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3 Simple Steps to Calm Your Frenzy & Slow Down

Whale Shark Snorkeling

Recently I traveled to La Paz, Mexico for the sole purpose of swimming with whale sharks. When we arrived, you might imagine my disappointment to discover that the wind was blowing too fast and strong to do it safely.

In fact, we read in the local news about a group of expats that went out against the coast guard’s advisement. Their boat sunk and 27 divers were rescued.

After three days of waiting on the weather, and on the morning of our departure, the winds died down enough to reopen the ocean sanctuary. We were elated, yet had a short window to experience it!  We boarded a small tour boat, camera gear in hand, ready for our leisurely swim with the gentle giants.

The waves were still fairly rough, the boat tossed about, and days of churned up sediment caused poor visibility. It took us forty minutes to spot our first dark shadow in the water. With many anxious tourists in a similar situation, a group of full boats followed the few whale sharks that were spotted. Each boat took turns with a maximum of five swimmers at any given time.

“I’ll bring you up in front of the shark,” our tour guide, Eduardo, said. “When I say jump, push off into the water and you’ll be on top of him instantly, so you need to immediately start swimming alongside him.”

“Got it!”

“OK, now get ready!”

We awkwardly maneuvered in our fins to sit over the side of the boat, each with a camera in one hand and the other holding tightly to the boat’s bars to keep from falling off.

“Now! Go, go, go!” yelled Eduardo. “Swim, swim, swim!”

I jumped off the boat and was immediately disoriented as to which direction the shark was. Until I looked down. He was under me! And HUGE!

I began furiously kicking my legs to follow him as I held my right hand out with the GoPro. Within milliseconds he blew past me and disappeared into the murky waters.

What just happened? I thought.

We swam the choppy waters back to the boat.

“You have to swim with him,” said Eduardo.

Yup, got that part. Thanks. I thought.

Back on the boat, I realized I was in such a rush to jump, I forgot to turn on the GoPro. Doh!

“OK, get ready,” said Eduardo. “I’m coming around him again.”

We returned to hanging our legs off the side of the boat. My heart was pounding and I was still out of breath from the first attempt.

“Go now! Jump! Go!” yelled Eduardo.

Jumping in, I looked down and he was right beneath me again. I held my arm out to capture a picture. Despite my best kicking effort, I couldn’t keep up.

Once back on the boat, I ditched the GoPro. I was here for the experience, screw getting any pictures. As Eduardo started to catch up with the shark for a third time, I told myself I needed to slow down.

As a fellow coach Terry DeMeo once told me, “There is always a leader in any energetic exchange.”

I was letting Eduardo’s frenzied energy and my own panicked fear of “missing out” spin me into a tizzy.

Thankfully, I have the tools to bring myself back to myself, the present moment, and that amazing experience.

As I put my fins back on and prepared to sit on the side of the boat, I focused on slowing down and deepening my breathing. I acknowledged the excitement I felt in my body and observed what that physically felt like and where.

“Ok now! Go, go, go,” yelled Eduardo.

Without my camera, I swam freestyle along side this beautiful creature. I intentionally kept my breathing long, slow and deep as I found a swimming rhythm.

Keeping pace, I admired and noticed the details on his skin. How his white spots looked like they’d been made by dotting a much-used paintbrush with the bristles creating smaller dots at the edges. I examined the way his five gills, that were the length of my arm, opened and closed. I looked down at his right fin, directly below me, and noticed it was the size of my entire body. I noted the ridges along his back like the ripples waves make on a sandy ocean floor.

As I admired this immense, elegant and gentle animal, I managed to slip into his draft stream. Swimming was no longer laborious. And I felt a connection to him…like we were one.

Time slowed down and it was nothing short of spectacular. I was in love with this whale shark!

Then my thoughts interrupted: You’re getting too far from the boat and your people.

As I popped my head up to see where I was in relation to them, the shark quickly moved out of sight. Connection lost. Sure enough, I was quite far from the boat and my husband, who had been yelling, “Come back!”

Neither my husband nor our guide had managed to keep up and had been bobbing in the waves waiting for me to lose steam. This experience is not credited to my swimming skill (although it helped to have free arms), it’s due to three simple practices:

  1. Slowing down my breathing
  2. Feeling into my body
  3. Becoming curious and watchful

If you’re finding that this holiday season has you feeling rushed and frenzied, it’s the absolute best time to become still and present. Practice the above three steps and my hunch is that time will slow back down to an even pace, and you’ll enjoy the magical experience of the holiday season more.

If you’d like one-on-one coaching on integrating these three steps into your daily life to relieve stress, let’s talk!

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Healing & Hatching in Costa Rica

When was the last time you felt such an energetic rush that your whole body tingled with goose bumps? That feeling your core recognizes as embarking on something amazing and magical. For me, that was envisioning my upcoming Healing & Hatching Retreat.

It brings together all of my favorite things: coaching, sea turtles, wildlife conservation, immersion in nature, international travel as well as building connections and community.

Ask anyone who has been inside my home, and they will tell you that there are sea turtles everywhere. Pictures of turtles on the wall, turtle statues as décor, turtle throw pillows, serving trays, mugs, salt-n-pepper shakers and even a sea turtle paper towel holder. I wear sea turtle jewelry and on my clothing. Our entire downstairs bathroom is done in sea turtles. There is not a room in my house that doesn’t have a sea turtle somewhere.

So to design a coaching retreat where folks can have a direct impact on saving baby sea turtles while vacationing in a remote, tropical, international destination – I am over-the-moon excited!! (And I’m convinced I’m not alone in this passionate pursuit. How often do you get to collect sea turtle eggs and release hatchlings into the ocean?!)

I also love retreats, both attending and hosting. There’s something special about bringing new friends that haven’t met yet together to share their struggles, passions and compassion with each other.

Plus, the Costa Rica rainforest is the perfect setting for tapping into spirituality and inner peace. Stepping away from distractions and immersing into a beautiful environment is the foundation for deep healing and fulfillment.

Then by adding in coaching tools that are healing in-and-of themselves, we have a recipe for a transformative experience at its most powerful.

If this sounds like an adventure you’d like to be a part of, please join me at Healing & Hatching June 4-10, 2019. Space is limited to 10 participants, so don’t wait!

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4 Simple and Free Self-Care Practices that will also Improve Your Relationships

Practice Self Care

We’ve all heard the golden rule. Did you know that it also works in reverse? Treat yourself as you want others to treat you.

How we treat ourselves is how we invite others to treat us. It is our boundary threshold. If we are unkind in our internal monologue toward ourself, we then permit the same unkindness from others. If we take little-to-no time out for personal care, we show others that it’s acceptable to devalue us as well.

If you want to improve how others treat you, start treating yourself with more patience, kindness, love, respect and appreciation. Show yourself that your time is valuable by spending it on activities that tend to your wellbeing.

This is your one and precious life. Show your body and your mind that you value and respect it. Here are some suggestions for simple and free self-care:

  1. Say “I love you.”
    …to yourself. Find a mirror, look into your own eyes and say those three impactful words – out loud. Then tell yourself all the qualities and characteristics about yourself that you love. Find ten new gems each day to tell yourself – again, out loud – that you love.
  2. Give yourself undivided attention.
    Spend solo time with yourself to notice your thoughts and behavior, reflect on your day, visualize the future you want to create, and set intentions for your day and life. This is time where the phone, computer, TV and other distractions are off and put away. Learn to be comfortable with yourself and the stillness. If you can enjoy your own company, so will others.
  3. Love your body.
    Care for it as tenderly as you would a newborn child. Nourish and strengthen it through food and exercise so that it can keep all its automatic functions running smoothly inside you. Tend to its aches and pains rather than “pushing through.” Give it ample rest. Allow it to experience the pleasure of touch, whether that is through hugging loved ones or maybe receiving a foot and shoulder massage.
  4. Make time for play and rest.
    As the adage goes, no one gets to the end of their life wishing they had worked more and harder. Aside from the pleasure factor, which in itself is enough (and kinda the point of life, just sayin’), play is how we become our most creative, problem-solving selves. If we could turn our jobs into a game, or if it involved our true-passions, our success and impact would be exponentially increased. When we balance that play with rest, we not only recharge our one, precious body, but we also give our subconscious, higher-self the space to do its most loving and best work.

You’ll find that incorporating these simple, yet highly beneficial practices into your day will add joy, improve your overall health and shift the dynamic of your professional and personal relationships.

 

If you find these practices difficult, or a strong voice inside that tells you it’s selfish, coaching can help. Let’s talk!

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If You’re Not Feeling the Christmas Spirit

Finding the Gifts Inside

Two days before Christmas, I’m reminded that it’s not the happiest time of year for many people. Between finding (and paying for) the “perfect” gifts and bracing yourself for family dynamics (let’s face it, no one knows how to push your buttons like family members)…it may be easy to look at the happy-happy-joy-joy social media posts of others and begin to “compare and despair.” (It’s an MBI coaching term for comparing your insides to someone else’s outsides.)

Does any of this sound familiar to you? I am spending too much on presents and don’t have enough money in the bank to cover this. I don’t have enough time to get it all done. My mother-in-law is going to make her usual passive aggressive comments at Christmas dinner. Everyone else has a special someone to spend the holiday with and I’m still single.

If they do, try to recognize this is a typical lizard brain “lack and attack” stress response that can create fight (WTF!?!), flight (run far-far away!) or freeze (overwhelmed! ack!) behavior. It’s easy to get into a downward spiral of these thoughts if you believe them. Here are some suggestions to get out of that funk:

  1. Notice and observe your thoughts. Try to distinguish them between facts (circumstances) and notice how those thoughts are making you feel (emotionally and in your body). What is your corresponding behavior because of those thoughts and emotions?
  2. Ask yourself: “Is that thought true? Can I absolutely know – without a shadow of a doubt – that that thought is indeed true?”
  3. Notice whether these thoughts are based on a movie in your mind of reliving the past and/or a potential future that may or may not unfold. The reality is, neither the past nor the future exists. The only place they’re alive is in your mind. You are feeding their power – nothing else. The past is done and the future is God’s business. Visualizing that pain in your mind is causing harm to yourself.
  4. Ask yourself: “In this moment, right now (not 10 minutes from now or 10 days from now), am I safe? Do I have all that I need in this moment?” (If you’re naked and living on the streets – I doubt you’re reading this blog – but try to find a shelter.)
  5. Try to find an alternate truth…a thought that would be the opposite. Simply explore another way of perceiving the facts. (You don’t have to believe it, just feel around and find some space for new thoughts.)

If you’re still feeling bah-humbug, then you may want to try some self-care.

You have a choice in how you spend your time and with whom. If you don’t want to buy people extravagant presents or spend time with people that make you want to crawl out of your skin – don’t! Instead, maybe spend your Christmas doing whatever makes your heart sing. Take a bubble bath, dance out your frustration to your favorite music, buy yourself that gift you’re hoping to receive, meditate, sign up for that class or activity you’ve been wanting to try, and finally read that book that has been sitting on your nightstand collecting dust. You can’t control other people or circumstances, but you can choose to love and treat yourself with TLC.

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”
– Lao-Tzu

You hold the power to turn your Christmas from funk-filled to fabulous!

 

*The above suggested steps are adapted from a mixture of the work of Martha Beck and Byron Katie’s “The Work” (of which the latter is a more in-depth process than presented above, and can be found here).