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Why High Achieving People Resist Resting

Lion Resting

Our thoughts are sneaky little buggers. They’re so good at telling their delicious little lies that play to our ego’s weaknesses. Disguised as protective capes whispering, “I’m helping you. I’m just looking out for your best interest. You need me.”

I’ll be the first to admit that, even as a coach, I have not quite broken my tendency to over-effort and fill all my time with doing. I’m a work in progress and have come quite a long way since my corporate workaholic days. I do know that the more limiting beliefs I dissolve and the more I rewire my brain with antidote thoughts, the closer I get to breaking this habit.

Constantly working is not sustainable mentally or physically. At some point, I know that my body will revolt with a sharp and painful lesson. And frankly, resting feels so…damn…good…if we can give ourselves permission to lean into it.

So why do we resist resting when we know it’s good for us? Why do we push ourselves to breaking?

For me (and many of my clients), there is a whole collection of limiting beliefs tied to our sense of personal value. Each one dressed up as a motivational speech on how to be the best you can be. Some of the most common include:

  • I am not enough unless I…
  • I must do more.
  • I’ll look lazy.
  • Resting (or playing) is wasting precious time.
  • I have to get ahead.
  • Successful people work harder than everyone else.
  • If I stop or slow down, I will lose (my job, income, others’ respect, reputation, motivation…)

These all sound enticingly convincing; tell me where I’m wrong.

I’ve worked each one of these thoughts and yet, just last week, I found myself resisting leaning into a natural lull in my business projects. I have a book that is in my designer’s hands and an online course offering that is going through a beta test. Both are going to take the time it will take. When these necessary steps are done, I will be spending a great deal of effort launching these products.

Yet, I felt myself become agitated and look for another project to start. When I couldn’t immediately think of something business-related to do, I turned to house projects. When I hit hiccups with that, I became extremely irritated and impatient. These emotions are red flags for thought work, so I asked myself why.

I went back through the above bulleted familiar tunes and none seemed to hit the mark. They weren’t specific enough and thus why I hadn’t completely dissolved the root belief. And then I realized, the real problem with my allowing a natural lull was the thought: “Not doing is wasting my potential.”

There it was. I hit gold. My potential: all this future opportunity that could be mine if only I did more and pushed harder.

I worked the thought. (And if you’re not already familiar with Byron Katie’s The Work ™, I highly recommend you visit her site. Life changing.) I’ll share my turnarounds with you in case this thought sparks a flicker of familiarity:

Opposite Thought: “Not doing is burgeoning my potential.”
Supporting Proof:

  1. Rest is a natural part of our living cycles.
  2. “Not doing” allows my subconscious to work its magic and creativity.
  3. Recharging allows me to work at my highest potential when it comes time to work.
  4. Not doing it all myself allows experts to take over and do their thing, which allows the potential of my project to be more and go farther.

Additional Opposite Thought: “Doing is wasting my potential.”
Supporting Proof:

  1. Doing for the sake of doing is wasting the energy I need to create when it’s time to create.
  2. Spinning on useless things wastes my mental capacity, which is my potential.
  3. My potential is best utilized when it has space to formulate creative ideas.
  4. Constantly doing and going makes my body break down (headaches, back aches, etc.) and if I’m sick or in pain, I am definitely not creating.

Thought turned to Other: “My potential is wasting not doing.”
Supporting Proof:

  1. My potential is my creative process that is internal and I am wasting that opportunity by busying myself with external doing.
  2. Might as well take advantage of the space to do things I enjoy, which is one of the many benefits of self-employment.
  3. I can use “not doing” to my advantage with creative play that fills my heart. Some of my best ideas come as a result of play and rest.

Thought turned to Self: “My thoughts are wasting my potential.”
Supporting Proof:

  1. Spinning in my mind is a complete waste of me and the present moment and my creative, problem-solving potential.
  2. When I believe my painful thoughts, I am unnecessarily wasting my potential.
  3. Self-criticism is never motivational.

So what did I do with these newfound thoughts that are so much truer than the original? Well, you may notice that this blog is coming out a week later than usual. Rather than working, I took long walks at the beach with my dog and sketched a bunch of art with a new set of colored pencils. I post-processed some photos as a form of creative play. I revived my yoga routine and gave myself permission to take afternoon naps. I started reading a new book that a friend gave me. Essentially, I played and rested in the ways that feel good to me.

If you find yourself resisting resting into a natural lull in projects, I invite you to locate the driving belief behind that resistance and do The Work. If you want me to walk you through it, let’s schedule a coaching session.

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Why it’s Important to Test our Edges

Las Torres del Paine National Park

One of the most physically challenging experiences I have ever had was climbing to the base of the namesake towers in Las Torres del Paine National Park with my husband. My pedometer clocked 12.8 miles round trip from Hotel Las Torres at 443 feet in elevation to the base at 2,870 feet in elevation and back. It was basically like climbing a ladder straight up and then straight down for 10 hours.

We departed at sunrise and returned to the hotel right as the sun was setting. I almost didn’t make it.

In the last two miles of the ascent, it felt more like rock climbing than hiking. On a few occasions, I relied on my hands and arms because my legs were simply giving way. I stopped more and more frequently as the space between us and the members of our tour group increased.

It was in these moments, I wanted to quit. I wanted to give up. My fearful mind told me, “You’re not strong enough. You can’t do this. It’s too far. You’ll never make it.”

The other voice I heard was that of my husband’s, who said, “You can do it. You got this. Just a little farther. We can stop as often as you need to as long as we commit to continue. We came too far to give up now.”

He was right. We traveled 6,668 miles to visit Patagonia. We trained for months leading up to this trip. We looked forward to this hike and testing the edges of our capabilities.

We challenge ourselves not because we’re masochists, but because we want to stretch ourselves. We want to reach farther. We can’t know what we’re capable of if we don’t. We dream bigger and push ourselves because it brings us alive.

When I told myself that I could do it, I did. If I let myself believe I couldn’t, I would also prove myself right. It was all in my perception.

When we reached the base, my joy and sense of pride was immense (not to mention my relief)! We had done it! We made it to the top! While the view was incredible, our sense of accomplishment was even greater.

In ancient cultures, especially that of native Americans, tribe members who came of age would set out on vision quests as a rite of passage. They would be left on their own far away from their village to test their competences. Up to that point, it was merely potential. Returning to their village, they knew their edges, their personal strengths and how these contributions would best serve their community.

The next time you experience a daunting challenge, ask yourself this, “What is this trying to teach me? What am I gaining from this experience? How will I feel once I’ve overcome it?”

My hunch is, you’ll find your personal power and one more reason why you are absolutely necessary to this world.

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How to Find Your Driving Motivation & Why it’s Important to Achieve Your Goals

Lion Scratching Head on Bush

What we think we want is not always what we truly want. Often, there is a deeper desire hidden underneath the surface. When we connect with that driving motivation, it helps guide us more clearly.

The longer I coach and the more people I work with, I’ve realized that most often our root desire is freedom. (The others are either joy or connection. For the purpose of this blog, though, we’ll focus on the most common.)

Take any goal or desire, and ask yourself, “Why? What do I get from that?” until you can’t find another driving motivation beneath the last.

Let’s take money, for example. Often my clients come to me with a goal to make more money. When asked what more money (or a certain goal retirement amount) will get them, their response is “stability” or “security.” When asked what stability or security gives them, they usually respond with some sort of variation of, “the freedom to do whatever I want.”

If I have a client who wants to lose weight, we often find she simply wants to feel confident or accepted. At the root of that is connecting with the freedom to be herself without fearing other’s opinions. Sometimes it’s even finding freedom from her own self-judgment.

Another client wanted to be healthier. What did he think a healthy body would get him? The freedom to do all the activities, and go all the places, he enjoys.

My entrepreneurial clients, who are building their own businesses, are driven by the freedom that enables. They’re free to work on the projects they want to, work with the clients they want to, hire the people they want to, and set their own schedules. They have the freedom to work wherever they want, however they want. That autonomy is much juicier to them than the alternative of working for someone else, who would dictate their time, projects and goals.

Why do people enjoy vacations? Yes, it offers the opportunity to recharge our batteries. It is also a socially acceptable excuse to spend that time completely autonomously.

If you want to lounge all day and dance all night, you have the freedom to do so. You are free to go wherever and do whatever you want (within budget and legal constraints, of course). You are free from household chores, errands, work responsibilities and whatever burdens you carry at home. And if you’re like me, I also give myself the freedom to eat and drink whatever I want because, hey, it’s vacation!

What is it you want? Ask yourself “Why?” Dig into what that thing will give you. Keep asking until you’re at the root cause, your driving motivation. You might surprise yourself where you end up.

Once you find your driving motivation, ask yourself if there are other ways to achieve that right now. Finding that feeling state doesn’t necessarily require reaching big, far-off goals. It can often be found in simpler, quicker ways.

Use this driving motivation as your touchstone for decision making. When deciding between two paths, which one will get you closer to achieving your root desire — whether that be freedom, joy or connection?

I’m curious what you uncover. Please share your experience with this exercise in the comments!

 

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So What is Life Coaching Anyway?

Counting sea turtle eggs

Our human life cycle is analogous to that of a sea turtle. We have various roles that we play in our career and relationships that end and require our taking on a new, and sometimes unexpected, identity. That could be shifting from employed to unemployed or retired, wife to single parent, mother to empty-nester, or athlete to injured patient. Whatever that transition, this new identity takes a while to fully form inside its egg.

Once it has, there’s a coming out process much like hatching. The new environment feels uncomfortable and foreign at first. After all, habits are hard to break and it’s bright, cold and vulnerable outside of our shell. So we try on the new role by saying it out loud to some of our closest friends or family members. Once we get used to that, we tell the next layer of our people.  And slowly we emerge from our shell and our nest and show the world who we are now.

When I made the transition from corporate employee to entrepreneur, I felt extremely vulnerable. It was a while before I realized what my true purpose in life is and dreamed up what I wanted that to look like and the shape I wanted it to take. I just knew that where I was in the corporate world didn’t “fit” me…and I wanted something that would.

Calling myself a Life Coach felt awkward at first, and I rattled off a whole monologue of how it happened before I ever introduced the term. Not that others asked for it, but it made me feel more comfortable sharing why. After telling a few family members and friends that I had started my own coaching business and no one laughed or criticized, I felt comfortable going more public. (Now I say it with pride.)

After coming out, we begin our Hatchling’s Journey (often called The Hero’s Journey). There are still predators and obstacles to overcome along our path to the ocean. Sometimes we go the wrong direction, get knocked on our backs or find barriers that we can’t climb alone. And when we finally reach the ocean, we’re completely beholden to whatever fate has in store for us until we grow bigger and stronger.

Eventually we reach sea turtle maturity and it’s time to birth a new set of identities. Thus the cycle begins again.

As a Life Coach, I am a sea turtle hatchery. This means that I make all of this struggle easier and the process faster because I offer you a safe space, guidance and helpful tools.

Rather than leaving the nest unprotected from poachers, I create a sacred place for you to come exactly as you are – vulnerable, soft and gooey as you figure out what shape you’re going to take. I use questions to help you connect with your inner guidance to form that new identity. Whatever you share is confidential in this judgment-free zone.

When you’re ready to emerge from your nest and claim this new you, I maintain that safe space while you reintroduce yourself to your people, some of whom may not be ready. And I help you navigate that IF it happens.

As you tune in to your right path, I accompany you on your long journey toward the ocean. I offer tools to keep the seagulls and other predators at bay as you make this exciting and challenging expedition. And when you’re ready, I help you learn to surrender into allowing the Universe coordinate the details of your grand intentions.

All of this so that you can live the life you crave! One that is fulfilling, peaceful and joyous!

You may choose to join my hatchery at any point in this process, and I would be honored to coach you.

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Why Surrender is the most Challenging, Important Step Toward your Dreams

Aerial Adventure Leap of Faith

Surrender is the most challenging, important step toward manifestation. Our minds usually give enough attention to something we want, and intention happens merely by wanting it and dreaming about it. These three combined – intention, attention and no-tension – is the formula to bring any true-self desire into form.

So why is surrender so hard? Why do we try to control everything we can get our graspy hands on? Why do we fear releasing our grip?

My hunch is that we mistake our own emotional or mental imbalance for instability in our lives. That instability causes us to hold on to whatever is perceived as stable for dear life.

On a weekend trip to Catalina with my husband, we decided to experience its Aerial Adventure obstacle course suspended high amongst a eucalyptus grove. While each climb, swing and slide was challenging, I found that the rope free fall to be the hardest.

I knew the pulley system would catch me after a few feet, but standing 30 feet in the air on the platform, I did not want to jump off. I stood frozen while contemplating whether I should go backward through the course, where I could hold firmly to ropes and chains and maneuver my feet along the steps, in order to come back down. The leap was the last obstacle to overcome.

Giving up control and being willing to lean into whatever happens next is like taking that trust free-fall on an obstacle course. We must have faith that the pulley system will work in our favor.

I eventually jumped, and after a second of feeling my stomach in my throat, the ropes caught and I lowered to the forest floor as gently as a leaf while laughing at my prior self’s fear.

We can over-effort over an extended period of time and it’s still not as effective in creating what we want as it is to simply let go. Some of the most respected coaches and spiritual guides (such as Martha Beck, Deepak Chopra, and Gabby Bernstein) all attest that the not-so-secret ingredient to manifesting our dreams is simply surrendering and trusting the Universe/Source/God to coordinate details.

I read a blog by Master Coach Abigail Steidley about what she has dubbed the Slacker Vision Board. It’s no more than writing “Vision Board” on a dry-erase board with subsequent visions listed underneath, and then walking away and forgetting about it. And it works! Brilliant!

I don’t know about you, but I want more of that ease in my life. With all the over-efforting our society has engrained in us and how we place busy-ness on a pedestal of importance, our problem is not will power or dedication. It’s that we don’t have an equal amount of rest, pleasure and play. We are unbalanced.

And when things feel off balance, we have a tendency to hoard perceived stability in the form of things we can control like money, material objects, and salaried jobs. So we amass and we work and we amass some more, but are never satiated. In fact, we continue to throw off our balance and the co-dependent cycle is strengthened.

As scary as it is to give yourself permission to rest, play and then leap, trust that the Universe/Source/God will carry you gently to your intended destination and your dreams will meet you there.

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Fear Part I: How to use Fear to Find Your Gifts

Zip Lining in Zimbabwe near Victoria Falls

In Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, he defines one of the greatest tools in the arsenal of Resistance – the blocker of creative and spiritual growth – is fear. Resistance feeds on our fear. Not only our fear of failure and all the perceived ramifications that would entail, but also fear of success.

“Fear…that we can access the powers we secretly know we possess. That we can become the person we sense in our hearts we truly are…We fear discovering that we are more than we think we are….That we actually have the guts, the perseverance, the capacity.”

Why do we fear our greatness? Why do we shirk away from owning our gifts?

According to Pressfield, and I wholeheartedly agree, “We know that if we embrace our ideals, we must prove worthy of them. And that scares the hell out of us.”

I worked with a friend on her fear of owning her clairvoyance. When it came down to it, she was afraid that if she misinterpreted an intuitive hit, people would think she was a fraud. And worse, she would stop believing in herself and her gifts.

It’s the Pandora’s box that once opened, cannot be closed. Once we embrace who we are meant to be – that amazing, fabulous, glittering Self that we are – we have “come out” to the world. And that is scary. I know because I’ve lived it.

It took about a year, but I “came out” as a woo-woo spiritual healer after changing careers to become a Life Coach. I “came out” again to my husband and family as someone who can feel other people’s energy and physical pain as my own.

When I was at a friend’s birthday party, I shared with a new acquaintance about some mind-body connection tools that healed my chronic back pain. His response was, “Oh, so you’re the spiritual weirdo my wife was telling me about.” (And to think I didn’t even tell him about my new and full moon rituals!)

It didn’t bother me, because I knew he wasn’t my people. I’d already found my tribe!

As soon as I had claimed these gifts and embraced what that meant for me and my future, a whole new world opened up to me. All of a sudden, I was meeting new people who shared these gifts. More than I imagined was even possible.

I feel like Cole Sear in The Sixth Sense, except instead of dead people, it’s healers with empathic, intuitive and clairvoyant abilities. (Don’t get me wrong, I now have friends who see dead people, too…but I digress.) They’re everywhere and they’re wonderful!

Now it’s time to tackle my remaining fears, one of which is public speaking. The fact that Resistance is using my fear against me only means that it is something I must do. It fits into my purpose and is a step up in my spiritual growth (and potentially helping others with theirs).

Now is the time to act. To be brave. To be a courageous bad-ass. Using all the coaching tools in my arsenal, and asking others for help, I’ll beat Resistance – because I must.

What is your fear? Coaching can help you tap into your gifts and beat resistance! Let’s talk!

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Setting Intentions for the New Year

Purple Bloom

As we wind down 2018 and set our sights on 2019, I invite you to plant your intentions rather than set a resolution.

To be resolute about a goal is to limit yourself within a rigid construct. For example: to lose 15 pounds, cook healthy dinners in instead of eating out, hit the gym every morning, or quit smoking. They’re often focused on some future state that, if achieved, will somehow bring us more joy or acceptance. (Spoiler alert: joy and acceptance are states of mind, not a checklist to be achieved.)

While I appreciate the importance of setting measurable goals, if a New Year’s Resolution isn’t reached (and let’s face it, most don’t make it past January) we have a tendency to beat ourselves up about it. Then we become so disappointed in ourselves that we regress more than we progress. (I’ve never craved a pizza more than after self-deprecating thoughts about my weight.)

Whereas setting intentions can build forward momentum that lasts much longer. It’s taking an action toward a general direction that allows for hiccups and purposeful responsiveness to whatever comes up. It’s a state of being rather than pushing toward some future state of perceived perfection. For example: to be kind, to love one’s self more, to lead with compassion, to practice self-care, or to be present in conversations with others.

Here are a few questions that may help you find an intention or two for 2019 that just might stick the whole year…and onward:

  1. What do you want to invite more of into your life?
  2. How do you want to engage with others?
  3. How do you want to treat yourself?
  4. What characteristics would you want shared in your eulogy?
  5. What brings you joy?
  6. How do you want to show up every day?
  7. In what instances and environments do you feel most at peace?

Once you’ve written down the answers to these questions, notice any common threads or what holds the most zing. Then set an intention for yourself for 2019.

Write that intention down on two pieces of paper. Post one somewhere you look at often. Plant the other in your yard or a potted plant in your home. It will be the metaphoric seedling you’ll water often and watch it grow and bloom.

May your new year be full of joy, peace and growth!

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8 Suggestions for the Winter Solstice Transition

Friday, December 21, 2018 is the Winter Solstice. On the longest night of the year, we have an opportunity to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new. This day marks the sun’s return, and with it new life and new beginnings.

I invite you to consider participating in a literal or figurative (or both!) cleansing of what no longer serves you. This opening of space physically and emotionally makes room for what wants to enter your life in the coming year.

Literal Cleansing Suggestions:

  1. Organize your kitchen pantry and donate items that will be expiring soon to food banks or homeless shelters.
  2. Sort through your closet and donate clothes that you rarely (if ever) wear, no longer fit, or aren’t in style anymore.
  3. Weed through your desk or office to organize the clutter, throw away unnecessary papers (scan and save the important ones), and recycle or donate what you no longer have need for.
  4. Take a long bath to let the heat open up your pores and allow the steam to excrete toxins from your body. Play some music, light some candles and consciously release your stress and anxiety.

Figurative Cleansing Suggestions:

  1. Fold a piece of paper in half. On the left side, write all the emotions, thoughts, bad habits and personal baggage that you want to release. On the right side, write all the emotions, affirmations, and new habits that you would like to replace what was written on the left. (It’s as important to identify what you’d like to invite into your life, as it is to close the chapter on the old.)
  2. Fill out a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet and then do Byron Katie’s The Work on the thought with the most angst.
  3. What movie made you cry the most or hardest? Curl up in your most comfortable pajamas and blanket on the couch and watch it again with a box of tissue. We all need a good cry once in a while.
  4. Angry or irritated at someone or something that happened? Pound, and/or scream into, a pillow until the anger is gone or you’re physically exhausted.

When you’re done with any or all of the above, take some time to meditate on all the possibilities you’d like to invite into your life in the coming year. Then set an intention for yourself in 2019. Write it down and post it somewhere you can refer to it often.

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How to Build Abundance

Rainbow Assortment of Pebbles

Manifesting abundance is not necessarily a linear path. It’s not like you meditate and then your boss gives you a raise (although it could happen!). Abundance works more mysteriously and fortuitously than that.

Over the past year and a half, I’ve focused on shifting my scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset with a variety of self-coaching tools and meditations. And it’s working, although to the outside world it might appear that nothing has changed or that it’s sheer luck.

Like the time I was turning left at a protected green light and an oncoming car ran a red light and totaled my Honda. We had planned to sell it for about $4,500. Insurance gave us $7,800 for the car and an additional $500 to waive any future medical claims.

Or how I absolutely love to travel and three friends invited us on three different vacations. Each offered to pay for accommodations and activities if we covered our own flights. And since my husband has hundreds of thousands of miles banked from years of corporate travel, we fly for free. Hello Hawaii, Mexico and Tahoe!

Abundance is more than financial, though. We can manifest abundance in love, friendship/community, health, career opportunities, and playful activities; you name it! I personally love manifesting wild animal interactions. (And if you follow my blogs, you’ll know that I see an unusual amount of them!)

The key is to realize and acknowledge all the areas of our lives that are plentiful. We bring more of whatever it is that we focus on. If we spend most of our time thinking about what we don’t have enough of, we’ll get less. If we notice and are grateful for what we do have, we’ll get more. Simple as that.

Here are four suggestions to get you started:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal. I begin and end my day with what I’m grateful for.
  2. Throughout the day, notice what you have a lot of. That could be coffee and tea options in the office break-room, blades of grass and leaves on trees as you walk from your car to your front door, or even licks from your dog if you hold your hand out.
  3. Practice guided meditations on abundance. This simple practice has allowed me to connect with my higher self and inner wisdom that knows I’m always safe and will always have more than I need.
  4. Give others what you want to receive. If you want more love, give love freely. If you want more time, give your focused time to others. If you want acknowledgement of your contributions, genuinely acknowledge others. (And do so without the expectance and pressure of reciprocity.)

May you feel loved. May you feel safe. May you know peace. May you live abundantly!

 

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Manifesting Miracles in Puerto Vallarta

Counting sea turtle eggs

I recently manifested a mini-version of my upcoming Healing & Hatching Retreat. It was a pleasant surprise and completely unexpected.

Everyone can (and does) manifest his/her reality each and every day. Most don’t realize it and chalk it up to luck. If we want it to happen, we call it a miracle. If we don’t, we call it bad luck. The likelihood of occurrence remains the same; all that changes is our outlook.

The formula is simple: Attention + Intention + No Tension = Manifestation.

When we focus our attention, we give energy to our thoughts. When we intentionally direct that energy, we transform it from thought to physical reality. The last step is where most people find this challenging: Surrendering and trusting the Universe/Source/God to coordinate the details.

About a year ago, my husband and I received an invitation to a destination wedding in Puerto Vallarta and promptly booked our room at the Hyatt Ziva from the couple’s hotel block. Leading up to this vacation, I had been focusing most of my attention on intentionally creating a retreat that brings together everything I’m passionate about.

The day before we flew to Mexico, I launched the registration to my retreat (ie: hatched it out into the world). Once we boarded our flight, I was in vacation mode and completely surrendered into enjoying a week of exploring a new destination and immersing myself into the local culture.

On the morning of the wedding, I woke up surprisingly early (especially given the 2-hour earlier time difference from home). While my husband lay sleeping, I made myself a cup of coffee and sat out on the balcony to listen to the waves and watch the sun rise.

I casually looked down at the mostly empty beach when I spied people digging a hole in the sand.

Couple Digging Up Sea Turtle Eggs
Spied from my balcony

That looks like they’re digging for sea turtle eggs, I thought.

I leapt up and ran out of the hotel room – in my pajamas without even brushing my teeth – to join them on the beach.

Counting sea turtle eggs
Removing sea turtle eggs from the nest to rebury at the hatchery.

I was beyond elated to watch this experience that I had only read about (and had been busily planning for my own retreat). I had no idea until that moment that the hotel had a hatchery on-site.

One of the hotel staff, Miguel, walks the beach every morning at 7 a.m. looking for mama turtle tracks. He then digs up the eggs, counts them, and gently places them in a plastic bag, which he carries and reburies at the hatchery.

Miguel invited those of us who had gathered to re-bury the eggs at the hatchery. I was deeply honored and excited to do so.

These eggs will hatch on Christmas morning and I can’t think of a better way or day to celebrate the manifested miracle.