April 16, 2016
I truly love this time of year, not simply because the weather is more tolerable (in Miami that is!) and mostly beautiful, but because this time of year is so symbolic. At the end of March we had the Spring Equinox and Easter, which spiritually symbolize rebirth…a shedding of the darkness and solitude of winter, and an opening to our lightness and our eternal selves.
Although, ideally we should be aware of and ready to shift those dark aspects of our experiences as they happen, from moment to moment, it’s always valuable to our spiritual and emotional growth to find a time to more deeply assess what has or should now transform within us and why. That’s how symbolism and rituals serve us–they cue us to pause our daily lives and prod, question, accept, forgive, understand, decide, take action, and ultimately transform.
I hope you’re not thinking of transformation as some HUGE change we must make in our lives. Nope. It could simply be a tiny awakening to something within us that has or needs to change (even die!) in some small way so that we can, indeed, bloom! That is, after all, how change happens– in each breath, and in each miniscule movement. Our cells are changing constantly. Yes, we ARE the definition of constant change, so we should be more open to embracing it and inciting it!
For those of you up to the task this, here’s a fun activity that can help us think about what within us or outside of us needs to transform in some way, what needs to get kicked to the curb, and what seeds need to be planted so that they grow deep roots in our lives.
- Briefly scan this list of the 12 Dimensions of Wellbeing (from the Wellness Inventory – a well-being assessment and tool I use in my work):
- Self-Love and Responsibility
- Play and Work
- Finding Meaning
Try this with just a few of the dimensions, or all 12 and see what shows up. It’s fun to do with a friend as well and create a nice dialogue. I guarantee you’ll come up with a list of things to think about, as well as some meaningful transformations you feel will help you “rise” this year. Allow your intuition to speak to you, and don’t think too hard. Even without an exercise to guide us, we often know what must change and simply need to find the courage to take those next steps.
May you spring into this new season with a pep in your step, a passion-filled heart, and a mission-driven mind. Allow for what needs to die to die, and give birth to what needs to be born.
Wishing you a powerful spring season!
September 10, 2014
Maybe you’ve experienced this funny phenomenon as well! I never put much thought into it except to giggle over it, but yesterday it certainly caught my attention. As I was going for a power walk I noticed how all of the lizards on the sidewalks just hang out on the sidelines and only dare to cross the very moment my foot lifts to take another step. It’s actually quite scary, since every step I take I feel like I’m going to squish one of these little guys! However, they always seem to make it across! I’m thinking they’re stupid and careless, but what do they know that I don’t?
My thoughts then quickly shifted to us humans and our tendencies to stay on the sidelines— sometimes for way too long. What is it about lizards that make them act so quickly and go all in when the danger is at its peak?
Well, our “lizard brain” tends to either freeze, fight, or flight when we feel in danger. It’s that primal, instinctive part of our brain that is always trying to protect us. Certainly, those big visions we want to go after can be just as frightening as they can be exciting. And I wonder how throwing ourselves into the perceived danger can get us that much closer to where we want to go, and sometimes, where we know we need to be. Achieving “success” also can be fearful in and of itself, because then we may wonder what happens when we “get there”? We may ask, “How will my life change, and can I live up to that change?” Perhaps, instead, we should be asking ourselves, “What if I never change? Will I be content with my life staying as is?”
If you find yourself in that scenario, like a lizard looking up at a big shoe about to drop, consider asking yourself:
What about this fear is true?
Is this just my lizard brain trying to protect me?
What’s the worst that could happen if I felt the fear and did it anyway?
Without fear would it be as meaningful?
How could our lives shift dramatically toward our vision if we actually began to embrace fear, as if it were a marker that we were on our true path?
Gosh…I get excited thinking about It. Do you?
What are you fearing right now that’s keeping you on the sidelines?
I guess it’s no coincidence that lately I’ve been surrounded by so many amazing individuals who are breaking through their fears and finding major breakthroughs on the other side. I find that it’s much easier to go all in when you’re not the only one doing it!
As the amazing Brené Brown says, “You can’t find courage without walking through vulnerability.” You think those little lizards aren’t vulnerable when they jump out in front of a huge, scary sneaker? They survive over and over, and so can we.
Are you fear FULL? Embrace it and move toward your dreams.
April 10, 2014
Change is inevitable – after all, nothing really stays the same. But in today’s challenging times, it seems like we’re on “uncertainty” overload, never knowing what will happen from one moment to the next. Here today, gone tomorrow – or, at the least, very different tomorrow.
Uncertainty brings stress and confusion, and while most of us would be quick to say that we want less stress and more certainty in our lives, what we really want is less of a stress reaction to what life is throwing our way.
We can’t choose what happens to us – but we can choose our responses to the situations we encounter. Let’s take a look at five different responses that people have to stressful situations. As you read through these five responses, you may want to think of a recent stressful event or news that you have received, and see what your reaction to that event can teach you about how you habitually respond. You may have one type of response at work, and another at home, or you may react differently depending on who else is involved.
The first, and unfortunately all too common response to stressful events is to suffer and be a victim to it. People who respond this way don’t take action. Things happen TO them – and though they may complain and be generally miserable about it, they don’t take any steps to do anything. They allow life to control them, instead of the other way around. This way of responding is certainly not recommended, and eventually, it will take its toll on one’s physical and mental health.
The second type of response is to accept it the situation, and to get some perspective on it. Someone with this response may say “so what,” or perhaps get some perspective on the situation by asking if it will it matter in a year – or a week – or even in a day.
The third way to respond is to actually take steps to change the situation – taking action to bring it to resolution (or at least move toward resolution). This is a very powerful response, and one that many effective leaders employ.
The fourth way to respond is to avoid the situation. People responding this way make a decision not to get involved in a situation that they don’t see as concerning them, or upon which they can’t make an impact. For example, someone may choose not to get involved in a dispute going on within their office if it doesn’t directly involve them.
The fifth and final way that people generally respond to stress is to alter the experience of the situation. When we look at a situation differently, the experience itself changes. Changing perceptions is probably the most challenging of the responses, because we tend to be stuck in our own interpretations and assumptions about what’s happening, but it is also perhaps the most powerful of all.
It’s your life, and you can create it and lead it as you wish. Remember, what one person sees as stressful, another person barely notices, or sees as exciting and full of opportunity.
So, when life throws you lemons, how will you choose?
Please comment below and keep the conversation going!
September 6, 2011
There, I said it, so you wouldn’t have to. However, I would encourage you to say it just as passionately. It’s freeing! In fact, acknowledging change as “not always so great”, is probably the best first step to leaning into it and feeling more comfortable with it.
We talk about change all the time, yet when we need to make a critical change in our lives, it doesn’t feel good, or easy. Nor is it always obvious. Sometimes, the need to create change hits us like a tornado– completely unexpected. Most change happens around us daily, forcing us to shift ever so slightly or change our perspective in order to “deal” and keep living. But, when change effects us directly, it’s down-right difficult, and sometimes very painful. Change is hard. And as we all know from past experiences, anything that causes us to grow is hard.
There are different types of change, and even the change that makes us tingle (the really good, exciting kind), causes us to connect to a place deep within that allows us to say good-bye to something or someone. Sometimes it is with a part of us (i.e., habit, career, relationship) that doesn’t serve us any longer. That departure can be bittersweet…both sad and exhilarating. With change we always expand, even if we don’t sense it.
We can deconstruct change for hours, as there are many kinds–both good and bad. But, since the average person has a negative view of change, or simply feels uncomfortable enough to describe it negatively, I’m choosing to focus on the kind that truly tests us. It’s the monster that consistently shows its ugly head and laughs at us. Get me? The one that tells us “you’re never ready,” “you’re not strong,” “you’re not worth it,” “you’re comfortable”. Let’s be clear about something…the monster sucks, not us! We can quiet that monster through our choices, however.
Some of the signals that show up time and again to advise us it may be time to make a change include sadness or depression, a feeling of not having any passion or purpose, frustration or anger, lack of energy or motivation, and/or exchanges with others that are not fulfilling, or creating happiness in our lives.
Here’s the thing, too…most of the time we know deep down the change must come, but we don’t want to face it. We agree with the ugly monster instead of feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
What is the worst change can bring us which we are already handling and experiencing?
How much longer are we willing to live without that foundation of joy, happiness and positive growth (if that’s the case)?
Here’s the next important thing…we always have a choice. We are making choices all the time. But, are we making them consciously?
We have a few choices to make when it comes to change. As long as we are consciously choosing one of them we are owning our decision. When we do this we are not powerless.
Our choices as I see them…
1. Choose to continue with things as they are. Here, we decide we are not ready to take any steps toward change. Tip: own your decision to do nothing and don’t feel badly about it. It’s okay sometimes to do nothing. There is still power in this decision. Here, we can keep our eyes and hearts in the moment and try to be open to new things; more positive things presenting themselves to us.
2. Choose to take small, calculated risks. Here, we are choosing to live higher up on the “shift” readiness scale. Tip: each week decide what small step you can take toward making the change happen. Don’t allow fear to get the best of you. Celebrate your successes; forgive the set-backs.
3. Choose to go all out. This is Internal Armageddon! Here, we decide to become that person the monster fears. We look in the mirror and say, “Today I choose to own my power fully, take that bold step forward and deal with the consequences!” To be clear…this doesn’t necessarily mean we are making a huge change. It can be a very small one that has been extremely difficult to make. Change is different for each of us. Tip: write down what you expect to happen and be ready for the unexpected. What scenarios have you not thought of? Draft a pact with yourself; date it, sign it, and stand by it!
Change is hard. Yes, it is. But, no matter what your choice, you can grow within your decision by continuing to be conscious about it. When the path is difficult we can journal, or have a conversation with a trusted friend, family member, therapist or coach. Even your pet can fill these shoes!
Here’s what I know for sure…living and choosing consciously softens the blow that is change and quiets that ugly monster within us.
As always, may you enjoy purpose in the process. 🙂
December 14, 2009
This is entry #2 for the Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. Click on the link image above to read more about it and participate, or just check out my previous blog for a brief explanation. Welcome back!
Dec. 11 – The Best Place – Home sweet home! I am a home body! I just love lounging at home, reading, playing with my children, and taking “sun and nature breaks” in my back yard. There’s no place I’d rather be.
Dec. 13 – What’s the best change you made to the place you live? – Allow for open spaces. It’s been difficult “being okay” with not filling every space with furniture. I’ve come to appreciate seeing our living room become “the kids playroom”, because it honors exactly where we are in our lives.
Dec. 14 – When did you get your best rush of the year? Starting to dance again! A co-worker and I took up a ballet class “for exercise”, but it’s been so much more for me. Dancing has always been my inspiration, and so to have it in my life again has definitely provided me with a much-needed “rush”.
What little bits and pieces of 2009 have you appreciated? I’d love to hear from you.
…’til we meet again…
November 9, 2009
Sitting at home for two days this week, helping my children heal from their colds, I found myself thinking about productivity…or the lack there of it (for me)!!
Especially for those of us who have children, or care for a sick or aging relative, it seems difficult at times to be consistent about reaching our goals and being as productive as we set out to be. Our perfectly planned days are thrown for a loop, and we (and those around us) must just deal with it. Energetically speaking, when this happens, we tend to work from our lower levels of energy (victimhood and conflict), because we feel at the effect of life.
These days, flexibility and adaptability are skills we all can maximize to help us manage the constant change we live with. The more I thought of it, the more excited I became in finding some solutions to help me manage my life in spite of my life!
So how could I be more flexible and adaptable? My mind immediately jumped to my “Wheel of Life” that I use to measure my satisfaction with certain areas of my life. Some of these include: Productivity, Creativity & Problem Solving, Influencing & Inspiring Others, Health & Wellness, Time Management & Balance, Family & Parenting, Spiritual Awareness, and Fun & Enjoyment. I questioned further, what could I do when life says, “Not today, Monique! Change your plans!” How could I keep my life in motion without too much stopping and re-directing?
Then, a light bulb went off! “iPhone applications”, my mind told me! Sure, I’ve experimented with some fun applications, but what would happen if I—with intention—search for applications that are free or inexpensive which can help me work with my Wheel of Life, despite “life”?
The fun began! I was like a kid in a candy shop. I’m not quite finished yet, but here’s the beginning of a “techie” system to help me stay on track. I downloaded and/or purchased the following “apps” which correspond to one or more areas in my Wheel of Life:
|Application||Wheel of Life Area||Intended Uses|
|Lock Box||Productivity||I finally have a place for all my passwords, especially for use out of the office.|
|Toodledo||Productivity/Time Management||For those of us who use the GTD (Getting Things Done method). Great for managing projects.|
|FastShop||Productivity/Family & Parenting||Holds all of my lists (grocery, drug store, holiday and birthday shopping).|
|My Thoughts+||Balance/Spirituality||I’ve created my very own affirmation slideshow with music. Keeps my vision close to me.|
|Ask||Inspiring Others /Spirituality||My daily dose of spiritual principals for myself and to inspire others.|
|MyDiary||Creativity & Problem Solving||The journal that I will use to summarize my day’s “aha” moments.|
|IdeaOrganizer||Creativity & Problem Solving||I live off of ideas! Here’s where I can track them all, with voice notes, photos, etc.!|
|Personal Assistant||Productivity & (Financial) Balance||Keeps my accounts up-to-date and at my finger tips, all in one place.|
|SixPackYoga||Health & Wellness||Need I say more?? Yoga for my abs, anytime, anywhere, and for as long as I’d like!|
|YogaStretch||Health & Wellness||Customized yoga programs with an instructor, music, and all!|
|NaturalCures||Health & Wellness/Parenting||A quick resource for at home and natural remedies.|
Ideally, I’d be doing yoga at a studio, speaking to my health coach or doctor every time I had a health question, carry my journal with me wherever I go (as well as my project folders, grocery lists, daily planner, spiritual resources, affirmation index cards, vision boards, etc.). What a heavy bag that would be!! You get my drift, right? My iPhone is always with me, so I might as well take full advantage of it and make sure it supports my needs to help keep my Wheel of Life on its path.
I’ve just lightened my load tremendously, and given myself permission to be more flexible and adaptable (and more productive!). Essentially, I’ve made myself Tech-NOTORIOUS!
I would love to hear your ideas about using technology (or not!) to help you achieve your goals. What works for you that you can share with Being En Pointe readers? I hope you will share and experiment.
TECH it on!