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How to Forgive Yourself & Others

Bridge to Forgiveness

Forgiving others and ourselves just might be the hardest – and most necessary – gifts to give.

Why is forgiveness important?

When we hold grudges and judgments, it acts like a cancer in our body. It gnaws away at our happiness and holds us back from feeling completely fulfilled. When memories are triggered about someone we resent, it can often send our minds into a tizzy of rehashing the same painful moment over and over again.

If we push it off or shove it down, it inevitably resurfaces. In the wise words of Carl Jung, “What we resist, persists.”

The unhappiest people I know are those that harbor a lot of anger and resentment of others. They’re also the most prone to illness and chronic health conditions. Science today recognizes our mental and emotional states directly affect our physical health.

Who wants to live like that? (Surprisingly, a lot of us. Just look at the news. It’s filled with angry, judgmental people pointing fingers.)

I know from my own personal experience, bitterness and joy do not coexist easily together.

My mother and I had a challenging relationship. She was clinically depressed and when she put pressure on me to play the role of mother in our relationship, I resentfully obliged as the “good daughter.” Later, when she committed suicide, I didn’t want to forgive her for it. I also blamed myself for her death. (Double whammy.)

In my mind, I needed to pay a penance. I felt I deserved to suffer. And suffer I did.

I became involved in unhealthy relationships with men I knew weren’t good for me. Even going so far as to sabotage the beginnings of relationships with good men that would have allowed me to feel the love I was denying myself. At a subconscious level, I think I invited in suffering and pushed away anything that resembled joy.

Of course this all self-perpetuated because the more pain that I endured, the more resentment and anger I grasped onto. The angrier I was at myself for creating and allowing it, the more I invited it in.

It wasn’t until I could accept both her actions and mine, find compassion for each of us, was I then able to forgive. And friends, that is such a precious gift. I only wish it hadn’t taken me so long to figure that out. Therefore, I’m passing my process along to you:

Four (not-so-simple) Steps for Forgiveness:

  1. Acceptance. The first step is to accept that shitty things happen. (Until they don’t.) We don’t have to like it, we don’t have to approve of it, and we don’t have to condone it. We merely have to accept that reality is as it is. We cannot change anyone or anything that’s already happened. Nor do we have to know why it did.
    A wonderful tool for finding acceptance is The Work™ by Byron Katie.
  2. Compassion. Once we accept reality, then we can look for compassion. We try to see from their perspective and try to understand their circumstances. Sometimes shit rolls down hill and folks do the best they can with the manure they’re given. We can’t possibly know all the information that led to the action in question. It’s most likely rooted in their own pain and suffering.

    If you’re looking for compassion toward yourself, it’s helpful to realize and accept that we all make mistakes. It’s part of the human experience. “Do your best until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” ~ Maya Angelou

  3. Is there a reason to keep it? Ask yourself if there’s a stress-free or pain-free reason to keep your grudge. If you can come up with one, ask yourself if that truly is stress or pain-free.
  4. Forgiveness. Offering forgiveness doesn’t mean we are agreeing to more of what happened. It’s simply allowing ourselves to release the anger and resentment that doesn’t serve us, nor change what’s happened. It’s saying to yourself that you’re willing to let the past stay in the past, so that you can move forward into a happier and lighter future. It’s no longer looking for payback or penance.

    Write out, “I forgive (name) for (cause of pain).” Another helpful tool is to add, “I forgive (name) for not being who I wanted them to be.”

If you’ve done the first three steps and the last isn’t coming easily, my hunch is there’s more work to be done in the first two steps. That’s ok. Some pain takes longer to let go, especially if we’ve been holding it for a long time. It might feel foreign without it and that is sometimes uncomfortable territory.

Keep trying. Keep going back through the steps. Eventually you’ll be ready to release it. When you are, the joy that fills in the cracks feels oh-so-delicious!

****

If you’re ready to find forgiveness around a huge loss in your life, I invite you to join me and four other Master Coaches at our Bali Healing Retreat from November 26 to December 1, 2019. We’ll be focusing on healing our grief around loss, and forgiveness is a big component of that.

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It’s Okay to be sad Sometimes

Bimmer the Dog

To feel the full range of emotions is to experience our humanity fully. Yet, as a society, we seem to celebrate the stoic, the even-keel, and the put a happy-face-on-and-push-through-it behaviors while shaming those who are authentically expressive.

I’m here to say it’s ok to feel sad. It’s ok to feel angry. It’s ok to feel fear and doubt. Emotions are simply energy in motion. The more we resist letting these emotions flow, the more that energy stagnates in our body. Over time, that can cause physical ailments. Body, mind and spirit are all connected.

For me, this week, I’m feeling bouts of sadness come and go in waves. I learned a few days ago that my dog I shared with an ex many years ago will be assisted across the rainbow bridge this Saturday. I am grieving this inevitable ending.

I remember picking up Bimmer, a rare grey and tan Chinook, from the breeder in Kirkland, Washington. He was a ten-pound, rolly-polly, fuzzy ball of uncoordinated energy bounding toward me with his sisters and brothers. He had the most beautiful, bright blue eyes that were full of curiosity. I fell in love instantly.

He cried so much in the first twenty-four hours after bringing him home. He had left his pack…his mom and siblings…to go with a stranger. It broke my heart as quickly as his adorableness filled those cracks.

There was potty training followed by obedience training. As he grew, he experienced separation anxiety and we worked on giving him a job to do while we were at work, which greatly alleviated it. He quickly developed into a 110-pound gentle giant with a long tongue that loved to lick anyone within a few feet. It inspired a welcome mat to the house that said, “BEWARE: Dog can’t hold his licker.”

He was my buddy, my constant companion through some really tough times in my life. He eased my broken heart after splitting with my ex. He kept me company, reminding me I had value, when I was laid off from my job and feeling lost and alone. He kept me physically safe by ferociously barking at a man who threatened me and rattled my windows and doors in the middle of the night.

When I foreclosed on my house and couldn’t find a rental that would allow a dog his size, I reluctantly gave him to my ex, who also loved him dearly. It was the right thing to do for Bimmer, who needed space and consistency…even if it broke my heart.

He’s now twelve years old. I have missed the past seven years of his life. Now it’s time to rejoin his brothers and sisters, who wait for him on the other side. I know he’s lived a happy, long life. And still, I am sad. I grieve for myself, who remembers what a joy he was in my life. I grieve for those who know him and his loving spirit. I grieve for the loss of life, even though it’s all part of the circle.

So as I write this tribute to honor Bimmer’s life, I also let the tears flow. I feel the weight in my heavy heart, the pain in my throat, and the hot tears falling from my eyes down my cheeks. I notice where the ripples emanate from and to and let it wash over me.

To Bimmer: Mamma loves you. May your spirit be well. May you rest in peace. May you know you left this world a better place and me a better person for having loved you.

To those graciously reading: May you allow yourself to feel all the feels as they arise. May they flow as naturally as you breathe and your heart beats. May you experience your humanity fully.

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Learning to Receive

Breathwork Meditation Healing Circle

As a coach, eldest child, woman, lifelong caretaker of my loved ones, and recovering rescuer, I’m accustomed to attending to everyone else’s needs. It’s easy for me to spot where others are burned out, and offer my assistance, which usually comes in the form of coaching.

While I recognize my own need for self-care, I have a tendency to do just that…give it to myself. If my body says it’s tired, I rest. If it wants to move, I move. If it is hungry, I feed it. If I am overwhelmed in a social setting, I find a quiet space to be alone. If it’s been a busy day, I’ll take a bath. I’m quite self-sufficient.

What I haven’t learned to do well is receive care from others.

It hit me the other day when I attended a Love Bubble breathwork class on the beach led by the amazing Jenna Reiss. She and I had met serendipitously at a Byron Katie event. Then we met again at a Gabby Bernstein event. I knew from her energy that I wanted her in my life. And yet, despite our ongoing efforts, running our individual businesses got in the way of our connecting in person again.

When I saw her social posts about leading a breathwork class, I jumped at the chance to see how we might collaborate on future workshops together. It didn’t even occur to me to attend simply to receive her gifts. So when she asked what “Love Bubble” meant to me, I responded as a coach, not as Jennifer. She invited me to drop my roles and responsibilities…and even suggested I put my body a little further into the love bubble circle of blankets to receive just a bit more.

It was exactly what I needed to shed the societal pressure of being the independent woman that doesn’t need anything from anyone else. To give myself permission to receive someone else’s care, to be myself with all my flaws and baggage in someone else’s safe and sacred space. To heal the parts of me that needed another layer peeled off and released.

Healing and spiritual enlightenment is not a destination; it’s a journey (which I recognize is cliché, but it’s a cliché because it’s true!). If anyone tells you they have all the answers and everything figured out, they’re unconsciously (or maybe even consciously) incompetent and my advice is to run the other way.

My experience in that love bubble was oh-so-delicious. My hands, lower arm, lower leg, and back of neck wrapping up around my ears were vibrating at such a high frequency that they felt tingly, numb and immobile. At one point I was laughing deeply, and another I was convulsively crying. My heart opened up so fully and my higher self shined through.

Through coaching, I have forgiven myself on the mental and emotional level for some things in my past, yet in that circle, I forgave myself even more deeply at the spiritual and soul level…and forgave others from my past that I’d been harboring judgment toward. It felt so lovely and so loving to let all of that go, peeling it off like a heavy winter jacket.

Aside from the freedom I felt afterward, it was a good reminder that it’s okay to receive from others. It’s okay to be the client and allow other’s gifts to be received.

If you’re like me and feel a strong need to never ask for help, I invite you to try it. Ease into it if there’s strong resistance. Because we all need each other. None of us are meant to figure it all out ourselves. AND by doing so, you’re allowing someone else’s light to shine and that is also a gift.

When we receive, we give…when we give, we receive.

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4 Effective Steps for Overcoming Doubt, aka The Dream Killer

Seagull Flying Low Looking Down

Doubt, from the Latin root dubitare, which means to hesitate. Doubt is based in fear. Fear that we are incapable or unworthy to do the great things we dream of doing or becoming. That small voice that compares us to others and tells us we don’t measure up. She wants us to play small. She fears failure, especially publicly visible failure.

I’m the first to admit that I’m accustomed to long conversations and spending ample time with doubt. She’s a familiar frenemy. You know, someone who pretends to be your “friend” but in actuality she sabotages, undermines and overtly points out your flaws. That’s who doubt is to me. She is quite convincing in her argument that she’s doing me a favor by keeping me from building and creating. The truth is, it is in no one’s best interest for me to play small and hesitate.

While everyone experiences doubt, my hunch is entrepreneurs feel this more strongly. We’re more exposed. It takes time to learn and do new things. There’s no one else to blame if our dream doesn’t work out as we’d hoped. (See, there’s doubt again, pointing to the future possible failure instead of the present potential for greatness.)

Those who are daring to do things that haven’t been done before are most vulnerable to doubt. Those who are creating new processes, forging new paths, and building new technologies face self-doubt every day. The question is, will you let her lead or take a back seat? Where there is dreaming, there is uncertainty; where there is uncertainty, doubt is guaranteed to wiggle her way in. So we might as well accept doubt as a passenger.

So how do we stay in the driver seat?

The answer lies in faith and passion. Our faith in our self and our passion to create must be stronger than our fear of failure.

When doubt-filled fear starts to rise up, this is my process to dissolve it and reconnect with my faith and passion. I invite you to try it and see if it works for you too.

  1. Disprove doubt by doing The Work™ on the underlying thoughts (aka limiting beliefs). Common ones include, “I can’t do (insert big, bold thing).” OR “If I were __________ enough, ________ would be easy.” OR “Good (insert role or business) make lots of money, bad ones don’t.”
  2. Wherever you’re stuck, or whatever obstacle seems to keep you frozen, imagine it as a person, place or thing. Utilizing all your senses, experience every aspect of this symbol in your mind’s eye. Then ask yourself what you want to happen in this scenario. The answer to solving your problem lies in applying that desired action (or non-action) at the metaphoric level to your current circumstance at the literal level.
  3. Give yourself time and space for creative expression in whatever form feels yummy. That could be doodling, singing and dancing to a favorite pump-up song(s), going outside to take photos of nature, or cooking a new recipe you’ve wanted to try. Something that gets your mind off self-doubt and allows you to connect with your creativity.
  4. Post up some inspirational quotes in your work and living space. Some of my favorites that remind me I’m on the path to amazing include:

“This is the time to shine in the light of our medicine and speak our truth. The elders say we are the ones we have been waiting for. Give yourself and the world the gift of stepping into the full experience of your power, presence and magnificence.” ~ Gail Larsen, Transformational Speaking

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” ~ Robert F. Kennedy

“If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” ~ Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

“Great things never came from comfort zones.” ~ Neil Strauss

Overcoming doubt is an ongoing process, one that gets easier the more frequently you kick her to the back seat. Be patient and kind to yourself. What you’re doing is not easy, AND it’s worth it! Keep coming back to the tools that work and one day, you’ll see how far you’ve come!

***

If you’re still having some trouble putting Doubt in the passenger seat, let’s talk. I can help facilitate steps one and two of this process to go deeper.

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How to Tap Into the Healing Power of Nature

Nature Guides: Release & Reconnect Through Writing

Before I learned and assimilated coaching tools into my life, I looked to nature to find peace and joy. When my life felt chaotic and overwhelming, nature gave me centeredness and balance. Something as simple as taking a walk amongst trees or sitting in the sand staring off at the ocean could clear my mind and deepen my breath.

Have you ever found calming relief by immersing yourself in nature’s beauty? Do you find solace staring at clouds or rain falling? I certainly do. And then I learned to capture those beautiful moments so that when nature wasn’t close by, I could return to that space mentally and emotionally simply by looking at my pictures.

Photography was (and still is) an additional creative outlet that gives me a break from the demands of everyday life. It offers the opportunity to zoom in on the details of a caterpillar inching its way along a leaf or a hawk’s eyes as it scans a clearing for skittering mice. I find animals to be extremely fascinating subjects, especially because I can learn so much from them. And landscapes provide such serene beauty; I enjoy the peace they bring my heart.

When our mind is abuzz with mental chatter and we’re spinning, it’s often helpful to move it from our brains to a piece of paper. Getting it out of our heads makes space, and putting mindful language to it also helps us better process it internally. If you’re like me, journaling can be extremely cathartic.

Well before I had coaching, these were the tools I used to make sense of my life, my journey, where I’d been, and where I hoped to go. For that reason, I wrote a book that combines all of this together so that I could help others utilize these resources, too.

Merging my nature photography with interesting facts about the picture’s subjects, I use them as a metaphor for solving a variety of common life challenges and then ask questions similar to those I ask my clients during coaching. By answering the journal prompt questions, you can tap into your higher self and your brilliant inner wisdom.

If you love wild animals and landscapes as well as enjoy writing, I invite you to buy my book, Nature Guides, and use it as a resource to find the answers you seek.

May you be well. May you know peace. May you find joy in the pages of Nature Guides: Release & Reconnect Through Writing.

 

 

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5 Simple Steps to Reconnect with Yourself

Practice Self Care

It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of work and life demands, and bypass our own physical and emotional needs. We prioritize immediate fires, of which there always seems to be two more starting as soon as we put one out. When we finally settle into bed at night is usually our first opportunity to process what actually happened during that day, which was a blur. (Spoiler alert: there’s another way!)

I remember this vividly when I worked in corporate marketing and communications. I’d go for hours in back-to-back meetings, holding my bladder because “there just wasn’t time for it.” I’d ignore the numbness in my feet caused by stylish, yet painfully tight, high heels. I’d push through back pain, caused by sitting in front of a computer or in meetings all day, by popping Advil like popcorn. Then to relax after work, I’d drink a half bottle of wine and binge watch TV to numb my mind. Rinse and repeat.

Sure, I worked out to maintain a certain weight and physique, but it was driven by the social pressure of fitting in and wanting to be liked. Even then, I’d ignore my body’s exhaustion or push past the pain and force on it what I thought I should be doing.

All of it was a complete disconnection from my body. As a result, my body revolted with a herniated disc in my lower back, plantar fasciitis, migraines and regular knock-me-down-for-the-count colds. These were all blaring neon signs from my body that it wanted my attention and changes were needed.

When I learned to tune into my body and communicate with it, how dramatically my life and my health improved!

Do you have similar health and stress issues? Do you ignore the messages your body gives you?

While I’ve developed a more in-depth program called Learn to Love Your Body in 30 Days, here are a few simple tips to make some initial shifts in reconnecting with yourself:

  1. Practice feeling into your body.Starting from your toes all the way up to the top of your head, focus your awareness into the physical sensations of each area of your body as you scan. Do this two to three times a day.
  2. Pay attention to your body’s responses.When your body gives you physical responses, notice and acknowledge them. Where you can, give it what it’s asking for: a nap, stretching, movement, bio-break, food, water, deep-slow breathing, etc.
  3. Take regular breaks.For every sixty to ninety minutes of focused attention, go for a short walk or do something creative like doodle. Put away your electronic devices and give yourself a mental pause.
  4. Meditate. You can find a variety of free meditation options on the app Insight Timer. Simply connecting with stillness allows you to reconnect with yourself.
  5. Regularly ask yourself, “What do I need right now in this moment?”Then wait for a response. Even (and especially) if the response is silly, listen to it. You might be surprised at how wise the answer is.

If you’d like to dig deeper into Mind-Body Connection, consider joining my 30-day program. Have questions about it? Email me at: inversioncoaching@gmail.com

 

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How Fascination and Joy can Lead you to Your Purpose

From the smallest insect to the largest whale, each living being was created for a purpose and plays an integral role in the ecosystem. In an untouched and raw form, all of nature works in balance.

You, too, have been given talents, strengths, preferences and tastes that combine to create the unique you that you are. They wouldn’t be yours, and you wouldn’t be here, if you weren’t needed to serve the world in only the way you can. If everyone played the part they were born to, humanity could also be in balance.

Instead, we’ve built hierarchical power pyramids and convinced ourselves that the only way to be happy is to be at the top. Many struggle to stand on the backs of others to get just a bit higher, and higher. All the while believing if we could only reach the next level, then we’d finally be happy. Yet, upon reaching each level, we thirst for more. It’s never enough. (If this doesn’t sound even a teensy bit familiar, where do you live and can I join you?)

Why is it not enough? Because higher isn’t really what we want at our core. It doesn’t fit into the shape of our hearts, which knows our purpose and loves every aspect of it.

In ancient wisdom traditions, elders encouraged their youth to play their hearts out. Through observing what stoked the individual’s attention, fascination and imagination, they could determine how this child could eventually serve their greater community. While this practice has been lost in our current culture, everyone has an opportunity to tap back into that tradition to find their purpose.

The breadcrumbs are in what delights, fascinates, and energizes you.

Growing up, how did you love to play? What did you dream up? What imaginary problems did you solve? What topics fascinated you? What information did you soak up and remember easily?

Assuming you’re an adult, what activities cause you to lose all track of time because you are so enamored with the experience?

If you could get a free day to do whatever you wanted to do, no matter the financial cost (and within legal and moral boundaries), what would you do? (If your answer is sleep, then my hunch is you’re overworked. So what would you do after you caught up on however much sleep you need?)

There is a way to use what brings you joy to serve others. It makes you happy because it’s part of your path, it’s part of who you’re intended to be and what you’re intended to provide your community. It simply requires your imagination and problem-solving to understand how to make it your vocation.

It may not even exist as a job, business, product or service yet. You may need to create it. And while that takes work, your passion and sense of fulfillment will outweigh the trials to create it. If it doesn’t, you haven’t yet found the right fit, though you’re probably in the ballpark.

If you don’t love what you do, you’re robbing the world of your gifts. You owe it to yourself, your loved ones, and your community to live a joyful life that also happens to give the world exactly what it needs.

***

If you’re ready to explore what brings you joy in order to find your purpose, coaching can help. Let’s talk!

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Why Diet & Exercise Alone Won’t Work

When we reject our body for not matching magazine-cover perfection, we disassociate from our body. That disconnection numbs us from the signals our body gives us that tells us what it wants and needs. What that is will be different in each moment because it is unique to the circumstances and context we are in. What our body needs for fuel can change from meal to meal and from person to person.

When we overwork ourselves to exhaustion, and then push ourselves to work out, our body starts to create a negative association with working out.

For those of us who struggle with our body image, we have a tendency to use diets and exercise as self-inflicted punishment for doing “bad” things like eating “bad” food and being “lazy.” We shame ourselves for not doing what we believe we should. It becomes a downward demotivating spiral.

It’s no wonder we push against it like a stubborn child wanting to do the exact opposite of what a parent advises. And it’s why standard dieting and exercise programs don’t work for those of us who are caught in the body-shame-spiral.

When we learn to love our body exactly as it is, we can then reconnect with the messages it gives about food, drink, movement, and rest. When we love and accept ourselves, we connect with the motivation to be our best self.

In my mid-twenties, my boyfriend frequently, verbally criticized my body. The more he critiqued, the more I shamed myself. This caused me to eat more to fill a void and I always felt too exhausted to be active, which led to more criticism, which led to more eating and exhaustion. I told myself I was unlovable because of my weight.

At one point, I forced myself to go on an extremely restrictive diet and hit the gym every day. In two months I lost fifteen pounds. I excitedly shared this achievement with my boyfriend, who responded, “Just imagine how you’d look if you lost twenty-five more.”

I gave up and gained it all back shortly after. When we broke up, I was forty-five pounds heavier than when we had first met. Shedding that unhealthy relationship, I easily lost weight without changing my daily routine because I was so much happier.

Contrast that with my husband. When we first started dating, he was genuinely complimentary and openly affectionate. When I would body shame myself, he knew exactly what to say to pull me out of it. When I learned to see myself how he saw me, with love and admiration, I had so much more energy. That energy and desire to be active and out doing things also sparked in me a natural desire to eat more fruits and vegetables. It wasn’t because I told myself I should, I actually wanted to. I was drawn to them.

Taking a culmination of these types of life lessons with my own body-image journey and combining that with the coaching tools that work for my clients, I’ve developed an online program called Learn to Love Your Body in 30 Days. If you struggle with your body image and are tired of fad diets and exercise routines that never become a habit, I’d love for you to join me. We start June 3!  Learn more here!

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Sometimes the Root of Worry is Grief

Equus Coaching

Grief is a fascinating emotion. It doesn’t follow linear time. Pieces of it hide in dark pockets waiting for a safe space and moment to come out and be seen.

This past weekend I participated in a retreat with small group of my wayfinding peers and mentors. Without a personal agenda, I set the intention to allow whatever came up to be. (For anyone who knows me, giving myself permission to not have a plan to take full advantage of the opportunity to be coached by our master of master wayfinders, Martha Beck, is quite unusual.)

Listening to frogs and crickets while sitting under an expansive net of stars in the rain forests of Cashiers, North Carolina, I realized that I’ve spent most of my life trying to avoid big Square 1s* that come barreling out of nowhere to knock me off my feet. My habit of planning and organizing is an attempt to play out innumerable future scenarios in the hopes that I can spot a Square 1 coming. And if I can see it coming, that I could somehow lessen the blow or avoid it altogether. (Spoiler alert, this is impossible.)

My husband summarized this best when he said, “When you don’t have something to worry about, you find something to worry about.” (God bless those who truly see us.)

I’ve noticed that because of this, I have not relaxed into happiness. I simply haven’t trusted it. And thus, I’ve been stuck in my Square 3 Hero’s Journey.

Ok, so now what? I thought. Now that I’ve recognized this energy block, what do I do with it? How do I get unstuck?

Equus Coaching is a perfect opportunity to test your energy. A horse is a mirror, which reflects back physically what you’re doing energetically. As I entered the round pen on Day 2, I set the intention to figure out how to release my fear of Square 1 and embrace the elation of Square 4.*

When I tried to spiritually bypass my fear of Square 1 as “necessary for personal growth” and “will bring me to a better place because it all happens for a reason,” my horse Smokey walked to the opposite end of the pen with his hind quarters to me. This was a sign that I didn’t believe what I was saying – I was out of integrity.

When I admitted that, “Square 1s are F-ing HARD! They SUCK!” Smokey ran back toward me and put his head against my chest. When I broke down crying and shared that I didn’t want to be strong all the time, he stayed while stomping and yawning, which physically releases energy.

The heart knows when it is safe to be vulnerable. There’s something special about the sacred space wayfinders hold. It is a pure, gentle and fully accepting cradle of love. To be held so delicately and seen so fully is a true gift.

Although it has been 20 years since my mother’s suicide, I realized that I have not fully processed the grief and post-traumatic-stress around the details of her death. There were still little pockets that needed releasing (and will again and probably again).

In the safe space of my peers and mentors, I allowed all the emotions I’d thought were long past to surface and flow in aching waves through my core and out of my mouth and eyes.

There is no time limit to grieving. There is no deadline to process it. It isn’t a one and done kind of life experience. So if you’ve lost a loved one, or carry guilt and shame about someone’s suicide, know that it is absolutely okay to return to it when you’re ready to let the last pieces go. Even if 20-plus years have passed, it’s okay.

You don’t have to be strong all the time. Give yourself permission to find a safe and sacred space with someone (or people) you trust and let it flow. It does no good and offers no peace holding it in and shoving it down.

I trust that once I’ve fully processed all the remaining pieces, my constant worry about the future will also dissolve on its own. For years, I’d been trying to solve the symptom of anxiety instead of the root cause of grief. While coaching tools can absolutely help with reducing anxiety and managing stress, sometimes it’s a sign that there’s more underneath to explore.

If you, too, constantly worry about the future, I invite you to think about what long-past loss you may have suffered that might need some tender, loving care.

*****

If you don’t have a safe and sacred space to let your grief flow, I’d be honored to hold it for you. Let’s talk.

*Squares 1-4 are Martha Beck terms used in Steering by Starlight and is a framework for identifying coaching tools that might be most useful for a client. Square 1 represents the phase of life where we have the destruction of one identity (or role) before a new one forms. It’s a state of dissolving that can be created by any catalytic life event, such as the death of a loved one.

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What You Want to Know About Push & Pull Energies

Magnetic Attraction

I am often asked to explain the difference between push and pull energies. It’s helpful to recognize which one you’re emitting so that you can bring toward you more of what brings you joy and less of what doesn’t.

Do you remember playing with magnets as a kid? Think of these terms as the interaction between two magnets. When you’re giving off a pull-energy, you’re drawing people and your aspirations to you quickly and easily. When you’re giving off a push-energy, you’re energetically pushing other people and your desired circumstances away.

With magnets, opposite poles attract, while like poles repel. The reason for this is the directional flow of energy comes in through the magnet’s south pole and exits the north pole. Opposite poles connect because energy is flowing in the same direction. The same poles facing each other creates a push energy and they’ll never meet, no matter how much you force it.

So how can you tell which energy you’re giving off?

I’ll give two generalized examples that may trigger memories of people you’ve engaged with before.

Example 1:

Ashley (made up name) really, really, really wants to be your best friend. She doesn’t have many and complains that people are always making excuses for why they’re too busy to accept her many invitations to hang out. She shares this with you in the hopes to pull on your compassion strings. When you agree to meet her for lunch, she spends the time lamenting over how her boss has it out for her, her coworkers never invite her to lunch and all she really wants is for them to be nice to her. She fishes for validation and compliments, and when you give them, she hangs on your words like a lifeline.

At the end of lunch, she tries to get you to commit to a day and time for your next outing, which she’d love to be dinner tomorrow. When you explain you have plans, she presses you with a bunch of other options until you run out of excuses and commit. Then she tells you that she hopes you won’t be as flakey as her other friends while giving you an uncomfortably long, tight hug like she’s going to squeeze the air out of you. You leave hoping to catch the plague so you have a legitimate excuse to cancel and be quarantined without visitors.

Example 2:

Ellie looks radiant, although there is nothing in particular about her physical characteristics that would set her apart in a crowd. She walks in a room and people naturally gravitate toward her. Strangers hold doors open for her as she approaches, hostesses make eye contact with her first amongst a crowd, and she beams with an inner joy and confidence.

You meet her for lunch and everything feels comfortable and easy. Conversation flows, you both laugh easily and frequently, and there is an equal exchange of chatting. There’s just something about her that brings out the best in you. You leave the lunch feeling light and airy, both knowing you’ll get together again soon without any need to set specific plans.

****

My hunch is you recognize that Ashley has the push energy and Ellie has the pull energy.

I invite you to recall a paste experience with your Ashley. How did you physically feel around them? What was your corresponding behavior toward them?

Ok, now shake that off and recall an experience with your Ellie. How did you physically feel around them?  What was your corresponding behavior toward them?

Congratulations, you now know viscerally what push and pull energies are.

So what specifically causes this?

Ashley believes that she needs others to be and act a certain way in order for her to be happy. The more desperately she needs and craves the approval and company of others, the more she forces it away, which only compounds her anxiety about it. She’s flustered, so she tries harder. She’s also learned that pity can temporarily get her what she wants, so she shares her victim-story liberally hoping to reel in an unsuspecting bleeding heart.

Ellie, on the other hand, accepts people and circumstances as they are without a desire to change them. She believes that only she controls whether she’s happy or sad, and she chooses joy. She knows what is in her control and what isn’t. She trusts that everything, even what others might view as a misfortune, is as it should be. Her casual approach and natural confidence sets others at ease.

What does this mean for you?

The power is yours to create. If you notice that things just aren’t going your way, especially when you really, really “need” them to…you’re probably giving off a push energy. The only way to release it is to surrender into and accept whatever is while also tuning into an abundance mindset.

Here are 5 simple steps to loosen your push and embrace your pull:

  1. Recognize that the only thing within your control is yourself, your behavior and your thoughts. The more you try to control or change others, the less likely that will happen. (This doesn’t mean we condone or approve of other’s hurtful behavior, it merely means we accept them as they are.)
  2. Recognize what you can and can’t control about your circumstances. Change what you can, let go of the rest.
  3. Adopt the mantra: “I accept things exactly as they are. Everything is as it should be because that is reality.”
  4. Acknowledge that in this very moment (right now), you have everything you need. (Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this, you’d be dead or held captive in someone’s basement.)
  5. Turn your attention toward fun and relaxing activities. The more you can create the feeling states of joy and peace within yourself, the more you elevate your vibration to match a pull one.

If you aren’t able to shake a push energy with the above 5 steps, scheduling a one-on-one coaching session can allow us to dive deeper and offer you a fuller release around bigger challenges. Let’s talk!