“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked.
Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”
As the New Year unfolds and picks up speed, I’m wondering how you are doing on the goals you’ve set up for yourself this year?
Oftentimes, this can be the point at which people’s enthusiasm and motivation starts to wane.
Conceivably, you started your new year off with a list of resolutions and goals and were intent to make them happen this year.
Perhaps you’d even gone a step further.
In place of making a list of resolutions, you decided to no longer be subject to that voice of “should” but instead allowed your voice of creation to prevail. You created and designed your new year from an advantage point of vision and clarity.
And, it felt really good and empowering to do this, didn’t it?
You knew this would be a fantastic year. You felt really focused and engaged.
And then something changed.
You’ve noticed your focus is dwindling. You’ve noticed how you have started doing the laundry, washing the dishes, checking Facebook and all sorts of other things, instead of being focused and taking action steps toward your … Read the rest
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Never before, as a society, have we been so inundated with so much imagery, information and messaging about what it is to be and look successful. As a result, society is at its peak with pressure to achieve high levels of success. We fall into believing that our power and worth in life come through what we produce and the image that our lives project.
We all have problems, and sometimes ones that completely consume us. We spend sleepless nights worrying, and our daylight hours trying to come up with a solution. And therein lies the real problem.
As a consequence, we are motivated to find a way improve what we see as lacking in ourselves, what is missing from our lives and what we can do to fix it. Our fears and problems become the priority rather than aligning with our natural creative ability and passions. We see the power as being outside of ourselves.
Having a life coach to support us is a common practice these days. An entire industry has taken shape … Read the rest
“Do or do not. There is no try”
The blog was stuck in my head, refusing to come out.
I’d been struggling with writing it for weeks. Despite a clear vision of what I thought I wanted to say, the words were just plain stuck. The more effort I applied the more mired in concrete they felt.
It appeared the story here wasn’t really about my selected blog topic. The larger issue seemed to be my objection to writing it.
And so, I decided to follow the thread of the resistance I was experiencing instead.
The Law of Reversed Effort
The official label for what I’m experiencing is “The Law of Reversed Effort” which states that the harder we “try” the lower the likelihood of success will be.
“Trying” is a ‘neither here nor there” process that indicates lack of commitment to our goal and provides an excuse for throwing in the towel.
Here’s how this can play out: on a conscious level, I’ve got a blog to write and I’ve selected a topic that is relevant to our readers. Wanting nothing more than to get the job done, my conscious mind jumps in, ready to … Read the rest
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
Words are extremely powerful and creative forces in our lives.
Although we may not think about it when using them all day every day, they really do embody energy, assign meaning, conjure up images and ignite our imagination. When we choose in awareness and intention for something more, words can powerfully excite our senses, influence our outcomes, inspire our souls and transform our lives.
So, imagine the power of selecting a Word of the Year to represent your over-arching theme for the year!
I had my own hallelujah moment many years ago, when a mentor of mine introduced me to the Word of the Year ritual.
Having never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions that had me looking through a punitive lens of “shoulds” and then trying to create something positive and sustainable, this has since become the perfect approach to launching my New Year, every year.
Sometimes I choose my Word of the Year and sometimes it magically chooses me, and others who embrace this ritual.
It can come as a soulful whisper, in a lively conversation, on an unexpected sign, on a fob at … Read the rest
“When you’re connected to the power of intention, everywhere you go,
and everyone you meet, is affected by you and the energy you radiate.”
~ Dr. Wayne Dyer
Recently I had the opportunity to witness the results of powerful intention unfolding during a retreat I hosted in Puerto Rico. Participants were asked to spend some time defining their intention for being part of this retreat.
The initial intentions were somewhat vague with responses ranging from “It sounded like a fun idea to come to the retreat”, and “I hope I can grow and change or get over a block in my life”.
Through further discussion, these were sharpened and clarified. As the week unfolded, the deliberateness of the intentions manifested and the magic began. It was like watching a movie where every event, circumstance, and interaction seemed to conspire to bring to focus the lessons and growth opportunities relating to each person’s stated intention.
This experience was a clear reminder that our lives unfold based upon our intentions, whether we set them deliberately or allow our sub-conscious mind to make the decision on our behalf.
When you deliberately set powerful and clear intentions, the universe will respond to your request.… Read the rest
“The only thing that fights darkness is the light.”
We can say for certain that 2016 exposed our global vision to the dark side of humanity.
Stories of political fiascoes topped headline news worldwide. Terrorists threatened global safety, killing innocent victims in the most unexpected places. Civil wars slaughtered millions. And, in the U.S., our ethnic inequities boiled to the surface as hatred exposed itself in neighborhoods and cities and even the Presidential election.
The media was alert to keeping us informed, spinning events to garner larger market shares.
By the end of 2016, a dark cloud shrouded attempts at holiday celebrations. Mental fatigue and anxiety were rampant and banning political conversations over holiday dinners became commonplace.
It’s difficult to feel hopeful in the face of uncertainties that appear monumental. And it’s easy to forget that those who’ve gone before us suffered similar challenges, tragedies and fears.
Just imagine how much happened in the world of our ancestors that they never even knew about. News traveled person to person taking days, if not longer, to be shared. It’s been calculated that information now moves 33,480,000 times faster than it did 200 years ago.* It’s no wonder we feel … Read the rest
The weight of it all was wearing me down. It was everywhere. But where I felt it most was inside my head.
In my pantry. In the garage. In the trunk of my car. On top of my desk. In the fridge and the cupboards and closets. Not to mention the worst offender: the in-box(s) on all my devices. Ugh.
Clutter makes me anxious. And anxiety was building as the calendar pointed to the end of 2016.
Many would call our house pretty lean. We’ve moved a bunch, the last time being a year ago, when we moved back in after having to relocate while our house was remodeled from the flood. We’ve already purged a lot.
But that was a year ago, which is a long time when we’re talking about our “stuff.”
I swear, when we leave our “stuff” unattended it procreates – especially the post-it notes! I’m guessing you’ve got your share of it too.
I recently read something in Pema Chodrön’s book Taking the Leap. She wrote about being tasked with dispersing her Mother’s possessions after her passing. She noted how many things her Mother carried with her from home to home; things packed … Read the rest
“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down. “
~ Lily Tomlin
In our busy, often filled to the brim lives, the approaching holiday season can bring more stress and dread, instead of the peace and joy we all crave.
The demands of the season are abundant. Shopping, baking, cleaning, entertaining, and parties, are just some of the many additional things “to do” from November until the end of the year. Added into all that is a covert expectation to be cheerful and it’s no wonder stress is in the air!
It doesn’t have to be that way.
You can experience more joy and less stress this year by following a few simple guidelines.
- Acknowledge your feelings
- Awareness is the first step in changing patterns that no longer are working for you.
- If you are feeling overwhelmed and can’t imagine feeling happy about the holidays and all there is to do, talk about it with someone who can really listen or journal about it. Doing so begins to release the pressure.
- Instead of thinking you “should” feel a certain way, allow yourself to know what it is you are feeling first.
- Be proactive and intentional in creating your holidays
- Instead of falling
“You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also
in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.”
~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
Recently, I witnessed with awe as a friend struggled through a year of grief, unexpected legal problems, financial distress and more…..alone. These three biggies can trigger depression and bring us to our knees. She felt the full gamut of expected emotions: sadness, fear, anger and loneliness.
And yet, with incredible grace and resolve, she faced her challenges and made her way through the most difficult period of her life. You see, my friend lives with gratitude. It isn’t something saved for when the going gets good. It is why the going gets good.
Every time we talk, my friend speaks of gratitude. And today, she has not only survived the challenges, she’s thriving in ways she never expected. Her life is better than it’s ever been before and not for a moment does she take it for granted.
If you asked her today how she felt about her year of hell, she would undoubtedly answer “I’m grateful for it. Without those experiences I wouldn’t be where I am today.” … Read the rest
“In an increasingly competitive, cautious and accelerated world,
those who are willing to take risks, step out of their comfort zone and into
the discomfort of uncertainty will be those who will reap the biggest rewards.”
As adults, we human beings are definitely creatures of comfort. There is safety in knowing what to expect. When we abide by established rules governing our thoughts and behaviors, stress and risk are minimized and we experience a state of mental security; we’re in our comfort zone.
Our comfort zone is the creation of our life experiences. Babies are born with a clean slate and day by day, year after year, life experiences begin to fill the energetic space in our mind where our comfort zone resides. Our perceptions and beliefs are formed and become the habits of thought that govern our lives.
But, we live in a world full of uncertainty. And sometimes things happen to us by chance or by choice that require a response outside the boundaries of our existing comfort zone parameters.
We are called to change, to act in ways that are perceived as risky and challenge the well defined limits of our comfort zone. This … Read the rest
“I need to be good to myself, creatively, and refill my own creative well
before I can be any less than a brain-dead zombie.”
It starts with each of us individually. Setting some personal boundaries and putting our own oxygen mask on first will create a chain reaction that will have a positive impact on those around us as the ripple effect is set in motion.
Here are a few ideas for giving your brain a chance to restore and rejuvenate on a daily basis:
- Set your personal and work email address up so they don’t feed through the same email provider on your devices. That way you can still receive personal emails without being distracted by work email during non-working hours.
- Stop checking emails first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed. Establish “working” hours that are reasonable for your work situation and add them to your email signature, if necessary, to set expectations.
- If you need to check in while on vacation, schedule a time once daily and state that in your out-of-office message. Then stick to it.
- If you need to work on weekends, establish a timeframe and stick to
“We need to work against that culture of always being busy and develop
more realistic expectations of what our brains and bodies can handle.”
A couple of short vacations over the summer months opened my eyes to the importance – no, the necessity – of resting my brain while experiencing a change in environment and routine, i.e., taking a vacation.
After just a few days (mostly) disconnected from my laptop and connected to outdoor activities, I began to feel my shoulders drop, my mind open up, my worldview expand and creative energy building.
I heard the voice inside speaking very clearly. What both my body and mind want and need is time for rejuvenation.
Being a soloprenuer of this young business adds an additional layer of challenge in taking time off. There’s always work to be done. And, having grown up on a Midwestern farm where work was required 7-days and 52 weeks a year, work has been part of my routine since I was 8 years old. I know how to work. It’s not working that’s harder for me.… Read the rest
“Inner stillness is a place where our heart can speak
without the mind running it off the road.”
I’ve come to realize that my path to practicing HeartMath® came about quite by accident and yet was clearly meant to be part of my healing journey.
I’d heard of HeartMath® but never gave it much thought, assuming that it was only about healing physical heart problems, something I fortunately don’t have. But then, heart related “things” started popping up in different areas of my life.
Several hypnotism sessions turned into heart-healing experiences that I didn’t even know I needed. And an eye-opening weekend workshop with the brilliant, Dr. Joe Dispenza, shed light on the connection between our heart and our head and how the battle of the brain to control the heart causes stress in our bodies and struggle in our lives.
And then, when I met Anne Taylor through Kundalini yoga and learned that she is a HeartMath® coach, I knew as a student, I was ready and my teacher had appeared.
Now, six months later, I’ve completed the coursework and implemented daily HeartMath® practice sessions via my HR adapter and the Inner Balance app. I’ve graduated from … Read the rest
“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe,
to match your nature with Nature.”
A Dynamic Window into the Autonomic Nervous System
You may have heard of HeartMath®, but did you ever wonder what is or try to explain it someone else? Or perhaps HeartMath® and the concept of heart coherence is new to you altogether. This short article will explore what HeartMath® is (more broadly Heart Rate Variability biofeedback) and how a HeartMath® centered practice can support healing, personal growth, and inner transformation.
HeartMath® is a research and technology institute that focuses on mastering the harmful effects of stress through the power of the human heart, and what it calls “heart coherence”. Physiological coherence, in general, is the synchronization of all the oscillating fields within and outside the body—simply think of it as Joseph Campbell explains in the above quote: we are syncing our heartbeats with the heartbeat of the universe.
The weaker fields within the body (i.e. brain waves, respiration) will align with the stronger field of the heart. Electro-magnetic fields nesting within resonating elects-magnetic fields. It is a moment of tao, all is aligned with the great oneness … Read the rest
“Each phase of the transformation process has distinct milestones,
is progressive, and is not revisited.”
~ Suzy Ross
You may have noticed that I refer to myself as a “reinventionist”. There’s a lot behind my choice to use that tag for myself and my practice.
Mostly it’s because I’m drawn to working with people engaged in reinventing themselves because this has played such a large role in my life. I have re-invented myself, from the boots up, at least three times. And I’ve learned some valuable lessons I want to share with you here and in my coaching practice.
And clearly this is a universally experienced life passage— more so in today’s multi-tasking life than ever. People at 30, 40, 50, 60 even 70 are finding themselves needing or wanting to take their lives and careers in a new direction.
You may be looking at making some big changes because you just got a divorce, lost your job, survived a serious illness—or retired. Or maybe an inner voice is telling you that your life could be better, bigger, more satisfying.
Time for a reinvention!
But, before I get down to the 3- stage approach I most often use with clients, … Read the rest
“EFT offers great healing benefits.”
Along time ago, after a severe traumatic event, I began suffering from panic attacks and developed severe, chronic anxiety. The side effects included averaging 2-3 hours of sleep a night, becoming destructively low functioning in my work life and having rapid heartbeats and stomach pains become the replacement for my morning alarm clock.
Thus began my journey to find a way to calm my nervous system down and get back into the driver’s seat of my life. This journey took me over 10 years. Against the wishes of therapists and physicians, I refused to start taking anti-anxiety meds, sleeping pills or anti-depressants. Instead, I tried almost every alternative therapy that I knew of. I wanted to walk through the fire to get to the other side instead of pretending the fire inside me wasn’t there.
One day, during an annual lunch with some girlfriends, one of them starting talking about Tapping. I asked some questions and then went home to do some research. Two weeks later I had an appointment with a local EFT Practitioner and went without any expectation or preconceived assumptions about how it might help me. I had learned years … Read the rest
“A Tarot reading looks at your current life situations through
the symbolic language of image and color.”
A Tarot reading looks at your current life situation through the symbolic language of image and color. Tarot cards are a unique tool available to anyone who can look at a picture and describe what they see. In the case of the cards, this symbolic language triggers an unconscious response within the individual, signaling intuition, which in turn, sends a message to the conscious mind.
The Tarot functions as a guide. It is an anchor and an advisor. It can direct, suggest and open one’s eyes to new possibilities along with revealing roadblocks, challenges and fears.
Tarot cards can be used for self-understanding, and are often called the “mirror of the soul.” They are useful in looking at the current flow of energy in one’s life, or in the examination of a particular issue.
A Tarot reading can foster an understanding of the different perspectives and needs within a relationship, whether with a partner, a child, or a parent. Tarot spreads can indicate the energies in any given situation and suggest how best to deal with that situation.
Traditional Tarot decks … Read the rest
“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance”.
I get asked this question daily in my holistic nutrition practice. It is not that overt. It is asked or stated in myriad ways. Can I heal without giving up this certain food? Can I get rid of my respiratory issues without giving up smoking? Can I lose weight without moving my body? Can I eat the same foods I’ve been eating and still lose weight or feel better? When you break these questions down to their essence, they are all the same. Can I change without changing? It is a far easier question to answer.
Through years of personal research I can state unequivocally that you can NOT change without changing. Believe me, I have tried every way around this over time. I have tried bargaining with myself, going halfway, roughing up my self-esteem and topnotch avoidance. The only thing that works is changing up what is not aligned with your highest self.
We’re going on a bear hunt
One of my children’s favorite books is ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen. The family meets many obstacles along the way, and the … Read the rest
“We need to love ourselves first, in all our glory and imperfections.
If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot open to our ability to love others.”
Love, Ah yes, that most elusive and most desired experience that all of us humans seem to want in this world. So why is it so difficult to attain it? Why is it such a misunderstood subject?
After working with people in private practice for the last 26 years in NYC, Boulder CO and Seattle I have come to see that love is the most misunderstood human experience. For most of us, we look for love in all the wrong places, mainly in other people: praying to find our beloved and live happily ever after.
The truth is, we will never be satisfied with another and their love offering until we are willing to love ourselves. When I explain this to my patients, I am almost always met with great resistance. I can see the pain in their hearts as they look at me and say, “Are you suggesting, Ellen, that I give up looking for my soul mate? Or worse, are you suggesting that I will never meet my soul mate?” … Read the rest
“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has been in the mainstream for years. Long-term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a higher sense of well-being, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery.
But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain. So many of us are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. And for gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And that can take some time.
That’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing.
Remember that gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. … Read the rest