Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sometimes it Feels Like an Uphill Climb

Why am I trying to fix myself? I’m not broken. Why this constant need to self-evaluate? What do I think is wrong?

For many years I have been on this path of self-development. It has been almost quest-like: seeking out teachers, watching their videos, listening to countless lectures, reading every book, blog, and Facebook post I could get my hands on. It is incredible what you can discover about yourself when you focus on it.

I recently completed Mentor Masterclass, a year long life coach training course. I have never participated in such an intense and incredibly rewarding experience. A year of walking my talk, learning tools and techniques to help you achieve your goals, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone has opened me up in ways I didn’t know before.

And I am ready for a break.

mountain viewSometimes this self-discovery journey is like a long, steady uphill climb – you need to pause and take in the view once in a while. You have to catch your breath and recommit to the climb because you know the view is going to be incredible at the top.

But what do you do when you realize you don’t want to climb anymore? You know you can’t go back down, yet the peak is so far off.

Do you blame your hiking equipment? “If only I had better hiking shoes, then I could make it all the way.”

Do you take it out on your hiking companions? “If only they hadn’t dragged me on this stupid hike.”

Or do you blame the mountain itself? “If only it wasn’t so fucking steep!”

No, you don’t do any of those.

You rest, for as long as you need to feel rested. You drink a lot of water. You refuel yourself with high quality food. You treat your blisters and stretch your muscles. And when you’re feeling truly rested and ready, you continue the climb.

I am half way up the mountain. I am taking a rest and taking care of myself. I’m not sure when I will start climbing again but when I do I share my discoveries with you here.

Are you in a similar place along the path? Feeling stuck and not sure which way to go? I would love to talk with you more about it and see if I can help you. I have just a couple of spots available this month so click on the Work with Me page to schedule a discovery session!

When Empathy Hurts

It sucks when your strength is empathy, especially when you are faced with suffering.

I recently took the StrengthsFinder test in my exploration into my life purpose. I discovered that one of my top five strengths is Empathy. Here is the definition of empathy from the book Now, Discover Your Strengths:

handheartYou can sense the emotions of those around you. You can feel what they are feeling as though their feelings are your own. Intuitively, you are able to see the world through their eyes and share their perspective. Your do not necessarily feel pity for each person’s predicament – this would be sympathy, not empathy. You do not necessarily condone the choices each person makes, but you do understand.  The instinctive ability to understand is powerful. You hear the the unvoiced questions. You anticipate the need. Where others grapple for words, you seem to find the right words and the right tone. You help people find the right phrases to express their feeling – to themselves as well as to others. You help the give voice to their emotional life. For all these reasons other people are drawn to you.

Over the past week I was blessed to be a part of a force of educational change. I was part of the logistics team that ran the New Tech Annual Conference held in Chicago. I was expecting the long hours, the missed meals, the seven straight days of work. I was prepared for the feelings of relief when the week was over, for the immense feeling of pride for my team and all they were able to achieve.

What I wasn’t prepared for was learning of the loss of a colleague’s family. On the last night of the conference a dear friend and co-worker learned that his wife and two of his children were killed in a car accident.

The news rocked me to my core.

I had just seen them the night before and the images of this family were etched in my memory: my colleague’s beautiful wife and two sweet boys. I even thought to myself how wonderful it was to see them all together and how much joy it must have brought him to have his family there with him.

Learning of their loss hit me harder than I expected. Did I know them? Not really. Am I close to my colleague? Yes, but not in a deep way. Did it hurt my heart? You’re damn right it did.

And it still does. And that’s what being empathetic means.

I feel all the emotions: the anger, the sadness, the happiness. I can put myself in someone’s place and feel those emotions. I can relate to how they might be feeling even if I have never been in that situation before. It is a strong power and challenging to honor when faced with the more uncomfortable emotions. It’s easier to feel the happier emotions but there is something powerful about allowing yourself feel the “bad” emotions.

Sitting in the meeting room with my colleagues, hearing the news of our co-worker’s family, I allowed myself to really feel what I was feeling. Some in the room held back, they were not needing to let the tears flow. Was that wrong? Did my emotions deem me any less strong, any less powerful? No. My feelings were my own and I took comfort in them. Each person processes grief in a different way.

At that moment, for me, it was total complete sorrow, sadness, and loss. And yet, at the same time I felt this feeling of complete connection with my co-workers. In that moment, all levels of job responsibility and roles, all labels of status, were dissolved, and we were just left with each other in our raw emotional state. We were one, one in feeling heartache, one in feeling a sense of love for our colleague, one in our feeling of love for each other.

And in the end that’s what this life is all about. It’s too short to worry about what others think, too short to worry about how we look, or how if we cry we might look weak. It’s too short to be worried about trying to impress someone. What’s important is loving ourselves and each other to the best of our abilities. Fully and unconditionally.

As I reflect on the previous week and the challenges I faced I understand and appreciate that my strength of empathy served me well. It allowed me to connect more deeply with our attendees, our staff, my colleagues, and most importantly, with myself.

There’s a New Workout in Town

When my oldest was 4 months old I was asked when my baby was due. Ouch. Not sure who felt worse, me or the person who assumed I was still pregnant.

Yeah. That baby weight hadn’t come off as quickly as I had hoped.

I signed up for a gym membership and was soon a convert to regular exercise. I went to the gym religiously 4-5 times a week. I did step classes, spin classes, circuit training, body sculpting classes. You name it I tried it. For years.

Then I got burned out. And I stopped working out.

When friends of mine started going to Crossfit classes I toyed with the idea myself but something about it just didn’t appeal to me. When others stated training for marathons I thought I should I do the same. I even went so far as to complete a 5k training program but never entered a race. For whatever reason, it just didn’t fit me and what I needed. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I was craving something that would exercise not just my physical self but would also help strengthen my soul.  I didn’t want intense workouts and strict schedules. I wanted to tune into my body and listen to what she needs.

Over the holidays I discovered Erin Stutland and her online program Shrink Session. It is unlike any workout program you have ever done. It will tone and tighten every muscle in your body, but it will also lift your spirit and transform your life in ways you don’t normally see from just any workout.

The program is brought to you digitally through a private Members Area where you are given 4 different Sessions. Each session includes a 45 minute full body workout, a guided meditation, and action sheets containing life coaching practices and tools that tap into your desires and help you create a plan of action for your dreams. The workout itself is a combination of cardio-dance, kickboxing, yoga and inspiring affirmations. Expect to sweat JOY!

A great way to experience Shrink Session is to sign up for Erin’s FREE challenge Say It, Sweat It, Get It which begins June 1. During this week long challenge, she is going to be giving you short easy to follow video workouts that incorporate mantras, music and movement. She is going to twitter_banner-photo1help you move your body a little bit, every day.

And it’s totally FREE. I plan to sign up and would love it if you joined me! Sign ups start May 15 so watch for announcements here and on my Facebook page.

I still have a couple of spots open for a FREE Discovery Session. I would love to connect with you and see how we can connect all the parts that make you whole. Send me an email or message me on Facebook. And remember to sign up for my newsletter by entering your information in the sign up box. I will deliver new posts, share cool articles, and perhaps a meditation to try on your own every month.

How do you cope with transition?

tran·si·tion
tranˈziSH(ə)n,tranˈsiSH(ə)n/
noun: transition; plural noun: transitions

1. 
the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.





How do you move through transitions? How do you cope with change? Do you stay locked in fear when life throws the rules out the window?

This past year I have been experiencing quite a bit of transition both personally and professionally. My oldest son moved out of the house and we have had to adjust to the change in family dynamic now that there are only three of us at home. I enrolled in a year-long coaching course that has been nothing but transition: letting go of old ideas and beliefs and strengthening new ones. I have begun transitioning into a new line of work and developing my own business. Now that’s a big transition. But recent changes at work have really got me thinking – how do my beliefs, my values affect my ability to cope with change and transition?

Tony  Robbins talks about the Six Human Needs: certainty, variety, significance, love/connection, growth, and contribution. We each have these needs but each of us values one higher than the other. For me, my top value is significance. I need to feel that I am making an impact on others and that I feel acknowledged for that. Right behind significance would be love and connection. If I don’t feel a connection with someone or something then it is hard for me to feel engaged.

Recently I have been challenged in the area of certainty, or the need to ensure comfort and ease. There have been many changes at work with our company splitting off from our parent company. We have new departments and processes. We have new people and systems to figure out. But we have also experienced transitions as people have left for other work. This particular transition can cause the most angst and bring out our own fears around change. We start to question if we should stay. We ask ourselves, “What did they know that I don’t?” We wonder if maybe we are choosing to stay safe instead of pushing ourselves to grow.

All of these kinds of transitions bring up long standing fears we each carry around. Fears and beliefs that were formed years ago. Fears of not being good enough or not having enough. Fear of not being liked or looking foolish. These fears and beliefs get translated into actions which in turn just cement these beliefs in our psyche.

So how can you bring a little more certainty into your life when transitions come along? You can stop and express gratitude for what you do have and what is certain in your life. For me that is thanks for a loving husband and family who supports me everyday. It’s thanks for the amazing people I get to work with everyday and the difference we are making in children’s lives.

You can take a moment to really connect with the people around you, in a truly tangible way. This can happen in the virtual realm as well as in the physical world. Can you text a friend and tell them how much you value their friendship? How about asking the clerk at the grocery store how their day is going instead of ignoring them? The next time your child asks you a question, put the phone down and really truly listen.

You can spend 10 minutes in the morning connecting to your breath and to your inner landscape through a simple meditation. Follow the rhythm of your breath or listen to a guided meditation if that helps you stay grounded.

For me, the most effective way I can bring more certainty into my life in times of transition if to recommit to spreading my message and walking my talk each and every day.

What is your top human need? What can you do to nurture that need and support it? How do you cope with transition? I would love to hear!

I have two openings for coaching if you feel called to dive a little deeper into this conversation. Contact me for a FREE session to see if this is a good fit for you.

Saying Yes Before Saying No

I used to have a pretty rock solid limiting belief that I really didn’t know what I’m doing even if everyone believed I did. When I was a senior in high school I was first chair flute in the band. I always said that the only reason I was first chair was because everyone higher than me graduated the year before. Years ago, while traveling with my sisters, I pointed us in the wrong direction and we got very lost for quite a while. I I tried to sound confident that I knew how to get home but that just made things even worse. So began the Bitchy Sister Roadtrips. Just recently I was offered the opportunity at work to take the lead in planning a very large conference with a $3 million budget. Six months ago that was not on my radar nor in my wheelhouse of skills. Or at least I thought.

2015-02-08 12.27.53 Recently I have been offered several opportunities to expand my horizons, to reach beyond what I thought I could do. From workshops to virtual classes, in all of those opportunities I said yes before I could say no. Why? Because if I say no, the opportunities will stop coming to me. Am I nervous? Yes. Scared? A little. But most of all I am excited to dive in and expand.

What has brought around this change in my thinking? Discovering and embracing my true voice. When I realized that I was speaking with someone else voice I discovered just how much I was holding myself back. By getting in tune with my desires, by acknowledging my feelings, and by embracing vulnerability I have opened myself to receive far more than I thought possible.

What core limiting belief is holding you back? Where are you resisting expressing yourself completely? Join me and Jaclyn Wallach for our free virtual class Explore Your True Voice this Monday, February 9 at 5:00pm PST. Together we will discover ways to uncover and unlock our true voices.

Can’t make the call? No problem. Sign up and we’ll send you the recording!

Want to dive even deeper? Join us on Saturday, February 21 for our all day in-person workshop Honor Your Expression. It will truly rock your world and open you up to even greater opportunities in your life. Early bird pricing in affect until February 12. Space is limited.

I would love to hear from you. Add a comment or send me an email. While you’re at it, sign up for my monthly email and receive my morning ritual planning guide. I guarantee you it will help you start each day on the right foot.

Go With the Flow

Does this sound familiar?

You get to the office at 8:00am feeling inspired. You have a to-do list a mile long but that’s OK. It’s early in morning and you are ready to rock n’ roll. You are powering through your work and then around 10:00am you start to feel a little distracted. You really want to go out for a walk or move or do something other than what you are working on. You try to ignore the urge and re-focus. But the pull is strong. So you eat something or you check Facebook; anything but doing your work. Finally you get back on track. You re-engage with the work and start crossing things off your list.

Feeling productive, you keep moving through your tasks when you realize it 12:00pm. Lunch time! Everyone else is taking a break so you do too even though you really aren’t that hungry. Instead of really taking a break you go back to your desk and troll through Facebook or the Huffington Post while aimlessly stuffing your not-really-that-hungry self.

After 30 minutes it’s back to work! But now you are not really focused at all. In fact, the rest of the afternoon you are fighting the almost constant urge to do anything but your work. You look around and everyone else seems to be on task so you get mad at yourself for not being able to work like everyone else. What’s wrong with you? You better get back to work or everyone else is going to think you’re a slacker. The afternoon rolls on and at 3:00pm you are cruising the kitchen looking for a snack even though you feel bloated for eating your lunch so fast. You continue to beat yourself up until 5:00 all the while not getting much done or what you do get done is pretty crappy. You pack up your computer and go home just to repeat the scenario the next day. And the next. And the next

Now consider this scenario…

You wake up early and follow your morning ritual, connecting with yourself, moving your body, setting your intention for the day. You feel ready to tackle the day so you open your inbox and promptly take care of the dozen or so emails that require your immediate attention. You are focused and ready to work. After about an hour of taking care of some administrative work you get ready to go into the office.

You arrive knowing that your email has been addressed, for now, so no need to open the inbox. With a clear mind you begin your most pressing project, inspired to complete the task. About mid-morning you listen to your body and decide to go for a 30 minute walk. You head down to the cafe and enjoy a cup of tea while just sitting and thinking. You return to the office refreshed and ready to get back to work.

You spend the next couple of hours working on one of your projects that requires a little creative thinking and daydreaming. It’s OK that you are taking the time to think and wonder because you spent the morning banging out your most urgent to-dos. You feel the ease of just relaxing into your more creative side.

After about two hours you realize you’re getting a little hungry. You step away from your desk for lunch. You might find a quiet spot in the office or you might take your lunch to the park. You give yourself about 30 minutes to enjoy your meal uninterrupted followed by a short walk before returning to the office. This helps your digestive system kick into gear so you don’t feel bloated later in the day.

Once back at your desk you take some time to review what you’ve done, looking at what you have left on your list. You engage in some deep conversation with your colleagues, recognizing your natural tendency to want to chat in the afternoon. You check your email one last time and follow up with any issues still lingering from the morning. Around 3:00pm you feel your energy start to lag. Instead of fighting through it you pack up your things and head home. You decide to go out for a run or a walk to re-energize yourself. You take out your project list, make adjustments to your to do list and prepare for the following day. You are are so motivated you end up working until 6:00pm and finish the day reading an article you been meaning to get to this week.

So what’s the difference between scenario number one and scenario number two?

In the second one you are following your own rhythm, your own ideal patterns, your own Feminine Work Flow. When you embrace your Feminine Work Flow you harness the power of the masculine energy (action, focus, honor, structure, drive) along with the power of the feminine energy (pleasure, play, vision, beauty, joy, ease, devotion) We all have these aspects to ourselves whether we are men or women. The key is learning to embrace all parts of ourselves.

Harnessing the power of your own personal workflow is the key to unlocking your full productive potential. If you know you are more naturally productive at 7:00am, ask your boss if you can start work earlier. Feel more juiced at 3:00pm? Maybe you can start later in the morning and work until 6:00 or 7:00? Even if you can’t change your scheduled hours you can incorporate some of these ideas into your day. Get up and move when you feel your attention decline. Drink a glass of water or go for a walk when your energy starts to wane. Stare out the window and daydream if you need a little inspiration. Feeling distracted? Put your headphones on, close your eyes, and listen to your favorite song. You are not the same as the person in the next cubicle so honor your own style and embrace your own flow.

With the help of my coach I have been able to discover my feminine work flow and it has been a game changer for me. Instead of fighting against my own rhythms I have embraced my natural energetic flow. I get more done, enjoy myself more, and find more pleasure in my work. Does it work all the time? No. Do I have to sometimes push past what my natural flow is and power through when the job needs to be done? Yes. But I have discovered the more I honor myself, take care of myself, and listen to myself the happier I am!

Interested in figuring out your Feminine Work Flow? I have a couple of openings left for my Re-Connect Strategy Sessions. Schedule a FREE call and we’ll see what works best for you!

To Believe or Not to Believe

Have you ever been drawn to something, felt the pull to really go beyond your limits? You have a desire, a dream, and it’s forming right in front of you. It’s pretty exciting isn’t it? You get all jazzed up thinking about it. You tell your friends and your family. You have a ton of momentum and really dive into the work. Then you start to realize that your big dream is kind of scary. You start to doubt yourself. You start think you’re nuts for even trying to do it. Before you even realize it you have talked yourself out of making the leap. You chose to to stay safe, to stay small.

I have been down this path many times before. I have started this journey so many times. Bought the ticket, packed my bags, checked in at the station, and even boarded the train just to jump off at the last minute. Then I sit there in the station, crying, wondering what had just happened, and why I jumped off. My ego talks to me kindly and reminds me that it is “safer” to stay right where I am and not question or wonder or dream because that is scary and dangerous. The ego brings along her friends Ms. What If and Ms. Yeah But and they take me out for a drink.

Rinse and Repeat. Over and over.

For so many years I have stood on the sidelines and wondered what if. What if I had not gotten married so young. What if I hadn’t become a mother at 24. What if I had gone to graduate school. What if I had enrolled in yoga teacher training. What if I hadn’t stopped my dog training business. What if I had stayed home when the kids were young. What if I had spoken up. What if. What if.

Well, I am dog tired of what iffing my life. I deserve a life that is of my design. One that I craft and sculpt and create. One that fits me and shows off all the parts of me. We do not all have to live in fear of the What Ifs and the Yeah Buts. We can boldly and courageously step into the unknown and feel supported.

I am a lightworker and I want to get to work. Want to join me? I have a couple of openings available for you if you are ready to explore your true voice, your authentic self. Sign up for my newsletter to get the latest updates and discover your true voice, your Wholistic Life. Plus you’ll get my Five Steps to a New Morning Ritual, one of my signature ways to reconnect to the parts that make you whole.

My Perfect Day – Too Much Pressure!

I needed a day. A day for myself to do whatever I wanted to do. So I decided to take a personal day from work. I was going to have my Perfect Day. I had planned it out weeks ahead, spoke with my soul sisters about it, dreamed about it, and pictured myself having this completely perfect day. It was going to be glorious!

I woke up early that morning because I didn’t want to waste a minute of my Perfect Day. I was sitting in my room, drinking my coffee when I was struck by anxiety that it wouldn’t be perfect enough. I started to worry that  I would waste my time and not be able to soak up the goodness I was creating. I could see the day flashing before my eyes and me not doing a damn thing. Just wasting my day, my life and definitely not feeling perfect.

I took a deep breath and felt into what was coming up and recognized that my inner guard was trying to protect me from screwing up my day by causing this anxiety and fear. The fear of not living up to my own expectations was keeping me stuck on the couch and stuck in this funky place. I told my inner guard to relax, that I didn’t need her today, she could have the day off.

In that moment I realized that I had put unnecessary pressure on myself to have a “perfect day”. What I was really after was a day where I could spend my time the way I wanted to, the way that would support my Core Desired Feelings. I wanted a day free from the confines of somebody else’s agenda. A day where my actions were in direct alignment with how I wanted to feel. It was then that I changed the name of my day off from My Perfect Day to Me Day. Everything I did was a reflection of Me and how I wanted to feel. From the power walk in the morning drizzle to the reading and reflecting over breakfast to the coffee date with myself to the flowers I bought for my desk.

flowers

It continued through the photo shoot with a dear, and very talented friend (can’t wait to post the pics here!) to the most luxurious facial (thank you Lacie at Pure Skin Spa!). It wrapped up with an amazing dinner with my loving husband. In the end was it perfect? Yes. It was perfect not in what I did but in how I felt all day. Spending the day with Me was perfect, listening to Me, honoring Me. It made for rich and spacious day.

Oh, and my inner guard? She’s on an extended vacation. 🙂

When was the last time you took a day just for yourself? How did it feel? I would love to hear more! Comment below or find me on in social spheres.

Stuck in a Morning Rut?

I have always been a morning person. I enjoy the quiet solitude of the early morning. I started getting up before the sun when my kids were little. It was the only time I had to myself, with my own thoughts. I relished the dark, peaceful feeling of the house before the rest of my family woke up.

As my kids grew up I continued my early morning routine and started to incorporate some yoga and exercise. I found my body and mind needed the kickstart of movement and stretching to really get going everyday. I also relished the first cup of coffee and the ritual of its preparation. Soon it became a habit and I was getting up early almost everyday to drink my coffee alone. My idea was to get up early so I could exercise, meditate, and be present for the day. What ended up happening was I would make the coffee, settle on the couch to read the news and end up trolling Facebook. I often would skip the yoga practice or talk myself out of going for a run.

I was stuck in a morning rut. What’s a morning girl to do?

I reached out to my coaching sisters and asked for help in developing a morning ritual, one that would set me up for a successful day. I was guided to three different, brilliant women that helped shape my morning ritual. Each one of them gave me something to add and it has turned out to be a delightful experience.

One of my coaches in my training program, Maya Haugh, encouraged me to check in with myself in the morning and ask “How do I want to feel today?”

Casey Erin Wood has an entire virtual workshop about morning rituals that I listened to. She keeps it simple and provided me with some excellent things to do each morning. One of my favorites is Morning Pages – stream of consciousness writing to get all the crap out of my head.

And finally my coach, Jeannine Yoder, provided me with the most awesome program to develop a kick-ass morning ritual. I have combined the three into a ritual that helps me shape and welcome the day. I now have a sense of my purpose for the day, how I want to feel, and the clarity to act on it.

What are your morning routines or rituals? How do you like to start your day? Comment below. I would love to hear from you!

Interested in developing your own morning ritual? Signup for my newsletter and I will send you my five steps for developing your own morning ritual!

Finding Acceptance

 

2014-01-19 16.57.04This post was written in January 2014.

I spent this past weekend with a group of people that are very enthusiastic about their hobby. You might say it borders on obsessive. There was a lot of cheering and encouragement and everyone involved was welcomed as we were all there for the same reason. Was I watching the 49er game? No, I was at Further Confusion.

What is Further Confusion, you ask? It is the annual gathering of furries and those that are interested in the furry fandom. Now some of you reading this are doing your due diligence and you’re Googling “furries” and “furry fandom” and you are probably wondering what it is all about. Go ahead. Take five minutes to do some research. Some of you might also be raising an eyebrow and thinking this is some strange perverted group of people that dress up in fursuits. I admit, I did the same thing three years ago when my son told me he was a furry. Immediately I searched the internet hoping that this “furry thing” was not what I thought is was. Even after much searching I still wasn’t convinced that this was a group of people I wanted my then 14 year old to hang around.

Two years ago he found out about The Convention or The Con as they say in fandom. I reluctantly gave in and took him for one day. I wasn’t about to give up my entire weekend to hang around a bunch of people dressed up like animals. We really didn’t do much but wander around the marketplace and watch a few people. The second year we went for two days but drove back and forth. I wasn’t about to blow our money on a hotel room so I could be close to a bunch of people dressed up as animals. I tagged along with my son and tried to not be “that mom” who embarrassed her kid but I also wanted to protect him from whatever dark forces were lurking around. This year we went for two days and stayed at a hotel so we could really immerse ourselves in the experience. A lot has changed in three years.

This is what I have learned. The people that attend this convention are some the nicest, most welcoming individuals you could ever hope to meet. Whether they are dressed in full fur or dressed in jeans in a t-shirt they are friendly, open, and accepting of everyone. With close to 2000 people in attendance I was pleasantly surprised at the good nature of the attendees. They even welcomed this obviously-not-a-furry mom. I learned I could relax my worrisome grip on my son and let him be who he is. I left him to find his friends, some of whom he was meeting face to face for the first time. (Gasp! Online friends that he has never met in person? How can you be friends with someone you have never met in person or you only see once a year? Oh wait, I have lots of friends that I only see once a year or that I only see via video conference so I guess it’s not much different than that.) As I sat watching the antics of fursuiters I was taken by how comfortable they were with themselves and how respectful and caring they were of others. Traits any parent hopes to nurturer in their children.

On the last day my son told me that he felt he could truly be himself at the convention, that he didn’t feel that way anywhere else, no one else really understands him. I told him I knew exactly how he felt because I had the same feeling as a teenager. Finding your tribe is so critical and sadly high school is not always the place where kids feel they can be themselves.  To see your child open up and be comfortable in their own skin is a blessing and while I wish we didn’t have to travel out of town to experience that I know that he comes back home feeling more confident about himself than he did when he left.