I don’t know about you, but there are times when I can find myself feeling stuck, blah or just a little blue. But the difference between a few years ago and now is that I know how to move through those feelings and bounce back by using all the tools I’ve learned.
And there are a few I’ve been pulling out of my toolbox lately I wanted to share with you, including the thing I use to shift from lower to higher vibe emotions, the new mood boosting self-care practice I'm currently obsessed with and the books, podcasts, videos and meditations I turn to when I need a little dose of inspiration.
During what felt like a particularly messy time of personal & spiritual growth for me a few years ago I kept wondering why it felt like things were just getting worse, instead of better.
I felt like things were falling apart rather than healing and falling into place.
I kept asking my coach Gina, when will this be over? Shouldn’t I feel 100% happy and wonderful all the time now? I mean, I was meditating like it was my job, working to release judgment of myself and others, trying to face and overcome my fears....you get the drift.
I was doing the work, but I still felt stuck.
She painted a great visual that has gotten me through many a day of doubt ever since, and when I thought about it recently it reminded me of the one big thing that has helped me face and heal my fears and kept me on the path to get to where I am today.
If you've ever experienced the mind-numbing frustration of self-sabotage and not known how to stop it you're in the right place.
For me, self-sabotage usually rears its head when I'm trying to make a change in my life.
And I've learned that changing how you be, eat, drink, react, show up, engage with others, and well, live your life takes commitment, but maybe not in the way you think.
Underneath all of the promises we make to ourselves (never drinking coffee again, gossiping again, snapping at the people we love again, eating junk food again...you get the drift) what it really comes down to is what gets in the way of us doing all those things we say we want to do and at the bottom of that is what we're truly committed to.
When was the last time you just stopped what you were doing to take a moment to just be and breathe? Stress and chaos seem to be the common speed for so many of us these days with every moment filled with something "to-do," always pushing forward and rarely taking a moment or two to pause and just be where we are.
Stress can unconsciously become like a drug to some of us. We're fueled by it, feed off of it, talk about how stressed we are all the time but never really do anything about it.
Do we feel stuck in place? Scared of what would happen if we slowed down even a little bit? Or do we not want to know what thoughts and feelings we might have to face and actually work through if our bodies and minds settled into a few moments of silence and solitude? Or maybe we're afraid of losing our edge if we let compassion and vulnerability replace judgment and putting on a brave face?
Last fall I was trying, unsuccessfully, to quit drinking coffee. I've always loved coffee. Like really, really, really loved it. But I'd finally hit a point where I was doing so many things to lower the unnecessary stress in my life and boost my energy that it just started to irritate me that I couldn’t kick the coffee habit to the curb.
Coffee was stressing my body out and I was over it. But I also felt that pull every morning like my life wouldn't be complete without that steaming mug in my hand to start the day. I was hooked and couldn’t remember the last time a day had gone by when I hadn’t had a cup, or two, or more.
Over the past year and a half I’ve shared a lot about what was going on with me in terms of my spiritual and personal growth, but the one thing I didn’t share about publicly was the debilitating burnout I was experiencing in the midst of it all.
I didn’t write or talk about it at first because I didn’t want it to be happening to me. I didn’t want to admit that I couldn’t “do it all” and was worried what people would think. I was ashamed I couldn’t just suck it up and push through like so many other people seemed to do.
I mean, we all know people who are stressed all the time and seem like they’re exhausted and overwhelmed, but they keep going and push through it all, right?
But then it got to the point where I couldn’t remember anything and could barely put two words together, and that's when I got really scared...
This list is a product of all the influences I’ve had throughout my life from childhood until now, but really came in to form when I discovered the work of teachers like Brené Brown, Gabby Bernstein, and Marianne Williamson a couple years ago.
Their teachings are the thread through this list for sure, but overall, it is my interpretation of the messages found in their work and the things I've learned from friends, family, and strangers alike who have touched my life. It is my expression of the lessons I’ve seen to be true in my own life and the ones I am still learning more about every day.
So what does it mean to let our light shine, or to “be the light?" You might not even know what I'm talking about, or perhaps you're surprised to realize you are afraid of shining bright because you're worried about what people would think of you.
Or you might feel like stepping fully into your light would extinguish the light of those around you. On the flip side, some people can feel like letting the people around them shine will in some way dim their own light. But in my experience, quite the opposite is true.
If you listened to your thoughts for even 5 minutes you’d likely see that you’re bringing a whole lot of the past and the future into your present. The idea of being "more present" is easy to talk about, but it can be a challenge to put it into practice, right?
People have many different ways of trying to be more present, but understanding why I was bringing the past and future into today is something that has helped me to actually be more in each moment as it's happening.
You might think this idea sounds nuts, but I'm finding that really examining what we feel guilty about and choosing to look at those moments through a non-judgmental lens can help us much more than we realize. If we really delve into what our guilt is trying to tell us we can use it as an opportunity to bring our darkness to the light.
I'm on day 12 of a 40-day judgement detox and at this point I'm really starting to not just put the steps into practice on a daily basis, but to also reflect on how judgement plays a role in friendship. It also happens to be one year to the day since I had the most transformational week of my life.
Think about some of the things that you might deal with day in and day out—making decisions, brainstorming, negotiating, helping a friend through a hard time, being there for your family as a mom, daughter, sister, wife, the list goes on and on.
Now think about how you want to show up for those situations. I'm guessing you'd choose happy, centered, and calm over miserable, disconnected, and frantic, right? Right.
Do you ever find yourself falling back into old habits and not even really realizing it? One of mine is frantically polling everyone around me and asking them what they think I should do.
And the crazy thing is I know when I'm doing it that what I'm really doing is looking for external validation to either affirm or contradict what I maybe kind-of sorta think I should do. But the thing about searching outside yourself for the answer is...it doesn't work.
It's a simple truth that you must witness your behavior if you want to change it. Obvious, right? Not always.
Often times our unconscious reflex can be to push down any negative or fear based thoughts we have without even thinking about it. We don't want to look behind the curtain to see where they’re coming from, or fact check if they’re even true because...why?
Ok, true confession time. I've been suffering from a bit of writer's block. Actually that's a lie. I've been writing a ton, but my perfectionistic tendencies have been challenging me and I haven't been able to hit the publish button on anything I've written. This led me to think about what to do next because, well, I didn't know what to do. The answer to that is very different now than it used to be.
The experience I had at Gabby Bernstein’s Spirit Junkie Masterclass training, just a little over a year ago, is almost indescribable and no words can really do it justice, but giving you a snapshot of what it was like for me is something I felt like I needed to share. Here is a snapshot of what the opening night of that weekend was like for me...
In my experience, being indecisive is not about putting off choosing because you just don’t feel like doing it. It’s not about being lazy or unmotivated. It’s not about being selfish or inconsiderate. You may feel vulnerable and exposed when you put an idea out there that you think other people might think is stupid. But the alternative—staying small and quiet and never making a decision about anything with conviction—does not keep you safe. All it will do is keep you stuck.
Public speaking has been one of my biggest fears for as long as I can remember. Just the thought of it has always made my mind go blank, heart race, and mouth run dry. So, one night when I was thinking about all of this, I chose to stop listening to that fearful voice in my head, and tuned in to something else. Before I knew it, I was actually letting the deep full body feeling of that fear wash over me. I didn't try and numb it or push it away. I let myself surrender to it and really feel it. And then something I never expected happened.
How we choose to perceive a situation or a person's behavior is totally up to us. You might be thinking, "Sure, that sounds good and everything, but all the people I have to deal with on a daily basis are super annoying!" That may be your experience, but it doesn't have to be. Every relationship and interaction is there to teach us something. When you can look at your daily annoyances or frustrations with that in mind it's much easier to let things go and keep your cool.
It's pretty much a given that there will be moments where you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, or frustrated. The thing is, it's completely up to you how you deal with those feelings and moments. It a nutshell, you can snap and react or pause and respond. I am far from perfect in this area, believe me, it can be super easy (and tempting!) to get caught up in the drama and feed the beast by throwing up your hands and believing that's just the way it is. But there is another way.
I never had the privilege of meeting Dr. Wayne Dyer in person, but his impact on my life was great nonetheless. It was through his teachings that I began to shift my perception about forgiveness, and take my willingness to want to forgive and transform it into something I could actually apply in my life. While listening to one of Dr. Dyer’s lectures I heard him tell the story of how he forgave his father years after his death and it resonated with me deeply.
Over the past year, the intentional practice of kindness has been a part of the teachings in many of the books I've read and taken to heart, two of the main ones being; The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein. So, sometimes I play a game with myself to see how kind I can be to everyone I meet in a day. And by kind I don't mean just to be nice or polite. I mean real, honest to goodness kindness.
Sometimes I think what we forget is that words have the power and meaning WE give to them; when we speak them aloud, and maybe even more importantly, when we repeat them in the inner dialogue we have with ourselves all day long, we are in a constant state of deciding, no, choosing, what we think they mean and how they make us feel.
Like peanut butter and jelly or paint and canvas, some things just go together. For me, perfectionism and procrastination have been like two P's in a pod; they've just always gone together. The two P’s and I have been well acquainted for quite some time. They became coping mechanisms I used while trying to prove to the outside world that I was "good enough," and seemed like a way to avoid judgment and rejection which, it turns out, could not be farther from the truth.
On August 20, 2014 I made a seemingly small decision that changed my life in a major way. I said, YES. Up until that day I'd always liked the sound of being "spiritual," but I have to admit that the word didn’t actually hold much of a deep personal meaning for me. That is, until I saw Gabrielle Bernstein speak live for the first time. I had discovered Gabby on YouTube at the beginning of the summer, and the way she broke down the spiritual principles she was teaching really resonated with me.