Tag Archives: changing habits

How to Reinvent Yourself: Step 1-Reflect

“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.

person at the edge of a lakeYou 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


Energy Healing 101

 “The whole universe appears as a dynamic web of inseparable energy patterns…

Thus we are not separated parts of a whole. We are a Whole.”

~Barbara Ann Brennan

Along with your vascular, nervous, and skeletal systems, you also have an energetic system that is, like all energy, invisible to the naked eye. Your energetic system, or subtle body is like a holographic overlay on your physical body and is made up of power centers (chakras), energetic fields (auras), and conduits (nadis). Information about your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual states live within your subtle body.

Energy healing works in this realm. It is a general term for many modalities that remove blocks and energetic cords attached to others, grounds your energetic system to Earth energy, connects to light energy, repairs any energy leaks within the auric field or chakra system, and disconnects from any energy that is not your own.

If you are wondering why any of this matters, it is blocks within the energetic system that manifest as illness in the physical body.

Evidence of energy healing practices dating back 1000s of years is found in cultures throughout the world. The ancient Egyptians practiced Sekhem. a form of energy … Read the rest


Struggling in Sapa

caribou in rice paddy

rice paddy terraces from above“Madam … Um, are you afraid of snakes, madam?” asked Cuong, my young, Adidas jacket-clad, skinny-yet-very-able-bodied Sapa trekking guide. “Ah, well … er… I don’t particularly like snakes,” I responded, looking trepidatiously around the heavy bushes clogging the steep, narrow path we were following. The two tiny Red Dzao ladies who had been trailing us for about a mile giggled gleefully behind me. “I hate snakes,” continued Cuong – breaking off a sturdy stick from a nearby tree and starting to whack his way through the thick bush. The two ladies grabbed my arms and we carried on as I emitted a shallow sigh.

two women in moutainsThe four of us had been “hard trekking” for over an hour – the two women, clad in traditional, vivid red scarves and head pieces and various colorful skirts and wraps, had glommed onto us as soon as our jeep dropped Cuong and I off at the top of the mountain. As is their custom, these local tribal women follow tourists like me around asking ad nauseum, with huge toothy grins, “where you from!?”, “what your name!?” and the most oft repeated word, “shopping?!!?” I had become used to them during the previous day’s seven-hour trek … Read the rest


What is EFT and How Does it Work?

finger touching hand

“EFT offers great healing benefits.”
~Deepak Chopra

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


Timeless Medicine From The Owl

“The owl offers the inspiration and guidance necessary to
deeply explore the unknown and the magic of life.”
~Native American Teaching

What are you are seeking in your life? Health – Direction – Inspiration?

Every aspect of nature has a unique gift that goes beyond the obvious food or materials each provides. In many cultures, visitations from animals or other creatures are considered “medicine.”

For example, an eagle, who is the national bird in United States represents freedom, power and keen big-picture sight. The mouse has the gift of sensitivity of vision and smell to find details in front of its path. Ants are revered for their great strength and remarkable unity with their colony. Plants, trees and stones also play a large part of “medicine” for us.

As humans, we also have special gifts to offer with our communication, creativity and healing. Each of us has the power and aptitude to connect to the natural world for problem solving, art, music and healing.

annie thoe w monkeysThroughout my life and practice in the healing arts, I’ve been blessed with medicine from countless teachers in nature: from domestic dogs and cats to a wide range of wild animals, including monkeys, gorillas, dolphins, coyotes … Read the rest


Can You Change Without Changing?

“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance”.
~Nathaniel Branden

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


Learning to Love Yourself: A Simple 5 Step Prescription

“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.”
~John Lennon

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


A Paradigm Shift and a Headless Warrior

tarot cards

“Tarot reading is an art based on intuition, interpretation, and perception.
Tarot cards are your guidance.”
~Nikita Dudani

Tarot is another one of the primary tools in the toolbox that has supported my own personal transformation. This box is filled with unique, healing tools that have guided, supported, informed, led and sometimes carried me over the last few difficult years, peeling back layers to reveal the life I am living today. The probability is slim that you would be visiting this website (thank you) without the gifts of tarot and other energetic wisdom tools.

The symbolism in tarot is fascinating. The story that the cards have laid out for me each time I’ve had my tarot read (and I’ve done this many times) has been uncanny; describing my challenges, triumphs, obstacles and pathway as if I am an open book. My readings have provided great clarity and assurance that I am supported energetically every step of the way on my life journey.

Symbolism also presents itself in our dreams and can reflect our subconscious beliefs and messages from our mind. This makes me a bit uncomfortable since my dreams are sometimes surreal and bizarre.

For instance, in a dream awhile … Read the rest


Accessing the Power of Gratitude

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
~Willie Nelson

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.

grateful handsThat’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


Stretching Myself: Body, Mind and Soul

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you
as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you,
and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

~John Muir

It’s the beginning of August and even though summer took a while to get here in the Northwest, I’m loving that it is finally here.

I am a summer lover and refer to its essence as “summertime mode,” which plays an important role in connecting into our innate playful nature; definitely a stress reliever!

This summer I decided to stretch myself out of my physical comfort zone and now am almost ready to leave for my long prepared John Muir Trail hike in the Sierras in California.

john muir trailI’ll be hiking about 60-70 miles or so of it. My amazing husband is planning on doing the entire 221 miles and more given some of the side trails he needs to take for re-supplies and rest stops!

I’m looking forward to it, but also am quite aware that I may have times of struggles.
I may wonder “what the heck was I thinking?”

That’s when I’ll need to STOPRead the rest


Planning Your Summer? How About Your LIFE?

“Live Your Life on Purpose.”

Summertime is here!

Believe it or not, the beginning of summer is the time of year, bar none, when we do most of our long-term planning, even though that detailed planning is for only a month or two in advance.

We start by identifying the emotion-driven goals we want to experience, strategize how to accomplish them, and then get into action so our summer objectives become our reality.

It’s a great formula that has us as the powerful catalyst for what we want.

Now how about your life and all the different aspects of it?

woman on road w suitcaseAre you planning with all the fervor that you plan your summertime activities; looking at possibilities, contemplating details, covering bases, and designing your plan of action? When you do, life opens up and you really do get more of what you want. Give it a try.

Where are you going?

Acknowledge your heart’s desire, that dream you’ve tucked away or something you would do if you really gave yourself permission. You will be better able to understand what is calling you forward and what happiness and success look like to you.

How will you get there?

What are your … Read the rest


20 Ways to Create More Happiness

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
~ Omar Khayyam

If you have days where happiness eludes you, here’s a few tips from your comrades on the planet that may help shift your mindset for the day. It’s the simple things in life that tend to bring the most pleasure. Try one or more today!

  1. Assume positive intent of others
  2. First thing in the morning, be grateful for all the blessings in your life
  3. Get more sleep
  4. Share the best thing that happened during the day with your partner/family first thing when you get home at the end of the day
  5. Random acts of kindness — randomly pay for someone’s drive-thru order behind you
  6. Think of something you use everyday, make sure it is the best quality you can afford, and take the time to really and care for it
  7. Walk at least 30 minutes a day
  8. Stop comparing yourself to others
  9. Remove advertising from your life
  10. Get a pet
  11. Smile at yourself in the mirror, smile at others – especially strangers
  12. Give more and expect less
  13. Help the people around you
  14. Spend time outside and breath fresh air deeply
  15. Give yourself and others permission to change
Read the rest

What Are You Afraid Of?

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.
If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
~Dale Carnegie

 

Fear will tell you, “It’s not a good idea.  It’s a stupid idea. It’s not original enough, smart enough, wise enough…..or it’s not ( fill in the blank) enough!

More often than not, if we don’t attend to the voice of fear, it will grow stronger and suddenly, your idea becomes you. “You are foolish for ever thinking that your idea would be interesting, you are stupid, you are not good enough….you are not (fill in the blank) enough.

Fear hopes to keep you stuck in the little box of your limited thinking.

Love comes and says, “Open your heart, and listen inside…… what do you hear? Love encourages us to grow, to leap into the unknown, to trust in the impossible and to have faith that your heart will lead you in the “right” way for you.

So why, why do we tend to think that the voice of fear is more reliable than the voice of love? Why do we hang onto that old critical voice … Read the rest


UGH! Stuck. Again?

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
~ Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

REALLY? How can I be here? I am so tired of it all, of this storyline, of the equal measures of my impatience and resistance, the self-judgement and harsh thoughts, the lack of measurable results.

I have been here before. More often than I care to recount. I could hear my inner taskmaster hammering me for it all, “Where are the completed checkmarks on your to-do list, where is the weight loss, the decluttered house, the improved, deepened relationship, the finished coursework for the online program you’re taking, the updated business plan and refreshed website, and your latest article – well past its deadline. You can’t get anything done. You inept loser.”

I drew myself up, inhaled deeply and fully, threw back my shoulders and roared at my inner taskmaster. ENOUGH. Enough. This old familiar storyline is done. I’m scrapping it. It no longer serves me. At some point, I am sure it did, by protecting an ancient hurt or fear buried deeply in my psyche. I thanked it for its years of service and released it.… Read the rest


It’s Time for Summertime Mode!

“Summer, summer, summertime time to sit back and unwind.”
~Will Smith

As a hypnotherapist specializing in stress relief, I recently did market research interviews with busy professional women to delve deeper into their pressing problems and what stresses them out. I wanted to learn more about what keeps them up at night, what their most pressing worries and concerns are and what would they like to disappear in their lives.

A lot of what I heard, I already knew were stress issues for women, but I also learned so much more.

Some of the questions I posed revealed how pressured most busy professional women feel today. They are scheduled from dawn until the lights go out and find they have no room for any free time to just relax, to just “be,” to play!

When asked to create their perfect day, most women described a very unstructured relaxed “let the day unfold” type of day. They imagined walks outside either alone or with loved ones, family time playing together; time to read a “fun” book, all without any of the so called “normal” pressures they currently experience.

In response to the results they would celebrate if their lives were better … Read the rest


How to Reinvent Yourself Step 2: Re-Imagine

(Editor’s Note: See Step 1 – Reflect from Nicole Aloni)

“Whether your transformation happens through trauma, surprise, or intention,
the process begins because of a growing need for change.”

~
Suzy Ross

Next we’ll look at where your values coincide with your dreams for the future. Who you really are overlaid with what you long to do will form the template for your reinvention. Here lies the wisdom and the inspiration that will carry you through to the finish.

DREAM BIG

To begin this important step of re-imagination, journal, or write a short story about the life you’d lead if there were no limitations; If everything were possible. Or create a vision board (thank you, Oprah) with images of all the activities and dreams that make you feel alive. At this point, it’s also useful to ask yourself the question, “What have I been tolerating?”

To make this really expansive, it’s helpful to approach these creations with what Buddhists call Beginner’s Mind (an attitude of openness, eagerness and a lack of preconceptions as a beginner might approach any project). Give yourself a day or a week to really flesh this out. This process should be deeply enjoyable. If it’s not, … Read the rest


My Favorite Question

“You are capable of so much more than we usually dare to imagine”
~Sharon Salzberg

The sign on the blackboard said, “When you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always got!” I saw that many years ago and it resonates to this very day.

I love the inherent invitation and wisdom of that statement – that the power of change lies in our willingness to use the brain to create a road map to the future rather than merely serve as a record of the past.

It doesn’t matter the situation, history, story, complaint or pattern we are experiencing. With 40% of our brain housing our creativity center, focused on delivering answers to queries and crafting ideas and visualizations, the powerful question that sparks that solution seeking region and grows us beyond our discomfort is always the same.

What are you going to do about that?

Seems like a simple question, however its invitations and implications are huge. Why? Because we are always proving to ourselves who we’ve always been or we’re demonstrating who we are growing into. And, this question clearly asks us to reach for our options and aspirations instead of … Read the rest


The Dog and the Wolf

Æsop. (Sixth century B.C.)  Fables.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.

A gaunt Wolf was almost dead with hunger when he happened to meet a House-dog who was passing by. “Ah, Cousin,” said the Dog. “I knew how it would be; your irregular life will soon be the ruin of you. Why do you not work steadily as I do, and get your food regularly given to you?”

 “I would have no objection,” said the Wolf, “if I could only get a place.”

 “I will easily arrange that for you,” said the Dog; “come with me to my master and you shall share my work.”

So the Wolf and the Dog went towards the town together. On the way there the Wolf noticed that the hair on a certain part of the Dog’s neck was very much worn away, so he asked him how that had come about.

 “Oh, it is nothing,” said the Dog. “That is only the place where the collar is put on at night to keep me chained up; it chafes a bit, but one soon gets used to it.”

 “Is that all?” said the Wolf. “Then good-bye to you, Master Dog.”

Better Starve Free Than Be a Read the rest


How to Reinvent Yourself: Step 1-Reflect

“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.

reflecting at waters edgeYou 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


Building the New Habit Muscle

“Habits are first cobwebs, then cables.”
~Spanish Proverb

It’s not BREAKING NEWS! Habits are hard to start, much less change.

Jerry Seinfeld, in a random conversation years ago with a young comic* seeking words of wisdom from the master, expanded on a tool that parents and teachers have known for eons; the Achievement Chart.

When asked for tips on becoming a better comedian, Jerry replied simply,

“The way to be a better comic is to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes is to write every day.”

keep building the chainHe said to get a big wall calendar showing a whole year, hang it where you’ll see it every day, get a red marker and make an “X” on every day that the young comic sat down to write jokes.

After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.

And as the saying goes, the rest, my friend, is history. This short conversation has become what is known as the Seinfeld Calendar … Read the rest