some of my favorite quotes about the journey of self-discovery. May they inspire us all to continue on our unique paths towards the best version of ourselves!
This high-tech age that we're living in allows incredible ease in communication. Sometimes too easy.
We are probably more effective when we pause and are mindful of our communications. Perhaps we shouldn't overindulge in so much upsetting or useless information. Maybe we shouldn't fire off the first text or email response that comes to mind.
If you've ever had a car with an alignment problem, you know that it can make for a bumpy ride.If not addressed, the misalignment will also cause unnecessary wear and tear on your tires.
Our life journeys also go smoother if we are in alignment. Misalignment between the big questions in our lives can provoke stress, and the unnecessary wear and tear that it brings.
Are you a good listener?
Many people would say that they are, but in today's busy world, new communication patterns are giving us fewer opportunities to maintain good listening skills.
It's a brand new year and all around us is conversation about New Year's Resolutions. Some people make them and some people don't - but lots of people have opinions about them!
Regardless of whether or not you make a formal New Year's Resolution, each new year brings a certain energy with it and begs us to answer the question: What am I going to do with this brand new year?
As I sit to write this, I can hear that old Rolling Stones song going through my head — "You can't always get what you want...But if you try sometimes, you just might find — you get what you need."
This week's message was inspired by several friends who, after hearing the story about my ER visit (now eight weeks ago) asked me to share more information about how I was able to advocate for myself in that situation. It's a great question.
While most people would agree that good health is important, the level of time and attention that we devote to cultivating our well-being varies widely. Perhaps this is because our definitions of "good health" can be quite different. For some of us, good health means operating at the peak of our physical conditioning. For others, it is about being able to fulfill our daily responsibilities without difficulty. I have found that, despite their variety, personal definitions of health often revolve around having the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual freedom to participate in our lives in ways that affirm our core values.
People may choose to increase their investment in their well-being for any number of reasons. They may be inspired to tackle a challenge that requires more fitness or stamina. Perhaps they have a vague sense that their level of health is slipping, or maybe life has delivered some kind of "wake-up call". They could have received unwelcome news at a health appointment. They might have accompanied a friend or family member through a difficult health challenge.
There is a popular quote by John Maxwell that states "Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." People who are engaged in building greater well-being know that personal growth and development are integral parts of that process. But even if they value that growth, it isn't always easy!
Many of the people that I work with confront similar barriers as they develop self-care mastery. As they grow towards their best version of themselves, they must confront limiting beliefs that keep undesirable habits in place. This phenomenon is so common, that coaches give it a name — the inner critic.
It's spring and there's lots of movement in the air. Change, which is ever-constant, is highlighted with the end of school and all that it entails. New graduates. New phases of life. New decisions.
We all experience moments in life where we are called upon to make big choices. We come to a crossroads and an opportunity to invent or re-invent ourselves and we must ask the big question: What is next for me?
Over the last couple of weeks I've been sharing about the very human problem of delaying desired or necessary actions and decisions, some of the reasons that contribute to these delays, and strategies for breaking through the inertia.
So far, I've talked about waiting for permission, and waiting for perfection. Now I'd like to share about another common reason — waiting for protection. Protection from what? — you may ask. You may be waiting for protection if you are feeling fearful about taking full responsibility for your choices. You may want protection from a fear of judgement (from yourself or others) of making the "wrong" choice, a fear of failure, or a fear of having to be accountable for the actions that your choice may entail.
Last week, I shared about a dilemma that many of us face. That is — in spite of knowing what we want, we delay the decisions or actions that will help move us toward our desired outcome. This post continues a series of reflections about reasons that we delay action, and how we can get "unstuck".
If you didn't see last week's post about waiting for permission, I invite you to check it out. This week I'm focusing on a reason that I personally know very well — waiting for perfection. This is going out especially to all the other recovering perfectionists out there. You know who you are!
If you've ever spent any time watching sports, you'll see that most of them have something important in common. These competitions all have a set of rules, and they have at least one official — a judge, umpire, or referee — that is charged with enforcing the rules and making judgement calls on plays as they occur.
These officials have a tremendous responsibility and considerable power. Their calls can have huge consequences for the players and teams, and their judgements are alternately criticized or cheered from moment to moment. It is difficult, but necessary work and it requires clear vision, good judgement, decisiveness, and above all, an unwavering confidence in one's own leadership.
This summer, I had a wonderful opportunity to travel with my family in the western United States. We were in the car for many days, and were fortunate that several of us were able to split up the driving and navigation responsibilities.
We had a mishap one day, though, when I was handling navigation duty. Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication right from the start. My husband handed me his phone with a map already pulled up that I thought would take us to Mount Rushmore. I used the map to carefully guide him turn-by-turn through a very scenic drive. When we reached the end of the instructions, we were facing an empty field somewhere in South Dakota. It was definitely not where we intended to be!
I'll let you in on a secret. There are some folks out there (maybe you're even one of them) with a persistent notion that good self-care is....indulgent. They might hesitate to say it outright, but secretly they feel a little guilty about really taking care of themselves.
They feel like they have to earn self-care — or that they'll eventually get around to taking care of themselves once everything else is done and everyone else's needs are handled.
"I don't know where to start."
Of all the phrases that I hear from health-seekers, this is one of the most common. I find that when someone expresses this sense of overwhelm, it can come from several places. Sometimes they yearn for more clarity about what they want for their life and their health. Sometimes they need information, encouragement, strategies or a process that will help them move in the direction they desire. Sometimes they just need to manage the obstacles and distractions (internal and external) that pull them off track. In all of these cases, strategies for finding and maintaining focus can help them take the next step.
Around our house, this exclamation has become the signal that someone has wandered off topic. If you've ever seen the movie "Up", you'll remember "Dug" - the dog with attention issues.The truth is, most of our days are filled with "squirrel" moments. Our external environments provide endless opportunities for information-overload and distraction. Our internal environments, left unmanaged, are at the mercy of our "monkey-minds", wilding swinging from thought to thought and often prompting us to behave reactively.
It won't be long now before the coming of spring – that hopeful time of year when new beginnings are all around us. It is a time of energy and growth for many of us, and it brings a welcome change of pace from the more reflective mood of the winter months.
Before you "spring into spring" though, I encourage you to take some time to be thoughtful about where you will put your energy. It's no secret that our culture here in the U.S. promotes us to be overly busy. There is always more "to do"! Optimal self-care invites us to take strategic actions that are aligned with our vision and values. When we are clear about what we want to create in our lives, and what is most important to us, it becomes easier for us to know what actions are appropriate.
It's been a busy summer and I've taken several months off from blogging to do some traveling with my family. I hope that many of you have also been finding time to have some adventures, enjoy a change of pace or venue, and create some good memories. Summer is a great time for that.
In July, we were blessed with the opportunity to take a trip to Brazil to visit the family with whom I lived as an exchange student many years ago, and also to visit the area of Brazil where we served as volunteer workers between 2007 and 2010. This visit to Brazil was emotionally dense -- full of encounters with special people who have touched and changed our lives.
I have always loved to dance, and over the years I've had my share of dance lessons. Most of them were ballet, and they occurred in locations that looked very similar. There was a large empty room with a wide expanse of floor, a barre attached to one wall, and a mirror on the other wall. The expansiveness of the room created a clear space where students could move freely. The barre was there to help us with balance. The mirror was there to reflect the way our bodies looked as they moved or stood still.
The mirror was an important tool as we developed deeper awareness of our bodies. When we could see what we were doing, we could decide if it matched the aesthetic we were trying to create and adjust our positions accordingly. Over time, we learned how it "felt" to be a dancer. After many rehearsals with the mirror, we could recreate that feeling on stage – confident that what we were now able to perform would faithfully represent the vision of the choreographer.
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